A letter from 2011, 2012 and now confirmed for 2013 panelist Lindsay Doran (pictured above judging the 2011 Pitch Competition Finale).
Here’s what Lindsay had to say about her AFF experience in 2011:
I’m so glad I took part in the Austin Film Festival in 2011. It’s so important to connect with all those writers who are trying to break into the business and to encourage them to take lots of risks and write what no one else is writing and trust themselves and write from the heart.
Of course we “professionals” also give the writers lots of tips and rules about how to write, and we might end up telling them that this kind of story, or that kind of protagonist, is a hard sell. But then we remember that there actually are no rules, and that lots of terrific and successful movies get made that were previously regarded as hard sells, so we go back to telling them that they should take lots of risks and write what no one else is writing and trust themselves and write from the heart.
In other words, the writers who come to Austin get to experience the same contradictions and frustrations that confound professionals on a daily basis. (I spoke with a studio chairman just after I returned and told him about all the writers I met in Austin who were desperate to find out what Hollywood wants to make. “As if we know,” was his reply.)
Finally, I was humbled and inspired by the speakers at the Awards Luncheon. I was especially moved hearing John Lasseter talk about the debt he owed to Steve Jobs, and Caroline Thompson talk about the debt she owed to Johnny Depp, and Johnny Depp talk about the debt he owed to Caroline Thompson and about his desire to make the crew whisper a stunned “Wow” when his character (in any movie) speaks for the first time. I thought I came to Austin to inspire others but I can’t imagine anyone came away more inspired than I was.
Doran has worked in the movie business for more than 30 years as a studio executive and as a producer. She has served as the President and COO of United Artists Pictures and as the President of Sydney Pollack’s Mirage Productions. She currently divides her time between her producing duties and her work as “The Script Whisperer™” — anonymous consultation for studios on high priority script development.
Lindsay’s first film credit was as Executive in Charge of Production on the mock-documentary THIS IS SPINAL TAP. As a producer, her credits include DEAD AGAIN, SENSE AND SENSIBILITY, NANNY MCPHEE, and STRANGER THAN FICTION.
As an executive, Lindsay worked on dozens of films including THE SURE THING, STAND BY ME, PRETTY IN PINK, FERRIS BUELLER’S DAY OFF, PLANES TRAINS AND AUTOMOBILES, FIELD OF DREAMS, THE NAKED GUN, PET SEMETARY, GHOST, THE THOMAS CROWN AFFAIR, and two James Bond films – THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH and TOMORROW NEVER DIES.
She is the winner of numerous awards including the Golden Globe Best Picture award and the British Academy Award for Best Film, both for SENSE AND SENSIBILITY.
Lindsay tries to be guided by the Three Rules of Drama, found in an ancient text, as the basis for what motion picture entertainment ought to be:
#1 It must be arresting and amusing to the drunk.
#2 It must address the question, “How should we live?”
#3 It must address the question, “How does the universe work?”