John Raffo – Screenwriter, Mentor


With several screenwriting credits to his name as well as a series of “sci-fi meets Seven Samurai” comic books, John Raffo is no stranger to writing with a visual look and feel. Although his start in the industry resembles so many first-timers before him.

Raffo was dating an actress way back when and read through many of the scripts she received. After looking over several good scripts – and a few bad ones – it suddenly dawned on him that he could be writing screenplays himself. His first effort was… not well received.

A filmmaking friend suggested Raffo “burn this one and start on another one.” Not even a rewrite would help – it was time to move on. Raffo started a second effort but eventually walked away from it. It wasn’t until his third go-round that the pieces began to fall into place.

“Finally I figured it out, finished it, and they recommended it to a producer (who passed) and an agent (who liked it),” Raffo said. “The script moved up the food chain, and I eventually sold it.”

Raffo wrote the screenplay for Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story, The Relic, and Johnny Skidmarks, which he also directed. Together, those movies cleared $100 million dollars at the worldwide box office. That’s a long way from watching his first screenplay go up in smoke.

During his time as an industry insider, he’s seen the industry constantly shift from genre to genre. And while it shouldn’t matter (a Killer Script is a Killer Script), he understands that not all movies are ready to be made at any time. If action movies are in, keep the romantic comedies to yourself.

Or figure out how to make it an action movie as well.

“Does that render the project completely valueless? I don’t think so,” Raffo said. “A good script is a good script. If it sits around for a while before someone discovers it, that’s okay. For me, I try to find projects I like, and try and fit them into a viable market. If there’s absolutely no market available, then I’ll choose something else.”

Film Connection Mentor

It’s that kind of keen insight that makes <a href=”https://www.recordingconnection.com/blog/2014/11/19/interview-with-film-connection-screenwriting-mentor-john-raffo/”>Raffo such a perfect fit</a> at Film Connection. Just as he was mentored early in his career, he feels that is the approach that works best for this industry. Although for Raffo, he prefers to think of it as two writers talking about a script.

That’s the kind of interpersonal experience you will receive when applying to The Film Connection. <a href=”https://www.filmconnection.com/courses/”>Our program curriculum</a> is based on the real world, you’ll receive one-on-one attention, and you don’t even have to leave your house. With both brick and mortar and virtual locations, you’re never far from putting your life into focus.

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