Today on the show I going to be discussing how NOT to get screwed on a screenwriting assignment. Assignment scripts are generally adaptations of an existing idea or property owned by the hiring company, but can also be original works based on a concept.
Today's guest is the legendary writer and educator Judith Weston. Her book Directing Actors: Creating Memorable Performances for Film & Television and The Film Director’s Intuition: Script Analysis and Rehearsal Techniques is a must-read for any film director.
Historian Kathi Kresol uses her platform as an author to speak for the victims. Seldom is it so obvious how a writer found her voice than when you hear about the murder-suicide that took place in Kathi's home & the ghosts that remain.
Jon Ronson has lived a life more exciting than one you'd think a writer could live. He's gotten up close and personal with the likes of self-appointed superheroes, countless psychopaths (both in prison and in the boardroom) Extremists & Secret Societies.
Today on the show we have screenwriter, Michael Lucker. Michael is a writer, director, and producer with twenty years of experience creating film, television, animation and digital media. He began his career writing and directing television commercials while earning his undergraduate degree in broadcasting and film at Boston University’s College of Communication.
Soon after he landed in Los Angeles working in production on series and specials for ABC, NBC, CBS and HBO before taking a job as assistant to Steven Spielberg at Amblin Entertainment on feature films Indiana Jones & the Last Crusade, Arachnophobia, Joe Vs. The Volcano, Always, Back To The Future II & III and Jurassic Park.
He went onto serve in creative affairs at Hollywood Pictures where he worked on such movies as Crimson Tide, Terminal Velocity, Taking Care of Business and Straight Talk. Michael then embarked on a career as a screenwriter, helping pen more than twenty feature screenplays for Paramount, Disney, DreamWorks, Fox, and Universal, including Vampire In Brooklyn, Home On The Range, Good Intentions and Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron, which was nominated for an Academy Award in 2002 as best animated feature.
“You don’t have to be a writer of action films to benefit from Michael Lucker’s rock-solid screenwriting advice, but if you are an action writer… it is essential.” — John Baldecchi, Producer: Point Break, The Mexican, Conan the Barbarian
He also served as screenwriter on the animated sequels to Mulan, Lilo & Stitch, Emperor’s New Groove and 101 Dalmatians. An opportunity to serve as a creative consultant to Turner Entertainment took him home to Atlanta in 2007. He went onto work as a writer, director and executive producer with non-fiction production houses Encyclomedia, Shed Media, Crazy Legs Productions and Trailblazer Studios before launching his own production company, Lucky Dog Filmworks, which now serves as his home for creating film, television, and commercial content. In television, Michael has worked with Animal Planet, Cartoon Network, Travel Channel, History, Discovery, NBC, TBS, TLC, OWN, DIY, MSNBC, and A&E.
His new book is Crash! Boom! Bang! How to Write Action Movies.
A fun, insightful insider’s look at the nuts and bolts of writing action movies, from concept to completion, by a professional screenwriter and professor of screenwriting. Full of witty anecdotes from the front lines (and tricks of the trade from between the lines), Crash! Boom! Bang! promises an enjoyable and educational read for writers and students of all levels. Although bullets and bloodshed abound in cinema, the lessons within will benefit screenwriters of all kinds of movies.
SYS Episode 330
This week Ashley Scott Meyers talks with screenwriter Alan Trezza.
He talks about his latest credit, the Horror Comedy We Summon The Darkness (2019). The cast includes Alexandra Daddario and Maddie Hasson.
Alan also goes into detail about casting Alexandra Daddario and working with her on his prior movie Burying The Ex (2014).
SYS Episode 329
This Week Ashley Scott Meyers talks with Actor/Producer Jamie Bernadette.
They talk about her latest movie Dead By Dawn (2020). As a Producer, Jamie tells us what gets her involved with certain scripts and what writers should avoid doing with their screenplays
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
This week's guest is UK filmmaker Francis Annan.
His latest credit is Escape From Pretoria (2020) starring Daniel Radcliffe. Francis talks about what led to this film getting made and how they were able to cast a star actor such as Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter Franchise).
During the intro your host Ashley Scott Meyers talks about how he pushed his successful kickstarter over the goal for his feature The Rideshare Killer.
This week Ashley Scott Meyers talks with filmmaker Brandon Rhiness.
Topics include how Brandon gets movies made thanks to coming up with stories that only need a few locations. The most recent example of this is the Comedy called Hot Box which he wrote and directed.
Ashley Scott Meyers talks with Actor and Filmmaker Steven Chase.
Topics include how Steven Chase wrote a script with his intention to star in it, and how he started making movies in Florida. His credits include Stan The Man (2020) and Shut Up And Kiss Me! (2004).
SYS Episode 316
Filmmaker Martin Gooch is back on Selling Your Screenplay Podcast for a third time! In this episode he talks about his latest Sci-Fi action movie Atomic Apocalypse.
Other topics include, making movies in the United Kingdom and the struggles of getting financing for indie film.
Today I spoke with Claire Elizabeth Terry, who founded the Rocaberti Writers Retreat, which operates a sort of educational getaway in exotic locations: Medieval castles across Europe! Writers meet daily with the mentor of their choice, who include Academy award-winning writers, directors and major movie producers - in small groups of just 4 writers, to workshop their project. This is a chance to receive undivided attention and ask questions about anything related to their writing—from their story arc to gaining traction in their writing career to crafting the perfect pitch for an agent or producer.
So consider taking the most exclusive and fun literary ‘vacation’ for furthering your writing and writing career, all while residing in a castle!