Tom Benedek has written screenplays for Robert Zemeckis, Lawerence Kasdan, Lili Fini Zanuck and Richard Zanuck, David Brown, Ron Howard, Martin Scorsese, Sydney Pollack, Richard Rush, Harold Ramis, Lauren Schuler Donner and Richard Donner, Ray Stark, Brian Grazer, Working Title, Jersey Title, Jersey Film, Chris Blackwell and many others. He wrote the screenplay for Cocoon and other films.
He is a member of the Writers’ Guild of America, West and the Writers’ Branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. He teaches screenwriting at the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts and at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor where he is a James Gindin Visiting Artist. Tom is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst where he received a Bachelor’s Degree with Individual Concentration in Film.
He studied at L’Institut de Formation Cinematographique in Paris and is a graduate of the Director’s Program at the American Film Institute.
Also a visual artist, Tom’s photography can be viewed at TOMBENEDEK.COM.
In His Own Words:
Dramatic writing technique can be taught but most often the best insights and enunciations of plot and character in a piece of writing are discovered on the long, sometimes lonely road of creative process. I endeavor to equip students with the tools of screenwriting craft as well as to support the creative mindfulness which will help them to realize their goals. I believe that each writer’s creative path, his experience and method while writing, is of value in and of itself, apart from the resulting first draft or final shooting script. Every time we write we define ourselves, enunciate who we are and why we exist. Inescapably, we evolve emotionally whenever we write. The product — the writing, the script — is important but the emotional process of the writer in flow with his or her work deserves care and respect if each writer is to do the most resonant creative work. The writing workshop and the collaborative critiques shared with other class members support this process and help each student to envision and realize the best possible version onto paper and onto the screen. By reinforcing mastery of screenwriting technique and resourcefulness in their efforts to tap into themselves creatively, I seek to help students build and shape their cinematic visions.