On Wednesday 17, after The Lake meeting, Keryn and I went to The Film Archive to attend the final Writer’s Discussion Panel for 2011. The event was a discussion with Peter Briggs, who has been working in Hollywood as a writer for 20 years, and who wrote Hellboy. He is currently in Wellington in pre-production for Panzer 88 and Mortis Rex (which look to be fantastically awesome films!)
Peter Briggs article on the Script To Screen website.
The discussion was fantastic. I was smiling the entire time I was enjoying it so much. Peter is humourous, jovial, a great storyteller (of course). He was telling us about how his script writing career is an example of how not to do it. He wrote the spec script for Starship Troopers (I love that movie). He wrote a spec script for Alien vs. Predator, but didn’t own the property. Through an amazing fluke of being in the right place, right time, it got picked-up. A one-in-a-million chance!
We heard about politics in Hollywood, and things to keep an eye out for as script writers. Script writers in Hollywood may find themselves earning money, but never getting produced! Peter had such a sense of humour and revelled in hilarious self-deprecation; it was great. And the tips were so wonderful.
Also, we got shown some concept art and told about his upcoming films – Panzer 88 and Mortis Rex. I’m excited already! The former, a team of German soldiers in WWII, and being hunted by a Jewish protective demon. The latter, the Romans are building Hadrian’s Wall, and are being attacked by dinosaurs! So. Cool.
At the end of the presentation, I caught up with Jonathan. I met Nathan, a Wellington filmmaker/writer – if you’re reading this Nathan, I’m looking forward to collaborating on projects with you. I was leaving, and THEN…
Peter Briggs himself pulled me aside, and THANKED ME!
He said “thank you so much for smiling. I wasn’t sure if it was going well, and I saw you sitting there and smiling the whole way through, and it was so terrific”. I was beaming!
So we got to talking. He’s working with my Film Production lecturer, Alex Funke, at Weta. So we talked about his film stuff, and my film projects, and my short, Harmless, and what I wanted to do in film. I was a bit reticent to say … I was like, “I do sound for film, and producing, and I made my short, and I’m writing a bit”. And he said, “what do you actually want to do?” and I said “everybody says they want to write and direct, so I don’t want to say that”. Peter pushed, and said “what do you want to do? Say it loud”. I said “I want to direct”. And I got a hug and was told “Go for it then!”
Aw man, it was friggin awesome! I went home with a huge smile on my face, and a renewed belief in what I do. Man I love the film community in Wellington.
I forgot my friggin business cards though. D’oh! Lesson learnt for next time.