by Carolan Trbovich Mar. 30, 2017  

Flying in from Hollywood, Academy Award and Golden Globe winning screenwriter of Birdman, Alexander Dinelaris, will be the guest speaker at the Urbanite Theater on Tuesday April 4 from 6:45pm-9 pm. Dinelaris coproduced the film Revenant with Leonardo DiCaprio and was the book writer for Gloria and Emilio Estefan's Broadway musical, On Your Feet. Alex will be sharing how his work in the theater influenced some of the most memorable scenes in Birdman and will give and inside look at his writing process. The Urbanite will also be screening the short film The Mulberry Bush that was selected for the Tribeca Film Festival last year.

Mr. Dinelaris granted an interview for BroadwayWorld, setting the stage for this intimate evening with one of today's most talented and sought after writers.

Can you tell us of an event or individual that influenced or inspired you to start a career in screenwriting.

"I was interested in sports in school and was playing baseball my junior year when my high school drama teacher approached me for a role in Fiddler on the Roof. From then on, I was ruined for life and wanted to be a theater director!"

What do you like about writing? What do you dislike about writing?

"I like being finished! I love watching the actors take over and bring the story to life. I also enjoy watching the audience reaction. I hate the rest! It's not always a joyful process."

Many screenwriters claim they are more prolific at character development, plot progression, or dialogue. What would you say are your strongest attributes as a writer?

"I am often complimented on my dialogue but I really feel my strength is in my structure. Structure comes from my theater background. Writers need to be disciplined and have structure. I cannot stress structure enough.'

How did the idea for Birdman come about and what process was taken to develop the story and write the screenplay?

"I was writing the book for the musical Bodyguard in Puerto Rico when Alejandro G. Iñárritu called and said he wanted to do a film - a dark comedy in one cut, not cinematic in nature but produced more like theater. It took 2 years writing and developing from concept to screen, but we birthed Birdman!"

What are you working on presently?

"I am writing a draft for Michael Fassbender about the horrific 1991 murder of 13 women. The Working Title is Entering Hades. We should be shooting this by the end of the year. I'm also happy to be working with Gloria Estefan on her animated movie about a bull in Spain. I just finished 10 scripts for a TV show titled One Percent airing next spring, and in the fall I will be directing an adaptation of the play Still Life."

What is your favorite film, play, musical?

"Love, love, love the film Amadeus and I look to it as a source of inspiration. I can watch it over and over again. My all time favorite musical is Sunday in the Park with George. As far as favorite play, I have to go with Millennium Approaches."

What advice do you have for future screenwriters who want to follow your path?

"Read! Read everything. I especially enjoy the works of Arthur Miller and August Wilson. I think a writer is kidding himself if he thinks he can just jump in and write. I didn't have enough money to finish college but I was given a lot of help. I committed myself to learn from others and to read books, poetics, everything. I can't stress enough how important structure is. Structurally, I know where my story is going to begin and where it will end. I am sometimes surprised at the middle though, so I like reading back over a completed project once it comes together and delight in the way the pieces all connect."

Do you have future aspirations?

"Yes! I would love to direct a play in New York."

If one thing can be said about Alexander Dinelaris, aside from noting his abundance of talent, he clearly loves to work. He wears his creative gifting by easily crossing genres from theatre to film to animation. Whether embodied as the writer or director, you can bet your going to see some powerful work that was intensely researched, well structured and genuinely thought provoking. He is charming and articulate as he addresses his craft with a passion. Someone of his distinguished caliber coming to Sarasota speaks so highly of his dedication to the industry and is a pat on the back for our city's recognition of its contribution and reverence for the arts.

This event will benefit the theater Production Company Throughline Artists, a not-for-profit 501(c)(3). Throughline Artists produces a play festival in New York City every year called "Summer Shorts," at 59E59 Theaters (now in its 11th year). The "Stage to Screen Initiative" was designed to adapt premiere festival plays into films. Stage to Screen film 10 K by Neil LaBute will be screened at the Sarasota Film Festival on April 1 and April 3.

Full info on the event can be found at:

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