Cinema professor wins trio of screenwriting awards

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April 02, 2012

Richard Brett is a man of many talents in the cinema industry – directing, editing, producing, and even operating the camera. Recently he won a trio of awards for doing what he loves best: Writing.

Brett, Associate Professor of Communication and Cinema, won three screenplay awards for his romantic comedy “Love is Blind.” These included first place in script contests for A/Exposure and Canadian GreenLight, and third place out of 760 entrants in the StoryPros International Screenwriting Contest in Los Angeles in December.

Since Brett won, A/Exposure has actively worked with him to nurture and refine his script and will eventually pitch it to dozens of agencies and production companies. The contest is sponsored by, the first international website created to act as a meeting place for global filmmaking talent.

StoryPros, a professional script analysis company, will also submit to production companies, and GreenLight, a website that provides new writers with industry exposure, posted his script online.

The core idea of his story is this: “Mandy doesn’t trust men, thinking they are only interested in her looks. So, in order to date her, Jonathan pretends to be blind.”

“Comedies I’ve always enjoyed are when a character is pretending to be something they are not,” said Brett. “Like Mrs. Doubtfire.” Although he is generally more comfortable in the drama, thriller and action genres, he knew that comedy had the ability to “get to our deeply rooted anxieties and fears through humor.”

Winning these contests gives Brett a sense of validation and relief, that “the stuff I’m teaching my students is valuable and worthwhile,” he said. “That I’m telling my students valid information.”

Brett, who received his M.F.A. in Broadcasting/Cinema from the University of North Carolina Greensboro, previously taught at his alma mater and St. Andrews College before coming to McDaniel in 2010. Here, his specialties include film production, scriptwriting, video editing and film analysis.

Brett has done work for both film and television, including winning CINE Eagle and Regional Emmy Awards and optioning two feature-length scripts, but contends that the best writing today is on the small screen, where writers enjoy freedom to explore their characters and indulge in more risks. Whereas the big screen, according to him, has largely been relegated to spectacle and big budget effects.

For inspiration his go-to is documentaries, to see how he can fictionalize real life. This summer he would love to start on a new project but is waiting for an idea to strike him.

“I feel like I’m dying if I’m not creating something.”

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