Script for Sale: A Dream is Not Enough

The Motion Picture and Television Fund (MPTF) has a rich history. It was created by industry legends such as Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, and D.W, Griffith, amongst others,  with the intent of providing assistance to those in the motion picture industry who were in need. In 1921, the Motion Picture Relief Fund (MPRF) was incorporated with Joseph M. Schenck as first president, Pickford as vice president and the Reverend Neal Dodd (who portrayed ministers in more than 300 films) as administrator. The original Board of Trustees included many of the biggest names in Hollywood at the time — Charles Christie, Cecil B. DeMille, and Douglas Fairbanks Sr.

Today, the Motion Picture & Television Fund Foundation has been established with Jeffrey Katzenberg (The ‘K’ in Dreamworks SKG) as Founding Chairman. The Fund, as it is sometimes known, is limited in its resources, but that doesn’t stop them from providing care to retired industry professionals.

MPTF is also a place where dreams can come true. Just ask resident Ben Resella, who wants to sell his first screenplay. Not an unusual dream, but Ben has already “made it” once in Hollywood. For decades he worked on movie sets as a scenic designer and painter in the Philippines before finding his way into Hollywood. But that never kept him from his dream of writing. Even though he’s never so much as pitched a story to anyone, Ben is determined to try and sell his  screenplay. He will not be denied his chance because it  might be his last one. Ben is 91 years old.

Ben became the subject for Script for Sale, a documentary directed by Marie Tang for MPTF’s Channel 22,  a small operation on The Wasserman Campus with limited resources and equipment. Channel 22 provides original programming for residents of the Fund, and allows them to get involved in the process of bringing the programs to life on their closed-circuit TV station.

Marie Tang with Ben Resella

According to Tang, “Script for Sale was an idea that was inspired by MTV’s Made, a series which took a regular person out of their comfort zone and partnered them with a mentor to help achieve a specific goal. With {Ben}, I saw a 90 year old man who had all the ambitions of most fellow filmmakers my age and it saddened me to think that his dreams were less likely to happen due to the lack of opportunities. Knowing that Ben’s transformation from scenic artist to screenwriter would take time and patience, I thought that Channel 22 could create a program that would help support his goals in a shorter amount of time. Ben’s journey could then be duplicated as a series for other residents who have a very specific goal. Sounds easy! Well, maybe not for a beginning filmmaker and a new television station. With the support of Ben’s family, those involved with Channel 22, and screenwriter Steve Mazur as Ben’s mentor, I started documenting Ben’s drive and ambition.”

As co-producer on the film, I can say that Ben’s journey is a truly inspiring one. Being part of this phenomenal project has been wonderful, because Ben has served as a constant inspiration to me in terms of my own writing. At 91, his passion and determination can rival those of people half his age. His spirit and positive attitude, no matter how tough the journey gets,  can teach that dreams are worth pursuing at any cost, no matter who, or what, stands in the way. His thirst for life, and learning, is definitely contagious. I pass on Ben’s words to my own readers, “A Dream is Not Enough.”

The documentary, which explores a year in Ben’s screenwriting life, will have its world premiere at LA’s Laemmle’s Sunset 5 on Saturday, June 5th, as part of the Dances with Films Festival.

Ben’s life has inspired me, and with this film, it can hopefully continue to inspire others.

For ticketing information and to watch the trailer, please go to www.mptvfund.org/scriptforsale

Until next time…

The Accidental Blogger

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5 Comments

Filed under Inspiration

5 responses to “Script for Sale: A Dream is Not Enough

  1. Just curious…You say Ben says, “A dream is not enough.” Did he say what else was needed?

    Blessings,

    Elena

    http://elenasjustmythoughts.wordpress.com

  2. The Accidental Blogger

    Elena, thank you for the comment. What Ben means is, having the dream is not enough. You need to go out and pursue it and turn it into a reality. Having the dream, and wanting it to come true, will not make it happen without passion, determination, and action.

    I hope this helps!

    The Accidental Blogger

  3. I agree….thanks for sharing. This is a great article, inspiring. Elena

  4. Mari

    Wow Sahag! I believe with each project you work on, you outdo yourself! I can’t wait to watch Script for Sale!

  5. Pingback: ‘Script for Sale’ premiere = success « The Accidental Blogger

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