By Lucy Verlaque
Elm Staff Writer
In the last Sophie Kerr Screenwriters Series event of the fall semester, award-winning novelist and screenwriter Ron Currie, Jr. spoke at the Rose O’Neill Literary House on Thursday, Nov. 9.
Currie is the fourth guest the Literary House hosted as part of the Screenwriters Series. He published three novels and a collection of short stories, which were available for purchase at the event. Most recently, he worked as a writer for the 2023 Apple TV+ series “Extrapolations.” According to Apple TV+, the series is about “Eight interconnected stories told over 33 years [that] explore how our planet’s changing climate will affect family, work, faith — and survival.”
According to Associate Professor of English Dr. Courtney Rydel, the team planning the Screenwriters Series found the writing in “Extrapolations” to be “beautiful” and “important.”
“Once we learned that our own Professor Kesey knew Ron Currie, Jr., we knew we had to invite him,” Dr. Rydel said.
The event focused on Currie’s work writing for “Extrapolations,” alternating between discussions and screenings of clips from the show.
Currie explained that the show’s writers interacted with climate experts and came up with story ideas based on those conversations. The clips that were screened showed scenes that demonstrated these extreme climate change effects.
According to Currie, the writers aimed for the series’ dystopian premise to be a “backdrop” against “ground-level stories” that could relate to “the universal human experience.”
“No matter what you’re writing about, ultimately you’re telling a very simple, very human, very relatable story that cuts across cultures and religion and all of that,” Currie said.
Towards the end of the event, the audience could ask Currie questions about his work. He also signed books audience members had purchased.
Sophomore Andraya Sudler said that she enjoyed hearing about Currie’s work on “Extrapolations,” and that learning about certain choices that went into the show was “informative.”
“I enjoyed the start of the dialogue that this event created,” Sudler said. “I think it really introduced a lot of topics that challenge your mindset.”
Sudler also said that hearing Currie talk about his journey pursuing a career in writing was “inspirational” for students in the audience.
“He was saying that he only has a high school diploma,” Sudler said. “I think it’s very encouraging for people who might be struggling within their own academic fields, and I think it can help people continue to pursue those things that they want to achieve.”
According to Dr. Rydel Currie’s insight on screenwriting could have a large impact on the WC community.
“Everyone watches TV and film, even those of us who aren’t aspiring screenwriters,” Dr. Rydel said. “Understanding the magic behind screenwriting better has helped me appreciate it so much more—and ideally, the writers and storytellers on campus have new perspectives on how to make their stories connect with audiences even more powerfully.”
The Screenwriters Series will resume during the 2024 spring semester with guests Eugene Garcia-Cross and Joey Siara.
Photo courtesy of Dante Cavez
Photo caption: After his talk, Ron Currie Jr. spent time signing his books for students to take home.