Film Courage: Kathie, what are some fatal errors that a writer should avoid at all costs?
Kathie Fong Yoneda: [Laughs] Wow! I think one of the things is that you need to know that it’s not just one script. You have to think about your whole career, that you don’t just bank all your hopes on this one piece of material, that you have to be working constantly and that things don’t happen just like that. One of the things I did in my book was I took a survey. I asked all of writers who came into the studios and that I worked with a couple questions. And I asked them…and one of them was “How long did it take you? And how many scripts did you have to write before something major happened like you got an agent, you got an option or somebody bought something?” I interviewed over 200 professional writers. These are not waiter writers. These are professional writers. Only one got her script sold…the first script!
Film Courage: Wow…
Kathie Fong Yoneda: And she said it took her five years to get a second sale. And the average actually turned out to be eight tor nine [scripts].
Film Courage: Eight or nine….?
Kathie Fong Yoneda: Scripts. So you have to love what you do. You don’t want to be a one-script-wonder. It doesn’t happen very often where somebody only writes one script and then that’s it and then nothing. They have to be writing constantly. And that is what agents, executives and producers are looking for. They want to build a relationship. You’ll notice that people like Spielberg and all the big directors. They all have the same credits. All the same people for cinematographer, script supervisor, and they go to some of the same writers because they have built a relationship with them. Because they like their kind of storytelling. Their characters speak the same kind of language that they would like to convey to movie viewers. And so being able to have those kind of relationships, it’s not just writing, it’s also writing the kind of things that are going to continue that relationship. So I love the fact that most of the writers nowadays have a better understanding and now when I see them at Scriptfest or Great American Pitchfest…when I ask them…I always ask them “What else are you working on?” just to test them nowadays most of them will say that they have more than one. So I guess it’s working. I guess they are getting used to wanting to have more than one piece of material.
Question for the Viewers: How many scripts have you written?
CONNECT WITH KATHIE FONG YONEDA
With over 25 years of industry experience, Kathie Fong Yoneda has worked for such prestigious studios as Paramount, Columbia, MGM, Universal, 20th Century Fox, and Disney, specializing in story analysis and development of live action and animated projects. Her career includes executive positions with Walt Disney, Touchstone, Island Pictures and Walt Disney TV Animation where she has evaluated more than 18,000 submissions (Read more here).
THE BEAT OF THE BAT is a full-length documentary that tells the story of the music of the 1966 “Batman” Television Series and how composers Neal Hefti, Nelson Riddle & Billy May gave Batman his first real musical identity- and one that has remained inexorably tied to the character for over 50 years!
In fact, if you saw the just released “Lego Batman Movie” you might have noticed the numerous references to the music of the TV series.
And face it, you can go up to anyone, anywhere in the world and sing “Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na!” and they will instantly know what you are talking about!
The music was as important to the show as the bright colors, campy dialogue and tongue-in-cheek performances. Yet, strangely, the story of how it came to be has never been told… Until now.
AMERICAN TRIAL seeks to discover what a trial in the Eric Garner case might have taught us. How is our legal system designed to handle cases such as Garner’s? What verdict may have been returned after all the evidence was presented? More importantly, what conversations, perspectives and emotions went unexamined because of the grand jury’s decision?
Similarly to fiction courtroom dramas, the lead characters of this documentary will be the attorneys leading the prosecution and the defense. Our camera will capture them as they develop their public arguments and individual positions. How do they decide which witnesses to summon? How do they prepare for their court appearance? Are there any discrepancies between their systemic role and their true feelings regarding the case?
The film will also follow a news crews covering the trial and reporting on race relations in America within the context of the trial and the movement for black lives. They will travel across America to discover what public figures, intellectuals and activists think about the Eric Garner case, as well as other similar cases through the prism of racial relations in the United States.
COLD LOVE – Cold Love highlights three expeditions spanning many years of Lonnie Dupre’s career — the first non-motorized circumnavigation of Greenland, the first summer expedition to the North Pole, and the first attempt of a solo January ascent of Denali. The film’s powerful footage reveals up-close the beauty and life-giving forces of these icy realms. And in seeing, we can’t help but be inspired to love and protect our earth’s frozen places. Not only are they beautiful and fragile, but they are the global engine that regulates the climate and provides a stable environment for all life on the planet.
IT’S NOT MY FAULT AND I DON’T CARE ANYWAY – A rich and famous self-help guru’s controversial philosophy of extreme selfishness is put to the ultimate test when his only daughter is kidnapped and held for ransom (featuring the late Alan Thicke)
VALLEY OF DITCHES – A young woman bound in the front seat of a parked car watches helpless as her captor methodically digs a grave in the desert ground. The bloody lifeless body of her boyfriend lies framed in the rear-view mirror, a fate she will fight at all costs to avoid for herself. But this is only the beginning of a brutal struggle where survival could be worse than death.
From The Film Fund – Get up to $10,000 to make your short film by writing one sentence. The Film Fund is providing funding up to $10,000 for a short film in a way that’s a lot simpler than screenwriting contests, crowdfunding, or applying to grants – read more about Founder and CEO Thomas Verdi’s The Film Fund here via his website.
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.