BPS 024: Screenwriting Confidential - Inside the Dark World of the Script Reader with Deepthroat
Have you ever really wanted to know what goes on behind the scenes at Hollywood's major production companies and studios? How do new screenplays get read, approved and pass on by the script reader? What are the politics behind the scenes that make it almost impossible for a screenplay to make it through the Hollywood System?
Today on the show we have a former development executive, current script coverage reader and professional screenwriter. In order for him to be completely honest, he asked to remain anonymous so I just refer to him as Deepthroat. Yes, I know that's a bit on the nose but we both thought the Cloak and Dagger angle would be funny. He is a screenwriter that has worked in both television and features, a sought-after script doctor (he's worked on some MAJOR studio films), and a script coverage specialist.
Deepthroat spills the beans on the inner workings of some of the biggest studios in Hollywood. He discusses how an idea he presented his boss years ago was once stolen from him within the system and was turned into a successful property and shares tips on how to impress those studio readers that are the gatekeepers to getting your screenplay sold and produced.
He is one of the amazing script coverage specialists I have working at Bulletproof Script Coverage. Deepthroat agreed to do this interview in order to help screenwriters trying to break into the business. He's tired of seeing so many talented writers get eaten up by the system.
The information in this interview is raw, real and will give you a much clearer idea of what happens behind the scenes in Hollywood. If you enjoy this episode, please share it with as many screenwriters and filmmakers as you can. We need to get this information out there.
Enjoy my revealing conversation with DEEPTHROAT.
BPS 023: The Nutshell Technique - Cracking the Secret of Successful Screenwriting with Jill Chamberlain
Today on the show we have author/veteran script consultant Jill Chamberlain who's book The Nutshell Technique: Crack the Secret of Successful Screenwriting has taken the screenwriting world by storm.
Jill Chamberlain discovered in her work that an astounding 99 percent of first-time screenwriters don't know how to tell a story. What the 99 percent do instead is present a situation. In order to explain the difference, Chamberlain created the Nutshell Technique, a method whereby writers identify eight dynamic, interconnected elements that are required to successfully tell a story.
Now, for the first time, Chamberlain presents her unique method in book form with The Nutshell Technique: Crack the Secret of Successful Screenwriting. Using easy-to-follow diagrams ("nutshells"), she thoroughly explains how the Nutshell Technique can make or break a film script. Chamberlain takes readers step-by-step through thirty classic and contemporary movies, showing how such dissimilar screenplays as Casablanca, Chinatown, Pulp Fiction, The Usual Suspects, Little Miss Sunshine, Juno, Silver Linings Playbook, and Argo all have the same system working behind the scenes, and she teaches readers exactly how to apply these principles to their own screenwriting. Learn the Nutshell Technique, and you'll discover how to turn a mere situation into a truly compelling screenplay story.
Since its publication in 2016, The Nutshell Technique: Crack the Secret of Successful Screenwriting an instant classic. It is the go-to manual many professionals swear by, and it's on the syllabus at colleges across the U.S. including the world-renowned screenwriting program at Columbia University.
Enjoy my conversation with Jill Chamberlain.
BPS 022: Lessons From the Screenplay with Michael Turner (CROSSOVER EVENT)
Today episode is a CROSSOVER between the IFH Podcast and the Bulletproof Screenplay Podcast. I do this every 6-8 weeks when I find a guest that would be great on both podcasts. On this episode, we have Michael Tucker from Lessons from the Screenplay. LFTS is a YouTube channel that analyzes movie scripts to examine exactly how and why they are so good at telling their stories.
I've become a HUGE fan of what Micahel is doing and wanted to have him on the show to drop some knowledge bombs on both tribes! I've highlighted some of his work before on the blog: Social Network.
BPS 021: How to Tell Your Internal Story with Jen Grisanti
Today on the show we have Hollywood Story/Career Consultant and former Studio Executive Jen Grisanti. Grisanti is also a Writing Instructor for Writers on the Verge at NBC, a former studio executive, a blogger for The Huffington Post and author of Story Line: Finding Gold In Your Life Story, TV Writing Tool Kit: How To Write a Script That Sells, and her recent book, Change Your Story, Change Your Life.
Over twenty years ago, Jen Grisanti started her career as an assistant to Aaron Spelling, who served as her mentor for 12 years. She quickly climbed the ranks and eventually ran Current Programs at Spelling Television Inc., covering all of Spelling’s shows including Beverly Hills, 90210, Melrose Place and Charmed. In 2004, Grisanti was promoted to Vice President of Current Programs at CBS/Paramount where she covered numerous shows including Medium, Numbers, NCIS, 4400 and Girlfriends.
In January 2008, Grisanti launched Jen Grisanti Consultancy, Inc., a highly successful consulting firm dedicated to helping talented writers break into the industry. Drawing on her years of experience as a studio executive where she gave daily notes to executive producers/showrunners, Grisanti personally guides writers to shape their material, hone their pitches and focus their careers.
Since launching her consulting firm, Jen Grisanti worked with over 1000 writers specializing in television, features, and novels. Due to her guidance, over ninety of her clients have staffed as writers on television shows, fifty-three have sold pilots, and six of those pilots have gone to series.
Enjoy my conversation with Jen Grisanti.
BPS 020: The Six Stages of Character Development with Michael Hauge
This week we have a returning guest, screenwriting guru Michael Hauge. On this episode, he discussed The Six Stages of Character Development. A very eye-opening episode. These videos on screenplay structure are from his best selling online course: Story and Screenwriting Blueprint - The Hero's Two Journeys.
In more than 4½ hours of lecture, discussion and Q&A, Michael Hauge, author of Writing Screenplays That Sell and Selling Your Story in 60 Seconds: The Guaranteed Way to Get Your Screenplay or Novel Read; and Christopher Vogler, story analyst and author of The Writer’s Journey: Mythic Structure For Writers, unite to reveal the essential principles of plot structure, character arc, myth and transformation.
BPS 019: How Screenwriters Can Navigate the Hollywood System with Scott Myers
For screenwriters, navigating the shark-infested waters of the Hollywood system can be a daunting task. You never know what the producer or studio is looking for. How do you pitch your story properly? So many questions. I hope today's guest can help guide you a bit through those waters.
Scott Myers has been a professional Hollywood screenwriter for over 30 years. Since selling his spec script K-9 in 1987, Scott has written 30 projects for every major Hollywood studio and broadcast network. His film writing credits include K-9 starring Jim Belushi, Alaska starring Vincent Kartheiser, and Trojan War starring Jennifer Love Hewitt.
From 2002–2010, Scott was an executive producer at Trailblazer Studios, a television production company. In 2002, he began teaching screenwriting in his spare time. He won the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program Outstanding Instructor Award in 2005 and for eight years taught in the Writing for Screen and Stage program at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.
He has hosted Go Into The Story, an amazing screenwriting website, since its launch May 16, 2008, and is partnered with the Black List as its official screenwriting blog.
Scott breaks down the Hollywood system, talks about story and structure and just tells it how it really is in the business. Enjoy my conversation with Scott Myers.
BPS 018: How to Pitch Your Screenplay Like a Pro with Stephanie Palmer
Ever wanted to learn the dark craft of being able to pitch your story idea successfully? Stephanie Palmer has made it her life's mission to help people do just that. Stephanie Palmer is a former MGM Pictures executive and best-selling author of the book "Good in a Room: How To Sell Yourself (And Your Ideas) And Win Over Any Audience"
Stephanie Palmer was the Director of Creative Affairs for MGM where she supervised the acquisition, development, and production of feature films. During my time at MGM, she was named by The Hollywood Reporter as one of the “Top 35 Executives Under 35.” Prior to MGM, she worked at Jerry Bruckheimer Films.
She has heard thousands of pitches. She knows how to and how not to pitch your screenplay or story idea. She worked on films like Legally Blonde, Armageddon, Con Air and was even on an intern on Titanic, there's a very inserting story there.
Learn how to pitch your screenplay like a pro with Stephanie Palmer.
BPS 017: How to Write a Super Natural Hit Film with Beetlejuice Creator Larry Wilson
If you were a kid of the late 80s or early 90s then today's guest definitely had an impact on your life. Larry Wilson is the co-creator of the cult classic Beetlejuice (directed by Tim Burton), writer of Addams Family and worked on the legendary television show Tales from the Crypt.
Larry Wilson was also a screenwriting teacher at UCLA, arguably one of the best screenwriting programs in the world. He has continued to teach through his very popular workshops.
Enjoy my spooky and funny conversation with Larry Wilson.
BPS 016: How to Sell Your Idea to Television with TV Agent Matthew Doyle
Today's guest cracked open a door to a part of the industry I had no idea about, television. Matthew Doyle is a television lit agent at the Verve Talent and Literary Agency.
He's an up and comer in the industry and definitely a hustler. My co-host Sebastian Twardos and I wanted to get an "in the trenches" perceptive on the television market and Matthew delivered. He tells a great story on how he got promoted to an agent with a prank by the partners at Verve. Here's a bit on Matthew Doyle:
Doyle joined in January as Verve’s first off-desk TV lit coordinator. He implemented a new system for information flow and tracking, redesigned current grids, and helped lead Verve to its most successful staffing season ever, with 80% of clients staffed on broadcast and cable shows. He has been an aggressive recruiter, interviewing and training new employees.
Worked with up-and-coming clients such as Arkasha Stevenson and Kirk Sullivan on the television side, and has played an important role in signing clients staffed on upcoming series such as “Pitch” and “Riverdale.” Challenges of the job? “Recognizing that everyone is the protagonist of their own story, and treating them accordingly,” Doyle says. - From Variety - 10 Assistants to Watch 2016
All of these Sundance Series episodes are co-produced by Sebastian Twardosz from Circus Road Films and Media Circus.
Enjoy our conversation with Matthew Doyle.
BPS 015: How to Write a Screenplay FAST with Jeff Bollow
Have you ever wanted to learn how to write a screenplay fast? I know I do. This is why I invited on the show award-winning producer/director, best-selling author, film festival organizer and public speaker, Jeff Bollow.
He is the author of Writing FAST: How to Write Anything with Lightning Speed. Jeff Bollow began as an actor at age 12 in his native Los Angeles (credits include Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead and TV's Columbo) before working nearly every job in production, from camera to sound to lighting — and including jobs in development, post-production, and distribution.
Jeff has worked on feature films, TV series, commercials, music videos, radio, and corporate productions for companies such as Universal, Castle Rock, Propaganda Films, DNA and the Oxygen Network.
After migrating to New Zealand, where he directed television for TV3 and co-founded the Big Mountain Short Film Festival, he moved to Australia, where he launched Embryo Films. Through his company, Jeff has reviewed over 20,000 project submissions and has edited, assessed and/or mentored over 350 projects. He has script doctored in Singapore, Australia, NZ and the US; and has conducted over 80 live weekend workshops to over 1200 writers in 9 cities in 5 countries, with a unanimous "recommend" approval rating.
His students have been optioned, produced and won (and placed) in competitions worldwide. He designed FAST Screenplay in 2004 and began officially building it in November 2009. It was finally completed in July 2016, nearly 7 years later. Alongside it, he created the FASTscreenplay YouTube Channel, which now includes over 30 detailed and insightful free videos to encourage writers and screenwriters around the world.
In May 2015, Jeff Bollow delivered his first TED Talk, "Expand Your Imagination... Exponentially" (see video below) at TEDxDocklands in Melbourne, Australia, to prepare for the next phase of the larger plan. Jeff's aim is to build an independent film studio that inspires creativity worldwide, to help prepare humanity for the dramatic changes our future holds. When he's not busy helping writers with FAST Screenplay, he is working on a new book, developing a television series, and planning two feature film projects. Enjoy!
BPS 014: Save the Cat - Screenwriting Story Structure Made Easy
Why would you want to 'Save the Cat'? If you are a screenwriter or aspiring one you should have heard by now of Blake Snyder's game-changing screenwriting book.
In his 20-year career as a film producer and screenwriter, Blake Snyder sold dozens of scripts, including co-writing Blank Check, which became a hit for Disney, and Nuclear Family for Steven Spielberg — both million-dollar sales. Named “one of Hollywood’s most successful spec screenwriters,” Blake sold his last screenplay in 2009.
His book, Save the Cat!® The Last Book on Screenwriting You’ll Ever Need, was published in May 2005, and is now in its 24th printing. When I read this book it really had an impact on my storytelling and screenwriting.
Thankful Blake was not done and apparently it was not quite the last book on screenwriting you’ll ever need, as the eagerly awaited sequel, Save the Cat!® Goes to the Movies: The Screenwriter’s Guide to Every Story Ever Told, was published in October, 2007 — shooting to #1 in the Screenwriting and Screenplay categories on Amazon.com. Blake’s third book, Save the Cat!® Strikes Back: More Trouble for Screenwriters to Get Into… And Out Of was published in November 2009.
Blake’s method has become the “secret weapon” of many development executives, managers, and producers for its precise, easy, and honest appraisal of what it takes to write and develop stories that resonate. Save the Cat!® The Last Story Structure Software You’ll Ever Need has codified this method. Blake passed unexpectedly in 2009 but the Save the Cat community carries on Blake's work.
I had the pleasure of interviewing one of Blake's main pupils Jose Silerio. Jose is carrying the torch of Blake's work and travels around the world well...saving the cat.
Enjoy my informative interview with Jose Silerio.
BPS 013: Chris Vogler - Screenwriting & The Writer's Journey Blueprint
If you have seen Star Wars then you know Joseph Campbell's work. If you ever have seen The Lion King then you have seen one of Campbell's best student's, Chris Vogler, work.
Chris Vogler wrote the game-changing book The Writers Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers. I read this book over 20 years ago and it changed the way I look at story. Chris studied the work and principles of the late master Joseph Campbell. His book The Hero with a Thousand Faces was the bases for Star Wars as well as almost every other Hollywood feature film in the past 60 years.
What Chris Vogler did so well is that he translated Campbell's work and applied it to movies. The Writer's Journey explores the powerful relationship between mythology and storytelling in a clear, concise style that's made it required reading for movie executives, screenwriters, playwrights, scholars, and fans of pop culture all over the world. He has influenced the screenplays of movies from THE LION KING to FIGHT CLUB to BLACK SWAN to NOAH.
"I teach sometimes, and always say that Chris Vogler is the first book that everyone's got to read." -- Darren Aronofsky , Oscar-nominated Screenwriter/Director, Noah, Black Swan, The Wrestler
Pretty high praise from one of the best filmmakers working today. In this episode, I ask Chris to break down a bunch of concepts of the Hero's Journey, why it resonates with people around the world and what makes an amazing hero and villain.
Enjoy my conversation with Chris Vogler.
BPS 012: How to Create a Bulletproof Character Arc with K.M. Weiland (CROSSOVER EVENT)
Today we have a special crossover event between The Indie Film Hustle Podcast and The Bulletproof Screenplay podcast. Since I'm the host of both podcasts I thought it would be fun and educational to do these kinds of episodes every once in a while. Today's guest is best selling author K.M. Weiland, the author of Creating Character Arcs: The Masterful Author's Guide to Uniting Story Structure, Plot, and Character Development.
K.M. Weiland lives in make-believe worlds, talks to imaginary friends, and survives primarily on chocolate truffles and espresso. She is the IPPY, NIEA, and Lyra Award-winning and internationally published author of the acclaimed writing guides Outlining Your Novel, Structuring Your Novel, and Creating Character Arcs, as well as Jane Eyre: The Writer’s Digest Annotated Classic, the historical/dieselpunk adventure Storming, the portal fantasy Dreamlander, the medieval epic Behold the Dawn, and the western A Man Called Outlaw. When she’s not making things up, she’s busy mentoring other authors on her award-winning website Helping Writers Become Authors.
We dig in deep on plot, story structure and of course character arcs. Enjoy my conversation with K.M. Weiland.
BPS 011: Inside the Spec Script Market with Agent David Boxerbaum
We all have heard about screenwriter selling a spec script for seven figures (see Max Landis) but who are the power brokers who are helping that process along? Enter Verve Literary Agent David Boxerbaum.
David is a senior agent at VERVE Talent & Literary Agency, and his impressive client roster includes the likes of David Guggenheim, writer of Safehouse; Ken Marino, writer/producer of Wanderlust and writer of Role Models; Maria Maggenti, writer of MTV’s Finding Carter; and Ransom Riggs, writer/co-executive producer of the upcoming supernatural horror thriller, Black River.
At the age of 26, David was listed as one of the Hollywood Reporter’s “Next Generation 35 Under 35,” making him one of the youngest people ever to make the list. He is known for his impeccable taste and his strong industry relationships which help him garner six- and seven-figure sales for his clients in a shrinking spec marketplace.
What is an agent like David Boxerbaum looking for in a screenwriter? How does an agent work with a client to build a career? How do you approach a Literary Agent? All will be answered in this episode. Enjoy!
BPS 010: How to Write a Screenplay That Sells with Michael Hauge
You are in for a treat. This week's guest, MICHAEL HAUGE has been one of Hollywood’s top script consultants, story experts, and authors for more than 30 years.
He coaches screenwriters, novelists, filmmakers, professional speakers, internet marketers and corporate leaders, helping transform their stories and their audiences using the principles and methods of Hollywood’s most successful movies.
Michael has consulted on films starring – among many others - Will Smith, Tom Cruise, Reese Witherspoon, Julia Roberts and Morgan Freeman, and has presented lectures and workshops to more than 70,000 participants worldwide.
He is the best-selling author of Writing Screenplays That Sell (now in its 20th Anniversary Edition) and Selling Your Story in 60 Seconds: The Guaranteed Way to Get Your Screenplay or Novel Read. According to Will Smith,
“No one is better than Michael Hauge at finding what is most authentic in every moment of a story.” - Will Smith
After our interview with Michael Hauge and I decide to bring one of his best courses to the Bulletproof Screenplay Tribe. We called it the Screenplay and Story Blueprint: The Hero's Two Journeys. (Click here for a special discount)
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!
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