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Posted: Aug 20, 2016 Hosted By: Max Timm It's something we all need to deal with and there is no getting around it! Rewriting, rewriting, rewriting. Welcome back to The Craft, everyone. I'm jumping back into a regular schedule, here, and I'll do my best at keeping up the momentum. Last episode I talked about writer's block and, well, how and why writer's block is pretty much a whole bunch of bullshit and to quote Terry Pratchett, "something invented by people in California who couldn't write". This episode, as I already said, I'll be discussing rewriting. But because rewriting is such a layered, involved, and subjective process, meaning it's different for every project and for every writer, this will be a relatively shorter episode. I don't want to completely confuse everyone, but at the same time, it's a subject that absolutely needs to be discussed. It is also a process that truly needs a helping hand. In other words, please try to not go through the rewriting process on your own and without support. I stress this all the time. Hire a consultant. Take a writing class. Get into a writer's group. The first draft process is one thing, but the rewriting process is an entirely different monster.
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Posted: Aug 16, 2016 Hosted By: Jeff York Guest: Kent Williams

Hell or High Water is a modern western, as well as a nuanced morality tale.

 

Just when you thought the entire summer was lost to disappointing comedies and superhero movies, along comes Hell or High Water. It's a chase movie, modern western, and an astute character study of desperate people in Texas doing what they can to survive, even if that means robbing banks. It's also one of 2016's best movies - a taut and suspenseful tale filled with rich performances from top to bottom.

 

There are no black hats or white hats in this script. The bank-robbing brothers driving the story are relatable and sympathetic, and Chris Pine and Ben Foster portray them as complex antiheroes. Equally as nuanced are the Texas lawmen, played by Jeff Bridges and Gil Birmingham, talking smack with each other while hot on the brothers' trail. Taylor Sheridan's character-driven script and David Mackenzie's mindful direction bring a decimated America, still reeling from the 2008 banking crisis, to vivid life onscreen.

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Posted: Aug 13, 2016 Hosted By: Max Timm Here's my definition of writer's block, one word: lazy. And I'm fully responsible for being just as "lazy" as anyone else. I'm completely including myself in this mix, so I'm not separating myself here. Why did I tell you all that my last two months have been so busy? Ya know? Why did I go into that little diatribe early on in this episode? A) To let you know what I've been up to, obviously, but because more importantly, B) I made a choice to focus on something other than my personal writing during those two months. I didn't have writer's block. Even when I knew I had time during those two months to sit down and write, I didn't say to myself, "Oh, I can't come up with anything to write. I'm blocked." No, my energy wasn't focused on my writing and so I made an excuse and then a choice that I would do something else. Maybe the choice wasn't a conscious one, but it was still a choice.
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Resources

LLeju Productions Regardless of the genre – if a project is unconventional, risky or thought provoking – LLeju welcomes the opportunity to be “offbeat." 51 Minds Widely credited for creating the celebreality genre of reality programming, 51 Minds
Entertainment has amused and shocked viewers with its enormously popular television series.
Film Threat The Word in Independent and Underground Film Since 1985!

"Film Threat has tapped into a market nobody else noticed: young, literate, films fans…"
-Venice Magazine

"We love Film Threat… long may they wave."
-New York Post

"Film Threat is a hoot!"
- John Waters

"Film Threat is hilarious…"
-Washington Post

"…an alternative for the twentysomething filmgoer."
-LA Daily News

"…the Spy magazine of the West Coast."
-The Detroit Free Press
Interview with Pearry Teo, and his Curse of Sleeping Beauty SYS 127

Pearry talks about his new Thriller film, The Curse of Sleeping Beauty.
The Evolution of the Comic's Voice with Stand-Up Comedian, Ian Edwards

Is there a mathematical element to comedy writing? For most of us creative types, we would hope there isn’t simply because it may bring back nightmarish flashbacks of high school trigonometry or something, but in this interview with stand-up comedian and comedy writer, Ian Edwards, Ian discusses the specifics of how a joke is constructed, but equally so, how important it is to just “feel it”. There is an emotional connection to writing that most writers naturally understand, and it’s important to stay connected to that gut feeling, but Ian reminds us how important hard work and a constant dedication to the craft is equally essential.

 

We talked about Ian’s adventure rising through the comedy ranks, even going as far back as first telling jokes through a Burger King drive thru. Like all writers, Ian evolved his personal voice over years of practice, but what I loved was that he admitted that any writer’s voice naturally changes as he or she grows and changes. So while the industry at large says, “you have to find your voice”, Ian’s ultimate statement here is that we really just need to be in tune with ourselves and how we naturally change through the years. And after Ian worked his way through the New York comedy scene, he brought his voice to Los Angeles eventually writing for shows such as The Cartoon Network’s “The Boondocks”, Adult Swim’s, “Black Dynamite”, the CBS hit “Two Broke Girls” and most recently ABC’s “Black-ish”. Ian is more than just a funny guy – he’s a talented writer, a dedicated writer, and is on a positive trajectory toward stardom. We’re honored to have him on, and if you want to get more of Ian and his comedy, you can find him in multiple ways! He’s on Twitter @IanEdwardsComic, you can get his comedy album, “100% Half-Assed” at Conan O’Brien’s label, records.teamcoco.com, or if you’re a soccer fan, you can listen to Ian’s own podcast series called “Soccer Comics” at AllThingsComedy.com.

 

Thank you for listening to the ISA’s Curious About Screenwriting podcast. Please remember to share our interviews with your friends, rate us on iTunes, and if you would like to follow the interview’s host, Max Timm, you can find him on Twitter @iMaxTimm or Instagram @InstaMax9. Thanks again, and enjoy.

Industry Basics Q&A w/ ISA's Max Timm & The University of Illinois

With technology today, we are able to connect with so many people so easily. This podcast in particular is an example of how easy it is for the ISA to get in touch with students, and offer support and guidance. Max Timm was asked by the University of Illinois to speak to the screenwriting and entertainment students there, and to give insights on the business, the world of screenwriting, and the entertainment industry as a whole. The students emailed a long list of questions, and we then teamed up with the U of I professor, Susan Muirhead, via Skype. It was a lot of fun! And while a lot of what’s discussed in this presentation is relatively basic, it’s informative and the students asked some excellent questions. It’s a different take on our podcast interviews since Max is usually the one doing the interviewing, but spending a little over an hour with up and coming writers is always time well-spent.

 

Listen in and have fun. The new year is upon us, and we hope these podcast interviews and presentations offer you the spark needed to shift your writing into high gear. Enjoy and thanks for listening.

KCET Cinema Series Exciting and informative Q&As with actors, directors, and producers at the KCET Cinema Series. All Q&A's are led by film critic Pete Hammond. Vancouver International Women in Film Festival Women In Film & Television Vancouver (WIFTV) is a member driven not-for-profit society. Our main objectives are: to further the artistic and professional development of women in the Ca A FILM WRITER We help you prepare your screenplay for the marketplace but at affordable rates. Many clients have optioned their scripts. Terri Zinner is the creator of A FILM WRITER. Leeden Media Leeden Media is an entertainment company dedicated to producing high-quality visual stories. All of Leeden's projects seek to be commercial but a style we have named "genre art." Animal Behavior Society Film Festival Featuring films that portray important concepts in animal behavior research and education. Fargo Film Fest The Fargo Film Festival is the premier annual moving picture event in the state of North Dakota. Featuring more than 100 movies every March. Interview with Writer and Podcaster, Dave Bullis

SYS episode 126

 

Podcaster and screenwriter Dave Bullis talks about networking and building a screenwriting career when you don't live in Hollywood.

Career Lessons in TV Writing with Producer, Stephen Scaia & Max Timm

We're in a golden age of TV right now, and every network is getting in on the fun. And it really is fun. The amount of excellent content on the small screen today is rather epic, especially when considering how far the TV industry has come in the past decade or two. My guest today, Stephen Scaia, had an interesting comment about the TV industry and how it is intersecting with the film industry. He said that TV writers are wanting to get into writing for the movies, and film writers are wanting to write in TV. Even though that may sound as if the industry is at odds, it's actually a really good sign. It means that the two worlds may be merging in some way, and it will be very interesting to see what happens over the next couple years. Will the TV market become over saturated, and will it allow for more mid-level, indie dramas to be produced for the big screen? In my opinion, no matter what happens, the winners and beneficiaries of all of this are the viewers and the audience. We're blessed to have so much amazing content available at our fingertips, and I'm eager to see what else can come of it in the coming years.

 

My guest, Stephen Scaia, is the Co-Executive Producer on the CBS show, Limitless. I had previously met Stephen while moderating a panel at the NoHo Cinefest film festival in March. He was a panelist and since that panel was relatively short, I wanted to get him on the Curious About Screenwriting podcast to expand on some of the answers he gave at the live panel, and he doesn't disappoint. We talk about his early career path, some of the crappy jobs he took when he first moved to LA, and how he worked his way up through the Hollywood ranks not only by writing for television, but in the film world and even the comic book world.

Jacob Krueger and Star Wars, The Rewrite Awakens As I was watching Star Wars: The Force Awakens, it occurred to me that in many ways, this movie is just a rewrite of Star Wars: A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back with a little spattering of Return of the Jedi splashed in there.

And like any effective rewrite, the structure and the approach of Star Wars: The Force Awakens focuses on two vital concepts: Compression and Amplification.

Compression begins with identifying the very best elements of your early draft, and cutting out all the boring, average, or even good stuff in between, so that you're left with only the very best of the best.

And Amplification is about "turning up the volume" on those vital elements, visualizing them even more closely, exploring them even more deeply, and pushing them even further than you knew they could go.

On a creative level, this brings the essence of your script to the surface, allowing you to get right to the heart of what really matters, without distracting yourself, or your audience, with all that stuff in between.

On a commercial level, this makes every page a heck of a lot more compelling to read (and worthy of the thousands, hundreds of thousands, or even millions of dollars it's going to take to shoot each line you write).

But most importantly, on a story level, this means you can tell more of your story faster, allowing you to take your character, your audience, and even yourself further than they (and you) were expecting when you first sat down to write.

In this way (and in true Star Wars fashion), rewriting isn't just a mechanical process of making your script better or following a bunch of suggestions from coverage readers or producers. It's also a spiritual journey towards connecting with yourself and with your voice as a writer.

It's interesting that The Force Awakens came to the theatres just as we were talking about the concept of "The Engine" of so many successful TV series on this podcast. Because every movie also has an engine. And once you've identified that engine, both structurally and thematically, the process of compression, and amplification, and revision, becomes much easier.
Michael Lewis & Associates 2506 Fifth Street, #100 Santa Monica, CA 90405 (310) 399-1999 Pen of Tales Publications Started as a place where the Independent Author movement can thrive, where writers can place their stories and develop ideas. Logline It! Try your logline on our readers before spending months writing your script. This is not a contest, there are no prizes. All you'll get is some help from your fellow writers. 100% Terry Cloth From 1997 to 2002, Terence formed and co-owned another production company with screenwriter-producer Richard Finney where they produced six feature films and one television movie. Uniting Story Structure & Character Arc with Michael Hauge & Max Timm

Michael Hauge is a long-time story and script consultant, having consulted and worked with writers and filmmakers in Hollywood for over 30 years. But he's also one of my favorite people. So intelligent, and so articulate, he's the consummate coach, and if writers ask me who I can recommend when they ask about the consultants in the industry, I usually offer up Michael's name and services. There are so many consultants in town, and each of them have their own level of expertise.

 

Michael Hauge is an expert on story - whether it's TV or film, he's quite literally one of the best. And like our recent June Masters Series workshop we had with Jen Grisanti, we are hosting another one with Michael as our guest consultant. He will be presenting an all-day workshop here in Los Angeles specifically titled, "Uniting Story Structure and Character Arc". In this podcast that you're about to listen to, we go through the elements of what will be discussed in his upcoming workshop, but also dive deep into how plot and character intermingle and help create one of the most important aspects of a screenplay: emotion on screen.

Rose Spinelli and Her Crowdfundamentals

The best guidance given to real sleuths and armchair detectives alike to point them towards their next clue is, "Follow the money." The same could be said for people looking for their next careers, including Rose Spinelli, a former journalist, who followed the crowd funding dollars on her way to a new career helping people raise money for their projects. When Kickstarter and Indiegogo first hit the scene, all you needed (well almost) to hit your fund raising target was a well layed out page, a decent video, and a few mentions on Twitter and Facebook to start the dollars flowing into your account.

 

Today it is a different world. There are almost as many crowd funding platforms as there are projects and the effort to get a project noticed among the avalance of new requests asking for money is a serious endeavor, and this is where Rose can be very valuable to a campaign owner. She started her crowd funding company to provide guidance and to take off some of the load of building and running a successful campaign. She will tell you to engage her early so that she can provide you with maximum impact.

 

After you listen to my chat with her, head on over to her website: thecrowdfundamentals.com where you'll find her blog and a ton of great resources as you launch your next crowd funding campaign. 

Authors Guild The Authors Guild is the nation's largest society of published authors and a leading advocate for fair compensation, free speech and copyright protection. World Wide Online Copyright Registration Provides instant international copyright and intellectual property services online. Advanced Plot Construction with Jeff Kitchen

It's important to utilize consultants and their expertise as often as you're able. There are experts in this field of screenwriting and their knowledge of how a script breaks down and what creates an entertaining piece of media is priceless. It's necessary to test out each consultant in order to see if their individual process works for you. However, they each have something quite invaluable to add to the screenwriting process. In today's live podcast, I spoke with Jeff Kitchen. Jeff has been one of the top screenwriting teachers in the film industry for twenty years, and is a sought-after script consultant. He worked as a dramaturg and taught playwriting in the New York theater scene at the outset of his career, and is the author of Writing a Great Movie: Key Tools for Successful Screenwriting. Jeff has taught development executives from all of the major Hollywood studios and they consistently say that he teaches the most advanced development tools in the film industry.


We specifically talk about layering your story so that you understand the CONFLICT that occurs throughout your story. Even though we use the word "plot" quite a bit in this interview, it's necessary to remember that conflict is always character driven. Dramatic action is always character driven. The story stakes are raised due to the dramatic action TAKEN by the character. You can't have plot without character, but Jeff was also careful to note that "plot", in this sense, is not the same as the general industry usage of the term "plot". Plot, by way of Jeff's definition, is much more related to the conflict and drama that occurs due to the characters' motivations, needs, wants, desires, etc. By first exploring the very specific yet broad action that occurs from scene to scene and sequence to sequence (and through his reverse cause and effect technique), you will be able to see how that character evolves through the so-called plot because of the actions that character takes. This is all done without needing to write the actual script pages. It is instead layered throughout the outlining process. It's all connected.


There is an immense amount of material in this live podcast recording, and we hope you have a pen and paper handy. You can find out more about Jeff at his website DevelopmentHeaven.com, and we thank you for taking part in the ISA's Curious About Screenwriting podcast. We have an exciting new year ahead of us, and we look forward to supplying you with quality content and material. Thanks and enjoy the interview.

Aesthetica Short Film Festival ASFF is hosted by Aesthetica Magazine, an internationally recognised publication, with a combined print and online audience of 180,000 worldwide. Writers Guild of Canada (WSC) Working for Canadian Screenwriters: The Writers Guild of Canada (WGC) represents more than 2,000 professional English-language screenwriters in Canada.  These are the creators who write
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