From burping pigs to underground death fights, an endodontist answers a calling in filmmaking
January 22, 2018
Dentist/writer: The movie poster for “Blood Circus,” a film based on a screenplay written by Dr. Eric Weinstock. The movie, starring Tom Sizemore, follows an ex-MMA fighter who gets involved in an underground fight club.
— A proud movie buff, Dr. Eric Weinstock particularly loves creative writing and paying attention to dialogue or song lyrics.
“When I went to dental school, I put that part of my brain on a shelf because you really don’t have time for anything else,” said Dr. Weinstock, who graduated from Tufts University School of Dental Medicine in 2000 and completed studying endodontics in 2002.
After starting his own solo endodontics practice and teaching ethics at Tufts dental school, he revisited that shelf about six years later. He put pen to paper and wrote his first screenplay.
“It sounds hokey, but I love movies. It started out as simple as that,” he said. “I just felt I had some good movie ideas. Did I think anything would come from it? No.”
Premier: Dr. Eric Weinstock poses for a photo Jan. 12 at the premiere of his movie, “Blood Circus.” The premiere was held in Wallingford, Conn., where most of the movie was filmed.
But on Jan. 12, Dr. Weinstock was in Wallingford, Connecticut, attending the premiere of his second feature film, “Blood Circus.” The movie, starring Tom Sizemore, follows an ex-MMA fighter who gets involved in an underground group that organizes fights to the death. The movie is available for streaming and on-demand. The R-rated movie’s story and graphic violence is a far cry from his first film, “Arlo: The Burping Pig.” The 2016 family movie, starring Joey Lawrence and Drake Bell, is about a 7-year-old girl who befriends a pig who ran away from the circus, and is distributed by Lionsgate.
Dr. Weinstock still remembers flying to California and driving to the set of Arlo.
“It was one of those surreal moments,” he said. “When you’re sitting at your computer writing, you know that odds are nothing will ever come from your screenplay, but there’s always a chance. After all, it’s an industry of dreamers. I get to the set, and there are 50 people milling around for my kids’ movie. I still can’t believe it.”
When Dr. Weinstock wrote his first screenplay in 2008, he submitted it to online screenwriting contests.
“I kind of got flogged for all the right reasons — scenes were too long, poor character development, etc.,” he said. But with all the criticisms, he also received some kernels of encouragement.
“I just got the writing bug,” he said. “And like a lot of things, the longer I worked at my craft, the better I got at it.”
Dr. Weinstock submitted a script on INKTIP, an online community that allows would-be screenwriters to submit their work and film producers to find worthy projects.
“To my literal shock, a producer from Denmark optioned my screenplay,” Dr. Weinstock said.
His work, titled “Bad Blood,” came close but never became a film. The project had already had a cast, including Tom Sizemore, known for roles in “Heat” and “Saving Private Ryan.” When “Bad Blood” fell through, Dr. Weinstock said he stayed in touch with Tom Sizemore’s manager who asked him to pen another dramatic script. That’s when he wrote “Blood Circus.” Mr. Sizemore plays a detective and friend of the main character recruited in the underground fight club.
“After these projects, you realize that Hollywood is a very small community. Everyone sort of knows everybody,” he said.
Dr. Weinstock now has several screenplays already being turned into films, and more in the pipeline. These include a Lifetime movie called “Dangerous Dates”; a horror movie called “The Find”; a quirky dramatic comedy called “Dan & Carla”; and a psychological thriller called “Avery’s Sin.”
While the genres may greatly vary, his stories have one major thing in common: their focus on characters.
“Blood Circus isn’t really a fight movie, it’s about characters dealing with adversity and tragedy,” he said. “For a movie to be good, the audience has to be invested in the characters. If you don’t care what happens to them, then the movie fails.”
Dentistry is also never too far away from his screenwriting work, and those who see his movies may find dental references sprinkled in all of his scripts.
One of Dr. Weinstock’s screenplays that’s being turned into a feature film is one he’s most excited about. It’s called “Perfect Smiles”, a story he describes as quirky, dark-comedy about a dentist on the run.
Finding time to write while running a solo practice full-time, teaching about 200 dental students a year at Tufts and raising a family was easier than he thought, Dr. Weinstock said.
“The great thing about writing is that things can take their time. It’s the one part of the filmmaking process that you can control to some degree,” he said. “You can have a character dangling from cliff for a while. It’s not a dental emergency.”
For more information on “Blood Circus,” visit imdb.com/title/tt4247828
. Those interested in learning more about the movie industry, contact Dr. Weinstock at firstname.lastname@example.org