October 13, 2012 | 11:00 AM
Amy Jacobowitz wrote her Four Stories-winning script during a quiet car ride after a crazy weekend in Las Vegas. While driving back to her LA home, she sketched out a unique, 21st century love story that captured the imagination of the judging panel. Lee Krieger, the director of the recent feature film Celeste and Jesse Forever, is slated to helm Amy's debut at W Doha Hotel & Residences.
Amy graduated from UCLA in 2011 and works in PR, marketing, and brand design for production companies in LA. But filmmaking is Amy's first love, and due to her fantastic script, Modern/Love, she'll be heading to Doha to see her screenplay get made into a film. The Ultrabook™ Experience team talked to Amy by phone days after she found out that her script was chosen as one of the four winning screenplays. She was, as expected, ecstatic.
Congratulations, Amy. How did you hear about Four Stories, and what made you decide to enter?
Amy Jacobowitz: I heard about it from my usual media rounds about goings-on in the film industry. A co-worker urged me to enter, but I didn't really have much of an idea. But on my way back from an amazing trip to Las Vegas with some friends, I figured out the story I wanted to tell. Inspiration struck.
And what was that inspiration?
That the Ultrabook needed to be a character. It can't just be in the background. It's going to be the conduit for some form of action. Then I thought of writing a non-traditional love story, situating a young, stylish couple in an environment that would seem natural to them—a W Hotels destination. W Hotels are so beautiful and well-known.
What is Modern/Love about?
It's about an internet romance, people meeting up and finding a connection. I love the tone of movies like Before Sunrise and Before Sunset. I usually don't write things that are so sweet, but Modern/Love called for a kind of sweetness between the two characters that I created. Not all love needs to be an endless, triumphant kind of situation. Some things can be bittersweet. So I wrote about two characters meeting for the first time through their Ultrabooks and finding a not-quite-perfect romance.
Do you think setting the screenplay inside W Hotels helped establish the tone of your movie?
Yeah, W Hotels are a kind of fantasy. And hotels are such interesting places. A good friend of mine worked at a hotel, and he'd have the most interesting stories. So I thought of the setting as an almost mythical place.
So you didn't feel constrained by the parameters of the contest?
No, the story naturally emerged after I considered the parameters.
How did the contest rules help the story evolve?
I knew off the bat that W Hotels were a great setting for a young, stylish couple. After that, I felt the best way for making the Ultrabook a character was to use it as a conduit for the characters' interaction. That suggested that the relationship these characters would be building should be remote. The tension between being able to communicate with someone like you are close by and the apprehension of physically being close to someone was the overall theme that I tried to develop.
Since your film is about Internet romance, I have to ask: Are you a big Internet dater?
No, no luck in that department, but I do spend a lot of time video chatting with my best friend in Arizona. I can't overstate how much technology benefits my relationships with friends and family. My sister lives in Sacramento, and we Skype all the time.
Are you excited to travel to Doha?
Well, I am super excited about getting the film made. I'm going to be in the Middle East shooting a movie that I wrote on my way back from Vegas. I saw Lee Toland Krieger's edits on my script, and he is really awesome. Overall, it feels very surreal.
Anything else to add?
Just wanted to shout out the group of writers that I regularly meet with in LA. They helped me edit the screenplay a great deal. Also, I want to thank W Hotels and Intel for this amazing opportunity. Getting to work with top-notch film talent and learning from this process has been fantastic.