Ripped From the Headlines: Americans Love a True Story

"It's already hard enough to talk about public policy," said Dorman, himself an award-winning filmmaker. "The minute news reporting focuses on an individual story and tugs at the heartstrings, the triumph or tragedy swamps the larger picture. TV and film have to be careful to always balance grabbing people emotionally with a rationale presentation of the facts and information."

"The Pursuit of Happyness" producers say the story of Gardner's life has heightened awareness about homelessness. But it is the universal story of father and son that has given the film its power, said Clayman.

Clayman admits that Hollywood scouts every medium, including television news, for plots and human dramas.

"The industry needs good ideas," said Clayman. "The industry is hungry for good material, no matter where it comes from."

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