This episode of On Story, we hear from Gary Ross on his new film Free State of Jones and his career as a storyteller. Later, Academy Award® winner Steve Zaillian discusses his work from The Falcon and the Snowman to Schindler’s List to American Gangster.

Free State of Jones is the new film from writer-director Gary Ross. The film is inspired by events surrounding an armed rebellion against the confederacy in Mississippi during the American Civil War. Free State of Jones stars Matthew McConaughey, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Mahershala Ali, Keri Russell and Brendan Gleeson. We recently spoke with Gary Ross over the phone about his new film. Ross is a four-time Academy Award® nominee and his other film credits include Big, Pleasantville, Seabiscuit and The Hunger Games, which he co-write and directed. Barbara Morgan spoke with Gary Ross at the 22nd Austin Film Festival in 2015.

Academy Award® winning filmmaker Steven Zaillian’s vast filmography includes the screenplays to The Falcon and the Snowman, Awakenings, Schindler’s List, and Moneyball. He wrote and directed Searching for Bobby Fischer, A Civil Action and All the King’s Men and he wrote and produced American Gangster, and the American version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Steven Zaillian received the Distinguished Screenwriter Award at the 16th Austin Film Festival in 2009 where filmmaker and journalist Sacha Gervasi moderated this conversation.


Direct download: Gary_Ross_and_Steve_Zaillian.mp3
Category:Film and Television -- posted at: 3:58pm CDT

Lonesome Dove

The 1989 western miniseries Lonesome Dove is adapted from the Pulitzer Prize winning novel written by Larry McMurtry. During its original run, an estimated twenty six million homes tuned in to watch Robert Duvall, Tommy Lee Jones and an all-star cast start out in a South Texas border town and make their way north on a cattle drive to Montana. On Story was part of a very special event this past March, and we’ve edited the discussions we recorded at the Lonesome Dove Reunion and Trail in Fort Worth Texas to bring you this episode. We’d like to extend very special thanks to Bill and Sally Wittliff, The Wittliff Collections at Texas State University, Texas State University, Texas Christian University, Performing Arts Fort Worth, Inc. for all of their efforts. 

Direct download: LONESOME_DOVE.mp3
Category:Film and Television -- posted at: 10:04am CDT

Now You See Me 2, Ed Solomon, Jon Chu, Scott Frank

This episode of On Story, we catch up with Now You See Me 2 screenwriter Ed Solomon and the film’s director Jon M Chu. Later we hear from Ed Solomon on his work Bill and Ted’s to Men In Black and screenwriter Scott Frank discusses his work adapting classic pulp novels for the screen.

The film Now You See Me 2 opens in theatres June 10th. This magic caper thriller sequel with an all-star cast features Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Woody Harrelson, Daniel Radcliffe, Lizzy Caplan, Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman. We caught up with the film’s writer Ed Solomon over the phone and the film’s director Jon Chu in person last week.

At age 21, Ed Solomon was a staff writer on Laverne and Shirly and the youngest person to be accepted into the Writers Guild of America. He spent three years on the writing team for Showtime’s It’s Gary Shandling’s Show and his other credits include two films in the Bill and Ted franchise, Levity which he wrote and directed starring Billy Bob Thornton, Holly Hunter, Morgan Freeman and Kirsten Dunst, the Sci-Fi comedy, Men in Black, and Now You See Me 1 and 2, the second of which opens in theatres this weekend. We open with Ed Solomon describing his arrival to Men In Black.

Writer-director Scott Frank’s credits include Little Man Tate, Get Shorty, Minority Report, Marley and Me, Wolverine, Out Of Sight and A Walk Among the Tombstones, which he also directed.

Direct download: NYSM_2_Solomon_Chu_Frank.mp3
Category:Film and Television -- posted at: 7:37am CDT

A Conversation with Norman Lear

This episode of On Story, television legend Norman Lear discusses his experiences creating and running some of the greatest sitcoms of all time.

Norman Lear began his television career as a writer in the 1950’s and went on to create some of the most celebrated network television comedies in history, among them, All in the Family, Maude, Sanford and Son, Good Times, The Jeffersons, One Day at a Time and Mary Hartman Mary Hartman. We were honored to present Norman Lear with the 2015 Outstanding Television Writer Award at the 22nd Austin Film Festival where we also hosted a live reading of his unproduced pilot Guess Who Died. Everybody Loves Raymond creator Phil Rosenthal spoke with Norman Lear at the historic Driskill Hotel in Austin Texas on November 1st of last year.

Direct download: CONV_W_NORMAN_LEAR.mp3
Category:Film and Television -- posted at: 9:49pm CDT

The Nice Guys, Shane Black, Sydney Pollack and David Milch

On today’s episode, we catch up with writer-director Shane Black the soon to be released summer blockbuster The Nice Guys starring Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling, and later in our program, Shane Black is joined by actor-producer-director Sydney Pollack and Deadwood, Luck and NYPD Blue creator David Milch.

Writer-director Shane Black redefined the buddy movie genre in the late 1980’s with the screenplay for Lethal Weapon. He later became known for creating memorable and complex characters not usually associated with the action genre and in his own distinct cinematic voice, gave us the screenplays to The Last Boyscout, and The Long Kiss Goodnight, as well as Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and Iron Man 3, both of which he also directed. Shane Black’s latest film, The Nice Guys stars Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling. We recently caught up with Shane Black over the phone and discussed the creation of his new movie.

Writer-producer David Milch is best known as the screenwriter behind 69 episodes of Hill Street Blues, for creating the cop drama NYPD Blue and possibly most of all, the HBO series, Deadwood. Set in 1870’s South Dakota, Deadwood won numerous awards in its three seasons including eight Emmy’s and a Golden Globe for the show’s lead actor Ian McShane.

Actor, Producer, Director Sydney Pollack has over one hundred film credits spanning six decades. Before his passing in 2008, Sydney Pollack was one of the most influential and highly respected filmmakers in the world. He directed a number of memorable films including Tootsie, Michael Clayton, The Firm and Out Of Africa, which won him the Academy Award for Best Director.

Barry Josephson spoke with Shane Black, David Milch and Sydney Pollack at the Paramount theatre in Austin Texas during the 13th Austin Film Festival. We’d like to extend special thanks to Rebecca and Rachel Pollack and the Pollack estate for allowing us to use this recording.

Direct download: BLACK_POLLACK_MILCH.mp3
Category:Film and Television -- posted at: 6:31pm CDT

Whit Stillman and Rodrigo Garcia

On this week’s On Story, writer-director Whit Stillman and his new film, Love and Friendship and filmmaker Rodrigo Garcia and his new movie Last Days In The Desert.

Writer-director Whit Stillman is known for the films Metropolitan, Barcelona, The Last Days of Disco and Damsels in Distress. He wrote and directed the pilot episode for the Amazon original The Cosmopolitans in 2014 and his new film, Love and Friendship opens in the US in May of 2016. Love and Friendship is an adaptation of the Jane Austen novella Lady Susan. This film adaptation set in the 1790s marks Whit Stillman’s first departure from original material. Love and Friendship stars Kate Beckinsale and Chloe Sevigny.

Writer, director and cinematographer Rodrigo Garcia is best known for the films Mother and Child, Nine Lives and Albert Knobbs. His television work as a director includes episodes of The Sopranos, Six Feet Under and Big Love as well as the HBO series In Treatment, which he adapted from the Israeli series BeTipul. Rodrigo Garcia’s latest film Last Days in the Desert stars Ewan McGregor, Tye Sheridan and Ciaran Hinds. Last Days in the Desert opens in May of 2016.

Category:Film and Television -- posted at: 12:00pm CDT

Launching Your Writing Career In 2016

On Saturday, March 26th, Austin Film Festival presented a series of panels focusing on how writers can launch their careers through screenplay competitions, fellowships and labs and how they can navigate their way through television and new media.  Presented in partnership with the Academy Education and Nicholl Fellowships Programs, the event took place at the Linwood Dunn Theatre in Hollywood.  The panels featured various industry gatekeepers, executives, and producers who shared what they look for in a script, the anatomy of a meeting, how to respond to notes, ways to position yourself for success, and what to do once you get your foot in the door. In anticipation of the rapidly approaching late deadline for Austin Film Festival’s screenplay competition, we’ve decided to bring you the highlights.

Today’s featured panelists in order of appearance include:

  1. Matt Dy – The Austin Film Festival Screenplay Competition Director
  2. Greg Beal – The Director of the Academy Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting
  3. Ilyse McKimmie – Labs Director for the Feature Film Program at Sundance Institute
  4. Angela C. Lee – Artist Development Manager at Film Independent
  5. Karen Kirkland – Vice President of Talent Development and Outreach for Nickelodeon
  6. Rebecca Windsor – Manager of the Warner Bros. Television Workshop
  7. Amy Berg – Writer-Producer for Film and Television
  8. Barry Josephson – President of Josephson Entertainment
Direct download: LAUNCHING_YOUR_WRITING_CAREER_IN_2016.mp3
Category:Film and Television -- posted at: 6:53pm CDT

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.

Category:Film and Television -- posted at: 1:52pm CDT

Jason Reitman and Jack Burditt

This episode of On Story, filmmaker Jason Reitman discusses his work from Thank You For Smoking to his Amazon original series, Casual. In the second half of our program, Emmy Award® winning television writer and producer Jack Burditt describes life in the writer’s room from Frasier and Mad About You to 30 Rock and The Mindy Project.

Jason Reitman made his feature film debut with the 2006 Sundance hit Thank You For Smoking. He earned Academy Award® nominations for best director for the films Juno and Up in the Air, the latter of which earned him a Golden Globe and a WGA Award for Best Screenplay. Jason Reitman’s other films include Young Adult, Labor Day, and Men, Women and Children as well as the Oscar® winning film, Whiplash for which her served as executive producer. Reitman co-created the Amazon original series, Casual and he’s currently slated to write and direct an adaptation of Dan Santat’s Caldecott Award wining children’s book Beekle.

Television writer and producer Jack Burditt’s credits include Mad About You, Frasier, 30 Rock, The Mindy Project, and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.  He also, created the NBC sitcom Last Man Standing, starring Tim Allen and co-created NBC’s DAG, starring David Alan Greir. 


Category:Film and Television -- posted at: 1:28pm CDT

Comic Books on Screen

Nicole Pearlman is the co-writer behind the screenplay for Guardians of the Galaxy and is slated to write other coming titles in the Marvel Universe.

Angela Kang got her start on the FX series Terriers. She’s been on the writing staff for AMC’s The Walking Dead since the show’s second season in 2011.

Ashley Miller and his writing partner Zack Stentz have written or produced well over a hundred hours of television, from their start on Gene Roddenberry’s Andromeda, The Twilight Zone revival on UPN, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles and Fringe. Their first feature credit was 2003′s Agent Cody Banks, and most recently Thor and X-Men: First Class. Ashley Miller is currently working on the new Power Rangers movie, as well as the Acme Looney Toons movie. 

Michael Green serves as executive producer of Starz's American Gods, based on the Hugo Award–winning novel by Neil Gaiman. Green was also the creator and executive producer of NBC’s Kings and ABC’s The River. He has written and produced other television shows, including Heroes, Everwood, Jack & Bobby, Smallville, Cupid, and Sex and the City. Green’s feature work includes co-writing the Warner Bros./DC Comics adaptation of Green Lantern.

Zak Penn is known for his work on numerous films in the Marvel universe, including two films in the X-Men franchise, The Incredible Hulk, and The Avengers. His first script was the original screenplay for The Last Action Hero, and he’s since collaborated with filmmaker Werner Herzog on the films, Incident at Loch Ness and The Grand and is credited with the screenplays for the upcoming films, Pacific Rim: Maelstrom, Transformers 5 and the much anticipated Ready Player One.

John Turman is a writer-producer and story board artist whose credits include The Hulk, Fantastic Four: The Rise of Silver Surfer and Ben 10: Alien Swarm.

Direct download: COMIC_BOOKS_ON_SCREEN.mp3
Category:Film and Television -- posted at: 12:06pm CDT