Richard Schenkman writes, directs & produces feature films, among other things. His first picture was The Pompatus of Love, which he wrote with Jon Cryer and Adam Oliensis. A festival favorite, it enjoyed a successful theatrical release in 1995. He then directed the action/drama October 22 for Nu Image/Millennium Films, and followed that with Went to Coney Island on a Mission from God... Be Back by Five, his second collaboration with Jon Cryer. It won numerous awards on the festival circuit, was theatrically released, and successfully acquired by Blockbuster as an exclusive rental title. Later, he and Cryer set up the sitcom pilot “Us and Them” at 20th Century Fox TV, and a romantic comedy dance musical at VH1. Schenkman wrote VH1’s pilot for an original animated Elvis series, and crafted commercials & promos, most notably two award winning Mill Valley Film Festival trailers. He also directed episodes of Dick Wolf’s Arrest and Trial and wrote dialogue for EA’s “007 Racing” Playstation game.
Next he wrote and directed VH1’s original movie A Diva’s Christmas Carol, which was a holiday ratings blockbuster and continues to air annually. When his daughter was born, he decided to take a multi-year break from filmmaking to concentrate on raising her. He did, however, teach a Master Class for the Rhode Island Int’l Film Festival, on whose advisory board he serves, and guest lectured at both USC and Cal Arts. He also created “Drama Queen”, an NBC sitcom for Vanessa Williams, and completed several new spec screenplays with Jon Cryer. One of these, “Cosmodrome”, will soon be a graphic novel from Oni Press.
2007 saw the release of two new feature films: And Then Came Love, a romantic-comedy starring Vanessa Williams and Eartha Kitt, and the cult phenomenon Jerome Bixby’s The Man From Earth, based on the final screenplay by the legendary science-fiction author, which has won many awards and is ranked on IMDB as one of the top sci-fi films of all time. He also served as a guest faculty member of the LA Film School, teaching comedy directing, and taught commercial production at Columbia College Hollywood. Lately he’s been writing several popular IOS platform games for TinyCo, and his most recent feature, the historical/horror mashup Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies will be released May 2012.
In 2010 he published his first novel for children, “The Girl From Atlantis”. 2012 will bring two new children’s books: “BelleRose” and “The Empress’s New Shoes.”
Prior to his feature film career, Schenkman spent more than a decade in the corporate media world. He was one of the original staffers at MTV: Music Television, creating distinctive and award-winning promos, network ID’s, show wraps, news segments, marketing videos and documentary programs.
After five years there, he established his own successful production company, producing and directing music videos, fashion videos, commercials and on-air promos for many clients including Swatch Watch, MTV, Honda Scooters, Pepsi Cola, Showtime, Lifetime, and perhaps most notably his Clio-winning national commercials for the children’s cable TV network, Nickelodeon.
During this period he also worked as a segment producer/director on Don Ohlmeyer’s NBC news magazine Fast Copy; produced and directed the multi-camera SPIN New Music Concert; and created openings and segments for such other series and specials as Fashion America, Showtime’s Funniest Person in America, The MTV Video Music Awards, and The Rolling Stone Reader’s Poll Awards.
In 1990 he was brought to Los Angeles by Playboy Enterprises to revamp the total on-air look of their cable network, from ten-second ID’s to hour-long series. He ultimately served as VP of Production, overseeing dozens of projects. Additionally, he personally created over thirty hours of original programming for cable, home video, and international syndication, including The Club, an original comedy series he co-wrote, produced, and directed, as well as many other short- and long-form comedic and dramatic programs, several documentaries, two pilots, and Late Night, an extremely successful magazine-format lifestyle series that was rated #1 in Italy and Germany.