News Release: April 10, 2008
Screenwriter Tom Schulman to Receive WGAW's 2008 Valentine Davies Award
2008 Award Recipient
Award-winning screenwriter and Writers Guild of America West Board of Directors member Tom Schulman is set to receive the WGAW's prestigious Valentine Davies Award, recognizing both his writing legacy and valued service to the WGAW, the entertainment industry, and community at large. He will be feted, among other honorees, at the Guild's 2008 Honorary Awards Luncheon on April 23 at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel in Los Angeles.
“Tom is a friend and colleague whose tireless work for our Guild and its Foundation has built an unprecedented bridge between writers and the community at large. His service is a perfect blend of an individual who can't stop helping and organizations that can't stop asking,” said WGAW President Patric M. Verrone.
A WGAW member since 1986, Schulman currently serves on the WGAW's Board of Directors, having been elected to his seat in 2005. From 1998 to 2002, Schulman also served as the President of the Writers Guild Foundation. In 2002, he was elected as Vice President of the Foundation and is currently serving as one of its vice presidents.
Among many Foundation projects, Schulman was an instrumental force behind Words Into Pictures, a popular film and television writers forum that drew sizeable crowds when first held in 1997 and again in 1999 and 2002. He served as chair of the WIP Organizing Committee in 1997 and as a member of the Committee in 1999 and 2002. Offering a public dialogue between Hollywood's top writers, agents, executives, producers, directors, and critics, Words into Pictures explored vital entertainment industry issues through a comprehensive series of panel discussions, interviews, script readings, and case studies.
While WGF President, Schulman launched the Foundation's informative Writers on Writing speaker series, educational book drives and a number of literacy-focused efforts to positively impact the local community - the strongest legacy of which is the WGF's High School Workshop Program. Over the years, Schulman has served on many Foundation committees, including the Writers Guild Foundation Industry Support Fund, established to provide below-the-line industry workers impacted by the recent WGA strike with emergency assistance for food, housing, medical needs, and other expenses. As a result of numerous Guild member-driven benefit events and other fundraising efforts, the Industry Support Fund has so far raised $400,000 going toward industry workers and their families.
Schulman has been active in the WGAW for many years, participating in several Guild committees, including: the WGA Negotiating Committee (1998, 2001, and 2004), Co-Chair of the Committee for the Professional Status of Writers (1995-Present), Co-Chair, Screenwriters Council (1999-2005), Screen Laurel Awards Committee (2000), and Officer Nominating Committee (2005). Schulman also currently serves as Chair of the Guild's Pension & Health Trustee Review Committee.
Graduating from Vanderbilt University with a B.A. in Philosophy, Schulman studied film at the USC Graduate School of Cinema and The Actors and Directors Lab, Los Angeles. Later, he directed the Actors' Studio, West production of Harold Pinter's The Caretaker.
Over the past two decades, Schulman has penned several critical and commercial hit films, including his acclaimed screenplay for Dead Poets Society (1989), for which he received an Academy Award (Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen), as well as a Writers Guild Award nomination (Best Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen) the same year. His other screen credits include: What About Bob? (1991, story by Alvin Sargent and Laura Ziskin), Honey, I Shrunk the Kids (1989, co-written by Ed Naha, story by Stuart Gordon & Brian Yuzna & Ed Naha), Medicine Man (1991, co-written by Sally Robinson from a story by Schulman), Holy Man (1998), and Second Sight (1989, co-written by Patricia Resnick). He wrote and directed Eight Heads in a Duffel Bag (1996) and served as executive producer on Indecent Proposal (1993) and Me, Myself, & Irene (2000). Most recently, Schulman wrote and produced the feature comedy, Welcome to Mooseport (2004, screenplay by Schulman, story by Doug Richardson).
The WGAW's Valentine Davies Award is given to writers who have contributed to the entertainment industry and community at large, bringing dignity and honor to the profession of writing everywhere. Past Valentine Davies recipients include Fay Kanin, Hal Kanter, Phil Alden Robinson, Norman Lear, Neal Baer, Irma Kalish, and last year's honoree, Larry Gelbart.