Glenwood Councilman’s Screenplay A Finalist In LA-based Film Festival
Glenwood city councilman Jeremy Wade Rodman can add another line to his resume.
The professional sound recordist, part-time Glenwood Community School District bus driver and now writer has penned a screenplay that has been accepted into competition at the seventh annual Die Laughing Film Festival in Los Angeles.
“I was pretty excited when I opened the email,” said Rodman, when notified his 80-page screenplay “Last Tour” would be among the competition. “It’s kind of cool, having other people recognize something you put your passion into is awesome.”
The Die Laughing festival accepts both comedy and horror films and screenplays from all over the world. This year’s event will be in-person May 6-7 at The Complex, a popular theater venue located in Santa Monica. Rodman and his wife, Daisy, plan to be in attendance at the event.
Rodman describes “Last Tour” as a coming-of-age, road comedy in the vein of 80s dead body comedy “Weekend at Bernie’s” meets the Russell Brand starrer “Get Him to the Greek.” The plot revolves around a group of college age friends who steal the body of a recently deceased rock star and take him on one last final drug-fueled tour. The characters and interactions are loosely autobiographical.
“Names have been changed to protect the innocent,” Rodman quipped.
The story is partly inspired by Rodman’s own “misspent youth,” his love of road movies and a late-night conversation in 2007 about the strange legal battle over the body of musician James Brown, which was at that time lying in an Atlanta cold storage facility.
“He (James Brown) had just died, and his family was fighting over his estate and his body for seven months,” he said. “All of that, his estate, just got finalized last year. But back then we were sitting around drinking and talking about it and someone said we should just run down there, he’s the godfather of soul, and liberate him. That’s kind of where the idea came from.”
He had those seeds of on idea “written in his head” for a few years but didn’t begin putting it down on paper until the COVID-19 pandemic hit. He’d never written a feature length screenplay before but had penned a few short films, one of which was produced a few years ago. To prepare for writing the script he read several screenwriting books and relied on the Writer’s Guild of America screenplay guidelines; a “crash course in formatting,” Rodman called it.
“I sat down and started plugging through and putting it together as a script,” he said. “I’d never written anything this long before.”
Rodman went through 10 drafts of the script before he felt comfortable sending it out. Last year, he sent it out to a handful of festivals. He was notified April 15th “Last Tour” was accepted into the competition. Die Laughing accepts around 40 screenplays a year, Rodman said, and they hand out more than a dozen awards.
Rodman, who has served on the Glenwood council since 2016, is still waiting to hear the returns on a few other film festivals.
“I’d like to see what the interest is and maybe get some more laurels on the poster-kind of thing,” he said. “I would love to actually see it on the screen someday. If someone wanted to pick it up and run with it, I’d be open to that, too.”
Rodman’s thought about producing “Last Tour” himself depending on the budget. With some more positive reactions at festivals, he didn’t rule out crowdsourcing a production.
He has, however, ruled out directing the film himself.
“I’m a sound guy so I’m usually not the guy giving directions. I have a few friends who would definitely be good directors. As a producer I would hire them as a director and do it that way. Working with a lot of different directors as a sound guy I’ve gotten a lot of insight into what actors need from a director and I don’t know if I have the skillset to give them that.
“Being on a set, I know my limitations. I would still probably be the sound guy on it. Producer, writer, sound guy, that sounds good.”