Script brings you behind the scenes to get to know our family of contributors on a more personal level. Meet Heather Hale, author of our column Producer’s POV.
Heather Hale is an independent Film and Television Writer, Producer and Director, approved for NBC Universal’s special development fund managed by IFTA (the host of the AFM). Her most recent thriller Absolute Killers (W, D, P: Meatloaf Aday, Ed Asner, Edward Furlong) is available at Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Amazon, etc. Her other credits include: The Courage to Love (W, Lifetime: Vanessa Williams, Diahann Carroll, Stacey Keach, Gil Bellows). Her projects have won Emmys, Tellys and Ace Awards. Tim McGraw has twice optioned one of her true-life biopics and Tim Conway is attached to one of her comedies. She was the Vice President and Director of Event Programming for NATPE (2004 & 2005) and for whom she still serves as a Pitch Prep Consultant) and the Industry Coordinator for the Independent Film and Television Alliance for the 2013 American Film Market. She is a member of the TV Academy and Show Biz Mensans, judges for the College Emmys and a voter for the Indie Spirit Awards. Her Focal Press book on How to Work the Film & TV Markets is due out June 2015.
What was the first movie you ever remember seeing or the one that made the most impact on you as a child?
You can use any of these:
I remember seeing Night of the Living Dead, the black and white classic horror film, on TV. We weren’t allowed to watch it but our babysitter ignored my parent’s admonitions. I watched it through a blanket. My brothers and I literally ducked under windows for six months for fear zombie arms would smash through the glass to grab us.
I remember waiting in my first line ever for Star Wars (IV). It was in the parking lot of San Jose Century Theaters (just closed). There were fire eaters and jugglers all sorts of street performers busking for tips in the midst of people dressed up in now-classic costumes but that most of us had never seen before.
I remember seeing The Elephant Man as a child. It was the first time I was ever in a dead silent cinema where the lights were left off to allow the entire stunned emotional audience a chance to collect themselves in the dark. It was the most respectful crowd exit I’ve ever been in.
What’s your favorite movie of all time?
If pressed, I’d have to say The Shawshank Redemption.
What word or scenario do you never want to see in a screenplay again?
What profession did your parents want you to have?
My parents were uber supportive of everything, including my knowing at four I wanted to be a writer. They think I’d’ve made a great litigator or President of the United States.
What profession, other than your current one one, would you like to try if you could have a do-over?
American Ninja Warrior.
River Raft instructor during the summer, Ski instructor in the winter.
What drew you to the entertainment industry and specifically, why did you want to help writers?
I think storytelling is the greatest calling on earth. I truly believe it is the path to world peace – our understanding more about one another’s cultures, putting on the shoes of others, empathizing with their challenges and trying to see the world through different lenses and wider prisms.
Mentoring and supporting writers, being a storytelling duola, if you will, nurturing writers to discover and own their voices and gain command of their craft, is honorable, gratifying and like all teaching – enriches both ways.
Our nano-fast world is all multimedia now, so the more visual you can tell a story and the more you can engage sight and sound a least, the more you can move someone emotionally, the more you can impact their intellect and rational decisions.
Tell us something we don’t know about you.
I was almost a spy. My dad was in the secret service and upon graduation, I spent a week in Arlington, VA, being interviewed and tested to work as a CIA operative. But as a voluptuous, 5’9” green-eyed, strawberry blonde, I wouldn’t blend in very well in most countries. Not to mention: I was too freethinking to obey orders without question.
What do you wish you knew about the industry before you jumped in?
The biz – like life – isn’t fair. Get over it. Shake if off. Move on and through it.
If you could impart only one piece of knowledge onto writers, what would it be?
Write to the truth.
If you could go back in time and talk to your 18-year-old self, what advice would you give? (it doesn’t have to be about writing)
Buy Apple and Google stock.
Heck, I’d give myself the lottery numbers for my eighteenth birthday!
Eat fresh produce everyday, avoid all the fake, junk food and when you stop playing school sports? Replace that time, effort and energy with some other sort of physical activity you enjoy every day.
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