Monday, January 15, 2001

TV movie a dream for Cincinnati writer

By John Kiesewetter
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        PASADENA, Calif. — While hundreds, if not thousands, of writers out here struggling to get their scripts produced, a Cincinnati woman has had her dream come true on her second try.

        Shawn Scott, 32, of Bond Hill, and friend Jeff Shelby, wrote Our Father, the one-hour Dreambuilder movie airing today (9 p.m., Channel 9).

        “I feel very privileged. It was a wonderful experience,” Ms. Scott says in a telephone interview from her Cincinnati home.

        Anthony Griffith (Tales from the Hood, The Parent 'Hood) and Allen Cliffton White (NYPD Blue, Airplane!) star as brothers in this film about the impact of absent fathers. Emmy-winner Jim Friedman produced and directed the Tristate film, his fourth annual Dreambuilder screenplay contest for African-American writers.

        “This whole program was very educational for me. Although I wrote the script, there were a lot of things I didn't know about (constructing) scenes. Jim was very patient and willing to teach,” says Ms. Scott, an editor for Bawn Publishers Literary Agency, owned by her mother and stepfather.

        “Everything was exactly how I saw it in my mind,” says Ms. Scott, who watched all 10 days of the shooting last October in various Tristate locations,including Washington Park, Kilgour Elementary School, Calvary Episcopal Church and homes in Newport, Villa Hills, Hyde Park and Wyoming.

        Ms. Scott and Mr. Shelby, both University of Cincinnati graduates, wrote the script in 1999 for Paramount Pictures. After the studio rejected it, they entered the 120-page script in the Dreambuilder competition. It had to be cut by more than half for the one-hour film. There were 87 entries in the script competition, Mr. Friedman says.

        Our Father was the most difficult of the four local Dreambuilder productions because the story spans 40 years, he says. “There were more characters, more locations and more extras (needed),” he says.

        After Our Father airs, Ms. Scott says she will start writing a third screenplay, a romance.

        “When I started writing Our Father, this was not a hobby. I am a writer, and this is my life,” she says.

        “Hopefully, this short (film) will be my calling card to have the longer script produced,” she says. “This is exactly my dream, and Dreambuilders serves as a foundation for that.”

        TV notes: ABC has renewed The Practice for three seasons, through summer of 2004. Multiple-year renewals are rare; NBC has a similar long-range deal with Law & Order.

        NBC also has renewed Ed for the 2001 fall season from David Letterman's Worldwide Pants Inc., NBC Studios and Viacom Productions.

        Cooney absence: WLWT news anchor Lisa Cooney will be off the air for two weeks, recuperating from Thursday surgery to donate a kidney.

        The Northern Kentucky native donated a kidney to Andy Thelen, a longtime family friend who has had debilitating kidney problems since birth, the station announced. He had been on a kidney transplant waiting list for two years.

        Anchors Michelle Hopkins and Anne Marie Tiernon will fill in for her.

        Walker walks: Chuck Norris will pull the plug on his Walker, Texas Ranger action series this spring after seven years.

        “He's been a stalwart performer for us on Saturday night,” CBS Television President Les Moonves says. “He's done whatever we've asked him to do ... We're sorry to see it go.”

        Mr. Norris has been asked to make several Walker movies for CBS, as have been done after the series conclusion of The Rockford Files and Murder, She Wrote.

        All that Jazz: Here are my Top 10 favorite songs in order of appearance from tonight's fourth episode of Ken Burns' Jazz (9 p.m., Channels 48, 54, 16),a film called “The True Welcome” (1929-35):

        “Ain't Misbehavin,' ” Louis Armstrong and His Orchestra, 1929; “Dinah,” Louis Armstrong, 1933; “Lazy River,” Louis Armstrong and His Orchestra, 1931; “Stompin' At The Savoy,” Chick Webb and His Orchestra, 1934; “Rockin' in Rhythm,” Duke Ellington and His Orchestra, 1933; “Sophisticated Lady,” Duke Ellington, 1933; “Handful of Keys,” Fats Waller, 1929; “Down South Camp Meetin,' ” Fletcher Henderson and His Orchestra, 1934; “Tiger Rag,” Louis Armstrong, 1933; “King Porter Stomp,” Benny Goodman, 1935.

        A complete Jazz music list is posted on

        Talk show highlights: Tom Selleck appears on Live With Regis (9 a.m., Channel 9); Christine Baranski shows up on The View (11 a.m., Channel 9); Bette Midler joins Larry King Live (9 p.m., CNN).


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