The 39-year-old Screen Play WriterÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s calling started back when he was attending Trenton State College and when he was apart of a Black Drama Club over 25 years ago. Eddie and a colleague joined forces, wrote a skit and got other colleagues to act the respective roles. After watching
their skit transpire from the acting done by his colleagues and from the
response of the audience, Eddie knew he wanted to get into film.
He was amazed at the fact that people could laugh and
enjoy themselves from something he took part in writing, and at that moment,
EddieÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s passion to intrigue people with his work sent waves to the Universe and
the Universe responded without him knowing it. His purpose was discovered and his
destiny had been set! That moment got him to realize that he wanted to get into
film, maybe as a director or producer but more a director. One thing, he was curtained
at that moment that he did not want to be a writer. Having come to this
realization, Eddie quit college after 2 years, came back to Jersey City, the place he calls home.
When he was settled, Eddie wentÃ‚Â to NY on a quest and got a list ofÃ‚Â several production companies. He went from company to companyÃ‚Â asking ifÃ‚Â they needed an intern until he hit and was taken in by a production company whoÃ‚Â accepted him as an intern. They offered to feed him without pay.
During his internship with this company, Eddie learned the
craft of making music videos and commercials. Once he became knowledgeable and
knew who the networkers were, EddieÃ‚Â began shooting his own videos and commercials
for local talents for shoe-string budgets.Ã‚Â Being the visionary that he is,
Eddie produced work of great quality regardless of the budget! Although Eddie was
good at directing, as time went on heÃ‚Â realized that he did not like the headaches of
being a director but he knew he was full of creative ideas. One of which he calls the
Itty Bitty All Stars, which were NBA and WNBA Basketball players as children. Eddie
pitched this idea to a friend of his who drew the players as cartoon characters
and as children. The draft and presentation of the Itty Bitty All Stars were so
impressive that it made itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s way into the hands of Ray Murphy, the President at
Eddie Murphy Productions. Eddie was ecstatic! Immediately, Ray was impressed
with the draft and pitched the product around and in the interim, Eddie, the
positive opportunist, began to build a lasting business relationship with Ray
and Eddie Murphy Productions.
Though nothing flourished from Itty Bitty All Stars,
something else did. One day Eddie was in the office conversing with Ray and
noticed the script for Nutty Professor part 2 and says Ã¢â‚¬Å“whoa, you guys are
doing a part 2?Ã¢â‚¬Â Ray told him that theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re indeed working on the next one. At
this time EddieÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s heart began to palpitate but he kept his composure and asked
Ray if he could read the script. Ray advised Eddie that he was going to lunch
and that he could read the script. The moment Ray walked out of the office and
closed the door behind him, that office transformed into EddieÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s lab. Instantly
he became Ã¢â‚¬Å“in tunedÃ¢â‚¬Â and vehemently read the script. Waves from the universe
rushed through the windows, walls and doors of the building making their way to
Eddie. At this point he began to levitate while he read but he has no idea. The
script is a page turn so heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s reading and turning pages. While doing so, the
universe etched ideas into EddieÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s brain that cannot be erased. By the time Ray
came back from lunch, Eddie was done reading the script and told Ray that he
thought the script was amazing! But Ray said it was okay.
Eddie says Ã¢â‚¬Å“just okay?Ã¢â‚¬Â Ã¢â‚¬Å“What did Eddie think?Ã¢â‚¬Â Ray then
revealed that Eddie hated the script, told him to rip it up and hire their sixth
writer. He also went on to advise that they couldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t get reimbursed for the
script because they pay screen play writers in advance. Whoa, that was EddieÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s
light bulb moment! This is the moment he had been unknowingly looking for! From
that moment, he decided to look into screen play writing. He began to buy
scripts of movies that were already released from a peddler in New York and
studied them. Knowing he flunked writing twice in college, those scripts would
be his ticket to creative freedom as a Screen Play Writer. To him it was the
perfect time because Hip Hop artists were making the switch to doing movies. So
Eddie pitched the scripts he bought and later, were hired by several artists to
write their screen plays and heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s written them with a three to five day turn
around. Eddie’sÃ‚Â turn around was impeccable because he learned how to write screen
plays based on the scripts he bought which were final drafts. In other words,
Eddie has learned how to cut the fat! With his astuteness, pitch and network
with the right people, it landed him to writing over fifty screen plays of
different genres from Romance Comedy, Horror Films, Sci-Si, Television series,
Documentaries, including screen play for the film Zoo which is based on the Zoo
Crew Story. In other words Eddie respects the essence of diversity!
During his travels in the world of screen play writers
Eddie realized that there are more bad writers than there are good writers and
that Negro writers werenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t conceived to be good writers because they were known
to write urban and comedy. Unlike most writers, Eddie thinks outside the box!
He writes with intent to spark positive change in his viewers. His vision is to
see action figures, amusement park characters and cartoon characters for
characters he have written about. For those who ask a negative why about his
vision EddieÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s response is Ã¢â‚¬Å“why notÃ¢â‚¬Â. During this interview, Eddie went on to
talk about the story line to a script has written and is ready to pitch.
While listening to him tell the story with such intensity and passion, tears began to
formulate, I tried to hold them back but I couldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t because of his intensity
and because the story has many powerful messages given such circumstances of the
characters in the script. Eddie described his scripts with such passionÃ‚Â that I see him
telling short stories in time to come!
In closing Eddie advised that there are three thingsÃ‚Â that he lives by as a Screen Play Writer:
- RespectÃ‚Â for your talent
- RespectÃ‚Â for your crew
- RespectÃ‚Â the integrity of the project. Without these three factors, he advised that he
will want to have nothing to do with the project because the film with turn out
to be a disaster!
Though ardent, Eddie will write toÃ‚Â provoke growth and progress and his vision could never be defined! Stay tuned because Eddie Harris has much more to offer!
*Written by Author Arlene J Ramsey*