By Rodney Stringfellow
Award-winning filmmaker and UNC Charlotte graduate, Scott Eriksson recently paid a visit to my Introduction to Screenwriting class (FILM 3051) here at UNC Charlotte. Mr. Eriksson was in town for the screening of his film, “No Asians… It’s Just Not My Thing,” in the Charlotte Film Festival. After speaking to the class about how he made the transition from Charlotte to Los Angeles to pursue his dream of filmmaking, he decided to stay for the duration of the class to watch students present their short screenplay assignments.
At the conclusion of the class, Mr. Eriksson complimented the students for both the quality of their writing and for the bold stories they chose to tell. He then shocked us all by offering to shoot one of their short screenplays!
After conferring with him, Mr. Eriksson and I turned the idea into a screenplay competition for the class. The students will vote to determine which three scripts will become finalists. The finalists will be announced in class on November 5 and Mr. Eriksson will announce the winning screenplay on November 19. The winning student’s screenplay will be cast and shot in Los Angeles, CA in December, 2010.
I am extremely excited for my twenty-five students because they are gifted storytellers and are passionate about becoming filmmakers. Screenwriting is a notoriously difficult field to break into, so this unique competition is a great opportunity for them to be noticed by having one of their first screenplays shot by an award-winning director.
We will document the progress of this competition each step of the way and watch as a class assignment is turned into a story for the big screen. And, more importantly, we’ll get the opportunity to see a talented student receive an opportunity of a lifetime.
Rodney Stringfellow teaches in the Language & Culture Studies program