Info

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.
RSS Feed
Curious About Screenwriting Network
2021
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January


2020
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January


2019
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January


2018
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January


2017
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January


2016
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January


2015
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March


Categories

All Episodes
Archives
Categories
Now displaying: 2016
Dec 29, 2016

We are presenting this podcast as an introduction to our upcoming TV Story Weekend on January 14 and 15 in Los Angeles. If you don't yet know about Story Weekend, you absolutely must check it out - a two-day event with Lee Jessup, Jen Grisanti and Corey Mandel, giving specific insight and an intensive on all aspects of the TV writing process, business, and how to write a pilot that sells. There will also be two panels presented with representatives from the industry such Gersh, a writer on the upcoming Netflix show, Ozark, a TV-specific manager and then some. Join us in Los Angeles in mid-January 2017 and learn from the best! See more here.

Jen Grisanti is a long-standing friend of the ISA, having jumped on the line with our Max Timm multiple times in recent past. We love having Jen on not only for her wealth of knowledge and expertise where TV writing is concerned, but because of her never-ending dedication to inspiring writers and motivating us all to keep pushing forward. While Jen and Max talk a lot about the TV pilot season and what it means for writers, there is a real emphasis on why so many shows right now are working so well.

There isn't a secret to creating a great TV series and the industry isn't witholding such a secret from us, the writer. You have the ability to write great television, but it's absolutely essential (and might we say, mandatory) to enlist the help and support from someone like Jen Grisanti or her consulting and coaching peers. The reason the ISA hosts our podcasts is because you, the writer, need support through every step of the creation process and throughout your career no matter the level of success you achieve.

With a new year upon us, what better time than now to not only attend the ISA's TV Story Weekend event in January, but to also call upon Jen Grisanti to work with you one on one? The time is now, folks, so hop to it. 

Dec 29, 2016

"La La Land" is a musical that soars while staying grounded in reality.

With catchy songs and dance numbers that pop off the screen, it would be easy to characterize Damien Chazelle's "La La Land" as a musical comedy, but that doesn't give this film nearly enough credit. It's also a serious character study of performing artists, as well as a tough-minded take on show business realities. Chazelle's layered script tells the story of struggling actress Mia (Emma Stone) and bullheaded jazz pianist Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) pursuing their dreams in LA and each other. Their dialogue crackles honestly about Tinsel Town demands, and even when these two break into song, their words speak volumes about the "fools who dream." Both sweetly nostalgic and utterly modern, "La La Land" is the must-see film this holiday season.

Dec 21, 2016

We are presenting this podcast as an introduction to our upcoming TV Story Weekend on January 14 and 15 in Los Angeles. If you don't yet know about Story Weekend, you absolutely must check it out - a two-day event with Lee Jessup, Jen Grisanti and Corey Mandel, giving specific insight and an intensive on all aspects of the TV writing process, business, and how to write a pilot that sells. There will also be two panels presented with representatives from the industry such Gersh, a writer on the upcoming Netflix show, Ozark, a TV-specific manager and then some. Join us in Los Angeles in mid-January 2017 and learn from the best! See more here.

In preparation for the year ahead, Max Timm jumped on the line for a quick interview and podcast with Lee Jessup. Lee is a longstanding friend of the ISA and we love that she is referenced as a Screenwriting Guidance Counselor. We all need someone like that in our lives, and Lee is the perfect example of a career coach and creative consultant. What she provides writers is invaluable, and we always love having her on for a podcast interview.

She shares with us specifics about what we can expect from the industry in the coming year, and how writers should approach pilot season (and giving us details on how pilot season has changed in recent years).

 

Dec 20, 2016

"Rogue One" is a Star Wars story that is good, just not a great one.

"Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" is being promoted as the first stand-alone film in the anthology series. Partly true, but this is still essentially a prequel to the chapter "A New Hope." It is self-contained, and fills in the blanks of the storytelling between chapters 3 and 4 in the anthology, but it feels less like a "Star Wars" film in both good ways and bad. It wins points for its diversity, and its adult edge, particularly in its third act battle sequences. Unfortunately, the varied ethnicity of the characters isn't enough to make up for their lack of dimension. And no new character, other than the robot K-2SO, gives Luke, Han or C-3PO a run for their money. Quite simply, this film illustrates that what the franchise truly needs is to tell stories not tethered to the original six. New directions will give every filmgoer out there a new hope.

Dec 13, 2016

"Jackie" is a daring and raw biopic that is one of the year's best films.

Biopics are tricky to write. Tell a cradle-to-grave story, and you've bitten off more than can be chewed in a two-hour film. Fail to fill in the blanks of your famous subject and the audience will see them as merely two-dimensional. Neither is a problem in the vivid new film "Jackie." It's a daring and raw portrait of First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy during the weeks following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963.

Written by Noah Oppenheim as a non-linear mood piece, directed with flair by Pablo Larrain, and acted with aching vulnerability by a never-better Natalie Portman, Jackie's grieving process here is presented as both intensely haunting and deeply moving. This character study does more than illuminate its subject, it puts us in her shoes at every moment. Jackie's fight to tell her story couldn't be more timely for our nation during this difficult political transition. And it's a must-see film for anyone interested in the advancement of cinematic storytelling.

Dec 8, 2016

2016 is almost over! Can you believe it? We hear it all the time, "wow how time flies", but it's actually pretty amazing how fast the days, months and years tend to zoom by us. And even though a year in review podcast episode is relatively trite and cliché, I think it's absolutely necessary to take a moment and look back on everything we experienced over the past year. We don't do that enough throughout the year, when we're in the middle of it, experiencing it all and whizzing through life and always looking forward. I personally get so caught up in the planning phases of my life, that I so easily forget everything I've accomplished and, much less, what I'm currently accomplishing and experiencing. Why does it sometimes feel easier to look ahead or gaze longingly at the past? What's wrong with the current moment that keeps us looking elsewhere? And maybe that's a negative way of looking at it. There isn't anything terribly wrong with the current moment, but we do tend to spend more time thinking about the past and future as opposed to just being in the present. We've heard it a thousand times - it's called the present because it is a gift. But, I don't want to start out this episode with too many clichés or platitudes, even though I do tend to love them. So a year in review. First, if you're listening to this in 2017, let us know how things are in the future. Hopefully we have flying cars and the ability to teleport by the time you're listening to this. But yes, I want to take a look back on some of the things I've discussed over the past 12 months. Most of my podcast episodes are so short and quick, that it makes it a bit difficult to really dive in and get to the details of every little piece of information I share and teach. So hopefully this episode helps fit things into place for you regular listeners, and for anyone who is tuning in for the first time, maybe this entices you to go back and listen to previous episodes.

Dec 5, 2016

SYS Episode #151

Funny man, and screenwriter (Saving Silverman and Bride Wars) Greg DePaul.

Dec 5, 2016
SYS Episode #150
 
Television Writer, Craig Van Sickle
Dec 5, 2016

SYS Episode #149

Legendary filmmaker Paul Schrader

Dec 5, 2016

SYS Episode #148

Screenwriter and Hart Chart creator James V. Hart.

Dec 4, 2016

An excerpt from Jacob Krueger's podcast: 

"...This is a series I've been wanting to talk about for a very long time. And we're going to do so from a different perspective than we usually do when we talk about TV series.

Oftentimes on this podcast, when we've spoken about series we've talked about big picture stuff. We've talked about theme and engine and structure. But today, what we're going to do is zoom in really close on one particular episode.

We're going to look at Season 3 Episode 5, and we're going to break it down to its fundamental craft elements: the way that the scenes are actually constructed..."

Nov 30, 2016

"Nocturnal Animals" presents a beautiful world filled with brutality.

Tom Ford may have come from the world of fashion and beauty, but his latest movie entitled "Nocturnal Animals" is all about ugliness. Susan (Amy Adams) may be rich and glamorous, but her life is cold and lonely. Her art gallery is bleeding cash, her marriage is marred by infidelity, and she covers her shame in artifice. Then her ex Edward (Jake Gyllenhaal) sends her the new novel he's written, dedicated to her. As she reads, Susan realizes his fiction is a metaphor for their reality 20 years earlier. And the brutality in his story echoes that which ended their marriage. Tom Ford writes and directs this multi-tiered story with extraordinary attention to every word and detail. He's a true artist, provoking his audience with a controversial work as exquisite as it is unsettling.

Nov 24, 2016

"Westworld" is an enigmatic mystery that keeps us guessing.

The new HBO series does more than just re-imagine Michael Crichton's 1973 cult movie "Westworld" as a deeper and more philosophical examination of modern technology. It also confounds most of the rules of narrative in a television series. Almost every character at work and at play in the westernized adult theme park remains enigmatic eight hours into the 10-episode season. Multiple timelines may be at play, though they've yet to be clearly stated. And just what the maze at the center of the show means is anybody's guess. Maybe because so much is left to the viewer to decide and decipher, it's become the ‘water cooler' show of the fall season. Is it about robots becoming human, or God complexes or something else? Hard to say, but no matter where it's all going, it is utterly enthralling television. And we anxiously await its answers.

Nov 24, 2016

An excerpt from Jacob Krueger's podcast: 

"... So learning how to write a successful screenplay is not actually just about learning how to write a good screenplay, it's learning how to know what compromises you can make and what compromises you cannot. Which imperfections your audience will accept, which imperfections are going to pull them out of the story.

In many ways, the success or failure of your movie all boils down to one really simple concept: Feeding The Genre Monster."

Nov 24, 2016

An excerpt from Jacob Krueger's podcast: 

"... Don't Breathe is not reinventing the wheel, but what it is doing is showing a really interesting template for independent filmmakers of how to make a very low-budget movie with a potential for very high return.

Does this mean that you should run out tomorrow and write a horror thriller? Absolutely not. But it doesn't mean that you can take some of the lessons of Don't Breathe and apply them to your own writing in order to get the most bang for your buck as an independent filmmaker..."

Nov 23, 2016

"The Edge of Seventeen" is a coming-of-age comedy filled with humor and compassion.

Writer/director Kelly Fremon Craig has made a superior coming-of-age comedy with "The Edge of Seventeen." What makes it so great? For starters, the comedy is grounded in reality. None of the humor in it feels forced or ‘written.' Instead, it all comes from the characters and what they would truly do or say. Second, it takes the problems of troubled teen Nadine seriously, never ridiculing her or belittling her panic and rage. Finally, Craig's lead is Hailee Steinfeld, one of the best young actresses working in the business these days, and she gives a performance that should warrant awards recognition. All in all, this is a film with universal themes about the need to belong and be loved. And that should appeal to audiences on the edge of 17 or 70.

Nov 15, 2016

"Arrival" is science fiction that twists narrative expectations in profound ways. 

The best science fiction always comments on society and indeed, "Arrival" from director Denis Villeneuve has a lot to say about how we communicate and interact with those alien to us. (It couldn't be more prescient in the aftermath of an election where so many factions felt well, alienated.) Here, Amy Adams stars as a linguist professor helping translate the communications coming from an alien life form whose space ships are hovering over our air space. It's a story both pragmatic and thrilling as she works to put the pieces of the puzzle together. And the movie's mind-blowing surprises happen off-screen as well, with screenwriter Eric Heisserer's adaptation of Ted Chiang's "Story of Your Life" twisting traditional cinematic storytelling tropes in profound ways.

Nov 14, 2016

Unique and fresh. Let's dig in to why those two words are so important where a pitch is concerned. First, you all know what a logline is, yeah? I assume so, but if you don't, you're in the right place. A logline is basically a written form of a pitch. It's a way for a producer to read a short and quick version of your project's summary within one sentence. When I'm reaching out to producers on behalf of the writers in our Development Program, for example, I'm sending along loglines for those producers to consider. They read through a bunch of them, decide on whether or not any of them spark interest, and then they request the script. All based on the logline. So in a lot of ways, your foot in the door is the logline, or in other words, your pitch. You can see why I'm spending so much time building this episode up and hitting all of the conceptual points first. I can't stress enough how important it is for you to be able to nail a pitch, and by "nail" I mean, prove to whomever is listening that you know how to tell a story. Maybe we can start there, really. A story.

What is a story, really? Have you ever really tried to define what a story is? To actually sit down and come up with your own definition? We all assume we understand what that word means, "story", but have we really given it much thought? I'll break it down for you, and hopefully you can get a better sense of it too. It starts with purpose. What's the purpose of a story? Ultimately, it's to entertain in some way, shape, or form. I could dive in to the meaning of the word "entertain" too, but let's not go off on too much of a tangent here. A story is also a way to inform. Here is information I have to share, let's share it with others. We, as screenwriters though, are not journalists delivering a non-biased relay of information or news. We're not simply telling someone that something happened. That's just information. Information turns into entertainment when it is told as a story. So... story is both information and entertainment. Fine. Basic. Your eyes are probably glazing over as I speak and wondering when they hell I'm going to just get on with it. Here we go... 

Nov 9, 2016

“Doctor Strange” is one of cinema’s very best comic book adaptations

 In a year that already saw “Deadpool” as a high-water mark for comic book adaptations, along comes “Doctor Strange.” It is not only one of the best that Marvel Studios has ever done, but it stands with the greatest superhero origin story films like “Superman: The Movie”, “Spider-man” and “Iron Man.” How? By being character-driven and acting as smart as its neurosurgeon main character. Doctor Strange (the ever sharp Benedict Cumberbatch) is a brilliant, yet egotistical man whose hero’s journey takes him from self-centered to at one with the universe. He learns the wonders of mysticism, magic and selfless power. And the storytellers here never lose sight of that arc. They imbue every scene with his braininess, including a final action scene that doesn’t play like a brawl, but rather a chess game for the fate of mankind.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Next » 9