Film writers panel: ‘Cherry,’ ‘Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,’ ‘One Night in Miami,’ ‘Sound of Metal’ [EXCLUSIVE VIDEO INTERVIEW]

When did today’s top screenwriters first know they wanted to be a writer and filmmaker? Is it harder to adapt or write something from scratch? Which films or filmmakers do they love and often revisit?

These were just some of the questions answered by four top scribes during Gold Derby’s Meet the Experts Q&A panel. Watch our full group chat with Jessica Goldberg and Angela Russo-Otstot (“Cherry”), Ruben Santiago-Hudson (“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”), Kemp Powers (“One Night in Miami”) and Darius Marder (“Sound of Metal”) above. Click each individual name above to view each person’s individual interview.

“I’m a storyteller first,” declares multi-hyphenate Santiago-Hudson when asked about when and why he wanted to be a writer. “If you block me in acting, I go to writing. If you block me in writing, I’ll direct. If you block me in directing, I go fishin’,” he smiles. “It’s the loneliest profession in the world, but man is it gratifying when people like you give us some appreciation,” Santiago-Hudson says on behalf of the group.

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All four of our panelists also took part in separate individual interviews that delved deeper into their own films. Watch each of these by clicking on their names below.

Goldberg and Russo-Otstot adapted “Cherry” from Nico Walker‘s semi-autobiographical novel of the same name. Russo-Otstot’s career has included writing for ABC sci-fi series “V,” TNT drama series “Trust Me,” and FX’s Emmy-winning drama “The Shield.” Goldberg, originally a playwright, Goldberg’s play “Refuge” premiered off-Broadway and won the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize. She later went on to adapt and direct it as a film and has also written for TV projects such as Netflix’s “Away,” Hulu’s “The Path” and NBC drama series “Parenthood.”

Santiago-Hudson adapted “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” from the late August Wilson‘s acclaimed play of the same name. The actor/writer/director is best known for  his performances in films “Blown Away” (1994) and “The Devil’s Advocate” (1997) and as Captain Roy Montgomery in the long-running ABC crime dramedy “Castle.” Prior to adapting “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” his second screenplay to date, he was nominated for an Emmy for writing his 2005 TV movie “Lackwanna Blues,” his first screenplay, adapted from his play and also directed by “Ma Rainey” director George C. Wolfe.

Powers has previously been best known as a writer on CBS All Access’ “Star Trek: Discovery.” He’s having a breakthrough year, racking up accolades for adapting “One Night in Miami” and also writing and co-directing Pixar’s latest hit “Soul.” Powers adapted “One Night in Miami” from his 2013 one-act stage play of the same name, and it is directed by Oscar and four-time Emmy-winning actress Regina King in her feature directorial debut.

Marder directed and co-wrote “Sound of Metal” with his brother Abraham Marder, based on a story by Marder and writer/director Derek Cianfrance. Previously, Marder is best known for his 2008 documentary “Loot,” which he directed, wrote, produced an edited, and for his collaboration with Cianfrance on the screenplay for 2012 crime thriller “The Place Beyond the Pines.”

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