New York native Richard Schenkman is an experienced writer/producer/director who started his professional career creating distinctive and award-winning promos, network ID's, and documentary programs for MTV.
After several years at MTV, he opened his own production company, RSVP, producing and directing music videos, fashion videos, commercials and promotional films for such clients as Swatch Watch, Honda Scooters, Pepsi Cola, MTV, and perhaps most notably his Clio-winning commercials for the children's cable TV network, Nickelodeon. During this period he was also a segment producer/director on the NBC newsmagazine series Fast Copy, produced and directed a live multi-camera rock concert special, and created openings and segments for other series and specials as well.
In 1989, Schenkman made the short film Overnight Success, which premiered in the prestigious American Film Institute LA Film Festival, won several festival awards (including Best Feature at the Suffolk County Film and TV Fest), and played nationally on The Movie Channel, Showtime, and A&E.
In October 1993, Schenkman began his move into feature films, co-writing (with Jon Cryer and Adam Oliensis) and directing The Pompatus of Love starring Jon Cryer (CBS’s “Two and a Half Men”), Adrian Pasdar (Top Gun), Mia Sara (Ferris Beuller’s Day Off) and Academy Award Nominee Kristin Scott Thomas (The English Patient).
It premiered at the Hamptons Film Festival in September '95, and was released theatrically August '96.
In 1998, Richard Schenkman directed the action/drama October 22 which featured another all-star cast including Amanda Plummer (Pulp Fiction, The Fisher King), Tate Donovan (Fox’s “The O.C.”, Murder at 1600), Ernie Hudson (Ghostbusters, Miss Congeniality 2), Colm Meany (“Star Trek: Deep Space Nine”, Con Air) and Michael Pare’ (Eddie and the Cruisers, Hope Floats) for Millennium Films.
Also in 1998, Schenkman co-wrote (once again with Cryer), produced and directed the critically acclaimed and award winning Went to Coney Island on a Mission from God... Be Back by Five starring Jon Cryer (CBS’s “Two and a Half Men”), Ione Skye (…Say Anything), Frank Whaley (The School of Rock) and Dominic Chianese (HBO’s “The Sopranos”).
Critic Leonard Maltin (in his latest “2005 Movie and Video Guide”) singled out Went To Coney Island on A Mission From God as one of “Fifty More Films That Got Away: Movies You Really Ought to See”.
Later, Schenkman 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 more 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. It featured another all-star cast that included Vanessa L. Williams (Eraser), Kathy Griffin (The Cable Guy), John Taylor (from the rock band “Duran Duran”) and Rozonda “Chili” Thomas (from R & B group “TLC”, Snow Day). Diva’s Christmas holds the distinction of being the highest rated film ever to air on VH-1.
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.
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 has also served as a guest faculty member of the LA Film School, teaching comedy directing, and taught commercial production at Columbia College Hollywood. In 2011/12 he wrote several popular IOS platform games for TinyCo, and in 2012/13 directed three movies for The Asylum, most notably the historical/horror mashup Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies. His most recent film is the Halloween-themed home invasion thriller, Mischief Night.
In 2010 he published his first novel for children, “The Girl From Atlantis.” 2015 will bring a new children’s book, “The Empress’s New Shoes.”