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July 1999, Week 2


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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Mark Pizzato <[log in to unmask]>
Tue, 13 Jul 1999 14:33:31 -0400
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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
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Some of my playwriting students hope to pursue screenwriting as a career.
I encourage them to write for the stage first, because a dramatic idea
that's fully realized onstage has more of a chance to be reconceived as a
complete work for the screen--unlike many screenplays, which are bought
just for the plot idea and then completely rewritten by other writers.  The
other alternative, I warn them, involves moving to L.A. and pitching your
film ideas, then losing control over any that are sold.

But is this changing with the advent of "independent film" and higher
quality (yet comparatively inexpensive) video production?  Does a
screenwriter still need to become a director/producer to maintain his or
her authority and the integrity of a script, even with low budget

John Sayles recently said that he still works as a script doctor on the
machinery of conventional feature films (with simple characters), in order
to make a living, then puts more artistry (and complex characters) into his
own scripts, which he directs.  I would be interested in any further
anecdotes or experiences of screenwriting paths and powers, or detours and
sacrifices, that I might share with my students.  (My own experiences of
having screenplays produced are soley in the academic arena; though I have
won awards for such work.)

Mark Pizzato
Dept. of Dance and Theatre
Charlotte, NC 28223
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(704) 547-4488
FAX: 704-547-3795

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