Shore Scripts Founder Dave Beazley speaks with BAFTA-nominated Writer/Director/Producer Roberto Bentivegna, House Of Gucci, about his career to date, and how he started out in the film industry.
When did you first become interested in filmmaking and screenwriting?
I was always interested in writing from a very early age. As a kid, I gravitated towards horror, and specifically, an Italian comic book series called Dylan Dog. It had a huge impact on me both in terms of content and in how the stories were told visually. I also remember seeing The Adventures of Baron Munchausen at the cinema and being completely blown away.
Did you study Film at University? If so, where, and was this a positive step in helping you launch your career?
I studied Film and English at Emerson College in Boston and then pursued an MFA at Columbia University. Both were very helpful but I think the MFA was the turning point for me. I learned about self-discipline and made several connections with people that are now some of my closest friends and allies. There are different opinions about film school and I respect those who think it is a waste of time and money. But I respectfully disagree. For most of us, being in a 2-year environment in which we practice our craft every single day, receive feedback, and create valuable relationships – these things can only be of great benefit. The most important thing I learned is to stay true to your sensibilities. Film schools have an identity. Some veer more toward character-driven, independent films. Others embrace the studio system. So it’s important to know if your $300 million zombie epic is completely out of sync with the indie-minded film school you’re applying to.
Did you have both a manager and agent? If so, can you let our writers know a little bit more about each of their roles and how they help you?
Agents and managers are vital to your growth as a film professional, and ideally, they can help guide you and your projects towards the promised land. They are your closest allies. Most collaborators come and go, but if you find the right representative he or she will most likely be around for a long time.
The general consensus is that agents help to sell, or position, material in the marketplace. They get you writing assignments. If they are at a big agency, they help package the film with talent within the agency. They can give you some feedback on your projects, or tell you if an idea is D.O.A. based on how similar projects have performed recently.
Managers are often producers and in some cases, management companies are also production entities. Often managers will offer to develop material with their clients, give notes, hear pitches, even come up with pre-existing material or concepts for them to think about. I have heard people say that “managers focus on your career as a whole”. I think it is up to the client to decide how hands-on the manager should be. Some managers have exquisite taste, a deep understanding of story and structure, and genuinely help their clients to get from concept to execution. Those are obviously the managers you should aim for.