The December 5 panel about TV Drama Writing at the Santa Fe Film Festival had a nearly full house at the Jean Cocteau Cinema. Great stories shared about how our panelists got into the business of writing for dramatic television; great insights into why television has truly become the dominant storytelling medium of our time; and interesting walkthroughs of the development process for both limited event series and weekly episodic series.
I’ll be moderating possibly the most high-powered panel about professional screenwriting in the history of Santa Fe, and certainly at the Santa Fe Film Festival — this Saturday, December 5, from 2:30-4pm at the Jean Cocteau Cinema. (You can hear me speak about the panel on KSFR-FM‘s “Cinema Scope” broadcast this Friday, 6:30pm MST. Stream it here.)
The panel is under the banner of Black Shirt Reads, an organization that has undertaken a series of unproduced screenplay table readings here in Santa Fe, employing some of the City Different’s best local talent. (They undertake their latest, Enchantment, at 1pm at the Cocteau — just prior to the panel.)
When you’re a college professor, the summers go by in a blur — particularly when almost half the summer still pertains to all of the various Outdoor Vision Fest® extensions and permutations that have evolved, including OVF@Currents, OVF@ArtFeast, OVF@Hobbs and OVF@FantaseFest.
The rest of the summer was dedicated to a couple of under-wraps script projects — and here we are in the Fall already, halfway through the semester’s multiple screenwriting courses that I teach, and deep into Season 4 of The Film School‘s Shoot the Stars!® initiative.
Careers are always strange and unpredictable things. When I went to film school at UCLA, I never imagined that I would someday be writing scripts for videogames; it was, after all, the era of Pac-Man and Centipede. Power pellets and poisoned mushrooms aside, neither game was a media experience heavy on narrative.
The first time I came to Santa Fe as a Visiting Professor of Screenwriting, more than a decade ago, I (like nearly every tourist) visited the City Different’s beloved Santuario de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe (typically known as the Santuario), the ancient Catholic church set along the Santa Fe River. Built at about the time the Declaration of Independence was being signed, the chapel served Santa Fe’s poor farmers alongside the river bank just west of downtown, and was devoted specifically to Our Lady of Guadalupe — whose own semiotics knits together Indian, Spanish, and Mexican cultural identities and puts a distinctly New World stamp on Catholicism.
Clearly, diversity in the writers’ room wasn’t the highest priority on Bugs, but hey! — at least we were multi-national. I’m very proud of the work we did on the show: within its genre confines, it was known for being witty and brainy. (Those are adjectives I can live with.)
Though airing only briefly in the States in the early days of the Starz channel, the show was a BBC staple in the late ’90s and was syndicated in dozens of countries: it continues to play to this day…
“So what do you do when you’re not in the classroom during the academic year?” is a question I’m sometimes asked. This “behind the scenes” video offers a glimpse into some of the more creative work I get to do (as opposed to participating in intradepartmental and interdepartmental meetings).
You’ll see a few seconds of me on camera, and as with all the in-house videos (directed, shot and edited by students) we create at The Film School at Santa Fe University of Art and Design, I served as the story consultant and story editor for this particular spot promoting our Shoot the Stars!™ initiative. And it’s easy to find more Shoot the Stars!™ videos and Outdoor Vision Fest™ videos on Vimeo.
Our 5th outing of Outdoor Vision Fest™ attracted its biggest crowd to date (see the handy-dandy chart at the bottom of this post), and despite a few glitches, garnered essentially universal acclaim on Twitter and Instagram.
One of the best aspects of having co-created and then shepherded OVF these past years has been working with up&comers like The Maya Spectra and VJ Buran; alumni who are already making an impact on Santa Fe’s media and cultural affairs scenes (Keith Ryan Riggs, Katelyn Peer, and Seth Fuller, to name a few); talented guest artists like choreographer Jocelyne Danchick; and faculty colleagues Brad Wolfley and Tom Miller.