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- Tips and Knowledge from someone Hollywood's most successful screenwriters
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Do you want to learn screenwriting from some Hollywood's greatest working screenwriters? Look no further. This course has almost 40 hours of in-depth discussions with more than two-dozen of today's most successful Hollywood screenwriters. From Oscar® Winners to Blockbuster Screenwriters to Indie Film Hits, this course has it all! The Dialogue goes behind the scenes of the fascinating craft of screenwriting. They share
Their work habits
Methods and inspirations
Secrets of the trade
Eye-opening stories from life in the trenches of the film industry
Each screenwriter discusses his or her filmography in great detail and breaks down the mechanics of one favorite scene from their produced work. If you want to elevate your scripts and stories – AND your screenwriting or filmmaking career -- to the highest possible level, this class is a must.
They DON'T teach you this in Film School!
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Your Host on this EPIC adventure: Producer Mike De Luca is responsible for some of the most groundbreaking films of the last 15 years. After enrolling in New York University's film studies program at 17, De Luca dropped out four credits shy of graduation to take an unpaid internship at New Line Cinema. He advanced quickly there under the tutelage of founder Robert Shaye and eventually became president of production.
The Mask (1994), Se7en (1995), Boogie Nights (1997), Dark City (1998), Pleasantville (1998), and Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (1999) were all released under his supervision. In 2003, De Luca left New Line to become president of production at DreamWorks. After a brief tenure there, he left and signed a deal with Sony Pictures, where he produced Zathura (2005) and Ghost Rider (2006). His more recent work is The Social Network (2010), Moneyball (2011), and Captain Phillips (2013).
Whether you are filmmaking as a pro, making movies on the weekends with a DSLR camera or deep into the craft of screenwriting this is for you.
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Sheldon Turner is the prototype for the smart, brash, ambitious young screenwriter - but he's also got a law degree from NYU and has had his fiction published in the New Yorker. Turner recently broke through with his script for the 2005 remake of The Longest Yard, starring Chris Rock and Adam Sandler, and he has half a dozen other scripts in development. He's got insane discipline, writes longhand, and boycotts email.
He figured out how to work the system, and he's got more witty axioms for how to play the Hollywood game than a Tropicana craps dealer at 3 a.m. But you'll just have to hear Turner talk to get it: what being the biggest guy in the room can do for you, how to read an audience, what to say in pitch meetings, and why you should let everyone know that you think Lost in Translation sucks.
With close to 30 years experience in the business, Nicholas Kazan knows a few things about screenwriting. He has mastered research skills to write scripts based on true events like Frances, At Close Range, Patty Hearst, and Reversal of Fortune, which earned him an Oscar nomination. He has the knowledge of handling life after the nomination and how to manage studio notes and incorporate changes without weakening the script.
He has the expertise of directing his own script, Dream Lover, and writing with a partner, including a collaboration with his wife Robin Swicord on the adaptation of the Roald Dahl classic, Matilda. And on top of all that, this seasoned professional offers insight as to why he doesn't do lunches, what it takes to develop screenwriting muscles, and why life is always a comedy.
Writer, director, producer Marshall Herskovitz is one of the most prominent figures in film and television. With partner Ed Zwick, whom he met while attending the American Film Institute, Herskovitz created and executive produced the highly acclaimed TV shows thirtysomething and Once and Again, and co-wrote the film The Last Samurai, and Jack Reacher: Never Go Back (2016) starring Tom Cruise.
He served as producer on the films Traffic, I Am Sam, and Dangerous Beauty, which he also directed. In this revealing interview, you'll learn his theories on why writing is hallucinatory, directing is a samurai job, and how movies are like aircraft carriers.
With over 23 years in the business, Bruce Joel Rubin has done it all - from his Oscar-winning screenplay for the romantic-comedy/drama Ghost to the psychological thriller Jacob's Ladder, the family-friendly adventure Stuart Little 2, and the tearjerker My Life, which he also directed. In this in-depth interview, Rubin delivers some insightful stuff: his carpet-laying theory about writing, the story behind Jacob's Ladder's gut-wrenching opening scene, and which of his screenplays came about thanks to a burrito that didn't digest well.
Paul Attanasio's nuanced screenplays for Quiz Show and Donnie Brasco earned him Oscar nominations, and he recently wrote The Good German for Steven Soderbergh. In this intense dialogue, Attanasio describes how he transformed himself from "snotty" Washington Post film critic to master of adaptations for Oscar-winning directors Robert Redford, Barry Levinson, and Soderbergh.
Susannah Grant received an Oscar nomination for her screenplay for Erin Brockovich, an inspirational story based on the life of a working-class heroine. After her nomination, she went on to adapt In Her Shoes and Charlotte's Web, as well as to write and direct Catch and Release. Here, Grant goes into the midwife vs. mother role of novel adaptations, the importance of finding your voice, and why sometimes you just have to be able to really, really suck.
David S. Goyer has a deliciously twisted mind. (They don't call him "The Prince of Darkness" for nothing.) And he knows how to bring comic-book characters and superheroes to kicking, screaming, vengeful life, as he did in The Crow: City of Angels, the Blade series, and Batman Begins. His intense Batman screenplay, written with director Christopher Nolan (Memento, Insomnia), resurrected the moribund Dark Knight franchise and confirmed his writing voice as a go-to source for a green light. He went on to also write The Dark Knight (2008), Dark Knight Rises (2011), and Man of Steel (2013).
Here, in this wry and surprising dialogue, Goyer reveals his tricks of the trade for how to intimidate a room full of studio executives, when to stand on principle, how to hook an actor's ego with killer character descriptions and dialogue, and why fear can pay the bills.
Less than 10 years in the business, and Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci are already one of the most successful screenwriting teams in Hollywood. A team who became just that after meeting in high school, they began in television on the writing staffs of Hercules, Xena: Warrior Princess, and, eventually, the hit ABC show Alias, where they collaborated with Lost co-creator J.J. Abrams.Kurtzman and Orci's screenwriting credits include The Island, The Legend of Zorro, Mission: Impossible III, Transformers, and the upcoming Star Trek XI. Find out more as Kurtzman and Orci reveal their experiences analyzing Robocop, writing in Spanish accents, and getting better with age.
Jim Uhls is not your average screenwriter. For one thing, his nickname is "Professor Peculiar". For another, as this exclusive off-kilter discussion of his craft demonstrates, Uhls is eager to break the first rule of Fight Club: he talks about Fight Club. A lot. That seminal film, directed by David Fincher (Se7en, Panic Room), pushed every boundary possible for a studio movie, and Uhls' darkly funny script, adapted from the Chuck Palahniuk novel, is a wickedly subversive example of how to successfully adapt an "unadaptable" book.
Step inside the mind of the man who figured out how to do it, as Professor Peculiar explains how to use a newspaper story approach to build a brilliant pitch, why you should interview your characters, how to know when to "stick a fork" in your screenplay, and the macabre particulars of how and why he had to murder his brother's cat.
Australian screenwriter Stuart Beattie is credited with having written the role no one ever thought they'd see Tom Cruise play: Vincent, the riveting homicidal hit man in Beattie's original screenplay, Collateral, directed by Michael Mann (The Insider, Heat). After 15 years in the business, Beattie has learned a thing or two about how to make characters and plots sing (or sting) on the page.
And his long-gestating idea for a rejuvenation of the pirate movie eventually hit pay dirt with the Jerry Bruckheimer blockbuster, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, on which he has story credit. Listen in as Beattie describes what it feels like when Tom Cruise looks like he wants to kill you, where the best story ideas come from, and how to stay passionate when you can't even get your mother to read your screenplays.
Realizing at age 30 that he had missed his calling, Jonathan Hensleigh stopped practicing law to pursue screenwriting. And with his big break writing episodes of The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles for Steven Spielberg and George Lucas, his foray into the action-adventure genre began.
After writing the screenplay for Die Hard: With a Vengeance, he worked on such films as Jumanji, The Saint, Armageddon, and The Rock. Hensleigh also wrote and directed the film adaptation of Marvel Comics' The Punisher, for which he is also currently writing the sequel.
Jeff Nathanson is easily among the A-list of Hollywood screenwriters. His script for Catch Me If You Can earned him much critical praise, as well as the devotion of Steven Spielberg, who also brought him to work on his next movie, The Terminal.
Nathanson has also collaborated with Jan de Bont on Twister and Speed 2: Cruise Control and with Brett Ratner on the Rush Hour films. In this interview, learn more about why he dreads pitching, never speaks during a notes meeting, and finds he can do almost all his research with the Internet and old Playboy's.
While most writers find success in either TV or movies, comedy or drama, original or adapted screenplays, Ed Solomon has managed to do it all. He got his start in television sitcoms and went on to write quirky sci-fi comedies Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure and Men in Black, the crime drama Levity, which he also directed, and the adaptation of the mystery adventure novel Tokyo Suckerpunch. In this interview, get the scoop on Solomon's "bass-ackwards" entry into the world of screenwriting and how being just a funny guy translated into being a funny professional.
Billy Ray has written or co-written the screenplays for Color of Night, Volcano, and Hart's War, and also wrote The Hunger Games and Oscar Nominated Captain Philips as well as creating the sci-fi series Earth 2. In 2003, Ray wrote and directed Shattered Glass, which was based on the true story of fraudulent journalist Stephen Glass.
Most recently, he found himself back in the writer/director role for Breach, a story based on real-life FBI agent-turned-Soviet spy Robert Hanssen. In this intriguing interview, Ray touches on his inspiration from movie soundtracks and taking acting classes, as well as genius by osmosis and writing for The Jetsons.
Boston-born Scott Rosenberg burst onto the scene in 1995 with his hard-boiled screenplay for Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead. His repertoire crosses the film spectrum, including indie films like Beautiful Girls and such big-budget studio pictures as Gone in 60 Seconds and Con Air. His adaptation of the Nick Hornby novel High Fidelity garnered him a WGA Award nomination, and he is frequently called in for his skills as a script doctor.
In this interview, Rosenberg candidly reveals his tools of the trade, from finding inspiration in a Metallica album to his "intoxicating" recipe for overcoming writer's block. He explains how being a Red Sox fan prepared him for life as a screenwriter, why no one is more brilliant than Winnie the Pooh, and what happened one infamous night at a bar in North Carolina.
Peter and Bobby Farrelly have single-handedly - or rather, double-handedly - reinvented the comedy. Their films Dumb and Dumber, There's Something About Mary, Shallow Hal and Me, and Myself & Irene, have combined shocking-but-hilarious gross-out humor with sweet love stories, becoming blockbuster hits in the process. Other credits include Fever Pitch and The Heartbreak Kid.
Simon Kinberg recently burst onto the scene with his script for xXx: State of the Union; he has since worked on comics-to-film adaptations for Elektra and Fantastic Four. He penned the third film in the X-Men series, X-Men: Days of Futures Past. Kinberg's breakthrough hit, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, began as a script he wrote in college. It became one of the top-grossing movies of 2005. Listen in as he reveals his inspirations, from breakdancing movies to mentor Akiva Goldsman, and what you do and don't learn at film school.
Nia Vardalos was nominated for the Academy Award and the Writer's Guild Award in 2003 for her breakthrough screenplay My Big Fat Greek Wedding, which was based on her one-woman play. The film became the highest-grossing independent feature and turned her into an overnight success, spawning a follow-up sitcom and a cemented spot among Hollywood's elite writers. Listen as she talks candidly about her favorite laugh, tapping into her inner guy, and why her take on the hardest part of screenwriting just might make you blush.
Few screenwriters can concentrate for more than a few hours, let alone sustain a career in Hollywood for over 30 years. But the blockbuster comedy writing team of Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel has been making film and television audiences laugh for decades. In the early 70s, Ganz was writing for The Odd Couple while Mandel was receiving his first paychecks for work on M*A*S*H and Busting Loose. They both eventually landed on Happy Days, and when they followed actor-turned-director Ron Howard into feature films, the result was a frequent and fruitful creative partnership.
Listen in as these Bronx-born, old-school funnymen explain the inspiring pleasures of The Dick Van Dyke Show, how to sucker-punch viewers with jokes they never see coming, why writing out loud is the best way to find your voice, how to avoid research, and when to build a scene around a housewife with an axe.
John Hamburg is a very funny guy. Hamburg wrote and directed the crime comedy Safe Men, which played at Sundance and spawned a devoted cult following. A sure-thing comedy closer, the New York City native built hilarious set pieces and character work into Meet the Parents, Zoolander, and Meet the Fockers, which not only helped lift them to huge box office but also pushed a few new catchphrases into the American lexicon.
A veteran of the uncredited production rewrite, Hamburg also wrote and directed the romantic comedy Along Came Polly in 2004. In this amusing interview, Hamburg discusses how he developed his talent for writing actor-hooking dialogue in the humorous monologues he performed in college, why he'd do a thousand test screenings if he could, and what it's like to hand a new scene to Robert De Niro and stand there waiting to see if he likes it.
An accomplished writer, producer and director, Peter Tolan is probably best-known as co-creator of TV shows The Job and Rescue Me, and co-writer of Analyze This, and its sequel, Analyze That. He started his career on the writing staff of television sitcoms and then became a writer and producer on HBO's The Larry Sanders Show.
From there, Tolan made his foray into movies with the screenplays for My Fellow Americans, Bedazzled, and America's Sweethearts. In this candid interview, hear all about his tales of procrastination, writing movies in five days and why he says he would have a great career if it weren't for-himself.
There's no con more satisfying and lucrative than finding a way to make a living as a screenwriter. And Ted Griffin is a man who knows a good con. Anyone who tried to follow the clever criminal head games he built into his screenplays for Ocean's 11 and Matchstick Men knows not to trust this guy - except when he talks about screenwriting, which he does with great humor and insight in this enlightening interview.
The conversation ranges from his early work on Ravenous and Best Laid Plans through the unexpected pitfalls of trying to direct his first film, Rumor Has It.
Callie Khouri's seminal, Oscar-winning screenplay for Thelma & Louise, released in 1991, gave voice to a profound cultural moment and became one of the most provocative cinematic landmarks of the '90s. It was the Kentucky native's first attempt at a screenplay. In this enlightening interview, Khouri describes how spending years doing music-video production in the '80s inspired her not only to write, but to write with a purpose.
A passionate activist with a resume that includes Something to Talk About and her adaptation of Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, which she also directed, Khouri discusses in detail the pressure of living up to such early acclaim, what it's like to be a woman in the industry, and how the state of the world around you fuels and shapes your creative mindset.
Robin Swicord has secured a spot as one of Hollywood's top screenwriters. Her first big-screen adaptation was of the Louisa May Alcott novel Little Women, which starred Winona Ryder and proved to be a big success. That was soon followed by the adapted screenplays for The Perez Family, Practical Magic, Memoirs of a Geisha, and Matilda, which she penned with husband Nick Kazan. She has made her directing debut with The Jane Austen Book Club, which she also wrote.
David Seltzer knows Hollywood. He knows the business, the tricks of the trade, and all the hidden truths. He's got the stories from working with Jacques Cousteau, penning the horror classic The Omen, and adapting Roald Dahl's Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.
In addition to writing Dragonfly and My Giant, Seltzer also wrote and directed the coming-of-age story Lucas and Punchline. He can tell you why writing is like love-making and why there is no such thing as fiction. His advice about directing? Wear comfortable shoes. In this interview, you'll learn that and more, including what recent screenplay is the most elegant he has ever heard spoken on-screen and why you don't win arguments with movie stars.
Jose Rivera's pivotal screenplay for The Motorcycle Diaries was one of the most celebrated works of 2005. It earned him Writers Guild, BAFTA, and Academy Award nominations, and was his first major screenplay. His foray into movies came after establishing himself as an award-winning playwright and a hugely accomplished writer for television, where his credits include co-creating and producing the critically acclaimed television series Eerie, Indiana.
In this interview, Rivera discusses how his theatre training helped pave the way to screenwriting and why he compares the writing process to building cabinets. The Puerto Rican-born writer also talks about his latest project, the adaptation of Jack Kerouac's literary classic On the Road, which re-pairs him with Diaries director Walter Salles.