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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: May, 2020
May 30, 2020

SYS Episode 328

This week Ashley Scott Meyers interviews filmmaker Neasa Hardiman.

Topics include how she started in other areas of the film industry, and Sea Fever (2019), a Sci-Fi Horror movie of which she is the Writer-Director.

Neasa Hardiman's other credits include Directing the hit Netflix series Jessica Jones.

May 25, 2020

SYS Episode 324

This week Ashley Scott Meyers talks with Director/Writer/Cinematographer Benjamin Kasulke. His credits include being the Director of Banana Split (2018). Benjamin goes into detail about landing that job and also talks about working as a Cinematographer on acclaimed indie films such as Safety Not Guaranteed (2012).

Safety Not Guaranteed was produced by Mark Duplass and Jay Duplass, with a cast including Aubrey Plaza and Jake Johnson.

May 17, 2020

Ever wonder what you get from the ISA's Connect membership? Take 10 minutes and join Craig James in all of the details and unique benefits that come from the ISA's inexpensive, $10/month upgraded membership - benefits that Basic members do not receive. Here's your chance to get to know all about what you may not know yet.

May 17, 2020

SYS Episode 323

This week Ashley Scott Meyers talks with Jon Adler. 

Jon Adler co-wrote and produced the Thriller Dead Sound (2018) which is based on a horrific true story he and his friends endured. 

He goes into detail about the real events and how they made that vision into a movie.

May 15, 2020

SYS Episode 322

This week Ashley Scott Meyers talks with filmmaker Philip Harder. The focus is his latest credit, being the Writer/Director of the Drama Tuscaloosa (2019). The cast of this movie includes Natalia Dyer (Stranger Things - Netflix TV Series), Tate Donovan and Devon Bostick. Philip Harder also talks about adapting Tuscaloosa from the novel written by Glasgow Phillips.

May 13, 2020

SYS Episode 321

This week Ashley Scott Meyers talks with Filmmaker Brando Benetton.

Brando's credits include writing and directing the short Nightfire (2020). They talk about this action/thriller and how Brando was able to make a lot of production value on a budget.

May 12, 2020

SYS Episode 320

This week Ashley Scott Meyers talks with Actor/Director Eric Etebari about his latest Action / Adventure movie Emerald Run (2020).

Topics include how taking an acting class changed his life and how Directors can create a "Performance Environment" on set.

May 11, 2020

I can’t tell you how excited I am for today’s episode. I had the pleasure to speak to the legendary director Barry Sonnenfeld. We discuss his idiosyncratic upbringing in New York City, his breaking into film as a cinematographer with the Coen brothers, and his unexpected career as the director behind such huge film franchises as The Addams Family and Men in Black, and beloved work like Get Shorty, Pushing Daises, and A Series of Unfortunate Events. We also chat about the time he shot nine porno films in nine days. That story alone is worth the price of admission.

In his new book Barry Sonnenfeld, Call Your Mother: Memoirs of a Neurotic Filmmaker  shares his laugh-out-loud memoir about coming of age. Constantly threatened with suicide by his over-protective mother, disillusioned by the father he worshiped, and abused by a demonic relative, Sonnenfeld somehow went on to become one of Hollywood’s most successful producers and directors.

His book is written with poignant insight and real-life irony, the book follows Sonnenfeld from childhood as a French horn player through graduate film school at NYU, where he developed his talent for cinematography. His first job after graduating was shooting nine feature-length pornos in nine days. From that humble entrée, he went on to form a friendship with the Coen Brothers, launching his career shooting their first three films.

Though Sonnenfeld had no ambition to direct, Scott Rudin convinced him to be the director of The Addams Family. It was a successful career move. He went on to direct many more films and television shows. Will Smith once joked that he wanted to take Sonnenfeld to Philadelphia public schools and say,

“If this guy could end up as a successful film director on big-budget films, anyone can.”


His book is a fascinating and hilarious road map for anyone who thinks they can’t succeed in life because of a rough beginning.

Barry Sonnenfeld’s philosophy is,

“Regret the Past. Fear the Present. Dread the Future.”

This EPIC conversation is almost two hours and had me on the floor laughing one minute and in absolute shock the next. This is by far one of my favorite interviews I have ever done on the show.

So sit back, grab a drink and enjoy my conversation with Barry Sonnenfeld.

May 11, 2020

Note: This is an Indie Film Hustle Podcast episode I wanted to share with you. Be safe out there.

Too many screenwriter’s thinking is based on two months ago. They believe that the world will go back to exactly how it was before on this pandemic blows over. That might be true and I truly hope it does but hope alone will not pay the rent. Our industry is going through an unprecedented shift. If I may quote the Ghostbusters,

Dr. Peter Venkman: This city is headed for a disaster of biblical proportions.
Mayor: What do you mean, “biblical”?
Dr Ray Stantz: What he means is Old Testament, Mr. Mayor, real wrath-of-God type stuff.
Dr. Peter Venkman: Exactly.
Dr Ray Stantz: Fire and brimstone coming down from the skies. Rivers and seas boiling.
Dr. Egon Spengler: Forty years of darkness. Earthquakes, volcanoes…
Winston Zeddemore: The dead rising from the grave.
Dr. Peter Venkman: Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together – mass hysteria.

We as screenwriters need to start thinking about how we can pivot your business, writing skills, and knowledge into the new reality that we are living in and very well might be in for some time to come.

Things that already are pivoting in the film industry:

  • No theatrical screenings, release on TVOD Premium
  • SXSW teamed with Amazon for a Virtual Film Festival (this could do more harm than good)
  • Drive-ins are making a comeback
  • Can’t screen your film in theaters, set up a virtual screening
  • AMC Theater’s stock has been downgraded and isn’t expected to recover

You have to think about what your customer needs are right now and address them. The companies that are sitting on the sidelines fearful of making any moves will be left behind. You as filmmakers need to change your mindsets. Prepare for the worst and hope for the best. Entire new industries will rise from this turmoil and if you are smart you will be ready to be a part of the new world.

In this episode, I breakdown some side hustles that will help filmmakers and screenwriters not only survive the pandemic but thrive in the new world we will be walking into.

Screenwriter Side Hustles

  • Write commercially: handbooks, corporate brochures and the like
  • Researchers
  • Blog Writing
  • Write for a website
  • Advertising copywriting
  • Editing copy
  • Write grant applications
  • Offer Gigs on Fiverr
  • Create an Upwork Profile to sell your writing services
  • Create a comic book (partner with an artist) – Could turn this into a short or feature once the air clears

Online Moneymaking Side Hustles

  • Swaybacks.com (Get paid to watch videos)
  • Become a virtual assistant
  • Virtual Tutor (VIP Kid – $14-$22 per hour) Chegg.com
  • Transcribe Audio or video (Rev, Scribe, TigerFish)
  • Review Software (SoftwareJungle)

I go into more detail in the episode. Think outside the box because the box you knew is not coming back. It will be a new box. Don’t be Blockbuster Video and fight to keep what you know while you reject the reality of what is.

Stay safe out there.

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