July 9 – The Spy Who Dumped Me

Meet on the Fox Studios backlot on July 9th for an in-depth analysis and discussion of the screenplay THE SPY WHO DUMPED ME.

Logline: A grocery store checkout girl and her best friend find themselves in the middle of an international conspiracy when one of them discovers the boyfriend who just dumped her worked for the CIA.

The Screenwriters: In 2008, SUSANNA FOGEL starred in the web series Joni & Susanna with her sketch comedy partner Joni Lefkowitz. Three years later, they debuted their one-act play, Life Partners, at Unscreened, a Hollywood showcase of short plays by up-and-coming screenwriters. The 2014 big-screen adaptation of that play became Susanna’s feature film directorial debut while she also developed, with Lefkowitz, Chasing Life, a series about a 24-year-old journalist with leukemia, which was adapted from a telenovela and ran for two seasons on ABC Family. DAVID ISERSON, Fogel’s co-writer on Dumped, began his writing career at Saturday Night Live. He went on to write and produce episodes of New Girl, Mad Men, Mozart in the Jungle, and Mr. Robot, for which he shared an Primetime Emmy Award nomination. His 2014 debut novel Firecracker made Rolling Stone’s list of the 40 best YA novels. Dumped is Iserson’s first credit on a feature film.

(registration deadline: Thursday, July 5)

Starring Mila Kunis (That 70s Show, Black Swan, Bad Moms) and Kate McKinnon (Saturday Night Live, Ghostbusters), with Sam Heughan (Outlander), Hasan Minhaj (The Daily Show), Ivanna Sakhno (Pacific Rim Uprising), Justin Theroux (Mulholland Drive), and Gillian Anderson (The X-Files).

Producers and Production Companies: The Spy Who Dumped Me was produced by Imagine Entertainment’s Brian Grazer (A Beautiful Mind, Kindergarten Cop) and Erica Huggins (The Dark Tower), and co-produced by Tina Anderson (Insurgent and post-production supervisor on 20 features including Argo and Quentin Tarantino’s last three films). Lionsgate won distribution rights in a bidding war.

Release Date: The Spy Who Dumped Me opens August 3 (Lionsgate).

Rated R. 116 minutes. 117 pages. Action Comedy.

NEIL LANDAU will provide in-depth analysis and lead our discussion. Currently the Assistant Dean of Dean’s Special Programs at UCLA School of Theater, Film & Television, Neil’s screenwriting credits include the cult hit comedy Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead starring Christina Applegate and the hit TV shows Melrose Place, Doogie Howser M.D., Twice in a Lifetime, and The Young & the Restless. In 2012, his work on the screenplay for the animated feature Tad, the Lost Explorer won him a Goya award (Spain’s Oscar). He has also written five screenwriting books, including The Screenwriter’s Roadmap and The TV Showrunner’s Roadmap. Visit neillandau.com for more, or follow him on Twitter (@neilland).

ALSO DON’T FORGET

CASE STUDY: THE GRADUATE

Monday, June 25, 2018

With BEVERLY GRAY
author of Seduced by Mrs. Robinson:
How The Graduate became the Touchstone of a Generation

Register by noon, Friday, June 22

(click here for details)

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March 12 – Ready Player One

RegisterNow(registration deadline: Friday, March 9)

Meet on the Fox Studios backlot on March 12th for an in-depth analysis and discussion of the screenplay READY PLAYER ONE.

Logline: In an overpopulated dystopian future, Wade Watts escapes into the 1980s-pop-culture-influenced virtual reality world of OASIS where he searches for hidden “Easter eggs” that may win him inheritance of the game creator’s vast fortune.

The Writers: Sci-fi novelist and screenwriter ERNEST CLINE started out as a competitive slam poet, winning the Austin Poetry Slam in 1998 and 2001. After writing a fan-fiction screenplay based on Buckaroo Banzai, his first produced screenwriting credit came in 2009 from Fanboys, a spec script he wrote in 1998 about a group of Star Wars fans on a cross-country road trip hoping to get their dying friend an advance screening of the first Star Wars prequel, The Phantom Menace. Cline’s first novel, Ready Player One, described as the “Holy Grail of Pop Culture,” sold to Random House’s Crown Publishing in a bidding war in 2010 and was published in 2011. Cline wrote the first draft of the screenplay, with uncredited rewrites provided by ERIC EASON (A Better Life) and final, credited rewrites by ZAK PENN (Last Action Hero, The Avengers).

Directed by Steven Spielberg, whose sci-fi hits include E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, Jurassic Park, War of the Worlds, Minority Report, A.I. Artificial Intelligence, and Close Encounters of the Third Kind, the film stars Tye Sheridan (The Tree of Life, X-Men: Apocalypse), Olivia Cooke (Bates Motel, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl), Ben Mendelsohn (Bloodline, Rogue One), T.J. Miller (Silicon Valley), Simon Pegg (Shaun of the Dead, Star Trek), and Mark Rylance (Brigde of Spies, Dunkirk).

Producers and Production Companies: The film rights sold at auction to Warner Bros. and De Line Pictures the same day the author’s publishing deal with Random House was finalized. Donald De Line, former head of production at Paramount Pictures, whose production credits include last year’s remake of Going in Style and 2011’s Green Lantern, produced Ready Player One under his banner, which he established in 1998, along with former Scott Rudin intern Dan Farah (the upcoming The Crow reboot) for Farah Films, Amblin Entertainment partner Kristie Macosko Krieger (Bridge of Spies, The Post), and director Steven Spielberg for his companies, Amblin and DreamWorks. Random House also shares a film production imprint credit, as do Brent Ratner’s RatPac-Dune Entertainment and Village Roadshow Pictures.

Release Date: Opens worldwide on March 29th (Warner Bros.).

Rated PG-13. 121 pages. Sci-Fi, Action-Adventure.

Wendell WellmanWENDELL WELLMAN will provide in-depth analysis and lead our discussion. Trained at the Actors Studio and the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute, Wendell has acted in feature films, television, and on stage. He has taught screenwriting at UCLA and wrote FIREFOX, SUDDEN IMPACT, and the final Dirty Harry script for Clint Eastwood. He recently completed adapting the novel The River Journey by Robert Nathan and is currently working on setting up his screenplay Top Hat. Wendell’s book, A Writer’s Roadmap, is available at Amazon.

June 12 – The Mummy

RegisterNow(registration deadline: Friday, June 9)

Meet on the Fox Studios backlot on June 12th for an in-depth analysis and discussion of the screenplay THE MUMMY.

Logline: An ancient princess is awakened from her crypt beneath the desert, bringing with her malevolence grown over millennia and terrors that defy human comprehension.

Screenwriters: JON SPAIHTS first gained industry attention when his sci-fi spec script Passengers found a spot on the 2007 Black List. Produced nine years later with Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt in the lead roles, the film was released in December of last year, making over $300 million. Before that, Spaihts had writing credits on Ridley Scott’s first Alien prequel, Prometheus (2012), and Marvel’s Doctor Strange, released a month before Passengers. The two franchise films made over $400 million and $600 million, respectively. We will be reading Sphait’s 7/11/13 draft of The Mummy. On the finished film, he shares a writing credit with CHRISTOPHER MCQUARRIE, who won an Academy Award in 1996 for his second produced feature screenplay, The Usual Suspects. The Mummy reboot marks his fifth outing with Tom Cruise, having also written the scripts for Valkyrie (2008) and Edge of Tomorrow (2014), and written and directed Jack Reacher (2012) and Mission: Impossible–Rogue Nation (2015).

Directed by Alex Kurtzman, co-writer of such hits as Transformers, Mission: Impossible III, and Star Trek, The Mummy launches the new Universal Monsters shared universe series of films that is expected to include re-imaginings of Dracula, Frankenstein, The Wolf Man, and The Invisible Man, among others. In addition to Cruise, The Mummy stars Sofia Boutella (Kingsman: The Secret Service) in the title role, Annabelle Wallis (BBC’s Peaky Blinders), Jake Johnson (New Girl), Courtney B. Vance (The People v. O.J. Simpson), and Academy Award winner Russell Crowe (Gladiator, A Beautiful Mind) as Dr. Jekyll.

Producers and Production Companies: At age 34 in 1985, Sean Daniel became the youngest head of production in the history of Universal Pictures. After leaving the studio, he went on to produce the previous Mummy franchise for them through his company Alphaville Films, and is now producing the reboot franchise under his new banner, The Sean Daniel Company. Chris Morgan, screenwriter of several Fast and the Furious movies, and Kurtzman have been put in charge of development for the entire Universal Monsters shared universe series under Kurtzman’s new Secret Hideout banner, which is also producing the new series Star Trek: Discovery. Kurtzman’s former writing partner, Roberto Orci, also produced The Mummy via K/O Paper Products, the production company he started with Kurtzman.

Release Date: June 9 (Universal Pictures)

Rated PG-13. 120 minutes. 123 pages. Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Horror.

pamelajayesmithPAMELA JAYE SMITH will provide in-depth analysis and lead our discussion. A mythologist and award-winning producer/director with over thirty years experience in features, TV, music videos, and more, Pamela is the author of five books, including The Power of the Dark Side: Creating Great Villains and Inner Drives: How to Write and Create Characters Using the Eight Classic Centers of Motivation. Her company, MYTHWORKS, offers consulting and coaching and, through her Pitch Proxy service, pitches writers’ projects at pitch festivals they cannot attend. Visit pamelajayesmith.com for more information.

May 8 – Snatched

RegisterNow(registration deadline: Friday, May 5)

Meet on the Fox Studios backlot on May 8th for an in-depth analysis and discussion of the screenplay SNATCHED.

Logline: After her boyfriend dumps her on the eve of their exotic vacation, an impetuous dreamer persuades her ultra-cautious mother to travel with her to paradise, where they are kidnapped and must work through their differences to save themselves.

Writers: KATIE DIPPOLD was a performer for the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre and in sketches on Late Night with Conan O’Brien before becoming a television writer for such shows as MADtv and Parks and Recreation. In 2012, Variety named her one of the “10 Screenwriters to Watch.” Her first produced feature screenplay was 2013’s The Heat starring Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy. The action comedy grossed $159 million in the US. Dippold followed this up with the 2016 Ghostbusters reboot, co-written with the film’s director, Paul Feig, who also directed The Heat. Inspired by Dippold’s own relationship with her mother, Snatched is her third feature writing credit. The film’s star, Amy Schumer, is said to have also worked on the script with her sister, Kim Caramele.

Academy Award winner Goldie Hawn stars in Snatched alongside Schumer, returning to the big screen after a fifteen year absence. Directed by Jonathan Levine (50/50Warm Bodies), Snatched also features two-time Oscar nominee Joan Cusack (Shameless), Christopher Meloni (Law & Order: SVU), MADtv‘s Ike Barinholtz (Suicide Squad), Wanda Sykes (The Wanda Sykes Show), and Randall Park (Fresh Off the Boat).

Producers and Production Companies: Paul Feig, the director of Dippold’s first two movies, and Jessie Henderson (The Heat, Spy) produced Snatched through Feigco Entertainment. Oscar-nominated Hidden Figures producers Peter Chernin (Planet of the Apes reboot film series) and Jenno Topping (Charlie’s Angels films) also produced through Chernin’s Fox-based Chernin Entertainment. Henderson was previously an exec at Chernin before moving to Feigco.

Release Date: May 12 (20th Century Fox)

Rated R. 91 minutes. 119 pages. Action, Comedy.

DianeDrake150DIANE DRAKE will provide in-depth analysis and lead our discussion. Prior to writing the hit movies Only You (starring Robert Downey Jr. and Marissa Tomei) and What Women Want (starring Mel Gibson and Helen Hunt), Diane served as Vice President of Creative Affairs for Sydney Pollack (Out of Africa, Tootsie), honing her story skills while analyzing hundreds of screenplays to find and develop material for the Oscar-winning producer-director. She has taught through the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program and currently offers online courses and workshops at www.dianedrake.com. Her first book, Get Your Story Straight, was released in 2016. Follow her on Twitter (@dianedrake) to find out more.