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Tom Stempel On Understanding Screenwriting

Bloomington born author Tom Stempel comes back to town for his 2009 high school reunion and he's taking the opportunity on Saturday August 1st to appear at Borders Books and Music to talk about his book Understanding Screenwriting: Learning from Good, Not-quite-so-good, and Bad Screenplays.

"I graduated from High School in 1959, so this is my fiftieth. I was very much a Bloomington kid. My father  was the head of IU's School of Journalism for thirty years. I thoroughly enjoyed growing up in this town and I'm looking forward to coming back for a visit."

"I got my undergraduate degree and even got an MFA in the field. But I have to say that as a screen writer or novelist I have been a failure. However, as a writer about the field, I've been very successful. My family thinks that I have a certain streak of honesty that actually interferes with my fiction."

"By the way, I actually got some resistance from publishers about this approach to learning about screen writing. One editor said, "Why bother with things that didn't work?" But, business people and even doctors and medical professionals spend a lot of time studying failures, for very good reasons."

"With my approach we work through successes like Lawrence of Arabia, failures like Titanic…Yes, the screen play has real problems and I explain why I think so, and even some in betweens. It's really a great way to learn."

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