MUSINGS OF A STORY MERCHANT

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Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Ken Atchity Featured in the UK Express: The hollywood producer and writer who loves making waves

KEN ATCHITY has quite literally been making waves on the Hollywood film scene.



Ken Atchity 


The writer, editor, literary manager and producer now operates the only wave generating tank in North America with his partners.
The Louisiana Wave Studio is a huge tank built originally by the Disney Company for their film the Guardian.

“We’ve filmed numerous movies there and it’s always an astonishing thing to watch in action,” says Ken, who is from Louisiana himself. “Waves from 2ft to 7ft can be made at the touch of a button.”

Wave generating tank
The 72-year-old now operates the only wave generating tank in North America
 
A brief look at Ken’s CV should leave no one surprised that he seized on the chance to try something unique and different.

He has spent a lifetime leaping into the unknown, from the moment he left Yale having won the university’s prestigious Porter Prize for his 853-page dissertation on Homer’s Iliad.

“When I told a great editor, Norman Cousins of the Saturday Review, that I was feeling claustrophobic in the Academic World he suggested I enter the world of entertainment where ‘anything goes’ and ‘nobody knows anything’ – to quote from William Goldman’s Adventures in the Screen Trade.

“A year later, I was the executive producer on 16 romance films in Montreal, Canada. I’ve never looked back.”

Ken had got the film-making bug and was soon rubbing shoulders with stars like Angelina Jolie, James Belushi, Tim Allen and Rupert Everett.

“Sure, there are plenty of stories,” says Ken. “I could tell you about the ‘trailer war’ between Tim Allen and Julie Bowen at the Target Center in Minneapolis during the shooting of Joe Somebody, but maybe I’d better stick to my walk-on role in that film as Jesse Ventura’s bodyguard!

Messiah
Atchity has written more than 20 books – including the novel The Messiah Matrix
 
“I’ll never forget the time, either, that we were filming in London and Maggie Gyllenhaal shot one of her scenes in Hysteria while her daughter was secreted underneath her ample Victorian bustle.

“Of all of them I loved working with Angelina because she’s so business-like about her acting—refusing even to take a toilet break so as not to hold up a shot.

“In contrast, I won’t name the actress who demanded that we buy her an $8,000 watch as a “gift”—then, when we politely refused, showed up hours late for the next day’s shoot.”

It’s words, though, that get Ken’s juices flowing. He has written more than 20 books – including the novels Seven Ways To Die, The Messiah Matrix and Brae Mackenzie – and when he isn’t doing it himself he is helping others navigate the publishing minefield. 
 
The Lost Valentine
The Lost Valentine is among Ken Atchity's film productions

Ken has made literally hundreds of film and television deals for storytellers wanting their books to be films - including movies, series and reality shows - since he began producing in 1987 after retiring from his tenured professorship at Occidental College. 

As a literary manager his authors have logged nearly 20 New York Times bestsellers. Added to that he is the creator of the free on-demand webinar presentation "Sell Your Story to Hollywood" for aspiring storytellers available at Real Fast Hollywood Deal. I bumped into him at the Dublin Writers’ Conference, run by the book promotion service Books Go Social.

“I have good time management skills and can keep my ego under control – things I learned from my high school and college Jesuit teachers,” says Ken. “They were the world’s toughest coaches.

“I’ve sold seven or eight scripts for the prodigious John Scott Shepherd, two of which have been made to date: Joe Somebody (with Tim Allen and Julie Bowen) and Life or Something Like It (Angelina Jolie, Ed Burns, Jim Belushi).

“Steve Alten’s Meg is the biggest sale I’ve made ($2.2 million to Doubleday-Bantam), and is finally going into production this summer starring Jason Statham and Bingbing Fan after about 15 years in development at three studios. 
 
Belushi and Ken Atchity
Ken had got the film-making bug and was soon rubbing shoulders with stars like James Belushi
Then there’s Jerry Blaine and Lisa McCubbins’ The Kennedy Detail which was a New York Times bestseller and was made into an Emmy-nominated film for Discovery. They plan to make it into a feature film next.

Ken is married to Kayoko Mitsumatsu, accomplished producer for NHK (Japanese National Television), and president of the non-profit YogaGivesBack.org (“For the cost of one yoga class you can change a life”). They have two children, Vincent and Rosemary, and four grandchildren.

With all that going on you would think he might be ready to wind down, but he doesn’t see it that way. 
 
Joe Somebody
Joe Somebody was one of the several scripts Ken Atchity sold for John Scott Shepherd
 
“Outside of family and friends, I now intend to give all my remaining energy to storytelling and storytellers,” says Ken. “I’ll continue teaching along the way through writers’ conferences and webinars, like my new one with Daniel Hall, which is called Sell Your Story to Hollywood.
 
Nothing else matters, though. Stories are how we change the world – for better or for worse.”

In Ken Atchity’s case, it seems there are still plenty more waves left in the tank.

Nick Rippington is a sports journalist with Express newspapers. He is also author of the UK gangland thriller Crossing The Whitewash.
 
Reposted from the Express UK
 
 

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