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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, 2016
Oct 26, 2016

Halloween Special!

"The Walking Dead" keeps killing it as it enters its seventh season.

For those who are obsessed with "The Walking Dead", and it appears that most of its viewers are, the seventh season premiere delivered on its cliffhanger from last spring. All summer long, fans were teased with the possibility of two shocking deaths at the hands of new villain Negan. And the brutality wielded by his barbed-wired bat was harrowing for the audience's stomachs and hearts.

Still, despite such violence, the show kept its focus on character. The script focused on lead Rick Grimes' arc from cocky leader to morally defeated mortal. And the episode opened the door to lots of potential new directions: different leaders, unique threats, and even the possibility of hope for mankind. Negan may be one mean S.O.B., but for the writers to keep the show fresh and unexpected this long into their zombie apocalypse tale, well, that's no mean feat.

Oct 26, 2016

We’re more than just curious about screenwriting in this episode, because I had the pleasure of bringing on two-time Oscar winner and one of my favorite writers, Paul Haggis. In terms of introducing him, it doesn’t need much. But what I love about this interview is that even though we know his name, discovering how Paul started his career, the bumps and hiccups he experienced along the way, and how he worked up through the ranks is illuminating. What I have been preaching about in my solo podcast, The Craft, is basically confirmed here – our job as a writer is to simply write. We can’t concern ourselves with every single facet of the entertainment industry, and Paul reminds us of this by having an innate ability to focus on what he loves – telling a great story. And more than that, he wants to tell the story that he personally loves whether the industry will accept it or not. It’s a scary thing to risk everything, as he so eloquently offers as his final words and advice, but it’s necessary where the creative arts are concerned. Looking down deep, digging in to what you know to be personally true for you, and listening to your own intuition – it’s absolutely imperative, and everything Paul and I discuss in this conversation centers on the writer’s need to follow his/her own personal path. As I’ve said before, there isn’t one path for a writer to take in order to create a career in this town, so find your own path and stick to it. It will serve you in the end.

Oct 22, 2016

Mark is an author and Director of Self-Publishing & Author Relations for Kobo. Mark Lefebvre was hired by Kobo in 2011 to develop an easy way for indie authors and small publishers to publish their work to Kobo's global catalog in 190 countries. Using his more than two decades worth of book industry experience (not to mention the fact that he is also a writer and self-published his first book in 2004), Mark led the creation of Kobo Writing Life in July 2012. In the four years since its launch, Kobo Writing Life has grown to represent between 15 to 20% of the company's weekly unit sales and a market share larger than the world's largest publishers.To connect with Mark, you can go to www.kobowritinglife.com and www.kobo.com/writinglife or follow on twitter @KoboWritingLife and facebook: www.facebook.com/kobowritinglife. You can connect at www.laurapowers.net. You can also find her on facebook via Write Hot and follow her on twitter @thatlaurapowers.

Oct 22, 2016

Steve has over twenty years' experience as a Television Executive having championed The X-Files, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, The Simpsons and Battlestar Galactica. He blogs on All Things Entertainment via www.SurfingHollywood.com. We discussed trends in television and tips for getting your writing career going in the television industry. You can connect with and follow Steve on twitter @SteveLaRue2. You can connect at www.laurapowers.net. You can also find her on facebook via Write Hot and follow her on twitter @thatlaurapowers. Today's podcast is brought to you by audible.com - get a FREE audiobook download and 30 day free trial atwww.audibletrial.com/writehot. Over 180,000 titles to choose from for your iPhone, Android, Kindle or mp3 player.

Oct 22, 2016

Joanna Penn is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of thrillers under J.F.Penn. She also writes inspirational non-fiction for authors and is an award-winning creative entrepreneur and international professional speaker. Her site, TheCreativePenn.com is regularly voted one of the top 10 sites for writers and self-publishers. Joanna has successfully grown her business from a side hustle to making over 100k a year writing full time so we talked about her process. We spoke about planning and making goal in Olympic year cycles (every 4 years) and talked about tips on how to grow your writing business and stay inspired. To connect with Joanna Penn and find out information on her podcast, you can go to www.thecreativepenn.com. You can connect at www.laurapowers.net. You can also find her on facebook via Write Hot and follow her on twitter @thatlaurapowers.

Oct 19, 2016

"Supergirl" flies with fan boys and girls alike.

What did the TV series "Supergirl" get right in its transfer from comic book to small screen? Plenty. It faithfully honors the 1959 source material. The sincerity and sass Warner Bros. incorporated into the character when they animated her in the 1990's is still present. And there are even bits of feminist icons like Wonder Woman and Ally McBeal baked into the present day character. In Melissa Benoist they have found the perfect ingénue to play both the superhero who soars, as well as her more down-to-earth alter ego Kara Danvers. Greg Berlanti, Ali Adler and Andrew Kreisberg created the ebullient show for CBS in 2015, but it's even better after moving to the CW for season two. "Supergirl" satisfies fan boys and fan girls alike, with an earnest approach that today's dark and dour big screen DC adaptations could learn a lot from.

Oct 18, 2016

In this recording of a live teleconference with Emmanuel Oberg and the ISA's Max Timm, you'll get an introduction to the Story-Type Method®, as Max and Emmanuel discuss:

1. Structure is everything, but what is structure? A good story is a metaphor for a problem-solving process. Identifying where the main problem lies - outside the protagonist (in other characters or nature); within the protagonist; in society - leads to the Story-Type Method®, which defines three main story-types: plot-led, character-led and theme-led. This innovative way of looking at story structure can help writers to develop any story: action movie, character driven piece, even hybrids and exceptions.

2. The Fractal Aspect of Story structure. The three-act structure can be used to design not only the whole film but also its parts: acts, sequences, scenes, subplots, strands... This is one of the many differences between the dramatic three-act structure and the more well-known logistical three-act structure, based on page numbers or minutes, such as the 30-60-30 paradigm. The dramatic three-act structure is more flexible, more powerful and is even optional, at least when it comes to designing the story as a whole.

3. How various tools can be used to manage information, which is another part of story structure. Tools like dramatic irony, surprise, mystery and suspense. Many films such as Tootsie, Avatar, The Lives of Others, Sleuth, Infernal Affairs and its remake The Departed have a structure based on managing information rather than simply managing conflict. The logistical 30-60-30 paradigm on its own can't explain how these stories are designed.

Oct 14, 2016

In this podcast, Laura speaks with freelance writer Kate Kordsmeier on how to be a successful freelancer. She is an Atlanta-based freelance food and travel writer and recipe developer for more than 100 publications, including USA Today, EatingWell, Travel + Leisure, Cooking Light, The Washington Post, Clean Eating, Conde Nast Traveler, FITNESS, Delta Sky, Women's Health, American Way, Shape, Wine Enthusiast, Vegetarian Times, The Travel Channel, SELF, Rachael Ray Every Day, Real Simple, Esquire, Modern Luxury and DRAFT. She is also the Atlanta Editor for About.com, the author of the cookbook Atlanta Chef's Table: Extraordinary Recipes from the Big Peach and the founder of Root + Revel, a food and wellness site devoted to natural living. television writer and producer.

 

You can connect with Kate www.katekordsmeier.com, www.rootandrevel.com or on twitter at @kpkords, @rootandrevel. You can connect at www.laurapowers.net. You can also find her on facebook via Write Hot and follow her on twitter @thatlaurapowers.

Oct 14, 2016

In this podcast, Laura speaks with television writer and producer Steven Long Mitchell. He was born and raised in New Orleans, by a family so dysfunctional it would have driven Tennessee Williams to drink even more, Steven is best known as the Emmy Award nominated Writer and Executive Producer of Tin Man, the highest rated miniseries in the history of the SyFy Channel and Co-Creator/Executive Producer of the hit cult classic TV show The Pretender and many others. He is currently developing two new - top secret televisions series that he will neither confirm or deny the existence of. Feel free to contact him through his website Steven@thepretenderlives.com and/or follow him on twitter @pretendersteve. For more information on Laura and her writing and podcasting, you can go to her website www.laurapowers.net. You can also find her on facebook via Write Hot and follow her on twitter @thatlaurapowers.

Oct 14, 2016

Episode 15:


In this interview, Laura talks with Madeleine Holly-Rosing, writer and creator of the steampunk comic,Boston Metaphysical Society. The comic takes place in the late 1800s Boston. Though people may not think of them that way, comic books are sequential art. There are artists that are great at pinups and do posters but not have the skills to tell a story. Madelein's suggestions if you are interested in starting your own comic is to read indie comics. They key is to find the right artist. Art draws you in but the story makes you stay with the comic. She suggests going to meetups and connecting others in the industry through friends. Go to comic cons, meet artist, post on comic Facebook groups connecting comic artists and creators. Once you connect with an artist, you should have a contract with a page rate $50 to 300 a page depending on experience. Madeleine met a colorist through a mutual friend and she uses Indonesia Color Labs. She raised the funds through a combination of self-funding and Kickstarter. You will also need an Inker for the cover and she opted not to internally. In terms of where to start, go with a premise first and then start with the characters that work within that premise to create the story with the characters. Build bios and spend a lot of time on them. Then do a page breakdown, take a scene and break it down into pages. 22 pages fits in standard comic length; Boston metaphysical is 132 page graphic novel broken into 6 comic books. A full screenplay, lends itself well into graphic novel. If you are new to comics and graphic novels, Madeleine suggests familiarizing yourself with people and creators, get to know comics out there and go to classes. She started doing reviews for fan-based press and this is a great way to get to know the medium. She noted that good lettering is really important. Bad lettering can really bring you down. Madeleine goes to 10-15 cons a year. She also suggested different cons to go to and how to make your con a successful experience. Interestingly, she pointed out that Kickstarter is one of the main publishers of independent comics. For more information on Boston Metaphysical Society, you can go to http://bostonmetaphysicalsociety.com/. You can also find updates on the podcast by following the Write Hot Podcast on Facebook and follow laura on twitter @thatlaurapowers. For more information on Laura, you can go to www.laurapowers.net to find out information on Laura's psychic work, you can find her at www.healingpowers.net.

Oct 14, 2016

Episode 14: International Screenwriters' Association and Max Timm


In this interview, Laura talks with Max Timm, Director of Community Outreach with the International Screenwriters Association and the Author of the new book The WishKeeper. Laura and Max met at the Nashville Writers Conference when Laura pitched her supernatural screenplay to him. Max also hosts a podcast for writers that is featured on the ISA podcast page called, The Craft. ISA is a resource for creators on all sides with a screenwriter angles. It's a website resource for all aspects of the screenwriting including podcasts, job listings, trainings, and more. We also discussed Laura's other work as a psychic and how she got her start, as well as some of the strange experiences that Laura has as a psychic. If you are curious about her other work then his is a great interview to listen to! You can connect with Max and learn about his new book at www.wishkeeperbook.com. The WishKeeper won the Young Adult categor at the 2015 Los Angeles Book Festival.

To connect with the International Screenwriters Association at www.networkisa.org. If you want more information on Laura Powers, you can go to her website www.laurapowers.net. You can also find updates on the podcast by following the Write Hot Podcast on Facebook and follow laura on twitter @thatlaurapowers too. If you are curious and want to learn more about Laura's psychic work, you can read her new book Diary of a Psychic on amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Laura-Powers/e/B009HW4YRW

Oct 13, 2016

Happy fall, everyone! It's October, the air has a little chill to it, even if you're in Los Angeles, the baseball playoffs are under way and my Cubs just won the first game of the National League Division Series and I'm happy. For those of you who don't care about baseball, well... I'll keep my comments to myself and instead focus on why this podcast episode does have a connection to the changing of the seasons.

The holiday season is officially upon us and what naturally comes with the holiday season is a tendency to wish a little more, dream a little more, and reflect on what you have and what you don't. The healthy approach here is to not focus on the lack, but to focus on how to fill in the little gaps, those little empty spaces of your life, with what you want. And since this is a podcast on writing, and since you're listening right now, I can assume that you have the intention of being a working, full-time writer in this industry; to have your projects not only find representation and a champion, but to make it to the big or small screen. The comfort, for me anyway, when I think about this wish and intention to work as a full-time writer is in the knowing that we're all in this together. Even if you're already a full-time working writer, your intention is to keep it that way! So we're all in this together, and we all have the same wish, and like I said, the holiday season tends to bring about those hopes and wishes even more.

Oct 11, 2016

“The Girl on the Train” isn’t quite the thrill ride it should be.

British author Paula Hawkins’ 2015 page turner gets the big screen treatment this year with top-notch talent above and below the line. So, why isn’t the movie version of “The Girl on the Train” as successful as the taut psychological thriller it was adapted from? For starters, Erin Cressida Wilson’s script cannot recreate the book’s first person narratives so she instead relies on simply transferring the rather obvious whodunit straight to the screen. The film also doesn’t expand or deepen the mystery with better red herrings than in Hawkins’ original prose. Finally, despite an able cast headed by Emily Blunt, and directed by Tate Taylor, the characters for the most part remain two-dimensional. A film is not a book after all, and this adaptation needed to be more than just a faithful recreation of the storyline to quicken the pulse of the movie-going audience.

Oct 10, 2016

I’m finally back with an interview for Curious About Screenwriting! I know, I’ve been lagging behind and it’s been a bit since I’ve presented interviews in our regular series here, but I’m very happy to have brought on writer/director, Nadia Litz. Her recent feature release, The People Garden, is well worth the viewing and we dig in to a lot of the behind scenes details on what it took to make and release the film. The reason I enjoy bringing on writer/directors like Nadia is because of the level of inherent inspiration that comes along with it. She’s in the trenches and she’s doing what she loves, finding ways to reveal her voice to the industry at large, and really, she isn’t any different then you listening right now. The steps she took to produce and release her recent film are available to you, but the distinct difference and what helps set Nadia apart is her understanding of self and why she’s doing what she’s doing. There is no greater or more important practice in this entertainment industry than working on developing your voice, your uniqueness, and how you fit within this giant world of movies and screenwriting. Nadia is well on her way and it was great having her on.

In terms of future episodes of Curious About Screenwriting and the reason why I’ve been a bit slower to release podcast episodes – including my solo series called The Craft – is because the ISA and I have been launching a ton of new resources for writers. We recently had our Story Weekend of seminars and workshops with three top consultants, Pilar Alessandra, Chris Vogler, and Lee Jessup. I also recently started the second round of the ISA Master Class where I work with writers one on one in the classroom, AND on top of that, we have released the online version of that Master Class for those of you not in Los Angeles. You can go to www.thecraftcourse.com to see the various class options there. What’s the purpose of all of this? The ISA is taking an education-centric approach to supporting you because without continual practice, continual dedication to your own craft of writing, you’re spinning your wheels. Take an education-first approach to your writing and I promise you will see your writing career swiftly move forward.

So on that education note, here’s my interview with Nadia Litz – it’s worth the listen, and her film, The People Garden, is worth the viewing. Enjoy and you’ll be hearing from me soon.

Oct 4, 2016

"Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children" is vintage Burton."

Ransom Riggs' 2011 YA bestseller is the perfect material for a director like Tim Burton to adapt to the screen. Its vivid fantasy world, quirky characters, and sense of wonder are tailor-made for the director. Unfortunately, the complex story also brings out the director's shortcomings as well. While the veteran filmmaker aces the production design and awe in this literary adaptation, he can't corral a wandering script, nor dimensional most of the characters in his large cast. Burton also loses the plot throughout and rushes the climax, but none of this is surprising to those who know Burton's work. Still, this gorgeous, whimsical tale will certainly lift one's spirits, even if its story never feels particularly grounded.

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