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Curious About Screenwriting Network

Welcome to the Curious About Screenwriting Network where you'll enjoy listening to fascinating film and writing industry guests who share insights from their careers and how you can take your screenwriting skills to the next level.
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Now displaying: October, 2015
Oct 30, 2015

A long time friend of the ISA, Jeff York has been our most dedicated member of the ISA Development Program. His work has landed him multiple contest wins and placements, but his understanding that writing is rewriting has allowed him to be the consummate participant in his writing development process. We are continually pushing Jeff’s work to multiple companies and managers around town, and expect Jeff and his material to land in the right hands soon. His comments and advice in this interview on the writing and contest submission processes are invaluable, and we can all learn a lot from Jeff’s continued devotion to the craft.

Oct 30, 2015

Hailing from across the pond, Steve Prowse is a UK-based writer with well over 100 contest wins and placements under his belt. After sifting through multiple projects and searching for a way in to this ever-evolving writing world, Steve’s continued Success Stories posted on the ISA’s website helped the ISA discover him and his work. By posting his contest wins on the ISA website, one of his projects was sent out to various production companies, and now has a mid six-figure option! Steve is on his way to great success, and we couldn’t be more excited for him.

Oct 28, 2015

The ISA’s recent Fast Track Fellowship picked two winners to join us in Los Angeles and take meeting with nine mentors – executives and experts within the entertainment industry. Chris DeWan's TV pilot, Wunderland, has garnered him interest over the years, but his Fast Track experience, as he explains in this interview, has truly lit a flame under his burgeoning career. Having taken a literary approach to his writing since his early days, his continued dedication to the writing craft has proven that with hard work and determination, good things can and will happen. Chris is an example of a writer that has a calm, never say die attitude, and his this spotlight interview he shares his process, expectations and excitement for what he loves to do.

Oct 28, 2015

A recent Fast Track fellow, David Baugnon’s TV pilot, The Messiah Project, was one of the two winning scripts chosen for the second round of the ISA’s Fast Track Fellowship. His insights on how his life experience has become invaluable to his writing process continues to inspire not only himself, but others around him. The ISA is proud of our Fast Track Fellows, and we’re excited to see what kind of success can be mined through the mentor meetings he participated in during our recent Fast Track week. David has been working hard as an aspiring screenwriter since the late 90’s, and now he is beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. The ISA will devote itself to continuing David’s success and look forward to seeing where that success will lead.

Oct 28, 2015

Having worked her way through Hollywood as an actor for many years, with guest starring roles on various sit-coms as well as an initial soap opera offer that technically drew her out to Los Angeles in the first place, Jamie Anderson has since switched gears and focused her time on screenwriting. Her comedic voice is hip and at times politically incorrect, but all the while extremely entertaining and engaging. Her comedic writing chops recently landed her as a finalist in the TrackingB.com screenplay contest, and that placement helped her find representation with Luber Rocklin Entertainment. Jamie is a rising star within the ISA’s Development Program, and we look forward to pushing her career forward even further.

Oct 28, 2015

It’s no easy feat being a screenwriter. We all know that. But telling a story and writing a script the reader can “see” is only part of the challenge. We also need to ensure the script grabs the reader and keeps them hooked through 100 plus pages all without the benefit of actors, music or special effects. One of the ways to do this effectively is through a compelling theme. In this podcast with long-time consultant, Ruth Atkinson, we discuss the importance and power of theme, and how every story – from the age of Socrates to present day – has something to say and it’s saying it through theme.

Ruth believes, and I agree with her, that theme is one of the most important elements of storytelling, but it’s also the most challenging to define. In a nutshell: Theme is what your story is “about”; it is the deeper meaning behind the plot events. It’s the controlling idea that keeps us emotionally engaged and invested through to the very last scene. Ruth discusses in detail here, how to draw out your theme and uses multiple examples from existing stories.

It’s a note-taking type of podcast, folks, so take a listen and enjoy. Don’t forget to share our Curious About Screenwriting interviews, and stay tuned to networkisa.org for upcoming news and fun announcements. Thanks for listening.

Oct 28, 2015

After working as an actor, David Rambo caught the writing bug and wrote and produced plays, making a rather successful career out of playwriting. When one of his plays was recognized by the staffers at CSI, David’s career was suddenly changed forever. He was hired as a staff writer on CSI and, as David remarks, his seven seasons on the show was like his grad school. Learning the intricate ins and outs of the TV writing world, as well as the hierarchy of a writer’s room, David has been working regularly ever since. He eventually moved on to Co-Executive Produce the show “V”, then the NBC hit (that I’m still disappointed is no longer on the air), Revolution, to the now airing and massive success, Empire. David was the Co-Executive Producer on Empire’s first season, and we talk a lot about the show’s impact on the TV culture, as well as the shifting trends of the industry. 

Currently working on two pilots that were recently picked up by major networks, David took a story break and jumped on the phone with us. His knowledge and expertise knows no bounds, so we really hope you all listen closely. He has some real nuggets of advice and wisdom here. As always, thanks for listening to the ISA’s Curious About Screenwriting podcasts, and when sharing them on social media, don’t forget to tag us @networkISA on Twitter and Instagram, and you can find your host, Max Timm, on Twitter @iMaxTimm and on Instagram @InstaMax9. Thanks for being a fan of the ISA, and happy writing.

Oct 24, 2015

Don't send your script out right after you finish it. You only get one chance to make a first impression. Don't blow it.

--Get feedback before submitting

--How to get your script read

--What readers look for when reading

What every writer needs to do after finishing their script; get feedback from friends who write screenplays, too, consider their input, get feedback from a professional writer, consider their input, how to get your script read, with or without an agent, what are the best contests to enter, send your script to studio internship programs, and learn the KEY elements producers will be looking for when they read your script. In this teleconference, veteran script consultant and therapist, David Silverman, joins us again for a 16-point breakdown of what to do once your script is done. We will discuss the intricate do's and don'ts, and give you inspirational tips to keep you moving forward after you've finished your project.

Oct 21, 2015

Episode 90: Screenwriter Tyler Hisel talks about his latest horror/thriller film Dark Was The Night.

Oct 21, 2015

Often times we think of formatting as the grammar of screenwriting. We think of it as this very simple, basic, elemental set of rules that you go and look up in The Hollywood Standard in order to do properly.

 

But the truth of the matter is formatting is much more than grammar. It's a way of speaking to your audience, thinking about your movie like a filmmaker, and capturing the visual eye of your reader.

 

Thinking about formatting like it's simply grammar cuts you off from all this. And ignores the way grammar actually works outside of middle school.

 

Because the truth is, nobody speaks proper grammar, and nobody speaks proper formatting. If you actually spoke proper grammar you’d most likely have no friends. “To whom should I direct this email?” You’d just sound too darn formal. And the same is true for “proper” formatting. It’s just not going to work for you.

 

And, at the same time, we all know bad grammar when we hear it! And just like bad grammar, when we see bad formatting in a screenplay, we make instant judgements that can really end up leaving your script at the bottom of the pile.

 

So today I want to talk about formatting. But I want to talk about formatting in a creative way. Because I feel like a lot of writers at all different levels are stuck on this idea of formatting. And instead of looking at it as a creative tool of their craft they’re looking at it as something that gets in the way of their creativity.

 

I want you to understand that formatting only exists for one purpose. The whole purpose of formatting is to isolate visual moments of action.

 

When you learn to isolate the visual moments of action in your script, you'll be doing four very important things for your art, your craft, and your career as a writer:

  1. You're going to be writing even better than most professionals—allowing your work to get noticed and stand out from the crowd.
  2. You're going to have a lot more fun writing, because writing is going to be more creative for you.
  3. You're more likely to sell your script because the people reading it are going to be able to visualize each thing as if they were watching a movie in their heads.
  4. You’re going to save tons of money when it comes to production. And be a lot more likely to actually like the movie that you end up with.

 

So let's talk about what each of the those four words mean: "isolate," "visual," "moments," and "action…"

Oct 21, 2015

Tangerine is a brilliant illustration of just how little you need to actually succeed as a screenwriter or a filmmaker. To make a successful film you do not need millions of dollars. To make a successful film you do not need years and years and years of experience. To make a successful film you do not need to follow the rules or follow a formula. To make a successful film there are really only two things you need:

 

You need a Want, and you need an iPhone.

 

Tangerine was shot entirely on an iPhone 5s. And not only does it look beautiful, but it also tells a compelling story, taking two characters on a profound journey of change. And, though it doesn't have the most complicated plot in the world, the simplicity and the drive of its main characters' wants provide it with a rock solid structure.

 

In a way (and this is a funny thing to say) Tangerine is the Indie film version of Mad Max: Fury Road.

 

For those of you who've listened to my Mad Max: Fury Road Podcast, you understand that the plot of Fury Road is essentially “they drive East, and then they drive West.”

 

But the structure of Mad Max: Fury Road is about a character who is trying to find an escape, who finally learns that she has to go back and confront where she came from. In a similar way, Tangerine is built on that simple, primal want of its main character Sin-Dee.

 

Essentially Sin-Dee's journey in the movie is to head East and then to go back West. She starts out at Donut Time and she ends back at Donut Time. And her journey is also compelled by a very simple want: to find her boyfriend's mistress, and to beat the crap out of her!

 

That simple want provides the foundation of the entire structure of this beautiful little film.

 

Sin-Dee, like many of the characters in this movie, is a transgendered prostitute working the streets of Hollywood. Sin-Dee has just spent the last couple of months in prison, and now that she is out, she has learned that her pimp boyfriend is shacking up with another girl. And even worse, the girl isn’t even transgendered!

 

The structure of Sin-Dee’s journey grows from the hunt to go find this girl and, like the Charlize Theron character, Furiosa, in Fury Road, at each step, Sin-Dee is assaulted by obstacles, events and characters that stand in the way of her quest to find that girl.

 

And much like Furiosa, in situations where any other human being would have given up, Sin-Dee keeps on going, driven by the strength of her want. This makes it easy to root for Sin-Dee even though she may not come from our world, and though she’s taking actions that none of us would ever condone in real life...

Oct 21, 2015

Aaron has been writing for television since 2000, when he started on the original Law & Order. After 4 years on the NBC show where he was promoted to Producer, he worked on the only season of Eyes for ABC. His other TV credits consist of Criminal Minds on CBS and Damages on the FX network. For the latter he was nominated for an Emmy and a Writers’ Guild award as a writer/producer. Aaron made his AMC debut on The Killing. From there, he went on to become the Creator/Showrunner and Executive Produce for Resurrection on ABC. He is represented by the United Talent Agency.

TOPICS OF DISCUSSION

  • Looking for a writing job
  • Experiencing writer’s block
  • Success in writing
Oct 21, 2015

Wendy is currently the Co-Executive Producer on Game of Silence. She started her writing career working Gideon’s Crossing, Law & Order: SVU, Line of Fire, Hawaii, The Closer, K-Ville, The Beast, Dexter and The Black List.

Scott is currently a Consulting Producer on The Following. Reynolds started on E-Ring and then started as an assistant on Dexter four years ago and became a writer in year two, and has done quite a phenomenal job. 

TOPICS OF DISCUSSION

  • Writers’ room
  • Advice to young writers
  • Developing your voice
Oct 17, 2015

Every writer wants representation. Which is right for you? When are you REALLY ready? And once you get a rep, how do you sustain the relationship?

Important Topics:

Learn the Representation Landscape

Define Agent/Manager Differences

Find Out What They're Looking For

In today’s ever-changing industry, the competition for representation has never been stiffer. In order to stand out, you must have a clear understanding of not only the writer/rep relationship, but also of expectations and requirements. Discover what reps are looking for and how to attract and sustain rep attention, determine whether an agent or manager is right for you, understand the varying business models & percentage structure and learn how to present yourself as a professional.

A good agent or manager can serve as the writer’s best and most vocal advocate in the professional space. Agents and managers are responsible for introducing their writers to the marketplace, strategizing a path to writing assignments, feature spec or pilot sales, staffing their writers on television shows and providing an overall vision for the screenwriter’s sustainable and lasting career.

In order to position yourself for and make the most of a future or current relationship with an agent or manager, learn all about what they’re seeking in a client, how an effective brand can lead to a powerful industry fan-base, which of the two does what on behalf of their writers, what you can expect from your rep, and what they are likely to expect from you.

In an increasingly saturated space, the competition for each open spot on an agent’s or manager’s client list has never been fiercer, and first impressions have never been more critical. In order to approach your new search for representation or support/develop a preexisting relationship most effectively, learn all about the varying business models, from single-manager operations to agency-like management firms, explore the risks of signing with big agencies or fringe managers, and learn all about recent agency shake ups that have effected the representation game.

This teleconference is dedicated to exploring all you need to know about the representation game, and answering all of your burning questions whether you are managing a current industry relationship or looking to secure the right representation for you. 

Oct 17, 2015

Another inspiring interview, and this time with a recent Emmy winner, Jane Anderson. Jane won the Emmy for best writing for her work on the HBO mini-series, Olive Kitteridge, and her interview here is so thought provoking, meaningful, and truly practical in terms of writing advice and support. She’s a born mentor, and her story and advice at the end is beautiful. 

Like all writers, Jane has pushed through a writing career to where she is now able to work on the projects only she wants to work on. It is the privilege of a successful writer, but Jane reminds us that we can all get there – we just need to keep going.

Thank you for being a regular listener of our Curious About Screenwriting Podcasts, and of course please remember to share and subscribe on iTunes. These podcasts are like a free film school and writing class, so we hope you’re taking advantage as much as you can. Thanks again, and enjoy this interview with Jane Anderson.

Oct 7, 2015

If you’ve only just now heard of Matthew Robbins because of his upcoming Guillermo Del Toro directed film, Crimson Peak, than you may not have been paying attention to the screenwriting credits on some major Hollywood movies. A lifelong screenwriter, Robbins made his way with the “in” crowd of the 60’s, working with Francis Ford Coppola, George Lucas and Steven Spielberg, among many others, and finally got his breakthrough assignment on Spielberg’s The Sugarland Express. From there, Robbins worked on so many others, from Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Batteries Not Included, to the Del Toro film Mimic, and the 2010 film Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark.

While in this podcast, we talk a lot about Crimson Peak – with a really interesting tidbit about the house they use for the central focus of the film – we talk even more about the writing process. And coming from a veteran screenwriter like Matthew, to say his advice is invaluable is a massive understatement. From telling stories of working on films with today’s icons, to looking at screenwriting as a true craft, Matthews interview should leave you inspired and even more ready to finish your next project. If you’re not feeling the flow and need a break, though, we suggest checking out Matthew’s Crimson Peak. Maybe it’ll scare you back into your writing chair.

Oct 7, 2015

Make your script stand out with dynamic, compelling, three-dimensional characters that will move, haunt, inspire, and crack up the reader.

Character is King.  Executives, agents, managers, and showrunners insist on compelling, complex and dynamic characters that leap off the page.  Yet writers often get bogged down with story and plot, losing sight of the fact that it's characters we care deeply about that cause us to tune in to our favorite TV shows week after week.  But how do you create a three-dimensional character that audiences will fall in love with, invest in and root for?

How do you create a three-dimensional character that audiences will fall in love with, invest in and root for? During this teleconference with Script Anatomy Founder and working TV writer Tawnya Bhattacharya, we’ll answer this question and discuss some of TV’s most unforgettable series leads.  You'll walk away with a game plan and clear tools to use while building what just might be TV's next iconic hero or anti-hero. 

The Anatomy of Great Characters

with Script Anatomy Founder and working TV writer Tawnya Bhattacharya

What do Tony Soprano, Selina Meyer, Walter White, Sterling Archer, Carrie Mathison, Omar Little and Kimmy Schmidt have in common? Great characters are unforgettable. We may love them or hate them. But they worm their way into our brains and stay with us — haunting us, inspiring us, cracking us up — long after they’ve disappeared from our screens. 

Learn to create memorable characters with drive, characters that provoke emotion, characters that stay with us in this teleconference. Tawnya will show you how to craft compelling and multi-dimensional characters by crafting their backstorystage of lifeflawcore wounddilemma andgoal as well as how to design dynamic catalyst relationships and polarities, how to a unique world helps you create an interesting character, and how to design meaningful and emotional journeys and character arcs.

As points of reference, writers should familiarize themselves with the pilot episodes of Bloodline, Jane The Virgin, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, and Breaking Bad which, despite the fact it’s now off air, is an excellent example of what the bar is set.

About Script Anatomy:

Founded by TV writer Tawnya Bhattacharya, Script Anatomy is LA's most industry-focused TV writing school whose classes are taught entirely by working writers.  The company helps television writers reach their writing goals and elevate their craft through classes, workshops and private consultations.  Script Anatomy has helped hundreds of writers succeed.  Alumni have been staffed, sold pilots, secured coveted spots in every network and studio writing program, signed with representation at major agencies and management companies, have sold pilots, landed writing assignments, and won prestigious contests as a result.  Join them at ScriptAnatomy.com. 

Tawnya Bhattacharya is a writer, writing instructor, and founder of Script Anatomy.  Her teaching career began at Writers Boot Camp from 2005 – 2008. Having seen writers struggle through the process there, it became apparent what was missing, so she created Script Anatomy — a unique curriculum to give writers practical development, writing and rewriting tools based on her own process. She launched Script Anatomy in 2011, just as she was embarking on her own writing career. Bhattacharya brings both a ten-year teaching background and professional writing experience to Script Anatomy’s curriculum. She is currently a Writer/Co-Producer on NBCs “The Night Shift”and formerly wrote on TNTsPerception,” Lifetime’s “The Client List,” and USA“Fairly Legal,” with her writing partner, Ali Laventhol.  Repped by ICM Partners, they are former NBC Writers on the Verge fellows, winning one of 8 spots out of 1200 applicants and also made semi-finalists for the Disney | ABC Writing Program before getting a job that took them out of the running. Tawnya was also a FOX Writers Intensive fellow (FOX optioned her semi-autobiographical pilot). 

Oct 1, 2015

With this four-part interview series, Max Timm – the Director of Community Outreach – interviews four experts on the logline writing and pitching process. In this interview we have Rob Deege, VP of Creative and Business Affairs at Indomitable Entertainment.

Rob Deege has over 20 years experience in the business, ranging from producing and directing to executive leadership, focused on creative development, producing, business development, financing and distribution.  He is currently at Indomitable Entertainment as the VP of Creative and Business Affairs, and has previously worked as a producer/director on films, television, documentaries, commercials, PSAs and corporate fare for Discovery,  The World Wildlife Fund, Mind & Media, Cerebellum, etc. Rob is working with Max Timm and the ISA development program, accepting material and pitches on behalf of a select group of top ISA screenwriters. His take on the pitching process will illuminate the importance of practice and discipline, and offer priceless advice on how to approach your logline presentation.

In this short series of interviews, Max interview experts on the craft – people who have taken and given thousands of pitches. We expect that you’ll get a lot out of these interviews, so enjoy the conversation, thanks for being a member and fan of the ISA and our Curious About Screenwriting podcasts. Keep writing.

Oct 1, 2015

With this four-part interview series, Max Timm – the Director of Community Outreach – interviews four experts on the logline writing and pitching process. In this interview we have Michael Hauge, veteran and expert story consultant.

Michael Hauge has coached screenwriters, producers, stars and directors on projects for every major studio and network, most recently I AM LEGEND, HANCOCK and THE KARATE KID for Will Smith and Overbrook Entertainment; MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE for Columbia Pictures; BAKUGAN for Universal Pictures, and LOVE, ROSIE for SONY Pictures and Constantin Film. In this podcast interview, Michael discusses the importance of the primary elements that make up any story, and how to include them in your pitch and/or logline.  We highly recommend Michael and his services, and you can find more about him at www.storymastery.com

In this short series of interviews, Max interview experts on the craft – people who have taken and given thousands of pitches. We expect that you’ll get a lot out of these interviews, so enjoy the conversation, thanks for being a member and fan of the ISA and our Curious About Screenwriting podcasts. Keep writing.

Oct 1, 2015

With this four-part interview series, Max Timm – the Director of Community Outreach – interviews four experts on the logline writing and pitching process. In this interview we have Jacob Krueger, pitching expert and founder of the Jacob Krueger Studio.

Jacob Krueger has worked with thousands of writers, from Academy and Tony Award Winners, to beginning writers picking up the pen for the first time.  The founder of Jacob Krueger Studio in New York City, Jacob is an award winning screenwriter, playwright, producer and director. Jacob’s first produced movie, The Matthew Shepard Story (2002) won him the Writers Guild of America Paul Selvin Award and a Gemini Nomination for Best Screenplay. In an informative podcast interview, Jacob shows his expertise on pitching and gives a spirited and inspirational approach to your pitch process. Jacob and the ISA have established a lasting relationship, and we’re proud to be in association with his top quality studio. Find more about him at www.writeyourscreenplay.com

In this short series of interviews, Max interview experts on the craft – people who have taken and given thousands of pitches. We expect that you’ll get a lot out of these interviews, so enjoy the conversation, thanks for being a member and fan of the ISA and our Curious About Screenwriting podcasts. Keep writing.

Oct 1, 2015

With this four-part interview series, Max Timm – the Dir of Community Outreach – interviews four experts on the logline writing and pitching process. In this interview we have Amy Baer.

Amy Baer has developed some of the most successful and critically acclaimed movies as the first CBS Films president and former senior production executive at Sony. She has supervised development and production of films that have grossed more than $1.8 billion worldwide box office including such beloved fare as Something’s Gotta Give, My Best Friend’s Wedding, Adaptation, The Mask of Zorro, S.W.A.T., The Pursuit of Happyness and Moneyball. Amy gives us an executive’s view and opinion on what a writer should focus on when preparing their pitch and loglines. An invaluable inside look at what an executive expects from a writer.

In this short series of interviews, Max interview experts on the craft – people who have taken and given thousands of pitches. We expect that you’ll get a lot out of these interviews, so enjoy the conversation, thanks for being a member and fan of the ISA and our Curious About Screenwriting podcasts. Keep writing.

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