We’ve recently spent a lot of time sitting in our houses watching movies. Most people have some idea of the film industry, with its writers, directors, producers, and actors. But that’s like having an idea of home construction with its architects, carpenters, bank loan managers, and painters. We understand there’s a process both for our houses and the movies we watch in them, but we don’t know much beyond that.
Both start with an idea, and it takes the right person to get that idea on the page, whether it’s a blueprint or a screenplay.
While The Bulletproof Screenwriting Podcast is geared toward aspiring screenwriters, the participating storytellers can't help but, well, tell their stories. Host Alex Ferrari, with over 25 years in the industry himself, leads lively conversations with some of the biggest names in the business. So he and his guests know how to make good entertainment, podcast interviews included, making the weekly episodes more than the nuts and bolts experience of a This Old House rerun.
Ferrari’s guests sometimes are screenwriting instructors who have taught the masters of the craft. But more often he talks to the craftsmen and -women themselves. They might not be names you know, but you certainly know their work. Recent interviews include Eric Roth (Forrest Gump), Joe Cornish (Marvel’s Ant-Man), and Boaz Yakin (Remember the Titans). All about process and nothing about promotion, these are real conversations with writers who have already had tremendous success (and always some tremendous failures), who are simply happy to share their experiences.
What helps is that Ferrari is talking to professional storytellers, and a good storyteller knows how to hold the interest of the audience. Screenwriting is a very rigid, technical, and limited artform, as structured as a haiku poem and nowhere near as interesting to read. Screenwriting is boring. But meeting Steven Spielberg for a brainstorming session? And then nearly destroying one of his priceless antiques? That’s interesting. That’s a story.
The guests often discuss their personal processes. Eric Roth writes in the morning and again in the evening, on a DOS computer with a black screen and white text. Joe Cornish talks about the difference between starting with a character or a concept. Every guest recommends three screenplays every aspiring screenwriter should read. Ferrari’s enthusiasm for structure is so infectious that even if you don’t want to write movies, you’ll learn something that changes the way you watch them. And you’ll have fun learning it.
Not every screenplay written turns into a beloved movie. But the screenwriters talk about even the failed projects with the affection of a parent to a child. Not every house planned becomes a home. Solomon wrote in Psalm 127, “Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.” He’s not really talking about building construction. A few verses later he transitions to celebrating children and family. The things we build are the stories we tell. May God help us all to build good stories. (IFH Podcast Network)