26 February 2015

Author Q&A Session #35: With Mitchell Kriegman

Hello and welcome,
In another new author Q&A session, we have the American filmmaker of Clarissa Explains It All and many other innovative TV series and documentaries- Mitchell Kriegman. Today he is here to share with his journey as an author, about Audrey Hepburn and life beyond books and movies. Read the interview to know more about this incredible author/film-maker.

Read the review of Being Audrey Hepburn here

Me: Hello and welcome to my blog, Mitchell. Congratulations on your new book, Being Audrey Hepburn. Please briefly share with us the story behind your book, Being Audrey Hepburn?

Mitchell: it’s about Lisbeth a girl who gets through her crummy life by obsessively watching Audrey Hepburn movies - Lisbeth has the opportunity through her friend Jess a budding fashion designer and intern at the museum of metropolitan art to secretly try on the original prototype of Givenchy’s little black dress from breakfast at Tiffany's and it fits like a glove and then the zipper gets stuck…i have to stop or i’ll rewrite the entire book.

Me: What inspired you to write Being Audrey Hepburn? Are you too a die-hard Audrey fan?

Mitchell: not as much as Lisbeth. i’m an admirer and a student.

Me: How did you research for your book, Being Audrey Hepburn?

Mitchell: feverishly! i had a lot to learn about fashion in general. i knew a fair amount about Audrey but i didn’t know much about new jersey to be honest. there were somethings though that i did know a lot about - i’ve spent many years in the art world in downtown new york when i was a performance artists and video artist. i know the music business through some of my television and music work and then i lived in the Hamptons for a long time. so some of that is very literally what i know and what i lived through.

Me: Tell us one trait of Lisbeth, your protagonist, that intrigues you the most.

Mitchell: i like that she’s shy but secretly opinionated, looking for an opening to grow and become something even though she doesn’t know what that is. she has to pretend to be someone else to find out who she really is.

Me: How will you describe your journey so far as an author? And did you always had a dream of writing a novel apart from directing, screen-writing and film-making?

Mitchell: i set out to write novels originally. i wrote short stories. but i was told by all my teachers in high school and college i would never be a writer that i had no talent. i guess they were wrong. i have no idea why they felt compelled to be so damning. i can’t see the harm in being encouraging to your writers. its not like being a jet pilot with bad eyesight. why should you encourage someone to fulfill their dreams? their passions.

Me: What did you expect from your readers to experience after reading your novel, Being Audrey Hepburn? And if there's a movie adaption of Being Audrey Hepburn, who do you want to cast as Lisbeth?

Mitchell: it’s the Pygmalion effect - the idea of creating a fantasy a goal of someone you want to be and even if it seems a little crazy to go about doing it. it’s the way to lift yourself up from your gray little life and connecting with your passions and intellect. we’ll see about the movies, i hope so, it would be fun to do. i think Zoey Deutch or Lily Collins should play Lisbeth and Nikki Reed should play Jess and Helen Mirren should play nan.

Me: Your upcoming book, Things I Can’t Explain is based on your show Clarissa Explains it All which used to air on Nickelodeon in the 90s. Why did you choose to portray Clarissa- one of the most popular pre-teen characters, in a novel, instead of doing a re-make of the show on a network?

Mitchell: novels are a better place to explore character. besides the audience that is now grown up that knows Clarissa - these are very sophisticated media watchers. they know a remake is a more

you know everyone was supposed to stop reading well they haven’t they read a lot and novels are more widely read than in recent memory.

Me: So what can we expect from your upcoming book, Things I Can’t Explain? And when can we get to read the book?

Mitchell: it’s ready for preorder now! the novel comes out Nov 15. it’s got a beautiful cover!

Me: Do you read any contemporary YA novels? Who is your favorite contemporary YA author?

Mitchell: i read so much and it’s very eclectic like the way i listen to music - i listen to every kind of music i love diversity - in every part of my life. I’m currently reading iceberg - a memoir by Marion Coutts, Rachel rising a graphic novel by Terry Moore who is brilliant, low another graphic comic book by rick remember, on my kindle there’s the ocean at the end of the lane by Neil Gaiman authority by Jeff Vandermeer and more.

Me: Thank you so much Mitchell for joining me in this interview session. It was such an honor for me to talk to you. I can only wish you luck in all your future endeavors.

Mitchell: thank you and good luck to you as well! i’d love to hear more from you and all your readers at http://www.mitchellkriegman.com there will be tons of news about Clarissa and more there! let me know what you think of my blog and everything else! oh and here’s a treat. this is our Audrey Hepburn magical quote generator - try it out and ask Audrey for some well healed advice http://beingaudreyhepburn.com/dear-audrey/
cynical endeavor. a novel requires more thought more skill more depth. at least i hope that’s what i've done.

Mitchell's Bio:

Mitchell Kriegman is an American filmmaker dedicated to developing innovative content for film and television. His production company, Big Big Productions, developed the patented technique called Shadowmation which utilizes real time virtual sets and Bunraku style team puppetry. Among his many honors, he has received numerous Emmys and Parents Choice awards for his work in children's programming. He's the father of three children, each three years apart in age. His latest project, It's a Big Big World is in production at Wainscott Studios, an animation and production facility in Wainscott, New York.
As a screenwriter he has written for Universal, Disney and Columbia Pictures. He also wrote the story and co-wrote the screenplay Elmo in Grouchland with Joey Mazzarino the screenplay for the Sesame Street movie The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland, a co-production with Sesame Workshop and The Jim Henson Company and Columbia Pictures, as well as the script for the Bear in the Big Blue House stage show.
At Nickelodeon he created Clarissa Explains It All and was the Executive Story Editor on Rugrats, The Ren and Stimpy Show, Doug, and Rocko's Modern Life. Clarissa Explains It All was notable for identifying the preteen genre and being the first sitcom for kids with a female lead that was watched equally by both genders. It featured a unique style of talking to the camera, paintbox graphics and animation and fantasies.
He was a writer and performer during the short-lived Jean Doumanian era of Saturday Night Live.
His novel Being Audrey Hepburn will be published by St. Martin's Press in 2014.
Kriegman is currently teaching MFA Writing and Literature Program at Stony Brook University in Southampton.

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