Well folks, I was lucky to attend the 2018 “Beyond Words” panel discussion with Writer’s Guild Award-nominated screenwriters at the Writer’s Guild Theatre on Feb. 1. It was an informative evening sponsored by Writers Guild of America West, The Writers Guild Foundation, in partnership with Variety.
The “power panel” featured Guillermo Del Toro and Vanessa Taylor (The Shape of Water), Greta Gerwig (Lady Bird), Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani (The Big Sick), Michael Green and James Mangold (Logan co-written with Scott Frank), Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber (The Disaster Artist), Jordan Peele (Get Out), Steven Rogers (I, Tonya), Aaron Sorkin (Molly’s Game) and Virgil Williams (Mudbound co-written with Dee Rees.) The panel was moderated by Academy Award- winning screenwriter Graham Moore (The Imitation Game) and the panel was introduced by WGAW President David A. Goodman and Variety Co-Editor-in-Chief Claudia Eller.
The sold-out event began with a private pre-reception followed by panel and afterparty. Each panelist shared their individual process as screenwriters. Some work as partnerships such as Del Toro and Taylor and Guillermo talked about the first Shape of Water pitch at Fox Searchlight. “Everyone was crying at the end and so I thought we must really have something.” Indeed, The Shape of Water is currently nominated for 13 Oscars. It’s a unique love story that pays homage to monster movies. Clearly, Aaron Sorkin was the “star” of the panel with almost every writer quoting him throughout. When asked how he judges his own work he humbly explained, “I ask myself, did I tell a story and communicate what I wanted to say?”
Jordan Peele is a stand out during this awards season. Get Out is a social justice thriller, and is nominated for three Oscars. We honored him with the 2018 Stanley Kramer Award at the Producer’s Guild Awards on January 20. His advice for first time screenwriters is to be cautious of asking for feedback on screenplay drafts. “In this town, if you ask for an opinion, you will get it.” Peele went on to win “Best Original Screenplay” at the Writers Guild Awards ceremony.
At the end, it was definite that all of these writers love what they do. You have to because writing is lonely work. Proceeds from the special evening benefited the Writers Guild Foundation.
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On Thursday, February 15, the Malibu Film Society presented a double feature of my father’s landmark classic film Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner followed by Get Out. It was sold-out, and I participated in a panel Q&A along with my mother Karen Sharpe-Kramer, Jordan Peele and two of the Get Out producing team, Sean McKittrick and Jason Blum. Both films deal with race relations from a different point of view that reshape American society.
Live your dreams…
Katharine “Kat” Kramer is an actress and daughter of legendary filmmaker Stanley Kramer and actress Karen Sharpe-Kramer. She was named after her godmother, iconic actress Katharine Hepburn. For information on Kramer’s current projects visit KatKramersFilmsThatChangeTheWorld.com.