Thursday, March 21, 2013

SVFF 2013: SCREENWRITERS LAB—The Evening Class Interview With Cody Tucker

Early in January, the Sun Valley Film Festival (SVFF) announced their inaugural Screenwriters Lab, an exciting, interactive new feature event of the festival, sponsored by InkTip and Wyoming Whiskey. Kicking off with a staged reading of Will McCormack's We Are Puppets, the Screenwriters Lab likewise invited aspiring screenwriters to submit their original screenplays and television pilots for competition. Three finalists were to be awarded lodging and passes to SVFF and the winner would witness their work come alive during a table read of local and professional actors.

The three finalists brought to the festival were Hank Isaac for his script Taffy, Cody Tucker for Life of the World to Come, and Mike Viseltear for Life Could Be A Dream. After the staged reading of We Are Puppets, there was a Wyoming Whiskey intermission where lab participants mingled in the lobby of the nexStage Theatre. While I belted down a couple of shots of whiskey, Evening Class intern Alex Hansen captured a few fleeting images.

Sun Valley Film Festival 2013 - Screenwriter's Lab from Alex Hansen on Vimeo.

It was as much happenstance as intuition on Hansen's part that he aimed his camera at Cody Tucker, who ended up winning the screenwriters competition, judged by Oscar®-winning screenwriter Stephen Gaghan (Traffic), and announced after the Wyoming Whiskey intermission. Actors from the earlier staged reading of We Are Puppets returned to the stage to help visualize Tucker's final, and quite haunting, scene from Life of the World to Come, rendered even more poignant by the musical accompaniment of renowned film score composer Pete Snell. Truly an exciting and dynamic event to watch unfold.

I was finally able to extend congratulations to Cody Tucker at the Alaska Airlines Après-Ski Closing Ceremony.

* * *

Michael Guillén: Cody, congratulations on winning the first annual Sun Valley Screenwriter's Lab with your script Life Of the World to Come, described in the press notes as being about the end of the world, but told in such a way that it turns the notion on its ear. "The dead are coming back to life and making things quite crowded, which makes finding one person or even a few almost impossible." What drew you to this screenwriting competition at the Sun Valley Film Festival?

Photo courtesy of the Sun Valley Film Festival
Cody Tucker: Well, to be honest with you, about a month ago I was checking my spam email and noticed the header "Sun Valley Screenwriters Lab". Typically I subscribe to InkTip and it doesn't go into my spam so I don't understand what happened; but, I read the email and thought, "Why the hell not?" I submitted and in a few weeks was advised that I was one of the finalists and two weeks after that I was here. It's been a whirlwind.

Guillén: So despite the speed of it, a good experience for you?

Tucker: One of the best experiences I've had in a long time.

Guillén: Your acceptance of the award was heartfelt and made all the more touching by your jumping off stage to grab the stuffed animal your daughter sent with you for good luck.

Tucker: I have it in my pocket right now.

Guillén: What can we anticipate about your script Life Of the World to Come?

Tucker: The hope is that it gets out there. Will McCormack asked me to send him a copy of the script so he could pass it on to his agent. Whatever comes from that would be better than anything I could have done for myself.

Guillén: I wish you the best.

Tucker: I really appreciate that. Thank you.

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