Talking about the Star and the Snowman

“I think there’s something here for a feature,” was all it took for director John Whitney to take his original short from 2000 and kickstart it into production almost 12 years later for a feature film called The Star and the Snowman.

Director John Whitney

Director John Whitney

On February 18, I had the pleasure to speak with the four very talented filmmakers, Whitney included, who just this last week reached their budgeting goal of $8000 to start this film. They plan to begin filming before the winter is over.

Whitney, director and creator of the short film on which the longer film is based, joined with screenwriter Bill Farmer, producer and actor Dino Tripodis, and producer Phil Garrett to share their backgrounds with me as well as plans for the the pre-production of the independent film.

This being Writers Talk, and me being an aspiring screenwriter myself, what I really wanted to focus on was what it takes to bring a story to life, both on paper and visually.

Image of Bill Farmer

Screenwriter Bill Farmer

Bill Farmer, who has written Hollywood screenplays including Jonah Hex, describes his writing methods. “You say, ‘okay, here’s where the story’s going,’ but then there’s that sort of … what I call the magic of the writing where other things present themselves as you start creating the characters and they start having a voice of their own. The characters invent themselves.”

When asking how I can possibly break into this business, I always get the same answers: “be assertive” and “get as much experience as possible” and the incredibly popular “it’s all about who you know.”

Image of Phil Garrett

Producer Phil Garrett

But interviewing with people like John, Dino, Phil, and Bill, I got to delve deeper into the motivation behind the actions; the reason why we all fight for the same position.

“You sacrifice for the things that you love to do,” says Dino Tripodis, who started in stand-up comedy, moved to radio hosting and is now producing and acting. “It doesn’t really seem like that much if you put it into perspective until you’re actually doing it … the things that you love.”


Image of Taylor Altier and Dino Tripodis

Taylor Altier with Actor/Producer Dino Tripodis

You can check out their interview with me or their movie page on IMDB or Kickstarter before and while the film is shooting.




-Taylor Altier

Image of Tayor Altier


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