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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?


Whistler Film Festival & Summit Since our inception, Whistler has become one of Canada's most important and celebrated destinations for independent film and was recognized as 'one of the top 30 fests" by Variety. International Screenwriters' Association Supporting emerging screenwriters in their professional growth by providing nearly every tool and resource available in the industry. Ka Zarr Productions Director, Producer, Actor and Screen Writer and Independent Business Deveveloper. Upper Marlboro, Maryland. Ka Zarr Coleman is a true visionary who is meticulous, persistent, ambitiou South Carolina Film Office The industry-savvy South Carolina Film office is dedicated to making the experience of your next production successful and hassle-free. Max Timm's, The WishKeeper Audiobook Serial, Chapters 4 & 5

We're off and running! Episode 3 - Chapters 4 and 5 - and these two were chapters were taken nearly verbatim from the last draft of the screenplay I wrote for this story. The way Thane and Shea meet and their eventual relationship dilemma was too fun to let go of, so I quite literally copied and pasted the script's scenes into a Word document for the first draft of my book's manuscript. Note: FIRST DRAFT (ha).


For those of you who know the screenplay world, it's obvious that I added quite a bit of prose to the two chapters - there is no way I could get away with that much prose in a screenplay. But while I was putting together this book based on the screenplay version, my very first draft of the book was almost entirely a copy and paste. I copied the screenplay and pasted it into Word. After some basic formatting, I then jumped in and started breaking up the individual script scenes into chapters in the Word document...

Kerry Film Festival Kerry Film Festival (KFF) is an internationally recognized short film festival which takes place across the County of Kerry each October. KFF is renowned for celebrating your works. Peter Hawley – Educating the Digital Creative Class

Should I go to film school? Like most vexing questions of our day, the answer is, “Well, it depends.” The “what” it depends on is up to the individual student, the parents, the location, the cost, and a myriad of other factors. There are people who claim that everything a student can learn in a film school can be learned through experience. There are well-known online courses that take a strong anti-brick-and-mortar-film school stance and generate their revenue by advocating this viewpoint.  Some people would rather use their potential tuition money  for cameras, lighting gear, microphones, and computers and just start filming. Others will read books about screenwriting rather than take a class. And some of these people will do very well for themselves in this chaotic media industry that is consuming and reinventing itself faster than we can watch a season of “Rectify” on Netflix. But for people who choose film school, there is a path for them that will definitely make sense in the context of the return on their investment in the form of future career opportunities. And beyond even the instruction and access to equipment, a school like Tribeca Flashpoint College provides structure and a main lodge for young people (and  some older ones too) to socialize while offering them the opportunity to share their knowledge, experiences, and perspectives. There they can embrace the fact that they are all members of a tribe known as the digital creative class as they get to know each other and work together in a common physical space.


Peter Hawley, Dean of Tribeca Flashpoint Academy, was starting a new semester as a teacher at a different institution about a decade ago, and he found himself asking the same question about the relevancy of film school; albeit in a different context. He was taking over for another teacher’s class when he came to a troubling realization. After polling his students, he learned that  their knowledge and capabilities with digital cameras and filmmaking techniques were beyond the information listed on the syllabus. Not long after that experience, Peter was offered the opportunity to join a team that was building a digital media school, then known as just Flashpoint Academy, in Chicago from the ground up. For Peter this was the opportunity of a lifetime. Not only was he going to be an integral contributor to the founding of a new school, but the school would focus on the digital tools and education that his students deserved. He joined the group and became the head of the film department and has been a part of the vibrant rebirth of film in Chicago ever since.


Before Peter became the head of the film department at Tribeca Flashpoint Academy and eventual dean, he was and still is a filmmaker. As you might expect from someone who intersperses teaching with an active career, Peter has developed himself over many disciplines. He has contributed to the media industry as a commercial director as well as a documentary filmmaker. In his film “What’s Two + Three?” Peter points the camera at his sister, his parents, and himself as he follows his family’s physical and emotional journey to the 2003 Special Olympics in Ireland where his sister was competing. It is a film that, despite its low-tech approach, works because of the raw honesty and truth that Peter sought out for himself and that he eventually delivered to his audience. You can watch the movie for free on YouTube.


The digital era of content is upon us. There is no way to rewind back to the days of analog except for those who have the luxury of having indulgent benefactors with unlimited budgets. Conversely, what sometimes gets lost in the sheer  accessibility and ease of use of our generation’s digital tools and the wizardry they provide, is that they cannot turn a poorly executed story or piece of commercial work into a gem. We live in a time where almost every movie ever made is accessible, legally or otherwise, at the touch of a button on a device that fits into our pockets. This content is available to over a billion people with more coming online everyday. Our brave new digital world will provide countless opportunities to the great grandsons and great granddaughters of the architects of our physical world. It is however imperative that those who wish to succeed in the next great evolution of our society learn not only the tools of their trade, but the underlying principles that will never fade. Hard work, commitment to excellence, and community have provided a foundation for success in every age when and where they were applied. People like Peter Hawley and schools like Tribeca Flashpoint Academy understand this fact and they provide the resources and guidance that the students require to reach their full potential.


 Show Notes and Links

  • The lesson that Peter learned in the third grade that he still uses every day
  • How the Screen Actors Guild strike helped Peter pivot into making documentaries
  • How Peter worked with The Chase House to film his first fully-funded documentary
  • How his personal truth and storytelling ability helped Peter overcome technology limitations in his Special Olympics film “What’s Two + Three?”
  • How self-imposed parameters can help create focus and a sense of urgency
  • Peter’s “learn-on-the-fly” documentary filmmaking technique
  • Developing a sense for key moments of a documentary while filming
  • Tribeca Flashpoint Academy was one of the first digital media schools in the country
  • TFA was the first new college in Chicago in 50 years
  • Disciplines; Film, Recording Arts, Game and Interactive Media, Visual FX and Animation. More to come
  • TFA started as a two year program. Now a four year program; students can earn a Bachelors Degree
  • One upside of recessions is that many people go back to school to sharpen their skills or learn new ones
  • Great ideas + Great execution; a recipe success
  • Building a digital media school from scratch in 100 days
  • Starting equipment; Panasonic HVX 200 with only 8 GB cards, $5000 a piece
  • The necessity for the digital generation to be “multi-hyphenate”
  • Why his lack of famous film students doesn’t bother Peter
  • The lesson that Peter learned in the third grade that he still uses every day
  • How the Screen Actors Guild strike helped Peter pivot into making documentaries
  • How Peter worked with The Chase House to film his first fully-funded documentary
  • How his personal truth and storytelling ability helped Peter overcome technology limitations in his Special Olympics film “What’s Two + Three?”
  • How self-imposed parameters can help create focus and a sense of urgency
  • Peter’s “learn-on-the-fly” documentary filmmaking technique
  • Developing a sense for key moments of a documentary while filming
  • All stories are about characters
  • Why there is continued interest in both making and watching documentary films
  • How making documentary films can turn into a career in media
  • The value of an unproduced screenplay
  • Is the movie Nightcrawler a nod back to the films of the 60’s and 70’s?
  • We are living in the new golden age of television
  • Are apps the future of TV?
  • How relevant is a film school today? Where does Tribeca Flashpoint Academy fit in?
  • The marketing of your film starts the moment you have the idea
  • Why Peter makes everyone of his student launch a Indiegogo crowd-funding campaign
  • The relevance of the  launch date of the iPhone to Flashpoint Academy
  • What does it cost to go to Tribeca Flashpoint Academy and are scholarships offered?
  • Students should think of their first day of school as the first day of work
  • Students at TFA get to work with clients as part of their school work

Movies / Television Mentioned in this Episode

Claudio Fah, Director Of Northmen – A Viking Saga

SYS Episode 086: Claudio Fah Director Of Northmen – A Viking Saga

Director Claudio Fah talks about his latest directorial effort, Northmen – A Viking Saga.

Northeast of Paris Film Commission Providing location services and permits for filmmakers looking to shoot northeast of Paris. Bellevue Productions Bellevue Productions is a hybrid production company with capabilities in the complementary businesses of feature film production and motion graphics design. Story Telling Magic Best selling author, awarded screenwriter, world traveler, wildlife warrior, I have been affectionately nicknamed "Xena", "The Mitzvah Girl", and "A Force of Nature". Swamp Daddy Productions LLC Since 2011 The Writers Studio - San Francisco Founded in 1987 by Philip Schultz, The Writers Studio welcomes beginning and experienced fiction writers and poets to ongoing writing workshops designed to help them discover and Las Vegas Lift-Off Film Festival Winners of the London, Liverpool, Amsterdam, Tokyo and Los Angeles Film Festivals screen at Las Vegas Lift-Off, along with new hopefuls from around the globe. Film Commission Norway Encouraging and supporting the production of film in Norway, providing a link between the national and international film industry. Script Mag Screenwriting Podcast Script has been the leading source for information on the craft and business of writing for film and television for over 15 years. With inside information, articles written by working writers and filmmakers, and in-depth interviews, Script is the resource on every scriptwriter’s must-read list. - See more at: http://www.scriptmag.com/about-script-magazine/#sthash.iz9puZZA.dpuf.

Interviews conducted by Script Magazine's Ashely Scott Meyers.
Campfire Film Festival A hybrid film festival / distribution channel into schools. Jonsworth Productions Inc MULTIMEDIA GHOSTWRITING, -Professional Article Writing, Press Releases, Newsletters, Online Copywriting, Website Content and Design, Market Research, Start-up Campaign Content,
Liliath & Penumbra Diane got her B.A. at Columbia University, and her M.F.A. at Northwestern University. She has read scripts for companies like Focus Features and Darren Aronofsky's Protozoa Pictures. The Matthau Company The company focuses on feature film and television projects with humanity and humor — qualities that have always defined great storytelling. In 1990, Charlie Matthau had just finished The Treatment Every week, host Elvis Mitchell conducts in-depth interviews with the most innovative and influential people working in entertainment, art, and pop culture. MAISON DES SCÉNARISTES Our goal is to restore the script to the heart of the artistic process and the financing of all films. In May of 2012, we opened the first “International Pavilion of Scriptwriters” at t The Gotham Group The Gotham Group is a management and production company that represents people involved in the entertainment industry.The company was founded by Ellen Goldsmith-Vein in 1993. Edinburgh Short Film Festival Screening the best in International contemporary short cinema at venues across Scotland's ancient capital every Autumn! Interview with Action and Horror Writer, Paul Logan of The Horde SYS 129

Paul talks about his new Action/Horror script The Horde.
Agence Maxime Vanasse
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