I was awarded a fellowship to the October 2015 Expedition to the high Arctic (Svalbard) by the prestigious Arctic Circle Program. I am the first screenwriter ever to be chosen for this honor.
The three weeks I spent sailing around the Top of the World was the perfect opportunity to actually live the second act of my most recent project, The MacKenzie Breakout.
In addition to having a BA in English from Columbia, I am a graduate (MFA) of Columbia Film School’s screenwriting program. My first-year screenplay ”just missed” making the first cut in the Nicholl’s Fellowship – “in the next 100.”
My historical drama, Callie Earlene, was a semi-finalist in the Austin Film Festival and later a quarter-finalist in Nicholl’s. I am currently working on a pilot season for premium cable television, Kilgore Crude, about the first year of the East Texas Oil Boom.
In the spring of 2016 I taught screenwriting as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Texas at Tyler. Spending sixteen weeks in my hometown gave me ample opportunity to expand my research on this unheralded era of the greatest oil discovery in our nation's history. I have also been a guest lecturer at SUNY Purchase.
In NYC, I have been in four writing groups. The first was open to the general public and the writing problematic. After that, I worked with Columbia to set up writing groups for alumni and was instrumental in establishing three groups in NY and the four in LA. My Columbia writing group eventually disbanded and I migrated on to the NYC Screenwriters Collective.
My personal approach is that if I see a kernel of a great idea in a screenplay, I will defend it to the Furies. If I cannot find any value in it, I tend to keep very quiet. However if a later draft still contains glaring typos, bad grammar, is a slog to read, or is full of clichés or telegraphed information, I am merciless with my red pen (however this is given to the author in private).
My writing so far has been all over the map: an animated cat feature based on Liberty Valance, a post apocalypse western, historical drama, autobiographical and family fantasies. I am a fan of all genres but love black comedies.
My very first two attempts at writing for television were submitted to the 2015 Austin Film Festival and both made the Second Round - out of over 8,600 entries.
My influences are Bergman, Kubrick, Ford and Czech New Wave.
Keep writing, your screenplay is even better than Steven King's.
Sergio D'Altieri, DiLaurentiis Entertainment Group
I was hooked by page ten because I had no idea where it was going.