Oscar-nominated Pen Densham is our final guest for the HWA Roundtable on Screenwriting, which kicks off at 3pm on the 11th of February (Pacific Daylight Time) on the HWA’s blog, and he called by to answer a few questions before the Roundtable begins.
Here’s the Roundtable topic in full:
Screenwriting: How to get involved in the industry, the pitfalls and problems, the success stories. Screenwriting is a natural extension of story writing, but it is also a completely different art form. Let’s look at how it differs, and how difficult it is to create visual scenes for filming. And the end result; is it always how you viewed it would be? Are there any tips or suggestions you can offer for those just starting out, things you’ve learned along the way?
Special Guests: Michaelbrent Collings, Signe Olynyk, Matt Lohr, Brad Hodson, and Pen Densham.
Marty: Penn, what are you currently working on now?
Pen Densham: I have two personal feature projects we are aiming to get produced. An adaption of Simon Clark’s Blood Crazy. The script is by my son, Nevin. And a murder mystery wrote set in New Mexico with slight supernatural tones.
Marty: Writers are often asked who inspired them when they were growing up. What about screenwriters? Are there legends of the industry who inspire new rising stars? Who inspired you?
Penn: I was inspired by my folks making short movies for the UK theaters. I remember seeing Quatermass and the Pit on TV as tiny child. But – clearly seeing the Beatles Help was the final nail in the coffin — It was so much fun — I had to be in the movie business. Today David Lean, Hitchcock and Billy Wilder all rate highly. I was present when special screening of Sunset Boulevard was set up for Billy to see his movie one last time before he died. An amazingly moving experience.
Marty: When you’re not working, what do you enjoy doing? (other than reading or watching movies!)
Penn: I am working on very impressionistic water photography that is exhibited by two galleries in Los Angeles.
Oscar nominated Writer, Producer, Director and co-founder of Trilogy Entertainment Group, Pen started in films in the UK at the age of four – riding an alligator in a theatrical short they made. He has produced 15 features and 300+ hours of TV with his producing partner, John Watson, including ROBIN HOOD: PRINCE OF THIEVES, MOLL FLANDERS, THE OUTER LIMITS and TWILIGHT ZONE revivals. His first solo directing gig was THE KISS a horror movie! His latest feature as a Producer, PHANTOM (Written and Directed by Todd Robinson – starring Ed Harris, David Duchovny) will be released March 1st on 3,000 screens in the US. (http://trailers.apple.com/trailers/independent/phantom/) Pen occasionally lectures at USC Film School. His impassioned educational book on screenwriting is “Riding the Alligator”. A free chapter aimed to inspire creativity can be downloaded here – ridingthealligator.com.