On this week’s episode of On Story, we honor Veteran’s Day with a look at writing for war films with writers 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 in September ahead of the second and final season. 

The art of composing a war story for film or television requires meticulous strategy and technique before embarking upon the battlefield of the script.  A writer must go to the trenches when researching the depths of the setting, history, and culture to dramatize these conflict-driven and layered narratives. In this half of the show, I sit down with writers, Bruce C. McKenna, Bill Broyles, and Randall Wallace as they swap their own war stories on how to best execute bringing your vision to lifeThis panel discussion comes from the 21st Austin Film Festival held in 2014. 

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 13UnfaithfulThe 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 BraveheartWe Were SoldiersPearl HarborSecretariat, and Heaven is for Real

Direct download: VETERANS_DAY_EPISODE_11142018.mp3
Category:Film and Television -- posted at: 12:00pm CDT

For this year’s 25th anniversary Austin Film Festival and Writers’ Conference showcased the minds behind celebrated classics as well as the next generation of storytellers. This week’s On Story takes you to the heart of 2018’s Festival and Conference with Awardee’s Roger Corman, Tony Gilroy, and Larry Wilmore and later we’ll hear from The Long Dumb Road writer/director Hannah Fidell and actor Jason Mantzoukas.

Direct download: BEST_OF_FEST_PODCAST.mp3
Category:Film and Television -- posted at: 2:30pm CDT

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.

Clip of The Painted Veil courtesy of Bob Yari Productions & Yari Film Group Releasing


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

Writer/director Nathan Deming presents one of the most touching and complex films in our lineup this year with his film Speaking in Tongues, that delves into hard questions of faith, love, sexuality, and community in our modern world.

Screening Times: 10/27, 6:30PM: Hideout Theatre & 10/31, 4:00PM at the Galaxy Highland 10

Direct download: NATHAN_DEMMING_2.mp3
Category:Film and Television -- posted at: 3:30pm CDT

In Above the Clouds, a headstrong young girl makes a startling discovery that the man married to her mother isn't her real dad. Recruiting a homeless man whose only possession is his driving licence, she embarks on an epic road trip to track down her biological father. We spoke with Director Leon Chambers and writer Simon Lord about their collaboration and the off the cuff characters and story they’ve created.

Screening Times for Above the Clouds: 10/27, 4:45PM at St. David's Bethell Hall & 10/29, 8:30PM: Galaxy Highland 10

Direct download: ABOVE_THE_CLOUDS_FINAL.mp3
Category:Film and Television -- posted at: 12:00pm CDT

One of our most compelling and challenging stories at this years festival comes from a powerful documentary titled A Girl Named C. It tells the story of 11- year who was raped in her New Jersey elementary school by another 11-year-old student. Emily Kassie, the films director spoke to us about her motivations and what drove her to champion this story.

Screening Times: 10/28, 4:00PM: St.David's Bethell Hall & 10/29, 1:00PM at Alamo Drafthouse Village


Direct download: A_GIRL_NAMED_C_FINAL.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm CDT

After years of serving as a soldier in Syria, A Soldier is suddenly called back stateside when his wife and 5 year-old son, Lawrence, are involved in a car accident. Now while faced with burying the love of his life and becoming a single parent, his young son begins to reveal secrets about the town and its residents. Writer/director Jason Noto tell us about making this hard and sincere film come to life.

Screening Times: 10/25, 7:15PM: State Theatre & 10/30, 7:00PM at the Alamo Drafthouse Village

Direct download: BEYOND_THE_NIGHT_FINAL.mp3
Category:Film and Television -- posted at: 12:00pm CDT

One of America's greatest visual poets, photographer Burk Uzzle, travels America's back roads in search of hidden treasures of Americana and uses his vast archive as a guide to confront race, inequality, and injustice. Documentarian Jethro Waters spoke to us about his process of capturing and presenting his subject in his film F11 and Be There.

Screening Times: 10/28, 6:45PM: Bethell Hall & 10/30, 1:00PM at the Alamo Drafthouse Village

Direct download: F11_AND_BE_THERE_FINAL.mp3
Category:Film and Television -- posted at: 12:00pm CDT

Set in the oil fields of Texas,The Iron Orchard is an authentic account of how men lived, loved and attempted to prosper in one of America’s most dangerous industries. Director Ty Roberts and writer Gerry De Leon spoke to us about this vibrant and brutal story.  


Screening Times: 10/30, 7:15PM: State Theatre & 10/27, 4:00PM at the the Galaxy Highland 10

Direct download: IRON_ORCHARD_FINAL.mp3
Category:Film and Television -- posted at: 12:00pm CDT

Major Arcana is set in the backwoods of Vermont, an itinerant carpenter faces a quixotic struggle to end a legacy of alcoholism and poverty as he attempts to build a log cabin by hand. Producer and former Austinite Sarah Kolb spoke to discuss the unique challenges presented by Major Arcana.

Screening Times: 10/25, 8:00PM: Hideout Theater & 10/30, 3:15PM at the Galaxy Highland 10

Direct download: MAJOR_ARCANA_FINAL.mp3
Category:Film and Television -- posted at: 12:00pm CDT