AUSTIN FILM FESTIVAL'S ON STORY PODCAST (Film and Television)

This week on On Story, we’ll hear from actor, writer and director Chris Lowell on his latest project, the Netflix television series, Glow. And later, we’ll hear from The Disaster Artist co-writers Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber.

Actor, writer and director Chris Lowell is best known for his recurring role in the popular television series, Veronica Mars. In 2013, Lowell made his directorial debut with the AFF Audience & Jury Award winning film, Beside Still Waters. Most recently, Lowell stars in the Netflix series, Glow. Co-created by Liz Flahive and Carly Mensch, the series revolves around a fictionalized set of women professional wrestlers best known as the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling (or GLOW). Set in the 1980s, the series co-stars Alison Brie and Marc Maron. Earlier this year, I sat down with Lowell to discuss the series ahead of its new season premiere.

Clips of Glow courtesy of Netflix, Inc.

Next up, co-writers and independence producers Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber. Together their credits include (500) Days of Summer, The Fault In Our Stars, The Spectacular Now and The Disaster Artist, which was nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay at the 90th Academy Awards®. The film is an adaptation of the 2013 non-fiction book of the same name and chronicles Tommy Wiseau and the production of his 2003 film The Room. The film stars brothers James and Dave Franco alongside a supporting cast that features: Seth Rogan, Alison Brie and Josh Hutcherson. During a panel held at the 25th anniversary Austin Film Festival, Neustadter and Weber discussed The Disaster Artist and its adaptation from true events to film adaptation with writer and filmmaker, Christopher Boone. Clips of The Disaster Artist courtesy of Good Universe Development, LLC.

More about Chris Lowell:

Chris Lowell is a filmmaker, actor and photographer. He made his directorial debut with Beside Still Waters, which won both the Jury Prize and the Audience Award at the Austin Film Festival, before getting its theatrical and digital release via Tribeca Film in 2014. As an actor, Chris has performed in a number of award-winning films, including Up In The Air and The Help (for which he received a SAG Award and a National Board of Review Award for his work). Upcoming film work includes Promising Young Woman, opposite Carey Mulligan, and Breaking News in Yuba County, alongside Allison Janney and Mila Kunis. Currently, Chris stars as Bash Howard on the Emmy Award-winning Netflix series, Glow. Chris has also built a successful career as a fine art photographer. His work is included in the Elton John Collection and the Sovereign Collection. His most recent exhibit, “Thirty-One Days” opened alongside Vivian Maier at the Jackson Fine Art gallery.Chris is currently in development on his next feature, Lovers, co-written with Narang, and produced by Automatik Entertainment and Anonymous Content. He was born and raised in Atlanta, GA, studied film production at the University of Southern California before continuing his studies at the New School. He lives in New York.

Direct download: Chris_Lowell_Disaster_Artist_Podcast.mp3
Category:Film and Television -- posted at: 4:00pm CDT

On this week’s episode of On Story we’ll hear from two stand-up comedians with strong backgrounds in television writing. Sketch Comedy master and Kids In The Hall co-founder Kevin McDonald & The Simpsons staff writer and Stan Against Evil creator Dana Gould will discuss the ins-and-outs of writing different forms of comedy across different mediums.

Kevin McDonald is a comedian, actor, writer and director who founded legendary Canadian sketch troupe The Kids In The Hall with his friend Dave Foley. The Kids In The Hall eponymous television series ran for 5 seasons from 1989 to 1995 and was produced by Saturday Night Live founder Lorne Michaels. I spoke with McDonald about the history of the group and the process of writing sketch comedy live at the 2019 Moontower Comedy Festival in Austin, TX.

Clips of Kids in the Hall & Kids in the Hall: Brian Candy courtesy Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC)

Next up another conversation recorded live at the Moontower Comedy Festival in Austin, Texas. Dana Gould is a standup comedian who began his professional comedy career at 17. Gould has appeared on The Late Show With David Letterman, Jimmy Kimmel Live, Conan and Real Time With Bill Maher. In addition to writing and performing stand-up, Gould was a staff writer on The Simpsons and created the IFC horror-comedy Stan Against Evil. I spoke with Gould about the differences between comedy writing for stand-up and television.

Clips of The Simpsons courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox Corporation

All segments were recorded live at the Moontower Comedy Festival in Austin, Texas. Special thanks to Chief Executive Officer Jim Ritts, Festival Director Lietza Brass, Talent Producer Colleen McGarr, Festival Manager Maggie Hoffman and Programming Associate Kaetie Turner. 

 

Direct download: Kevin_McDonald_Dana_Gould_Podcast.mp3
Category:Film and Television -- posted at: 3:24pm CDT

On this week’s episode of On Story we’re exploring all aspects of comedic writing and performing. We’ll discuss writing animated features with Disney scribe Pamela Ribon and writing and performing stand-up and sketch comedy with SNL veteran Sasheer Zamata.

Pamela Ribon is a comedic writer who has worked in a variety of mediums. In addition to her work writing television and graphic novels, Ribon wrote two Disney animated films, Moana and Ralph Breaks The Internet. Both films were nominated for Best Animated Feature at the Academy Awards. I spoke with Ribon about subverting the princess trope and writing comedy that sometimes makes you sad.

Clips of Moana & Ralph Breaks the Internet courtesy of Disney Enterprises, Inc.

Clip of Samantha Who? courtesy of American Broadcasting Company (ABC)

Sasheer Zamata is a comedian, actress, writer and 4 season Saturday Night Live cast member. Zamata was listed in Cosmopolitan’s 13 Funny Women to Watch and Variety Magazine named her web series Pursuit Of Sexiness one of the Top 10 Web Series of 2013. I spoke with Zamata about writing and performing comedy live at the Moontower Comedy Festival in Austin, Tx.

Clips of Saturday Night Live courtesy of National Broadcasting Company, Inc.

Segments of this episode were filmed at KLRU Studio 6a, the original home of Austin City Limits. Special thanks to Chief Executive Officer and General Manager Bill Stotesbery, Production and Operations Director JJ Weber, and Production Coordinator Emily Steele. Audio captured by Randy Reynolds and Kevin J. Cochran.

The last segment of our show was filmed live at the Moontower Comedy Festival in Austin, Texas. Special thanks to Chief Executive Officer Jim Ritts, Festival Director Lietza Brass, Talent Producer Colleen McGarr, Festival Manager Maggie Hoffman and Programming Associate Kaetie Turner. 

 

 

Direct download: Pamela_Ribon_Sasheer_Zamata_Podcast_Mix.mp3
Category:Film and Television -- posted at: 11:12am CDT

This week on On Story we’ll hear from comedy veteran Ali LeRoi who’s longtime collaboration with comedian Chris Rock resulted in Everybody Hates Chris and Down to Earth. And later we’ll discuss Young Adult fiction with the screenwriters behind The Fault in our Stars and CW’s The 100.

Ali LeRoi is an Emmy® Award-winning writer/director & producer best known for his collaboration with comedian Chris Rock that resulted in Everybody Hates Chris and the films Head Of State and Down To Earth. Comedian Dave Buckman sat down with LeRoi to discuss his transition from stand-up comedy to screenwriting and the perseverance required to make it as a writer.

Clips of Head of State courtesy of Dream Works LLC.

Clips of Everybody Hates Chris courtesy of CBS Studios, Inc.

Clips of The Chris Rock Show courtesy of Home Box Office, a division of Time Warner Entertainment Company, LP

Clips of Survivor’s Remorse courtesy of Starz Entertainment, LLC.

Clip of Pootie Tang courtesy of Paramount Pictures Corporation

Young Adult fiction has exploded in popularity over recent years, and while the stories are centered around teenagers and are marketed to that demographic, a recent study found that more than half of YA readers are actually adults. Professor Karol Hoeffner spoke with The Spectacular Now co-writer Michael H. Weber and CW’s The 100 writer/producer Charmaine DeGrate to discuss the draw of YA stories and the process behind adapting novels to the screen.  

Clips of The 100 courtesy of Warner Brothers Television, The CW Network, & CBS Television Studios

Clips of The Fault in Our Stars & Paper Towns courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Clips of The Spectacular Now courtesy of TSN Ventures, LLC.

Direct download: Ali_Le_Roi_Writing_the_Young_Adult_Podcast.mp3
Category:Film and Television -- posted at: 2:00pm CDT

On this week’s special On Story, two critically and culturally acclaimed African-American directors: John Singleton and Charles Burnett. First, we look back at the work of the late John Singleton as he discusses his career and the creation of his first film, Boyz n the Hood (1991), which earned him the Best Director nomination at the Academy Awards®, making him the first African American nominee in that category that same year. Later, Charles Burnett highlights details of his career development in narrative and documentary filmmaking, with his seminal film Killer of Sheep (1978), a definitive representation of the African American cultural experience. 

John Singleton made his filmmaking debut in 1991 as the writer-director of the groundbreaking urban drama Boyz n the Hood, which he wrote and directed. The film earned him Academy Award® Nominations for Best Original Screenplay and Best Director, the latter of which made him the youngest person as well as the first African-American to enjoy that distinction. Singleton’s other films include Poetic Justice, Four Brothers and the 2000’s version of Shaft.  John Singelton also co-created the FX Network crime drama, Snowfall.  Screenwriter Fred Strype spoke with John Singleton at the 22nd Austin Film Festival in 2015 where he was awarded for his contributions to filmmaking.

Charles Burnett’s most notable works include the films Killer of Sheep, My Brother’s Wedding and To Sleep With Anger. Killer of Sheep was Charles Burnett’s master’s thesis at UCLA and was included among the first 50 films entered in the National Film Registry for its historical importance by the Library of Congress in 1990. Charles Burnett has received numerous awards for his contribution to American cinema including a Guggenheim Fellowship and Howard University’s Paul Robeson Award. Michael MacCambridge spoke with Charles Burnett at the 22nd Austin Film Festival in 2015.

Direct download: JOHN_SINGLETON_POD.mp3
Category:Film and Television -- posted at: 12:42pm CDT

On this week’s On Story we’ll hear from Avengers: Infinity War and End Game writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely.  The two will discuss the daunting process and high expectations behind writing the final two Avengers installments and the misconception that all superhero films are written for 13-year-old boys.

The two started their careers by writing 2004’s The Life And Death Of Peter Sellers. Their introduction to the Marvel universe was 2011’s Captain America: The First Avenger.  They went on to write the two following films in the Captain America series; Winter Soldier and CIVIL WAR before being tasked with writing Avengers: Infinity War and the upcoming Avengers: End Game. 

I spoke with Markus and McFeely about the collaborative nature of the Marvel Universe and the pressures behind writing the most anticipated movie of the decade.

Clips of Captain America: The Winter Soldier courtesy of MVL Film Finance, LLC

Clips of Avengers: Infinity War courtesy of MVL Film Finance, LLC 

Clips of Iron Man courtesy of MVL Film Finance, LLC.

 

 

Direct download: OSP_Avengers_Podcast_Mix.mp3
Category:Film and Television -- posted at: 4:30pm CDT

On this week’s On Story we’ll speak with the writers behind Mad Men, Westworld, and 11.22.63 to explore audiences fascination with film and television set in the past and the challenges writers face when tasked with telling stories set in a different time. We’ll also hear from some of today’s top romantic comedy writers on the lasting influence of filmmaker Nora Ephron.

From Lawrence of Arabia to The Crown, audiences have always been intrigued by stories set in the past. But what considerations do writers have to make when telling a story in a different time and what liberties can they take when they are writing about real events or real people? Screenwriter Alvarao Rodriguez spoke with 11.22.63 creator Bridget Carpenter and Mad Men writer Carly Wray to discuss research, authenticity, and the dangers of nostalgia.

Sleepless in Seattle. When Harry Met Sally. You've Got Mail. Julie & Julia. It’s undeniable that Nora Ephron was one of the greatest romantic comedy writer/directors Hollywood has ever seen. Professor Greg Garrett spoke with Man Up writer Tess Morris and (500) Days of Summer writer Scott Neustadter to discuss how Ephron’s films continue to entertain audiences and how her writing has influenced their own work.

Clips of Westworld courtesy of Home Box Office (HBO), Warner Brothers Television, and Bad Robot

Clips of 11.22.63 courtesy of Warner Brothers Entertainment

Clips of Mad Men courtesy of Lionsgate Television & American Movie Classics (AMC)

Clips of Silkwood courtesy of American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.

Clips of Sleepless in Seattle courtesy of TriStar Pictures, Inc

Clips of Julie & Julia courtesy of Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc 

Clips of When Harry Met Sally courtesy of Castle Rock Entertainment

Clips of You've Got Mail courtesy of Warner Brothers, a division of Time Warner Entertainment Company, LP

Direct download: OSR_WRITINGPAST_NORAEPHRON_PODCAST.mp3
Category:Film and Television -- posted at: 3:00pm CDT

This week on On Story we’ll hear from documentary storytellers Chapman and Maclain Way on their Emmy award winning Netflix documentary Wild Wild Country. The six part series tells the true story of a controversial Indian guru and his attempt to build a utopian city deep in rural Oregon in the 1980’s.

Wild Wild Country explores the true story of an Indian guru who attempted to build a Utopian community on a ranch in rural Oregon in the 1980’s and the impeding conflict that resulted with the locals. The series was created by documentary filmmakers Chapman and Maclain Way and went on to be nominated for 5 Emmys including a win for Outstanding Documentary Series. Journalist Michael MacCambridge interviewed the Way brothers at the 25th annual Austin Film Festival.

Clips of Wild Wild Country courtesy of Duplass Brothers Productions & Netflix, Inc.

 

 

Direct download: Wild_Wild_Country_Podcast.mp3
Category:Film and Television -- posted at: 1:30pm CDT

On this week’s On Story we’ll hear from playwright and screenwriter Graham Gordy on his new film Antiquities and the third season of HBO’s True Detective. Later we’ll hear from veteran screenwriter Tony Gilroy whose work on the Matt Damon starring Bourne series revitalized the spy genre and whose movie, Michael Clayton, was nominated for seven Academy Awards®.

Graham Gordy is an award-winning playwright whose work has been produced and performed by Naked Angels, The New Group and The Royal Court. As a television writer, Gordy wrote for the Sundance series Rectify and co-created the Cinemax drama Quarry. Most recently, Gordy was a writer and consulting producer for the third season of HBO’s True Detective and the co-writer of the independent comedy Antiquities. Trailer for Season 3 of True Detective courtesy of Home Box Office, Inc.  

Tony Gilroy is a screenwriter and director who has been working for over 25 years. His writing credits include the first three films in the Matt Damon starring Bourne series, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, and Beirut. As a writer/director Gilroy was behind the fourth installment in the Bourne franchise – The Bourne Legacy and 2007’s Michael Clayton which was nominated for seven Academy Awards® including Best Director and Best Original Screenplay. I spoke with Tony Gilroy at the 25th Austin Film Festival where he was accepting 2018’s Distinguished Screenwriter Award. 

Clip of Michael Clayton courtesy of Clayton Productions, LLC. 
Clips of The Bourne Identity courtesy of Kalima Productions, GmbH & Co. KG 
Clips of The Bourne Supremacy courtesy of Motion Picture Theta Productions, GmbH & Co. KG and Universal City Studios, LLLP
Clips of The Bourne Ultimatum & The Bourne Legacy courtesy of Universal City Studios Productions, LLLP
Clip of Proof of Life courtesy of Warner Brothers, a division of Time Warner Entertainment Company LP & Bel Air Pictures, LLC

Gilroy also wrote the screenplay for Dolores ClaiborneThe Cutting Edge, and Proof of Life. Most recently, Gilroy co-wrote Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and served as a consulting producer on Netflix’s hit series House of Cards during the show’s third and fourth seasons. 

Direct download: 1908_Graham_Gordy_Tony_Gilroy_PODCAST.mp3
Category:Film and Television -- posted at: 3:00pm CDT

Marriage is hard. Writing is hard. Writing with your spouse? Easy as pie. On this special Valentine's day episode we'll hear from a panel of writers who tied the knot. Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver are best known for writing and co-producing the reboot of the Planet of the Apes franchise including Rise of the Planet of the Apes, the sequel Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and it's third installment, War for the Planet of the Apes which was released in 2017. Jaffa and Silver are currently in production co-writing Avatar 2 & 3 with director James Cameron.  Cormac and Marianne Wibblerly have been writing together since the early 1990's and are credited writers on films including National Treasure, National Treasure: Book of Secrets and Bad Boys 2. Both couples recently sat down at the 25th Austin Film Festival to discuss the ups and downs, creative differences, and the different dynamic between married writing partners with Professor Fred Strype.

For every established Hollywood producer there are countless up-and-coming writers desperately trying to get their work read. Despite the odds of ‘making it’ these people continue to write. In our new podcast series, “Toiling in Obscurity” we hear from working writers on their day to day obstacles and what keeps them inspired to keep writing.

Revati Dhomse and Hector Lowe won the 2018 Austin Film Festival & Josephson Entertainment Screenwriting Fellowship for their feature screenplay, The Death of Colm Canter. Both dated before becoming writing partners. We spoke with the pair at the Austin Film Festival to discuss how they use their individual strengths to keep each other accountable as they continue pursuing their writing dreams.

Direct download: Sleeping_with_Your_Writing_Partner_-_TK_Mix.mp3
Category:Film and Television -- posted at: 6:30pm CDT