Latinos In The Industry

INDUSTRY INSIGHTS: The Three Pillars of a Successful Screenwriting Business (Part 2)

This is Part 2 of a series of articles written by Marvin V. Acuna about being a successful screenwriter. Read Part 1 online here.

"There is nothing makes a man suspect much, more than to know little; and, therefore, men should remedy suspicion by procuring to know more, and not keep their suspicions in smother."
- Francis Bacon

With that said, allow me to focus your attention on the second pillar of a successful screenwriting business...

Pillar #2: Market Intelligence

"Market Intelligence is the information relevant to a company's market which is gathered and analyzed specifically for the purpose of accurate and confident decision-making in determining market opportunity, market penetration strategy, and market development metrics." (From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

LISTEN TO ME: You are your own Company. You are! When you begin to generate that huge revenue you aspire to attain, the first thing your representatives will suggest is that you legitimatize your company and form a corporation.

The very same entertainment professionals that you are seeking to attract into and partner in your business are successful BECAUSE they gather market intelligence.

In fact, an agent's primary responsibility at an agency is to "cover" their assigned studio. In essence, they must report back to their superiors every bit of information they can mine from the studio executives and the entertainment community, so that it can be distributed to the entire company. The more effective they are at gathering market intelligence the more valuable an agent they become to the agency and to the agency's clients.


Call for Submissions: Cintas Fellowship Program

Cintas Foundation announces the opening of the 2010-2011 competitions in the Visual Arts and Music Composition. Cintas Fellowships acknowledge creative accomplishments and encourage excellence in architecture, literature, music composition and the visual arts. Eligibility is limited to artists of Cuban citizenship or direct descent (having a Cuban parent or grandparent). Fellowships are awarded annually in the amount of $10,000 each and are paid in quarterly stipends, beginning in September, for twelve consecutive months.

Submissions must be received no later than January 30, 2010.

Applications are reviewed by panels of qualified members from each artistic discipline. The Board of the Cintas Foundation, Inc., awards fellowships based on the recommendations of the panels. Cintas Fellows are free to pursue their artistic activities as indicated in their application. The fellowships are not awarded for academic study or research, or to performing artists. Fellowships are not awarded more than twice to the same person. Second awards are granted only to candidates demonstrating outstanding artistic development.

Visual Arts may include painting, sculpture, installation art, photography, film, and the media arts. Media arts encompasses narrative, documentary, animation, or experimental time-based works using audio, digital, film and/or video media; also included is computer art in which the computer is an essential element of the work's creation, presentation or understanding.

Artists may submit a maximum of 10 digital images. We will not consider work samples that exceed the maximum. Images submitted without a detailed image list will not be considered. Installation work may be accompanied by a DVD.

Sculpture and Installation Art: At least two views of each work should be included. Ten images of at least five different pieces should be included. A DVD of not more than three minutes of a sculpture in motion may be included only for work in which mechanical or kinetic motion is an integral aspect of the work.

Photography: Photographers may submit a maximum of 10 images.

Film: You may submit one or two work samples, either completed feature length films or short films and/or works in progress. Recent work is preferable. Commercial work (i.e., work-for-hire) and work over which the applicant did not have creative control are not eligible for consideration. On the Work Sample Form, please specify clearly your contributions to the work (e.g. director, producer, writer, etc.) You must submit two copies of each film. Only DVD format is acceptable.

Media Arts: A maximum of two work samples, no longer that six minutes each, may be submitted, in addition to the complete works. Only CD and DVD formats are acceptable. Please indicate the full running time of each piece submitted on the Work Sample Form.

For details and application information visit:

The award is currently considered taxable income. The Cintas Foundation Fiscal year starts on September 1st and ends on August 31st of the following year.

The Cintas Fellowship Program is administered by the Cintas Foundation Board and the Cintas Fellowship Program at the Frost Art Museum at Florida International University.

Since 1963, the Cintas Foundation has awarded over 300 fellowships in architecture, creative writing, music composition and the visual arts. In addition to supporting Cuban artists, many early in their careers, the Cintas Foundation also maintains a growing collection of works by past awardees and other esteemed Cuban artists. For the purpose of historical value and documentation, award recipients are encouraged to submit art work (i.e., representative samples of their work) to be added to the Cintas Fellows Collection after the grant period.

Call for Entries: Truly CA's Season 6

KQED Public Television is pleased to announce Truly CA's Season 6 Call For Entries. Through one call for entry each year, KQED's Truly CA: Our State, Our Stories reaches out to the independent film community throughout the state to find completed or nearly completed feature-length documentaries. Truly CA films must be about California in some way - not just taking place in California. The films must also be primarily shot in California, and preferably made by California's talented, independent, documentary filmmakers.

We look for well-crafted stories featuring compelling characters - stories that are provocative, passionate, and unforgettable. Not only do we want well-told stories, we're interested in well-made films, works that are both thought-provoking and eye-opening.

The deadline to submit your feature-length documentary to KQED's offices is 5pm, February 10, 2010. This is not a postmark deadline.

Read the guidelines, frequently asked questions, and download a submission form at:

Call for Entries: Los Angeles Film Festival

The Los Angeles Film Festival is widely recognized as a world-class event, showcasing the best in new American and international cinema and providing the movie-loving public with access to some of the most critically acclaimed filmmakers, film industry professionals, and emerging talent from around the world. The Festival provides films with the opportunity to be embraced by the public and discovered by the industry.

Select narrative features, documentary features, and short films participate in the Festival's three competitive sections, the winners of which are chosen by special juries. The Los Angeles Film Festival is a qualifying festival in all categories for Film Independent's Spirit Awards and is also a qualifying festival for the Narrative and Animated Short Film categories of the Academy Awards.

For entry forms and submission details, go to

Regular Deadline: January 15, 2010
Final Deadline, Short films and music videos: February 5, 2010
Final Deadline, Feature-length narrative and documentary films: March 5, 2010

LATV Shakes Up Exec Suite
(Multichannel News) - Los Angeles-based LATV is undergoing major changes to its top management team, including the upcoming departure of founder and president Danny Crowe, whose contract, which expires Jan. 11, will not be renewed. FULL STORY

Clooney, Streep, Bullock Among SAG Awards Noms
(AP) - "Up in the Air," "Precious" and "Inglourious Basterds" led the Screen Actors Guild Awards with three nominations each Thursday, among them honors for George Clooney, Diane Kruger and Mo'Nique. FULL STORY

Jobs & Opportunities

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

Casting: Male and Female Leads for Music Video
Casting male and female actors for an indie band's music video making its American debut. FULL JOB DESCRIPTION

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

1323 Lincoln Blvd., #220
Santa Monica, CA 90401

Kenny Ortega
NALIP Estela winner to direct film adaptation of In the Heights

By Michael Fleming, Variety

Universal Pictures has set [NALIP Estela Award winner] Kenny Ortega to direct "In the Heights," the bigscreen adaptation of the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical. Ortega plans to make the tuner his follow-up to "This Is It," the musical docu built around rehearsals for Michael Jackson's final concert that Sony Pictures Entertainment turned into a success.

U acquired rights to the musical in fall 2008, with creator Lin-Manuel Miranda expected to reprise his starring role. Miranda wrote the lyrics and music, as well as originating the role of Dominican bodega owner Usnavi in the premiere production of "Heights" Off Broadway and in its Main Stem transfer. The show's book writer, Quiara Alegria Hudes, came attached to write the script. Meryl Poster will produce. Kevin McCollum, Jeffrey Seller and Jill Furman Willis, all producers of the stage musical, will be exec producers.

Ortega, who until recently had been expected to direct "Footloose" at Paramount, considers the "In the Heights" gig to be a dream job.

"It's a project so near to my heart that when I went in and pitched myself, I told the executives at Universal that they were not going to find a guy who has more of a life connection to that story," Ortega said. "I've seen the show six times on Broadway since it opened, several times when Lin played the lead role. He blew me away with his presence and charisma."

The musical covers three days in the upper Manhattan neighborhood of Washington Heights, where a bodega owner who inherited his grandmother's lottery windfall plots his retirement to a Dominican Republic beach. As he bids farewell to his customers on the block, he becomes conflicted about leaving behind a group that has become family.

Ortega said though he grew up near San Francisco as a child of immigrants from Spain and Cuba, the mix of community and music in "In the Heights" made him nostalgic. "We struggled, and the hopes, dreams, music and love of culture sustained us, and forged who I am," Ortega said.

While Ortega directed the "High School Musical" films and choreographed "Dirty Dancing," he knows his shot at "Heights" came largely from the success of the Jackson film. The strong reviews, the box office and now the "Heights" assignment has left him conflicted. "I'd trade it all in a second to have Michael back with us, but I owe a debt of thanks to him," Ortega said. "He's my angel. Whenever I said yes to him, I came out on the other end benefitting greatly."

While the new regime at Universal is certainly questioning the movies it will make, the studio remains bullish on musicals. Aside from "In the Heights," Universal is formulating a new installment of "Mamma Mia!," and it is beginning to move forward on a screen version of the Broadway smash "Wicked." Studio also recently attached "Hairspray" composers Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman and producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron to a musical based on a soon-to-be launched Mattel toyline that aspires to add a new twist to monster lore.

Ortega is repped by Paradigm.


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