SUNY Cortland, Gotham Writer’s Workshop
Place of Residence:
New York with large doses of Los Angeles
Places worked for:
Gold Circle Films, Goldcrest Films, Global Media Television
Job Prior To Entering Film:
Developed children’s programming for Lincoln Center
Favorite Place to Read:
Coffee shop or a comfortable couch
Alien, Jaws, Midnight Run, Cinema Paradiso, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Terminator
William Goldman, Lawrence Kasdan, Shane Black, Tony Gayton, Aaron Sorkin, David Koepp
Steven Spielberg, Ridley Scott, George Roy Hill
Blood Meridian, Underworld, Salem’s Lot, Lord of the Flies
Don DeLillo, Cormac McCarthy, Stephen King, George RR Martin
WHAT ARE THE MAIN THINGS YOU LOOK FOR WHEN YOU READ A SCRIPT?
Compelling characters, rich, colorful dialogue and conflict conflict conflict. A clear objective for the protagonist. Tight pacing with no wasted space. If a scene takes place in a restaurant, is it necessary to show what everyone orders? Reversals within the story as a whole and in individual scenes. A strong, marketable premise.
WHAT MAKES BELIEVABLE CHARACTERS?
They need to resonate on an emotional level. A script can have an incredible high-concept idea, but if the characters are flat, it just won’t work. We need to get a glimpse into their soul, to see what terrifies them, what turns them on, what their hopes and dreams are made of. Even if it’s a ruthless villain, we need to see the world from their point of view so we can understand what motivates him.
WHAT’S THE MOST COMMON MISTAKE YOU SEE?
Long first acts where no central conflict emerges. Passive protagonists – main characters who react to what’s going on around them without consciously striving toward their goal. If the protagonist doesn’t care about their objective, how can the audience?
WHAT KIND OF SCRIPTS ARE YOU MORE LIKELY TO CONSIDER?
I want to be moved in some way. If it’s a romantic comedy, I have to need to see these two people end up together. If it’s a sci-fi epic, then there should be an emotional aspect of the story I can grab on to. A strong premise filled with interesting, three-dimensional characters will always grab my attention. Simply put, a good story, well told.
WHAT’S THE BEST SCRIPT YOU’VE EVER READ?
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid is still the benchmark by which all others are judged for me. I remember being stunned by how great Tony Gayton’s The Salton Sea was. Love and Death at Terrington Prep by Nicholas Stoller had me rolling when I read it, one of the best comedy specs I’ve come across. Shane Black’s The Long Kiss Goodnight is also one of my favorites, no matter what I thought of the finished film. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is up there as well.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE MOVIEGOING EXPERIENCE?
A packed theater on opening weekend (provided I get a good seat). I love the community of emotion of watching a film with a crowd of strangers, the anticipation of being swept off your feet into a different world where literally anything can happen.