It was just six years ago that Al Lamanda, a resident of Little Sebago Lake, decided to do what his high school teachers told him he did best: Write. Since late in 2010, Lamanda, who has successfully published 21 novels and two screenplays, with a third one on the way, just returned from Hollywood and a Red Carpet Event. His second screenplay, “American Violence”, impressed Hollywood director, Timothy Woodward, Jr. so much that it has been turned into a film of the same name.
|Lamanda (right) with actor Michael Pare|
Released on February 3 in selected AMC theaters, the crime drama starring Denise Richards, Michael Pare and Bruce Dern is about a prominent psychologist, Dr. Amanda Tyler (played by Richards). Amanda wants to discover the root causes of violent behavior. As the film’s synopsis states: “Amanda receives, an opportunity to interview and analyze death row inmate Jackson Shea (played by up and coming actor Kaiwi Lyman-Mersereau.) As the interview commences, with Jackson's fate hanging in the balance, Amanda must determine whether or not a stay of execution should be granted.”
“It’s just like you would imagine,” Lamanda said, of his first Hollywood Premier. “The carpet really is red and there are photographers everywhere. There were at least 100 plus photographers that night constantly taking pictures. And that was even before Denise Richards arrived.”
The evening began with the arrival of Pare followed by Woodward and the rest of the actors and producers. Once the initial paparazzi fanfare was completed, the film and Lamanda were introduced and the first screening of “American Violence” commenced.
As with all Hollywood film screenings, an after-screening party occurred later in the evening. Here, Lamanda got the opportunity to meet and speak to the producers, actors and actresses including Richards. During his conversations with various producers and directors, Lamanda was asked to write another screenplay for a film consideration and that screenplay is in the process.
|Actress Denise Richards as Dr. Tyler|
Although his real focus is mystery and western novels, Lamanda who has authored such books as “This Side of Midnight”, “First Light” and “Dunston Falls”, came to screenwriting by accident. “A director friend asked if I would screen write a film for him,” Lamanda explained. “So, I gave it a shot. After opening and closing that film here in Maine, I thought I’d give it a try on my own.”
Because he was not traditionally trained as a screenwriter, he learned everything he knew from a book he checked out of the Windham Public Library.
Nominated for Edgar and Nero awards, Lamanda is working on his next screen play based upon his novel, “Sunset.” He will also be promoting three new books due to be published by the end of this year.
Lamanda’s rapid success bids some advice for other writers, who dream to be where he is now. “Perseverance, discipline and time management are skills one needs to be a writer,” Lamanda begins. “That - and, don’t listen to the ‘experts’.”
Initially told he could not be a screen writer because he did not go to school to learn how to do so, he did it anyway. He was also told he should have an author’s website to be a success. For those who wish to follow his blog, you may be disappointed. “I want to focus on the things I enjoy. Creating and maintaining a website takes away the time I want to spend on writing,” Lamanda explained. He also does very little public speaking.
“American Violence” will be in theaters until March 4th, 2017. At that point, the film will be available on DVD, Netflix and at Amazon.com.