Latinos In The Industry

INDUSTRY INSIGHTS: The Three Pillars of a Successful Screenwriting Business (Part 1)

This is part of a series of informative articles that we are offering our readers. Click on Talk Back to discuss with other NALIPsters!

By Marvin V. Acuna

Recently I attended a festival, and was invited to participate in a roundtable discussion with various screenwriters. It felt a tad like speed dating. Every so often a festival volunteer would ring a bell and I would be relocated to yet another table.

We were not provided with an agenda, and I was given no advance notice as to the purpose of this encounter. Among the sea of screenwriters that I met, one asked a very KEY question: "What is the key difference between a successful screenwriter and a screenwriter who is not successful?"

I'll offer the same answer to you that I did to that particular table of screenwriters. Ready?


In my humble opinion, there are three pillars to a successful screenwriting business. And make no mistake... this IS a business.

Pillar #1: The Craft

"Outliers," written by Malcolm Gladwell, notes the following:

"The idea that excellence at performing a complex task requires a critical minimum level of practice surfaces again and again in studies of expertise. In fact, researchers have settled on what they believe is the magic number for true expertise: ten thousand hours."


Latinos in the 2010 Sundance Shorts Program

Sundance Institute has announced the program of short films selected to screen at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. This year the Festival's Short Film Program comprises 70 short films from U.S. and international filmmakers selected from 6,092 submissions up 8% over 2009.

The short films selected for the 2010 Sundance Film Festival included a few by Latino filmmakers:


Charlie and the Rabbit (Directors: Rodrigo Ojeda-Beck and Robert Machoian) - Charlie, a four year-old who loves Bugs Bunny, decides to hunt a rabbit of his own.

Laredo, Texas (Director and Screenwriter: Topaz Adizes) - Sam trains Juan for his first day at his new job, fixing pay phones in the border town of Laredo, Texas. However, tensions boil as Sam suspects that Juan is an undocumented worker.


One Square Mile of Earth
(Director: Jeff Drew; Screenwriters: Mark Chavez and Shenoah Allen) - Bill the bunny is a struggling novelist, who has never actually written anything, much to the chagrin of his perfectionist life partner, Gary the frog. Thad the bear is a hopeless romantic who can't find the right words to express his feelings for the scandalous and alluring Lucy the goat. And Leon the hippopotamus, one the coolest and hippest guys in town, has struck up a unlikely friendship with a down-on-his-luck high school sociology teacher, Pedro the mouse.

"Sundance has a long legacy of supporting short filmmaking. Short films are at the core of what independent filmmaking is about - these films are made out of pure passion without commerce in mind. This year, we're especially excited to screen a short film program as part of the opening of the Festival," said Trevor Groth, Sundance Film Festival Director of Programming in a statement. "We are also continuing the tradition of holding the Short Film Awards mid-week during the Festival. It's proven to be a great way to bring attention to these artists and their films."

Maiz, Corazon team on 'Tlatelolco'
(Variety) - Argentina's Maiz Prods. has struck a two-pic co-production deal with Mexican production-distribution house Prods. Corazon. FULL STORY

The Future of Festivals?
To get a better sense of how film festivals are changing, keep a close eye on three leading American events: Sundance, SXSW and Tribeca. FULL STORY

Jobs & Opportunities

Visit the NALIP Job Opportunities page for all the latest listings.

From the Editor
Alex Mendoza
Alex Mendoza & Associates
AMARTE Design & Digital Printing
9513 Longden Avenue
Temple City, CA 91780

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Santa Monica, CA 90401

Joaquin Alvarado
NALIPster exits CPB for American Public Media

LPA 2009 funder and mentor Joaquin Alvarado, senior v.p. of diversity and innovation at CPB since June, has resigned to take a similar position at American Public Media in St. Paul, the corporation announced this afternoon. Alvarado, a leading advocate for broadband expansion, will be senior v.p. of digital innovation at APM, focusing primarily on its Public Insight Journalism project, according to a spokeswoman. APM is the national distribution arm of Minnesota Public Radio. Alvarado will continue to advise the CPB Board's digital media committee. His interim successor at CPB will be NALIP founding member Joseph Tovares, acting v.p.

Early in his short tenure at CPB, Alvarado was involved in retooling the PBS World digital channel into what he called "World 2.0," a multimedia service for a younger, more diverse audience. During a meeting with pubTV station execs in August, Alvarado described World 2.0 as a "transmedia platform" where "innovation starts to happen." But PBS withdrew its support for the project this summer and turned World back over to the two stations that originally developed it, WNET in New York and WGBH in Boston.


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