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Fun Joel's Screenwriting Blog


-- On Screenwriting and Related Topics

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Location: Los Angeles, CA

I moved from NYC to LA in October, 2003. And though I still think NYC is the greatest city in the world, I'm truly loving life here in the City of Angels. I'm a writer, reader, and occasional picture-taker.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

A Few Things I Forgot

There were a few things I wanted to include in recent posts, but forgot about when I wrote them. I'll blame it on the fact that during that two-month gap in posting, another birthday passed for me!

Anyway... Firstly, in yesterday's post about my friends' projects, there was one other that I neglected to include, but meant to. My friend Alisa Katz spent the winter in Europe, as Associate Producer on Defiance, Ed Zwick's new film. The film has not yet been released, but its trailer has, and the film looks good. It is set during the Holocaust, but the story is different from any other Holocaust film. I wanted to let you all know about it, so you could go check out the trailer!

Also, in my post in which I updated the info on the Untitled Safari Picture, I wanted to talk about research briefly. I've done a ton of research on this project, and have learned a tremendous amount about various types of big game animals, their behavioral characteristics, etc. I've read many books, numerous articles (both academic and popular), and of course observed some things on my trip. But one of the key aspects to putting some puzzle pieces together was speaking to experts in the field.

The reason I mention this here is that I wanted to underscore for some of you who have never tried it: speaking to experts is a very good source of information. Most people are willing to and happy to speak to you about their work, at least briefly. I've done it multiple times on previous projects, and have spoken to true world leaders in their fields. Sometimes, if they were found locally, it cost me coffee or sushi, but then I got to meet them in person. More frequently, however, people were happy and kind enough to just answer some questions via email.

Partially to indicate how easy and useful a research this is, partially to express my gratitude towards them, and partially to highlight (in a few cases) some worthwhile organizations, I want to list the people who helped me (to greater or lesser degree) with my research for this project. The film has ended up being largely (though not exclusively) focused on elephants, so all of these people are experts in some aspect of elephant behavior.

Dr. Bruce A. Schulte - Georgia Southern University
Dr. James Peddie, D.V.M.
Charlie Sammut - Vision Quest Ranch/EARS (Elephants of Africa Rescue Society)
Julien Marchais/Sandi Groves - Living With Elephants
Dr. Julian T. Fennessy - AfESG/IUCN (African Elephant Specialist Group/International Union for Conservation of Nature)
Dr. Loki Osborn - Elephant Pepper Development Trust
Prof. Rob Slotow - University of KwaZulu-Natal
Audrey Delsink - Makalali Private Game Reserve
Prof. Henk Bertschinger - University of Pretoria

Let me also add that I didn't contact all of these people directly. Many of them referred me to others, or even CC'd another expert in their response to me. In particular, it was quite interesting for me to watch the last three on the list, as they passed my email between them, and each commented on a different bit of the question I asked them. It was like I was sitting in a room surrounded by some experts, listening to them have a conversation.

I'll also add that there were other people I sent emails to who never responded. So be it. If that happens to you, don't be discouraged. Just find others.

Anyhow, thanks to all the experts who helped me. Your help was immense, and contributed significant background material to the development of this screenplay.

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