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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: July, 2019
Jul 24, 2019

Is Artificial Intelligence Putting Screenwriters Out of Work? with Andrew Kortschak

Today on the show we have filmmaker Andrew Kortschak. In today’s digital age, where ‘releasing’ a film involves putting it on Vimeo, new filmmakers often struggle to rise above the noise and break into the exclusive industry.

Andrew has a unique approach to this problem and in fact joined forces with a Silicon Valley venture capitalist to build End Cue like a tech startup: via a bi-coastal incubator model where directors cut their teeth and build their portfolios doing commercial work. On such alum of this approach is Jon Watts  – Andrew co-produced his NBR award-winning film Cop Carbefore he’d go on to direct Spiderman: Homecoming.

To further address the pain-points of young producers, End Cue even sprouted groundbreaking Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology to save time during the scriptwriting process. This was a fascinating conversation. Enjoy my talk with Andrew Kortschak.

Jul 24, 2019

Today on the show we have screenwriters David and Diamond and David Weissman. Their credits include studios movies like Family Man, Evolution, Old Dogs and When in Rome. We discuss their adventures in the screenwriting trade, working with studios and their new book Bulletproof: Writing Scripts that Don’t Get Shot Down.

The team of Diamond and Weissman have been writing movies and mentoring filmmakers for decades. In this practical guide, they take the aspiring writer by the hand and guide them through the logistics and tools of writing an attention-grabbing, audience-pleasing screenplay. Readers will learn the interests and needs of managers, agents, producers, executives, financiers, directors, and actors. Diamond and Weissman attribute their phenomenal success to a career-long focus on the motives and priorities of film sponsors and benefactors.

Whether it’s a theatrical release or a streaming movie, a major, big-budget tent pole or an intimate, character-driven indie drama, Diamond and Weissman apply their time-tested approach. This fresh way of thinking will resonate with writers, industry professionals, and cinephiles excited to peek under the hood at what makes their favorite films tick.

Bulletproof: Writing Scripts that Don’t Get Shot Down is the rare screenwriting instructional penned by authors with both massive credits and decades of business experience.

Enjoy my conversation with David Diamond and David Weissman.

Jul 24, 2019

Why do we have favorite characters from movies and TV? What makes them our favorite? What makes them memorable? On this episode of Wine Wednesday, sponsored by John Truby and Steele Wines, Felicity and Max share their favorite characters and what makes them...favorite. Join in. Grab a glass of vino. And have a little fun with Facebook Live and the ISA.

A huge thanks to our sponsors, The Story Farm and Steele Wines. If you're looking to develop multiple projects over a short period of time, we recommend inquiring with Max on his consulting and development service, The Story Farm. He and continues to help so many writers reach their maximum storytelling potential. Go to www.TheStoryFarm.org to learn more or email him: max@thestoryfarm.org

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.

Jul 15, 2019

BPS 047: What Makes a Great Screenplay with Stephen Follows

What Makes a Great Screenplay with Stephen Follows

What if someone could read over 12,000 scripts that were read by professional script readers, who gave the scripts an overall score as well as scores for specific factors including plot, dialogue, characterization, theme, and voice. Then looked for connections and correlations to discover what professional script readers think a good screenplay looks like. Well, today on the show I have that man, Stephen Follows.

It’s a monster of a report — 65 pages to be exact — that examines data from over 12,000 screenplays – mostly written by amateurs, but some of them written by professionals and major Hollywood actors.  Using rigorous data analysis methodologies, Stephen and his team found some fascinating correlations.

Click here to read the report: Judging Screenplays By Their Coverage Report

What They Found

Here’s just a taste of this amazing report. Later sections go into more detail and more topics, but below are nine tips screenwriters should take on board to help improve their chances of impressing script readers.

Know thy genre. Your priorities should rest on the particular nature of your chosen genre. For example, Family films place the highest premium on catharsis, while for Action films it’s plot.
Some stories work better than others. The vast majority of scripts can be summarized using just six basic emotional plot arcs – and some perform better than others.
If you’re happy and you know it, redraft your script. Film is about conflict and drama and for almost all genres, the happier the scripts were, the worse they performed. The one notable exception was comedy, where the reverse is true.
Swearing is big and it is clever. There is a positive correlation between the level of swearing in a script and how well it scored, for all but the sweariest screenplays.
It’s not about length, it’s what you do with it. The exact length doesn’t matter too much, so long as your script is between 90 and 130 pages. Outside of those approximate boundaries scores drop precipitously.
Don’t rush your script for a competition. The closer to the deadline a script was finished, the worse it performed.
Use flashbacks responsibly. Scripts with more than fifteen flashbacks perform worse than those with few to no flashbacks.
VO is A-OK. Some in the industry believe that frequent use of voiceover is an indicator of a bad movie, however, we found no such correlation. We suggest that any complaints on the topic should be sent to editors, rather than writers.
Don’t worry if you’re underrepresented within your genre – it’s your superpower. Female writers outperform male writers in male-dominated genres (such as Action) and the reverse is true in female-dominated genres (such as Family).
Stephen Follows is an established data researcher in the film industry whose work has been featured in the New York Times, The Times, The Telegraph, The Guardian, The Daily Mail, The Mirror, The Evening Standard, Newsweek, The New Statesman, AV Club, and Indiewire.

He acted as an industry consultant and guest on the BBC Radio 4 series The Business of Film, which was topped the iTunes podcast chart, and has consulted for a wide variety of clients, including the Smithsonian in Washington.

I just love Stephen and his amazing ability to crunch numbers for the benefit of the filmmaking community. He’s truly doing God’s work. Get ready to go down the rabbit hole and see what makes a great screenplay.

Jul 15, 2019

IFH Episode 325: What Negative Filmmaking Story Are You Telling Yourself?

We all tell ourselves negative stories. I’m not good enough. I can’t write that. I can’t direct a feature film. These stories are killing us day in and day out. It took me 20+ years to finally change the story I was telling myself about being able to direct a feature film. When I finally changed that negative story I was able to make This is Meg, self-distributed it and even sold the film to Hulu and overseas.

Once you change the stories you tell yourself you will change your life. In this episode, I do a deep dive into the negative stories we tell ourselves as filmmakers, screenwriters, and creatives.

Buckle up. There are a TON of truth bombs in this episode!

Jul 15, 2019

IFH 323: Creating Emotional Storytelling in the Edit with Sven Pape

Creating Emotional Storytelling in the Edit with Sven Pape

Today on the show we Sven Pape. Sven is an A.C.E. Award-nominated editor who cut for James Cameron, Mark Weber, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and James Franco. We get into the weeds on editing, storytelling, the business of editing and much more. Oh, did I mention Sven worked with James Cameron for three years? We definitely go into that. Sven Pape’s YouTube Channel This Guys Edit is an awesome resource for filmmakers and editors alike.

You might have heard the saying:

‘Great editing is invisible.’ While that may be true I aim to shed a little light onto the craft. I’m not saying that I have achieved greatness or ever will. This channel is simply about helping you (and me) become more aware of the creative power of editing and to celebrate the “invisible performers in the editing room”.

Jul 15, 2019

Why do we do what we do? As writers, our primary objective is to instil some kind of emotion in the audience regardless of the medium. If you're writing a short film, that short story needs to be packed with a message from start to finish. If you're writing a TV series, little by little that show has to provide a source of entertainment over a long period of time. For a feature film, it's just as pressurized as a short film, only it's technically more difficult because you're relying on the audience to invest two hours (or more) of their time in what you created. Writing a novel? You're in for an even bigger set of responsibilities. At its most simple, storytelling is about evoking an emotional response within the people consuming what you created. How do you do that? Tune in to this episode of Wine Wednesday and listen in on what Felicity and Max think.

A huge thanks to our sponsors, The Story Farm and Steele Wines. If you're looking to develop multiple projects over a short period of time, we recommend inquiring with Max on his consulting and development service, The Story Farm. He and continues to help so many writers reach their maximum storytelling potential. Go to www.TheStoryFarm.org to learn more or email him: max@thestoryfarm.org

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.

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