struck | Olive
Green Honors Chair
campus Hollywood producer Kurt Inderbitzen, the Green Honors Chair for
radio-TV-film, and he just might bring Hollywood with him
The Hollywood Pitch
An original screenplay by
David Van Meter
-- TCU -- DAYTIME
Overhead, a camera pans the TCU campus,
slowly descending to the Moudy Building.
INTERIOR -- MOUDY BUILDING
We see to our left five or six students
lounging in the Moudy Building's "green room." They sit a little closer
than they normally would, dressed a little nicer.
VOICE (off camera): "Okay, you're
The first student stands and walks across
the foyer to a room labeled Moudy 156, an apprehensive smile frozen on
INTERIOR -- ROOM 156
The smallish room contains about 25 observers.
At the front is an elevated platform used for classroom lectures. Two
chairs face each other. In one chair sits Kurt Inderbitzen, the Green
Honors chair selection for the radio-TV-film department and the president
of Abandon Television. A hand-waving, fast-talking sort, Inderbitzen's
producer credits include a string of made-for-TV movies, including The
Crosby Story. His 1996 work, Abducted: A Father's Love, was
NBC's highest-rated movie ever. And the night before, students screened
Inderbitzen's latest work, Time Shifters, about people who travel
back in time to participate in historical events.
The first of six students sits down opposite
INDERBITZEN: "So, tell me about yourself."
The camera now records each student in
fast-forward fashion, at the point each tells Inderbitzen about their
background. A poem published in a church newsletter. A year's worth of
writing samples. A single writing class.
INDERBITZEN: "Great. Okay, what's your
One student tells the story of a man, scorned
by love before, visiting his past relationships in flashbacks, ultimately
finding love right under his nose . . . A Japanese immigrant makes friends
with an American because -- though neither speaks the other's language -- they
both are huge Star Trek fans and speak Klingon . . . Two girls, one rich
and one poor.
The climax is a school dance, where the
poor girl's quest for popularity and material status through the rich
girl leaves her friendless and empty. Inderbitzen politely listens to
each student for the first few minutes and then begins interrupting, as
none of the students gets his or her point across quickly enough for Hollywood.
The camera now focuses on his facial expressions and responses.
INDERBITZEN: "Okay, I don't get it. What
is this guy doing, just sitting in a room talking? That could be boring.
. . . I still don't get it, how does the Japanese guy meet the American
girl? They're both at the same seminar or what? . . . . A school dance?
How are we going to film that on this budget?"
Minute hand ticks five times.
INTERIOR -- ROOM 156
INDERBITZEN: "To be harsh, shame on you.
With this budget you have, you can't do more than two locations in a day.
C'mon, you should know better. You really have to be harder on yourselves
or be more inventive."
Camera pans to six students who now sit,
shell-shocked, together. Slowly, it moves across their faces as Inderbitzen
INDERBITZEN: "I'm going to tell you the
hardest thing about writing for screenplays. And it probably won't matter
because you have to learn it and feel it at a very deep level: You must
always, always have your theme in mind. What is my movie about? Then as
you write every line of prose and build every scene, always have that
theme in the back of your mind. It should influence every page, every
scene and every line of dialogue.
"That is how average movies become great.
If you can remember that, you can save yourself seven years of writing
stuff that doesn't connect with your audience."
CUT TO: INTERIOR -- TCU DORM
Radio-TV-film senior Melissa Triebwasser
lies on her stomach across her dorm room bed and is in the middle of a
phone conversation. Nearby is a marked-up screenplay titiled All Fall
Down. Dozens of older revisions lie scattered. She crumples a written
phone message from a reporter between her fingers as she returns the call.
TRIEBWASSER: "None of us had ever
pitched a screenplay, so I think we were all extremely nervous. Kurt is
this big Hollywood guy, he's high energy, he's so Hollywood, so L.A. "I've
been writing screenplays for a year ╔. It enables you to take nothing,
take space, and make characters that have personalities, conflicts and
resolutions. It allows you to say things you would never share in a face-to-face
conversation. Only by putting it on paper can you release it."
CUT TO: INTERIOR -- TCU -- PROFESSOR'S OFFICE
Radio-TV-Film Prof. Roger Cooper cuts open
an envelope and opens the enclosed letter from Abandon Entertainment,
Inderbitzen's entertainment company.
INDERBITZEN (VOICE OVER):
"Dear Roger, let's start with your students
. . . . In the Aesthetics of Film
class I taught while on the TCU campus, my own stubborn mind was pried
open by their startling good ideas about how to improve a scene in a show
I myself had worked on. "During the ďpitch' sessions for the short film,
I found myself having to reject students who were, to put it bluntly,
better prepared (and perhaps more able) than many experienced directors
and producers I have met with out here [in Los Angeles].
"If you had been running my school when
I was a college student, I would have spent a lot more time in class than
learning to spin a basketball on my finger ... which I must say I now
do rather well."
CUT TO: INTERIOR -- TCU -- SCREENING ROOM
In a dark room, a single projector whirs
to life. A film begins, the title credit, All Fall Down, scrolling across.
VOICE OVER: Before Kurt Interbitzen
left the TCU campus, he selected junior Darren Thiesfeld to direct and
senior Rebecca Wren to produce the screenplay, All Fall Down. A budget
production under $1,000, it was taped during the first summer term in
Shortly after the film, Melissa Triebwasser
graduated and moved to Los Angeles.
FADE TO BLACK