February 14 – CODA & The Tender Bar

Meet ONLINE from 7:00-10:00 PM Pacific Time on February 14th for a coming-of-age DOUBLE FEATURE in-depth analysis and discussion of the screenplays CODA and THE TENDER BAR.

This month we’ll read, discuss, analyze, compare, and contrast not one, but two screenplays, both in the coming-of-age genre and both generating awards-season buzz.

Written and directed by SIAN HEDER, CODA follows a hearing teenage girl who is a Child Of Deaf Adults torn between following her dream of attending Berklee College of Music and her fear of abandoning her deaf family. Heder won a Peabody award in 2010 for her work on the TV series Men of a Certain Age and wrote for the first three seasons of Orange Is the New Black. She made her feature debut as writer/director with Netflix’s Tallulah starring Ellen Page and Allison Janney. An English-language remake of the 2014 César-nominated French film La Famille Bélier, CODA stars Emilia Jones (Locke & Key), Academy Award winner Marlee Matlin (Children of a Lesser God, Switched at Birth), and Eugenio Derbez (Instructions Not Included, How to Be a Latin Lover).

Based on the memoir of Pulitzer Prize winning journalist J.R. Moehringer (Resurrecting the Champ), The Tender Bar tells the story of a nine-year-old Long Island boy from a dysfunctional family who bonds with his uncle, a bar owner who encourages him to become a writer. The screenplay was written by former journalist/novelist WILLIAM MONAHAN, whose screenwriting credits include Ridley Scott’s Kingdom of Heaven, Body of Lies, and The Gambler (2014). In 2007, Monahan won an Academy Award for his screenplay adaptation of Infernal Affairs, Martin Scorsese’s The Departed. The Tender Bar is directed by George Clooney (The Ides of March, Suburbicon) and stars Ben Affleck (Justice League, The Accountant), Tye Sheridan (Ready Player One, The Card Counter), Lily Rabe (American Horror Story), and Christopher Lloyd (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Back to the Future).

(registration deadline: Friday, February 11)

Registration in advance is required to attend the discussion, and includes a copy of the script sent to you in advance.

Single Meeting Fee: $45
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WENDELL WELLMAN will provide in-depth script analysis and lead our discussion. Wendell WellmanScreenwriter, actor, playwright, teacher, and author of A Writer’s Roadmap, Wendell has taught screenwriting at UCLA and UWV and has been a frequent guest moderator at StoryBoardDG.com’s Screenplay Development Group. As an actor, Wendell studied under Lee Strasberg and Peggy Feury at the Strasberg Institute and has appeared in episodic television, theater, and motion pictures, including prominent roles in the films The Klansman starring Lee Marvin and Richard Burton, Sudden Impact, Sommersby, and Street of Dreams. As a writer, he teamed up with Alex Lasker to adapt the novel Firefox for director Clint Eastwood. He also did additional work for Eastwood on the screenplay for Sudden Impact and wrote a final Dirty Harry project. Wendell also worked with the West End Theatre Group as co-founder and artistic director while continuing to alternate between acting and writing assignments. He is currently writing original feature scripts.

CODA is currently streaming on Apple TV+. It premiered at Sundance in 2021 where it won the audience award, the grand jury award, and the directing award, and was nominated for two Golden Globes, Best Picture Drama and Best Supporting Actor (Troy Katsur) among its many other accolades.

Rated PG-13. 79 pages. 111 minutes. Drama.

The Tender Bar is currently streaming on Amazon Prime Video. Its accolades include a Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actor (Ben Affleck).

Rated R. 131 pages. 104 minutes. Drama.

If you have not seen the movies, it is highly recommended that you that you first read the screenplay so your initial impression is from the writing on the page. Also please watch the movies before the meeting as our discussion will include comparison of the writing on the page with what is seen and heard while watching the movie.

December 13 – House of Gucci

Meet ONLINE from 7:00-10:00 PM Pacific Time on December 13th for an in-depth analysis and discussion of the screenplay for the upcoming Ridley Scott-helmed crime thriller HOUSE OF GUCCI.

LOGLINE: Three decades of love, betrayal, decadence, and revenge mark the extravagant life and grisly 1995 murder of fashion designer Maurizio Gucci.

THE WRITERS: The screenplay is based on the book The House of Gucci: A True Story of Murder, Madness, Glamour, and Greed by SARA GAY FORDEN, a journalist who covered Italian fashion for fifteen years and now covers corporate influence in Washington, DC for Bloomberg News. Academy Award nominated screenwriter BECKY JOHNSTON (The Prince of Tides) wrote the screenplay. Johnston’s other credits include Under the Cherry Moon, starring and directed by Prince, and Seven Years in Tibet, starring Brad Pitt. Ridley Scott was first attached to the project in 2006 with a script by Andrea Berloff (Straight Outta Compton). Charles Randolph (The Big Short) also worked on the script. We will be reading and discussing the April 19, 2019 draft by Italian filmmaker ROBERTO BENTIVEGNA. This will be the first feature screenwriting credit for Bentivegna, which he shares with Johnston, who also has story credit.

(registration deadline: Friday, December 10)

Registration in advance is required to attend the discussion, and includes a copy of the script sent to you in advance.

Single Meeting Fee: $45
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Scheduled for release on November 24, House of Gucci stars Lady Gaga (A Star Is Born), Adam Driver (Marriage Story, Star Wars sequel trilogy), Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club, Fight Club), Jeremy Irons (The Lion King, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice), Salma Hayek (Frida), and Al Pacino (The Godfather trilogy).

Rated R. 133 pages. 157 minutes. Drama. Crime. Biopic.

Jennifer DornbushJENNIFER DORNBUSH will provide in-depth analysis and lead our discussion. The daughter of a medical examiner, Jennifer is a forensic specialist who began investigating deaths at eight years old. Trained at the Forensic Science Academy, her decades of experience have made her a sought-after consultant on such shows as Hawaii Five-0, Suits, Rectify, and Prison Break, and speaker at The Writer’s Store, Sisters in Crime, Scriptwriters Network, and Story Expo, to name a few. Wanting to share her love of forensics with other storytellers, she penned Forensic Speak: How To Write Realistic Crime Dramas, published by Michael Wiese Productions. She is also the author of the Coroner’s Daughter Mystery two-book series and wrote the screenplay for God Bless the Broken Road as well as its novelization for Simon & Schuster. Visit jenniferdornbush.com for more.

October 11 – DUNE (2021)

Meet ONLINE from 7:00-10:00 PM Pacific Time on October 11th for an in-depth analysis and discussion of the screenplay for the upcoming remake of DUNE.

LOGLINE: A duke oversees the spice mining operations on a dangerous, desert planet, battling the natives for the most valuable substance in the universe, a drug that extends human life.

THE WRITERS: Dune is based on the first half of the Nebula and Hugo award-winning 1965 novel by FRANK HERBERT and is expected to be followed by a sequel based on the second half of the book. Inspired partially by the author’s experiences with psychedelic mushrooms, Herbert wrote five sequels to Dune before his death in 1986. The novel was adapted by screenwriters ERIC ROTH and DENIS VILLENEUVE and JON SPAIHTS. Roth won an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for Forrest Gump and has been nominated four other times, most recently for the 2018 remake of A Star Is Born. He has also written the upcoming Martin Scorsese Western Killers of the Flower Moon. French Canadian Villeneuve, who also helmed this version of Dune, gained prominence as the director and co-writer of Incendies, which was nominated for an Oscar for Best Foreign Film. He has also made the acclaimed thrillers Prisoners and Sicario and sci-fi films Arrival and Blade Runner 2049. Spaihts started his career when his sci-fi spec script Passengers appeared on the 2007 Black List; it was produced in 2016, starring Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence. Spaihts’s other screenwriting credits include Ridley Scott’s Alien prequel, Prometheus, and Marvel’s Doctor Strange.

(registration deadline: Friday, October 8)

Registration in advance is required to attend the discussion, and includes a copy of the script sent to you in advance.

SPECIAL OFFER – ONLY $150 FOR A NEW MEMBERSHIP OR RENEWAL!
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Dune: Part One stars Timothée Chalamet (Call Me by Your Name). Also featured in the epic film are Rebecca Ferguson (The Greatest Showman), Oscar Isaac (Star Wars episodes VII-IX), Josh Brolin (The Goonies), Stellan Skarsgård (Erik Selvig in the MCU movies), professional wrestler Dave Bautista (Drax the Destroyer in the MCU), Zendaya (MJ in the most recent Spider-Man movies), Charlotte Rampling (Basic Instinct 2), and Javier Bardem (No Country For Old Men). The film premiered September 3 at the Venice International Film Festival and will be released theatrically in the U.S. while simultaneously streaming on HBO Max beginning October 22.

Rated PG-13. 130 pages (9/24/18 draft). 155 minutes. Sci-Fi. Action/Adventure. Drama.

WENDELL WELLMAN will provide in-depth script analysis and lead our discussion. Wendell WellmanScreenwriter, actor, playwright, teacher, and author of A Writer’s Roadmap, Wendell has taught screenwriting at UCLA and UWV and has been a frequent guest moderator at StoryBoardDG.com’s Screenplay Development Group. As an actor, Wendell studied under Lee Strasberg and Peggy Feury at the Strasberg Institute and has appeared in episodic television, theater, and motion pictures, including prominent roles in the films The Klansman starring Lee Marvin and Richard Burton, Sudden Impact, Sommersby, and Street of Dreams. As a writer, he teamed up with Alex Lasker to adapt the novel Firefox for director Clint Eastwood. He also did additional work for Eastwood on the screenplay for Sudden Impact and wrote a final Dirty Harry project. Wendell also worked with the West End Theatre Group as co-founder and artistic director while continuing to alternate between acting and writing assignments. He is currently writing original feature scripts.

April 12 – The Father

Meet ONLINE from 7:00-10:00 PM Pacific Time on April 12th for an in-depth analysis and discussion of the screenplay THE FATHER. [UPDATE: This post was originally published with the wrong date. The correct date is Monday, April 12th, not the 13th. We apologize for the confusion.]

LOGLINE: Anthony Hopkins stars as an aging man trying to make sense of his changing circumstances and beginning to doubt his loved ones, his own mind, and even the fabric of his reality.

THE WRITERS: French novelist and playwright FLORIAN ZELLER directed and co-wrote The Father based on his award-winning 2012 play, Le Père. A published novelist by age 22, Zeller’s third novel, Fascination of Evil, made him a household name in France, while his writing for the stage prompted The Guardian to call him “the most exciting playwright of our time.” Le Père was previously filmed in French as Floride and was followed on the stage by The Mother and The Son, both produced in 2019. All three plays in the trilogy were translated for English-language productions by Zeller’s longtime collaborator, British playwright CHRISTOPHER HAMPTON, who also co-wrote the screenplay with the first-time filmmaker. Hampton co-wrote the book and lyrics for Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical adaptation of Billy Wilder’s Sunset Blvd., while his previous screenwriting credits include The Good Father (also starring Anthony Hopkins), Dangerous Liaisons, for which he won BAFTA and WGA awards as well as the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay, and Atonement, for which he nominated again for the Academy and BAFTA awards.

(registration deadline: Friday, April 9)

Registration in advance is required to attend the discussion, and includes a copy of the script sent to you in advance.

SPECIAL OFFER – ONLY $150 FOR A NEW MEMBERSHIP OR RENEWAL!
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The Father is nominated for six Academy Awards, including Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Actor (Anthony Hopkins), Best Supporting Actress (Olivia Colman), and Best Picture. This is Hopkins’ sixth nomination; he previously won for The Silence of the Lambs. This is Colman’s second nomination; she won two years ago for The Favourite and currently stars in The Crown on Netflix. Rounding out the cast of The Father are Rufus Sewell (Dark City), Imogene Poots (28 Weeks Later), Olivia Williams (The Sixth Sense), and Dr. Who writer Mark Gatiss.

Note: The film is currently playing in limited release and is available to stream on VOD. If you have not yet seen it, it is recommended that you hold off on watching it at least until after you’ve read the script. Our discussion will focus on the writing on the page, but we can also discuss changes in the finished film toward the end of the meeting.

The Father has over 100 nominations for industry and critics awards, with over 20 wins so far! The screenplay was nominated for Golden Globe, BAFTA, and 22 other writing awards and has already won Best Screenplay from the British Independent Film Awards, the San Diego Film Critics Society Awards, the Satellite Awards, and the Sunset Film Circle Awards. The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2020 and also screened at the Toronto and AFI festivals. Sony Pictures Classics released the film in New York and Los Angeles on February 26, 2021, expanding it wider in March following its six Oscar nominations. It currently holds a 98% fresh rating from 173 critics according to Rotten Tomatoes.

Rated PG-13. 97 minutes. 87 pages. Drama.

Brian HerskowitzBRIAN HERSKOWITZ will provide in-depth analysis and lead our discussion. Brian currently holds the title of lead faculty in screenwriting for the prestigious Boston University in Los Angeles – Writer In Hollywood Program, has taught online for UCLA Extension, and spent five years as the sitcom instructor for Writer’s Bootcamp. He has written for such TV shows as Blossom, Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, Acapulco Heat, Dream On, Renegade, and Murder, She Wrote. and in 2014 released he released the book Process to Product: From Concept to Script: A Practical Guide for the Screenwriter. His feature screenwriting credits include the horror/thriller Darkroom and the family comedy Tio Papi. Also a talented actor, producer, and director, Brian made the award-winning short film Odessa or Bust starring Jason Alexander, Red Buttons, and Jason Schwartzman, and the domestic abuse documentary 1736: Somewhere To Turn. Find out more about Brian and his projects at brianherskowitz.com.

December 14 – Hillbilly Elegy

Meet ONLINE on December 14th for an in-depth analysis and discussion of the screenplay HILLBILLY ELEGY.

LOGLINE: A Yale Law School student returns to his Appalachian roots, recalling the values he learned being raised by his grandmother while his mother fought a heroin addiction.

ABOUT THE WRITER: Venture capitalist J.D. VANCE wrote the New York Times bestseller, Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and a Culture in Crisis, while at Yale Law School. The book received national attention during the 2016 election cycle as a window into the white working class. Vance currently lives in Ohio, where he started the nonprofit Our Ohio Renewal to combat drug addiction in the Rust Belt and has been contemplating a run for the U.S. Senate. Imagine Entertainment optioned the book’s film rights for Ron Howard to direct and hired VANESSA TAYLOR to write the screenplay. Taylor began her writing career in television with credits on such popular shows as Alias, Everwood, and Game of Thrones. Some of her feature screenplays include her original spec Hope Springs, which starred Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones; the adaptation of the YA dystopian novel Divergent; and The Shape of Water, which earned Vanessa her first Academy Award nomination and went on to win four Academy Awards including Best Picture. More recently, she adapted the nonfiction book Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup, with Adam McCay attached to direct and Jennifer Lawrence attached to star.

(registration deadline: Friday, December 4)

Registration in advance is required to attend the discussion, and includes a copy of the script sent to you in advance.

SPECIAL OFFER – ONLY $150 FOR A NEW MEMBERSHIP OR RENEWAL!
Save $120 over the single meeting fees and get six consecutive online meetings!

Click the Register Now button for instructions.
(Email StoryBoardDG@gmail.com if you have any questions.)

Directed by Ron Howard (A Beautiful Mind, Apollo 13), the true coming-of-age story stars six-time Oscar nominee Amy Adams (Enchanted, Lois Lane in the DC Extended Universe), seven-time Oscar nominee Glenn Close (Fatal Attraction), Freida Pinto (Slumdog Millionaire), Haley Bennett (The Girl on the Train, The Devil All the Time), and Gabriel Basso (Super 8, The Big C) as Vance.

Netflix won a bidding war for the film’s distribution rights, putting up the entire $45 million budget. Although the Academy’s theatrical screening eligibility requirement has been suspended this year, Netflix did open Hillbilly Elegy on November 11 in Middletown, Ohio, where the film is set, as well as a handful of other cities in Ohio. It’s scheduled to premiere on the streaming service on November 24.

Rated R. 116 minutes. 122 pages. Coming-of-Age Drama.

WENDELL WELLMAN will provide in-depth script analysis and lead our discussion. Wendell WellmanScreenwriter, actor, playwright, teacher, and author of A Writer’s Roadmap, Wendell has taught screenwriting at UCLA and UWV and has been a frequent guest moderator at StoryBoardDG.com’s Screenplay Development Group. As an actor, Wendell studied under Lee Strasberg and Peggy Feury at the Strasberg Institute and has appeared in episodic television, theater, and motion pictures, including prominent roles in the films The Klansman starring Lee Marvin and Richard Burton, Sudden Impact, Sommersby, and Street of Dreams. As a writer, he teamed up with Alex Lasker to adapt the novel Firefox for director Clint Eastwood. He also did additional work for Eastwood on the screenplay for Sudden Impact and wrote a final Dirty Harry project. Wendell also worked with the West End Theatre Group as co-founder and artistic director while continuing to alternate between acting and writing assignments. He is currently writing original feature scripts.

August 10 – MULAN

Meet ONLINE on August 10th for an in-depth analysis and discussion of the screenplay MULAN.

LOGLINE: The daughter of an ailing warrior disguises herself as a man to take her father’s place in battle defending their country from a vengeful invader and a powerful witch.

THE WRITERS: The live-action epic is based on a 6th-century Chinese poem, which was the source for Disney’s 1998 animated feature. The update came about when unproduced screenwriters ELIZABETH MARTIN and LAUREN HYNEK heard BenderSpink producer Jake Weiner was looking for four-quadrant stories based on public domain IP. They got a meeting with him and pitched ten ideas; he picked Mulan. Sticking to the original Chinese story without referencing any Disney-owned elements, the duo turned in their spec script twelve weeks later, which Weiner sold to Disney in 24 hours. Disney then hired Rise of the Planet of the Apes scribes RICK JAFFA and AMANDA SILVER to rewrite the script, reincorporating some elements from the animated version. Jaffa & Silver also served as writers on Jurassic World and were involved in writing the two upcoming Avatar sequels for James Cameron.

(registration deadline: Friday, August 7)

Registration in advance is required to attend the discussion, and includes a copy of the script sent to you in advance.

Click the Register Now button for instructions.

Directed by New Zealander Niki Caro (Whale Rider), Mulan features an all-Asian cast including Liu Yifei (The Forbidden Kingdom) in the title role, Donnie Yen (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story), Jason Scott Lee (The Jungle Book), Yoson An (Dead Lucky), Gong Li (Memoirs of a Geisha), Jet Li (The Expendables), Rosalind Chao (The Joy Luck Club), and Tzi Ma (The Farewell) as Mulan’s father.

The film had its Hollywood premiere on March 9, ahead of planned March 27 release. That release was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Mulan has been rescheduled to open in theaters on August 21.

Rated PG-13. 115 minutes. 100 pages. Drama, Action/Adventure.

Melody JacksonMELODY JACKSON will provide in-depth analysis and lead our discussion. Melody completed her Ph.D. in Mythological Studies in 2003 with her dissertation on “The Mythic Impact of Film.” She has been praised by Creative Screenwriting on multiple occasions for her exceptional knowledge of traditional three-act structure and character development. Known for approaching plot and structure through examination of character motivation and relationships, Melody offers consulting and marketing services to screenwriters through Smart Girls, which she founded in 1992. Since then she has helped over 2,500 writers improve their screenplays to get them to 20th Century Fox, Warner Bros., Disney, Paramount, CAA, and countless medium-sized and smaller production companies. Visit SmartG.com or follow @smartgirlspr on Twitter.

January 13 – Jojo Rabbit

Meet on the lot at Fox Studios on January 13th for an in-depth analysis and discussion of the screenplay JOJO RABBIT.

LOGLINE: A ten-year-old boy in Nazi Germany, whose imaginary friend is Hitler, discovers his mother is hiding a Jewish girl behind a wall in their home.

THE WRITERS: Jojo Rabbit was written and directed by New Zealand filmmaker/comedian TAIKA WAITITI, who also appears in the film as Hitler. Waititi first gained international acclaim in 2004 with his short film Two Cars, One Night, which won awards at the AFI and Berlin festivals and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Live Action Short. He went on to make four well-received independent features, including Eagle vs Shark and the vampire mockumentary What We Do in the Shadows, before helming his first big studio picture, Thor: Ragnarok, which grossed more than $850 million worldwide, enabling him to make his low-budget Nazi comedy. The script was adapted from the first half of the novel Caging Skies by Christine Leunens. The novel was previously adapted for the stage in 2017 in New Zealand, where the American-born, Harvard-educated author has lived since 2006.

(registration deadline: Noon, Wednesday, January 8)

Registration in advance is required to attend the discussion, and includes a copy of the script sent to you in advance as well as sandwiches, snacks, and beverages at the meeting. Click the Register Now button for instructions.

Jojo Rabbit premiered in September at the Toronto International Film Festival where it won the audience award. Ten of the last eleven films to win this award went on to Oscar nominations for Best Picture and Best Screenplay, with six of them winning in their respective writing category. Featuring Scarlett Johansson (Marvel’s Black Widow), Sam Rockwell (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Richard Jewell), Rebel Wilson (Isn’t It Romantic, Cats), Stephen Merchant (The Office (UK), Logan), Thomasin McKenzie (Leave No Trace), and introducing ten-year-old Roman Griffin Davis in his Golden Globe nominated lead role, the film was also nominated for the Golden Globe for Best Picture – Musical or Comedy.

1/13/20 UPDATE: Nominated for 6 Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay. Also nominated for 6 BAFTA awards including Best Adapted Screenplay, 2 SAG awards, a DGA award, a PGA award, the USC Scripter award, and a WGA award for Best Adapted Screenplay, among many other accolades.

Disney-owned Fox Searchlight opened the film in limited release on October 18, expanding to just under a thousand screens in November. To date the $14 million movie still in current release has grossed more than $24 million. If you have not yet seen Jojo Rabbit but plan to before our meeting, reading the script before watching the film is advised.

PG-13. 108 minutes. 113 pages (March 15, 2012 draft). Comedy. War.

DAN MARGULES will provide in-depth script analysis and lead our discussion. Dan is the creator, publisher, and one of the authors of ScripTipps, a line of inexpensive ebooks on screenwriting conceived in part by his participation in StoryBoard. An award-winning filmmaker, Dan was co-founder and president of San Diego Filmmakers and sat on the board of directors of Scriptwriters Network where he ran their writers groups and staged readings programs. In 2012 he published the popular young adult Christmas novel North Pole High: A Rebel Without a Claus and later adapted it into a musical through the Academy of New Musical Theatre, where he also wrote the book for Chaturbate: The Musical, which premiered at the Hollywood Fringe Festival in 2017. A member of StoryBoard’s Screenplay Discussion Group since November 2009, Dan has never missed a meeting.

December 9 – Richard Jewell

Meet on the lot at Fox Studios on December 9th for an in-depth analysis and discussion of the screenplay RICHARD JEWELL.

LOGLINE: A security guard saves thousands of lives when he discovers a bomb at the 1996 Olympics, but when the FBI investigates him as a “person of interest,” the media vilifies the hero, falsely accusing him of planting the bomb.

THE WRITERS: Richard Jewell is based on the 1997 Vanity Fair article “American Nightmare: The Ballad of Richard Jewell” by Marie Brenner. Two other feature films and one made-for-TV movie have been made from Brenner’s investigative journalism over the last twenty years, including The Insider, about tobacco industry whistleblower Jeffrey Wigand, which was nominated for seven Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Actor (Russell Crowe), and Best Adapted Screenplay (Eric Roth, Michael Mann). The Richard Jewell article was adapted for the screen by BILLY RAY. This year alone, the Encino native also has writing credits on Gemini Man and Terminator: Dark FateRichard Jewell echoes the theme of journalistic responsibility Ray previously explored in his directorial debut, Shattered Glass, which told the true story of Stephen Glass, who published dozens of high profile articles in The New Republic based on facts that were completely made up. Some of Ray’s other credits include The Hunger Games, Amazon’s The Last Tycoon, and Captain Phillips, for which he received his first Academy Award nomination.

(registration deadline: Noon, Wednesday, December 4)

Registration in advance is required to attend the discussion, and includes a copy of the script sent to you in advance as well as sandwiches, snacks, and beverages at the meeting. Click the Register Now button for instructions.

Directed by CLINT EASTWOOD, Richard Jewell stars Paul Walter Hauser (I, Tonya) in the title role, Sam Rockwell (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri), Kathy Bates (American Horror Story), Jon Hamm (Top Gun: Maverick), and Olivia Wilde (Booksmart).

Richard Jewell is scheduled to premiere at AFI Fest on November 20th, with a December 13 release date set by Warner Bros.. If you plan to see the movie before our meeting, reading the script before watching the film is advised.

Not Yet Rated. 129 minutes. 115 pages (September 25, 2015 draft). Drama, Biopic.

JEFF KITCHEN will provide in-depth script analysis and lead our discussion. Jeff was classically trained in playwriting technique, worked as a dramaturg in the New York theater, and taught playwriting on Broadway at the Negro Ensemble Company. He has taught screenwriting for over 20 years in small high-intensity hands-on groups and is a sought-after script doctor, plot construction specialist, and rewrite consultant. His book, Writing a Great Movie: Key Tools for Successful Screenwriting, is available at amazon.com. For more information, visit Jeff’s website, BuildYourScript.com.

August 12 – Where’d You Go, Bernadette

Meet on the lot at Fox Studios on August 12th for an in-depth analysis and discussion of the screenplay WHERE’D YOU GO, BERNADETTE.

LOGLINE: An agoraphobic architect and mother goes missing prior to a family trip to Antarctica.

ABOUT THE WRITERS:

The film is based on the bestselling 2012 young adult novel of the same name by MARIA SEMPLE. Bernadette is the author’s second novel, followed by Today Will Be Different, which Semple has adapted for an upcoming HBO series set to star Julia Roberts. Semple’s other TV writing credits include Beverly Hills, 90210, for which she received an Emmy nomination, Mad About You, Suddenly Susan, Ellen, Saturday Night Live, and Arrested Development, for which she received a WGA award nomination. Her father was screenwriter Lorenzo Semple Jr. (Batman, Three Days of the Condor).

The screenplay for Where’d You Go, Bernadette was written by SCOTT NEUSTADTER & MICHAEL H. WEBER. After the success of their breakthrough original screenplay (500) Days of Summer, the duo became the go-to writing team for YA adaptations with The Spectacular Now, The Fault in Our Stars, and Paper Towns. The team received their first Academy Award nomination in 2017 for their screenplay The Disaster Artist, about the making of “the greatest bad movie ever made,” The Room.

Registration in advance is required to attend the discussion, and includes a copy of the script sent to you in advance as well as sandwiches, snacks, and beverages at the meeting. Click the Register Now button for instructions.

(registration deadline: Thursday, August 8)

We will be discussing the July 2013 draft by Neustadter & Weber. The script was later rewritten by Holly Gent & Vince Palmo Jr. along with the film’s director, RICHARD LINKLATER. With five Oscar nominations, indie superstar director Linklater is best known for Slackers, Dazed and Confused, School of Rock, Boyhood, and the Before… trilogy. Separately, Gent and Palmo have numerous credits in a variety of crew positions, many of them on films by Richard Linklater. Their other writing credits are on 2008’s Me and Orson Welles, starring Zac Efron, and an upcoming untitled John Brinkley biopic starring Robert Downey Jr., both also directed by Linklater.

Where’d You Go, Bernadette stars two-time Academy Award winner Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine, The Aviator), Judy Greer (The Descendants, Arrested Development), Kristen Wiig (Bridesmaids, The Martian), Laurence Fishburne (The Matrix, Man of Steel), Troian Bellisario (Pretty Little Liars), and Billy Crudup (Big Fish, Almost Famous). The film is scheduled to be released nationwide by Annapurna Pictures and United Artists Releasing on August 16, the Friday after our meeting.

BEWARE: Trailer may contain spoilers.

Optional Exercise for Advanced Members: Read the novel first. Think about how you would adapt it for the screen. What would keep? What you drop? What would you change? Then read the script to compare your choices with the ones Neustadter & Weber made. Be prepared to discuss your findings at the meeting! And don’t forget to check out the finished film when it opens on August 16 to see what changes Linklater, Gent, and Palmo incorporated.

Rated PG-13. 130 minutes. 138 pages (2nd Draft, July 2013). Comedy.

STEVE KAPLAN will provide in-depth analysis and lead our discussion. The industry’s most sought-after expert on comedy, Steve has taught at UCLA, NYU, Yale, and other top universities, and created the HBO Workspace and the HBO New Writers Program. As co-founder and Artistic Director of Manhattan Punch Line Theatre he developed writers such as Peter Tolan (Analyze This), David Crane (Friends), Tracy Poust (Ugly Betty), Kenneth Lonergan (Manchester by the Sea), and Mark O’Donnel (Hairspray). Steve teaches a number of different workshops all over the globe, including The Comedy Intensive, a 2-day workshop that covers the fundamental principles of comedy. Look for his books The Hidden Tools of Comedy and The Comic Hero’s Journey, learn more about Steve and his workshops at kaplancomedy.com, and follow him on Twitter at @skcomedy where you can tweet quick comedy questions at him with the #AskKaplan hashtag.

March 11 – Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Meet on the lot at Fox Studios on March 11th for an in-depth analysis and discussion of the screenplay CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME?

The true story of a bitter, washed-up biographer who falls into a life of crime forging letters from dead literary celebrities to pay the rent.

Nominated for 3 Academy Awards including Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, and Best Adapted Screenplay!

Can You Ever Forgive Me? stars Melissa McCarthy (Bridesmaids) and Richard E. Grant (Game of ThronesStar Wars: Episode IX), both nominated for Golden Globes, BAFTA, and SAG awards in addition to their Oscar nods. (Update: Richard E. Grant won the Independent Spirit Award!)

The screenplay, by Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty, based on the book by Lee Israel, has been nominated for dozens of industry awards, including the WGA, USC Scripter, BAFTA, Independent Spirit Award, and, of course, the Academy Award.

UPDATE: On February 17th, Can You Ever Forgive Me? won the Writers Guild of America award for Best Adapted Screenplay. On February 23rd, Can You Ever Forgive Me? won the Independent Spirit Award for Best Screenplay.

Registration in advance is required to attend the discussion, and includes a copy of the script sent to you in advance as well as sandwiches, snacks, and beverages at the meeting. Click the Register Now button for instructions.

(registration deadline: Thursday, March 7)

DEVELOPMENT: After interviewing Katharine Hepburn for Esquire in 1967, LEE ISRAEL published full-length biographies on Tallulah Bankhead, Dorothy Kilgallen, and Estée Lauder. Unable to sell her publishers on a Fanny Brice biography, she began forging letters from the likes of Noël Coward and Dorothy Parker to sell to unsuspecting collectors, which she wrote about in her 2008 memoir, Can You Ever Forgive Me?: Memoirs of a Literary Forger. (Israel passed away in 2014.)

In 2011, producer Bob Balaban hired Tony Award winning playwright JEFF WHITTY (Avenue Q) to adapt Israel’s memoir after reading his play The Hiding Place, which had characters with voices similar to Israel’s. Whitty wrote four drafts of the screenplay before filmmaker NICOLE HOLOFCENER (Enough Said) was attached to direct. Holofcener cast Julianne Moore in the lead and rewrote the script as a two-hander with greater emphasis on the relationship between Israel and her partner in crime, con man Jack Hock.

Six days before production was to start, Moore dropped out due to creative differences with Holofcener. Rather than start over again later with a new star, Holofcener handed the reins to her Sundance lab protege, Marielle Heller (The Diary of a Teenage Girl), wishing her luck and recommending McCarthy for the vacated lead.

Can You Ever Forgive Me? premiered last September at the Telluride Film Festival, followed by a showing at the Toronto International Film Festival later that month. Fox Searchlight released the $10 million picture on October 19, 2018, and it is currently still in theaters. So far it has received 39 awards and 70 nominations including WGA, SAG, BAFTA, Golden Globes, and Film Independent Spirit Awards, and has a 98% Fresh score from 255 critics as compiled by Rotten Tomatoes. If you have not yet seen the movie but plan to before our meeting, reading the script before watching the film is advised.

Rated R. 107 minutes. 133 pages (final shooting script, March 13, 2017). Drama, Crime, Biography.

DMA will provide in-depth analysis and lead our discussion. A veteran entertainment industry showrunner, executive and consultant, DMA (Donna Michelle Anderson) guides traditional and digital networks through branding, launching and scaling their content and companies. Over the past 20 years, she has helmed top-rated programming for CBS, Bravo, BET, A&E, TLC and more, created groundbreaking, patented production software, and championed diversity throughout the industry, including founding the Hollywood Diversity Network. She is a graduate, with distinction, of Stanford University and is an active member of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, the Producers Guild of America and American Mensa.