AUSTIN FILM FESTIVAL'S ON STORY PODCAST (general)

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.

Direct download: OSR_1829_WritingActionFarelly-PODCAST_VERSION.mp3
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On this week’s episode, we’ll hear from the creators behind the upcoming comedy heist film Ocean’s 8. Screenwriters Olivia Milch and Gary Ross discuss spinning-off a popular franchise and approaching the heist genre from a new perspective. And later, we’ll hear from King of the Hill writer and Bob’s Burgers’ co-developer Jim Dauterive on writing for animation and how characters develop over a series lifetime. 

Ocean’s 8 is an upcoming comedy heist film that remixes Steven Soderbergh’s Ocean’s 11 trilogy. The film brings a unique perspective to the genre by featuring an all-star, all female team. The idea for the film was created by four-time Academy Award® nominated writer/director Gary Ross. Ross co-wrote the comedy classic Big, and went on to write and direct Pleasantville, Seabiscut, The Hunger Games, and 2016’s Free State of Jones. Ross co-wrote the Ocean’s 8 screenplay with filmmaker Olivia Milch, who has made a name for herself by writing stories that authentically represent the female experience. Earlier this year she released her directorial debut, Dude, on Netflix.

Next up, we’ll hear from Jim Dauterive who started his career as one of the original writers for the award-winning animated comedy King of the Hill which ran for 13 seasons on the Fox network. The series won two Emmy Awards and was named one of the 100 greatest television shows of all time in 2007. Dauterive currently serves as the executive producer of the popular animated Fox television series Bob’s Burgers, which he co-developed with Loren Bouchard. I spoke with Dauterive at Texas State University at an event put on by Austin Film Festival and The Wittliff Collections.

 

Direct download: OCEANS_KING_BOBS_BURGERS.mp3
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This week, in honor of Austin Film Festival’s 25th Anniversary we’re going back into our archives to bring you conversations with writers that created two of 1993’s most remembered films. First we’ll hear from screenwriter Angelo Pizzo who wrote the inspirational football drama Rudy. And later, we’ll hear from Ron Nyswaner who wrote the Jonathan Demme directed drama Philadelphia, which starred Denzel Washington and Tom Hanks.

1993 saw the release of giant blockbuster films like Jurassic Park, classic comedies like Groundhog’s Day, Rom-Com staples like Sleepless in Seattle, and the inspirational true-life story of an undersized, dyslexic student who’s only dream was to play football for the University of Notre Dame. Rudy, written by Angelo Pizzo, has stood the test of time as a film that still resonates with an audience 25 years after its release. In 2005 the film was named one of the 25 Best Sports Movies by ESPN and one of the most-inspiring films of all time by the “AFI 100 Series”. Pizzo, who also wrote the Indiana basketball drama Hoosiers, spoke about Rudy at the 22nd Austin Film Festival in 2015.

Clips of Rudy courtesy of TriStar Pictures, Inc.

We continue our 25-year look back with a conversation with screenwriter Ron Nyswaner. In 1993, Nyswaner wrote Philadelphia, which follows an attorney who is fired from his high-powered law firm after it’s revealed that he is HIV positive. The film was one of the first mainstream Hollywood films to acknowledge HIV and homosexuality. Tom Hanks won an Academy Award® for Best actor for his portrayal of lawyer Andrew Beckett. Nyswaner is also known for adapting the W. Somerset Maugham novel The Painted Veil into the 2006 film of the same name. Nyswaner spoke about his career and writing process at the 20th annual Austin Film Festival in 2013.

Clips of Philadelphia courtesy of TriStar Pictures, Inc. Clip of Ray Donovan courtesy of Showtime Networks, Inc. and clip of The Painted Veil courtesy of Bob Yari Productions & Yari Film Group Releasing.

 

Direct download: PIZZO_NYSWANNER.mp3
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Ahead of Memorial Day this month, we look at writing for war films with screenwriters David Broyles, Bill Broyles, Randall Wallace and Bruce C. McKenna.

David Broyles grew up in California, New York, and on a dude ranch in Bandera, Texas. He attended the University of Texas and Columbia University, and served as a Pararescueman (PJ) in Iraq and Afghanistan. Following his enlistment, he was recognized by the Governor of Texas for exceptional volunteer work and advocacy for disabled veterans. He has sold several screenplays and most recently co-created Six, an upcoming dramatic series for the History Channel. David has been involved with the Austin Film Festival for many years as a writer, director, and volunteer. I spoke with David about Six last September.

Bruce C. McKenna is an award-winning screenwriter and producer.  He wrote on four of the ten episodes of HBO’s Emmy Award-winning mini-series Band of Brothers, for which he garnered a WGA Award, a Christopher Award and was a finalist for the Humanitas Prize for his episode, Bastogne. He created, co-wrote and co-executive produced The Pacific, the Emmy Award-winning Miniseries for HBO, Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks on the Pacific Theater of the Second World War.  In addition to winning a producing Emmy, McKenna was nominated for his second writing Emmy, was again a finalist for the Humanitas Prize, and garnered a Producer’s Guild Award, a Critic’s Choice Award, as well as the Marine Corp Heritage Foundation Bill Broyles Image Award.  

He is currently developing a miniseries on Peter The Great for Bold Television, is adapting Hampton Side’s epic Blood and Thunder for Ridley Scott, and is adapting All Things Possible, the Kurt Warner story, for Fox Studios. 

Bill Broyles grew up in Baytown, Texas, attended Rice University and Oxford University, worked in the civil rights movement, and finished out the Sixties as a Marine infantry lieutenant in Vietnam. As a journalist he was the founding editor of Texas Monthly and from 1982 to 1984 was editor-in-chief of Newsweek. He was the co-creator of the Emmy-Award -winning television series China Beach. He wrote the original screenplay for the movie Cast Away and the screenplay for Jarhead. He co-authored six other screenplays, including Apollo 13, Unfaithful, The Polar Express and Flags of Our Fathers. He was nominated for an Academy Award for his screenplay for Apollo 13, which won the Writers Guild award for best screenplay.  He has been involved with the Austin Film Festival from the beginning.

Randall Wallace is the Oscar®-nominated creative force behind the epic storytelling of such critical and box-office hits as Braveheart, We Were Soldiers, Pearl Harbor, Secretariat, and Heaven is for Real.

 

 

 

Direct download: VETERANS_DAY_EPISODE_5162018.mp3
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This week on On Story we’ll hear Pulitzer Prize-winning author Lawrence Wright on his new book God Save Texas and the Hulu mini-series he adapted from his 2006 book The Looming Tower. And later, we’ll hear from Twin Peaks co-creator Mark Frost on the cult television series return to air after 25 years.

In 2006 Wright released the Pultizer Prize-winning novel, The Looming Tower - which explored the events that led to the September 11th terrorist attacks. Earlier this year Wright teamed with his frequent documentarian collaborator Alex Gibney and filmmaker Dan Futterman to adapt the novel into a Hulu miniseries of the same name. The show stars Jeff Daniels, Peter Sarsgaard, and Michael Stulhbarg.

Clips of The Looming Tower courtesy of Legendary Television & Hulu

Mark Frost started his career as a staff writer on the celebrated 80’s police procedural Hill Street Blues. In 1990, Frost partnered with filmmaker David Lynch to co-create the television series, Twin Peaks. The shows mix of melodrama, surrealism, offbeat humor and horror was quickly celebrated for being unlike anything else on network television. In 2017, the series returned to air 25 years after its initial run for an 18 episode limited series on the Showtime network. I spoke with Mark Frost about revisiting old creations at the 24th annual Austin Film Festival in 2017.

Clips of Twin Peaks (1990) & (2017) courtesy of  Lynch/Frost Productions, Inc.

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On this week’s podcast, we’ll hear from writer and director Susannah Grant. Grant is best known for writing Erin Brockovich, which earned her an Academy Award® nomination for best original screenplay in 2000. Grant also co-wrote the screenplays for Pocahontas, Ever After, 28 Days, In Her Shoes, and Charlotte’s Web. Grant spoke with Men in Black screenwriter Ed Solomon at the 21st Austin Film Festival in 2014.

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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

 

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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.

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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 impresario 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.

Clips of the Season 3 trailer courtesy of: 3 Arts Entertainment and Home Box Office (HBO)

Clips of The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl courtesy of: Issa Rae Productions, Inc.

Rae developed the pilot for Insecure with veteran writer and comedian Larry Wilmore. He 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.

 

 

Direct download: ISSA_RAE_LARRY_WILMORE_REFEED.mp3
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This week we mark Veteran’s Day with a look at the depiction of war on screen with the writers behind The Pacific, China Beach, We Were Soldiers and Six.

Bruce C. McKenna is an award-winning screenwriter and producer.  He wrote on four of the ten episodes of HBO’s Emmy Award-winning mini-series Band of Brothers, for which he garnered a WGA Award, a Christopher Award and was a finalist for the Humanitas Prize for his episode, Bastogne. He created, co-wrote and co-executive produced The Pacific, the Emmy Award-winning Miniseries for HBO, Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks on the Pacific Theater of the Second World War.  In addition to winning a producing Emmy, McKenna was nominated for his second writing Emmy, was again a finalist for the Humanitas Prize, and garnered a Producer’s Guild Award, a Critic’s Choice Award, as well as the Marine Corp Heritage Foundation Bill Broyles Image Award.  

Bill Broyles grew up in Baytown, Texas, attended Rice University and Oxford University, worked in the civil rights movement, and finished out the Sixties as a Marine infantry lieutenant in Vietnam. As a journalist he was the founding editor of Texas Monthly and from 1982 to 1984 was editor-in-chief of Newsweek. He was the co-creator of the Emmy-Award -winning television series China Beach. He wrote the original screenplay for the movie Cast Away and the screenplay for Jarhead. He co-authored six other screenplays, including Apollo 13, Unfaithful, The Polar Express and Flags of Our Fathers. He was nominated for an Academy Award for his screenplay for Apollo 13, which won the Writers Guild award for best screenplay.  He has been involved with the Austin Film Festival from the beginning.

Randall Wallace is the Oscar®-nominated creative force behind the epic storytelling of such critical and box-office hits as Braveheart, We Were Soldiers, Pearl Harbor, Secretariat, and Heaven is for Real.

David Broyles grew up in California, New York, and on a dude ranch in Bandera, Texas. He attended the University of Texas and Columbia University, and served as a Pararescueman (PJ) in Iraq and Afghanistan. Following his enlistment, he was recognized by the Governor of Texas for exceptional volunteer work and advocacy for disabled veterans. He has sold several screenplays and most recently co-created Six, an upcoming dramatic series for the History Channel. David has been involved with the Austin Film Festival for many years as a writer, director, and volunteer.

 

 

 

Direct download: VETERANS_DAY_EPISODE.mp3
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