Parents, next time your children ask you for film school tuition, tell them “Get a job in radio”. Mike Rich’s first screenplay, Finding Forrester, was written while he was working as the director of morning news at KINK in Portland
Here’s Mike at work, before Gus Van Sant decided to gamble on that first screenplay.
Rich first learned to write and to do radio in Enterprise, pop. 1,900, where he grew up. In this interview, he observes “The overall goal of screenwriting is the same as news writing. It’s just done in a different and polar opposite way.” In making this transfer of skills from the newsroom to Hollywood, Rich was entering a tradition pioneered by Ben Hecht.
Here’s the ex-radio journalist, ten years later, helping to celebrate the career of fellow Oregonian James Ivory at the Oregon Sesquicentennial Film Festival in 2009. This photo, snapped by Shawn Levy using his cell phone, includes (clockwise ) James Ivory, Mike Rich, Bill Plympton, and Gus Van Sant.
Q: What do these four Oregon artists share in common?
A: All four produce their own work. All four choose to hold the reins of their economic destiny in their own hands. Mike Rich began executive producing his own work with his fourth script, The Nativity Story (2006) and continued with Secretariat (2010).