Something very funny happened to me. My my Screenwriting 2 teacher asked us to write about our favorite writers. So I just dropped a couple of lines about P.G. Wodehouse (to say it with the words of another writer I like: I dont' know if I read Wodehouse because I have sense of humore or if I have sense of humor because I read Wodehouse), then I put Alan Ball, screenwriter of American Beauty (whose structure I love beyond belief), of course I had to write about Brad Bird.
I did not put them in this order... of course Brad Bird came first. The week after my teacher told us to write a letter and send it to these 3 people to ask them to be our half an hour mentor. Well, Wodehouse is dead, Ball... I could not find his aaddress so, unlike many of my classmates, I only send one letter, this one:
Dear Mr. Bird,
I know you must be “incredibly” busy, at the moment, and I’ll try not to take too much of your time. My name I Deborha Daniele, I’m Italian and I came all the way to the United States to study storyboarding and screenwriting. That’s what I did for the past three years, I graduated in Spring but I;m left with my last class for this summer and as a requirement for this class, without which they will not let me graduate, I have to find me a mentor.
I’m aware the idea might sound a little “peculiar” to you but I’m asking you to be mine. When the instructor proposed the assignment I thought the heat got her bad, but then she told me that a few years earlier she managed to have Jane Campion mentoring her during the making of “Portrait of a lady” so I thought: why shouldn’t I get me a Brad Bird myself? Beside she said if I don’t do this she is going to whip me like cream, put me on an ice-cream and eat me without sprinkles on the top… now that’s another good incentive to me. The plus is: I want to graduate and I want to graduate alive.
Now getting serious: the reason why I chose you is a little funny. A few years ago I went to see a random movie with friends, I was late and entered the theater during a shark attack sequence. After yelling in horror for the following ten minutes, my friends were so kind to kick me out of there, since my legs wouldn’t move. I ended up sitting in another movie theater, and I didn’t leave until that late afternoon, after watching three consecutive shows of the same movie. The movie was: The Iron Giant.
Back then I didn’t know why you film moved me so much and felt so right… I only knew I wanted to be superman!
So many times in life people chose what I wanted to be… they chose. I was a chef, a swimming trainer, a restaurant hostess, a waitress, a musical director, a composer, a playwriter… but I never fit, I was like a piece of puzzle with a crocked corner. I don’t know if you’ve ever felt that way, I only know I had to make up the most incredible stories to get out those roles… and that’s how I started telling stories to people.
Today, if anybody asks me why I want to be a storyteller, I can only come up with one answer: I was a phenomenal liar! So here I am, now, to a point whereby I finally chose what I want to be… and I only need someone else to acknowledge it. In the past three years I’ve had a chance to learn and grow, produce my own stories, animate them. My last short film is a stop motion project called “Ugly Duck” and won the Academy of Art animation film festival as best stop motion film.
If you need any other background information about me you can ask Rob Gibbs, at Pixar, I was his student for two years (he knows me as Deda). He will tell you that, aside from the fact I have a thing for pirates and I wear a bandana all the time, I am a perfectly normal pizza loving Italian girl.
My request to you is very simple: all I need are three, ten-minutes phone call conversations with you by August 1st, 2003. Of course we can schedule this conversations at you convenience, according to your schedule, and I really hope this request of mine will not sound too inopportune to you.
Looking forward to your reply,
Well, funny enough his assistant called me a couple of days ago and asked me to prepare the questions I want to ask him...
What should I tell her? She is like the guardian to the treasure... if my reply to her is not good enough I will screw up this opportunity!
I want to talk to Brad Bird... yes... to ask him what? what the hell do I know?
"What do you want to aks to the person you want to talk the most Deda?"
I want to know so many things about story.... how did he come up with the script... how much of the script was in the book (for Iron Giant) and how much he decided to change?
I must read the book first.
let me go find it... I will take notes too....