BPS 009: How Marketable is Your Film Idea or Screenplay?
So how marketable is your film idea or screenplay? I know so many screenwriters and filmmakers who spend months and sometimes years on an idea that is cool to just themselves. Depending on what you are attempting to achieve with your story, you should always figure out if you idea is marketable or if you have a fighting chance of selling the screenplay or final film.
Paul Castro, the writer of the Warner Brothers feature film August Rush (Starring Robin Williams) shares with us his thoughts on how to test and find marketable ideas.
BPS 008: How to Make a Good Script Great with Linda Seger
How to Make a Good Script Great with Linda Seger
Linda Seger is a legend when it comes to screenwriting coaching and script consultant. She's been coaching for over 30 years and pretty much invented the job title. After reading her best-selling book, "Making A Good Script Great" I had to have her on the show.
She's best known for her method of analyzing movie scripts, which she originally developed as her graduate school dissertation on "What Makes a Great Script." She founded the script consulting industry, becoming the first entrepreneur who saw script consulting as a business, rather than an offshoot of seminars or books.
Linda Seger has consulted on over 2000 screenplays and over 100 produced films and television shows including Universal Soldier, The Neverending Story II, Luther, The Bridge (miniseries,) etc.
“When I arrived I had an idea. Three days later the idea had become a complete and rich outline. Linda’s warmth, guidance and insight helped me structure my story and discover the layers that made it come alive.” Sergio Umansky
Her clients include Oscar® winning writer and director Peter Jackson, Sony Pictures, and Ray Bradbury. Unlike other screenwriting gurus, Linda Seger is not a screenwriter but has focused exclusively on consulting and teaching.
Linda Seger has written 13 books, 9 of them on screenwriting, including the best-selling Making a Good Script Great, Creating Unforgettable Characters, and Writing Subtext. (FREE AUDIO BOOK VERSIONS HERE)
Ron Howard has endorsed Making a Good Script Great, saying he uses the book when making all of his movies beginning with Apollo 13.
Not a bad recommendation. Take a listen to this master class on screenwriting with Linda Seger and get ready to take notes!
BPS 007: How to Create an Emotional Impact in Your Screenplay with Karl Iglesias
How to Create an Emotional Impact in Your Screenplay with Karl Iglesias
This week we were lucky enough to have as our guest best-selling author Karl Iglesias. He has written award-winning books including The 101 Habits of Highly Successful Screenwriters, Writing for Emotional Impact, and Cut to the Chase. (FREE AUDIO BOOK VERSIONS HERE)
I discovered Karl Iglesias' work reading Writing for Emotional Impact. It really transformed the way I wrote screenplays and created a bunch of new habits that I still use today.
Karl is a script-doctor, author, award-winning instructor and story consultant, specializing in the reader’s emotional response to the written page. He helps writers, filmmakers, producers and advertising executives craft better stories that connect emotionally with an audience.
It was a major treat to interview Karl on the show. His work is so specific but yet broad. His one rule that can never be broken,
"Always be interesting."
I think most films coming out of Hollywood today should take that advice. Keep your audience engaged and emotionally invested. So many filmmakers and screenwriters today don't understand that basic concept.
I really asked Karl the tough questions so we could fill this episode with amazing content for you. This is one podcast you won't want to miss. Enjoy!
BPS 006: How a Screenwriter Becomes a First Time Director with Kelly Fremon Craig
How a Screenwriter Becomes a First Time Director with Kelly Fremon Craig
I'm asked all the time
"How does a screenwriter get the opportunity to direct one of their screenplays?"
That is the question. In Hollywood, more times than not, writers don't have the power or ability to direct their own material. It took a few screenplays before Quentin Tarantino got the shot with Reservoir Dogs. Today's guest is writer/director Kelly Fremon Craig. She got her shot to director her own screenplay on the 2016 critical darling Edge of Seventeen starring Hailee Steinfeld, Woody Harrelson, and Kyra Sedgwick. Check out the trailer below.
Kelly's adventures through Hollyweird is inspiring to say the least. Enjoy my conversation with Kelly Fremon Craig.
BPS 005: The Million Dollar Screenplay with August Rush Screenwriter Paul Castro
We've all read in Variety or The Hollywood Reporter of some no-name screenwriter selling his or her screenplay for a million bucks. Ever wonder how they did it? What structure did they use? What "tricks of the trade were" employed?
May I introduce Paul Castro, the original writer of one of my favorite films August Rush. Paul Castro is a produced, award-winning screenwriter and world-renowned screenwriting professor.
"Structure...is the canvas on which we paint with words." - Paul Castro
His project, August Rush was produced by Warner Brothers and starred the late great Robin Williams, Keri Russell, Freddie Highmore and Jonathan Rhys Meyers. The film took Paul Castro into the belly of the Hollywood beast.
The business of screenwriting can be tough, but while a student at the UCLA School of Theater, Film, and Television, he was a finalist for the Coca-Cola Refreshing Filmmaker's Award for directing and producing his original screenplay Healing, and landed a three-picture screenwriting deal worth $1 million.
The lessons he learned not only from selling August Rush but many other Hollywood screenwriting adventures were invaluable. He later went back and became a screenwriting professor at UCLA School of Theater, Film, and Television, teaching thousands of students over his ten years of teaching.
“Paul Castro teaches screenwriting from the inside out.” - Richard Walter, UCLA Screenwriting Chairperson.
Enjoy this whopper of a podcast episode and if you haven't seen August Rush do yourself a favor and watch it. It's worth watching for Robin Williams alone!
BPS 004: How to Sell Your Screenplay with Ashley Scott Meyers
Today's guest is screenwriter/podcaster Ashley Scott Meyers from Sellingyourscreenplay.com. Ashley is a working screenwriter in Hollywood. He also spends his time running a popular screenwriting blog and podcast. His focus is on helping you sell your screenplay. Here's a bit of his philosophy in his own words:
If you ask 100 different screenwriters how they broke into the business you’re going to get 100 different answers. There is no “right” way to break in. So my philosophy has always been simple: try as many different angles as possible and figure out what works best for you.
Below are two short lists of things you should be doing to try and sell your screenplays. I’ve listed them in order of what I think is most effective (your results may vary). One thing to keep in mind, this is not an exhaustive list. You should be thinking of other ways you can market your material and doing those things, too. If you would like to share any of your ideas please email me as I’m always curious to hear how other writers are successfully marketing their material.
Also, you may not be able to do everything on these lists, but the more you do the better chances you’ll have. If you’re serious about success, however, you’re going to need to try most of these things, otherwise you’re not going to be giving your screenplay, or yourself, a real chance to succeed.
Things you can start doing today.
Make phone calls to agents, managers, and producers pitching your material
Write query letters for your screenplays and snail mail, email, or fax them to agents, managers, and producers
Scour sites like Craig’s List and other online resources for people looking for screenplays and send them your query letter
Enter screenwriting contests
Try and connect with agents, managers and producers on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook
Long term items which you should also be doing.
We get into it in this interview so take some notes on this epic conversation. Enjoy!
BPS 003: Making It in Hollyweird as a Screenwriter with Doug Richardson
Can you imagine having a front row seat to the start of the filmmaking careers of Will Smith, Bruce Willis and Michael Bay? Well this week's guest Screenwriter Doug Richardson did just that. In 1989 20th Century Fox hired Doug to adapt Walter Wager’s novel 58 Minutes into the first sequel to the hit franchise Die Hard. In 1990, it was released as Die Hard 2, Die Harder.
Around the same period, Doug Richardson and his one-time writing partner, Rick Jaffa, garnered national attention when their spec screenplay, Hellbent…and Back was the first in Hollywood to sell for a million dollars. Doug has since written and produced feature films including the box office smash Bad Boys (1995), Money Train (1995), and Hostage (2005).
In addition to writing for the screen and print, Doug posts a weekly blog on his website, dougrichardson.com, where he shares personal anecdotes and insight from his thirty-year showbiz career. The first collection of his blogs, The Smoking Gun: True Tales from Hollywood’s Screenwriting Trenches was published in 2015.
I had a ball chatting with Doug and his stories from the set had been mesmerized. He dropped some major knowledge bombs in this interview. Enjoy!
BPS 002: How to Write a Screenplay with Fight Club Screenwriter Jim Uhls
First Rule of Jim Uhls, YOU DO NOT TALK ABOUT Jim Uhls!
We I have a MAJOR treat for the tribe this week. I have no other than Jim Uhls, the master screenwriter behind David Fincher's "Fight Club", one of the greatest films in my generation, in my humble option.
When Chuck Palahniuk's Fight Club was making the rounds in Hollywood, it was a tough sale to be adapted for the screen. But then Brad Pitt got involved; add David Fincher and Ed Norton, throw Jim Uhls into the mix and you've got a modern classic.
Jim’s screenwriting credits include of course the modern classic “Fight Club” the feature-film "Jumper" the NBC television film "Semper Fi" and the SyFy miniseries "Spin".
In this remarkable discussion, Jim Uhls breaks the first rule of Fight Club: He talks about it, working with David Fincher, why he hates outlines and why you should interview your characters. Step inside the mind of the man who figured out how to conquer Hollywood as he lays down knowledge bomb after knowledge bomb in this eye-opening interview.
Towards the end of the interview, Jim gives easily the GREATEST ADVICE ON HOW TO BECOME A WORKING SCREENWRITER I EVER HEARD! This podcast is not to be missed.
Enjoy my conversation with Jim Uhls.
BPS 001: What Makes a Good Screenplay with John Truby
Today's guest blew my mind on his approach to storytelling and screenwriting. John Truby is one of Hollywood's premier screenwriting instructor and story consultant.Over the last 25 years, more than 50,000 people have attended his sold-out seminars around the world, with the American Film Institute declaring that his “course allows a writer to succeed in the fiercely competitive climate of Hollywood.”
Over the last 25 years, more than 50,000 people have attended his sold-out seminars around the world, with the American Film Institute declaring that his “course allows a writer to succeed in the fiercely competitive climate of Hollywood.”
Called “the best script doctor in the movie industry,” Truby serves as a story consultant for major studios and production companies worldwide, and has been a script doctor on more than 1,800 movies, sitcoms and television dramas for the likes of Disney, Universal, Sony Pictures, FOX, HBO, Alliance Atlantis, Paramount, BBC, MTV and more.
Truby’s former students’ work have earned more than $15 billion at the box office, and include the writers, directors and producers of such film blockbusters asRatatouille, In Treatment, Pirates of the Caribbean, X-Men I/II/III, Shrek, Mother Mary of Chris, Breaking Bad, House, Lost, Planet of the Apes, Scream, The Fantastic Four, The Negotiator, Star Wars, Sleepless in Seattle, Outbreak, African Cats (which Truby co-wrote for Disney) and more. Truby’s class is also regularly attended by top fiction writers and novelists who have topped the New York Times’ Bestseller List, won numerous prestigious literary awards, and have sold over 46 million books worldwide. Hollywood’s best kept secret, Truby’s classes regularly attract everyone from first time writers to A-list writers, producers, directors, filmmakers, story executives, novelists, fiction writers and more.
In addition to his sold-out seminars, John Truby remains on the cutting- edge of technology having created and developed Truby Blockbuster – the bestselling software designed to intuitively help writers learn and understand the art of developing their story ideas into fully realized, professionally-structured scripts.
Truby’s principles and methods are the most modern, exciting approach to screenwriting and storytelling to be developed in a generation, which is why his classes regularly attract everyone from Oscar winners to first-time writers.
We get into the weeds of story in this EPIC conversation. Get ready to take notes. Enjoy!
BPS 000: Bulletproof Screenplay Podcast - Introduction | Screenwriting | What to Expect
It’s here! The first episode of The Bulletproof Screenplay Podcast! Now you might be asking...
"Alex, why are you launching another podcast dedicated to screenwriting when you cover that on the IFH Podcast already?"
Well, it's because I know that screenwriters are really NOT that interested in learning about lenses, self-distribution, or social media marketing. They want to get into the craft and business of screenwriting and storytelling. I found that IFH Tribe members that wanted to learn about screenwriting would have to wait until I had a screenwriting guest.
With The Bulletproof Screenplay Podcast, they can get a fresh episode every week dedicated to the craft and business of screenwriting.
I'll be grabbing some of my past screenwriting themed interviews and re-publishing them here but I'll also be adding brand new content as well. I already have a bunch of amazing guests lined up for the podcast.
So if you're fan of the IFH Podcast you should definitely subscribe to the BPS Screenwriting Podcast as well. That'll be THREE FRESH EPISODES of content every week. Yes, I'm crazy but I'm crazy about providing the best content I can to the IFH Tribe and helping them on their filmmaking and screenwriting journeys.
You can download the screenwriting podcast to your computer or listen to it here on the blog. This podcast feed is listed on iTunes, Spreaker, and Stitcher, so you can subscribe there as well.
Thanks for Listening!
Thanks so much for joining me again this week. Have some feedback you’d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!
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