As a screenwriting professor, my first priority is providing undergraduates a taste of the process of story development and screenwriting. If all goes well, at least some of those students will find a path into the world of media creation and will always know about some of the challenges and hurdles of screenwriting (rather than thinking any idiot can write a screenplay); a much smaller number may be involved in the development process or even be writing scripts themselves.
But for the last 4 years, The Film School at Santa Fe University of Art and Design has also mounted an initiative called Shoot the Stars!®. There I serve as a mentor, and in essence, one of the executive producers of the season’s two films (where we bring in name Hollywood talent and an all-SAG cast to topline student-made films); and write the scripts, mentor and co-exec produce EPK (electronic press kit) promotional spots, based on student-shot Q&A interview sessions and B-roll (prep-production and on-set video footage).
It’s a tremendous privilege to mentor very promising and passionate undergraduates, and collaborate with my faculty colleagues, throughout the entirety of the production season (which runs practically year-round).
Check out Season 4’s films here, and all of Shoot the Stars’ EPK spots here (where they reside in their own Shoot the Stars Vimeo channel). And I’ll highlight this past season’s “Meet the Screenwriters” piece, because no media project gets going without a story and a script — and because both these student screenwriters will go on to bigger and better things.