Archive for January, 2015

“Insurgent” Screenwriter Brian Duffield Talks Writing for the Hit Franchise

Friday, January 30th, 2015


A native of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Brian Duffield burst onto the screenwriting scene with his rom-com spec Your Bridesmaid Is A Bitch, a Black List script that launched his career. In this Final Draft Insider podcast, Duffield talks moving to Los Angeles after college, struggling to make himself known in Hollywood, and what it’s like to write a script for a hit franchise.

A full transcript of the podcast can be found here.


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BAFTA Screenwriters Lecture: David S. Goyer

Thursday, January 29th, 2015

Screenwriter David S. Goyer (Dark City, Man of Steel, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice) gives a BAFTA Screenwriters Lecture about his first script, writing for TV and why persistence pays off.



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The Business of Screenwriting: An Interview with Terry Rossio

Thursday, January 29th, 2015


Screenwriter Terry Rossio has co-written (with writing partner Ted Elliot) some of the most successful American films in the past fifteen years. With works such as Aladdin, Shrek, and the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise on his resume, Rossio has successfully learned how to navigate not only the writing of an entertaining screenplay but also the business of screenwriting.

In this interview with John Robert Marlow for Make Your Story a Movie: Adapting Your Book or Idea for Hollywood Rossio frankly discusses his experiences as a writer/producer. He addresses the realities of what  happens monetarily when you sell a screenplay, what makes a good agent or manager, and how important it is to be able to pitch your work. He also gives a very detailed description of his writing process.


Read the entire interview here.


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Screenwriters Share their Tricks for Writing Memorable Screenplays

Thursday, January 29th, 2015



In this article by Adam Sternbergh from The New York Times, a select group of screenwriters share what inspired them to pursue screenwriting as a career and their secrets to writing memorable scripts. Featured screenwriters are:

Read the article here.


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Terry Rossio on Writing

Thursday, January 29th, 2015



“Bad writers are bad because they stop too soon. In fact, let’s take a step back. The only quality, I think, that marks the writer as different from everyone else is simply an unwillingness to quit. Others give up when they learn writing is hard; the writer struggles on. 


When I sit down in front of the blank page, it’s no easier for me to fill it than anyone else. The non-writer looks at the blank page and — quite sensibly — says, ‘forget it, I’m outta here.’ But if they had to, they could put a few words down there — just like I do. Only the words wouldn’t be any good. So the non-writer gets frustrated, gives up and leaves. Me, too, I get frustrated… but I sit there, and work to make it better. 


Anybody who’s willing to struggle, I think, can write. The real work is to stick at it until you find the gold. To get to that funny line. To do the hard work no one else wants to do, but everyone wants to have done. To discover the great character bit, the clever story turn. Until you have it, you don’t have it. Until it’s there, it’s not there — and you need to stick at it until it is there.”


  –Terry Rossio, screenwriter (Aladdin, Shrek, Pirates of the Carribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl)



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2015 Academy Awards Nominations

Monday, January 26th, 2015


The 85th Academy Awards® will air live on Oscar® Sunday, February 24, 2013.

The 2015 Academy Awards took place on Sunday, February 22nd. Here are this year’s screenwriting nominees:




American Sniper – Written by Jason Hall


The Imitation Game – Written by Graham Moore


Inherent Vice – Written by Paul Thomas Anderson


The Theory of Everything – Written by Anthony McCarten


Whiplash – Written by Damien Chazelle




Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) – Written by Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Jr. & Armando Bo


Boyhood – Written by Richard Linklater


Foxcatcher – Written by E. Max Frye and Dann Futterman


The Grand Budapest Hotel – Written by Wes Anderson; Story by Wes Anderson & Hugo Guinness


Nightcrawler – Written by Dan Gilroy



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2015 Independent Spirit Awards Nominees

Monday, January 26th, 2015



The Film Independent Spirit Awards will take place on Saturday, February 21st. Founded in 1984, these awards are dedicated to independent filmmakers. Here are this year’s nominated screenplays:




Big Eyes – Scott Alexander & Larry Karaszewski


A Most Violent Year – J.C. Chandor


Nightcrawler – Dan Gilroy


Only Lovers Left Alive – Jim Jarmusch


Love is Strange – Ira Sachs & Mauricio Zacharias





Appropriate Behavior – Desiree Akhavan


Little Accidents – Sara Colangelo


The One I Love – Justin Lader


She’s Lost Control – Anja Marquardt


Dear White People – Justin Simien


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2015 Writers Guild Awards Nominees

Monday, January 26th, 2015



The 2015 Writers Guild Awards will take place on Saturday, February 14th. The screen awards are for films that were exhibited theatrically in the Los Angeles area during the preceding calendar year. Additionally, scripts must be produced under the jurisdiction of the WGA or under a collective bargaining agreement in Canada, Ireland, New Zealand or the U.K. Here are the list of this year’s film nominees:




Boyhood, Written by Richard Linklater; IFC Films

Foxcatcher, Written by E. Max Frye and Dan Futterman; Sony Pictures Classics

The Grand Budapest Hotel, Screenplay by Wes Anderson; Story by Wes Anderson & Hugo Guinness; Fox Searchlight

Nightcrawler, Written by Dan Gilroy; Open Road Films

Whiplash, Written by Damien Chazelle; Sony Pictures Classics




American Sniper, Written by Jason Hall; Based on the book by Chris Kyle with Scott McEwen and Jim DeFelice; Warner Bros.

Gone Girl, Screenplay by Gillian Flynn; Based on her novel; 20th Century Fox

Guardians of the Galaxy, Written by James Gunn and Nicole Perlman; Based on the Marvel comic by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning; Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

The Imitation Game, Written by Graham Moore; Based on the book Alan Turing: The Enigma by Andrew Hodges; The Weinstein Company

Wild, Screenplay by Nick Hornby; Based on the book by Cheryl Strayed; Fox Searchlight




Finding Vivian Maier, Written by John Maloof & Charlie Siskel; Sundance Selects

The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz, Written by Brian Knappenberger; FilmBuff

Last Days in Vietnam, Written by Mark Bailey & Keven McAlester; American Experience Films

Red Army, Written by Gabe Polsky; Sony Pictures Classics



The Laurel Award for Screenwriting Achievement is given to that member of the Guild who, in the opinion of the current Board of Directors, has advanced the literature of the motion picture through the years, and who has made outstanding contributions to the profession of the screen writer.



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2015 BAFTA Film Awards Nominees

Monday, January 26th, 2015


The 2015 British Academy Film Awards will take place on Sunday, February 8th. Presented by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA), it is considered to be the British counterpart to the Academy Awards. With nearly 6,500 members, BAFTA identifies, rewards, and celebrates excellence in filmmaking. Here are the nominees for their screenwriting categories:


Best Adapted Screenplay:


The Imitation Game – Graham Moore


American Sniper  – Jason Hall


Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn


Paddington – Paul King


The Theory of Everything – Anthony McCarten



Best Original Screenplay:


Birdman – Alejandro G. Inarritu, Nicolas Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris Jr, & Armando Bo


Boyhood – Richard Linklater


The Grand Budapest Hotel – Wes Anderson


Nightcrawler – Dan Gilroy


Whiplash – Damien Chazelle


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Graham Moore at the World Science Festival

Monday, January 26th, 2015

Oscar-nominated screenwriter Graham Moore talks about the art of translating Alan Turing’s life to the screen in this selection from a panel hosted by the World Science Festival. The panel, with Moore, journalist Faith Salie and physicist and author Janna Levin, followed a special screening of The Imitation Game at the Museum of the Moving Image.



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The Screenwriting Process with Dustin Lance Black

Monday, January 26th, 2015



Screenwriter Dustin Lance Black (Milk, J. Edgar) talks with Jameson Brown of The Script Lab about his beginnings as a shy teenager, falling in love with filmmaking, and his creative process for the Oscar-winning script, Milk.


Read the interview here.



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David Zucker’s 15 Rules of Comedy

Monday, January 26th, 2015


With films like Airplane!, The Naked Gun trilogy, and BASEketball on his resume, it is clear that screenwriter David Zucker knows a thing or two about the comedy genre. In this article written by Zucker, he outlines the 15 Rules of Comedy he abided by while penning his early works.


In 20 years of writing, producing and directing comedy, I never once read a book about it. Prior to that, the longest time I ever went without reading a book was perhaps the four years I spent in college. But that makes it no easier to write about.

In writing “The Naked Gun 2 1/2: The Smell of Fear,” I have relied on 15 simple rules of comedy that were formulated while making films with my brother, Jerry, and my partner, Jim Abrahams. (We used to have 19 rules, until four were thrown out after the Falklands War.)…”


Read the entire article here.


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John Hughes in Conversation with AFI Onscreen Podcast

Monday, January 26th, 2015

John Hughes established the high school comedy movie genre in the 1980’s. Reflecting the universal angst of adolescence and playing with archetypes of American teenagers, his films touched a generation of young moviegoers and continue to resonate with audiences today. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Sixteen Candles, Pretty In Pick, Uncle Buck, Home Alone, and so many more beloved films were written by Hughes during his career.

In this AFI Onscreen Podcast, John Hughes discusses his writing process and his film legacy.




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The Writer Speaks: Billy Wilder

Monday, January 26th, 2015

The Writers Guild Foundation presents this hour-long conversation with writer/director Billy Wilder. Wilder’s impressive body of work includes Some Like it Hot, Sunset Blvd., Double Indemnity, and The Seven Year Itch. it is no wonder that he once held the record for most screenwriting nominations at the Academy Awards (since broken by Woody Allen). 


In this interview, Wilder discusses his views on storytelling, character development, and how the film industry had changed during his lifetime. The video also includes select scenes from his most memorable works.



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Pedro Almodovar to Receive WGA International Screenwriting Award

Wednesday, January 21st, 2015


On February 15, 2015 screenwriter/director/producer Pedro Almodovar will receive the prestigious International Screenwriting Award at the WGA Awards for advancing the literature of motion pictures. Pedro has written notable films such as Volver and Law of Desire, which served to greatly bolster the careers of Penelope Cruz and Antonio Banderas, respectively.    

Read the entire Hollywood Reporter article here.



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Cake Q&A with Screenwriter Patrick Tobin and Director Daniel Barnz

Monday, January 19th, 2015

In this Orange County Film Society Q&A, Screenwriter Patrick Tobin and Director Daniel Barnz talk about their recent collaboration, Cake. They discuss how Barnz discovered Tobin’s script while judging a screenplay competition, the inspiration for the screenplay, and how Jennifer Aniston was able to bring Claire from the script to the screen.

In Cake, the acerbic, hilarious Claire Simmons becomes fascinated by the suicide of a woman in her chronic pain support group. As she uncovers the details of Nina’s suicide and develops a poignant relationship with Nina’s husband, she also grapples with her own, very raw personal tragedy.



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Screenwriter Damien Chazelle on Ambiguity in “Whiplash”

Monday, January 19th, 2015



Before Whiplash was nominated for an Academy Award in the Adapted Screenplay Category, screenwriter Damien Chazelle sat down with Tasha Robinson from The Dissolve to discuss the inspiration for the story, his writing process, and his use of ambiguity in the screenplay.


Damien Chazelle still isn’t 30 years old, and he’s written and directed a Sundance sensation. Whiplash, his second feature film (after 2009’s black-and-white indie jazz musical Guy And Madeline On A Park Bench), won the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award in the Dramatic category in Park City earlier in 2014, and a significant Oscar buzz has followed it ever since. It’s easy to see why: The film is a sharp, electric story, stylishly told and rivetingly performed…


Read the full interview here.


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2015 Sundance Institute Episodic Story Lab Seeking Submissions

Monday, January 19th, 2015


Sundance Institue is currently seeking submissions for their next Episodic Story Lab, which will take place  at the Sundance Resort in Utah from October 1-6th, 2015.


The Episodic Story Lab offers writers an opportunity to learn how to develop stories and characters that evolve over multiple episodes in a setting where they can hone their writing skills and gain insight into navigating the changing industry. Working with accomplished showrunners (“Creative Advisors”), as well as non-writing creative producers and studio/network executives (“Industry Mentors”), writers participate in one-on-one creative story meetings, pitching sessions, simulated Writers’ Rooms, and group conversations focusing on the key creative and tactical elements that are central to any television writer’s success.


Click here for more information on the Episodic Story Lab


The online application is open now through February 11th, 2015.


View the application here


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Five Questions for Still Alice Writer/Directors Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland

Friday, January 16th, 2015


Writer/Directors Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland talk with Scott Macaulay from Filmmaker Magazine about the consistent themes of their works and the function of language in this film.


“In Still Alice, based on Lisa Genova’s novel, Julianne Moore plays a Columbia University linguistics professor with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, a diagnosis that threatens to erode her relationship with her family as well as the city she has long called her home. With a supporting cast including Alec Baldwin, Kristen Stewart and Kate Bosworth, Still Alice promises a realistic depiction of the disease by one of America’s finest actresses, and it’s a return to character-based human dramas by the directorial duo of Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland, whose films include The Last of Robin Hood, the Sundance Grand Prize-winning Quinceañera and, back in 1983 (and directed by Glatzer only), Grief. Below, we asked the directors five questions, ranging from queries about working with Moore to their own longevity in the independent scene.”


 Read the entire article here.


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Mr. Leigh on Mr. Turner

Friday, January 16th, 2015

turner big-2026


Writer/Director Mike Leigh discusses his organic filmmaking style and his views on traditional screenplays in this Creative Screenwriting article by Holly Grigg-Spall.


“Filmmaker Mike Leigh is known for his unique, particular, and deeply involved technique for directing and writing that is very much a script-less process. The blend of improvisation and characterization he and his casts bring to his films, such as Vera Drake and Happy-Go-Lucky, works to set the screen alight with warmth, humanity and energy. In his latest period piece, which has already gleaned two awards at the Cannes Film Festival, Timothy Spall takes on the role of British painter Turner, bringing to life a man full of contradictions and intriguing aspects. It’s a thoroughly thrilling take on the biopic genre. Creative Screenwriting had a chat with Mike Leigh about how it came to be.”


Read the entire article here.


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