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Curious About Screenwriting Network

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Now displaying: 2018
Apr 30, 2018

What makes you laugh and why? What can we do as writers to help translate comedy to the page? On this September 2017 episode of the ISA's Wine Wednesdays, our development executives talk all things comedy, including the business of writing comedy and how to get noticed around town. Tune in, enjoy some (hopefully) laughs, some good wine, and insight into the wild world of comedy writing.

Remember, Felicity and Max always have open Q&A during every Facebook Live broadcast, so you should tune in when they broadcast their next live chat. Even though most broadcasts focus on a particular subject, every writer is welcome to ask anything they like at any time. Felicity and Max will do their best to give you a straight and honest answer.

This is a podcast recording of the ISA's Facebook Live broadcast of Wine Wednesdays. Please note that some promotions offered during the live broadcast are no longer available. We can, however, assist you if you wish to find out more information regarding ISA events, contests, or consulting offers. Just reach out to info@networkisa.org and we will be happy to help.

You can reach out to Max regarding any type of query: max@networkisa.org If you have particular interest in working with him on a one-on-one coaching and development basis, email him at max@thestoryfarm.org. His Story Farm development and coaching service is quickly becoming the best in the business! Felicity can also be reached at Felicity@networkisa.org. She, too, can work with you one-on-one, so don't hesitate to inquire. We can't wait to support you.

Subjects and themes for the broadcasts change from week to week, so stay tuned on most Wednesday evenings at 7:00pm Los Angeles time. For a specific schedule and set of announcements, "Like" the ISA Facebook page and keep up to date.

Apr 24, 2018

You've heard us say it before, but it's because it's all the rage - TV is where the work is! The irony is that even though there are more options for writers in the television space, the competition has become that much more fierce. With opportunity comes responsibility (if that is a saying - we'll coin it anyway). We urge all writers to invest in themselves in as many ways as they can and as often as possible. If it's signing up with Max's Story Farm coaching service, taking classes, or even just making sure you listen to these podcasts and/or tune in regularly to our Facebook Live broadcasts. Keep working hard, and let Felicity and Max help you on your TV writing journey. This broadcast of our September 13, 2017 recording is our first with Steele Wines, our wonderful wine sponsor. Check them out as often as you can - some of the yummiest California wine you'll find.

Remember, Felicity and Max always have open Q&A during every Facebook Live broadcast, so you should tune in when they broadcast their next live chat. Even though most broadcasts focus on a particular subject, every writer is welcome to ask anything they like at any time. Felicity and Max will do their best to give you a straight and honest answer.

This is a podcast recording of the ISA's Facebook Live broadcast of Wine Wednesdays. Please note that some promotions offered during the live broadcast are no longer available. We can, however, assist you if you wish to find out more information regarding ISA events, contests, or consulting offers. Just reach out to info@networkisa.org and we will be happy to help.

You can reach out to Max regarding any type of query: max@networkisa.org If you have particular interest in working with him on a one-on-one coaching and development basis, email him at max@thestoryfarm.org. His Story Farm development and coaching service is quickly becoming the best in the business! Felicity can also be reached at Felicity@networkisa.org. She, too, can work with you one-on-one, so don't hesitate to inquire. We can't wait to support you.

Subjects and themes for the broadcasts change from week to week, so stay tuned on most Wednesday evenings at 7:00pm Los Angeles time. For a specific schedule and set of announcements, "Like" the ISA Facebook page and keep up to date.

Apr 24, 2018

One of the primary reasons the ISA was founded was for the sole purpose to inspire and motivate writers; to inform, educate, and allow access to every opportunity in the marketplace and around the industry. Day in and day out, the entire ISA team is devoted to helping as many screenwriters as we can, one writer at a time if necessary. When Felicity Wren and Max Timm came up with the idea to launch their Wine Wednesday Facebook Live Broadcasts, it was based on this simple idea of inspire and motivate...with some wine and comedy. This podcast recording of a September 6, 2017 taping of Wine Wednesday does just that, and we hope that you all stay tuned for more broadcasts, live or recorded, in the future.

Remember, Felicity and Max always have open Q&A during every Facebook Live broadcast, so you should tune in when they broadcast their next live chat. Even though most broadcasts focus on a particular subject, every writer is welcome to ask anything they like at any time. Felicity and Max will do their best to give you a straight and honest answer.

This is a podcast recording of the ISA's Facebook Live broadcast of Wine Wednesdays. Please note that some promotions offered during the live broadcast are no longer available. We can, however, assist you if you wish to find out more information regarding ISA events, contests, or consulting offers. Just reach out to info@networkisa.org and we will be happy to help.

You can reach out to Max regarding any type of query: max@networkisa.org If you have particular interest in working with him on a one-on-one coaching and development basis, email him at max@thestoryfarm.org. His Story Farm development and coaching service is quickly becoming the best in the business! Felicity can also be reached at Felicity@networkisa.org. She, too, can work with you one-on-one, so don't hesitate to inquire. We can't wait to support you.

Subjects and themes for the broadcasts change from week to week, so stay tuned on most Wednesday evenings at 7:00pm Los Angeles time. For a specific schedule and set of announcements, "Like" the ISA Facebook page and keep up to date.

Apr 18, 2018

The reboot of “Lost in Space” looks out of this world but lacks fun.

As reboots go, the new version of “Lost in Space” is light years beyond the original series from the 1960’s in many ways. The production values, costume design, and special effects are all state-of-the-art. Netflix’ new take on the Robinson clan’s intergalactic adventures get a lot right.  Mollie Parker makes a strong lead, the kids are sharp, and the robot is modern and complex. Still, the new Dr. Smith (Parker Posey) is menacing but not as fun as Jonathan Harris’ original. And the show’s first 10 episodes are too landlocked on one planet. As the show progresses, it will need to incorporate more planets, better monsters, and a lot more fun - just like the original series did in its sophomore year.

Apr 16, 2018

How to Break Down & Story Map Your Screenplay with Daniel Calvisi

Today’s guest is author Daniel Calvisi. Dan wrote the book Story Maps: How to Write a GREAT Screenplay. He breaks down stories and shows you how to map out your own by analyzing how the masters construct their screenplays. Here’s a bit more on today’s guest.

Daniel Calvisi is a story analyst, speaker, screenwriter and the author of Story Maps: How to Write a GREAT Screenplay, Story Maps: TV Drama: The Structure of the One-Hour Television Pilot, Story Maps: 12 Great Screenplays and Story Maps: The Films of Christopher Nolan. He is a former Story Analyst for major studios like Twentieth Century Fox, Miramax

He is a former Story Analyst for major studios like Twentieth Century Fox, Miramax Films, and New Line Cinema. He coaches writers, teaches webinars on writing for film and television with The Writers Store and speaks at writing conferences and book signings. He holds a degree in Film and Television from the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. 

Apr 13, 2018

“Chappaquiddick” paints a tragic portrait of politics and entitlement.

Historical movies tend to have good intentions. Whether they make good movies or not is often dependent upon how they illuminate historical events. “Chappaquiddick” certainly strives to accurately portray the 1969 events of Senator Ted Kennedy’s single-vehicle car accident on Chappaquiddick Island, Massachusetts that resulted in the death of passenger Mary Jo Kopechne. Unfortunately, a lot of that mystery is left unanswered. Kennedy comes off as too enigmatic, and Kopechne is more symbol than character. Where the film is most successful is in showcasing the cover-up that took place to protect the politician’s presidential ambitions. The movie also paints a scathing portrait of entitlement and the very different set of rules for the rich and powerful.

Apr 11, 2018

“A Quiet Place” speaks volumes with what it doesn’t say or show.

The horror genre is often most successful when it doesn’t show too much of its monsters. Better to let the audience fill in the blanks of the bogeyman hiding in the shadows. It worked in “Jaws”, “Alien”, “The Babadook”, and now “A Quiet Place.” The alien monsters are revealed ever-so-slowly by director John Krasinski. These creatures that hunt by sound force the family in the story, headed by Krasinski and real-life wife Emily Blunt, to keep quiet as to not summon the beasts. Such silence also forces the audience to sit still, pinned to their seats for this 90-minute chiller. The effect is so disquieting and terrifying, “A Quiet Place” is sure to be the word-of-mouth frightener all season long.

Apr 6, 2018

The adaptation of “Ready Player One” has Steven Spielberg written all over it.

The new tentpole movie “Ready Player One” may boast its author Ernest Cline as one of the screenplay adaptors, along with Zak Penn, but the greatest influence on the material is director Steven Spielberg. The 2011 bestseller’s plotting, characters, and 1980’s pop culture references already had a Spielberg vibe and the movie makes the most of it. The director runs with the material, incorporating his affection for nostalgia, kid empowerment, and state-of-the-art special effects. Spielberg also makes this a ‘movie-movie’ with dozens upon dozens of in-joke film references, including many from his oeuvre, as well as a show-stopping parody of Stanley Kubrick. “Ready Player One” is a rollicking VR ride set in a dystopian future, but it’s really a tour of the director’s avid imagination.

Apr 5, 2018

Excerpt from Podcast:

"...This week we are going to be talking about BoJack Horseman. But we aren't just going to be talking about the series. We are going to be talking about one very particular episode, and doing a really deep breakdown of Season 4, Episode 9, entitled Ruthie...

And what is interesting about this episode is that it is breaking all the rules of structure, in order to control the tone of the episode in a way that isn't supposed to work!

This episode is about Princess Carolyn’s terrible, awful, awful day. It is so freaking dark! This episode is about a woman whose only desire is to have a baby, and, guess what? She is not going to have it.

This is about as dark a topic as you can handle. And this is a comedy! You aren't supposed to be doing this.

So, how do the writers keep the tone from getting so dark that we would lose the fun and the laughter that brings us to a series like this? How are we supposed to laugh at Princess Carolyn’s miscarriage?

Well, the magic is actually in that structural game the writers are playing..."

Mar 20, 2018

Despite a game Alicia Vikander, the reboot of “Tomb Raider” feels dusty and derivative.

The rebooting of “Tomb Raider” should have yielded something better than this decent, but uninspired attempt. It had brilliant source material to adapt from with the successful 2013 relaunch of the Lara Croft video game, and Oscar-winner Alicia Vikander gives the part her all as a gritty and intense lead. Unfortunately, the script is tonally all over the map and derives too heavily from films like “Raiders of the Lost Ark” and “The Mummy.” And while its action sequences are well-shot and edited with precision, this movie has an underwritten villain, too many flashbacks, and an underwhelming tomb excavation. If there is to be a sequel, the filmmakers will need to dig deeper to ensure something great.

Mar 16, 2018

“Thoroughbreds” marks an auspicious debut for writer/director Cory Finley.

Coming from the world of theater, writer/director Cory Finley has made a masterful first film. His dark comedy/thriller is utterly enthralling, as much for what it doesn’t show as what it does. The story, concerning two teen girls (Olivia Cooke and Anya Taylor-Joy) plotting to kill a ruthless stepdad, could have been another potboiler, like so many thrillers that have tread similar terrain. Instead, Finley creates a calm, contemplative film, full of tension and thrills done in disquieting, economical ways. More is said with looks than words, and all the violence happens off screen. It’s a sly work, both theatrical and sensitive in its portrayal of privilege and murder.

Mar 6, 2018

We recently had our very first special guest on with Felicity and Max. Karen Kirkland is a Creative Strategist and long-time VP of Talent Development at Nickelodeon. In this episode we talk about what makes a TV show so re-watchable and/or bingeable. Why do you keep tuning back into a show?

Tune in to our show and listen to Max, Felicity, and Karen give their thoughts on it...while sharing some laughs, wine, and good times.
-------------------------------

This is a podcast recording of the ISA's Facebook Live broadcast of Wine Wednesdays. Please note that some promotions offered during the live broadcast are not offered to the participants listening to the recording. We can, however, assist you if you wish to find out more information regarding ISA events, contests, or consulting offers. Just reach out to info@networkisa.org and we will be happy to help.

Join ISA staffers Max Timm and Felicity Wren for our regular Wine Wednesdays Facebook Live broadcast at 7:00pm Los Angeles time on most Wednesday evenings (check the ISA Facebook page for schedule updates). We talk screenwriting and take your questions about the ISA and the art, craft, and business of writing screenplays, all while enjoying a nice glass (or two) of wine.

Mar 2, 2018

Alex Garland’s adaptation of “Annihilation” creates a world of wonder.

Powerful is the film that doesn’t spoon feed everything to its audience, especially when it comes to science fiction. That’s why writer/director Alex Garland is such an expert in the genre. In his adaptation of Jeff VanderMeer’s novel “Annihilation”, the filmmaker tells the story of a science expedition, led by a cellular biologist (Natalie Portman), investigating an alien force that is changing people and the environment that come into contact with it. Is this a form of evolution or eco-terrorism? Can it be controlled? And are the human/alien hybrids being created something to laud or fear? Garland answers some queries, but he also ensures his film keeps you thinking long after the credits have rolled.

Feb 21, 2018

“Black Panther” is a landmark film for Marvel Studios and one of their very best.

Just when you think that the comic superhero movie is all but played out, along comes “Black Panther” from Marvel Studios. This superb comic book adaptation by filmmaker Ryan Coogler and his co-screenwriter Joe Robert Cole honors the original work by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, as well as the previous 17 films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, yet it feels fresh and unique on many levels. It not only has a black lead (Chadwick Boseman), but the main supporting characters are all black women. The film touches on themes of racism, globalism, and ecology. The gorgeous tribal costumes and CGI Wakanda, Africa settings are stunning creations. And its message of racial and female empowerment makes it vital and timely. 2018 already has one of its best films.

Feb 9, 2018

2018’s Oscar-nominated shorts have a lot of lessons for writers.

Since 2012, the AMPAS has been releasing their Oscar-nominated Animated and Live Action Shorts nationwide in theaters to an enthusiastic public. For screenwriters, these mini-films offer a number of invaluable storytelling lessons. Because of time constraints, every moment is crucial. Characters must be established immediately. And narrative arcs are often completed in a matter of minutes. More and more, shorts are also a way for the budding screenwriter to produce an actual film. And under Academy rules, student shorts can compete against studio entries. The long and short of it is that these films are a must-see for movie fans and scripters.

Feb 6, 2018

“The Shape of Water” blends fantasy, morality and horror into a steady stream.

Guillermo del Toro is a filmmaker of singular vision. His movies are almost always morality tales, uniquely blending elements of fantasy, romance, and horror into a seamless mix.  In “The Shape of Water”, he and fellow screenwriter Vanessa Taylor tell the story of Elisa (Sally Hawkins), a mute custodian at a high-security government laboratory who finds love with a captured humanoid-amphibian creature. Their fable has many layers, including adult themes of sexuality, oppression, and bigotry. It may take place in 1962, but it is all about our modern world in America. Maybe that’s why it has resonated with so many, including all branches of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, garnering 13 Oscar nominations this year.

Jan 27, 2018

2018 Oscar nominations reflect diversity and strong, original writing.

The 90th Academy Award nominations have been announced and the voters have delivered an impressive and diverse spectrum of honorees. Greta Gerwig (“Lady Bird”) and Jordan Peele (“Get Out”) netted Best Director nods. Agnes Varda, James Ivory, and Christopher Plummer set records for aging nominees. And “The Shape of Water” a fantasy/monster movie got the most nominations with 13. The adapted screenplay list made room for the sublime Aaron Sorkin (“Molly’s World”), as well as a comic book adaptation (“Logan”), while the original script nominees may be the strongest in years. You know it’s an embarrassment of riches when strong scripts like “The Post”, “Battle of the Sexes”, “I, Tonya”, “Hostiles” and “All the Money in the World” don’t make the cut.

Jan 25, 2018

IFH 200: How to Sell Your Indie Film Using Ninja Facebook Hacks with Kyle Prohaska

We all want to make money selling our feature films or streaming series but getting peoples attention in this noisy world is pretty impossible. We don't have the marketing budget of the studios to reach our audience. What is a filmmaker to do?

Why not use the most powerful marketing tool ever created...Facebook. Now I know Facebook can be intimidating. It such a deep platform. It's power to reach a specific audience is unmatched. Today's guest Kyle Prohaska is a Facebook Marketing Ninja. Kyle also specializes in promoting and marketing indie films.

He also has created insane followings for his own films. Check out this 1,000,000 follower Facebook page he created for his film Standing Firm. Get ready to take some MASSIVE notes on this special episode. Enjoy my epic conversation with Kyle Prohaska.

Oh, by the way, THIS IS EPISODE #200! HOLY CRAP! Thank you all for listening and spreading the word. I couldn't have gotten here without the IFH Tribe!

Jan 25, 2018

How to Go From a 6K Micro-Budget to Directing a 100K Feature Film with Joshua Caldwell

Ever wondered what happens to those directors who make a micro-budget feature film? Do they ever sell that film? Do they ever get to direct a feature film again? Today guest is filmmaker Joshua Caldwell, a rare returning filmmaker on the show. He directed a $6000 feature film called Layover.

I wanted to bring Joshua back to discuss how he leveraged that first micro-budget feature film to get a shot of directing his new $100,000 feature Negative.

We also discuss how he brought his micro-budget mentality to a larger budget film, how he used guerilla filmmaking techniques to get the biggest bang for his buck. Prepare for some knowledge bombs. Enjoy my conversation with Joshua Caldwell.

Jan 18, 2018

Most of the writing we do as screenwriters takes place well before we even start using a screenwriting software program. All that program does for you, really, is properly formats the script. Sadly, it doesn't write the script for you! Still, and even though the outlining process is essential to developing a great script, the page writing is essential too. In this live Facebook broadcast, the ISA's development executives, Felicity Wren and Max Timm, discuss what makes for an entertaining page of a screenplay and we go beyond just the basic formatting education. Learn how to engage your reader! Don't just assume you know how to format a script because certain spacing issues are taken care of. It's so much more than that.

Remember, Felicity and Max always have open Q&A during every Facebook Live broadcast, so you should tune in when they broadcast their next live chat. Even though most broadcasts focus on a particular subject, every writer is welcome to ask anything they like at any time. Felicity and Max will do their best to give you a straight and honest answer.

This is a podcast recording of the ISA's Facebook Live broadcast of Wine Wednesdays. Please note that some promotions offered during the live broadcast are no longer available. We can, however, assist you if you wish to find out more information regarding ISA events, contests, or consulting offers. Just reach out to info@networkisa.org and we will be happy to help.

You can reach out to Max regarding any type of query: max@networkisa.org If you have particular interest in working with him on a one-on-one coaching and development basis, email him at max@thestoryfarm.org. His Story Farm development and coaching service is quickly becoming the best in the business! Felicity can also be reached at Felicity@networkisa.org. She, too, can work with you one-on-one, so don't hesitate to inquire. We can't wait to support you.

Subjects and themes for the broadcasts change from week to week, so stay tuned on most Wednesday evenings at 7:00pm Los Angeles time. For a specific schedule and set of announcements, "Like" the ISA Facebook page and keep up to date.

Jan 13, 2018

Becoming aware of how other successful writers have "done it" can help you devise a plan for you and your own writing. It is, of course, important to remember though that there isn't one way to make it in this industry. You have to pave your own way, while learning from the people who have come before you. So, join the ISA's Felicity Wren and Max Timm as they present this summer broadcast by announcing success stories and sharing inspiring stories from around the business.

Please remember that Felicity and Max always have open Q&A during every broadcast, so you should tune in when they broadcast their next live chat. Even though most broadcasts focus on a particular subject, every writer is welcome to ask anything they like. Felicity and Max will do their best to give you a straight and honest answer.

This is a podcast recording of the ISA's Facebook Live broadcast of Wine Wednesdays. Please note that some promotions offered during the live broadcast are not offered to the participants listening to the recording. We can, however, assist you if you wish to find out more information regarding ISA events, contests, or consulting offers. Just reach out to info@networkisa.org and we will be happy to help.

You can reach out to Max regarding any type of query: max@networkisa.org If you have particular interest in working with him on a one-on-one coaching and development basis, email him at max@thestoryfarm.org. Felicity can also be reached at Felicity@networkisa.org. She, too, can work with you one-on-one, so don't hesitate to inquire. We can't wait to support you.

Subjects and themes for the broadcasts change from week to week, so stay tuned on most Wednesday evenings at 7:00pm Los Angeles time. For a specific schedule and set of announcements, "Like" the ISA Facebook page and keep up to date.

Jan 13, 2018

“Mudbound” adapts the symbol-heavy bestseller with finesse

Adapting a book is never easy, particularly one such as Hillary Jordan’s Mudbound. The narrative is told first-person by multiple characters, and that contradicts the first rule of screenwriting – show, don’t tell. Yet in their “Mudbound” adaptation, writer/director Dee Rees and screenwriter Virgil Williams show and tell. They retain much of Jordan’s brilliant narration, yet Rees ensures her movie is filmic. All the great characters are there, expressing themselves onscreen and in voice-over, but the visuals of them interacting with each other and their 1945 rural Mississippi environment is where this film speaks volumes. Rees relies on strong symbolism and metaphors too which help make this one of 2017’s best and most watchable films.

Jan 4, 2018

Join the ISA's Felicity Wren and Max Timm as they open up their broadcast (and a bottle of wine) to questions from their faithful viewers. Thanks to Facebook Live and good 'ol technology, they're able to chat with any and all writers who have burning questions; from specific craft-oriented questions that pertain to structure or characters development, or even the literal writing on the page, to marketing and industry-related topics such as what projects are selling in town and why.

Please remember that Felicity and Max always have open Q&A during every broadcast. Even though most broadcasts focus on a particular subject, every writer is welcome to ask anything they like. Felicity and Max will do their best to give you a straight and honest answer.

This is a podcast recording of the ISA's Facebook Live broadcast of Wine Wednesdays. Please note that some promotions offered during the live broadcast are not offered to the participants listening to the recording. We can, however, assist you if you wish to find out more information regarding ISA events, contests, or consulting offers. Just reach out to info@networkisa.org and we will be happy to help.

You can reach out to Max regarding any type of query: max@networkisa.org If you have particular interest in working with him on a one-on-one coaching and development basis, email him at max@thestoryfarm.org. Felicity can also be reached at Felicity@networkisa.org. She, too, can work with you one-on-one, so don't hesitate to inquire. We can't wait to work with you.

Subjects and themes for the broadcasts change from week to week, so stay tuned on most Wednesday evenings at 7:00pm Los Angeles time. For a specific schedule and set of announcements, "Like" the ISA Facebook page and keep up to date.

Jan 4, 2018

“Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” reboots the franchise with lots of laughs.

Rebooting a franchise can be a tricky thing. You want to keep what’s beloved and familiar, but you also have to find new ways to make the updated version fresh and involving. Fortunately, “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” pays homage to the 1995 Robin Williams film, yet strongly forges its own new territory. The filmmakers made the easy call of turning the board game into a video game. Also, they don’t have the game animals follow the players home. Instead, the players get sucked into the magical console and become their avatars. This sequel is more comedic too, satirizing PlayStation tropes and letting stars Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Jack Black and Karen Gillan all perform at the top of their game.

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