USC Scripter Awards – HIDDEN FIGURES, FENCES, LION and More – Interviews With 2017 Writers

Watch the video interview on Youtube here

Larry Karaszewski: Hi, I’m Larry Karaszewski, nominated tonight for the THE PEOPLE v. O.J. SIMPSON, American Crime Story with my partner, Scott Alexander.

Film Courage: Larry, obviously this is not your first story about [someone’s public and private life], you’ve done films on filmmaker Ed Wood and Larry Flynt, as well. What attracted you to this story?

Larry Karaszewski: This story, it’s funny, because it’s the first time [writing partner] Scott and I’ve have ever written television and we basically do movies and we would have never done this story as a movie, because as a 2-hour package it would have just been telling people what they already knew about the O.J. Simpson trial. Whereas all the offshoots of it, all of the themes we could discover inside the piece, whether it’s gender politics or class relations or birth of the infotainment culture, you know. And sort of the black problems with the Los Angeles Police Department. And so there was so much we could do with this story that 10 hours felt like the proper medium for this story.

 

Film Courage: Were you in Los Angeles during the whole [O.J. Simpson] trial and the Bronco [car] chase?

Larry Karaszewski: Absolutely. I remember exactly where I was when the Bronco chase happened. I think we all remember where we were during the Bronco chase. We were writing a script for Disney at the time. And it was before cellphones and all of those things. And as everyone is leaving the building, there was a janitor downstairs with a little black-and-white television and it was like “O.J. Simpson is being chased!” And the entire building all circled around the janitor’s closet and watched the Bronco chase [on television] in his closet.

Film Courage: Do you remember the day that the verdict came out and how the feeling around the City [of Los Angeles]?

Larry Karaszewski: Absolutely.

Film Courage: So how did this [writing] opportunity come to you?

Larry Karaszewski: One of the producers on the project, named Brad Simpson, was in a used bookstore and he saw Jeffrey Toobin’s book [The Run of His Life – The People v. O. J. Simpson]. And there was this little idea in Brad’s head like “Maybe I should take a look at this? Maybe it’s time to revisit the O.J. Simpson trial?” And he read the book and it’s a terrific book. Jeffrey is also nominated tonight. And the great thing about this particular award show is they give the person who wrote the book an award, as well as the person who adapted it.

It was one of those things where we were looking for a long time what would be the thing [project] we would do for television. Scott and I are usually very deliberate about our decision about the kind of projects we take. And in a second we were like “Yes!” in the room there. We want to take on Tobin’s book.

 

The Run of His Life – The People v. O.J. Simpson

Film Courage: So from that time that you met with [producer Brad Simpson] how much time has passed since you got the show on the air?

Larry Karaszewski: It was a very long time. We didn’t treat it like traditional television. We really developed it and researched it and so it was about three years until it got on the air and now about a year since it’s been on the air.

Film Courage: When you wrote the beginning episode, did you have other people look at it [the script] for a tone and making sure that whatever your own bias was or your [writing] partner’s bias was not put in to the writing?

Larry Karaszewski: I would say we definitely had other people take a look at it, but we have our own tone, so I don’t actually think it was about us taking our take away from it. We were never coming right out and saying whether he did or didn’t do it. But there is so much evidence that sort of point in that direction. We were just presenting the case in a very unusual, satiric, comedic tone but the tricky thing in this was two innocent people died, so you never wanted that to be any source of humor. But there was an absurdity that was the O.J. Simpson trial and having The Kardashians be a part of it and things like that. So we were always conscious of trying to keep our tone and we always had great advice and some co-writers with us all the time to keep us honest. It was very important to us to tell the truth and do it in an very entertaining way.

Film Courage: I know all of the legal team became their own celebrity from it [the trial], Judge Ito included. How much research did you do [beforehand] on let’s say [prosecuting attorney] Marcia Clark or whomever?

Larry Karaszewski: We did an insane amount of research. I mean there is Jeffrey Toobin’s book but every single person involved in the trial wrote at least one, maybe two books, sometimes three books. There is thousands and thousands of court transcripts. There are hours of court TV so it was really just the most intense research project we ever had. Even the jurors wrote books.

Film Courage: So when you write a screenplay do you think that it’s finished after two drafts? How critical are you of your own work or your partner’s work?

Larry Karaszewski: Well, we’re very critical of our own work because by the time it gets to even first draft, that’s probably actually number ten for us. We’ve gone through it so many times. So we generally prefer the earlier drafts because they are kind of the most pure, but we’ve been in this business a long time so we do whatever it takes to get it on the air.

Film Courage: What book can you recommend to some of the viewers on screenwriting structure or adaption, anything?

Larry Karaszewski: I don’t really know? Certainly in the old days I would read something like Syd Field, but I have no idea if that would actually be something in today’s climate. I’d recommend a book that we wrote which was about our screenplay for MAN ON THE MOON, the Jim Carrey movie about Andy Kaufman. We not only include the screenplay but we include a very in-depth, how things change for the screen and young screenwriters can really look at that book and understand how a script changes from when you write it until it makes it on the screen.

Film Courage: And lastly, what film impacted you in terms of a true crime movie, like an Errol Morris film say THE THIN BLUE LINE, different films in a similar genre to what you’ve done here?

Larry Karaszewski: I mean as a young man I saw the black and white version of IN COLD BLOOD, Richard Brooks’ version of that. And that definitely had a gigantic effect on me, it terrified me. So that was the first thing that came to mind. Certainly David Fincher’s ZODIAC is an extraordinary film, because it’s about not solving the crime and it’s about how unsettling that is. The fact that no matter how horrific true crime stories tend to be, at the end there is some kind of closure and ZODIAC is about not getting that closure. And what that does to a person. How it tears you apart. So it’s a very interesting film.

Film Courage: Great! Thank you very much. I appreciate your time.

Larry Karaszewski: Thank you!

 

Erik Oleson: Hi, I’m Erik Oleson. I’m here from THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE.

Film Courage: Erik, how many years did it take to get this television show made and how did it finally happen?

Erik Oleson: I was hired to join the show for season two. Well, I know from the novel which was written decades ago [author Philip K. Dick], the original producers of the series struggled for many, many years to bring it to the screen. It was a long development process, over a decade. So I was fortunate enough to be brought on in season two.

Philip K. Dick’s book The Man in the High Castle

Film Courage: Had you already watched the show?

Erik Oleson: Oh yes! I’d watched all of season one. And I came on board and ended up being the head writer of season two.

Film Courage: Do you remember when you sat down to write for them? I don’t know if you prepared a spec script for them or what the process was? What was the first presentation of your work to the show’s developers?

Erik Oleson: Well, I had written on 15 other television shows series prior to THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE, so my work was kind of known. I’m also an executive producer so they knew I could handle a lot of the other aspects that go along with writing a big television show like this. But the thing that I’d written that probably put me most in contention, I’d written a pilot about Nazi occupied Paris, which was a historically based pilot. So I think a lot of the folks read that and said “He knows how to do a Nazi show.”

Film Courage: What are your first steps for writing a screenplay? Do you have a set of tried-and-true set of rules that you use? Or is every script different?

Erik Oleson: My process evolves every time I do another job. I realize how much I didn’t know in my prior job. So I’m someone who reads pretty much every trick, every screenwriting book, every script that I can get my hands on and I’m constantly trying to evolve as a craftsman. I am also fortunate enough in this job to surround myself with really talented people and you learn a lot from other writers. There were writers on THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE that won Emmys, or Martin Scorsese’s best friend…you really want to kind of learn from the people around you and that makes you better. So I can’t say that I have any set process, although right now I have to say I’m a big fan of the John Truby stuff. I think he kind of hits the sweet spot for me. But I’ve taken them all. I’ve taken [Robert] McKee. I’m one of these guys who likes to learn new stuff about the craft and think if I can learn something from any book, if I can learn one thing from it and it makes me a better writer, I’m all for it.

Film Courage: Have you ever written a screenplay that has no structure?

Erik Oleson: I am more of a planner than a “pantser.” Obviously like Stephen King will say he swears by the seat-of-your-pants approach. But I’m much more of an outliner, an engineer when it comes to that. And you throw that out and you let the character speak to you and gather the moment and things change. But I’m also a big fan of structure I have to say. So no, I haven’t sat down and tried to write a final product from page one. I kind of construct it over time. I’m a grinder I guess you could say.

Film Courage: When you begin to write, are you envisioning the people watching the final product or does that not even enter into your mind? You’re so involved with the beginning and what’s in your own head?

Erik Oleson: You want to keep the audience in mind somewhat but you also don’t want to pander. Like, if you’re in the moment, much as an actor is in the moment, you’re trying to find the humanity and the truth behind what you’re writing about. And whether you’re doing a superhero show, whether you’re doing a big, deep, socio-political show like THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE you actually find yourself lost in the moment and how the characters are speaking to each other as real people and that’s the joy of discovery that happens when you have enough (for me) of the structure figured out that you have the correct characters in the scene. You’re in the moment and they start to talk to you when it works.

Film Courage: Well speaking of talking, this will be my last question but with dialogue, how much are you refining the dialogue and making sure that you’re researching it for that specific time period and trying it out on other people?

Erik Oleson: Constantly. There is a constant polish process that goes on for dialogue. Also, we had researchers who were making sure that we didn’t use words that didn’t exist and sometimes they would catch us making an anachronistic, modern kind of “Oh yeah. That doesn’t work. We have to change the line.” Because we all are creatures of pop culture, as well. In THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE, which takes place in the early 1960’s, I had to avoid references from some of my favorite superheroes.

Film Courage: Any other terminology, I mean definitely not using the word “Bro.” That’s become part of the culture. Were there certain things in the 1960’s that we don’t even realize it wasn’t part of the vernacular?

Erik Oleson: Correct. In the case of THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE it’s an alternative world also where history has turned out differently from the tale of World War II, so a lot of the language that we would use in a first draft kind of would be slightly different like given the way the world turned out and cultural experience. And in THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE, white people are not the overclass in the Pacific States. They are kind of treated as an oppressed minority and so there are all sorts of textures that seed into the language when you have that kind of story. So it’s an alt-history storyline and language was very important to us and we had a lot of very smart people making sure that we were polishing it up right to the moment the cameras rolled.

Film Courage: Excellent! Thank you, Erik.

Erik Oleson: Thank you!

 

Margot Lee Shetterly: Hello, my name is Margot Lee Shetterly and I am the author of HIDDEN FIGURES.

Film Courage: How long did it take to write and then sell the book?

Margot Lee Shetterly: All told it took about six years. A little less than six years, actually. I started working on it in December of 2010. I really did about three years of research before I put together a book proposal, finding an agent and then finding a publisher. So I submitted the final draft of this book in July of this year. And the book was published in September, a couple months before the movie came out.

Film Courage: So then how did the movie come about? How was it discovered and who wanted to take it on? I know Theodore Melfi [and Allison Schroeder] did the screenplay (the adaptation).

Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race

Margot Lee Shetterly: My literary agent is Mackenzie Brady Watson and some how it landed on the desk of Donna Gigliotti who is the producer of the movie. So Donna called me up and remember this was only a book proposal this time. It was like three years ago and I hadn’t finished the book. She saw the book proposal and she said “We are going to make a movie of this story.” And I thought “Well, geez. I’m still writing the book. It’s not even a book. You want to option my book proposal? I’d never written a book before.” But she believe in that story. She really took a flyer on a first time writer/author and now the rest is history. Everything that she said on this first phone call has come true.

Film Courage: I know HIDDEN FIGURES is a true story that many did not know of before it came out. What movie did you see which had the same type of impact that I’m sure many people will feel once they see the film [HIDDEN FIGURES]?

Margot Lee Shetterly: Wow! That’s a hard question. There are so many movies that are amazing and inspirational. You kind of put me on the spot here.

Film Courage: [Laughs] Sorry!

Margot Lee Shetterly: You know, I’d have to think about it. In general the thing about HIDDEN FIGURES, even though it is a work of non-fiction, it is totally a work of imagination, you know? And I think the thing about movies that you do remember and that do inspire you is that they do spark your imagination and I think that is the reason people are responding so strongly is that they see something in these women that says to them “Wow! I just expanded my imagination of what the world looks like and who I might be.”

Film Courage: And you would hear them [the women working at NASA] speaking to you, in your own way? In your research that you did on them….did you hear their voices?

Margot Lee Shetterly: I did! It’s so funny that you asked that question. I found myself talking to them, having conversations with them and dreaming about them, and thinking about them. I looked at photos of them to see what they looked like at different parts of their life. I listened to their children talk about the gestures. Like Dorothy Vaughan. When she got upset would start putting her finger on the table and everybody knew to back off, you know? And that she was really, like a fearless kind of a woman. I knew all of these different things about them until I felt that they had really come back to life and that they were my friends. And they really were. They become my companions. Of course in the case of Katherine Johnson, she is 98-years-old and she is very much still with us. And I had an incredible privilege to spend time interviewing her and getting to know her life firsthand.

Film Courage: Excellent! Thank you! Best of luck and you look beautiful!

Margot Lee Shetterly: Thank you!

 

Film Courage: Saroo, from the beginning of when you wrote your book [A Long Way Home: A Memoir] until now, how long of a process was this?

Saroo Brierley: 2012? April I think? So this is 2017, so four years? Four and a half years. But it took me a year to write the book. So I was pretty fast.

Film Courage: Okay. And then how did you present the book for adaption for [screenwriter] Luke (Davies) to write it? Or how did that whole process turn out?

A Long Way Home: A Memoir

Saroo Brierley: The process was Luke read the book and then I said to Cecil Films and then I said I’ve got to get Luke to India and take him through the journey that I went through and I thought that would give him another dimension of feel and atmosphere that you would sort of get from reading a book so and I wanted to take him back from right where it started. Do the train journey and all the places that I went to. And then come to Australia and see if it rings true as well. Because I think if I didn’t do that, it wouldn’t have had clarity. It wouldn’t be sort of as clean and it would really sort of help him in terms of writing the script.

Film Courage: For me LION has been my favorite narrative film for the year and I’m not just saying this because you’re in front of me here. I’m really excited to tell others about it and I have. The whole package is beautiful with the music and everything. For you, I’m wondering what is an inspiring film that has touched your life as LION has touched mine. It can be from any year. It does’t have to be this one [2016-17]?

Saroo Brierley: It’s very relevant actually to LION and it’s this other movie. It’s called the JOY LUCK CLUB. I don’t know if you’ve heard of it? Particularly, where the mother and the children meet in the room there…..and at the end of the movie, I meet my mother and it’s very touching to me. I have a very soft spot for that movie. But it’s an amazing movie that I saw at a young age and remember it still to this day.

Watch the video interview on Youtube here

Film Courage: So when you saw that film and you began working with Luke Davies on the screenplay [for LION], did you want people to come away with the same feeling, or a similar feeling, or really because it was about your life you were not able to remove yourself? Since that movie impacted you, did you want others to be impacted, as well?

Saroo Brierley: Well of course I would have. That was up to Luke to make that variation of that certain situation with Garth to make it come alive so I guess that’s such a pivotal point in the movie as well that particular bit, reuniting together mother and son. I think that the way Luke has done it is really, really amazing and really wanted to get down to the grass roots and more particularly that sort of scene because apparently that was the first scene shot and I couldn’t believe it when he told me. But a lot of people were particularly enthralled with this scene because it would resonate with a lot of people especially mothers and people who have lost their mothers as well. But I think that it touches me overtime that I see it.

Film Courage: What book for you has been instrumental in the creative process, in writing for you. What book [can you recommend] on writing, creativity?

Saroo Brierley: That’s a hard one because I’ve only been really reading magazines and comics and sometimes reading Mum’s beauty magazines, Cosmopolitan and a few others but I’m a first time author and I’ve never written a book. And I went from being into industrial retail sales to just landing in this…to just doing this journey but all the sudden becoming an author and having been asked to write my memoir.

Film Courage: And I understand you are working with your Mom on a second book. Is that right?

Saroo Brierley: How did you know?

Film Courage: I heard it in another video…A little birdie told me.

Saroo Brierley: Yeah…we are. We’re about to start the prequel to LION or A LONG WAY HOME. Which doesn’t really have to do so much with me but coming to the point just prior to me which has mostly to do with mothers, my adopted mother and my biological. And also one more lady which is Saroj Sood who owns the orphanage and how those women are all interrelated. And all for the one cause, the humanitarian side to help others that are more in need. And I’m just getting goose bumps just talking about it. It is so unique to have women from oceans apart from different backgrounds all wanting to do one thing and that is to help a child and to give him or her another chance of life.

Film Courage: Well I could stay here all night and talk with you but I know you have to go. But last question and that is for people of an adult age who have a childhood that either they don’t remember or there are lots of unanswered questions and they’re adults. What would you recommend to them about either going home or trying to find out more about their own history so that they know who they are, [and have] a sense of themselves?

Saroo Brierley: I’m not too sure but for me it was finding closure. And for them I think it was about listening to your heart and listening to your dreams really. Because that is what it was for me. In a nutshell, encapsulated. And if they are longing for something that has been lost for such a long time and it’s such a weight on their shoulders then they ought to pursue it. Because life is a little bit difficult when you don’t know your identity and you don’t know your past because…but give it a valiant attempt and at least try to get answers and closure to something that you can’t get answers to because if you don’t try then you don’t know.

Film Courage: Well thank you and good luck tonight, Saroo!

 

Constanza Romero: I’m Constanza Romero and I’m here representing my late husband August Wilson. He did the film adaptation for FENCES and he also wrote the original play which played on Broadway in 1984, 1985 and in 2010 with Denzel Washington.

Film Courage: Tell us about what you saw in his (August’s) work ethic and how he would dive into a story. How did he create a world on the page?

Constanza Romero: Well his work ethic was this: to live was to work. And to work was to live. He was always working. He was always developing his characters. If we say down to eat he, was talking about his work and his characters were like almost real, you know? He would tell me what a character was doing and I was like “Oh, my God. He robbed a bank?” So how he developed it, he wrote in long hand and then he transferred it to the computer and then he would always talk in his rhythm. Until it sounded good in his ear he wouldn’t finalize it yet because he was all about…his poetry was his music and if it didn’t sound right to his ear, he rewrote it and rewrote it. And that is where you can see where he was a poet first.

Fences (Movie tie-in)

Film Courage: What can you share with our viewers about being so close to someone that is so involved in the creative process and in some sense you are sharing your life with another entity and that is their work?

Constanza Romero: Well, I’m a costume designer so we collaborated on a lot of projects. I would be sort of his visual dramaturge so to speak because I would find different photos that were inspirational to him while they were inspirational to me too because I was doing the costumes and he would also say the lines out loud and I would read his first scripts and I would say “Well, what about this character? Could she be this or could she be that?” And so the collaboration process was really incredible. But sometimes it was a little too much. As I said, we would be downstairs eating and he would go on, and on, and on, and on, about the play and I would just say “Oh! I’ve got to go to work.” And he’d follow me up the stairs and eat a sandwich right by my drawing table….but it’s all just good memories.

Film Courage: Any of the characters or one specific character that was most like him in some sense?

Constanza Romero: Oh….you know…I have to say that all of the characters are like him and although the character of Rose is definitely inspired by his mother. But I think that this is the amazing breadth of his work is that all his characters had little part of himself but they were also so imaginatively created. So I can’t say that there is one person. For example when he was young, he was the older son whose art nobody understood, you know? Because he was writing poetry on napkins and menus. So the older son Lyons [in FENCES] he was sort of like him carrying around his pen and paper like he carries around his instrument and playing at night but nobody in his family understanding why the heck they don’t get a job. Right! Yes!

Film Courage: And lastly, what can you tell others about what it’s like to share your life with someone who at some points maybe they are critical of their own work? And watching them go through days that maybe they didn’t feel good about their projects even though others related to them but it was such a tough process because they were so close to the material and couldn’t see it for what it was?

Constanza Romero: Yeah…August hated to cut. If somebody said the play is longer than three hours, what are we going to do? So I think that he would be so stubborn, nobody could make him cut something. And then finally one of the producers set me aside and said “Can you tell him that Seven Guitars is a little too long.” And actually I sat down and I could really see where it could be snipped here and there and I was able to help him do that. But I believe I was one of the only people he really trusted to tell him the truth as you’re saying. And not every day was inspired, not every day was a joy. Creating something is not always a joyful process. It has a lot of raw emotions and you are practically weaving gold. But the raw material is not always the gold that it becomes later.

Film Courage: Beautiful! Thank you!

 

Howard A. Rodman: Hi, I’m Howard Rodman. I’m president of the Writers Guild West and also Chair of the 2017 USC Scripter Selection Committee.

Film Courage: We’re curious what you would recommend to beginning writers on trying to present their first screenplay or protect their work. What are some of the few things you recommend?

Howard A. Rodman: First thing I recommend to beginning writers is that the only way that I absolutely guarantee that you will not have a career as a writer is to quit. So what I recommend to beginning writers is, real simple, real basic, is that you write every day in terms of getting our work out there in the world. If you’re shy or a shoegazer, you have to be aggressive on behalf of your work and get it into the hands of anyone who might conceivably read it, as painful and humiliating as that process is.

Destiny Express

In terms of protecting your work you should absolutely copyright it. Put the C in the circle. Get the form from the U.S. Copyright Office. The forms are online. It’s really simple. And also register with the Writer’s Guild. The two give very complimentary protections for work for new people.

Film Courage: You are a writer, as well? You’ve written screenplays? Can you share with us the first film that inspired you to want to write?

Howard A. Rodman: I’m a writer. See the calluses [holds up his hands to the camera]. And there are so many films that inspired me to want to write that to pick one I think would be crazy. But I think I remember there is a scene at the opening of an old Film Noir boxing movie called BODY AND SOUL, I believe written by Abraham Lincoln Polonsky, Directed by Robert Rossen. And there is a boxer, a very proud, sort of first generation, scrappy immigrant boxer played by John Garfield and the mob boss is offering him a lot of money not to win the fight. All the money has been bet the other way. And John Garfield starts talking about his pride and his morals and the ethics of throwing a fight and the mob boss turns to him and says “There is addition. There is subtraction. The rest is conversation.” And I just thought “Wow! If I could just like write one of those!” And I think for many of us we start reading books and watching movies because somebody has built a world and we can just hide in that world for awhile and then you realize. “Oh, wait! I could build me own sort of purpose-built world that would really fit me.” And so the transition from movie going to reading to writing I think for many of us is just a slow descent into the pit.

Film Courage: So the first screenplay that you wrote did you have the similar sort of dream that this was going to be the first ONE and it would put you on the map? Like so many new writers think that the first screenplay will open doors. Actually even the first draft [of a first screenplay].

Howard A. Rodman: I never had any thoughts like that. I spent well over a decade writing unpublishable novels before I transitioned to writing unproduceable screenplays. So I was under no illusion. I just started having ideas that were movies that weren’t quite books. And the first of those screenplays that I wrote still has not been produced but I’ve gotten tons and tons of work off of it. It’s like of course “We can’t do this because it’s too weird, BUT maybe you can do that?” And so I don’t think I ever really expected frankly that anything I wrote would ever be filmed. And when things I write do get filmed, it just strikes me as sort of the bonus rounds in a pinball game. It’s sort of unexpected and really lovely.

Film Courage: Wrapping up here. I know you have to go. Wondering what you see as the most common mistakes or somethings new writers should be weary of regarding formatting, structure, things like that?

Howard A. Rodman: I would tell beginning writers not to worry too much about about formatting and structure. In terms of formatting there are many really good software programs and some of them you can get for free and so let them worry about the formatting. In terms of the structure, I think you can’t say “My God! My first act didn’t end on page 29. I’m a bad writer” if you find real living characters through telling a story that only you can tell or write about a place in the world that you know better than anybody else, just let the story tell itself, or let the characters tell the story and the rest will fall into place.

Film Courage: So in other words, for lack of a better term, get the vomit draft, please excuse my crass analogy, but get that out and worry about all the other things later?

Howard A. Rodman: No, I wouldn’t even say that. I would say…I was the editor-in-chief of my college newspaper. And there is a big sign in the newspaper office underneath this huge clock, that had a blood red second hand and the sign said “This is a daily, not a weekly.” And whenever we were there past midnight the managing editor would put up another sign that would say “Don’t get it right, get it written.” And I would say the same thing to anyone starting out writing and to people who have been writing all of their lives.

Film Courage: I love it! Thank you!

 

Since 1988, the USC Libraries Scripter Award has honored each year’s best adaptation of the printed word to film. Scripter celebrates writers and writing, collaboration, and the profound results of transforming one artistic medium into another. It stands as an emblem of libraries’ ability to inspire creative and scholarly achievement.  In 2016 the USC Libraries inaugurate a new Scripter award, for television adaptation. Nearly 80 shows are eligible, almost as many as feature films, and the Scripter Selection Committee will recognize the vitality of this genre at the awards show.

The USC Libraries actively support the discovery, creation, and preservation of knowledge. We inspire students, collaborate with faculty, and engage researchers from around the world, cultivating an appreciation of the knowledge of the past and its role in informing the scholarship of the future. In so doing, we contribute to the continued success of the University of Southern California. The proceeds from Scripter support the USC Libraries’ services, collections, and programs that inspire and inform the achievements of the university’s faculty, students, and staff.

 

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Visit LeftOnPurpose.com here to watch the film and read more on Mayer Vishner

LEFT ON PURPOSE – Midway through the filming of a documentary about his life as an anti war activist, Mayer Vishner declares that his time has passed and that his last political act will be to commit suicide— and he wants it all on camera. Now the director must decide whether to turn off his camera or use it to keep his friend alive. Left on Purpose is an award winning feature length documentary that confronts the growing issues of aging, isolation and end of life choices through an intense character driven story of the relationship between filmmaker and subject. With humor and heart it provides a rare cinematic look at what it means to be a friend to someone in pain.

 

 

Watch The Special Need on Vimeo here

THE SPECIAL NEED: Enea is 29. He has blue eyes, likes trucks, and loves girls. He hasn’t found the right one yet. Still he has never stopped looking for her. One more thing about Enea: he is autistic. One day, after taking a photo of a girl on the bus, he is pushed to the ground by her boyfriend. Enea’s therapist convinces his mom that the time has come for the man to cope with his sexual desires. Enea’s friends Carlo and Alex get involved and try to find a way for Enea to have sex in a safe and legal environment.

Watch Problemski Hotel on Vimeo here

PROBLEMSKI HOTEL: For the inmates of the multinational residential center somewhere in Europe, the circular, black comedy that is the cross-frontier migrant’s life ‘within the system’ becomes even blacker in December. For we are in the European ‘season of gladness and joy.’ Bipul doesn’t want to admit it to himself, but the Russian girl’s arrival makes a difference: Lidia. Hope? Surely not! A future? Get real! December is also the ninth month of Martina’s pregnancy. Pregnancies don’t go round in circles; they end in eruptions. Because when the situation is hopeless, rescue is near.

Watch Surviving Skokie on Vimeo here

SURVIVING SKOKIE: They survived the horrors of the Holocaust and came to America to put the past behind. For decades they kept their awful memories secret, even from their children. But their silence ended when a band of neo-Nazi thugs threatened to march in their quiet village of Skokie, Illinois “because that is where the Jews are.”

Surviving Skokie is an intensely personal documentary by former Skokie resident Eli Adler about the provocative events of the 1970s, their aftermath, his family’s horrific experience of the Shoah, and a journey with his father to confront long-suppressed memories.