On Story—Screenwriters and Filmmakers on Their Iconic Films Book Available for Pre-order!
Ahead of the 23rd Annual Austin Film Festival, taking place October 13th-20th, The On Story Project and University of Texas Press present the second book in the On Story series: On Story—Screenwriters and Filmmakers on Their Iconic Films.
For a glimpse inside this compelling compilation of discussions and stories, read the book’s full introduction below, written by co-editor and former AFF Conference Director Maya Perez below. On Story will be published by University of Texas Press on October 4th and is available for pre-order. The first book in this series, On Story—Screenwriters and Their Craft can be ordered here for immediate delivery!
On Story—Screenwriters and Filmmakers on Their Iconic Films Introduction:
In 2012, Austin Film Festival cofounder and executive director Barbara Morgan and I put together the transcripts that would make up On Story—Screenwriters and Their Craft. Our goal then was to make available to a wider audience the captivating and informative panel discussions that take place at the annual Austin Film Festival and Screenwriters Conference. We recently had launched the television show Austin Film Festival’s On Story and gifted our archives, consisting of recordings of more than twenty years of Austin Film Festival panel conversations and post-film-screening Q&As, to the Wittliff Collections at Texas State University. For the past two decades and counting, Austin Film Festival’s mission has remained strong and consistent—furthering the art, craft, and business of filmmakers and screenwriters and recognizing their contributions to film, television, and new media. What we now call the On Story Project is a natural progression of this mission.
As this introduction is being written, we are putting together the sixth season of the TV show, now broadcast by PBS-affiliated stations in over 80 percent of the national market. Austin Film Festival’s On Story Project produces a free podcast and radio show, the latter a PRI program, which invite listeners into writers’ rooms, film sets, and the creative minds of some of the most prolific voices in film and television. And, just weeks ago, we delivered our collected and digitally transferred archives to the Wittliff Collections.
So, how does this second book differ from the first? Where On Story—Screenwriters and Their Craft dispensed writing advice from such luminary screenwriters as Steven Zaillian, Lawrence Kasdan, Caroline Thompson, and John Lee Hancock, On Story—Screenwriters and Filmmakers on Their Iconic Films takes readers behind the scenes, revealing the inspiration and creative process behind some of the most iconic movies of our time.
Ron Howard talks about the first time he read the screenplay for Apollo 13 and how, despite being jostled on a crowded commuter train, he was brought to tears. Years before sitting down to write In the Name of the Father, Terry George coincidentally escorted a “loudmouth drunk,” Gerry Conlon of the Guildford Four, out of an English pub. Brian Helgeland remembers that making a spur-of-the-moment trip to his dad’s old apartment in Brooklyn and seeing a sign for the Jackie Robinson Parkway later that day were all the signs he needed to agree to take on 42. Robin Swicord recounts a master class with Frank Pierson that would inform and inspire her through her own successful screenwriting career. David Milch and Shane Black reveal how their parents have been the inspiration for some of their most memorable characters. Callie Khouri’s story of growing up and feeling like the world in which she belonged was so much bigger than the one in which she lived was later reflected in her iconic characters Thelma and Louise. Ted Tally shares that his father was dying during the time Tally was writing The Silence of the Lambs and that the scenes between Clarice Starling and her father were the most emotional for him to write.
With several hundred rich, in-depth conversations to cull from, the greatest challenge in putting together this book was the page limitation, which forced us to reduce the number of transcripts we could include. We hope you enjoy the ones we selected and that you watch—or rewatch—the movies discussed with new insight. Whether we’re aware of it or not, our personal experiences and emotional responses make their way into the work we create, and we revisit certain themes again and again. Now turn the page, and let these fine filmmakers tell you the stories behind the stories they brought to the screen.