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Film Courage

How A Screenplay Can Begin With One Photographic Image by Orson Oblowitz

(Watch the video interview on Youtube here)

Film Courage: On this same event [referenced in another video] which had a panel of crime writers, they were asked what do they fear most? The answer: the biggest fear was that the well is dry for ideas.

Orson Oblowitz, Filmmaker/Photographer: The well is dry for ideas.

Film Courage: Does this scare you?

Orson: Yes, all the time. I think that we all deal with trying to tell a unique story. It’s so funny, it actually goes back to…and I keep using people’s quotes but I was reading in an interview that Francis Ford Coppola did last week and he’s 80 years old. He’s trying to make a big movie and they asked him What makes an artist as a filmmaker? Do you have any advice to young entrepreneurial filmmakers or artists?

It’s kind of like there’s an image burned into my head and I start with that and I allow that to take its evolution.

Actress Rosemary Hochschild and Writer/Director Orson Oblowitz on set of THE QUEEN OF HOLLYWOOD BLVD.

He goes Well if you want to be an entrepreneur, that’s one thing. But he goes If you want to be an artist, as a filmmaker just start off with the one thesis which is this: there is a one-in-a-trillion chance that this zygote was created that created this single individual (yourself or any of the other 10 billion people on this earth).

Understand that everyone has an extremely individual story no matter who they are and you can be an artist.

And I think that goes back to the well will never be dry because every story is individual. Every story is specific. I think as a filmmaker you just have to go out and fight to find that story, it’s not always going to come to you. But there’s always a story, there’s always an experience, there’s always a history that someone or something has and it’s your responsibility as a storyteller to go find it and manicure it and help it grow as if it was a flower or garden until it finally comes to fruition.

Actress Rosemary Hochschild as Queen Mary

Film Courage: Which would you like to be? An artist or an entrepreneurial filmmaker? Because it seems like the days of the artists, you almost can’t just be that?

Orson: I mean I’d love to just be an artist walking around with a camera and thinking, but we all have to pay rent. But in the end I don’t know, I never thought of myself as trying to be like an entrepreneur or trying to reinvent the wheel. I just want to tell stories and I hope that those stories resonate with some people. If along the way you happen to be successful in business, that’s amazing. We all want it. We all want a more comfortable life than we have at the moment. I think even the richest people are always looking to make their life more comfortable, make their life better (whatever those reasons are).

But I think Queen [referring to Orson’s film THE QUEEN OF HOLLYWOOD BLVD.] and the other two films, I think I have a predilection I like focusing on people who don’t necessarily have their stories told. Not as if I’m going to go to the homeless guy on the street and be like I’m going to tell your story. Maybe one day, but I’m not saying it has to be extremes all the time. But I like telling stories about people in their small worlds and showing that everyone’s world is really important to them and everyone has their own individual evolution. I guess I want to be an artist and I guess I’d love to be an artist (consider myself an artist) but I think it’s a business and we’ve all got to do business as well.

Film Courage: How do you start a screenplay. I mean since you love characters which aren’t mainstream and I‘m the same way. I don’t resonate with a lot of “chick flicks” and it’s not that…to me I can’t identify. It’s too perfect for me. I find myself getting squeamish. I like something with more edges around it.

Orson: Yes, I like broken people because I feel like one as well. I like people who are conflicted. It’s so weird…how do I start a screenplay? All different ways. I can’t tell you. The biggest part of the process, it’s the dumbest thing in the world — the empty page is the scariest thing in the world. So it’s just like the way I start writing is say I’m a photographer as well so most of my films that I’ve written are based off of an image maybe that I’ve taken. That’s kind of where I start is someone who I have captured through an image either the image really ends up having nothing to do with the story. It’s kind of like there’s an image burned into my head and I start with that and I allow that to take its evolution. I’m a pretty…(Watch the video interview on Youtube here).


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