Drama (plays and screenplays) is not usually the province of literary magazines, but because it is studied in Fairfield’s MFA program, we at Mason’s Road feel we’d be remiss to leave this dynamic genre out of our mix of fiction, poetry, and creative non-fiction.
To gain insight into the hybrid and challenging form of the screenplay, we have included an exclusive interview with Pulitzer-Prize-winning novelist and screenwriter William Kennedy. The interviewer is William Patrick, a member of the Fairfield University MFA in Creative Writing faculty, who is himself a screenwriter. The screenwriter’s trade, as described by Kennedy in this interview, is both daunting and exhilarating. Kennedy, who grew up with a deep love for the movies, learned how difficult writing and selling a screenplay was as he faced Hollywood executives who are, in his words, “in the business of not making movies.” Fortunately, he had the good fortune to work with the director Francis Ford Coppola, who guided him through the exacting business of screenwriting, as they forged a workable screenplay for Coppola’s film The Cotton Club. It was both a grueling and exhilarating experience that Kennedy recounts in detail.
We also offer excerpts from Kennedy’s other significant work – his own adaptation of his breakthrough novel Ironweed from novel to a screenplay. To show this transformation from a writer’s perspective, we have juxtaposed the scene from the screenplay with its original counterpart in the novel.
In our next issue we hope to bring you some exciting new work from the world of stage plays, and welcome your submissions. Until then, enjoy this journey of discovery into the craft of screenwriting.