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Now displaying: Page 33
Jun 11, 2016

We’ve come down to it. We’ve marched forward through 11 sequences of a script, alongside some fun Sidenotes about TV writing, Voice, and Motivation, and now we’ve come to it. The final sequence. The resolution. The climax. The victory. The statement of theme. All five of those points are critical to discuss, breakdown, and hopefully explain well enough so that you understand their individual and separate meanings. Everything we’ve talked about prior to this episode has built momentum, pacing, stakes, and theme, in order to deliver it all at the end of your story. So let’s just do a quick recap so that we stay on point, and we’re reminded of why we’re going through these episodes in the first place.

Main character stage of life, the set-up event, and the secondary character’s introduction make up your first act. So much happens in those three sequences, and so much rides on how well you can prepare your audience for the adventure ahead. The relationship between the secondary helper and the hero, meeting the new world, obstacles, and additional stress on the hero’s emotional flaw, make up sequences 4 and 5. Those two sequences are presenting ongoing obstacles that both help and hinder your hero as he or she progresses toward your sixth sequence, the mid-point. The mid-point delivers some form of a complication, twist, consummation between the hero and the secondary character, so that the emotional flaw is revealed, tested, and therefore the adventure is set off in a new or different direction. It may even present a brand new goal – either physically, or emotionally – for your main character. Sequences 7 and 8 are now consisting of a slight downward spiral, either quick and obvious, or subtle with a potentially fake or false “victory”. The honeymoon period, so called, that is really just setting up both the Hero and the audience for epic failure. The rival or the villain is winning during sequences 7 and 8, and of course, by the time we hit sequence 9 and the hero’s low point, it seems as though all is lost. The hero has been dealt the worst possible hand, and he folds. There is usually some form of an estrangement between the hero and the secondary character and, again, all seems lost. In sequences 10 and 11, your hero reverts back to his emotional flaw (for instance, if a symptom of his flaw was that he was an alcoholic before, he now starts drinking again), but something happens that gives him a new hope. The secondary character may come back and pick him up by the boot straps, forcing him to rally and head toward his ultimate goal – both physically and emotionally – in order to claim his prize or at least attempt to.

That now leads us to…sequence 12, and what I said earlier, the resolution, the climax, the correction of the emotional flaw and the statement of theme.

Jun 8, 2016

It's a facet of the industry that nearly all writers either don't know anything about, or simply ignore because it just isn't something that comes to mind at the script stage of development. It is, however, essential for any writer "slash" filmmaker who intends to produce and/or direct their own feature length project to consider.

Barry Freeman is a unique consultant in that he has over ten years experience working on the ratings board with the Motion Pictures Association of America, or the MPAA as we all call it and know it by. In this interview we dive in to how he supports writers and filmmakers, what he specifically does for them...

Jun 7, 2016

"The Nice Guys" riffs on noir with strong characters and dark comedy.

Screenwriter Shane Black made his name in the 80's and 90's writing snarky, buddy actioners like "Lethal Weapon" and "The Last Boy Scout." He's back with "The Nice Guys" and this time he's written it with Anthony Bagarozzi, and directed it as well. It's a rollicking adventure with a lot of the same macho bluster, but this time it's configured more for laughs and loopiness. Stars Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling have a field day twisting the tropes of noir into pretzels throughout this 70's-set period piece.

Black imbues every scene he directs with entertaining surprises, keeping his audience off-guard throughout all the shenanigans. Chief among them are strong character arcs, unconventional villains, and a savvy kid character who turns out to be a better P.I. than her fumbling father. All in all, this quirky procedural is a loving riff on the likes of Spillane, albeit with a heavy dose of Black comedy. 

Jun 7, 2016

This is a recording of a live free teleconference dated, May 14, 2016

The number one marketing tool is MATERIAL THAT WORKS. Be sure you write with fire, push your pages to the absolute limit, and honestly know when your script is ready for submission.

Compelling screenplays are born from writers being able to dig deep, access themselves, what they know, what they care about and then convey it all on the page. No matter what the genre is, from the goofiest lowball comedy to the most serious, high-minded piece of drama, great films effectively explore shared human experiences. We love what hits us in the heart - whether it made us double over laughing or left us in a puddle of tears. But how does one actually do this? How do you take that idea you had at 3am and turn it into material that will be an actual contender? We'll discuss key writing devices that will push you toward that mark.

Jun 3, 2016

Laura Powers interviews author Alesa Teague about her book the "Long Road Home" as well as common pitfalls that writers often make when approaching the marketing and selling of their book.  For more information on Write Hot Podcast, go to http://powershour.biz/listen.html

Jun 3, 2016

"X-Men: Apocalypse" isn't the end of the franchise, but it needs a new beginning.

While the latest "X-Men" movie is well made and has plenty of good qualities, it hardly moves the franchise forward in a meaningful way. Too much of the story covers very familiar territory, from the backstories of Magneto and Wolverine to the quirky shticks of Quicksilver and Nightcrawler. Professor X's school, Rose Byrne's CIA agent, baddie Colonel Stryker - they're all back and it all feels very "been there, done that." Perhaps most confounding is the fact that it takes place 21 years after "X-Men: First Class", yet nobody seems to have aged one lick in all those years.

What is new doesn't seem particularly bold or better either. The talented Oscar Isaac plays the villain Apocalypse but is buried under so much makeup he has trouble registering. Jennifer Lawrence's part as Mystique has been rewritten to reflect more of her Katniss Everdeen heroics. And even the destruction left in the X-Men's wake here echoes all the ruined cities found in the recent Avengers and Superman movies. 16 years into this film franchise, the X-Men truly need to evolve into something fresher and more exciting.

Jun 1, 2016

In this interview, Laura Powers talks with Bob Schultz, President of Script Fest and The Great American Pitch Fest. Pitch Fest is an event held in Burbank, CA in which 500 writers pitch to more than 120 production companies, agents, managers, financiers, and industry pros seeking material to option, writers, to manage, hire, and represent. Script fest is the 20th through the 22nd of May and Pitch Fest is on Sunday the 22nd. There are also classes and panels on screenwriting and the business. You can find out more information and register at http://scriptfest.com/ For a ten percent off, enter code Laura10 at checkout. For more information on Laura and her work and her writing, you can go to www.laurapowers.net. Thanks for listening!

Jun 1, 2016

In this interview, Laura Powers talks with Kathleen Kaiser, President, Co-Founder of the Small Publishers, Artists and Writers Network known as SPAWN and the Executive Director of the Pacific Institute for Professional Writing. We talked about the services that SPAWN provides to its members, the importance of editors and why establishing your own publishing company may be beneficial. We also talked about the 805 Writers Conference that is held in Ventura,California in November: http://www.805writersconference.com/. 

For more information on SPAWN and member benefits, you can go to: http://spawn.org/. To follow the podcast and other updates, you can find the Write Hot Facebook page. Thanks for listening!

Jun 1, 2016

In this interview, Laura Powers talks with tv and film writer, comic book creator, and author of "Kickstarter for the Independent Creator", Madeleine Holly-Rosing. Her comic book "Boston Metaphysical Society" has been funded largely though crowdfunding. We talked about crowdfunding tips for running a successful campaign and we addressed the differences between Kickstarter and Indiegogo. It was a great conversation and Madeleine will be coming back to the show to talk about how to create a graphic novel or comic book yourself. You can find out more about Madeleine and "Boston Metaphysical Society" at http://www.bostonmetaphysicalsociety.com. To follow the podcast and other updates, you can find the Write Hot Facebook page. Laura also mentions her new class, "How to Grow Your Business Fast by Writing a Book". It starts May 1 and included are lots of tips, tools, and templates to help you get your book idea out quickly and easily. Writing a book was one of the best things I ever did for my business. Hope you can join!

You can find out more information my emailing Laura at lauramichellepowers@gmail.com or going here http://www.healingpowers.net/services. Thanks for listening!

Jun 1, 2016

In this interview, Laura Powers talks with writer, director, actor, producer, and Steve Harper on how to make a web series. Steve also shares crowdfunding tips. We discussed how film festivals now have categories for web series and referenced https://www.withoutabox.com/ and https://filmfreeway.com/ to find festivals for submission. We discussed specific aspects of writing a web series and crowdfunding aspects for web series in particular.

To find out more information about Steve and this topic at: http://www.yourcreativelife.com/workshops/. To follow the podcast and other updates, you can find the Write Hot Facebook page. For more information about on me (Laura Powers) and my work as a psychic, you can go to www.healingpowers.net.

For more information about Laura, you can go to www.laurapowers.net. Happy listening!

Jun 1, 2016

In this interview, Laura Powers talks with Publicist Rhonda Rees about how online piracy affects authors. We also discussed the LA Book Festival and how to prepare for it and other book festivals and fairs as an author. We specifically addressed how to check for online piracy of your books as well as how to handle it if you do find your work being pirated on a website. It has to do with using a DMCA (Digital Millenium Copyright Act) Takedown request. Hopefully you won't need this but in case your work is pirated as an author, this is very helpful. April 23rd is World Book Day or World Book Copyright Day is April 23rd and Rhonda has organized a campaign to help authors and publishers understand this real problem. You can read about this initiative and learn about Rhonda here: http://www.prweb.com/releases/2016/03/prweb13270009.htm

We also addressed the benefits of hiring a publicist and the process of working with a publicist if you are interested in hiring one. We talked a little bit about my work in the psychic realm. To follow the podcast and other updates, you can find the Write Hot Facebook page. For more information about on me (Laura Powers) and my work as a psychic, you can go to www.healingpowers.net. Happy listening!

Jun 1, 2016

In this episode, Laura Powers interviews Serita Stevens on working on books, scripts, and adaptations. There is a lot of helpful information on this podcast for writers wanting to explore multiple formats. For more information on Laura and her work you can go to her websites laura.powers.net for her work as a writer and creator and powershour.biz for her work as a coach and mentor.

Jun 1, 2016

In this episode, Laura talks with John Peregine about his work as a ghost writer. We also discussed things to consider when hiring a ghost writer as well as things to do and think about if you want to be a ghost writer. You can find out more information about Write Hot Podcast and Laura Powers coaching and books at www.powershour.biz.

Jun 1, 2016

Laura Powers interviews Judith Briles about Author U and gives great tips on the New York Times Best Seller Placement, International Book sales and more. For more information on Laura Powers go to www.powershour.biz. For more information on Author U, go to http://authoru.org/.

Jun 1, 2016

It's interesting to talk about superhero movies because there's been a big change in the way these movies are built. One of the things that we're starting to see is that superhero movies, just like other big budget action movies, are actually being built more like TV Drama Series than they are like Feature Films.

Just like TV Dramas (and TV Comedies), rather than being built around a traditional character driven structure, these huge budget superhero and action movies are built around a concept called an engine.

In a TV Series, the engine is a kind of unique formula, developed by the writers, that guarantees that the series can run for a very long time, creating the same feeling in each episode in a slightly different way.

In these mega-budget franchises, the engine works similarly...

May 31, 2016

Welcome back, everyone! I want to share a little behind the curtain moment with you all. It was about six months ago when I chatted with Craig James, the ISA's founder, and we discussed my intent to launch a solo podcast alongside all of the other interviews I was doing for the ISA. The other interviews were doing well, and we were bringing on some excellent guests, and we found that the conversations were covering so much material on a wide range of topics. Which, by the way, I am launching an Online Class that will go into much more detail where these podcast episodes are concerned, and they will include written lectures, assignments, weekly creative support via email, and a script evaluation at the and of the ten week class. And the ISA will consider your script for our Development Program and hopefully submit it to our industry contacts. But...I'm getting off track here...

So while you were all loving those podcast interviews, I felt the need to get specific and cover the topics in detail beyond the fun conversations with executives and producers and the like. So we created The Craft as a bit of a teaching tool, but without the boring lectures we hear in so many other arenas.What we discovered was that our listeners were hungry for this kind of quick and concise series of podcasts! And even more, The Craft has become one of the highest downloaded series in our Curious About Screenwriting Network! Seriously, guys, that means the world to me.

While we haven't hit numbers big enough to make it on the iTunes front page or anything, I don't really care. I know that you're getting something from this, and when I had that thought this morning, it reminded me of something that I had recently forgotten. It was a reminder that I so desperately needed. And I say "desperately" on purpose, because it's one of the biggest lessons every writer needs to learn, and it's a lesson that no one teaches. And that's not to anyone's fault, it's just something that isn't focused on because it doesn't hold the elements of the screenwriting craft within it. In other words, today's podcast episode is, yes, another Sidenote, but I'm purposely placing this Sidenote before the next episode and explanation of your script's final sequence (sequence 12), because we all need to be reminded. I say "we" because I am most certainly including myself in this mix. 

May 31, 2016

You hear it time and time again. You're good enough. You can do it. Believe in yourself. Put in the time and effort. All of these clichés are clichés because they're true, but at the end of the day, they're really just little inspirational quotes to say out loud in front of a mirror. They're helpful and essential, yes, but the follow through and the application of those clichés is what is so absolutely important and necessary where the screenwriting and entertainment worlds are concerned. And there is a reason we're titling this interview with Story and Career Consultant, Jen Grisanti, the "practicality of investing in yourself". Writing is a lonely art form, but even more importantly, we write because we intend to entertain. We intend to give something to audiences, and we intend to offer pieces of ourselves as that particular form of entertainment. So why not educate yourself?

May 28, 2016

Episode #125

Writer, Director, and Producer Daniel Zirilli talks about his latest film, Crossing Point.

May 28, 2016

Episode #124

Screenwriter and Director William Lu talks about his new indy drama, Comfort.

May 28, 2016

Episode #123

Screenwriter and Director Anders Thomas Jensen talks about his new film, Men & Chicken.

May 28, 2016

Episode #122

Anderson and Rossner talk about their new family film, How To Beat A Bully.

May 28, 2016

Episode #121

Michael Hurst talks about his sci-fi thriller, Paradox.

May 28, 2016

As part of the ISA's regular, monthly Third Thursdays social events, we are launching a quarterly live panel series where we bring on panelists from various aspects of the industry to educate, inform, and inspire.

In May 2016, at Busby's East on Wilshire Blvd in Los Angeles, CA, the ISA invited representatives from the Nicholl, Nickelodeon, Fast Track, and Universal fellowship writing programs. The fellowship realm of the writing industry is an aspect of the industry offerings that most writers are not well-informed. They're essential to the educational and career-launching realms of the screenwriting business, and all four of the participating fellowship and writing programs have spawned extensive success stories. The original event's details are below to learn more.

Listen in and take advantage of the ISA's recordings of live panel events. If you are in Los Angeles, be sure to stay tuned to the Events page on the ISA webpage for upcoming schedule, however you can always count on a big crowd and a welcoming social atmospher at our monthly Third Thursdays socials and parties.

 

Original Event Posting:

Join us for an informative panel at Busby's East in Los Angeles on screenwriting fellowships and writing programs preceding our May Third Thursdays - LA mixer with representatives fromthe Academy Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting, Universal Pictures' Emerging Writers Fellowship, the Nickelodeon Writing Program, and the ISA's Fast Track Fellowship to get the answers to questions on the difference between a fellowship and a contest, which fellowship is right for you, and how a fellowship can help your career. This event is open to persons 21 years and older. 

 

 

 

The panel will feature Joan Wai, Program Manager of the Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting competition at the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, Heather Washington, development executive at Universal Pictures and manager of Universal Pictures' Emerging Writers Fellowship, Karen Kirkland, V.P., Talent Development and Outreach for Nickelodeon Group where she oversees the Nickelodeon Writing Program, and Max Timm, Director of Community Outreach at the ISA where he is co-manager of the ISA Fast Track Fellowship. See below for more detailed information on the panelists. 

The panel will be moderated by Thom Geier, Deputy Managing Editor of TheWrap. The Wrap News Inc. is the leading digital news organization covering the business of entertainment and media. Founded by award-winning journalist Sharon Waxman in 2009, The Wrap News Inc. is comprised of the award-winning, industry-leading website with its high-profile newsbreaks, investigative stories and authoritative analysis; it also includes premium, glossy magazines with stunning original photography and editorial, distributed to entertainment industry professionals. See below for more detailed information on Tom Geier.  

 

 

May 27, 2016

For the very formulaic and logical reasons, I am combining both sequences into one episode here because sequences 10 and 11 are usually the shortest sequences in your script. They normally contain two, maybe three scenes in total...and this, as I always say, completely depends on your chosen genre, but nonetheless, they're short sequences. Why are they short? Because we don't need to see the main character dwelling on his failures for 20 minutes. We don't need to see her reverting back to her emotional flaws and core problems for 20 minutes. We just don't. We get it. But why do we get it? Because we, personally, do this every time we experience some kind of a failure in our own lives, and who the hell wants to watch us feel sorry for ourselves? And that's an important point to stress, because these two sequences are a macrocosm of the little moments in our lives that occur constantly. We fail at something every day - big or small, we experience some kind of a let down, but...we then pick ourselves back up, pick ourselves up by the boot straps, and move forward with a new purpose. That is the essence of sequence 11. Rally the troops. Picking ourselves up by the boot straps and no longer tolerating the old ways. The old emotional issues or problems. We have a new plan, and by God, we're going to see that plan through to the end even if it kills us.

So sequence 10 - as a summary and using my multiple road trip example: every time I chose or was forced to move back home, I was devastated. I fell back into my old patterns, thought all was lost and couldn't see how I would ever get back. In your scripts, you have to set your character in a state that makes sense to the condition of the story itself, of course, but the main character has to have a reaction to the recent low point, and almost always is that reaction based within a sense of doubt, failure, and feeling sorry for yourself - why hast thou forsaken me really means that you're blaming others for your problems, and not taking responsibility for the hell you're going through.

Sequence 11 is the sudden flip to taking responsibility. Forming a new plan. Receiving a completely new form of hope that the character didn't expect. It's what I like to call the Rally The Troops or Bootstraps sequence. Dig in. Own it. And move forward with a charge toward that final climax, weapons blazing and with a completely new determination to win.

May 26, 2016

If you're like me and you've studied screenwriting for what seems like forever, you've read Save The Cat, Story by Syd Field, you've been to Robert McKee's seminars, or you've consulted with the great like Michael Hauge, Jen Grisanti, or John Truby. You've heard it all in terms of how to write a script, and you've noticed that terms and practices have become cliché. They've become cliché because of not only how often they're used, but because of how true they are. There are so many tropes, lessons, tools, and vocabulary words that after a while, it's overwhelming. We're inundated with people saying, "here's how ya do it!" But really, folks, understanding what audiences want doesn't take a team of consultants. It doesn't take years worth of classes. You don't need an MFA in screenwriting in order to hook your audience.


According to Moira Kirland, and I happen to whole-heartedly agree with her, it's all about character. It's all about setting a character within a situation that will continually allow for fun, conflict, and drama. That's really all it is, folks, and if we over think this, we're going to just sit and stare at the wall for hours and eventually give up.


Moira Kirland is currently the Co-Executive Producer on the CBS show, "Madam Secretary", but she has served as a writer, producer, and Co-Executive Producer on a number of other hugely popular and successful shows such as "Medium", "Castle", and "Arrow". Moira knows how to hook an audience, and I couldn't agree more that she says it's as simple as defining a character who is in an extraordinary situation, but while balancing relatable and real-life circumstances.

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