Dunford, Warren 1963-
DUNFORD, Warren 1963-
Born 1963, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Education: Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada, B.A. A., 1984.
Agent—c/o Penguin Books Canada Ltd., 10 Alcorn Ave., Suite 300, Toronto, Ontario, M4V 3B2 Canada. E-mail—[email protected].
Soon to Be a Major Motion Picture, Riverbank Press (Toronto, Canada), 1998, Alyson Books (Los Angeles, CA), 1998.
Making a Killing, Penguin Books (Toronto, Canada), 2001, Alyson Books (Los Angeles, CA), 2001.
Contributor of stories to Quickies 2, This Magazine, the Toronto Star, and various men's magazines.
WORK IN PROGRESS:
Working on the third novel in the "Major Motion Picture" series.
Though he dreamed of becoming a published screenwriter, Warren Dunford has spent the greater part of his adult life as a copywriter in Toronto, Canada. He got his big break not on the screen, but with the 1998 publication of his debut novel, Soon to Be a Major Motion Picture. A sequel, Making a Killing, was published in 2001.
Soon to Be a Major Motion Picture is the story of Mitchell Draper, a struggling, gay Canadian screenwriter-wannabe, who works as an office temp, and his frustrating attempts at obtaining ever-elusive fame. His best friends are Ingrid, an artist and coffee-shop manager, and Ramir, a would-be actor and health food store clerk. The trio meet regularly to talk about life and support one another's struggles. Mitchell cannot contain his excitement when he is hired by eccentric Carmen Denver, whose dream is to see her project brought to the big screen. Though he is required to write trite, Mafia-princess schlock, Mitchell does not care. It is work, it pays, and it is not pornographic, like much of the other writing he has done to pay rent.
Mitchell vacillates between self-confidence and the certainty he will never amount to anything. The fiction he is writing begins to blur with his real life as the plot of Soon to Be a Major Motion Picture develops. Mitchell's life, and the lives of his friends, become something of a mystery themselves—full of stalkers, threatening phone calls, even murder and involvement with the Mob. Soon Mitchell realizes that the screenplay he is writing is not fiction at all; it is his life.
Riverbank Press, publisher of the debut novel, claimed Dunford inaugurated a new genre, the "ironic thriller." Critics gave the book mixed reviews. A commentator in Publishers Weekly wrote, "Inventively plotted and stocked with appealing characters, Dunford's debut should win him plenty of readers on the American side of the border." Harry Vandervlist of FFWD Weekly criticized the novel when he wrote, "Life has been so fundamentally kind to [Mitchell, Ramir, and Ingrid], and their problems resolve so abruptly and easily (just like in the movies!) that they're just not interesting enough in print." A Kirkus Reviews writer similarly described the plot. "Dunford provides everything for a sitcom pilot except the laugh track—and the laughs." Actress Anne Bancroft felt differently about Dunford's debut effort, touting it as "one of the best fun reads of all time."
Making a Killing, the sequel to Soon to Be a Major Motion Picture, begins with Draper's getting fired from his job writing for a kids' TV show. Ramir persuades him to attend a meeting of a supernatural celebrity cult, and the experience signals the end to Draper's writer's block. He's soon hired to write a screenplay for more money than he has ever imagined, and in an effort to write a blockbuster, begins investigating a decades-old murder. Suddenly he finds himself the subject of ghostly hauntings, and he cannot help wondering if some of what he encountered at the supernatural meeting has rubbed off on him. As he delves deeper into his "research," Draper realizes he has more material for his blockbuster than he could ever have hoped for. Booklist called the sequel a "fast-paced page turner."
In his interview with Penguin Books, Dunford—who is working on the third installation of the "Major Motion Picture" series—described his relation to protagonist Mitchell Draper. "Mitchell and I have a similar sense of humour and a similar neurotic point of view.… I have a slightly more stable income, but Mitchell gets to have exciting, life-threatening adventures."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, November 1, 2001, Whitney Scott, review of Making a Killing, p. 461.
Globe & Mail (Toronto, Canada), May 16, 1998, Noel S. Baker, "In Pursuit of Cultural Glory: Soon to Be a Major Motion Picture "; October 13, 2001, Ray Robertson, review of Making a Killing.
Kirkus Reviews, September 15, 2000, review of Soon to Be a Major Motion Picture, p. 1304.
Publishers Weekly, September 18, 2000, review of Soon to Be a Major Motion Picture, p. 85.
Quill & Quire, May, 1998, Sasha Chapman, review of Soon to Be a Major Motion Picture, p. 26.
Alyson Books,http://www.alysonbooks.com/ (March 7, 2002), review of Soon to Be a Major Motion Picture.
FFWD, Calgary's News & Entertainment Weekly,http://www.greatwest.ca/ffwd/ (July 9, 1998), Harry Vandervlist, review of Soon To Be a Major Motion Picture.
Penguin Books Canada,http://www.penguin.ca/ (January 8, 2002), review of Soon to Be a Major Motion Picture.*