From Scene Magazine:
WRITING IS THE KEY TO AN INDIGENOUS FILM INDUSTRY
As everybody knows, the film business in Louisiana is booming. Tax credits have lured some huge projects like THE GREEN LANTERN, THE EXPENDABLES and the next installment of the Twilight series, to name a few. In fact, I heard recently that applications for new film tax credits hit the one hundred mark in August. Incredible. My friends are working all over the state, as actors, grips, coordinators, locations, craft services, casting, etc. Where are the writers?
For the most part, they’re in Hollywood. And that’s why this boom is driven by big projects from out of state. The only way to create a home grown film industry is to write our own stories. Let’s be realistic, we are one hurricane or one zealous law changing state senator or one aggressive state with better tax credits from this thing drying up.
Don’t get me wrong, things are happening on the local level. Several local companies have been making low budget movies and there are young filmmakers out there trying to make their films. I can’t tell you how impressed I am with anybody who gets a film made in this economic climate.
A couple of weeks ago, I was one of the judges of the New Orleans 48 Hour Film Festival. I left feeling inspired. It’s a tough endeavor, writing, producing and editing a film in that amount of time. If you were one of the filmmakers, you have my respect. Some of the films were really terrific and reminded me of why I wanted to be a filmmaker in the first place.
With all the momentum and activity in our state, where is the next SEX, LIES AND VIDEOTAPE? Where is that film that defines our local film industry? We should be the next Austin, but we’re not. Not yet, anyway. I believe it’s all in the writing.
It’s time to up our game in that department. I teach, coach and fix scripts. I read dozens and dozens of them every month. We have the ideas, but we need more craft. I firmly believe to become an industry that can survive a hurricane, we have to write better screenplays. A great script doesn’t guarantee you a great film, but a bad script definitely guarantees a bad one.
This is not a knock on my screenwriting brethren, it’s a challenge.
Read more scripts, get more training, do your homework, find out what makes a great screenplay. We can build a sustainable hurricane proof, tax credit proof indigenous film industry. I promise you, I’m going to get better at this and I’m going to write one of the next great films to come out of Louisiana. Are you?