In Conversation with Hollywood Film producer, Author, Literary Agent & Screenwriter — Ken Atchity.
A lifetime of storytelling with one of the most established screenwriters in Hollywood!
This week on The Entertainment Engine podcast we are in conversation with Hollywood film producer, author and screenwriter Ken Atchity.
Ken was born January 16, 1944, in Eunice, Louisiana, son of Fred J. and Myrza (née Aguillard) Atchity; he grew up between Louisiana and Kansas City, Missouri.
His son, Vincent Atchity, graduated from Georgetown College (Ph.D., USC) and his daughter, Rosemary Atchity, from Columbia University, (RN, MSN, FNP-c; Contra Costa College ).
Atchity is married to documentary filmmaker and former NHK producer Kayoko Mitsumatsu, founder of the non-profit organization Yoga Gives Back for which he serves on the board of directors.
He resides in Los Angeles, California, and New York City.
Looking at Atchity academic career.
After receiving a Jesuit education from Rockhurst High School and Georgetown University, where he received an Ignatian Scholarship to study Greek and Latin classics.
Atchity then received a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship to Yale and received his MPhil in Theatre History and his Ph.D. Comparative Literature from Yale.
His dissertation, Homer’s Iliad: The Shield of Memory, was awarded the John Addison Porter Prize.
He went on to become a professor of literature and classics at Occidental College, where he served as the chairman of the comparative literature department, a distinguished instructor at UCLA’s Writers Program, and as Fulbright Professor of American studies to the University of Bologna.
During his teaching career, he was a frequent columnist for The Los Angeles Times Book Review.
With Marsha Kinder, he founded and edited Dreamworks. An Inter-disciplinary Quarterly.
Its advisory board included John Cage, William Dement, Ann Faraday, John Fowles, J. Allan Hobson, John Hollander, Ursula Le Guin, W.S. Merwin, Denise Levertov and Robert L. Van de Castle.
Atchity resigned his tenured professorship at Occidental in 1987 to devote full-time to entertainment and publishing.
Atchity Entertainment career.
In 1976, Atchity founded L/A House, Inc., a consulting, translation, book, television, and film development and production company whose clients included the Getty Museum and the US Postal Service.
L/A House began by extending Atchity’s teaching of creative writing to manuscript consultation and soon moved on to publishing with the production of Follies, a magazine covering creativity, and CQ:
Contemporary Quarterly; Poetry and Art of which he was the editor.
In the 1980s L/A House moved into television, with a syndicated television pilot of BreakThrough! of which Atchity was executive producer and co-writer.
In 1985, L/A House began development of a set of video/TV romance film projects entitled Shades of Love, which became 16 full-length films, produced in 1986–87 with Atchity as executive producer, that aired throughout the world, distributed by Lorimar, Astral-Bellevue-Pathe, Manson International, and Warner Brothers International, nominated for Canada’s Gemini Award; in the U.S. they premiered on Cinemax-HBO.
In 1989 he sold L/A House and founded AEI (Atchity Editorial/Entertainment International), a literary management and motion picture production company.
Atchity sold Steve Alten’s Meg to Bantam-Doubleday at auction in a $2.2M deal; and then to Disney, partnered with Zide-Perry, for $1.2 (later, to Newline Pictures for a similar price).
In 2011 Atchity was nominated for an Emmy for producing The Kennedy Detail (Discovery) based on their clients’ Jerry Blaine and Lisa McCubbin’s New York Times bestselling book by the same title published by Gallery/Simon & Schuster in 2010.
AEI’s films include Joe Somebody (Tim Allen, Julie Bowen), Life Or Something Like It (Angelina Jolie, Edward Burns), and The MEG (Jason Statham).
With more than fifty years’ experience in the publishing world and over thirty years in entertainment, Dr Ken Atchity (PhD Yale) has been called a “story merchant” — writer, professor, editor, producer, and literary manager.
He’s made over 200 film or television deals — with every broadcaster and every studio in Hollywood, and plenty of independent film companies as well.
Atchity has more than thirty films which include;
The Meg (Jason Statham), The Lost Valentine (Betty White), Angels in the Snow (Kristy Swanson), The Madams Family (Ellen Burstyn), Hysteria (Maggie Gyllenhaal), and Life or Something Like It (Angelina Jolie).
He’s published over twenty books of his own, including six for writers at every stage of their careers.
Before he left his tenured position at Occidental College to pursue his lifelong mission to bring writers to succeed in the story marketplace, he was Fulbright professor to the University of Bologna, Italy, Distinguished Instructor of scripts and novels at UCLA Writers Program, and regular columnist for The Los Angeles Times Book Review.
He’s a voting member of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.
The Messiah Matrix.
In 2012, Atchity published his completion of William Diehl’s Seven Ways to Die and his first solo novel, The Messiah Matrix.
The novel centres on a fictional marine archaeological find of a rare Herodian coin honouring Augustus.
A romantic interest develops between the American archaeologist who has discovered the coin, and a young Jesuit priest intrigued by its implications.
A powerful faction of the Jesuits has been preparing to announce that the fictional character Jesus of Nazareth was inspired by the life of Caesar Augustus, and the coin is crucial evidence for their claim.
Regarding the premise of his novel, Atchity said that it is based on actual historical facts linking Jesus and Augustus.
Ken has the energy and enthusiasm still after all these years and has several new projects at various stages including; Staring John Dillinger, The Seeding, Firefly, Rikki Tikki Tavi and the MEG 2 so a lot to look forward to over the months and years to come.
If you have a story then sit down, get a pen and paper and let’s begin. Looking forward to catching up with Ken again very soon on his continued story findings!
By Peter Moore