Friday, August 9, 2013

Gary Shusett

Aspiring screenwriters lost a valuable resource today. Gary Shusett, founder of the Sherwood Oaks Experimental College, passed away after a long battle with cancer.
I attended two of his events, both eye-opening experiences. For one of them, a small group of students were shuttled around to studios over three days to meet with Hollywood insiders in their offices.

The roster included producers, executives, agents, and managers responsible for such films as Star Wars, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Fly Away Home, About Schmidt, Julie & Julia, Working Girl, Midnight Cowboy, Blow Out, District 9, and a producer who was then in development with this year's The Great Gatsby.

I still keep in touch with many of the fellow classmates I met there, and it was through them that I discovered other great screenwriting resources, like the StoryBoard Development Group.

Gary was also a longtime fixture at Scriptwriters Network events. He even dropped in on some of the Scriptwriters Network writers groups to help troubleshoot their loglines and pitches, for free.

Gary served as associate producer on the Golden Globe nominated Paul Mazursky comedy Moon Over Parador starring Ricahrd Dreyfuss and Raul Julia. His brother, Ron Shusett, co-wrote Alien and Total Recall.

As Bill Martell put it, Gary was a character and he will be missed.

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