Monday, March 17, 2008

AFF @ 15: Screenplay Alumni Stories

I recently had a chance to correspond with 2003 Adult/Family Semifinalist Tobias Iaconis. I asked him how his career was going since placing in the festival in 2003. Here is what he said:

I'm now writing a small movie for Fox; I just did a re-write for the director and producer, it starts shooting in Puerto Rico in two weeks... my first credit! It's a yet-to-be-titled military actioneer about a U.S. Navy SEAL team that gets stuck behind enemy lines in Colombia, falsely accused of assassinating participants in a secret, historic peace conference between the FARC rebel insurgency and the Colombian government.
I've gotta say, the tangible recognition my work got from AFF over the years has a lot to do with where I am today. (I was a semi-finalist in 2003, and a second-rounder a few times before and after that). My greatest difficulty as a writer is to simply keep going, to continue to chase the dream in the face of the Chinese water-torture of one rejection after another rejection after another rejection after another.
It took years for me to land my first gig (a never-produced sequel to TIMECOP for Uni), and then more years to get my first movie made. Many times during those Sahara-like dry spells I thought about tossin' in the towel. So much time and so much energy, poured into what? A big black hole that swallowed the fruits of my blood-sweat-n-tears labor with profound and casual indifference.

But AFF's acknowledgement of my writing over the years served a huge encouragement to me. At least somebody in the biz was responding positively to my stuff! A flickering hope remained, and so I plodded on. And now here I was, last Thursday, on the phone with a director who was standing in an abandoned military base in Puerto Rico -- there because of a script I wrote! -- asking if it would be possible to re-write a scene (to take advantage of the surrounding jungle landscape). Barring perhaps the walk down a premiere's red carpet, it doesn't get much better than that!

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