Fri, 20 April 2018
In partnership with the Academy Education and Nicholl Fellowships Programs, AFF presented Finding Representation on Saturday, March 17th, 2018 at the Academy’s beautiful Linwood Dunn Theatre in Hollywood. This podcast includes highlights from the first panel discussion called How to Find Representation featuring agents and managers who discussed how to start the process of finding representation, what agencies look for in a new writer, the most common problems they’ve encountered, and what a writer should expect from the relationship. Panelists included Jelani Johnson, Motion Picture Agent at CAA; Kendrick Tan, Manager at Madhouse Entertainment; and Ryan Saul, Vice President of Motion Picture Literary at APA. The panel was moderated by Matt Dy, AFF Director of Script Competitions.
Ready to Break In?
AFF’s Script Competitions are currently accepting submissions for 2018. April 20 is the Regular Deadline and May 15 is the Late Deadline. All entrants receive free reader comments and advancing writers will be afforded exclusive panels, workshops, and networking opportunities at the Writers Conference this October 25th through the 28th. For more information and to submit, click here.
Thu, 19 April 2018
On this week’s episode, the creative team behind the new film Chappaquiddick which tells the true story of Ted Kennedy’s 1969 car accident which resulted in the death of campaign staff member, Mary Jo Kopechne. We'll also hear from New Girl creator Elizabeth Merriwether and Academy award® winning filmmaker Kenneth Lonergan on their process writing between mediums.
The new film Chappaquiddick depicts the events following Ted Kennedy’s 1969 late night single car accident that resulted in the death of one of his campaign staff members. I spoke with writers Taylor Allen and Andrew Logan and director John Curran about the research required to write a true story and the responsibility they felt depicting the victim Mary Jo Kopechne. The following discussion was recorded at the 24th Annual Austin Film Festival after a screening of Chappaquiddick at the Historic Paramount Theater in 2017.
Clips of Chappaquiddick courtesy Apex Entertainment and Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures
Next up we’ll hear from New Girl creator Elizabeth Meriwether. The Fox comedy series starring Zooey Deschanel is currently in its seventh and final season. The show has been nominated for five Golden Globes and five Emmy awards. Before working in television, Meriwether started her career as a New York playwright. She spoke with House of Cards creator Beau Willimon at the 23rd annual Austin Film Festival in 2016.
Clips of New Girl courtesy 20th Century Fox Television, Elizabeth Meriwether Pictures and Chernin Entertainment.
Now we’ll hear from award-winning playwright and filmmaker, Kenneth Lonergan. Lonergan’s theatrical work includes This is Our Youth, Lobby Hero, and The Starry Messenger. As a filmmaker he wrote and directed You Can Count on Me, Margaret, and Manchester by the Sea, which he won an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. I spoke with Kenneth Lonergan at the 24th Austin Film Festival where he received the 2017 Distinguished Screenwriter award.
Clips of You Can Count on Me courtesy of Paramount Classics. Clips of Manchester by the Sea courtesy of KFilms Manchester, LLC. and Roadside Attractions
Wed, 11 April 2018
On this week’s episode of On Story from Austin Film Festival and PRI, we bring you a look at independent releases including Rob Reiner’s, LBJ, Greta Gerwig’s directorial debut, Lady Bird and we bring you a look at how the classic 1970’s action thriller, The Seven-Ups influenced HBO’s hit series, The Deuce.
We start this episode of On Story with a look at how the film, LBJ came to life with actor Woody Harrelson who portrays the president and director and producer, Rob Reiner.
We continue this episode of On Story with actress Greta Gerwig’s directorial debut, Lady Bird. Director Greta Gerwig was in attendance for this year’s 24th Annual Austin Film Festival and discusses how the film came to life.
The directrial debut by actress Greta Gerwig (Frances Ha, Mistress America), Lady Bird stars Saoirse Ronan (Brooklyn, The Grand Budapest Hotel) as Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson, a young woman who fights against but is exactly like her wildly loving, deeply opinionated and strong-willed mom (Laurie Metcalf), a nurse working tirelessly to keep her family afloat after Lady Bird's father (Tracy Letts) loses his job.
Director Greta Gerwig was in attendance for this year’s 24th Annual Austin Film Festival.
Clips in the following segment copyright: Lady Bird, InterActiveCorp Films, LLC and A24.
In this final segment we discuss some of the influences on the HBO series, The Deuce with author, writer, and co-creator of the hit series, George Pelecanos. I spoke with Pelecanos at a special retrospective screening of the detective thriller, The Seven-Ups and how the film influenced some of the parallels of his show, The Deuce.
George Pelecanos is an independent film producer, screenwriter, the recipient of numerous international writing awards, and was a producer and writer on the HBO series The Wire, Treme, The Pacific, and the upcoming The Deuce. He is the author of twenty novels set in and around Washington, D.C.
Thu, 5 April 2018
This week, we’ll hear from television creator Alec Berg. Berg’s television credits include writing and executive producing Seinfeld, Curb Your Enthusiasm and Silicon Valley, which is currently in its fifth season. Later, we’ll hear from three screenwriters who have tackled the difficult task of adaptation. Sarah Gubbins co-created the Amazon series I Love Dick which was based on the 1997 novel of the same name, Marc Haimes wrote the 2016 animated film Kubo and the Two Strings and is currently working on adapting the graphic novel Nimona and the bestselling novel The Girl Who Drank the Moon, and Eric Heisserer who adapted the novella The Story of Your Life into the 2016 Oscar Nominated film Arrival.
Alec Berg has written for some of television’s most acclaimed comedies including Seinfeld, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and Silicon Valley. He co-created the new HBO show Barry with former SNL star Bill Hader. The series follows Barry, played by Hadder, who is a depressed, low-level hit man looking for a way out. I recently spoke with Berg over the phone to discuss using research to help develop a story, avoiding clichés, and the evolution television comedies.
Clips of Barry courtesy of HBO.
Next we’ll hear from three screenwriters who have tackled the difficult task of adaptation. Sarah Gubbins co-created the Amazon series I Love Dick which was based on the 1997 novel of the same name, Marc Haimes wrote the 2016 animated film Kubo and the Two Strings and is currently working on adapting the graphic novel Nimona and the best selling novel The Girl Who Drank the Moon, and Eric Heisserer who adapted the novella The Story of Your Life into the 2016 Oscar Nominated film Arrival. Gubbins, Haimes, and Heisserer spoke with me at the 24th Austin Film Festival to discuss translating themes and literary devices, collaborating with authors, and when to take creative liberties.
Clips of Arrival courtesy of Xenolinguistics, LLC. and Clips of I Love Dick courtesy of Amazon Studios and Topple Productions
Wed, 4 April 2018
We are very saddened to hear of the passing of legendary producer Steven Bochco. In his memory we invite you to hear from NYPD Blue co-creator David Milch, discussing writing on Hill Street Blues with Steven.
Wed, 28 March 2018
This week, we’ll hear from writer Scott Alexander. Best known for his work writing unusual biopics with larger-than-life characters, Alexander ventured into television in 2016 when he co-created FX’s award-winning mini-series The People v. O.J. Simpson. Later, television creator, showrunner, and producer Courtney Kemp. Kemp is the mind behind the critically acclaimed gritty New York drama, Power – whose fifth season will premiere this summer on the Starz Network.
Scott Alexander is best known for co-writing unusual biopics with larger-than-life characters. His films have depicted the lives of filmmaker Ed Wood, comedian Andy Kaufman, and provocateur Larry Flynt. In 2016, Alexander co-created The People v. O.J. Simpson which was his first foray into television. The miniseries earned numerous awards including a Golden Globe for Best Mini-Series and a Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Limited Series. Journalist R.B. Brenner spoke with Scott Alexander at the 24th annual Austin Film Festival in 2017.
Clips of The People v. O.J. Simpson courtesy of Bluebush Productions, LLC., Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Courtney Kemp created Power in 2014, marking her debut as a television creator and showrunner. The series follows the complex character James “Ghost” St. Patrick as he struggles to balance his professional life while also being a major player in one of New York City’s largest drug networks. Under her leadership the series generated the largest concentration of African American viewership of any scripted premium series in nearly a decade. Kemp spoke with UT Austin professor S. Craig Watkins at the 24th Austin Film Festival in 2017.
Clips of Power courtesy of CBS Television Studios, and Starz!.
Wed, 21 March 2018
This week, Dale Launer discusses writing and producing the acclaimed film My Cousin Vinny, and actress Parker Posey looks back on her experience working on the Christopher Guest cult-classic, Waiting for Guffman.
Dale Launer is the screenwriter of Ruthless People and the remake of 1965 Bedtime Story, which he optioned, re-wrote and executive-produced as Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. After that, he wrote, directed and produced Love Potion #9, and then wrote and produced My Cousin Vinny, both at 20th Century Fox.
In 2016, Launer was honored to have 2 movies placed in the WGA's 101 Funniest Movies of All Time.
Dale Launer spoke with me, Barbara Morgan, at an Austin Film Festival year-round event and retrospective screening of My Cousin Vinny in 2017.
Clips in this episode copyright Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation.
Parker Posey is an American actress and musician. Following her role in Richard Linklater's 1993 cult hit Dazed and Confused, she became known during the 1990s after a series of roles in independent films such as Party Girl and The House of Yes that gained her the nickname "Queen of the Indies". She later played improvisational roles in Christopher Guest mockumentaries, including Waiting for Guffman, Best in Show, A Mighty Wind, and For Your Consideration. Her other film appearances include You've Got Mail, Scream 3, Superman Returns, among many others. On television, Posey has guest-starred in series such as Will & Grace, Boston Legal, The Good Wife, Parks and Recreation, and Search Party.
I spoke with Parker Posey at a 2016 Austin Film Festival year-round event and retrospective screening of Christopher Guest’s Waiting for Guffman. Clips in this episode copyright Castle Rock Entertainment.
Wed, 14 March 2018
This week, screenwriters discuss adapting novels and comic books for both film and television. First, Bryan Fuller and Michael Green give an inside look at the process of turning the critically acclaimed Neil Gaiman novel American Gods into a television series. Then, Green joins Ashley Edward Miller and Nicole Perlman for a discussion on the worlds of Marvel and DC, and how they approached adapting beloved comic books for the big screen.
Bryan Fuller got his start writing on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager, followed by Showtime’s Dead Like Me. Fuller went on to create the critically acclaimed series Wonderfalls for Fox and the Emmy Award wining Pushing Daisies for ABC. Fuller then developed and executive produced Hannibal on NBC.
Michael Green’s created and executive produced NBC’s Kings and ABC’s The River, as well as having writing and producing credits on Everwood, Smallville, Jack and Bobby, and Sex and the City. Green’s feature work includes writing Logan, the sequel to Blade Runner; Ridley Scott’s Alien: Covenant; the final installment of The Wolverine series; and co-writing the Warner Bros./DC Comics adaptation of The Green Lantern.
Bryan Fuller and Michael Green spoke with Austin Film Festival’s Executive Director, Barbara Morgan, following the release of American Gods in 2017. Clips in this episode copyright Starz.
Next, screenwriters discuss adapting beloved comic books for the big screen, including Thor co-written by Ashley Edward Miller, the 2014 blockbuster Guardians of the Galaxy co-written by Nicole Perlman, and; the Warner Bros./DC Comics adaptation of The Green Lantern co-written by Michael Green.
Michael Green, Ashley Miller, and Nicole Perlman spoke with screenwriter Alvaro Rodriguez at the 21st annual Austin Film Festival in 2014. Clips from this episode copyright
Guardians of the Galaxy, The Avengers & Thor: MVL FILM FINANCE LLC.
Wed, 7 March 2018
This episode of On Story, actress and producer America Ferrera and theatre film and television actress June Squibb discuss their work in film and on television.
America Ferrera is best known for her work on the ABC comedy-drama, Ugly Betty. The role garnered her a Golden Globe, a Screen Actors Guild Award and the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding lead Actress in a Comedy Series. America Ferrera’s numerous film credits include Real Women Have Curves, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, End of Watch and How to Train Your Dragon. America Ferrera returned to television in 2015 as a regular and co-producer on the NBC comedy, Superstore. Marcie Mayhorn spoke with America Ferrera in 2012 at the 19th Austin Film Festival.
Actress June Squibb got her start in musical theatre in the 1950’s. She made her Broadway debut as Electra in the original 1960 production of Gypsy starring Ethel Merman. June Squibb made her transition to film in the late 1980’s with Woody Allen’s Alice and went on to roles in Scent of a Woman, The Age of Innocence, Meet Joe Black, and Far From Heaven. She’s since worked twice with director Alexander Payne, first on the film About Schmidt, and later, co-starring with Bruce Dern in Nebraska, which earned her the Academy Award® nomination for Best Supporting Actress. Her recent credits include the critically acclaimed film I’ll See You In My Dreams with Rhea Pearlman, Mary Kay Place and Sam Elliot as well as television appearances in Getting On, Girls, Glee, The Big Bang Theory and Modern Family. June Squibb spoke with journalist Jane Sumner at the 22nd Austin Film Festival in 2015.
Sun, 4 March 2018
On today's Oscars® Special we’ll year from Academy Award®nominated filmmaker Frank Stiefel. Stiefel’s short documentary Heaven is a Traffic Jam on the 405 is nominated for Best Documentary Short at the 2018 Academy Awards®.
Heaven is a Traffic Jam on the 405 is a portrait of Mindy Alper, a tortured and brilliant artist who lives with a mental disorder, acute anxiety and devastating depression.
I recently spoke with Frank Stiefel to discuss the long journey of his Oscar® nominated film.