Ken's Voyages Around the Sun

Kasdan and Sorkin and Smith (Oh My!)
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Last night we attended the third and final session of the Spring Storytellers Series put on by the Writers' Guild Foundation.

For more about the individuals we heard speak, see below.

In sum, Kasdan gave the most practical advice to aspiring screenwriters and seemed to be the most experienced in the business. Sorkin turns out to have been one of the luckiest in the way his career happened, with his agent standing next to someone seeking a courtroom drama just as Sorkin had turned in "A Few Good Men," which was his first script. Not unexpectedly, Smith turned out to be the crudest, and perhaps most brash by funding his own indie for $27,000 back east, and then riding it on to other flicks out here.

Overall, I enjoyed hearing the speakers' anecdotes about the business, although Sorkin's ums and uhs grated harshly on the ears, making for unpleasant listening sometimes. Many were the lame questions asked by the audience, because they often centered around the process or sourc of ideas or path to success. Such things are unique, and while interesting to know, the people who asked them always seemed to be thinking they could do it the same way, which ain't likely true.

The take home message: persistance and luck, kid, persistance and luck.

Bursting onto the independent film scene with the low budget and impressive Clerks (which also spawned an animated series), Smith has maintained a presence on
cinema's cutting edge with titles like Mallrats, Chasing Amy, Dogma, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, and most recently Jersey Girl.

With multiple writing and producing awards for TV's The West Wing, which he created, Sorkin also created the acclaimed television series Sports Night. His
award-winning feature work includes A Few Good Men (based on his play) and The American President.

With a list of credits that begins with The Empire Strikes Back, and Raiders of the Lost Ark, Kasdan has carved out an impressive career writing and directing his own original screenplays. His award-winning work also includes Body Heat, The Big Chill, The Accidental Tourist, Grand Canyon, Return of the Jedi, Grand Canyon, The Bodyguard, Mumford, Silverado, etc.

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