Shelly Frome, author of Murder Run, a professor of dramatic arts emeritus at the University of Connecticut, a former professional actor, play write, director, columnist, just to name a few hats he wears. I’m told he has written over twenty-five plays in addition to articles, novels, and non-fiction.
We are so delighted to have him visiting with us today. Thank you Shelly.
It is a pleasure to visit with you Susan.
Your fiction includes Twilight of the Drifter, The Twinning Murders, and Lilac Moon. His Hollywood crime caper Tinseltown Riff and your latest crime novel Murder Run, which was released in August.
Your non-fiction works are the acclaimed The Actors Studio and texts on The Art and Craft of Screenwriting and writing for the stage. Many people would love to know how to become a screenwriter. What is your book about exactly?
Unlike many handbooks on the subject offering surefire methods that often contradict one another; this book is an attempt to offer a variety of approaches in view of differing aims and sensibilities. To accomplish this, in addition to my own experiences and understanding, I interviewed a range of insiders. As a result, the introductory chapters cover basic essentials. The second part deals with options, such as engaging in a host of genres, indie films and adaptation. Part Three is a collection of the revealing interviews I engaged in in Hollywood and elsewhere in order to get deep within the realities.
Well indeed this would be a good book for people to read and study who want to be a screenwriter.
I want to get back to your newest novel, Murder Run. Tell us about it.
It’s a crime novel in which I wanted to explore what happens when a rank amateur unwittingly gets caught up in circumstances beyond his or her control. In this case, I picked the most unlikely amateur detective–a wayward handyman who finds himself grappling with the suspicious death of his employer, a fragile choreographer who secluded herself in the Litchfield Hills. As the fallout mounts, more mayhem takes place and leads begin to connect to the handyman’s past, the reader is taken to various locales in and around Manhattan, an escapade in Miami Lakes and back again to the hills of Connecticut until this twisty conundrum is finally laid to rest.
You got a great review from Peter Lefcourt, who won a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama Series.
I was lucky. Peter just happens to hail from the mean streets of New York before he became a fixture in Hollywood. In fact, there’s a full interview with him in my book on screenwriting relating to his background and unique vision. As for my crime novel, he said, “A terrific read, fast and funny, with well-drawn characters and a good deal of ambiance and charm.”
Tell us about your directing.
I directed my original screenplay The Royal Palm Ragamuffin Blues for Time-Warner’s Cable 5. I’ve also directed over sixty college, Community Theater and high school productions and thirteen original dance/theater pieces. You could say, my days as a New York starving actor, teaching acting and film at The University of Connecticut all those years, and the original plays I’ve written along with my directing experiences have a lot to do with my sense of what makes stories come to life on the page, stage and screen.
You are truly a busy man. We are so delighted you visited with us today. Please come back and keep us posted on your next book release.
Thank you, Susan, I surely will. In the meantime, I’m always happy to receive feedback from my column on screenwriting in Southern Writers Magazine.