My Interview with David Congalton, writer of “Authors Anonymous”

3 May

Three announcements before we begin today:

My progress bar is updated on the right side of my page. You might notice that my next manuscript – the mysterious “TMT” – is now named: Take Me Tomorrow. More information is coming soon!

Confessions of a Book Geek will be featuring Minutes Before Sunset, and you’ll be able to read a review and interview soon. I will keep everyone posted.

Life OK – Star TV’S new Hindi GEC Channel – quoted Minutes Before Sunset on Twitter.

truehappiness

As you know, I recently posted Why Writers Should Watch “Authors Anonymous” – a review of a new movie that I recommend to everyone, especially those who love the craft of writing. What you may not know is what happened the day I posted my review.

get-attachment-2.aspxDavid Congalton, the writer of “Authors Anonymous”, contacted me about my review. We began talking, and he kindly agreed to an interview. I am sharing that interview today. “SAT” will be me (of course) and DC will be David Congalton. I had a great time interviewing him, and I think it’s important for readers and viewers of the movie to see what happened behind the scene. This is just another reason to watch “Authors Anonymous.” All photos shown are credited to Screen Media.

SAT – Why did you want to create this film?

DC – The short answer is that I tried screenwriting in two phases. During the first phase, I wrote 7 or 8 really bad “high concept” scripts, all designed to be commercial. Then I stopped and took a long break. When I finally decided to try screenwriting again, I opted for something more personal. I wrote what I knew. I wrote from the heart.

SAT – Many, if not all, writers can relate to the characters of this movie. Were all of these characters based on real people or were they created from a combination of experiences?

 DC – I was a director of a writers’ conference for 12 years and I’ve seen aspiring writers up close. John K. Butzin and Henry Obert are based on real people, but the others are really combinations of writers I’ve come across, i.e. the writer who can never get beyond the idea stage, the writer who thinks self-publishing is the answer, etc. They’re out there.

136572_bf

SAT – Was there a certain character you feel more connected to? One you dislike the most? Why?

DC – I will always have a soft spot for Henry Obert, played wonderfully by actor Chris Klein, because Henry is based on me (except for the football stuff). I don’t dislike any of my characters. If I did, I wouldn’t write them. 

SAT – What are some of your pet peeves that take place in the writing community?

DC – My biggest pet peeve has always been those writers who present themselves as “nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.” ANY AUTHOR can nominate themselves for something like $50. It means nothing, absolutely nothing, and when I see an author trying that, it tells me he or she is a phony.

SAT – Writers often have an expectation for other writers to be very well-read. This can create an unrealistic pressure for writers to say they’ve read nearly everything out there. “Authors Anonymous” shows this with Kaley Cuoco’s character, Hannah. What was the hardest and easiest part about portraying this conflicting issue?

DC – You’re right. Writers are assumed to be well-read and up to speed on all writers in all genres. But that’s rarely the case. As I like to argue, a writer must also be a reader—you’ve got to be out there reading other people’s stuff. So we have a little fun with that in Hannah’s character. She really doesn’t have a favorite writer. She hasn’t read the classics, but she still manages to succeed by drawing on her own experiences.

136572_bd

SAT – What is the reason behind the title?

DC – My title for the script has always been Scribble. The producers changed the title to Authors Anonymous strictly for marketing purposes. Research shows that Video on Demand movies get more downloads if the title begins with A, B, C, or D.

SAT – What is your favorite quote from the movie?

DC – I don’t have a favorite quote, but I have a favorite scene—it has to be the one where, during the meeting of the writers’ group, Henry is talking about the evolving relationship between his characters Scotty and Kristy, when actually the conversation is about Henry and Hannah. It always breaks my heart when Hannah says the characters are just friends.

SAT – All great stories have a lesson hidden in them, waiting to be interpreted. Do you think writers can take different meanings from the lessons in the story?

DC – No two people are going to react the same to Authors Anonymous. I hope that all writers who see the movie appreciate my message that you have to do the work as a writer. There are no shortcuts. But I’ve been to multiple screenings and each audience reacts differently in terms of humor and raw emotional response.

SAT – As a writer, what was the most nerve-racking part of sharing this story?

DC – The most nerve-racking part was wondering if this movie was ever going to get made. First draft written in September 2005. Production finally in August 2012. Theatrical release in April 2014. Do the math: 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9 years from page to screen. I think that’s more than sufficient cause for anxiety!

SAT – Are there any new projects in the mix?

DC – Yes, thank you for asking. I have a second script, Seven Sisters, currently under Option. I’m doing the final rewrite now, and we hope to be in production this fall.

SAT –  Last question: Who is your favorite writer?

DC – That’s easy. My favorite writer is Richard Brautigan, a humorist and author of such classics as Trout Fishing in America and Revenge of the Lawn. Keen observers of Authors Anonymous will note that the famous author there is named Richard Brodwell.

SAT – Thank you for speaking with me, David! I enjoyed your movie tremendously, and I will keep my eye open for your future works. 

~SAT

Advertisements

12 Responses to “My Interview with David Congalton, writer of “Authors Anonymous””

  1. Charles Yallowitz May 3, 2014 at 7:13 am #

    Really looking forward to watching this movie. I haven’t found it in my area yet. Now, I have $50 that I need to mail to . . . someone. 🙂

  2. Paul Handover May 3, 2014 at 8:03 am #

    Great interview. Most interesting. Thank you.

    • Shannon A Thompson May 3, 2014 at 8:04 am #

      Glad you found it interesting!
      ~ SAT

      • Paul Handover May 3, 2014 at 9:02 am #

        P.S. Just read this post out aloud to Jeannie, my wife, and the thought came to me that I would love to republish this in full over on Learning from Dogs. May I have your permission to so do?

        (I was a NaNoWriMo ‘winner’ last November and have subsequently ‘stalled’ in completing the first draft of the book; stuck around 70,000 words!)

      • Shannon A Thompson May 3, 2014 at 3:11 pm #

        Sure! Feel free to share. Thank you. Congrats on NaNoWriMo!
        ~ SAT

  3. Caitlin May 4, 2014 at 10:13 am #

    How had I never heard of this? Definitely going to chase it down and give it a gander. 🙂

  4. Aften Brook Szymanski August 23, 2014 at 9:21 pm #

    Loved this. I think I like the honesty and readability of the writer as much as the movie itself!
    Thanks for interviewing him Shannon!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. No Distractions, Just Write | Color My Palate - May 15, 2014

    […] Check out an interview with the writer of Authors Anonymous! […]

  2. Blogdom Apr. 23-May 21, ’14 | The ToiBox of Words - May 21, 2014

    […] -From SHANNON A THOMPSON, My Interview with David Congalton, writer of “Authors Anonymous” […]

  3. May’s Ketchup | Shannon A Thompson - May 31, 2014

    […]  My Interview with David Congalton, author of “Authors Anonymous” […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: