Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Rickman hosts Film Forum

What’s the formula behind Tom Rickman’s success?

How did Rickman become the screenwriter behind the Emmy Award-winning television movie “Tuesdays With Morrie” and the Oscar-nominated script for “Coal Miner’s Daughter?” How did he become director of the American Film Institute’s screenwriting program or get onto the board of trustees for Sundance?

He said there is no formula, especially when it comes to writing good characters.

“I think the best advice is to let your characters live, and find out what they want to achieve and how they want to achieve it,” Rickman said. “Explore them and learn everything you can. Characters are like people. They’re more interesting when they’re unpredictable.”

Rickman, who gave a screenwriting advice to crowd at Gorgas Library on Wednesday night, will continue his visit to the University with a film forum today at 7 p.m. in Room 360 of the Ferguson Center.

Billy Field, a filmmaking professor in the Honors College, said the event will give students an opportunity to ask questions and get advice about the filmmaking process.

“The purpose of the film forum is an opportunity for students to look at their films, to look through their films like a prism with Tom to talk about what kind of films students want to make, to discuss all kinds of things to do with filmmaking,” Field said. “It’s a chance to acknowledge students’ work and talk about it.”

Field added that student films would not be the only things up for discussion.

“One of the things that could be up for discussion is if students want to have a campus-wide film festival here, this would be a good time for students to talk about that,” Field said.

Field said what he liked about Rickman and his screenwriting approach is his desire to make quality scripts instead of adhering to a formula, as so many modern screenwriters do.

“In Hollywood, a lot of people write screenplays because they want to move up in the hierarchy,” Field said. “The thing I like about Tom is he genuinely cares about honest and good writing. He’s not just trying to come up with some formula to get a movie made.”

Field said he met Rickman in Hollywood years ago through William Hale, a director in Hollywood who, like Field, was a UA graduate.

Rickman said he was pleased with the success of Wednesday night’s event.

“There was a good turnout, everyone seemed to be attentive and there were good questions,” Rickman said. “I was very happy with it.”

Rickman also said he looked forward to giving more advice to students in the Ferguson Forum’s more intimate setting.

“I just want to be supportive and try to enjoy other films from students and just be helpful if I can,” Rickman said.

Today’s film forum is open to everyone, and admission is free. However, space is limited to 80 attendees, so those interested should arrive early.

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