Recently, students, faculty and graduates of the Minnesota School of Business-Richfield’s (MSB) digital video (DV) program* had the chance to hear screenwriter Jack Reher speak about his filmmaking endeavors.
Jack wrote the script for the forthcoming film, “Grizzly.” Grizzly is directed by “Saw V” director David Hackl. The film stars James Marsden, Thomas Jane, Billy Bob Thornton, Piper Perabo and Scott Glenn. “Grizzly” is the story of “two estranged brothers who reunite at their childhood home in the Alaskan wild. They set out on a two-day hike and are stalked by an unrelenting grizzly bear.”
Jack explained that most of what appears in the film is true to his original script, but the producers made a few small character changes. “Producers want to be creative; they want to feel like they are contributing, so, you just have to learn to let go,” he said.
Todd moved from Minnesota to Los Angeles to attend the AFI Conservatory for an MFA in screenwriting. Upon graduation, he asked a colleague for an introduction to his agent and his colleague refused, telling Jack that he needed to find his own path. “If you are good enough, an agent will find you,” his colleague told him.
For awhile, Jack went from writing gig to writing gig, not earning much income. One day, as he was feeling pretty hopeless, he got a call from an agent. Someone had passed along one of Jack’s scripts and the agent was impressed. Jack signed with the agent in 2010 and he has been steadily working ever since.
Jack told the students that the creative process starts with an idea. “I’ll let it percolate for a week or so and then I’ll sit down to write: one to three pages. I hate outlines,” he exclaimed.
Jack said that there are a lot of Minnesotan filmmakers in LA. He told the students that the key to working in the industry is to keep networking. He said, “It’s about the personal relationships you make. Don’t do drugs, keep creating and never give up.”
Lindsey Lucht, who will begin her digital video courses this fall, said of the discussion, “[Jack] had a lot of experience. It was really interesting!”
And current DV student Ashl’e Johnson had this to say about the event: “It was pretty cool, pretty laid back. It’s not as much pressure as I thought it would be [working in the film industry]. Coming up with an agent is a little harder than I thought, but if you put your heart and passion into what you love, I think you’ll make it.”
We appreciated Jack sharing his wisdom and advice with our current and prospective students, and we are already looking forward to our next DV event!
*Interested in the digital video program? Prospective students can learn more at IPR.