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Howard A. Rodman
Howard A. Rodman is a screenwriter, novelist, educator. He is the Vice President of the Writers Guild of America West; professor and former chair of the writing division at the USC School of Cinematic Arts; and an artistic director of the Sundance Institute Screenwriting Labs.

His films include Savage Grace, starring Julianne Moore, and August, with Josh Hartnett, Rip Torn, and David Bowie--both of which had their US premiers at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival. They were released in 2008 from IFC and First Look, respectively. Rodman's screenplay for Savage Grace was nominated for a Spirit Award in the Best Screenplay category. His adaptations of Jim Thompson, David Goodis et. al. for Showtime's Fallen Angels anthology series were directed by Tom Cruise and Steven Soderbergh (who repaid the favor by giving the name of “Mr. Rodman” to the sleaziest characters in The Underneath and Traffic). In the course of his career he's also worked with Chantal Akerman, Clive Barker, Peter Bogdanovich, Rodrigo Garcia, Michael Jackson, Michael Lehmann, David Lynch, John McTiernan, Errol Morris, Tony Scott, and Maurice Sendak.

Rodman wrote Joe Gould's Secret, which opened the 2000 Sundance festival and was subsequently released by October/USA Films. Rodman's original screenplay F. was selected by Premiere Magazine as one of Hollywood's Ten Best Unproduced Screenplays. His 1990 novel, Destiny Express, an historical romance set in the pre-war German film community, was blurbed by Thomas Pynchon, who called it "daringly imagined, darkly romantic--a moral thriller." The New York Times Book Review said "Mr. Rodman's description of [Fritz] Lang's alarming yearning for his wife and the deep black pool of loss that lies beneath is sparely, deeply poignant.''

Starting as editor-in-chief of The Cornell Daily Sun, Rodman has published scores of articles in venues including The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Magazine, and the Village Voice (for which he was a monthly columnist).

He founded and chairs the Writers Guild Independent Film Writers Committee. He has chaired FilmIndependent's Spirit Awards feature film jury as well as the USC Scripter Awards. He is a Fellow of the Los Angeles Institute for the Humanities; a member of the executive committee of the writers' branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences; a trustee of the Writers Guild Foundation; vice-chair of the Committee on the Professional Status of Writers; and serves on several nonprofit boards, among them the Franco-American Cultural Fund, and Cornell in Hollywood. He is an alumnus of the Seed Fund Board of the Liberty Hill Foundation, and a former editor of The Bill of Rights Journal.

He was married to the writer and media scholar Anne Friedberg, author of The Virtual Window, until her death in 2009. He lives in Los Angeles with their son Tristan, their dog Simeon. Their house, the 1957 John Lautner "Zahn Residence," has been widely published. Rodman and Friedberg's work with Lautner in restoring it was chronicled in the February 2002 issue of Dwell magazine.

His spirited 2011 celebration of the centennial of the fictional French arch-fiend Fantômas took him to Yale University where he delivered a paper; The New School, where he appeared on a panel; The Hammer Museum, where he showed one of Feuillade's classic films; NOIRCON, where he sang the villain's praises; and City Lights Books, where he participated in a four-day celebration.

Working with the Library Foundation of Los Angeles, USC, and the Writers Guild, Rodman has recently conducted public conversations with such figures as Tom Wolfe, Ricky Jay, Jeannette Seaver, Vince Gilligan, and Lady Antonia Fraser.

Rodman is a recent appointee to the National Film Preservation Board. In October of 2013, the government of France, in recognition of Rodman's work, designated him as a Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, or Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters.

Entries by Howard A. Rodman

An OWS Civics Quiz

(91) Comments | Posted November 15, 2011 | 4:51 PM

Pop Quiz.

TEXT # 1:

[New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg] said the decision to clamp down on media coverage was made to "protect the members of the press. We have to provide protection and we have done exactly that." He said the move was made "to prevent a situation from...

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A Spectre Is Haunting Los Angeles: Fantômas at the Hammer Museum

(2) Comments | Posted January 10, 2011 | 5:12 PM

Thirty years ago, I wandered into the screening room of the Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan. Several hours later I wandered out, in a daze, in a fever dream. The world looked different to me. What had happened in the interim: I'd seen the 1913 silent French serial Fantômas....

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Pardon Me, Sir, But is My Eye Hurting Your Elbow?

(58) Comments | Posted June 16, 2009 | 7:45 PM

Find my nest of salt/ Everything is my fault/ I'll take all the blame/ I'll proceed from shame... --Kurt Cobain, "All Apologies."
"My family and I are deeply sorry for everything Vice President Cheney and his family have had to deal with. We hope that he will continue to come...
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Isn't "Laying Blame for the Past" What we Used to Think of as "Justice"?

(227) Comments | Posted April 17, 2009 | 12:12 PM

President Obama did something which should be commonplace but which, in this terrible time, is now thought of as optional for high officials, which is to say, he obeyed the law. The law in this case required him, in response to an ACLU lawsuit, to disclose the Torture...

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Hank and the Swedish Model

(30) Comments | Posted October 12, 2008 | 6:23 PM

When the world was about to cave in; when Hank Paulson assured us that the only way to keep the world from caving in was to do what he said, now; when he told us it had to be unreviewable or else-- What he said to be done was this:...

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A New Deal, or a New New Deal?

(63) Comments | Posted September 30, 2008 | 9:33 AM

The drunken boat that was the Modified Paulson Plan sank yesterday, capsized by a crew of pirate freemarketeers in the House. What this means: we won't be giving away a trillion dollars of taxpayer money to the world's largest investment banks until sometime after the Jewish New Year.

But in...

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Keith Richards, Cockroaches, and the Firm of Goldman Sachs

(134) Comments | Posted September 23, 2008 | 8:46 PM

In today's New York Times, we see the headline:

Goldman to Raise Capital, With $5 Billion From Buffett

And in the accompanying story written by Ben White, we can read the following:

The billionaire Warren E. Buffett will invest $5 billion in the investment bank Goldman Sachs,...

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A Guy Named Hank

(33) Comments | Posted September 21, 2008 | 6:33 PM

"Pay should be for performance, not for failure. But we need the system to work, so the reforms need to come afterward." --Treasury Secretary Henry Merritt "Hank" Paulson Jr.

Like the early days of the Coalition Provisional Authority, it's a thieves' jamboree. Cement trucks full of cash, just...

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Preventive Detention

(54) Comments | Posted August 31, 2008 | 9:32 PM

On May 3, 1971 I found myself in Dupont Circle, Washington, D.C. -- as did a lot of others, most young, mostly "disreputable," all appalled by the war in Vietnam. I was covering the manifestations for The Cornell Daily Sun, and had taken the precaution of obtaining a District...

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August and the Wile E. Coyote Syndrome

(1) Comments | Posted July 9, 2008 | 6:44 PM

Road Runner has once again avoided the trap, evaded the roadblock, meep-meeped his way past his pursuer. He gathers up momentum, runs off the cliff, glides in air, continues his unbroken sprint on the other rim of the canyon.

Wile E. Coyote attempts to pursue. (Why? It's his nature.)...

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The Perpetual Achievement of the Impossible

(60) Comments | Posted March 20, 2008 | 7:57 PM

When I was fourteen -- the same age as my own son is now -- I came across, or, more likely, was given, a copy of James Baldwin's The Fire Next Time. I was in my black turtleneck phase, taking each Friday the E train to bohemia (West Village branch),...

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Sundance: the Tao of Swag

(6) Comments | Posted January 18, 2008 | 12:35 PM

In the way that the first robin can be a harbinger of spring, so the arrival of the season's first swag tells us that Sundance is just around the corner. Mine came 10 days ago. It was an invitation to one of the many lounges of Sundance. But the invitation,...

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Top 10 Reasons Why the Letterman/WGA Deal Is a Good Thing

(21) Comments | Posted December 28, 2007 | 10:39 PM

10. Letterman has been a strong supporter. As he said in his last outing before the show went dark, "You think the show's not funny now, wait 'til the writers go on strike. I mean it really won't be funny."

9. The AMPTP says that we're too crazy,

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The New Economic Partnership

(18) Comments | Posted November 30, 2007 | 1:01 PM

For most of the week, the AMPTP seemed very much a Coalition of the Unwilling.

On Monday, on Tuesday, on Wednesday, they spent most of their time, and ours, reiterating in laborious detail their old positions. As Wolcott Gibbs once said, "backwards ran sentences until reeled the mind."

But then,...

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It's the Money, Stupid

(50) Comments | Posted November 4, 2007 | 1:34 AM

The Writers Guild of America is a middle-class union. Almost half our membership receives no income from Guild-covered employment in any given year. As a result, the median income of Guild members from screen and television writing work is $5,000 per year. That's right: five thousand.

Among the lucky half...

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How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Bombing Iran

(170) Comments | Posted September 2, 2007 | 3:09 PM

For long time now, perhaps a year, I've been hearing (we've all been hearing) that the White House is planning to bomb Iran. As the neo-cons say, "Boys go to Baghdad; real men go to Tehran." It's a strategy so seductive that John McCain set it to

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White House as Green Zone

(8) Comments | Posted March 27, 2007 | 2:05 AM

These two posts appeared, adjacent, one atop the other, on the splash page of HuffPost today.

The first:

Novak: Bush Isolated From GOP Lawmakers

The second:

Rocket Infiltrates Heavily Fortified Green Zone

Butting up against each other, the two headlines generate a metaphor: the White House as the Green Zone....

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Body Language

(13) Comments | Posted January 2, 2007 | 8:49 PM

The Roberts Court--left to right, Kennedy, Scalia, Roberts--at the Gerald Ford service.

Look at the ties. Now look at the hands.

Kennedy is, by conventional wisdom, the "swing vote." Which way do you suppose he'll swing this term?


Stephen Crowley/The New York Times

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Hindenburg "not flying well enough or fast enough"

(2) Comments | Posted December 3, 2006 | 12:19 PM

The Rumsfeld memo hits with the force of revelation only if you were one of the three or four people who believed that the war was going well.

The New York Times says that the memo "acknowledges that the administration's strategy in Iraq was not working." Sadly, this...

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"Too Close to Call"?

(14) Comments | Posted November 8, 2006 | 11:36 AM

Webb's lead over Allen is more than ten times larger than that of Bush over Gore in Florida when Roger Ailes called the presidential race for Bush in 2000. Tester's lead over Burns is as of this writing at least twice as large as Bush's 2000 Florida victory margin.


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