David Paterson‘s first foray into screenwriting turned into a film that got into Sundance and sold for a profit. Not all of David’s filmmaking successes came that easily though. Bridge to Terabithia, the next feature film he wrote, took 17 years to bring to screen. It was based on the Newbery Medal-winning novel written by his mother, and he had a personal connection to the story, so he fought to get the details right.
(Image updated to reflect David’s latest film. )
Bridge to Terabithia had such a successful opening weekend that the studio behind it wanted to announce a sequel within a few days. Even so, it still took David another 10 years to bring his upcoming film, The Great Gilly Hopkins, to theaters. The film stars Sophie Nélisse, the young actress from The Book Thief, and also features Kathy Bates, Glenn Close, Octavia Spencer, Julia Stiles, and Bill Cobbs.
“The fact is filmmaking is art by collaboration and you need to surround yourself with other good people.” – David Paterson
As he did with Bridge to Terabithia, David wrote the screenplay for The Great Gilly Hopkins but also came onboard as a producer to ensure that the film did justice to the book on which it is based.
David was also an associate producer of a documentary about a certain band. (Can you guess which one?!) So, you get a little bit of music history in this episode as well.
On this ep. we discuss
- How David’s success at Sundance launched his filmmaking career
- The difference between interpreting a book and adapting it and why one tends to be more successful than another
- Having faith in a project and keeping it alive for years, in spite of the obstacles that come along
- Fighting the studio system to preserve the story we’re trying to tell
- The impact of music in a film and whether music can be a force for good
- How to work with an A-list cast on an indie budget
- Plus, a special New York story
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