Writing Memorable Screenplays: Idea to Successful Script
Saturday, November 17, 2007
Powerhouse writing partners, Marvin J. Wolf and Larry Mintz, explain the subtle dynamics behind writing a successful screenplay. Several of their projects have aired on the small screen since their collaboration began in 2001. Between them, the men represent more than 70 years of professional writing.
Marvin J. Wolf has written professionally since 1965. In addition to authoring or co-authoring a dozen nonfiction books, his articles have appeared in magazines and newspapers in 132 nations around the world. Wolf’s honed his storytelling talents while serving as a U.S. Army infantryman, Ranger School instructor, basic training drill instructor, combat photographer, public affairs officer, communications-electronics officer and company commander. Later, he worked extensively in creative advertising positions for Foot Cone, Wells Rich Greene, Northrop, Transamerica, and Avco before becoming an independent writer in 1978.
In partnership with veteran screenwriter Mintz, Wolf took up screenwriting in 2001. Their script “Ladies Night,” based on a chapter of Wolf ‘s 1988 book “Platinum Crime,” aired in February 2005 on the USA Cable Network, as did “The Pierre Heist,” based on another Wolf book. Wolf’s books include “Buddha’s Child” (St. Martin’s, 2002) the wartime memoirs of former South Vietnam Prime Minister Nguyen Cao Ky, “Where White Men Fear To Tread “(St. Martin’s, 1995), the autobiography of Native American activist and film actor Russell Means, and “Beating The Odds” (Scribner’s, 1991), the life story of ABC Television founder Leonard Goldenson. In addition, he’s written several true-crime anthologies, including “Fallen Angels, Chronicles of Los Angeles Crime and Mystery” (Ballantine, 1986), long considered a minor classic of its genre. Wolf is a charter member of IWOSC and has served four terms as president.
Larry Mintz has written for the screen since 1976, and is credited with more than 50 produced teleplays for both episodic and long form, and has supervised, produced or contributed to some 200 other productions. He has also worked extensively in feature films. Mintz began his career working for Norman Lear and Bud Yorkin as a staff writer and story editor on “Sanford and Son,” starring Redd Foxx. He moved to Paramount in 1979 to create, write, and produce “Angie,” starring Donna Pescow, Robert Hayes and Doris Roberts. While at Paramount, he wrote several episodes of “Mork and Mindy,” starring Robin Williams and Pam Dawber. In 1983, he wrote and produced ” High School USA,” an “NBC Movie of The Week,” starring Michael J. Fox and Anthony Edwards. He later worked on “Mr. Mom,” an MGM film starring Michael Keaton and Teri Garr and on “Mannequin,” starring Andrew McCarthy and Kim Cattrall.
Mintz went to Lorimar (later acquired by Warner Bros.) in 1989. Until 1993, he wrote and produced for several series, including “Family Matters” and “Step by Step,” starring Suzanne Somers and Patrick Duffy. In 1993, Mintz produced and wrote for the Columbia-TriStar television series ” A League of Their Own, ” produced by Penny Marshall. He also found time to write ” Angels in the End Zone,” an “ABC Wonderful World of Disney” presentation and to serve as a consultant to Fox-Columbia TriStar’s long running hit ” Married with Children,” starring Ed O’Neill, Katey Sagal, and Christina Applegate. He also co-wrote half a dozen feature film scripts for Paramount, 20th Century Fox, Columbia TriStar, Imagine Entertainment and Warner Bros. Since 2001, his fruitful collaboration with Wolf has yielded several produced scripts. The partners have several other projects in development.