~ CFDb Interviews Chester Branch
Chester Branch, author of the book, Holy Subtext, has obtained several degrees that focus specifically on Christological content coding: BA in Film and Theology, MA in Directing, and MFA in Screenwriting. While working on his Doctorate, he works as a script consultant and develops screenwriting classes.
= > How/Why did you get involved with script consulting?
The reason I wanted to get involved with script consulting is because I’ve always been drawn to the power of story-telling; not just the story itself but the story behind the story. Tolkien and Lewis argue that the Grand Narrative (i.e. the Gospel) is embedded in all aspects of culture. The film and TV culture has always interested me the most. As a consultant and prof., I want to make as many people aware of this Gospel message as possible.
The way I got involved was in 2004 when the Young Audiences of Virginia Organization asked me to help develop a script targeting specific educational SOLs in Virginia.
= > How long have you been a script consultant?
I have been a script consultant for 7 years. This includes guest lectures, one-on-one clients, and developing screenwriting classes for universities.
= > What company are you working for now? What does your job entail?
I work with several companies and universities like Regent U, Screenwriting Basics, and St. Augustine’s College but my own company is called Parables Today.
= > Do you do outside consulting work? If yes, please give your contact
information for people who may want to obtain your services.
= > Are there any scripts that you did consulting for that we might have heard of?
Most of these films are in pre-production but I did recently consult an award winning filmmaker who is working on the Helen Baylor film. This is a story that is fairly popular in the African American Christian community.
= > What is your most favorite script consulting job?
That’s easy, all of them.
= > How would you rate the importance of social media for anyone wanting to get
involved in writing scripts, producing films, or distributing films?
I would rate the importance pretty high. I wrote a blog about how social media can help you get into the screenwriting industry called ‘I Wrote a Great Script, Now what?.’
But social media touches on a deeper issue: Transmedia storytelling and transmodernism. I also wrote an article on how transmodernism has eclipsed postmodernism. Social media has taken high-concept, mega-branding, and transmedia storytelling to the next level.
= > In your opinion, which are the top 3 social media outlets for anyone in the filmmaking industry?
This depends on whether you are in pre-production, production, or post-production.
Facebook for example saved the Narnia films through petition. Twitter and You Tube practically created Justin Beiber and brought success to his Never say Never film. Then there’s a battle now between Hulu, Netflix, and what will soon be Google TV. I guess it is hard for me to pick but I would say Facebook, Twitter, and the Blogosphere.
We live in an age of what Toffler calls ‘prosumerism.’ I think Google TV and Apple TV will allow filmmakers and TV shows to take story worlds like Lost to a whole new interactive level.
= > What recommendations would you give to script writers who are just starting out?
I would recommend that they just write every day. Writing one page a day equals a 90 page script in three months. And to paraphrase M.C. Walker, writing every day is one way that God speaks to you.