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Posted: Jul 19, 2016 Hosted By: Max Timm

I cannot stress enough the importance of educating yourself. It seems so simple and could spawn a reaction of, "duh". Of course education is essential. You never hear a point/counterpoint or debate over whether or not education is important. We all know it is, but I need to point something out here. It seems that a lot of writers - and I mean a LOT of writers - do not think they need to take a class on writing. It blows my mind, thoroughly frustrates me, and consistently makes me wonder why a writer would never invest in some form of a writing class, course, consultant, writers group, something! Every person that moves to Los Angeles with the intent to become a working actor is immediately given what? A list of all of the acting classes available to them. And there are a TON of acting classes available. But what does that person do? She nods her head and says, "Oh, ok. Cool. I'll find one and sign up." How is it that the screenwriting side of this business hasn't taken on the same mindset as the acting side? The craft of acting is no different than the craft of writing. It's something that is learnable, and it's something that if given enough time will result in...? Being better! I can't simplify it any more than that. I'll play hardball for a second, and whether or not you agree with me, well, I really don't care, but if you're a writer who thinks you can just figure this out on your own, maybe read Robert McKee's book, Story, and then think that you can write a marketable and ready-made screenplay...you're wrong. You are, very simply, wrong. I am sorry if that offends you, but if you're a regular listener to my podcast you know that it is my intent to be real with you. It's my intent to give a bit of a wake up call.

 

Investing in yourself and finding the right writing class or course, or even hiring a consultant to work with you, is so necessary that I wish there were billboards all over Los Angeles that announced a new law that forced all writers to take a class before they ever attempt to submit a screenplay to an agency or production company.

Posted: Jul 21, 2016 Hosted By: Max Timm Guest: Dan Calvisi

Countless screenwriting books have offered what is claimed to be the definitive structural paradigm, what you might know as the "classical structure beat sheet," for feature films, but none have tackled the daunting task of defining a beat sheet for EPISODIC TELEVISION.

 

Until now.

 

Daniel Calvisi, author of "Story Maps: How to Write a GREAT Screenplay," brings you the results of his deep analysis of the story structure behind the best series currently available in our multi-platform universe of ad-supported networks, pay cable and streaming content websites. He will first introduce you to the key formats, genres and terminology of modern TV shows, and then he will take you step-by-step and page by page through the major signpost beats of a teleplay and the crucial characteristics that must be present in each scene, using specific examples from the best of our "Golden Age" of television.

Posted: Jul 18, 2016 Hosted By: Jacob Krueger This week, we're going to be talking about Swiss Army Man by Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert. This is an extraordinary script, and one of the great examples of just how far outside of the rule box you can actually go as a screenwriter or director. It's also a prime example of how a really out-there script can sometimes attract the biggest talent in Hollywood, in this case, Daniel Radcliffe and Paul Dano.

 

There's an exercise that I often do with my Write Your Screenplay students that I call the "Bad Screenplay" exercise. We put a list up on the board of all the students' greatest fears about their writing. We hear all kinds of things: "bad dialogue," "cliché," "redundancy," "no structure..." the list goes on and on, as the white board fills up with increasingly egregious fears.

 

 

And then I give my students a challenge: to write a scene that embodies every one of the fears about their writing that we've put up on the board. To strive not for good writing, but for bad writing. In fact, I tell them that if their writing starts to get good, they should look up at the board, find the idea they find most horrifying, and strive to integrate it into their script.

 

 

In many ways this is exactly what the Daniels did in the creation of this screenplay. Daniel Kwan has spoken about the fact that he hates fart jokes, hates buddy movies, hates a cappella music, and many of the other fundamental elements of Swiss Army Man.

 

 

He built Swiss Army Man out of the things that he hated most in screenplays.

 

 

So why would somebody do that?

Resources

Adams and Reese LLP Adams and Reese is a multidisciplinary law firm with attorneys and advisors strategically located throughout the southern United States and Washington, DC. ShortPole London IFF ShortPole London International Film Festival is an online based film festival, headquartered in the heart of the United Kingdom.

The festival runs in 4 quarters.
Generating Authentic Ideas with Christopher Dewan

From an early August 2015 live teleconference, our Curious About Screenwriting Co-Host, Laurie Lamson, interviews screenwriter, Christopher Dewan. It is, however, more than just an interview. It could be considered a brainstorming session to generate not only more ideas, but ideas that deliver a winning recipe. Dewan states there are two halves to the creative process: generating ideas and then finding shapes to hold them. Screenwriting workshops tend to focus on the second half - structure - because it's easier to teach. But ideas themselves are considered unteachable, arcane and magical - gifts from the muse, so to speak. Whatever that muse, or writer God, may be.

 

So where do ideas come from? Christopher talks about how you can cultivate them into stories you want to tell and how to maintain a state of mind so you're always generating more. This fabulous interview offers tangible techniques and useful tricks to write in a way that resonates with relevant, personal themes - writing that rises up unplanned from your unconscious and leads you toward stories that only you could write. Thank you for listening to our Curious About Screenwriting podcasts. The ISA holds free teleconferences every month, so stay tuned to our Classes section of the ISA website – networkISA.org – and don’t forget to share and spread the word about our free podcast series. Enjoy.

The Milkshake Boom podcast THE MILKSHAKE BOOM is quite possibly the greatest film podcast ever made...but probably not. Simply put, we are a weekly film podcast dedicated to discussing hidden gems, cult films, and under appreciated guest favorites they feel need to be rediscovered. Resolution Rentals Resolution Rentals is a professional film, video, and photography rental house based in Northern Liberties, Philadelphia. We ship throughout the USA anywhere, anytime! The Industry Workshops The Industry Workshops are a series of application oriented workshops by entertainment industry professionals. Randi Siegel Entertainment Randi Siegel is the owner of Randi Siegel Entertainment, a production, consulting and talent management company, most known for launching and developing the career of Jimmy Fallon. Oresund Film Commission - Denmark Providing location services, shooting permits, and production incentives for filmmakers looking to film in Denmark. MICRO-BUDGET SCREENWRITING WITH CONSULTANT PAUL PEDITTO

Do you need to be in Los Angeles to consider yourself a screenwriter? Do you need to be in Los Angeles to write a movie that launches your career? Do you need to have an agent or manager to place in screenwriting contest? I think you’re seeing what the trending answer here is – no. “DIY Filmmaking” is no longer a niche or novelty. “Do it yourself” is the key to that term! John Cassavetes made films for low money. So did Orson Wells, who made bad wine commercials to finance his low-budget Shakespeare adaptations. Robert Rodriguez literally wrote the book, and major directors like Spike Lee and Aronofsky got their starts on the cheap. Credit-card filmmaking has been around forever, the watchword being film making. These early low-budget efforts were all shot on film-- which then brings us to what is new in the equation: TECHNOLOGY.

 

Hollywood. Home of the true 1%. Behind this gated community are the kidney-shaped pools and impeccable hedge rows. The million-dollar mansions and Lamborghini excess. The Country Club of which you are most definitely not a member. You cannot apply to this club. The gatekeepers know you are not of their cloth. They can smell you. You are the Unwashed. They can smell your wanting, your desperation to join them on the inside. They have set up impenetrable motes and ramparts to stop you. How will you scale these walls?

 

The Curious About Screenwriting podcasts have recently been focusing a lot on the changing trends of the industry – there are big changes currently occurring in Hollywood. So much is shifting – not only from the big screen to the small screen, but technology is allowing writers to create their own material for little to no money. There is a paradigm shift happening right now, and Paul Peditto, long time script consultant and adjunct professor at Columbia College Chicago talks with our co-host, Laurie Lamson, and dives into how the industry is changing and how writers can take advantage of it. So grab your pen and paper, be ready to take notes and be inspired. You do have power, and you can control your writing career. The ISA is here to help.

 

Share our podcasts, rate us on iTunes, and enjoy the show. Thanks for listening. 

The ISA Reviews: Midnight Special, with Pim Hendrix & Jeff York

"Midnight Special" is a truly special sci-fi thriller.

 

Genre films don't have to be filled with obvious clichés and hoary old tropes. Jeff Nichols' screenplay and direction find all sorts of different ways to confound genre expectations and keep the audience off guard in his his sci-fi thriller "Midnight Special." It's the story of Alton, a young boy with special God-like gifts that a religious cult and the FBI both want to get their hands on.

 

His concerned father Roy, played by Nichols favorite Michael Shannon, runs off with Alton and their road trip together is tender, as well as terrifying. Complex characters and surprising story twists belie any expectations of another "Close Encounters of the Third Kind", "E.T" or "Starman." Nichols' sci-fi is less interested in special effects and more interested in the effect God, family and society have on normal people dealing with an extraordinary child. This is a thriller that you'll be thinking about, and talking over, long after this special film has ended.

Writers Guild of America West Composed of the thousands of writers who write the content for television shows, movies, news programs, documentaries, animation, and Internet and mobile phones (new media). Whistler Film Festival histler has become one of Canada's most important and celebrated destinations for independent film. The Whistler Film Festival is recognized as 'one of the top 30 film festivals." Move Me Productions Belgium - Short Film Festival Move Me Productions vzw, located in Antwerp, Belgium, is the organization behind this series of short film festivals. Our goal is to have a contest every three months. Lucky Day Studios, LLC Lucky Day Studios, LLC is the production company for the teen thriller, "Unrequited", starring Michael Welch, Sarah Habel and David Keith. Fast Carrier Pictures Motion picture and television production company that released its first film, BLEACHER BUMS, for Showtime in 2002, followed by SILENT NIGHT, EAST L.A. MARINE and ARCHIE'S FINAL PROJECT The ISA Reviews: Zootopia with Jeff York and Vin Morreale

Zootopia animates a world of animals dealing with modern society's ills.

 

Anyone who thinks that animated movies are just kid stuff, needs to see Zootopia. It's one of the most sophisticated, layered and intelligent entertainments to play at the Cineplex in years. And while it may seem like the easiest movie on the planet to pitch - It's a world of people, jobs and a caste system, only everyone is an animal! - it has far more on its mind. This family movie has a lot to say about our current culture of fear and prejudice. Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin), an intrepid newbie cop, may be a rabbit but she's got the eye of the tiger here. She's on a missing person's case, er uh, make that otter's, and along to help is a con artist fox named Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman). Together, their investigation will lead to the corridors of power in Zootopia, and force all the residents to confront the nature of its beasts and how any species can evolve. It's a message movie, sure, albeit one that never preaches because it's so cleverly co-written by animation veterans Jared Bush and Phil Johnston and co-directed with such visual imagination by Bryon Howard and Rich Moore. This is the 55th film from Disney and an instant classic every film fan should run or hop out to see!

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.
Indie Pix Films NY DISTRIBUTOR OF INTERNATIONAL INDEPENDENT CINEMA. CELLULOID DREAMS, DIGITAL STREAMS. Visit our catalog & watch instantly. Get Independent! FIX YOUR PITCH Award Winning Screenwriter Jacob Krueger shows you what it takes to pitch like a professional. Learn the elements of a killer logline and an irresistible pitch, and how to turn your script into producer candy, without “selling out” or sacrificing your voice as a writer. ALTERNATIVE STRATEGIES - GET A WRITING JOB IN HOLLYWOOD There are many ways to get noticed in Hollywood. Spielberg started working in an open office on the Universal lot. Trey Parker and Matt Stone got South Park on the web. Diablo Cody wrote a funny blog. However you do it, you have to get yourself out there, even without an agent, a manager, or so-called "connections." Producer/Writer David Silverman will delve into real-life example of how famous writers and some of his friends got jobs writing in Hollywood. Margie Haber Studio With over 35 years of experience, Margie Haber is known as Hollywood’s top audition technique and acting coach. Margie has been very busy these past few years – working with actors Hollywood Insider Online Screenwriting Class Carole Parker is a produced, award-winning screenwriter who has written 26 features, 7 TV pilots and 5 short films, and has just started teaching an online screenwriting class. ISA Spotlight: Industry Veteran & Contest Finalist, Glenda Ganis

To celebrate Women's History Month, the ISA is featuring three of our rising stars and recent contest winners. Spotlighting female writers, producers, and filmmakers is happily (though slowly) becoming the norm in Hollywood and we couldn't be happier to be able to share our talented female members and their successes.

 

In this interview, we brought on Glenda Ganis to discuss her extensive experience in the film and television industry. From being self-taught, working within the world of 90's made-for-TV movies, and building a career as a production designer, Glenda has made a name for herself as an industry veteran. Her recent finalist placement in the Emerging Screenwriters Screenplay Competition shows that no matter how long we spend in this business, we are all continually emerging, improving, and strengthening our careers - one step at a time.

 

We loved this interview with Glenda. She even talks about her time spent working with Marlon Brando, and how terrified she was of his dogs when she first met the legendary actor. It's an interview packed with insight and stories, so we hope you enjoy it as much as we did. Cheers to all of the female writers and filmmakers out there. The ISA is determined to even the playing field within an industry that is, thankfully, changing and emerging with equal opportunities for all.

Atomik Pictures Atomik has created an incredible experience for us with its fast, smart-thinking solutions to production challenges. More than that, we left the experience with a sense of joy. Heroes and Villains Entertainment Represents writers and directors and specializes in the creation of content in the 5 pillars of entertainment: film, television, comic books, video games, and the internet. Before the Door In 2008, longtime collaborators and friends Corey Moosa, Neal Dodson, and Zachary Quinto formed Before The Door Pictures, a media production company.
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