Richard Vete on Writing “Caravaggio” and “Baby Blu”

Richard Vete

Richard Vetere is a talented screen and television writer, published and produced playwright, novelist, director, actor and published poet.

NY Elite: Congratulations on being an ISC finalist. What does it mean for your work to be selected at the International Screenwriting Competition in New York?

Richard Vetere: Having my two screenplays both Caravaggio and Baby Blue as finalists is pretty rare and exciting.

NY Elite: Can you tell us about the work that you participated with at ISC? What is the story about?

Richard Vetere: My screenplay Caravaggio is about the life of Caravaggio after he killed Ranuccio Tomassoni in Rome in 1610 and follows his escape and self-imposed exile from Rome.  He was commissioned to paint a portrait of Alof de Wingacourt who was the Grand Master of the Knights of Malta.  While painting several portraits and other compositions Caravaggio was tortured.  Wingacourt was running the Inquisition on Malta. Caravaggio escaped and was pursued by the Knights and other bounty hunters.  He never lived to return to Rome even though he got a pardon from the Pope for the murder.

NY Elite: Can you tell us yourself and your artistic talents?  

Richard Vetere: I started very early publishing poetry. It was my own ambition.  But when I got out of Columbia University with my master’s degree in Comparative English Literature I found myself more and more interested in writing for the theater, writing novels and film scripts.  I believe I was born a poet.  I always loved being around poetry.  Language entices me.  I also love visuals and the intensity of the theater.  So my entire artist career is a marriage of language and the visual.

NY Elite: What scripts have you written so far?

Richard Vetere: I wrote the cult classic Vigilante.  It is an original screenplay.

I wrote The Third Miracle which is an adaption of my own published novel.

I wrote the movie adaptation of my own stage play The Marriage Fool for CBS TV film with Walter Matthau and Carol Burnett. 

NY Elite: Top 3 favorite projects that you have been involved in?

Richard Vetere: I wrote the cult classic film Vigilante which BAM recently called one of the Best Indies of the 1980s.  It starred the late Robert Forester.  It was my first feature and it continues to be satisfying to know so many people I meet in the industry admire it.  Secondly, my own adaptation of my novel The Third Miracle (Simon & Schuster) continues to be totally fulfilling. It was produced by Francis Ford Coppola, directed by Agnieszka Holland and stars Ed Harris.  Need I say more?  Thirdly, if Caravaggio is ever made into a film – it would certainly be a favorite.

NY Elite: What type of scripts do you want to write in your career?

Richard Vetere: I have had a long career so far since I am a Lifetime and Current Member of the WGA East and in 2012 I was elected to Council and served two years.  I want to write scripts actors want to act in, directors want to film and producers want to make and audiences want to watch.

NY Elite: As a writer, what is the most important aspect of building a character?

Richard Vetere: I need to see them and listen to them speak.  I need to believe every action they take.  I need to know what they believe in and how they feel about their lives. 

NY Elite: What projects are you currently working on?

Richard Vetere: I just wrote a new play Thornwood.  It is a two-hander for middle-aged women.  It is about a mother whose daughter is missing for over thirty years and the woman detective who picks up the cold case.

NY Elite: Do you express yourself creatively in any other ways?

Yes, I act.  I direct.  I read.  I lecture.  I love the theater, I love good poetry, I love good movies.

NY Elite: What advice would you give to someone who wants to have a career in filmmaking/writing?

Richard Vetere: Watch a lot of movies from all the past decades foreign and domestic.  Hang out with film makers you respect and listen to what they say.  Learn your craft by reading and writing as much as you can.  Learn story and plot and how to develop characters but most importantly don’t be intimidated. Find stories you are passionate to tell.  If you want to write for film, learn to write for the camera.

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