Thursday, April 12, 2007

Q&A With Steven Russell

Cletic Film's very own Steven Russell has kindly agreed to be my first Q&A victim. He's a very, very nice man.

Q: What's your job title?

Development Coordinator.

Q: What's your job description?

All incoming material (scripts, treatments, books) come through me, and everything stems from that. I ensure everything gets read in a timely fashion, and keep in contact with agents and writers that we like. I brainstorm ideas in-house for the type of TV and film we want to be making, and tally that material up with the right screenwriter. On projects already in active development, it's a case of constantly refining the material at a script stage, and how it is packaged for potential financiers and distributors.

Q: How did you get to where you are now?

Just working hard, and I don't think I ever turned down the chance to read anything. There was a point when I was reading scripts for five different companies at the same time. I just decided what I wanted to do, then did as much of it as I could.

Q: Describe a typical day?

There's no such thing as typical. I start every day reading the news, on Variety, Broadcast and Screen, as well as geek refuge ComingSoon.net. I end every day by going home. The stuff in between, thankfully, is rarely ever the same.

Q: What tool you use at work would you find it hard to live without?

Coffee.

Q: What attracts you to a project?

A hook. Always a hook; every screenplay should be instilled with rewarding arcs and characters that you are interested in, but combining this with a strong hook helps immeasurably. I am a strong believer that a script can be fun and potent at the same time, and there's nothing I loathe more than a bombastic screenplay, trembling under the weight of its own perceived drama. Levity is everything.

Q: What script (of an already produced and released film) do you wish you had discovered?

"Little Miss Sunshine". It's such a smart, self-enclosed piece of scripting but somehow still relates to the world it exists in.

Q: Are Celtic Films open to unsolicited submissions at this time?

No.

Q: What's the best way to approach Celtic Films?

Through your agent.

Q: Does Celtic support new writers?

Yes, but the position I'm in now means I don't read as much as I would like to. A writer not being protected by a fixed agent-client relationship is one reason (if by 'new' you mean unrepped), but also the fact that we are a business as opposed to a public service is another. If you saw our office, and indeed parts of my house, the amount of scripts to read is already an insurmountable pile.

Q: What advice do you have for new writers?

Make sure you're writing in the right medium, don't write selfishly, and write material that people are actually going to enjoy watching.

Q: What's your favourite film quote?

"Jaws", and "you're gonna need a bigger boat." What else is there to say? A moment of levity in a moment of tension, and for me, it still really sums up the fact that Brody doesn't quite feel a team with Quint and Hooper yet, hence "you're" and not "we're".

Thanks Steven.

4 comments:

Lianne said...

Great advice about levity and not "trembling under the weight of percieved drama". Thanks Dom and Steven!

Pillock said...

Nice one, Dom. And thanks Steven.

'Through your agent.'

(sulk)

Danny Stack said...

Great Q&A, cheers!

Far away said...

Yes thanks both.