What a cool day. As part of my new commentator gig for filmcatcher.com, I was covering the Austin Film Festival. This much we know, right? During that time, I was trying to catch some interviews with some industry folks to post them on the my filmcatcher blog, The Runaway Screenwriter.
Well…let’s just say that I was…er…not exactly prepared. I don’t know where my proverbial shit was, but it sure wasn’t…you know…together. Well, that, and I really had no idea how to make the whole interview thang work.
I thought about buying a recorder, but then I’d have to transcribe each damn conversation. Like I had time. I barely had a minute to take dump, much less sit at a keyboard for, like, six hours a day trying figure out if the guy said “the business is in a period of evolution” or “the bees whiz in a periodontal solution.”
So I made the tough choice: become transcribing bee-otch in Hell or schmooze and drink (for free, I might add) at the AFF’s cornucopia of parties. It was a tough call.
That said, I really like Karl Williams. He was one of my favorite folks. As I mention below, I had the pleasure of sitting on a couple of panels with him. He is one of the most real, lucid, and intelligent cats I have met in the business. And he’s simply good people.
I am really glad I’ve gotten to know him. Next time we’re in L.A., Robbye and I already have dinner plans with the Williams clan. Sweet!
That said, I wanted to find a way to make good on my promise to interview Karl for filmcatcher. Turns out, where there’s an Internet connection, there’s a way. Here’s an excerpt from the interview. I hope you enjoy it. We had a blast doing it.
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A Conversation with Karl Williams: Screenwriting Superhero
Hey, all. I finally made it happen! Karl Williams, AFF screenwriting hat tricker and about-to-be-produced writer, and I sat down for a little Google Chat action earlier today. We couldn’t make it happen in Austin, but thanks to the power of technology…
As you may have read, I had the honor of serving on two panels with Karl at this year’s Austin Film Festival Screenwriters’ Conference. He’s got such a great perspective on writing and on the undustry, I thought my fellow filmcatcherians should have the opportunity to benefit from his insight and wisdom beyond the walls of the Driskill Hotel.
That said, without further adieu, may I present a conversation with Karl Williams.
(note: about the photo–Karl and I on the “How to Get the Most Out of [Screenwriting] Competitions” panel at the 2007 Austin Film Festival Screenwriters’ Conference)
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Bill: Hi, Karl.
Karl: Hi Bill
Bill: Let’s begin our conversation with a little
background on Karl Williams. You’re a couple months away from
production on your first sold screenplay, PUNCTURED, right?
Karl: Allegedly! You’re never quite sure until someone
says “Action.” But we are tentatively scheduled for January 2008.
We will need to make that date or close to it, at least with
the cast we have currently signed…they won’t be available to do the
film much past that point. So that makes it a bit more “real” that it
will really film in Jan.
Bill: Can you tell us who your cast is?
Karl: Well, I can confirm Jonathan Silverman for the
lead and Eugene Levy for the “mentor” role – I think it’s okay to
reveal their involvement because they ended up on IMDB somehow.
Bill: Hah! I know how that goes. Was Jan. ’08 always the start
date? If not, can you talk a little bit about the proverbial journey
from script to set? How did you sell this script and what happened
after you sold it?
Karl: It’s been the sterotypical odyssey – I was
working with a producer on something else that almost got made (a TV
show) but it fell apart; he asked what else I had and liked this
script. He found a director with money, or at least a director who
knew people with money, and we were off and running. That was a year
ago, and January ’08 is our third start date. Although it’s more real
now since we have cast attached.
Although, as you know, cast changes can happen right up until about
the last possible minute…
Bill: Was the cast attachment the clincher to greenlight? In my
movie, RUNAWAY, the financier was always in place. But signing Aaron
Stanford, hot off TADPOLE & X-MEN, was the checkmark he required to
let loose the funds.
Karl: I think Eugene’s interest in the project helped us (he
is very well known and liked, obviously). My impression is that it helped
get Jonathan involved. Having an actor people have heard of is a
definite plus – your project just gets taken a bit more seriously by
anyone who considers it.