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To: Mark Pizzato:  I can only tell you of my own experience with stage
play/electronic writing. Some years ago I wrote a  play called MOVIE GAMES,
with a film noir plot of an old time movie director trying to make a
comeback. This has had only one stage production to date, but I did manage
to sell the script to a TV production company in Toronto (it was shot in
Casa Loma), which bastardized the plot and even added a scene which never
could have happened, merely to make up the two hour TV running time.
The title was also changed to DEATH IN HOLLYWOOD, and the film noir irony
was lost in a in a comic ending.  This may be a useful lesson for your
students: try not to lose control of your material, though this is
particularly difficult for writers starting out in the business - and
probably for many established writers. too!
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> From: Mark Pizzato <[log in to unmask]>
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Paths and Powers of Screenwriting
> Date: Tuesday, July 13, 1999 2:33 PM
>
> 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
> productions?
>
> 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
> UNC-Charlotte
> Charlotte, NC 28223
> [log in to unmask]
> (704) 547-4488
> FAX: 704-547-3795
>
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