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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: 2019
Dec 13, 2019

SYS Episode 306

Author and Screenwriter Jamie Grefe talks about how his Facebook contact, Indie Filmmaker Jim Wynorski led to his big break and first feature. Jamie Grefe’s movie credits include It, Hunger and The Wishing Forest. 

Dec 13, 2019

Episode 303

This week on the SYS Podcast I talk with screenwriters Henry Jacobson (also the director) and Avra Fox-Lerner about how their new crime thriller feature film, Bloodline. We also talk about how this film came together and how they were able to attach Seann William Scott to the project.

Dec 13, 2019

SYS Episode 302

This week on the SYS Podcast I talk with Writer/Director Henry Alex Rubin about his new feature film, Semper Fi, and how he got involved with that project. We also discuss his award winning documentary, Murderball, and how that launched his career as a director.

Dec 13, 2019

SYS Episode 301

In this episode of the podcast I talk with Bernie Rao about his new horror feature film, Killer Sofa, which he wrote, directed, and produced. We also talk through his career and how he's been able to make movies all while living well outside of Hollywood.

Dec 11, 2019

IFH #348

Today on the show we have writer/director Rob Smat. His niche film is THE LAST WHISTLE. It is a Football Drama with a budget 125K, the crew was almost entirely film students, shot in 13 days in Texas, distributed worldwide by Vertical Ent. for 10 theater release this past June and originated as a pitch for Rebel Without a Crew TV show and was turned down so he made it myself

Rob formed a cast from high-level B-list stars, fostered relationships with distributors before shooting, and focused on production value without losing sight of the story. Trying to recoup budget rather than use the festival circuit to find an audience he did not submit the film to any major festivals, we discuss the pros and cons of that strategy.

He was 22 when he started developing the project and wanted THE LAST WHISTLE to lead him to a place where he could build a filmmaking business model that could sustain his filmmaking goals.

Enjoy my conversation with Rob Smat.

Dec 11, 2019

BPS #53

Forensic Speak: How to Write Realistic Crime Dramas with Jennifer Dornbush

Today on the show we have author Jennifer Dornbush who has written the book Forensic Speak: How to Write Realistic Crime Dramas. We sit down and discuss all thing forensics. We even discuss the im[pact of the OJ Simpson case on the world of forensics. Here’s a bit about her amazing book.

Crime stories have always intrigued viewers and storytellers. Today, crime shows rule the airwaves and there is truly a procedural drama out there for every personality — and every writer. Born out of the author’s real-life experiences growing up around death investigation, Forensic Speak unlocks the secrets of forensic science for writers and fans alike. With a filmography of 100 film and TV examples and 80 additional resources, the book provides writers direct access to hundreds of ways to make their crime writing more authentic.

Enjoy my conversation with Jennifer Dornbush.

Dec 10, 2019

Episode 300 (a huge congrats to Ashley Scott Meyers for delivering his three-hundredth episode!)

Writer/Director (and often writing partner) Nathan Ives comes on the SYS Podcast to talk about his new documentary, Somewhere In The Middle, which is about artists who are make a living doing their art but aren't super famous. It's an insightful film that all aspiring artists should watch. 

Dec 10, 2019

SYS Episode 299

This week on the podcast I talk with indie Writer/Director/Producer Anderson Cowan about his latest feature film, Groupers. We also talk about his background and how and why he made the transition from working a 9-5 job to writing and directing films.

Nov 30, 2019

Are you afraid of snakes? We would venture to guess your answer is "yes". Amelia Cotter, however, wants to help you reorganize your beliefs about our serpent friends, and she does so in our seventh episode of The Fantastic Story Society. While there is plenty of fantastic ghost stories told in this episode (Amelia's telling of her one and only encounter with a ghost is excellent), we learned that there is a Native American snake mound right outside the second biggest city in the country - sweet home Chicago! Amelia, being an author and investigator, researcher and all-around fantastic storyteller, also dives in to a few details and elements of snake myths that do, in fact, help quell Scott and Max's snake fears...at least a little.

Amelia is an author, poet, and storyteller with a special interest in the supernatural, history, and folklore. Her books include This House: The True Story of a Girl and a Ghost, Maryland Ghosts: Paranormal Encounters in the Free State, and the children’s book Breakfast with Bigfoot. She has appeared on various radio and television programs, including Travel Channel’s Hometown Horror (with an all-new episode airing on December 2 featuring Amelia and her husband), and in the documentaries Scary Stories, and Tinker’s Shadow: The Hidden History of Tinker Swiss Cottage. She also appeared as a regular cast member on the show The R.I.P. Files.

Originally from Maryland, Amelia lives and writes in Chicago, gives tours with Chicago Hauntings ghost tours and, regularly presents at conferences and events. For more information, head on over to her website, www.ameliacotter.com

As for our Society, if you haven't already, you can look for and find us on Twitter @FantasticGhosty, and we're always sharing stories, news, and more on our Facebook page at facebook.com/FantasticStorySociety/

Remember, there are stories everywhere, you just need to look for them...and when you find them, give a little knock on our door and you may just be welcomed into The Fantastic Story Society.

Nov 27, 2019

Get to know one of the ISA's favorite film festivals by listening in on this informative (and fun) interview with the festival's Director of Programming Whitney Haskin, hosted by the ISA's Max Timm.

Diving in to what makes the festival tick, you'll learn how festivals work, what goes on behind the scenes, and get to know the hard working people behind the food, wine, and film festival in Napa, CA. Taking place every year in November, we highly suggest making your way up to wine country to attend this amazing festival if you can.

Nov 27, 2019

Even if you don't know who Pen Densham is, you probably do know some of his films. A veteran producer and near-life-long entertainment professional, Pen joined the Los Angeles ISA Third Thursdays event in November as ISA's Director of Education, Max Timm, interviewed him in front of a live audience. To say the discussion was inspirational would be an understatement. From stories about making Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, to the acclaimed Moll Flanders, Pen's wisdom, advice, and pep talk to our writers will resonate for years to come.

Stay tuned for future ISA Third Thursdays panels and discussions, and make sure to check out the ISA Events page to see if there is a Third Thursdays social event in a city near you.

Nov 25, 2019

Episode 298

This week on the SYS Podcast Writer/Director Joseph Mbah talks about his new action film, Expo, and how he was able to launch his career while living in Arizona.

Nov 12, 2019

Episode 6 of The Fantastic Story Society - My Friend, Wyatt Earp (we're not really friends with him, but we want to be)

Spinning our fantastic stories toward the Old West, gunfighters, the rustic way of life, Scott and Max bring on author and Wyatt Earp scholar, Mark Warren, to perform a deep deep dive into one of the most famous (if not the most famous) characters from the American western tales. Some of the stories shared on our podcast series are purely speculative, paranormal and completely unprovable (for lack of a proper word), but Wyatt Earp and the stories about his travels, friends, adventures, and fearless mindset are all true...which makes this episode that much more, well, fantastic. The focus on the reason behind Wyatt's hero status is what truly makes this episode so interesting, much less Mark's Fantastic Story of the episode, The Miracle on the Mesa. A must listen. Enjoy everybody, and stay tuned for more of the fantastic.

If you haven't already, you can look for and find us on Twitter @FantasticGhosty, and we're always sharing stories, news, and more on our Facebook page at facebook.com/FantasticStorySociety/

Remember, there are stories everywhere, you just need to look for them...and when you find them, give a little knock on our door and you may just be welcomed into The Fantastic Story Society.

Nov 5, 2019

Ghosts and ghouls! It's our Wine Wednesday Halloween special with the prolific, insightful, consummate storyteller, Jim Hart. Jim owns and operates the leading storyline software, The Hart Chart, which every writer should check out here: www.hartchart.com Jim is also the screenwriter on so many amazing films, one of which is Max's Top Ten favorites, Contact with Jodie Foster. Max and Jim dive in to the importance of delivering an emotional story through character, as well as tell multiple spooky ghost stories just for the fun of it. It's a fantastic episode, and we hope you enjoy it...and happy holidays to everyone!

Remember, Felicity Wren and Max Timm 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.

Nov 5, 2019

Ever wonder what it's like reading a script from an actor's perspective? It's not that different than how a writer SHOULD be reading a script...but more importantly, how a writer should be developing the script. In this 73rd episode of Wine Wednesday, Max and Felicity discuss the ins and outs of breaking scenes and sequences through the mind of the actor. Actors tend to read more scripts than writers, which shouldn't be the case, but so much can be learned from that - a writer can tailor his/her script in a way that allows an actor to roam free creatively, as opposed to have to work harder to understand their intent and motivation.

Enjoy this wine-tastic episode from our wonderful sponsors, The Story Farm Coaching & Consulting, and the Nickelodeon Writing Program. And remember, Felicity Wren and Max Timm 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.

Nov 1, 2019

Episode 5 of The Fantastic Story Society - Halloween Special

In our Halloween special episode, Max and Scott bring on writer, director, author, documentarist, and all-around rockstar paranormal researcher, Christopher Saint Booth. With over 100 horror films and paranormal documentaries under his belt, Christopher has spent nearly a lifetime investigating the weird, the odd, and the fantastic. We couldn't have considered a better guest for our Halloween special because just about every word that comes out of Christopher's mouth is a fantastic story. His untold story at the end will make you wonder if the ghosts are the ones we should really be afraid of!

If you haven't already, you can look for and find us on Twitter @FantasticGhosty, and we're always sharing stories, news, and more on our Facebook page at facebook.com/FantasticStorySociety/

Remember, there are stories everywhere, you just need to look for them...and when you find them, give a little knock on our door and you may just be welcomed into The Fantastic Story Society.

Oct 29, 2019

SYS Episode 297

On this episode of the podcast I talk with A Quiet Place screenwriters Scott Beck and Bryan Woods about how they got started in the business, how they came up with the idea for A Quiet Place, and how their new horror feature, Haunt, got produced.

Oct 29, 2019

SYS Episode 296

On this episode of the podcast I talk with Atlanta based screenwriter Mark Leidner about his career living far from Hollywood and how he's been able to get some of his scripts produced. And then we talk about his new film, Empathy, Inc., a grounded sci-fi / thriller.

Oct 29, 2019

Just Click Submit with Clarissa Jacobson

In this episode, ISA welcomes award-winning filmmaker and author Clarissa Jacobson to the show and website to talk about her book, “I Made a Short Film, Now WTF Do I Do With It?”  The book is jam-packed with hard-earned knowledge, tips, and secrets on how to enter film festivals, promote your movie… and SUCCEED!

"I Made A Short Film Now WTF Do I Do With It" covers everything from what festivals to submit to, how to maximize your money, secure an international presence, deal with rejection, gain publicity, harness the power of social media, what a sales rep does and much more.

Included are exclusive filmmaker discounts on services/products from the festival platform, Reelport, subtitling company, Captionmax, and promo merchandisers, Medias Frankenstein and The Ink Spot. Check out the book on the ISA site here: https://www.networkisa.org/product/view/shortfilmwtfbook

Oct 28, 2019

IFH 342

Today episode is probably one of the most important shows I have released in some time. On the show is filmmaker Naomi McDougall Jones the writer, actress and producer behind the indie film Bite Me, a subversive romantic comedy about a real-life vampire and the IRS agent who audits them, directed by Meredith Edwards.

The filmmakers of Bite Me have decided to take a radical approach to distribute their film: they’re doing it themselves. For 3 months, they traveled in an RV around the U.S. and screening the film wherever they can – be it a theater, a bar, or someone’s living room. Not only did they tour around the country like carnies they also documented their entire process with a docu-series.

EVERY FILMMAKER NEEDS TO WATCH THIS SERIES. It is mandatory for every IFH Tribe member. I’ve never said this before so take it seriously. It will save you a ton of pain and suffering. Naomi is so open, raw and honest about her experience. Get ready for one heck of an interview.  Enjoy!

Oct 28, 2019

SYS Episode 295

On this episode of the SYS Podcast I interview director Jason Winer about the early days of his career, and how that lead him to directing, and eventually his latest feature, An Ode to Joy, starring Martin Freeman.

Oct 28, 2019

SYS Episode 294

This week on the podcast I talk with director Shawn Ku about how he launched his career as a writer/director with a short and low budget feature, and how that has lead him to his latest feature film, A Score To Settle, with Nicolas Cage.

Oct 28, 2019

The writer/director of the popular Amazon TV docu-series, Hellier, Karl Pfeiffer joins Society co-hosts, Max Timm and Scott Markus to talk all things fantastic. Karl's documentary, Hellier, launched on Amazon in 2019 and there is a second season coming out on Amazon Prime before the end of 2019. The series documents the accounts of small, goblin-like creatures that supposedly invaded a small Kentucky mountain town. It's absolutely worth your time to watch the 5-episode first season, especially since the next set of episodes are expected to drop soon! You can find out more at Hellier.TV.

On top of his accounts of these little goblin creatures, Karl's unique story at the end of this podcast episode about his most amazing experience while ghosthunting at the famous Stanley Hotel is enough to keep you on edge (to say the least).

Passionate about the supernatural since as far back as he can remember, Karl began amateur experiential investigation during his sophomore year of college. Shortly after, he was cast on and later won the Syfy Channel's reality competition series, Ghost Hunters Academy. He went on briefly to work with the Ghost Hunters International team on the same network. From there, he began work at the famous Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado as one of the resident paranormal investigators on the Stanley's SPI team, leading weekend public investigations. He worked there for five and a half years, conducting almost 250 investigations on the grounds.

He lectures across the country about approaches to investigation, the philosophy of science and the paranormal, as well as paranormal photography.

Find us on Twitter @FantasticGhosty and share your own Fantastic Stories with us!

Oct 18, 2019

I have a treat for the tribe today. In this episode, I  speak to prolific film producer/writer/director Mike Feifer. Mike has directed over 70 films and produced over 100 feature films. His approach to filmmaking is true indie film hustle. He write/produces and directs 7-10 feature films a year for multple production companies.

Michael Feifer grew up in a show business family.  His father was Head of Television Research for Twentieth Century Fox in the late 60’s and 70’s.  In fact, when Michael was born he was announced in the back pages of The Hollywood Reporter and Variety.  Although Mike’s father worked for Fox, the editor of Variety lived across the street, and his brother shot Super 8 films with J.J. Abrams, surprisingly Mike’s interests were not yet in film but rather photography, art, and architecture.

Mike went on to earn a degree in Architecture from the University of Colorado at Boulder.  It was in Boulder where Mike began to truly understand the use of perspective, color, and composition.  Little did he know that his education in architecture would transcend so well to a career in directing movies.

After graduating from college and working as a furniture and graphic designer, Mike decided to take advantage of the fact that his father was producing independent films.  And, after working on only three projects, at the age of twenty-four Mike produced his first feature.  It was from that point that his career in film took off.  Mike continued to work for his father as Vice-President of Vista Street Entertainment where he went on to oversee all production, run the home video label, and sell films to foreign territories at Cannes, MIFED, AFM, and more.  It was this experience with his father that Mike received an extremely well rounded understanding of the entire business from production to distribution.

Eventually, Mike left the safety of his father’s company and began producing films for others.  In fact, Mike has now produced over 100 feature films.  He even went on to marry one of his directors, Caia Coley. But, there was always a feeling that Mike should be doing more creatively.

He knew that his background in “the business” and his interest and education in art and architecture were merging together to push him to work behind the camera.  And, when a director dropped out of a film that Mike was producing, he finally got his shot to direct.  The film was called Lethal Eviction and it starred Jennifer Carpenter (Dexter, The Exorcism of Emily Rose) and Judd Nelson (Breakfast Club).

Once he had the first film under his belt, Mike focused almost entirely on directing.  Mike then went on to write and direct a variety of smaller horror and true crime features which were great experiences that allowed Mike the opportunity to develop his visual style, master the language of film, and learn to work efficiently.  His ability to move his crew quickly and make concise decisions on set allow Mike to get an incredible amount of set-ups shot per day.

Additionally, Mike is considered an actor’s director because of his innate ability to collaborate with his talent yet lead them.  But, he’s also considered a producer’s director due to his ability to bring in films on budget, on-time, and with amazing production quality.

Mike has directed stars such as Val Kilmer, Brittany Murphy, Tom Arnold, Mimi Rogers, Tom Skerritt, Jennie Garth, Peter Bogdanovich, Dean Cain and many more.  Since directing that first feature, Mike has gone on to direct many more films in a wide variety of genres from horror to thriller to drama to comedy.  His films are seen regularly on channels such as ABC Family Channel, Lifetime, Hallmark, The Chiller Channel, and more.  And, his films are sold in every territory throughout the world.

We go over his entire method, how he makes money and how the heck he gets so much done. Enjoy my conversation with Mike Feifer.

Oct 17, 2019

In this second installment of The Fantastic Story Society, we welcome a new member to the group - Mike Huberty. Long-time ghost tour guide and veteran (he owns and operates tours throughout the Midwest, including one in Max Timm's hometown of Lake Geneva, WI), Mike joins co-hosts Max Timm and Scott Markus as they dive deep into some of the fantastic stories of Mike's ghost tour business. Mike also is a member of the oh-so-fun and popular band, Sunspot, writing and performing music that is inspired by legends, myths, and all things spooky weird.

Our favorite part of the show? When he tells the hosts the most famous ghost story of Lake Geneva, WI...and long-time resident, Max, never even knew about it! (Shows how much Max is up to speed on his hometown ghosts.)

Follow the Society on Twitter @FantasticGhosty or find us on Facebook. We would love to hear your fantastic stories.

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