Screenwriting is the first step to bringing any story to the film screen. Oftentimes the task of writing your first feature length screenplay can appear daunting! Film Connection student Brian Kemppainen had the opportunity to study under Ron Osborn, a professional Hollywood screenwriter whose credits include the Brad Pitt film Meet Joe Black and television credits such as The West Wing. Brian received consultations with Mr. Osborn that helped him along through character development, three act structure, and creating the perfect storm of conflict and narrative to make his idea jump off the page.

“My story is about a family being stuck in a survival situation and how they must overcome their dependency on technology if they’re going to make it out alive,” Brian explained. During the conception of his idea, inspiration was everywhere. “More recently, I feel like I’ve noticed more TV shows about survival and some that have emphasized surviving without all the technology we now have at our disposal,” Brian noted. He continued, “If I were in that type of situation, could I make a fire without a lighter? Could I hunt without a gun?”

However, all writers face challenges, especially when venturing out writing their first feature-length screenplay. “I would say, for me, the most challenging part of creating a character is coming up with all the below-the-surface details,” Brian said. Through the Film Connection program, Brian was able to contact his screenwriting mentor during frustrating moments.

“Ron encouraged me to email him when I have questions and his feedback on those has also been very helpful,” Brian recalled. “His feedback was incredible and he actually articulated some things that I was going for better than I could,” Brian said.

What advice does the young screenwriter have for future students embarking down the same road? “Research! Take ample time to research your topic and think about your characters and the plot in fine detail before you ever start writing,” Brain said. “I think, ideally, you need to have the entire story laid out from start to finish, including major plot points, so when you start writing you know where you’re going.”

When does all the hard work pay off? For Brian, he mentioned, “the most rewarding part about the writing process, for me, is when I give my script to someone, knowing that I’ve put a lot of time and thought into it, and having them say they enjoyed reading it.”


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