BPS 034: The Hidden Tools of Comedy with Steve Kaplan
Today on the show we have comedy legend, author, and writer Steve Kaplan. For years, Steve Kaplan has been the industry’s most sought-after expert on comedy. In addition to having taught at UCLA, NYU, Yale and other top universities, Steve created the HBO Workspace, the HBO New Writers Program and was co-founder and Artistic Director of Manhattan Punch Line Theatre. He has consulted and taught workshops at companies such as HBO, DreamWorks, Disney, Aardman Animation, Sony Pictures Network India, Globo Brazil, and others.
In New York, Steve was co-founder and Artistic Director of Manhattan Punch Line Theatre, where he developed writers such as Peter Tolan (Analyze This, The Larry Sanders Show), writer and producer David Crane (Friends, Episodes), writer/producer Tracy Poust (Ugly Betty, Will & Grace), Michael Patrick King (Sex and The City, Will & Grace), David Ives (Venus in Fur), Howard Korder (Boardwalk Empire), David Fury (The Tick, Buffy, The Vampire Slayer), Lisa Loomer (The Waiting Room), Tom Donaghy (The Mentalist), Kenneth Lonergan (Manchester by the Sea) and Mark O’Donnell (Hairspray) and introduced such performers as Lewis Black, Mercedes Ruehl, Oliver Platt, Helen Slater, Fisher Stevens, Veanne Cox, Sam McMurray, Vickie Lewis and Illeana Douglas.
In Los Angeles, he created the HBO New Writers Project, discovering HBO Pictures screenwriter Will Scheffer (Big Love), and performer/writer Sandra Tsing Loh (Aliens in America),; and the HBO Workspace, a developmental workshop in Hollywood that introduced and presented performers such as Jack Black and Tenacious D, Kathy Griffin, Bob Odenkirk and David Cross (Mr. Show), Josh Malina and Paul F. Tompkins. At the Workspace, he was Executive Producer for the award-winning HBO Original Programming documentary DROP DEAD GORGEOUS. Steve has directed in regional theaters and Off-Broadway (including Sandra Tsing Loh’s ALIENS IN AMERICA at Second Stage).
In addition to private coaching and one-on-one consultations, Steve has taught his Comedy Intensive workshops to thousands of students in the United States and countries around the world, including London, Toronto, Galway, Athens, Paris, Tel Aviv, Sydney, Melbourne, Rio, Munich, New Zealand, and Singapore. This year, he will be presenting seminars and workshops in Los Angeles, Brussels, London, and via Skype, Sweden.
His new book The Comic Hero’s Journey. I can’t recommend it enough.
A comic hero or heroine also goes on a journey, but for the comic hero, it’s often quite, quite different. The hero decides to go on the adventure; the comic hero often has no choice. The hero has a wise old man; the comic hero often meets an idiot who inadvertently says something that can teach him a thing or two. Steve Kaplan will show you the diverse paths that comedy takes in The Comic Hero’s Journey.
This interview is EPIC! If you want to learn how to create funny in your screenplays or projects this episode is for you.
BPS 033: Beat by Beat to a Better Screenplay with Jim Mercurio
Today on the show we have Jim Mercurio. Jim is a filmmaker, writer, and author whose screenwriting instruction has inspired tens of thousands of writers around the world. Creative Screenwriting ranked him as one of the country’s top story analysts:
“The best example of how an analyst can give concrete help without veering off the track of your story... (Jim) is not just telling you how to rewrite a particular script... but how to apply it to future work as well.”
Jim works with Oscar-nominated and A-List writers as well as complete beginners. He adapts to each writer and script.
Jim is a true champion for undiscovered writers and filmmakers. He produced Hard Scrambled which, like the horror-thriller he directed Last Girl, was discovered in a contest. The film stars Kurtwood Smith (That 70’s Show) and indie stalwart Richard Edson. It premiered at Cinequest and won Best Dramatic Feature at Garden State Film Festival. His experience as a filmmaker informs his approach to the material. He helps you to execute your vision with vivid and cinematic storytelling that can attract allies like directors and producers.
He directed more than 60 hours of Screenwriting education including the first 40 Workshops in the Screenwriting Expo Series including classes by some of the other top screenwriting teachers in the world. His own course Killer Endings was one of the best sellers from the collection. He wrote and directed Making Hard Scrambled Movies, filmmaking tutorials, as bonus material for Hard Scrambled’s original release. The Washington Post called them “a must for would-be filmmakers.”
Inspired by his work on the Expo series, Jim applied his entrepreneurial “go big or go home” attitude to the six-disc DVD set Complete Screenwriting: From A to Z to A-List, a behemoth of screenwriting instruction. It is one of the most comprehensive screenwriting resources in the world. It’s a fast and furious ten hours with an hour of stunning motion graphics that help to explain seldom-discussed topics like theme, concept and character orchestration.
Together, Jim’s course and book illustrate his forte, to illustrate advanced craft and nitty-gritty insight essential for mastery of screenwriting craft. Enjoy my conversation with Jim Mercurio.
BPS 032: The Cure for Writer's Block with Matthew Kalil (CROSSOVER EVENT)
Have you ever had writer's block? We all have at one point or another and it sucks! Today's guest, Matthew Kalil, has the cure. He has written a new book called The [easyazon_link identifier="1615932860" locale="US" tag="whatisbroke-20"]Three Wells of Screenwriting[/easyazon_link]. Working from a writer’s perspective, the book explores these Three Wells and helps you consciously draw from them to develop new scripts, or strengthen old ones. It includes 29 exercises and techniques that help you to write stories that contain fresh ideas, intriguing characters, original scenes, inventive dialogue, unique locations, and important themes.
I had such a ball with Matthew that I had to make it a crossover episode with the Bulletproof Screenplay Podcast. Enjoy my conversation with Matthew Kalil.
BPS 031: How to Break into Television Writing with Steven Vitolo
Have you ever wondered what it takes to break into a network television writer's room? Then this episode is for you. Today's guest is Steven Vitolo and he did just that. His latest written episode is on the hit ABC show Black-ish. Steven has over 10 years of experience working in writers rooms, most recently as a script coordinator on the TV series Black-ish, where he co-wrote the episode "Dream Home."
Steven Vitolo also is the CEO and founder of Scriptation, the script reading and annotating app for film, television, and video production. Steven developed Scriptation after seeing first-hand the staggering amount of paper that gets consumed on set and is dedicated to promoting sustainable practices that inspire productions to go paperless.
Enjoy my conversation with Steven Vitolo.
BPS 030: Inside HBO's Writers Room with Showrunner Daniel Knauf
Today's guest is writer and showrunner, Daniel Knauf. Daniel Knauf had a couple of small credits to his name—a TV movie here, a stint on Wolf Lake there—when he managed to sell the intricate Great Depression-era genre show Carnivàle to HBO.
The series, an intricate blend of meticulously researched period detail and secret-history fantasy, purported to tell the tale of what happened when the last two “Avatars”—superpowered beings of light and darkness—met in the United States on the eve of World War II. The series attracted a cult audience that remains devoted to this day, but a mass audience wasn’t sure what to make of the program, and HBO canceled it after two seasons, saying the show’s story was finished, in spite of Knauf’s plan for a six-season run.
We go deep inside the writer's room, what it takes to be a showrunner and many of his misadventures in Hollyweird!
Enjoy my conversation with Daniel Knauf.
Indie Film Hustle TV: December 2018 Releases
First off thank you for all the support that the IFH Tribe has given to IFHTV. It has been overwelling and that's why I'm so busy acquiring and producing amazing new content for you every month.
I'll be doing these posts one a month to tell you all about the new releases I have in store for you on Indie Film Hustle TV. I've been a busy beaver and December will have over 20 hours of new content for your streaming pleasure. Also, I'd like to announce IFHTV is now available on Apple TV, Roku and Amazon TV Apps. Just go to the platforms and do a search for "Indie Film Hustle TV" and our app will pop up.
Let's get to it.
IFHTV Update: BLACK FRIDAY WEEK LONG SALE
Black Friday week is finally here. I wanted to do something special for the IFH Tribe this week so I decided to create a special sale for you guys. Between Today and Cyber Monday, if you sign up for Indie Film Hustle TV receive another FREE MONTH to give to someone else at no additional charge.
All you need to do is sign up for IFHTV and we'll email you a nice e-gift card you can give to your friend, colleague, family or anyone you like.
Head over to Indie Film Hustle TV and sign up. We have a TON of new feature films, docs, courses, and interviews. I'll be releasing a December IFHTV Update soon with all the new content we have planned for you.
Happy Black Friday week and Turkey Day!
BPS 029: How to Pitch Your Screenplay in 60 Seconds with Michael Hauge
You walk onto an elevator and just before the door closes Steven Spielberg gets on. You have 60 secs to pitch him your latest screenplay. What do you do? Your goal is to have your audience say “yes, I understand, and I care” after reading or watching your brand story.
If your audience just says “now I know” then you have successfully informed them but not enough to make them care, to make them stay to whatever you have to say next. Your career can be made in 60 seconds - if you make the right pitch!
Today's guest is returning champion Michael Hauge. 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
We discuss pitching techniques, the pitch story arch, and much more. After partnering with Michael on the best-selling Udemy Screenwriting course Screenplay and Story Blueprint: The Hero’s Two Journeys I wanted to work with him again. We came up with the NEW online course Pitching Your Screenplay or Novel in 60 Secs.
Enjoy my conversation with Michael Hauge.
BONUS: Indie Film Hustle TV is LIVE! It's NETFLIX for Screenwriters and Storytellers
Today is the day. IFHTV is LIVE! Go check it out at www.indiefilmhustle.tv. It's taken me months getting this ready for you and I hope you love it as much as I do. It has been a dream of mine to have a place where filmmakers, screenwriters and content creators could go to get their "fix" of filmmaking behind the scenes, interviews, documentaries, online education, and feature films. This has truly been a labor of love. Here's what you can expect from Indie Film Hustle TV.
IFHTV will be the world's first Netflix meets Masterclass style streaming services dedicated to filmmakers, screenwriters and content creators. Thousands of videos to help you on your filmmaking and screenwriting journey.
IFHTV is available worldwide and will be accessible on over 1000 devices including, MACs, PCs, streaming media boxes such as Roku, Apple TV, Chromecast, and Nexus Player. Coming soon iOS devices and Android devices Apps.
So what are you waiting for? Head over to www.ifhtv.com, kick the tires and let me know what you think. Please send feedback to email@example.com. I really want to make IFHTV the best it can be and I need your feedback.
Price is $10.99/month or $120.00/year. After Feb 1st it goes up to the normal price of $13.99/mth and $150/yr so if you are interested sign up now to get that limited time price for the life of your subscription. Go to www.ifhtv.com.
Thanks again for all the support and happy streaming!
BPS 028: The Art and Craft of Writing a Comedy with Peter Desberg & Jeffrey Davis
If you ever wanted to know some of the secrets of how to write a comedy then today's guest might be able to help. Peter Desberg and Jeffrey Davis are the authors of Now That’s Funny! The Art and Craft of Comedy Writing, a new book that provides an intimate look into the minds of twenty-nine of Hollywood’s funniest comedy writers from movies and TV shows like:
Saturday Night Live
Everybody Loves Raymond
There's Something About Mary
Dumb and Dumber
The writers were asked to develop a generic comedy premise created by the authors, giving readers a window into their writing process. There were no rules, no boundaries, and no limits. What emerges is an entertaining look—illuminating and hilarious—at the creative process behind hit comedy TV shows and movies.
Enjoy my conversation with Peter Desberg and Jeffrey Davis.
BPS 027: How to Story Map and Break Down Your Screenplay with Daniel Calvisi
Today's guest is author Daniel Calvisi. Dan wrote the book Story Maps: How to Write a GREAT Screenplay. He breaks down stories and shows you how to map out your own by analyzing how the masters construct their screenplays. Here's a bit more on today's guest.
Daniel Calvisi is a story analyst, speaker, screenwriter and an author. He is a former Story Analyst for major studios like Twentieth Century Fox, Miramax, Twentieth Century Fox, Miramax Films, and New Line Cinema. He coaches writers, teaches webinars on writing for film and television with The Writers Store and speaks at writing conferences and book signings. He holds a degree in Film and Television from the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University.
So stop reading this and listen to the podcast already. Enjoy my conversation with Daniel Calvisi.
BPS 026: IFHTV - The World's 1st Streaming Service for Screenwriters & Filmmakers
The wait is over! This is what I've been working on for months. May I introduce you to IFHTV (Indie Film Hustle TV), the world's first streaming service dedicated to filmmakers, screenwriters, creatives and content creators.
I wanted to create a place where film creatives and storytellers could be informed and inspired, no matter where you lived in the world. When I was younger I would hunt for any content on filmmaking, behind the scenes, screenwriting, etc. Combing through DVDs, Laserdiscs and even VHS.
IFHTV is the natural evolution of Indie Film Hustle. My mission is to help as many creatives, filmmakers and screenwriters on their artist path. I hope to grow the platform into a Netflix-style place for people to learn and be inspired.
IFHTV will not only be an educational platform but it will also stream content covering the film business, acting, filmmaking, post-production, screenwriting, storytelling:
Social Media and Marketing
Exclusive IFHTV Original Content and Shows
Inspirational Films as well
IFHTV will launch worldwide November 1, 2018. It will be accessible on over 1000 devices including iOS devices, Android devices, MACs, PCs, streaming media boxes such as Roku, Apple TV, Chromecast, and Nexus Player.
The launch special will be $10.99 for 90 days. On Feb 1, 20,19 the price will go to $13.99.
Take a listen to this episode to get all the low down on what I'm doing with IFHTV, including content, films, and documentaries we'll be launch with. Thanks for your support and I really hope you love IFHTV as much as I do.
BPS 025: Writing Screenplays that Actually Sell with Lucy V. Hay
Today on the show we have Lucy V. Hay from Bang2Write. Lucy is an author and script editor, living in Devon with her husband, three children, and six cats. Lucy is the associate producer of Brit Thrillers Deviation (2012) and Assassin (2015) both starring Danny Dyer.
In addition to script reading and writing her own novels, Lucy also blogs about the writing process, screenwriting, genre, careers and motivation and much more at her blog Bang2write, one of the most-hit writing sites in the UK.
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!
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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