From Screenwriter to Director!

Webster defined Anticipation as “a feeling of excitement about something that is going to happen. The act of preparing for something.” I recently came to understand anticipation on another level as I prepared to come to Los Angeles to embark upon a new journey….. Screenwriter and now Director of Jersey City Story.

As I headed out to L.A. for my first directing gig, I was filled with nervous excitement. I knew what I wanted from the film, but I also understood it would be a collaborative process, and that I would be surrounded by professionals whose thoughts and guidance I’d be well advised to embrace.

It was clear from the moment the first production meeting began that I was in the midst of a highly professional, seasoned team. It was a little intimidating. Then I thought — wait, I wrote this screenplay, this story which has received so much attention — I belong here, too.

Getting the script down from 116 pages to the shooting script was a great exercise in sticking to the core of the story. I had to cut scenes and dialogue that I was proud of, and I was concerned I was eliminating elements that were responsible for winning the Nicholl Fellowship. My producer, Chris Salvaterra, was instrumental in many of these choices. He was not burdened by sentimentality for some of the lines that were precious to me as the writer, but my vision — the writer’s vision — was sacred to him.

Challenge number one completed….Next up…. Casting!

In the meantime, take a look at Jersey City Story on L/Studio: http://www.lstudio.com/films-on-l/jersey-city-story.html and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Fmg5y3MD2M

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