By Joy Patterson
The 2017 Screenwriters Panel “It Starts With The Script” was an outstanding event. Seven writers from several successful movies attended the panel discussion. The attendees included Luke Davies (Lion), Phil Johnston (Zootopia), Eric Heisserer (Arrival), Theodore Melfi (Hidden Figures), Mike Mills (20th Century Women), Rhett Reese (Deadpool), Taylor Sheridan (Hell or High Water), as well as the presenter, Anne Thompson.
Anna Thompson ran the event by asking the writers questions as a group as well as individual questions. At one point, Thompson asked the group to describe their writing process. The results were very different from person to person. One writer has a board full of crazy inspiration and questions that form the base of a good script. He even confessed that the questions were added to his board after breaking into another writer’s office!
Later on, one of the panel members asked the others how many unfinished/finished-but-unused scripts they had sitting around. The answers were real eye openers. The majority of the group had 5-8 scripts sitting around, one person had 1 script and another had close to 20. Each script could take up from 6 months to 3 years to write and edit.
Overall, the Screenwriters Panel was an intriguing environment full of insights to the word of screenwriting.