It is a truth widely acknowledged that no one goes into theatre to strike it rich as a playwright. As the creative landscape continues to grow within film, television, and new media, there are now more avenues for playwrights to truly make the world their stage. Join Austin Film Festival, the Writers Guild of America, East, and the Dramatists Guild of America for a conversation featuring playwrights who have turned their passion for the stage into a valuable currency in other mediums.

This episode features:
Beau Willimon – Creator/Executive Producer, House of Cards
Warren Leight – Executive Producer, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
Adam Rapp – Co-executive Producer, Vinyl
Tracey Scott Wilson – Co-producer/writer, The Americans
Moderator: Howard Sherman

Category:Film and Television -- posted at: 2:53pm CST

This week, comic genius Paula Pell on life from the writers room to the film set as she discusses her work on Saturday Night Live, 30 Rock, Bridesmaids, The Heat, Sisters and more.


Paula Pell got her start in the writers room at Saturday Night Live in 1995 and wrote for that show for twenty years. She was a writer-producer on 30 Rock where she played Pete Hornberger’s wife, Paula, and her numerous cameo appearances include Tammy Zero, the mother of Parks and Rec character Ron Swanson as well as performances in the 2015 Oscar-winning Birdman and Anchorman 2. She’s also voiced several animated characters from “Dream Director” in the Pixar film Inside Out to Barbara on Nick Kroll’s Big Mouth. Her film writing credits include additional writing on Bridesmaids, This is 40 and The Heat, as well as the screenplay for the Tina Fey and Amy Poehler comedy Sisters. Paula Pell’s recent web series Hudson Valley Ballers is streaming now on You Tube.

Direct download: SNL_VETERAN_PAULA_PELL_adjusted.mp3
Category:Film and Television -- posted at: 11:47am CST

In honor of women’s history month, this week’s On Story features Callie Khouri, (Thelma and Louise, Nashville) Michelle Ashford, (Masters of Sex) and Caroline Thompson (Edward Scissorhands) discuss their illustrious careers in film and television.


Filmmaker Callie Khouri won the Academy Award in 1992 for her first screenplay, Thelma & Louise. The film, starring Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis in the title roles, was directed by Ridley Scott and included performances by Harvey Keitel, Michael Madsen and Brad Pitt in one of his earliest appearances on the big screen. Thelma & Louise was once considered controversial for its feminist overtones, but has since achieved classic status even inspiring songs by Tori Amos (Me and a Gun) and Argentinean Fito Paez (Dos Dias En La Vida) as well as countless parodies of it’s final scene on television and even video games. Callie Khouri’s other films include Something To Talk About, Divine Secrets of the Ya-YA Sisterhood and the series, Nashville.


Screenwriter Michelle Ashford is best known for her work on the 2010 miniseries, The Pacific. Her current series, Masters Of Sex is based on Thomas Maier’s biography of legendary sex researchers Dr William Masters and Virginia Johnson. The Showtime drama set in the 1950’s and 60’s stars Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan, and has been renewed for a fourth season to air in later in 2016.


Novelist, screenwriter, film director, and producer Caroline Thompson is credited with the screenplays for films Edward Scissorhands, The Nightmare Before Christmas, and The Addams Family as well as adaptations of The Secret Garden and Black Beauty, which she also directed. Caroline Thompson’s other credits include the films Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey, and Snow White: The Fairest of Them All.

Direct download: KHOURI_ASHFORD_THOMPSON_adjusted.mp3
Category:Film and Television -- posted at: 11:54am CST

This week, Herschel Weingrod, the writer behind Brewster’s Millions, Kindergarten Cop and Twins, discusses his Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd classic, Trading Places. Later, the filmmaker behind Private Benjamin, Father of the Bride and The Parent Trap, Nancy Meyers.

Screenwriter Herschel Weingrod whose credits include the screenplays for the films, Brewster’s Millions, starring Richard Pryor and John Candy, the highly quotable Kindergarten Cop starring none other than Arnold Schwarzenegger, Twins with Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito and Trading Places.

Nancy Meyers is a trailblazing writer-director who has created a body of work focusing largely on the female experience beginning with the 1980 comedy Private Benjamin starring Goldie Hawn, all the way to her most recent film, The Intern, starring Robert DeNiro and Anne Hathaway. She wrote and directed The Parent Trap starring Lindsay Lohan, Something’s Gotta Give with Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton and wrote, directed and produced The Holiday, starring Kate Winslet, Cameron Diaz, Jude Law and Jack Black. Her other credits include the unforgettable films, Baby Boom, Father of the Bride and What Women Want.

Direct download: CLASSIC_80S_COMEDY_adjusted.mp3
Category:Film and Television -- posted at: 2:44pm CST

This week’s On Story, two critically and culturally acclaimed African-American directors: John Singleton and Charles Burnett. First, Singleton 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 Boys 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 starring Janet Jackson and Tupac Shakur, Four Brothers with Mark Wahlberg, Tyrese Gibson and Andre Benjamin and Rosewood starring John Voight, Ving Rhames and Don Cheadle.

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.

Direct download: SINGLETON_BURNETT_REFEED_adjusted.mp3
Category:Film and Television -- posted at: 8:26am CST

On Story Episode 1707: Issa Rae from Awkward Black Girl to HBO’s Insecure

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 Ray 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 close to 200,000 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 most recently she developed the hit series, “Insecure” for HBO. Rae is also the New York Times Best Selling author of, “The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl”.

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 him by phone to discuss his work with Issa Rae and other new voices in comedy.

Direct download: ISSA_RAE_AND_LARRY_WILMORE_adjusted.mp3
Category:Film and Television -- posted at: 10:52am CST

On Story Episode 1706: Deconstructing Jane Austen

With six novels that produced over sixty adaptations for the screen, the talents of Jane Austen have lived on long past her time on earth. On this episode, the filmmakers behind Sense and Sensibility, The Jane Austen Book Club, and The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, as well as the academic behind the interactive website What Jane Saw dot org discuss how Jane Austen’s themes and stories remain so powerful today.

Studio executive Lindsay Doran has numerous credits on film and television including The Firm, Fallen Angels and of course Sense and Sensibility.

Screenwriter and Producer Robin Swicord wrote the screenplays for Little Women, Matilda, Memoirs of a Geisha and The Jane Austen Book Club.

Janine Barchas is a Professor of English at the University of Texas at Austin and the author of Matters of Fact in Jane Austen: History, Location, and Celebrity. She’s also the creator behind the digital heritage project “What Jane Saw” ( and most recently, she has co-curated the exhibition “Will & Jane: Shakespeare, Austen, and the Cult of Celebrity,” at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington DC last year.

Bernie Su is the two-time Emmy Award-winning producer and creator behind The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, Emma Approved and Vanity.

Direct download: DECONSTRUCTING_JANE_AUSTEN_adjusted.mp3
Category:Film and Television -- posted at: 5:32pm CST

On Story Episode 1705: Sports in Cinema

This week, On Story takes a look at great sports films with the filmmakers behind Hoosiers, King Pin, The Rookie, 42 and more! John Lee Hancock, Angelo Pizzo, Aaron Covington, Bobby Farrely discuss winners, losers, underdogs and champions. Later, Brian Helgeland talks about writing and directing the Jackie Robinson biopic, 42.

Angelo Pizzo wrote and co-produced the classic basketball story Hoosiers as well as the football bio, Rudy. Hoosiers stars Gene Hackman, Barbara Hershey and Dennis Hopper and is loosely based on the Milan High School basketball team that won the Indiana state championship in 1954. 

John Lee Hancock is the filmmaker behind The Rookie and The Blind side, as well as the recent film, The Founder. The Rookie stars Dennis Quaid, Rachel Griffiths and Brian Cox and tells the real-life story if Jim Morris- the high school science teacher turned major league pitcher. The Blind Side is based on the book by Michael Lewis and depicts the late adolescence of Carolina Panthers offensive lineman Michael Oher and his path from the foster care system to the gridiron.

Aaron Covington co-wrote the screenplay for the 2015 film Creed. The film depicts the journey of Adonis Johnson into the boxing world. Johnson is the son of former heavyweight champion and Rocky Balboa opponent-turned-trainer Apollo Creed. In the film, the younger Creed, whose father died in the ring, seeks the help and guidance of aging former champion Rocky Balboa.

Bobby Farrelly and his brother Peter Farrelly are the filmmakers behind the sports comedies Kingpin and Fever Pitch. Kingpin stars Woody Harrelson as a down on his luck former professional bowler who takes on an Amish protégé played by Randy Quaid. Fever Pitch stars Jimmy Fallon as a Boston Red Sox fanatic who becomes romantically involved with a workaholic executive played by Drew Barrymore.

Academy Award winning screenwriter, film producer and director Brian Helgeland is best known for the films L.A. Confidential, Mystic River, A Knight’s Tale, Legend and of course, the Jackie Robinson biopic 42. The film stars Chadwick Boseman as Jackie Robinson and takes place in 1946 and 47, when Robinson went from the triple A Royals to The Brooklyn Dodgers, becoming the first African-American to break the color barrier in Major League Baseball.

Direct download: SPORTS_IN_CINEMA.mp3
Category:Film and Television -- posted at: 4:18pm CST

On Story Episode 1704: Awards Season

With Awards season in full swing, this week’s On Story takes a look at some of the most memorable films of 2016 including Loving, The Edge of Seventeen, The Jungle Book and more!

Loving, depicts the real-life story of interracial couple Richard and Mildred Loving who married in 1958 and were then sentenced to one year in prison for violating Virginia’s anti-miscegenation statute, the Racial Integrity Act of 1924. Their civil rights case, Loving vs Virginia, went all the way to the Supreme Court, which in 1967 determined that all race-based restrictions on marriage were unconstitutional. Loving is written and directed by Jeff Nichols, and stars Joel Edgerton, Ruth Negga and Michael Shannon. Loving has already received numerous nominations including Best Original Screenplay and Best Director from the Writers Guild of America.

The Edge of Seventeen is written and directed by Kelly Fremon Craig and produced by veteran TV and film icon James L. Brooks. This coming of age comedy drama stars Hailee Steinfeld as the film’s acerbic yet endearing protagonist and co-stars Haley Lu Richardson, Woody Harrelson and Kyra Sedgwick.

Writer-director Whit Stillman’s latest movie Love and Friendship is an adaptation of the Jane Austen novella Lady Susan and stars Kate Beckinsale and Chloe Sevigny. The film, set in the 1790s, marks Whit Stillman’s first departure from original material.

Bleed for this is the new biopic from writer-director Ben Younger. The film tells the real-life story of professional boxer Vinny Paz and his comeback to boxing after a severe spinal injury sustained in an automobile accident. The film is also a sort of parallel to Ben Younger’s career. Younger made his first film, Boiler Room in 2000 and his last film, Prime, in 2005. Bleed for this, produced by Martin Scorsese, and written and directed by Younger, represents his comeback to filmmaking.

The 2016 Disney film The Jungle Book is based on the Rudyard Kipling classic, and inspired by the 1967 animated film of the same name. The Jungle Book features an all-star cast including Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley and Idris Elba as well as newcomer Neel Sethi and was written by Justin Marks, directed by Jon Favreu. Since its release in April 2016, The Jungle Book has raked in nearly a billion dollars worldwide.

Direct download: AWARDS_SEASON_2017_adjusted.mp3
Category:Film and Television -- posted at: 4:22pm CST

On Story Episode 1703 Sci-fi Drama and Dystopian Worlds

This episode of On Story from Austin Film Festival and PRI, Arrival screenwriter Eric Heisserer, Rogue One screenwriter Gary Whitta and The Leftovers Damon Lindelof discuss sci-fi drama and dystopian worlds.

Eric Heisserer is the screenwriter behind the sci-fi drama Arrival. The film is adapted from novelist Ted Chiang’s The Story Of Your Life and was directed by Denis Vileneuve. Arrival has received high praise from critics for its sophisticated concept, exciting storytelling and riveting performances.

Film and television writer and producer Damon Lindelof is best known as the co-creator of the ABC series Lost, and as the co-writer behind the films Star Trek- Into Darkness and Prometheus. Damon Lindelof also co-created HBO’s The Leftovers with novelist Tom Perrotta.

Screenwriter, author, game designer and journalist Gary Whitta is one of a few names behind the story and screenplay for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Gary Whitta also wrote the screenplay for the 2010 film The Book of Eli.

Direct download: SCI_FI_DRAMA_AND_DYSTOPIAN_WORLDS_adjusted.mp3
Category:Film and Television -- posted at: 12:46pm CST