Abdul Williams—screenwriter of BET’s “THE BOBBY BROWN STORY—10 years in the making - AmNews Curtain Raiser


Thursday, September 6, 2018

Abdul Williams—screenwriter of BET’s “THE BOBBY BROWN STORY—10 years in the making

Abdul Williams—screenwriter of BET’s THE BOBBY BROWN STORY —10 years in the making

Abdul Williams 

There is always a challenge when trying to catch up with a busy screenwriter to have a casual chat, so connecting with storyteller Abdul Williams was par-for-the-course.  The screenwriter behind BET’s “THE BOBBY BROWN STORY.” I had heard the positive buzz about this script a long time ago.  In industry terms to have the “story on the page” is the mark of a gifted screenwriter and the first drafts of  William’s story were absolutely on the page.

To prepare for our chat, I decided to read William’s screenplay and it was exactly what Hollywood was buzzing about.  While reading, the characters lifted from the page. I could easily see them, on the white page, coming alive: singing, dancing—dreaming.  

Clearly, Abdul Williams is a powerful storyteller and like most success stories, this man played the waiting game and thereby paid his dues.  His credits include the film “Lottery Ticket” and it’s important to note that it took ten, long years, to get “The New Edtion Story” from page to screen.  

An NAACP Image Award winner for Outstanding Writing for a Movie or Special, “THE BOBBY BROWN STORY.” won Outstanding Television Movie, Limited Series, or Dramatic Special at the 49th NAACP Image Awards (2018).  

We finally connected via phone and in an almost cliche scene, I took the call inside my favorite Harlem coffee shop, Cafe One a spot that many young screenwriters call home.  Here is an edited chat with Abdul Williams who has great advice to aspiring screenwriters.  Keep an eye on the New York Amsterdam News for the full story but in the meantime, here is what the award-winning had to share about how long it took to get from the written page to the screen.  

Amsterdam News:
Ten years to get this story to screen sound like a long time.  I remember the buzz about your screenplay how it was “all on the page” which is high praise in Hollywood.

Abdul Williams:

Thank you. Ten years is a long time but between that, there was a Writers Strike (2007) and Bobby held out on the contract. During the in-between years, I wrote many drafts and BET had always been interested, but they kept going through different regime changes but it finally worked out.  

#BET #NewEdtion 

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