Scott Marcano [Interview]

 

Hey Folks! Happy Monday to you all! I have to preface this interview by stating that this is an interview that I have been hoping to get since I began this site in that lonely Mississippi hotel room almost 9 years ago. Today’s amazing interview subject, Scott Marcano, is a man who was involved with a certain film that shaped not only my childhood, but my interpretation, for better or worse, of what adulthood could possibly be, even if it wasn’t the path I would myself follow. As we will learn in the text below, Scott worked on the absolutely incredible and highly underrated film Bio-Dome, which I simply could not get enough of when I was a kid of a certain age. On a much smaller scale, I am a 90’s Pauly Shore movies that aren’t Son-In-Law loyalist in the vein of the Star Wars prequel loyalists, with Bio-Dome being the absolute pinnacle fo them all. I feel like I relate to these categories because we can see the faults, but goddammit they mean SO much to us. I was an innocent. And Mr. Marcano created a highly original film that was just so damn much fun, in a time when we could still imagine that fun was something we could put on a screen.

I will not apologize for my love of this film, and I have no reason to apologize, only pride, in the fact that we have the incredible Scott Marcano gracing our digital pages today! As per usual, I learned that Scot has been involved with a plethora of amazing projects throughout a decades spanning career, including work with a new friend of ours. Details are below. You’re going to love this, Folks. A huge thank you to Marcano for joining the TWS family. We are honored to have you here.

So Folks, please enjoy some incredible words from the brilliant Scott Marcano! Enjoy!

 

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What inspired you to get into the world of entertainment? Was it something that you have aspired to do since your youth? Or did you happen to find yourself in this world one day?  

I’ve always been interested in storytelling, ever since I was very young, it’s just been something I understood and knew how to do.  I was shy as a kid, but one of the things that got me out of my shell in middle school was telling ghost stories to my friends. By the time I was in High School, I was making my own little comic books and writing short stories.  I didn’t think I could actually get a job in the entertainment industry until I was in my second year at UC Santa Cruz and I started taking film classes, then I applied to the film program at NYU – to my shock I got in and that’s when I focused full time on working in the entertainment industry.  Things went full circle for me as several years after I made it as a successful screenwriter I was able to start my own comic book company, so now I find myself back to where I was in High School, making little comic books!  

  

What was your very first paid gig in the world of entertainment? And were there any sort of lessons learned from this experience that still affects your work today?  

My first gig was when I was hired for $600 to write a script for two producers who had a deal at Fox.  I was still in film school at the time and I was thrilled to be paid anything to write. I was recommended for the job by a buddy of mine who was already writing big studio projects – he thought the money was ridiculous, but I was like—yay! Pizza money!  It turned out to be a big deal as the script was picked up by MGM and later become Bio-Dome starring Pauley Shore. I still get checks for the that silly film. The lesson I learned is never turn down a paying job (or cool job for that matter). You really never know where it will lead.  That little writing job started my whole career.  

 

While I know that some people may take issue with me saying this, because the term gets tossed around a bit too much….but the 1996 project you co-wrote entitled Bio-Dome is an absolute CLASSIC in mine eye. Granted, I was 11 years old when the film came out, and I was in love with it, but I still continue to love it to this day. So, that being said, I am curious to know what drew you to working on this zany buddy comedy that defined a generation (in my opinion)? And what are your thoughts on the legacy of the film?  

I really love Bio-Dome.  I got a lot of stick about it when it first came out because it was so zany and there was a big anti-Pauly Shore backlash right after it came out.  The critics hated it, but I always thought it was just a lot of good clean fun and they were being way to harsh about it. I also like it because, unlike a lot of comedies, it really did have a point to make about the environment.  It was a total blast to write. I was drawn to the pitch about making an environmental comedy and also the prospect of actually being paid to write – it wasn’t a lot of money, but I was very flattered at the time to be paid anything to be creative.  Me and my writing partner Kip Koenig would just hang out in my tiny apartment, trying to make each other fall over laughing as we wrote jokes for the script. We never thought it would lead to anything at the time, which really freed up our minds to just to be whacky and crack each other up. 

Later on, when it was being filmed, it wasn’t as fun as the writing part was mostly over and we were just spectators as it was being filmed, but still it was a good time hanging out on the set. One of my favorite memories, was Pauly Shore calling me up in the middle of the night to complain about a line he thought was misspelled.  The line was “If we stay in this Bio-Dome any longer we’re going to turn into the Doner Party!” We were referencing the Doner Family that ate eat other when they were stuck in a blizzard in the Sierra Mountains in the 1800s. But Pauly I guess had never heard about them. He kept insisting that I had misspelled “dinner party” – I tried to explain it to him over and over again, but he just didn’t get it.  I finally had to change the line to make him happy. Funny enough, that film has really aged far better than anyone thought it would. As I said, I still get checks for it all the time because it’s always on TV. I think the legacy of the film is very satisfying. I’m really happy people like yourself enjoyed the film and it put smiles on a lot of faces. I’m very proud of it, even if it is a bit zany to say the least.  

 

The year prior you were also involved with another project that I absolutely adore still to this day, a film written by our dear friend and past guest Rich Wilkes entitled Glory Daze. How did you manage to become a part of this project? And how was your experience in doing so?    

Me and Rich were close friends from UC Santa Cruz and we were roommates while I was studying film at USC.  Rich had sold the script to Glory Daze when he was still at AFI, so he was making some big bucks as a screenwriter when I was still in grad school.  He’s actually the one who threw me a bone by recommending me to the Bio-Dome producers. Rich didn’t need $600 to write a script because he was making bank at the time (still is!), so he told them to hire me.  Really nice of him to do that. Glory Daze was about his senior year at Santa Cruz and all our friends. Rich was going through a lot that year with a ex-girlfriend and really didn’t want to leave college, so he wrote this kick-ass script about all his coming-of-age angst.  I wasn’t there senior year to console him because I had transferred to NYU, but I knew all the people and events he wrote about, so I had a really keen sense of the story he was going for. I read the script many times as he worked on it and told him I thought it was excellent. 

I wasn’t involved in the filmmaking most of the time, however, other than to offer encouragement and recommend to Rich that he cast our mutual friend “Vinnie” as the character based on him. I’m actually kinda glad I wasn’t around on set with those guys because I heard all the war stories of how the shoot went up in Santa Cruz and it sounded like things got really crazy.  I’d tell you how crazy, but I took a vow of silence to never reveal all the details. I’ll just say, those guys had a lot of fun. I did manage to get my toe in the production in a funny back-door sorta way. Me and Rich were playing together in a punk band at the time and one day Rich asked me to help him record an old drunken beer song he’d written back in college called “Sports Pack” that he wanted to put on the soundtrack.  It was a total blast, Rich got a professional recording studio for us and talked one of the members of the Vandals to be the producer of the song. It came out pretty good I must say, a classic punk song about shot-gunning beer. I should get out my Glory Daze soundtrack and give it a listen again soon. I haven’t rocked out to it in awhile. 

  

You tend to wear a lot of proverbial hats in the world of filmmaking, filling many different roles from writing and producing to directing as well. I am curious to know which one you prefer the most? If you were only able to work in one of the fields for the rest of your career, which would it be?

I’m kind of a jack of all trades by necessity.  I started out studying to be a director, but I was pegged as a writer because that’s how I broke into the business.  Later I had to start producing in order to get some of my projects off the ground. I definitely find producing to be the least satisfying, but most necessary of all my skills.  I really enjoy writing because that’s where the rubber meets the road in terms of creativity, it’s just you and a blank piece of paper. Everyone else gets to work with something (namely a script), but the writer has the most challenging job, I think because they have to initiate everything and make it work.  I love the challenge of that. As I’ve gotten older, however, I’ve become more interested in directing because I really enjoying managing the film from the beginning to end. At this point, I’d love to direct if I had to choose one thing to do the rest of my career.  

 

 If you were handed the opportunity to create the biopic of any legendary figure from world history, who would it be?

Funny you should ask, I’m actually fascinated by this rather obscure figure from history, a conquistador named Martin Lopez who was with Cortez during the conquest of Mexico.  I’m working on a script about him as we speak. I’ve always found the whole story of the war between the Spanish and the Aztec Empire to be the greatest saga of history that’s never been properly told.  Martin Lopez was a mere carpenter working for Cortez, but he was a very brilliant man and his ingenuity turned the whole conflict in Cortez’s favor (for better of worse). I won’t give it all away, but his story is one of these great tales of a smart guy who changed the whole world by using his brains, not brawn – it’s the story of the a regular person who for a few months became the most important man on the planet and changed the lives of millions of people, and then was largely forgotten by time and circumstance. 

However, I also have had a passion project for years that I want to get produced about Rube Foster, the legendary black pitcher who founded the negro leagues. Foster changed the lives of a generation of African Americans and made Jackie Robinson’s heroics possible. He was an absolute genius who worked tirelessly to fight racism and prove African Americans were not only the equal of whites on the field, but also in business. His story is phenomenal and he was an incredibly complex, colorful figure, imagine Eddie Murphy, Notorious BIG and PT Barnum all rolled up into one – that was Rube.  I’d love to get my project about him off the ground one day. 

 

What does the future hold for you? Anything you would like to plug to our readers?

 I have several really great film projects that look like are going into production soon.  One is a film I wrote, Mort In Sherman Oaks, that is set to be filmed later this year. It’s a dark comedy (along the lines of She) where in the future they can tell you your exact “death date” – and this shy mortician named Mort finds out he has a year to live and tries to fall in love before it’s too late.  It’s one of my favorite scripts I’ve written. Keep an eye out for it!  

 

What was the last thing that made you smile?

 I try to smile a few times every day no matter what, but my kids just made me smile a little while ago – they were doing an impression of me, imitating my booming voice as I babbled on about something and picked my nose.  Very accurate I must say. 

About rontrembathiii
write. write. write.

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