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The Valley Line: Before the movie, there is a screenplay

March 06, 2013|By Jane Napier Neely
  • Sue and Jim Stoddard of La Canada Flintridge attend the Scripter Award ceremony.
Sue and Jim Stoddard of La Canada Flintridge attend the… (Courtesy of the…)

Wow, I certainly liked our spring-like weather last weekend. I opened up all the windows and doors in the house in order to chase the winter doldrums out and let the fresh air of the season in.

It is benefit season and events are happening fast and furiously. I'm running as fast as I can to make sure to tell you all about what is happening hither and thither.

I know the buzz about Oscar night is still humming, and I have to tell you about one pre-Oscar award show that is becoming the one to attend in order to get a hint about the screenwriter award.

This award evening is called “The Scripter” and it is held each year in the historic Edward L. Doheny Jr. Memorial Library on the USC Campus. This year's offering celebrated the 25th year that the Friends of the USC Libraries present the best cinematic adaptation of the written word. The Scripter is the only award of its kind that honors screenwriters, as well as the author of the work upon which the adaptation is based.

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The nominees for this year were “Argo,” “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” “Life of Pi,” “Lincoln,” “The Perks of being a Wallflower,” and “Silver Linings Playbook.” Yes, you are right: The winner was “Argo.”

Authors Joshuah Bearman and Antonio J. Mendez and screenwriter Chris Terrio were honored by Dean Catherine Quinlan of the USC Libraries and USC President C.L. “Max” Nikias at the black-tie ceremony.

In his acceptance speech, Bearman said, “I think that with adaptation you hope another writer can come and take a look at your work and see a new perspective and add insight, which is certainly the case with Chris Terrio.”

Terrio based his screen adaptation on Mendez's autobiographical work, “The Master of Disguise,” published in 2000 and Bearman's article, “The Great Escape,” which appeared in Wired Magazine in 2007.

Among my delightful dinner partners that evening were Stephen Chbosky, author and screenwriter of “The Perks of Being a Wallflower,” and his wife Liz. Stephen, a USC grad, told me he got the inspiration for his book and subsequent movie just steps away from where we were dining on the USC campus.

He was thrilled to be nominated that evening. Both he and his wife were also all aglow as they talked about and showed me photos of their 6-month-old daughter Maccie Margaret. What a beautiful baby she is!

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