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MSU Professor Connects Students to Hollywood Writers

With Hollywood thousands of miles away, it’s hard for Missouri State University film students to get the experience and advice they need. But Diana Botsford, an MSU screenwriting professor, spent a few days in San Diego at the sci-fi convention “Comic-Con” convention to make connections with industry professionals for her students. KSMU’s Kristian Kriner spoke to Diana Botsford by phone and files this report.

Joining me on the phone is Diana Botsford. Diana, you’ve spent a few days at a sci-fi convention called ‘Comic-Con.’ Can you describe to me what ‘Comic-Con’ is?

Botsford:“Well, there’s what it is and what it was. ‘Comic-Con’ was originated a few decades ago as a convention for comic book aficionados. People who owned, collected, wrote, draw, the whole bit. But, it soon became a pop culture celebration, particularly in regards to the science fiction, fantasy and horror, the more imaginative genres. You’ll have panel discussions with stars from different films. For instance, Tim Burton and Johnny Depp were here and they should footage from ‘Alice in Wonderland,’ which just finished production. It’s in post-production now. They shared some of the footage and they talked about the production. You have I would say about 30 percent of the people attending and there were 125,000 people, 30 percent of the people were dressed in costumes.”

What are you doing out there? What are your goals?

Botsford:“I was doing a variety of things. One of my goals out there was to network with writers, producers and directors to help enhance the film department’s internship program, so that was one of my objectives. I’m also a writer, so I had a couple of properties I was pitching. And then quite frankly, I am a geek as much as the next person, so there was a through or enjoyment of just being a part of this absolute celebration of pop culture.”

You say you are also a writer, what kinds of things are you writing right now?

Botsford:“I am under contract to write media tie in novels for ‘Stargate SG-1.’ I love it. It’s like writing for television without having to be in Hollywood. The books are really well-supported. You can see them in Barnes and Noble and Amazon and they’re all over the place. But, the franchise is a huge franchise. It’s a very successful franchise. It’s already had 15 seasons of the television show and is now starting a whole new series. ‘Stargate SG-1’ is the longest running science fiction series in North America on television, so it is wonderful to be apart of that. I’m very appreciative and I’m having a lot of fun writing for it.”

What are you learning at ‘Comic-Con’ that you can bring back to teach your film students?

Botsford:“What I am going to bring back to my classes is some new contacts for potential internships and so, we’ve done this before, but I have additional writers and producers that would be willing to do online chats with the students. You know, it’s an opportunity to reach out to Hollywood and talk to Hollywood without having to be there. So, getting the writers, producers, and directors to be willing to talk to them online in organized chats is terrific.”

I’ve been speaking with MSU film professor Diana Botsford, who attended the ‘Comic-Con’ convention in San Diego.

For KSMU News, I’m Kristian Kriner.