Wed, 19 September 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, screenwriters that have successfully adapted books and other works for the big and small screen will discuss the challenges of capturing the spirit of the source material.
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.
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, 12 September 2018
On this week’s episode, we’ll hear from author, screenwriter, and television creator Noah Hawley. Hawley created FX’s award winning series Fargo, which is loosely based on the Coen brothers film, and Legion which is set in the Marvel universe. Later we’ll hear from legendary producer and The Terminator co-writer Gale Anne Hurd.
Noah Hawley is a Peabody Award winning novelist and an Emmy and Golden Globe award winning television creator. In 2014 he created the FX anthology Fargo which was inspired by the 1996 Coen brothers film of the same name. In 2017 he followed up Fargo with Legion, which is set in the Marvel universe and connected to the X-Men film series. Hawley spoke with On Story producer Maya Perez at the 24th Austin Film Festival in 2017.
Clips of Fargo and Legion courtesy of MGM Television, FX Productions, 26 Keys Production & Twentieth Century Fox Television.
Gale Anne Hurd is one of the industry’s most respected film and television producers. In 1984 she produced and co-wrote her first feature film, the seminal genre classic The Terminator. She followed that film by producing Aliens, The Abyss, and Terminator 2: Judgment Day. Most recently Hurd has served as an Executive Producer on AMC’s The Walking Dead. I spoke with Hurd at the 24th annual Austin Film Festival in 2017.
Clips of The Terminator courtesy of Cinema ’84
Wed, 5 September 2018
This week, web series creator-turned cable TV sensation Issa Rae on her journey from YouTube to HBO, her desire for diversity on television and her hit series Insecure. We'll also hear from comedy empresario Larry Wilmore on his work developing Insecure with Issa Rae and his perspective on diverse new voices in comedy.
With her own unique flare and infectious sense of humor, Issa Rae’s content has garnered over 25 million views and more than 300,000 subscribers on YouTube. In addition to making the Forbes 30 Under 30 list twice and winning awards for her web series The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl, Issa Rae has worked on web content for Pharrell Williams, Tracey Edmonds and numerous others. She developed a TV series with Shonda Rhimes for ABC and developed the HBO hit series, Insecure with legendary comedian Larry Wilmore. The series has garnered Rae a Golden Globe® nomination for Best Performance by an Actress in Television Series-Musical or Comedy for the second year in a row. The series pilot was written by both Rae and Wilmore and is slated for a third season this year. Screenwriter Pamela Ribbon spoke with Issa Rae at the 22nd Austin Film Festival in 2015.
Larry Wilmore started his career as an actor and stand-up comedian before writing and producing on the early nineties classic television shows In Living Color, The Fresh Prince of Bel Air and The Jamie Foxx Show . He co-created The PJ’s with Eddie Murphy, The Bernie Mac Show and was consulting producer and guest star on the American version of The Office. Most recently, Wilmore was the host of Comedy Central’s The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore. We caught up with Wilmore by phone to discuss his collaborations with Issa Rae and other new voices in comedy.
Thu, 30 August 2018
On this week’s On Story we’re tracing the history of modern film comedies back to a singular movie celebrating it’s 40th anniversary. Grab your toga and your ‘college’ sweatshirt as comedy writers reflect on Animal House’s lasting influence. We’ll also hear from SNL alum and Adam Sandler collaborator Tim Herlihy, who used the National Lampoon movies as a model to write some of the biggest comedies of the 1990’s.
40 years ago National Lampoon’s Animal House changed American comedies and shaped people’s expectations of the college experience. The frat comedy was an instant success when in was released in 1978 and remains one of the most quotable films. Beverly Hills Cop writer Daniel Petrie, Jr and Role Models writer Tim Dowling explored Animal House’s lasting legacy at the 2015 Austin Film Festival in a conversation moderated by filmmaker Roy Rutngamlug.
One direct influence that came from the National Lampoon’s continued collaboration was Tim Herlihy’s work with Adam Sandler. In the 1990’s, Herlihy co-wrote a string of successful films that launched Sandler into an unlikely leading man. Some of his writing credits include Billy Madison, Happy Gilmore, and The Wedding Singer. He conceived of most of those films while writing at Saturday Night Live. I spoke with Tim Herlihy at the 23rd annual Austin Film Festival in 2016.
Clips of Animal House courtesy of Universal City Studios, Inc.
Clips of Billy Madison courtesy of: Universal City Studios, Inc.
Clips of Saturday Night Live courtesy of: National Broadcasting Company, Inc.
Clips of The Wedding Singer courtesy of: New Line Productions, Inc.
Clips of The Waterboy courtesy of: Touchstone Pictures, an a.d.o. Disney Enterprises, Inc.
Wed, 22 August 2018
On this week's episode, we’ll hear from legendary jack-of-all-trades Robert Townsend and Keenen Ivory Wayans. In 1987 the two co-wrote the groundbreaking comedy Hollywood Shuffle based on their experience dealing with racial stereotypes of African Americans in the film and television industry. Robert Rodriguez, writer/director of The El Mariachi trilogy, Sin City, and the Spy Kids franchise introduced Townsend and Wayans at the 24th annual Austin Film Festival.
Multi-talented entertainer, Robert Townsend, is often referred to as one of the ‘Godfathers of the Independent Film World’. For the past 30 years Townsend has worked in nearly every role in front of and behind the camera earning the writer, director, and actor over 30 NAACP Image Award nominations. Townsend is best known for creating the films Meteor Man, The Five Heartbeats, and Hollywood Shuffle, which he co-wrote with Keenen Ivory Wayans. Comedian Dave Buckman spoke with Townsend at the 24th Austin Film Festival.
Townsend co-wrote Hollywood Shuffle with friend and fellow stand up comedian, Keenen Ivory Wayans who created, launched and hosted the groundbreaking 1990’s sketch comedy series In Living Color. The often-controversial show helped introduce a number of African American comedians to super stardom including the careers of Wayans’ siblings Damon, Kim, Shawn and Marlon, as well as featured cast members Jennifer Lopez, Jim Carrey, and Jamie Foxx. Comedian John Merriman spoke with Keenen Ivory Wayans at the 24th annual Austin Film Festival.
Direct download: ROBERT_TOWNSEND_AND_KEENEN_IVORY_WAYANS_REFEED.mp3
Category:Film and Television -- posted at: 12:00pm CDT
Wed, 15 August 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 is currently 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, 8 August 2018
On this episode of On Story, Die Hard screenwriter Jeb Stuart and Lethal Weapon screenwriter Shane Black discuss their two action classics, followed by screenwriter Robert Mark Kamen on his long-standing collaboration with filmmaker Luc Besson and their work creating the The Fifth Element, The Transporter and Taken.
The 1987 blockbuster Lethal Weapon is the first writing credit in Shane Black’s filmography. He went on to act in, write or write and direct over 30 films including The Long Kiss Goodnight, Iron Man 3, and The Nice Guys. Black’s latest film, will be a remake of his 1987 sci-fi film, entitled, The Predator is slated for release August of 2018. Shane Black’s popular Lethal Weapon franchise has currently evolved into a TV show on Fox of the same name and stars Damon Wayans. Season 2 of the TV show is slated for early 2018.
Jeb Stuart wrote the screenplay for the action classic, Die Hard. The film was nominated for 4 Academy Awards® and voted the Best Action Film of All Time by Entertainment Weekly in 2007. Jeb Stuart’s other credits include the screenplays for The Fugitive, nominated for 7 Academy Awards® including Best Picture and the action-comedy Another 48 Hrs.
I spoke with Shane Black and Jeb Stuart in 2015 as part of the 22nd Austin Film Festival. Portions of this half of our episode were recorded at the Q&A session following a special screening of Die Hard at the historic Paramount Theatre in Austin Texas in 2015.
Robert Mark Kamen’s screenwriting credits begin with the script for the 1981 film Taps which was adapted from Devery Freeman’s novel Father Sky, and which stars George C Scott, Timothy Hutton, Sean Penn and Tom Cruise in his first major role in a motion picture.
He went on to create The Karate Kid, starring Pat Morita and Ralph Macchio, and collaborated with filmmaker Luc Besson on The Fifth Element, as well as the Transporter and Taken franchises.
I spoke with Robert Mark Kamen on July 12th 2015 at the Harry Ransom Center in Austin Texas.
Direct download: DIE_HARD_LETHAL_WEAPON_ROBERT_KAMEN_REFEED_2018.mp3
Category:Film and Television -- posted at: 2:00pm CDT
Wed, 1 August 2018
On this week’s On Story we’ll hear from Everybody Loves Raymond Executive Producer and Somebody Feed Phil creator and host Phil Rosenthal on the common thread between travel shows and sitcoms, the unifying power of food and the late great Anthony Bourdain. And later, Rosenthal discusses his comedy documentary, Exporting Raymond.
In 1995 Phil Rosenthal created the hit CBS comedy Everybody Loves Raymond. He served as Showrunner and Executive Producer for all nine years of the series run which earned more than 70 Emmy nominations. Rosenthal’s new Netflix series Somebody Feed Phil follows Rosenthal as he travels the globe taking in the local cuisine and culture. I sat down with Phil to discuss food, family, and the new season of Somebody Feed Phil, which is out July 6th on Netflix.
Clips of Somebody Feed Phil courtesy of Netflix, Inc.
Following the creation of the hit CBS comedy Everybody Loves Raymond, Rosenthal is asked to adapt the series for Russian TV. He chronicles this journey through the comedy documentary, Exporting Raymond. The film follows Phil as he travels to Moscow to recreate the show for Russian audiences as Everybody Loves Kostya. Throughout the film, Rosenthal faces a series of challenges. Eventually, Rosenthal and the Russian creators come to an understanding despite the obvious culture and language barriers. The documentary premiered at the 17th annual Austin Film Festival in 2010. Rosenthal spoke with Kiss Kiss Bang Bang writer/director Shane Black at the Historic Paramount Theatre during the 17th annual Austin Film Festival in 2010.
Clips of Exporting Raymond courtesy of Samuel Goldwyn Films and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.
Thu, 26 July 2018
This week, Andrew Lanham co-writer of The Glass Castle, discusses adapting the New York Times Best Seller memoir of the same name followed by Life of Pi and Finding Neverland writer David Magee discusses writing for imaginative worlds, and using language to translate stories to the screen.
Andrew Lanham received his MFA in screenwriting from The University of Texas at Austin. In 2010, he won the Nicholl Fellowship in Screenwriting, as well as the Drama and Latitude screenwriting awards at the Austin Film Festival, for his script The Jumper of Maine which tackles Lanham’s Tourette’s syndrome. Lanham helped co-write Jeannette Walls memoir and New York Times Best Seller, The Glass Castle. The film stars Academy Award® winning actress Brie Larson as Walls, Naomi Watts and Woody Harrelson.
David Magee is an Academy Award nominated screenwriter known for adapting the beloved novel by Yann Martel, Life of Pi. He also co-wrote the screenplay for Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day and Finding Neverland. His screen adaptation of Yann Martel’s Life of Pi earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay and earned director Ang Lee an Oscar for Best Director.
Magee is also the screenwriter for the next Chronicles of Narnia film, The Silver Chair and is currently writing the screenplay for the Disney musical Mary Poppins Returns.
David Magee spoke with me during a special year-round event held in the Harry Ransom Center in 2013. Clips from this episode copyright: Dune Entertainment III LLC, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, and Miramax Film Corporation.
Wed, 18 July 2018
This week on On Story we’re exploring two of the most popular movie genres: action and comedy. First we’ll hear from the writers behind massive action hits Deadpool, Gone in Sixty Seconds, and Armageddon. And later, we’ll lighten the mood with a conversation with There’s Something About Mary co-writer and director Bobby Farrelly.
Action scenes can be some of the most memorable moments in a film but without a good story to support them they can fall flat. The most intricately choreographed fight sequence or heart pounding car chase is only effective if it furthers the story. Machete writer Alvaro Rodriguez spoke with Gone in 60 Seconds and Armageddon writer Scott Rosenberg, Deadpool and Zombieland writer Rhett Reese, and Hulk writer John Turman about writing effective action scenes at the 18th annual Austin Film Festival in 2011.
Bobby Farrelly has spent over twenty years redefining broad comedy. Alongside his brother Peter, the brothers have written and directed cult favorites like Dumb and Dumber, There’s Something About Mary, Shallow Hal, and Me, Myself & Irene. Actor John Merriman spoke with Farrelly at the 23rd annual Austin Film Festival in 2016.