Though the panel included scribes from North America, Europe and India, all had remarkably similar comments about the difficulties of penning scripts.
“Writers continue to be the Rodney Dangerfields of the profession — they don’t get any respect,” said U.S. writer Mark A. Altman (“Free Enterprise”).
Mike Hurst (“New Blood”), a young scriptwriter from Britain, complained that for a commercial writer in the U.K., “There’s a snobbish attitude. There’s various rules I’ve broken and there’s punishment — in my case, extradition to America.”
Though titled “Hollywood Script, Euro Screenplay: Vive la Difference,” Monday’s panel expanded its international scope to include other writers, but their experiences were universal.
Scripting in Canada lies somewhere between the systems in the U.S. and Europe, said Jeremy Podeswa, the Toronto-based writer-director whose latest pic, “The Five Senses,” is unspooling in this year’s Directors Fortnight sidebar.
“You have to think international when you’re making films in Canada because the domestic market is so small,” said Podeswa. “Also it’s natural for us in Canada because our whole perception of the world is quite different from the U.S. and that influences how we make films.”
Other panelists included Richard Dembo (“Diagonal du Fou”) from France and Shaji Karun (Directors Fortnight entry “The Last Dance”) from India.
The panel was moderated by Steven Gaydos, managing editor of special reports at Variety, and Sharon Swart, European editor of special reports for Variety.
At the panel, Los Angeles-based Final Draft, which produces screenwriting software programs, announced that it is sponsoring the Hartley-Merrill Screenwriting Prize. Final Draft has ambitious plans to expand into Europe and market its software to more Euro screenwriters.