July 24, 2015

SCA Network Event Recap: 'Pixels'

It’s hard not to love summer. These months are that much needed time between classes to vacation, visit family & friends, lay out on the beach, go to a ball game, see the latest blockbuster—and this has been a truly HUGE season for summer blockbusters, no Ant-Man pun intended.

For movie-lovers in the SCA Network, however, summer is our Christmas come early, our Hanukkah that lasts three months instead of eight days; because with every summer comes SCA’s smorgasbord of free preview screenings and Q&A sessions for everything from festival gems like Dope to the box-office’s biggest hits—again, pardon the Ant-Man pun. Wednesday night served up the latest treat for Network members and others from the SCA community, who flocked to Pacific Theater at the Grove to catch an early glimpse of this weekend’s upcoming action-comedy Pixels.

Also in attendance was USC alumnus Timothy Dowling, who helped adapt the feature from a 2010 short, and as he revealed in a brief Q&A following the screening, the subject matter was clearly close to his heart.

“I love the classic games,” Tim said. “There’s something fun and special about going to an arcade and actually sitting at a machine and having to pay money for it knowing that you’re going to die really quickly, as opposed to playing at home and you can just [restart and] keep playing.”

Tim’s roots as a child of the ‘80s also include a longstanding admiration for the film’s director, Chris Columbus, who wrote such classics as Gremlins and Goonies before going on to direct Home Alone, Mrs. Doubtfire, and, more recently, the first two Harry Potter films. “When I was a kid, he was probably one of the first writers I was aware of,” Tim recalled. “I love the ‘80s and I grew up loving Chris Columbus movies, so it was really cool to work with him on this.”

He is also no stranger to the film’s star, Adam Sandler—Dowling also wrote Just Go With It, the 2011 rom-com starring Sandler and Jennifer Aniston. Sandler was already attached to the film before Tim came on board to adapt the script, which is exactly how he prefers it.

“I like writing for actors,” he explains. “When I used to act, I used to do a lot of improv, and I used to be really good at imitating people and sort of picking up their cadence. So if I know I’m working with an actor, I’ll watch a lot of their movies and try to get their rhythms down."

“It’s good for me to have a voice in my head…because I can picture them and it gives me a sense of character.”

Following the Q&A—and some time spent chatting and snapping selfies with various students—Tim stuck around with SCA Writing Division alum Andrew Marlowe to share a drink and some finger foods with Network members over at the nearby Whisper Lounge. Although free sliders and tuna tartare are as good a motivation as any to stay out late on a Wednesday, it’s the chance to mingle with such a diverse crowd from throughout the SCA community—and, for some, seek some one-on-one advice straight from the industry professionals themselves—that make nights like these truly special.

SCA Network members have the chance to attend special events like these all year long, whether on campus, at the Grove, or elsewhere. Those who donate $25 or more a year—yes, as in less than the cost of two movie tickets— are instantly eligible for SCA Network membership, which includes invitations to events such as these. Click here to find out how to donate so you don’t miss out on the next big events coming up.

We’ll be back at the Grove next Wednesday for another preview screening, this time for Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation, featuring a Q&A with two of the films producers: Don Granger and SCA alum David Ellison. No promises for another Whisper Lounge return this time, but according to USC alum and Variety critic Justin Chang, the film alone will be well worth the trip.