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OnMedea: Screenwriting Archives

Recently in Screenwriting Category

At the upcoming Super Bowl in Miami, 22 players are absolutely necessary to play the game.  Apparently, 22 producers are absolutely necessary to make "Hesher" - an independent film premiering at the Sundance Film Festival (and just picked up for distribution by Newmarket) starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Natalie Portman.

There's a fixed joke in Hollywood that you can't throw a rock without hitting a screenwriter.  It seems, for those of us inclined to throw rocks, you can't throw a rock at Sundance without hitting an independent film producer

What happens if, by some chance, "Hesher" gets nominated for an Academy Award next year.  Only three producers are allowed on the ballot and actually receive the award.  What happens to the other 19 and what is the process for weeding it down to three?  Wouldn't that be a great reality show?

And "Hesher" is not an isolated case.  It appears to be a trend. 

Here are three films that were at the Sundance Film Festival and the number of Producers that were necessary to produce them.

hesher.jpgHesher (22 Producers - including "Executive" and "Co"-Producers)

  • Lucy Cooper
  • Matthew Weaver
  • Scott Prisand
  • Natalie Portman
  • Spencer Susser
  • Johnny Lin
  • Win Sheridan
  • Jonathan Weisgal
  • Wayne Chang
  • Aleen Keshishian
  • Annette Savitch
  • Scot Armstrong
  • Ravi Nandan
  • Aaron Dowing
  • Rob Ortiz
  • Scott Kluge
  • Jeff Davis
  • Jay Rifkin
  • Ari Ackerman
  • Jay Franks
  • Happy Walters
  • Gina Kirkpatrick

the_kids_are_all_right_image.jpgThe Kids Are All Right (starring Julianne Moore, Annette Bening and Mark Ruffalo - 13 Producers)

  • Gary Gilbert
  • Jeffrey Levy-Hinte
  • Celine Rattray
  • Jordan Horowitz
  • Daniela Taplin Lundberg
  • Steven Saxton
  • Ron Stein
  • Christy Cashman
  • Anne O'Shea
  • Riva Marker
  • Andrew Sawyer
  • Neil Katz
  • J. Todd Harris

the_romantics_holmes_wood.jpgThe Romantics (starring Katie Holmes and Josh Duhamel - 11 Producers)

  • Daniela Taplin Lundberg
  • Jennifer Todd
  • Suzanne Todd
  • Michael Benaroya
  • Taylor Kephart
  • Galt Niederhoffer
  • Katie Holmes
  • Riva Marker
  • Celine Rattray
  • Pamela Hirsch
  • Ron Stein

Look, I'm sure all these people played a vital role in their respective films' journey to the screen... or not (only those on the production really know what's going on here).  But a Producer credit used to be highly-coveted and very difficult to get - in most cases after years of paying dues and working up the cinematic ladder. 

Today, it seems, the credit is handed out like film festival swag.  Now, when I meet someone who says they are a producer on an independent film, I am inclined to say "Oh, really, what, did you deliver the food?"

jill_kennedy_small.jpgJill Kennedy - OnMedea

script_girl_2.jpg... and New York, for that matter.  And I'm talking about WRITERS

Of course, there are some small roles in film and television that are played by unattractive female actresses (the psychotic neighbor, the diner waitress, the homeless woman, the awkward teen friend, etc.) - and we sort of understand why 'on-camera' talent has to have a certain look.

But writers?  Why do they have to look a certain way?  They just have to be able to write.  Right?  Quasimodo should be able to make it in this town - that is, if Quasimodo was a really good writer.  Is that naive? 

Being fairly new to L.A., I was shocked to learn that the new crop of budding female screenwriters (those under 30) are freakin' hot.  And, of the females out there writing (and there are millions), the hot ones seem to be the only ones getting meetings

There is a very high profile production company down the hall from my office which receives a good amount of foot traffic from writers pitching script ideas.  The males that come in are pretty much all unattractive, unkempt and fat (the standard male screenwriter uniform of baseball cap - [Cubs preferably], shorts and a giant t-shirt is a cliche... but in this case, a true cliche).  [Note:  If the male screenwriter becomes successful, then his body changes - he's still unattractive but now he's 'kempt' and very much in shape.  Success leads to getting laid, getting laid leads to getting in shape.] 

The female writers that come in are all hot.  There's not one Wendy Wasserstein in the bunch.  Some wear glasses to have that 'smart' look - but they all accentuate their boobs and have a nice tight ass.  Perhaps this current wave of new writers was influenced in some way by Scriptgirl411.  Even though ScriptGirl is mostly satire, there is a certain fantasy that male producers have (and have had since Hollywood began) and she hits it right on the head. 

scriptgirl.jpgFemale screenwriters make up a extremely low percentage of screenplays written in this town (oh, let's say 2%, though accurate data is very hard to come by) - so I suppose when male producers feel they need to hire a female to give the script a 'certain voice', being the shallow boys that they are, they would prefer to spend all that time with someone hot.  That's pretty much the way this town works in every area of entertainment (even catering... thank you Giada De Laurentiis!).

I do believe this is just a fad and it will change once some of the beautiful but untalented writers start to get screen credits and the movies fail at the box office.  Talent will win the day - much as it did for older male screenwriters who were shut out in the 90s for younger guys right out of film school. 

Today, it doesn't seem to matter how old a male writer is, the quality of the script seems to win out.  This is mainly due to the low number of projects being greenlit and the low tolerance for bad writing.   Top male executives (and a couple of females) at production companies and studios can no longer take a chance on being the "cutting edge" type or "trend setting".  In today's economy, their jobs and bonuses are very much on the line - so they'd better get it right (write).

However, it's funny, but when it's a hot, young, female screenwriter, film executives have an amazing tolerance for bad writing.  This, too, will change. 

Talent will win the day - though it's much easier to get tits in the door than a foot

jill_kennedy_small.jpgJill Kennedy - OnMedea
John Hughes 01.jpg
He will be missed.  Especially to those of us who were young when he was at his creative peak.  Rest In Peace.

jill_kennedy_small.jpgJill Kennedy - OnMedea

About Jill Kennedy

Jill Kennedy - Blogger - OnMedea Jill Kennedy is an Ivy League MBA / refugee from Lehman Brothers.

Manka Bros. (and the Manka Business Channel) hired her (for a very low sum) to cover the world of media (not the world of Medea) in her own words without corporate interference.

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About Medea

Medea Medea was a real bitch from classical mythology - as most famously dramatized by Euripides.

She was a sorceress and wife of Jason, whom she assisted in obtaining the Golden Fleece. When Jason deserted her, she chopped up their children. One could say, Medea acted as rationally as a major media company.


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