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Brian Baum

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11 Questions with 2010 Screenplay Finalist

Brian Baum

1. What is your screenplay about?

When GE's new time management system†accidentally†gives all the writers a week off, Liz has to hire a freelancer to work with Toofer and Frank. †Chaos†ensues†when she falls for him.

2. Why did you decide to write this screenplay?

This was my first professional screenplay. †I've been studying media and television for many years and even worked for Nielsen for a year but never really thought I'd be able to write something real. †I remember back when I was a kid and my mother made fun of me for spelling the word "Canoe," canoo or the word "of" uv.

3. How long have you been writing screenplays?

A little under a year now. †I started last February and have completed two spec scripts and a spec pilot in that time and am about forty pages into a play.

4. What is your favorite TV show of all-time?

This is a really tough question. †I'd have to say The West Wing. †There is something about the layers in Aaron Sorkin's writing that allows you to discover something new each time you watch it. †

5. What artist in the film industry would you love to work with?

Aside from the one mentioned above, I'd have to say either Tom Stoppard or Bryan Fuller. †Tom has managed to master the power of dialogue while†integrating†it into†fascinating†stories while Bryan has one of the coolest imaginations out there when he is allowed to run with it.

6. Who was your hero growing up?

This is another tough question. †I'd say the "hero" I had growing up, aside from my father, would have to be Patrick Stewart or Norman Borlaug. †Norman Borlaug sort of has to be included in a list of this nature because he is responsible for saving more lives then all of the wars in the history of the world have taken. †

7. Ideally, where would you like to be in 5 years?

In five years I hope to working for WildSound Pictures (now if that's not brown nosing, I don't know what is). †In five years I hope to learn another language, I hope to have my†instrument rating as a pilot, and have my name come up on TV with a real "written by" credit, all while standing on my hands and juggling a basketball with my feet.

8. Describe your process; do you have a set routine, method for writing?

The first step is†definitely†the most difficult. †I basically wait to think of something (normally it's at three am) like a joke or even a word that could be the launching point for the tone of a story. †For example, in a script I just finished, I thought of a waiter taking people's orders at a bar where each order was a†euphemism†for a problem they were having. †One character ordered the crab special because they just got crabs, etc. †The joke actually got cut from the story but helped launch everything else. †At this point I will figure out what show I'm writing for and how that joke or tone can best be†integrated†into that show and I also come up with some sort of story. †After I've set the tone and the basic story, I will write a loose outline to get my structure down and will then pop up Final Draft and start writing. †I know it is frowned upon, but I'll actually write a bad ending or a bad scene or two because the scenes I really want to write come later in the script and I want to get them as soon as possible. †I try to complete the script as fast as I can so I can see it objectively and completely. †I then dissect it and at this point actually change or complete the story. †I keep what works, ditches what doesn't and keep crafting it like a puzzle fixing the story issues along the way. I know most writers prefer to have the story completed before writing but for me not knowing where it is going actually allows the story to flow more smoothly and see where it naturally will lead. †This entire process normally takes about two or three weeks.

9. Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

I'm quite passionate about technology and business. †For the past six years, I've been a Business Intelligence consultant based in the Chicago area and have gotten to travel all over the world and see all sorts of different companies. †At this point I've worked for almost 150 different†organizations. †I'm also quite passionate about flying, Apple, television/media, The Bears, acting, spell check, travelling (time and otherwise), cheese, adventure, and, of course, the other kind of passion.

10. What influenced you to enter the WILDsound Script Contest?

Mainly the fact that WILDsound gives you feedback on your scripts. †I really like the contests where you get feedback instead of just get over the limbo pole or not. †I like the fact that WILDsound also gives you a unique opportunity (hopefully) to hear your work out loud by real actors. †That is unique in the contest world. †Also WILDsound is the first hit when you search "TV Writing Contests" on Google so there is that.

11. Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers?

All feedback is good feedback, especially bad feedback. †One of my favorite things to do as a writer is actively watch someone read my script. †Where do they laugh? †How long does it take them to switch from their "fake" laugh to something real? †How long can you sustain that real laugh? †What is the average length of silence? †These are all†incredibly†useful things because they are true. †I strongly urge you to be present when people read your script instead of just emailing it to people and asking for their feedback. †

Brian Baum


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