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David Simon interview “SHOW ME A HERO” on HBO

Oscar Isaac in "Show Me a Hero."

Oscar Isaac in “Show Me a Hero.”

David Simon is the creator of The Wire, which is often cited as the greatest television drama of all time. I wouldn’t argue with that label. His latest project is SHOW ME A HERO, a 6-hour miniseries on HBO, starring Oscar Isaac, Alfred Molina, Catherine Keener, Winona Ryder and many others, directed by Paul Haggis (“Crash”) and based on the book of the same name by Lisa Belkin. It is Executive Produced by Nina K. Noble, Gail Mutrux and William F. Zorzi.

Logline: In an America generations removed from the greatest civil rights struggles of the 1960s, the young mayor of a mid-sized American city is faced with a federal court order that says he must build a small number of low-income housing units in the white neighborhoods of his town. His attempt to do so tears the entire city apart, paralyzes the municipal government and, ultimately, destroys the mayor and his political future.

Q: When did you become aware of Lisa Belkin’s book? What initially struck you about it, and when did you see the potential for adapting it for the screen? Read more

David S. Goyer BAFTA screenwriting lecture

david-goyer-bafta-lecture-interview2

David Goyer, screenwriter of Blade, Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises, Man of Steel, the hugely successful video game series Call of Duty: Black Ops and TV’s Davinci’s Demons, gave a fantastic lecture and interview for BAFTA.

He talks about how he broke in, the increasing importance of television in terms of craft and the corporate media landscape, changing the superhero movie genre, constructing the “Ten Commandments” of Batman and Superman, writing for games and juggling multiple scripts at once. Here’s the full lecture and interview… Read more

New Story Maps Screenwriting Podcast with working screenwriter Christine Conradt

Screenwriter/Producer Christine Conradt joins Rob and I for the latest episode of the Story Maps Screenwriting Podcast, a casual discussion touching on many topics of interest for writers and filmmakers: Structure, concept, networking, budgets, breaking in, the Lifetime Movie Network, MOWs, Inktip, Kickstarter and more.

Christine gives a lot of great advice to aspiring screenwriters, drawing on her experience with her 38 produced writer credits, and talks about her upcoming directorial debut and, of course, Christopher Nolan.

 Listen to our conversation with Christine Conradt:

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Sitcom writing with the creators and cast of “The League”

The League on FX is now in its fourth season and I recently attended the premiere in Hollywood at the Arclight Cinemas and interviewed the talent on the red carpet. As always, I tried to ask each person about what they look for in a screenplay. Here’s three videos and I will have more coming soon.

Creators and Executive Producers of the comedy series The League Jeff and Jackie Schaffer (Seinfeld, Curb Your Enthusiasm) discuss their writing process:

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Miles and Jack in the modern "buddy comedy" Sideways

Rex Pickett interview (Sideways, Vertical)

Rex Pickett, author of the novel Sideways

Author Rex Pickett. Photo: rexpickett.com

I met Rex Pickett, the author of the novel Sideways that inspired the beloved film, at a showing of Sideways: the Play, which is currently playing at the Ruskin Group Theatre in Santa Monica, CA.

We spoke over a glass of Pinot (yes, the wine comes with your ticket, which is already surprisingly affordable for live theater), and he was very gracious with his time, even though he was no doubt answering the same questions about the movie that he’s fielded dozens of times. Most of all, he came across as an uncensored, uncompromising artist with no fear of burning any bridges — he shoots from the hip because he has to — that’s just his personality and he doesn’t compromise.

I knew I had to get him on my blog. Read more

HORROR: Interview with LOVELY MOLLY screenwriter Jamie Nash

Jamie Nash is a working screenwriter who lives in Maryland and primarily writes genre films — horror, supernatural, fantasy, etc. He has a strong working relationship with Eduardo Sánchez, co-director of The Blair Witch Project — they have collaborated on a number of projects — the films Altered, Seventh Moon and Exists, and the comedy web series ParaAbnormal.

Jamie and Ed’s latest film is Lovely Molly, an intense horror thriller about the possession of a young woman told via a mix of standard narrative and “found” footage. The film is currently in theaters in a limited release, after playing the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) and South by Southwest film festival. There is a wider release planned for the UK and it will go to VOD and DVD in August. Read more

Cast of Sunny in Philly on a Great Script

Dearest screenwriter,

They can stop me, but they will never stop my Flip Cam.

I’ve once again turned my tiny (yet 1080p!) lens on an unsuspecting batch of celebrities and asked them what they want to see in a screenplay. Here’s another clip from my video interview of the cast of the sitcom “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.” Read more

Billion dollar screenwriters Robert Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon

A clunky first draft is a million times more valuable than a perfect 10 pages or only 3/4 of a script that that never gets finished.

Robert Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon are a very successful screenwriting team whose films have grossed $1.4 billion worldwide (with the Night at the Museum franchise, their creation, being the heavy lifters in their filmography). Garant and Lennon met in 1988 while at NYU film school and joined with other students to form the comedy group, “The State,” which would later become an MTV sketch comedy series and land them a movie deal. Garant and Lennon were the only two members of the group with the discipline to sit down and write a feature-length screenplay, but they were newcomers and the deal fell through (in their words, they “would go out to L.A. and people would yell at us” because their ideas were just too weird for mainstream producers). Read more

Pro Screenwriters Panel at L.A. Film Fest (video)

Even Spike "the Story Analysis cat" is not entertained by me.

Dan’s 2-Minute Screenwriting School is back in action with an expert panel of top screenwriters including Dustin Lance Black (Milk, Big Love), Josh Olson (A History of Violence), Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely (Captain America, Chronicles of Narnia) and Diablo Cody (Juno). These professional script doctors discuss the importance of writing multiple projects at once. Read more