Sun Valley Film Festival Begins With Advice On Screenwriting

Mar 14, 2013

The Sun Valley Film Festival gets underway today with its first ever Screenwriters Lab. Writer and actor Will McCormack will lead the three hour discussion.  You might recognize McCormack from a few appearances on the Sopranos or the film Syriana. 

The Sun Valley Film Festival gets underway today.
Credit Courtesy of the Sun Valley Film Festival

But lately this actor turned screenwriter is best known for his breakout movie Celeste and Jesse Forever. He wrote that film with Rashida Jones who appears on the sitcom Parks and Recreation.

McCormack says he’ll share his evolution as a screenwriter with the Lab’s participants.  “There’s no sort of pixie dust that gets sprinkled on me before I sit down. Writing to me is about showing up and there are good days and bad days but writing, it’s labor.”

McCormack says screenwriting isn’t as hard as people think. “Screenplays are 100 pages and if you wrote a page a day you’d have a play, probably not a great one, but you’d have a draft in three and a half months.”

After questions, actors will do a live read through of McCormack’s latest piece – a pilot for Showtime – called We are Puppets.

Will McCormack's first produced screenplay is Celeste and Jesse Forever.
Credit Courtesy of the Sun Valley Film Festival

Writers from Idaho and around the country submitted more than 150 original screenplays and TV pilots for consideration to the Lab. Judges picked three finalists earlier this month by the Sun Valley Film Festival.

Later this afternoon, Academy Award winner Stephen Gaghan, who wrote Traffic, will pick the winning screenplay from the three screenwriting lab finalists. The winner will see their work come to life with a live reading by professional actors.

You can read more about the finalists below from the Sun Valley Film Festival's website.  

Taffy by Hank Isaac
What if the main character of The Fugitive was a little girl? And what if that little girl had such extraordinary abilities that every government in the world wanted to use them and her? And what if those abilities were so incredible that if a government couldn't possess her, they would need to eliminate her? And what if she is accompanied by a teenage sister who'd rather be anywhere but with Taffy?

Life of the World to Come by Cody Tucker
Life of the World to Come is about the end of the world, but told in such a way that it turns the notion on its ear. The dead are coming back to life and making things quite crowded, which makes finding one person or even a few almost impossible.

Life Could Be a Dream by Mike Viseltear
Inspired by the 19th century novel Peter Ibbetsen, Life Could Be a Dream tells the story of two lovers, separated by circumstance, who are able to meet in their dreams.