I’m off to my first ever attendance at the annual University Film and Video Association (UFVA) Conference, being held this year at Chapman University’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts just outside of Los Angeles — one of the premiere film schools in the U.S.
This year’s conference theme is “Story First,” and of course, it’s never been a better time to discuss what it means to be a cinematic storyteller in the 21st century, and what contemporary audiences actually seek in terms of a good film story. (If we’re not in an ongoing intellectual, emotional and even spiritual dialog with our audience, storytelling serves little purpose.)
In addition, screenwriting tools (after having remained largely stagnant since the early ’90s) are actually multiplying due to the proliferation of devices we now use. And how we get our projects made — in the era of crowdfunding and NetFlix — is a more challenging question than ever. (For more than a decade I sent back “bulletins from the front” about screenwriting and its collision with media convergence in a series of trade columns entitled alt.screenwriters; they’re now an interesting record of the ongoing revolution that was occurring from 1996-2007.)
So let’s hope UFVA2013 sheds a little more light on these larger issues (certainly as they pertain to the teaching of screenwriting), and I anticipate conveying a little of what I learned in a future post here. (Perhaps a copy or two of my books will get sold as well at the Conference!)