INDUSTRY INSIGHTS: The Monkey Trap
This is part of a series of informative articles that we are offering our readers. Click on Talk Back to discuss with other NALIPsters!
Article by Marvin V. Acuna
Recently, I read a story about how they used to capture monkeys in Africa. Apparently the locals anchored a narrow-necked bottle to the ground. The neck of the bottle was just large enough for a monkey's hand to fit through. Then, they put a small banana in the bottle, sat back and waited.
Before long a monkey would come by, see the banana, reach his hand into the bottle, and grab it. But then, the monkey discovered that he couldn't get his hand out of the bottle while holding on to the banana. There would be a loud chattering and squealing as the person who set the trap walked up to the monkey and placed a burlap sack over him. In the darkness, the monkey released the banana and was captured.
The monkey could, of course, let go of the banana and run before getting caught. But most of the monkeys hang on to the banana until the sack goes over their head. Why? Because the banana has value to the monkey, and the monkey is unwilling to let go of that value. So unwilling that he gives up his life for it.
What does this have to do with screenwriting, Marvin?...Everything!
In my experience, I have observed many aspiring screenwriters hold on to their dialogue, their scenes, and their characters with such reverence and preciousness that they stifle the creative and collaborative process of filmmaking. Opportunities lost, relationships devastated, and careers deflated, even destroyed.
Deadline Approaching: POV 2010
Attention, all filmmakers! POV, public television's premier showcase for independent, nonfiction film seeks programs from all perspectives to showcase in its annual national PBS series. All subjects, styles and lengths are welcome.
Check out the POV Blog to learn more about the categories of submissions that we are looking for. Please note: All entries must be received by Tuesday, June 30, 2009.
Apply online: http://cfe.pov.org/
Deadline Approaching: Disney | ABC Television Group Writing Fellowship Program
The application deadline is approaching for Disney | ABC Television Group's 2010 Writing Fellowship Program. Launched in 1990, the Writing Fellowship gives participants the opportunity to hone their craft and jumpstart their careers through intensive workshops, seminars and personalized mentoring with creative executives from ABC Entertainment, ABC Studios, Disney Channel, and ABC Family. Fellows also receive a salary for a one-year period.
Thus far, staffed 2009 Fellows include Lana Cho (ABC Family’s Greek), Michael Cinquemani (ABC Family’s 10 Things I Hate About You and ABC’s Brothers and Sisters) and Shalisha Francis (ABC Family’s Lincoln Heights). Additionally, 2008 Program Alumni Erika Johnson and Matthew Whitney have been staffed as Staff Writers on ABC’s Ugly Betty and ABC Family’s Greek, respectively.
Deadline for Submissions to the Industry-Leading Program is July 1, 2009
Applications and detailed submission guidelines for the Writing Fellowship can be obtained at www.disneyabctalentdevelopment.com
Maya Snaps Up Theatrical and DVD Right to Casi Divas
Maya Entertainment has acquired U.S. theatrical and home entertainment rights to the Mexican Spanish-language comedy Casi Divas. In 2008 Casi Divas premiered in the number one spot at the boxoffice, and was among the top five grossing films.
"Maya is excited to distribute Sony's hugely entertaining film about the hopes and aspirations of women everywhere. This commercial and heartwarming film supports our mission to distribute great stories about the Latino experience," said Tonantzin Esparza, Maya Entertainment's Director of Acquisitions.
Casi Divas is written and directed by Issa Lopez and scored by producer Hans Zimmer. The story revolves around four ambitious and beautiful young women from four very different corners of Mexico, who get caught up in the frenzy that sweeps the country during a nationwide talent search for a lead role in a movie. Maya Zapata, Ana Layevska, Patricia Llaca and Daniela Schmidt star as the four "Divas" along with Julio Bracho.
Casi Divas is produced by Luz Maria Rojas (The Mask of Zorro, And Starring Pancho Villa as Himself, Curandero) for Columbia Pictures Producciones Mexico, the local production arm of Sony Pictures Entertainment. Ignacio Darnaude is executive producer and creator of the original idea which Lopez transformed into the screenplay.
"Casi Divas is the second hit feature from Columbia Pictures Produccions Mexico. It's a testament to the genius of writer/director Issa Lopez that the film speaks a universal language and has found distribution outside Mexico in the U.S. market. Our very own Ignacio Darnaude, Sony's International EVP of Creative Advertising, came up with the original idea and treatment and it's a truly wonderful collaboration."
This marks the second successful collaboration for Columbia Pictures Producciones Mexico, the other bieng Ladies Night which was also written by Lopez and directed Gabriela Tagliavini in 2003 and starred Ana Claudia Talancon
Casi Divas will premiere in the U.S. in New York, Los Angeles, Miami and San Diego on August 21, followed by a national rollout.