Life After Film School: Alex Kurtzman & Roberto Orci

Submitted by Amisha Upadhyaya

I love writing teams and this is one of my favorite (the Transformers sequel aside). It’s really sad statement about women that there just isn’t any teams out there. I’ve tried, trust me because I think they really do work for a number of reasons (see last bullet point). Either men work better together or…I don’t know. Opinions welcome as to why.

Here are some of my favorite distillations from the video:

  • balance business school (view the people you’re working for as clients) and film school if you’re going to collaborate with someone you should feel comfortable enough to show them anything
  • [related to that] as a professional writer, you can’t be precious about anything
  • [and related to that] you’re writing it a second time when you shoot it, and a third time in post — this is of course, after the 1st, 2nd and 27th drafts on its way to the ‘final’ shooting script
  • the great thing about TV is that it’s a machine; the staff needs 22 episodes per year, hungry staff so proximity is key: if you’re near the staff or producer any way you can (writer of X-Men was a director’s driver on set)
  • confluence of miracles got us running “Hercules” (the whole hope as strategy thing)
  • B-genre with an A-treatment — I like this phrase and approach particularly because a) sometimes media or a network just grabs onto one show over another for no reason and b) structure really is more important than plot as they say. There is nothing new under the sun; it’s the treatment of it that grabs audiences.
  • studios would rather dust off a lunchbox than go w/an original idea…[as successful as they are, they know the market and are as frustrated as anyone about the state of the industry, but they go w/it and do their best rather than mope]
  • come at genre from a place of character…have to be able to pitch a genre movie as a character movie “can add the robots and special effects on top of story
  • “Transformers was hard and terrifying and they passed on it several times (this makes me feel better because perhaps it explains the sequel’s terrifying script)
  • In TV you get the skill set of producing since the writers are the producers; there’s something broken about the feature film system because there aren’t enough writers who are producers…our job is to convince studios that writers aren’t replaceable, that they can be producers
  • On why they won’t work alone: the litmus test (does this work) and more important, we see a lot of people sacrifice their personal life and family life for any job and we want to have that quality of life, the force multiplier effect: we are stronger together than the sum of our individual work; the ability to go home is something they won’t trade (see my last post)

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more about “Life After Film School: Alex Kurtzman…“, posted with vodpod
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