Original Ghostbuster Harold Ramis

The original 1984 Ghostbusters was directed by Ivan Reitman and stars Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Sigourney Weaver, Rick Moranis, Ernie Hudson and Harold Ramis, who co-wrote the film with Dan Aykroyd.

Harold Ramis passed away in 2014, and his film legacy is an enormous part of the American comedic vocabulary- from Animal House to National Lampoon’s Vacation to Groundhog Day and of course, Ghostbusters. Comedy impresario Judd Apatow spoke with Harold Ramis at the 12th Austin Film Festival in 2005 where we also held a special screening of Ramis’s thriller comedy, The Ice Harvest.


On Story is brought to you by

The Alice Kleberg Reynolds Foundation

The City of Austin Cultural Arts Division

The Texas Commission on the Arts

The US Institute of Museum and Library Services

The Texas Library and Archives Commission

Applied Materials


Additional support for On Story comes from

Final Draft

Loyola Marymount University School of Film and Television

Category:Film and Television -- posted at: 12:16am CDT

Harold Ramis, Buck Henry, Judd Apatow and Larry Wilmore

This episode of On Story goes deep into hilarity with the comedic geniuses behind the original Ghostbusters, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, The Graduate, and In Living Color! Judd Apatow, Harold Ramis, Buck Henry, and Larry Wilmore take us on a gut-busting ride through their journeys in iconic film and television comedy. Tune in, sit back, and get ready to laugh.

Writer- actor-director Buck Henry got his start in television in the early 1960’s. Buck Henry co-created the series Get Smart with Mel Brooks and was twice nominated for an Academy Award®- first in 1968 for Best Adapted Screenplay for The Graduate and again in 1979 for Best Director for the film Heaven Can Wait. Buck Henry has appeared in more than one hundred films and television shows, including Defending Your Life, The Player, Catch-22, 30 Rock, and Saturday Night Live, which he hosted ten times.

Producer, director, actor, comedian and screenwriter Judd Apatow is best known for the television shows Freaks and Geeks, Undeclared and Girls. His extensive filmography includes the hit movies, Anchorman, The 40 Year Old Virgin, Bridesmaids and the 2015 film Trainwreck starring Amy Schumer, Tilda Swinton and Bill Hader. Judd Apatow’s book Sick in the Head: Conversations About Life and Comedy was released in summer 2015.

The late Harold Ramis wrote, directed and or starred in some of the most beloved comedies of the past forty years including Caddyshack, Animal House, Ghostbusters, High Fidelity and Groundhog Day. He got his start as a joke editor for Playboy Magazine and went on to become a performer and head writer on the sketch comedy series SCTV. Upon his passing, President Barack Obama said of Ramis, "when we watched his movies – from Animal House and Caddyshack to Ghostbusters and Groundhog Day – we didn’t just laugh until it hurt. We questioned authority. We identified with the outsider. We rooted for the underdog. And through it all, we never lost our faith in happy endings."

Larry Wilmore is the host of Comedy Central’s The Nightly Show With 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 with Bernie Mac, and was a consulting producer and guest star on the American version of The Office. This segment was recorded at the 14th Austin Film Festival and at a special event at the Harry Ransom Center in Austin, TX in 2013. We begin with Larry Wilmore discussing his comedic roots.


On Story is brought to you by

The Alice Kleberg Reynolds Foundation

The City of Austin Cultural Arts Division

The Texas Commission on the Arts

The US Institute of Museum and Library Services

The Texas Library and Archives Commission

Applied Materials


Additional support for On Story comes from

Final Draft

Loyola Marymount University School of Film and Television


Category:Film and Television -- posted at: 12:30pm CDT

This episode of On Story, we feature Hustle & Flow filmmaker and Legend of Tarzan screenwriter Craig Brewer followed by Boyz n the Hood writer-director John Singleton.

Memphis filmmaker Craig Brewer is the writer-director behind the films The Poor & Hungry, Hustle & Flow and Black Snake Moan. His filmography includes the MTV series 5$ Cover, the 2011 reboot of Footloose, and several stints in the director's chair for TV on the series The Shield, Terriers and Empire. Craig Brewer is credited with t he screenplay to this summer's The Legend of Tarzan which opens July 1st. Austin Film Festival Senior Film Program Director Liz Mims spoke with Craig Brewer at a special screening of his first film, The Poor and the Hungry on April 26th 2016.

John Singleton made his film-making 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. As we heard earlier in the program, Singleton also produced our other guest Craig Brewer’s Hustle & Flow. John Singleton’s latest project, Snowfall for FX Networks is currently filming in Los Angeles California. Screenwriter Fred Strype spoke with john Singleton at the 22nd Austin Film Festival in 2015.


Direct download: BREWER_AND_SINGLETON.mp3
Category:Film and Television -- posted at: 2:56pm CDT

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