“The first draft was written over a decade ago,” reveals “Working Man” writer-director Robert Jury about the long process of getting his screenplay to the screen. “I had a pretty good sense that if I was going to get this movie made it would be something that I’d have to do independently … It’s taken us the better part of a decade to get here, but we’re really happy with the results.” Jury recently joined us for our “Meet the Experts” writers panel to discuss his craft. Watch our video interview above.
“Working Man” tells the story of Allery Parkes (Peter Gerety), a factory worker whose life revolves around his job so much that he keeps going to work every morning even after the factory closes down. The subject was personal to Jury, who “grew up around factory towns along the Mississippi River in the Midwest, in the Rust Belt, and I really hadn’t seen people like the folks that I grew up with on screen very often … I felt like I could maybe give this an element of authenticity that maybe a lot of other writers or filmmakers couldn’t.”
The story underwent a number of changes between that first draft and its eventual production. Jury explains, “I submitted it to the Film Independent screenwriting lab, was fortunate enough to get selected for that lab, and workshopped it with a really great mentor of mine named Meg LeFauve [Oscar nominee for co-writing ‘Inside Out‘] … For the next decade we tried everything under the sun to try to get the film made.”
After “numerous rewrites,” the film “finally got to a point … where the elements started to come together.” So maybe the long process made for a better film in the long run: “It was a great lesson for me as a writer, I suppose, better than rushing a piece of work and pushing to get it out there. I think our movie definitely benefited from this lengthy period of development.”
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