Plot of Run the Race from the website:
Two desperate brothers sacrifice today for a better tomorrow.
Reeling from his mother’s death and his father’s abandonment, Zach, an All-State athlete, finds glory on the football field, working to earn a college scholarship and the brothers’ ticket out of town.
When a devastating injury puts Zach—and his dreams—on the sidelines, David laces up his track cleats to salvage their future and point Zach toward hope.
Mr. Jason Baumgardner is a writer and editor that had worked on Perfect Lineup( documentary), Samson(biblical drama), and now Run the Race. So, get to know one of the screenwriters behind Run the Race and read why you should seek this movie--rather than Easter eggs---this Easter holiday.
1. List three adjectives to describe Run the Race?
Inspirational. Charming. Realistic.
2. Could you express how you came to writing the screenplay of Run the Race?
Jake McEntire and I became friends through a project of mine I had cast him in to act. He had the story of Run The Race written out into a 200-page word document and was asking another friend, Zach Smith, and myself how to get it made. Jake started shaving the story down and then asked if I’d come on board to direct a concept trailer so he could use that to go get investors. So, over the holidays of 2011, I wrote a trailer script adapted from his script and we shot it over a weekend in January 2012. The feedback from that concept trailer was very positive and started opening doors for Jake to attach people to the project. Our collaboration on the concept trailer was so good that Jake also wanted me to help him get the script into shape to shoot. So, over the next few years, we wrote together to get the film ready.
3. How was your experience writing Run the Race with Mr. Jake McEntire?
It was great. I’ve co-written a few films now and each experience is different because it is trying to balance your creative ideas and intuitions versus the other writer’s creative voice. So, it can be tricky, especially when you are friends. But from the outset, I always took the backseat and knew this was “Jake’s story and film” and so he would always have the final say. There was a lot of structure work I helped with, pairing things down, combining scenes, creating new scenes, reworking dialogue, etc but Jake is great with the emotional through line of the story and the character’s motivations. Those are the things that resonated so well, I didn’t want to challenge and you can see with the film completed, those same things are what people are resonating with when they watch it. Chris Dowling (co-writer, director) came on later and did a lot of great things as well for the story, but I only worked alongside Jake.
4. On average, how many draft scripts do you find yourself writing until you are happy and satisfied with your work?
Great question. I’ve written some shorts where I cranked it out and only had a pass or two and really liked it. Features are a different beast and it’s really hard to say. With both Run The Race and Samson that were both produced, I wouldn’t doubt if we had 10 to 20 drafts with significant changes. But as you write more, you learn more and a lot of the things you did in those previous films you don’t do again. So, I’d probably say 4-5 re-writes would probably be sufficient now.
5. What’s your favorite line from Run the Race?
Fun question. Jake plays the guy in the Joe Montana jersey who drives the truck and I enjoy a lot of his lines… “Touchdown Truett!” being one. I get a kick out of the one where Zach and Ginger are going to pray at dinner and Zach says “take it away” cause that’s such a real, yet funny, moment. Another great line is when Zach is asking about if anyone figured out who broke off baby Jesus’s leg in the manger display and says, “I know that (Zach broke the leg off) but wondering if they ever figured it out.” My favorite full dialogue scenes are the ones with Zach meeting Ginger’s parents and Nanny’s monologue in the hospital. Those two are the essence of the movie to me in a lot of ways, and existed in some variation since the beginning.
6. Were you ever on set for the making of Run the Race? If so, could you tell me what scene you were present at?
Yes and No. I wasn’t on set for any of the production of the film. But as I said earlier, I wrote, directed and edited the concept trailer that helped bring a lot of interest to the film getting produced and we started a version of Run The Race in 2013 with a couple days of football footage but stopped production to get more financing. But none of that is in the movie. So, with the film you see on screen… No. None of those days.
7. Have your experience with Samson have any influence on how you handled Run the Race?
Good question. As projects take time to get off the ground, I actually worked on Run The Race before Zach (my co-writer) and I started Samson. There was some overlap there but the lessons I learned developing Run The Race actually helped on Samson, not the other way around.
8. What was the hardest part of writing Run the Race?
Having Jake trust me with his baby. Haha. Jake had such a great story and at first, he just had too much story. He had paired it down from his 200 page version, but it was still a bit of a learning curve for both of us to figure out how to get it into a feature length, digestible, version. He still has so many great scenes and characters in the 200 page, Microsoft word draft, that he could probably write an entire other movie.
9. Which director or screenwriter or film influenced you as a screenwriter?
More like, which ones haven’t? Ha. Probably have to say “Good Will Hunting” as it’s one of my favorite films, and I studied it in depth for Run The Race. But I love the way Christopher Nolan tells stories in playing with structure and how Spielberg handles tone, especially in his thrillers.
10. If a self-published author is seeking a screenwriter, how would one get you to read his or her story to see if it would make a compelling movie?
I’ve had people send me their books before. So, that’s probably the easiest way. Not to say that it will lead anywhere, but getting your material into a screenwriter’s hands has at least cracked the door to the possibility. But I would also say feel free to adapt your own book into a screenplay. Then you own the rights to all of it, and understand how the two formats are different.
11. What would it take for you personally to be interested in translating a self-published story into a screenplay?
Novels can be very robust and movies are basically short stories. So, for any novel to become a movie, it needs a ‘way into’ the screenplay format. Most likely a character or through line that the novel can be boiled down into and the rest of the book can be trimmed away but not lose the heart of the story. That can be tricky. Another thing is the book needs to be a visual story. If it’s all in a character’s head, her motivations, her struggles, etc, it will be tough to translate it into a visual medium, which is what film is. But for me personally, I think it just depends on if I resonate with the material, the themes, and at the end of the day (as with any screenplay I write) it has to answer the question for me, “Is this a movie I would pay to see?” with a resounding “Yes.”
12. The furthest I have traveled is to…
Either Australia and New Zealand or Israel. I’m not sure which is further from the States. I went to Israel in 2000 and loved it. And my wife, sister, and parents went to Australia and New Zealand in 2012. One of my favorite trips ever. As big Lord of The Rings fans, it was a very memorable and inspirational trip. Love to go back “down under” sooner rather than later.
13. What’s your most favorite animal in the world?
My dog, Tucker. He’s a husky mix and my wife and I have had him most of our marriage before we even had kids. Love that dog.
14. Last question, if you could be a “fly on the wall” anywhere at any time, where would you like to be?
Probably go with the most influential and controversial moment in world history… the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Sitting outside the tomb on that Sunday morning would be something worth turning into a fly for.
And on that note, I would like to thank Mr. Jason Baumgardner for the opportunity to interview him. You can see Run the Race in theaters. Simply click on the movie's website and find where to check it out:runtherace.com. If you want to know more about him, just visit his website: www.jasonbaumgardner.com. I hope each and everyone of you have a wonderful day. Take care and come here again to read more blog posts. God bless.
Just wanted add two photos from the movie premiere:
1. Mr. Jason Baumgardner and Mrs. Catherine Baumgardner
2. Mr. Jake & Mrs. Charity McEntire and Mr. Zach & Mrs. Casey Smith.