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six figure bidding war which means that multiple studios are competing for the same
property and it inevitably elevates the price. Ralph Winter, producer of Fox’s ‘X-Men’ is
scheduled to produce and of the Akiva Goldsman, who wrote A Beautiful Mind and
Cinderella Man, is attached to direct. Although the plot is under wraps, “the story centers
on a professional killer who is forced to pretend to be an ordinary husband, and the wife
who learns to love her husband in a totally unexpected way”
(http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/nice-couple-fox-mcelroy-108414),
Alan goes on to talk about their struggles starting out on the screenwriting path. “Oh my
gosh, it was brutal. We drove all the way out to L.A. and that first night we got a little hotel
room in Santa Monica. It was a horrible hotel and the walls were paper-thin. There were
people next door that were arguing and screaming at each other. We were both sitting
there and thinking what are we doing?”
Columbia Pictures Minority Program
There were not a lot of African American scriptwriters as role models in the late 80’s. Alan
adds, “No, One of the things that I thought is that people were not going to judge you by
the color of your skin but the content of your script. I view that as an advantage. I’d let
the work speak for me.”
“My wife met an actor named James McEachin who suggested I get into a program at
Columbia Pictures that was geared toward minority writers. So that’s what got me into the
program and allowed me to go onto the Columbia lot. I learned how to pitch. Learned
about screenwriting. I wrote a treatment. I wrote a script, which helped me to get a better
agent. It was called ‘Legion’ (not the movie about angels). ‘Legion’ helped me get my first
agent. With my agent, I got a dinner meeting with a guy who worked at Geffen films. I
pitched him five story ideas. He didn’t go for it. I pitched him one more idea it’s ironic
a one-liner ‘one man chasing another man through a dying man’s mind.’ He loved it and
asked me to write a 9-page treatment for it. It was called ‘Solomon’s Mind.’ That was my
first development deal that was February 1987 and that’s when I began full-time freelance
writing.”
The Manager: A Personal Trainer for Story
In real life, it is hard enough finding time to have substantive conversations. It is even more
challenging for a screenwriter to find time to share his or her creative process or fictional
story with an outsider. Writing can feel very solitary and it can be a lonely place. An
outside perspective or another point of view is critical to helping us see something that we
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