Dr. Robert Nulph described the efforts involved in writing the screenplay, "An Impossible Place," as the concluding speaker in the fall portion of the 2008-09 Clarion University Faculty Author Seminar Series.
Nulph, a professor of mass media arts, journalism, and communication studies at Clarion University, co-wrote the screenplay for "An Impossible Place" with Marijke Lewis, the author of the stories, based on her personal experiences.
"The ideas came from Genevieve Eschevaris, Marijke Lewis' daughter," said Nulph about a student he met in his screen-writing class, which he previously taught at Missouri Western University. "She was very talented and I told her if she provided me with the information, I would help her put it in a screen play format. While Genevieve wasn't interested in taking on the project, her mother jumped at the chance."
Lewis provided information about a young man she knew in South Africa and life in the township.
"She gave me a big rock ready to be sculpted," explained Nulph. "It is a coming of age story, amid AIDS, poverty, gangs, and drugs, set in a South Africa township. In its current form, it is 131 pages long and an average screen play is around 120 pages."
Nulph sent the screen play to as many producers, actors, companies and production companies as possible, including his friend and 1981 Clarion University graduate Guy Phillippi, a Hollywood script reader, who reads for many mid-level studios. Phillippi recommended the script Million Dollar Baby and it won four Oscars including "Best Motion Picture of the Year." Nulph also entered the screenplay in seven different competitions and it reached the semi-finals of the American Screenwriters Association competition (ASA).
Nulph wants to self-produce his screenplay in Africa, as his first feature film. He would like Morgan Freeman to play Nelson Mandela, and Emma Thompson and Michael Clark Duncan to play other leading roles.
"If you are lucky, you get 50 percent of what you write in screen play in a movie," said Nulph about his work that has now been rewritten several times. "A lot of heart goes into it. When you do something like this, you hope it will affect people."
Nulph started teaching at Clarion University in 2005. He received his B.S. and M.S. degrees from Clarion University and Ph.D. from University of Kansas.
Dr. Elisabeth Donato, professor of modern languages, will begin the 2009 portion of the series on Jan. 30, in the Center for Academic Excellence, Level A., Carlson Library. For further information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Faculty Affairs Committee of Clarion University Faculty Senate in cooperation with the University Libraries sponsors the series. The initiative is funded through the Clarion University-Wide Faculty development Committee's Presidential Advancement Award.
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