The Austin Chronicle

Wish You Were Here

Austin Film Festival 2002

October 18, 2002, Screens

Screenwriter Scott Rosenberg (Beautiful Girls, Con Air) kicked off Friday's craft session on dialogue with the somewhat discouraging declaration that an ear for dialogue is simply something one is born with: "[It's] something you can either do or not do. It's kind of like guitar." Rosenberg held court for the next hour with writerly recollections, self-deprecating digs (he called his Spider-Man draft "like bad Chekhov"), and cheeky impersonations of Nicolas Cage, Ving Rhames, and Christopher Walken. As for tricks of the trade, Rosenberg offered a most helpful one: "If you're blocked, gin."

Jessica Bendinger (with writer/director Dylan Kidd) at Sunday's panel on inspiration: "You know when you get home, and you can't remember how you got there? That's what happens to [the writers of] some television series. You go on creative autopilot."

"How do we collaborate? Well, I write the nerdy boys. Kirsten likes to write the cool ones." -- Karen Lutz (l), screenwriter (Legally Blonde), on working with her partner, Kirsten Smith (r).

Richard LaGravenese presented a 10-minute clip from his forthcoming film, Decade Under the Influence, at Friday night's screening of the LaGravenese-penned The Fisher King. The documentary investigates the commonly voiced idea that the Seventies was for Hollywood a decade like none other in terms of freedom of expression. Over 30 hours of interviews were conducted with decade luminaries such as Robert Altman, Julie Christie, and Francis Ford Coppola. Modern-day directors such as Steven Soderbergh and P.T. Anderson were solicited by LaGravenese and Ted Demme (who died about a month into the project) to be the off-camera interviewers. The 10 minutes screened at the festival provided a lively account of the decade and whet the appetite for more.

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