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April 08, 2013 | posted in Filmmakers
Writer and co-producer Rick Moore provides some insight what prompted him to write the screenplay for “Putzel,” as well as how he came to collaborate with Jason Chaet.
CIFF: Where did the inspiration to write the screenplay for “Putzel” come from?
RM: Like Walter, the protagonist in “Putzel,” I grew up in a small town, was given a nickname I didn’t like, and had friends and family who stayed in that small town and assumed I’d stay, too. It was a story I’d lived. Though, unlike Walter, I didn’t grow up in a smoked fish store. And I’m a big fan of writer/director Billy Wilder, and I wanted to write something that was funny, sad, and just a little bawdy. Another trigger for writing the screenplay was Director Jason Chaet telling me one day that he couldn’t remember the last time he’d left the Upper West Side, where we both happen to live.
CIFF: How did you come to work with director Jason Chaet?
RM: Our wives knew each other and introduced us. Jason had directed a short that I liked. I had sold and optioned screenplays in L.A., but nothing ever went into production. We were both eager to build something on our own. And we admired the same filmmakers: Alexander Payne, Billy Wilder, Sydney Pollack, and the Coens. Jason lived on the Upper West Side, half a block away. We can wave to each other out our apartment windows, so it was easy.
CIFF: What kind of work have you done outside of filmmaking? How did those experiences prepare you to work on “Putzel?”
RM: I’ve been a carpenter, a painter, and a page layout/designer in publishing. The planning, preparation, and attention to detail required in those jobs probably informed my work on “Putzel.”
CIFF: What advice would you offer to aspiring screenwriters seeking avenues to see their work produced?
RM: In today’s market, writing original screenplays with the hope of selling them is a fairly hopeless endeavor. The market may change, but don’t wait. Don’t ever wait. Writing’s a lonely business. Force yourself to get out there and meet other filmmakers who are in the same boat you are—frustrated and wanting to make a movie. Pool your resources and do it. But before you start, make sure your script is as good as it can be. Find three or four of the smartest, kindest, most honest friends you have and ask them to read the script and tell you what they like about it, what they don’t like about it, and what confuses them.
CIFF: What is next for you? Are you working on any new projects?
RM: I’m finishing two screenplays and hope to be in production on one of them within the year. And I’m also working with Jason Chaet, developing an idea for a TV series.
CIFF: This year's theme is "Be The Applause." What aspect of your film do you hope will inspire the applause of CIFF audiences?
RM: I think of PUTZEL as a cocktail. Its ingredients are: two parts comedy, one part sadness, with a dash of sex, and a dash of morality. Shaken, not stirred. I hope the blend of these ingredients inspires the audience to applaud.
—Interview by Bridget Kriner
Photo by Janet Macoska.
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