“Girls” ends six seasons on HBO as daring and unconventional as ever.
Love it or hate it, Lena Dunham stuck to her vision of “Girls” and consistently rendered a show that dramatically defied the conventions of storytelling, character arcs, and portrayals of women.
In many ways, it was an antidote to the glamorous world of New York singles presented by the likes of “Sex and the City” and “Friends.” This was a harsher show; blunter and more negative in its portrayal of struggles in the Big Apple. Additionally, “Girls” served as a hilariously caustic indictment of Millennial entitlement. Perhaps most importantly, the series reworked the rules of narrative, refusing to be driven by plot, and resisting overt character redemption. The girls may have started to become mature women by the end, but their steps were merely baby steps.
As part of The Story Farm consulting serivce, Max Timm has been working with Kelly McKain for a few months and has already helped her get set up with a manager and shop her projects around town - all while Kelly remains in her native UK. We're excited to have Kelly on board with the ISA and its Development programs as well, as we push to help her create a career as a working screenwriter.
Kelly is also a children’s and YA fiction author. She’s written over forty titles, including the bestselling Totally Lucy and Pony Camp Diaries series, and has been published in more than twenty languages. She is currently working on her YA fiction trilogy and TV series Green Witch, as well as family comedy feature Quirk’s and the Totally Lucy TV show, all of which are being developed with Max Timm and The Story Farm consulting and script development. Kelly lives in the UK, beside beautiful heathland in Surrey with her husband and their two children and enjoys dancing, yoga, natural horsemanship and drinking weird green stuff out of the Nutri-Bullet.
Join the ISA's Max Timm as he interviews one of the Development Program's recent inductees. Kylie Garcelon is also one of Max's consulting writers through his Story Farm personal coaching and development service.
Kylie Garcelon is a screenwriter currently living and working in NYC. Her most recent work, The Culinary Professor (2016), won Best Woman Filmmaker at the Canadian Diversity Film Festival (Dec) and Best Woman Filmmaker at the Hollywood International Independent Documentary Awards in addition to Best Short Documentary. It was also a nominee at the prestigious, 2017 IACP Awards. In 2015 Kylie wrote and directed 'Moral Compass' a narrative short which earned her a Best Director-Short Drama award at the 2016 Atlantic City Cinefest. It was nominated for Best Short Film – Drama, at the 2017 Winter Film awards and is nominated for three awards at the upcoming Northern Virginia Film and Music Festival. Kylie has just completed production as Writer-Director of her feature film, ‘The Dog Walker,' a psychological thriller which she began writing in 2016.
The ISA's Max Timm talks with the newest member of the ISA Development Program, Ted Campbell.
Originally from Boston, Mass, Ted is a screenwriter and director whose neo-noir, thriller "Blue Motel" won the Grand Prize in ScriptShark's Insider Screenplay contest. Most recently, he was invited to officially join ISA’s Development Program with his crime thriller “Underground”. An eighteen year veteran of the film industry, Ted has worked as a First Assistant Director on over fifty independent feature films including Paul Liberstien’s feature debut “Song of Back and Neck’, Miranda July's "The Future" and the Sundance award-winner “Quinceañera."
Both former D1 student-athletes, writers Maddy Curley and Brooke Buffington definitely followed the "write what you know" rule with their new pilot, Division One. It's a 1-hour dramedy that pulls back the curtain on the high stakes world of college athletics, followed through the life of a rare female athletic director. Before Division One, Maddy and Brooke placed as finalists and/or quarterfinalists in many of the major writing competitions, such as Nicholl, Script Pipeline, Fresh Voices, Blue Cat, Fellini and Scriptapalooza. They also wrote and produced their own independent feature film, Chalk It Up, which was licensed to Netflix and can be found on both their domestic and international platforms. They're excited to continue to hone their craft through the ISA Development program.
Listen in on Max Timm's interview with Brooke and Maddy!
In association with the International Screenwriter's Association, we are proud to support Jacob Krueger Studio and WriteYourScreenplay.com. Jacob's studio is now presenting live and online seminars completely free. Please don't forget to register for free as a member with the ISA at www.networkisa.org.
To sign up for Jacob's free seminars, click here: http://www.writeyourscreenplay.com/fixyourpitch/
Excerpt from this podcast:
"This is perhaps the most dangerous screenwriting lecture you will ever hear.
That’s because today I’m going to be talking about one of the most dangerous concepts for screenwriters: the concept of pitch.
The reason that pitch is so dangerous for screenwriters is that when all we’re thinking about is “can I sell it, can I sell it, can I sell it?” it takes us away from the kind of writing that we can actually sell.
Similarly, when all we’re thinking about is “what do they want, what do they want, what do they want,” it cuts us off from our own voices.
If you’ve listened to this podcast you know that without your voice you don’t have a shot. That in fact, your voice is the only thing that a producer can buy.
So how can you use that knowledge as you develop the pitch for your screenplay..."
“Going in Style” is a crowd-pleasing comedy that wisely showcases its seniors.
When you have leads like Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman and Alan Arkin, your movie is going to be chock full of good humor and charm. Director Zach Braff wisely lets them dominate his film and their sophisticated appeal keeps us vested in every minute of it, even if Theodore Melfi’s script about put-upon seniors robbing a bank sometimes aims lower. This remake of Martin Brest’s melancholy character study from 1979 has been turned into more of a caper comedy, but the shift makes sense given that our national economy is still smarting from the 2008 crash. Some of the jokes, as well as many of Braff’s comedic instincts, are too broad. Still, his lovable stars more than make up for the film’s faults.
“Smurfs: The Lost Village” looks great but lacks an equally great story.
Hollywood has given the Smurfs the proverbial reboot and every penny of its reported $60mill budget is up there on the screen with its vivid production design. If only the storytelling was given as much attention. While the Smurf characters have their charms, and the vocals of stars Mandy Patinkin, Demi Lovato and Jack McBrayer are strong, the film’s narrative gets bogged down by kid movie clichés, hoary blue word play, and exhaustingly frenetic action. If only the show stopped to breathe occasionally. Worse yet, the treatment of its lead Smurfette skirts too close to sexism. It’s enough to make even a Smurf turn red from embarrassment.
Having just seen Get Out! which I'll be discussing in an upcoming podcast - and which deals pretty brilliantly with the themes of race within a big genre movie, but pretty poorly with the concept of hypnosis-- I wanted to look at a movie that looks at hypnosis in a truly profound way. And in fact builds its structure around hypnotic concepts.
All movies are hypnotic, and the best screenplays actually hypnotize their readers on the page, allowing them to forget that they're reading (just like you do when you read a great book) and actually start to see, hear and feel every moment in the script on that little movie screen in their heads.
This means that all screenwriters are actually hypnotists-- some are just a heck of a lot better at it than others.
Which means that if you want to succeed as a writer, you're really going to benefit from understanding some basic hypnotic concepts. Because your job is to help your readers-- many of whom are not naturally creative people, and who quite frankly are bored to tears reading scripts-- to slip into a creative state, and be able to effortlessly and viscerally experience your movie as if it were real, without having to supply any of that creativity themselves.
If you've taken our Write Your Screenplay classes at Jacob Krueger Studio, you know this is the real purpose of formatting. Not laying out your script in a "grammatically correct" way, but laying it out in a way that induces that hypnotic trance for your reader, lowering the barrier between fantasy and reality, so that they can experience your story as if it were real.
And if you've taken our Write Your Screenplay Level 2 classes or Protrack, you also know that structure is actually a hypnotic concept. A way of building fictional moments in a way that takes the character, and the audience, on a real, transformative journey.
One of the truly interesting things about Inception is that its structure is actually based upon the principles of hypnosis. In fact, the organizing principles of the dream within a dream within a dream structure of the film almost perfectly mirror the classical hypnosis training you'd receive during a basic hypnosis certification class.
Why is this important to you as a writer? Because as writers we all need organizing principles around which to structure our character's journey...
"So often as writers, we feel out of breath, chasing these trends, and always feeling like we're just a few steps behind, a few moments too late to have the career we actually dream of.
But the truth is, what kind of script are you going to write under that much pressure? Most likely a crappy one. And you're not going to have much fun writing it either. Because instead of writing the thing you are desperate to write, you're going to be writing the thing you think you should write. Instead of going on an unforgettable journey with yourself and your characters, you're going to be retreading the same ground other writers have tread. And since that journey didn't evolve naturally from you, it's likely it's going to be filled with clichés..."
The legendary Shirley MacLaine stars in a charming but flawed "The Last Word".
It's great to see Shirley MacLaine still scoring lead roles at 82, but "The Last Word" could have been an even better vehicle for her than it is. The story of a cranky senior citizen worried about her legacy and working with the local newspaper's obituary writer (Amanda Seyfried) to improve it has many charms, but the script misses the potential to be so much more unique. Her character's sterling ad career isn't explored deeply enough, considering that is where most of her legacy would be, nor is her estranged relationship with an adult daughter given its due. Instead the story settles for clichéd road trips, hip old granny jokes, and questionable "white savior" themes. Surely, the words of this script could've done more for such a legendary actress.