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.

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.)

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.

March 8 – Da 5 Bloods

Da 5 Bloods Meet ONLINE from 7:00-10:00 PM Pacific Time on March 8th for an in-depth analysis and discussion of the screenplay DA 5 BLOODS.

LOGLINE: Four aging Vietnam War veterans return to the country in search of the remains of their fallen squad leader, as well as the treasure they buried while serving there.

THE WRITERS: Da 5 Bloods began as a 2013 spec script titled The Last Tour by DANNY BILSON & PAUL DE MEO. Bilson & De Meo previously teamed up to pen 1991’s superhero film The Rocketeer for Disney. Together or separately, the two have also written for television (The Flash, Viper), comic books (The Flash: The Fastest Man Alive, Red Menace), and video games (The Sims, Harry Potter, James Bond). Oliver Stone was attached to direct The Last Tour, but dropped out in 2016.

De Meo passed away in 2018, a year after SPIKE LEE began rewriting the script as Da 5 Bloods with KEVIN WILLMOTT, his co-writer on 2018’s BlacKkKlansman, for which they shared the Academy Award in the Best Adapted Screenplay category. Willmott’s other credits, as writer and director, include C.S.A.: The Confederate States of America and The 24th, which tells the true story of the Houston riot of 1917. Lee, who also directed Da 5 Bloods, has two Peabody awards, among many other accolades, and is best known for writing and directing Do the Right Thing, Jungle Fever, Malcolm X, and his 1986 feature debut, She’s Gotta Have It, as well its 2017 Netflix series adaptation.

MATTHEW BILLINGSLY, whose 2008 Black List script, Code Name Veil, is still unproduced, contributed uncredited rewrites to what was to become Da 5 Bloods when the project was still with Oliver Stone. Billingsly was also hired to adapt the non-fiction book Stringer: A Reporter’s Journey in the Congo, which is also still in development.

(registration deadline: Friday, March 5)

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

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.)

The late Chadwick Boseman (Marvel’s Black Panther), who posthumously won the Golden Globe award this year for Best Actor in a Drama for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, stars in Da 5 Bloods alongside Delroy Lindo (Get Shorty), Jonathan Majors (The Last Black Man in San Francisco), Clarke Peters (The Wire), Broadway star Norm Lewis (The Phantom of the Opera), Isiah Whitlcok Jr. (The Wire), Melanie Thierry (One for the Road), and Jean Reno (Leon: The Professional).

Note: The film is currently available on Netflix, but 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.

Da 5 Bloods has over 150 nominations for industry and critics awards, with over 30 wins so far!

Rated R. 154 minutes. 127 pages (3/11/2019 salmon draft). Adventure. Drama. War.

A SPECIAL GUEST MODERATOR to be announced soon will provide in-depth analysis and lead our discussion. Please stay tuned!

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.

September 9 – Ad Astra

Meet on the lot at Fox Studios on September 9th for an in-depth analysis and discussion of the screenplay AD ASTRA.

LOGLINE: An astronaut goes into space in search of his lost father, whose experiments threaten the solar system.

Ad Astra (Latin for “To the Stars”) was directed and co-written by JAMES GRAY, whose first film, at age 25, 1994’s Little Odessa, won the Silver Lion at the Venice Film Festival. His next four films, including The Yards and We Own The Night (both starring Mark Wahlberg and Joaquin Phoenix), and The Immigrant (starring Marion Cotillard), all played in competition for the Palm d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, while his most recent release, 2017’s The Lost City of Z, starring Charlie Hunnam and Robert Pattinson, was nominated for the prestigious USC Scripter award. Gray co-wrote Ad Astra with ETHAN GROSS, best known for his work as writer and executive story editor on 22 episodes of the FOX sci-fi series Fringe.

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, September 5)

Compare the script to the finished film when it opens wide on September 20, a week and a half after our discussion! The film, which Gray describes as a mash-up of 2001: A Space Odyssey and Apocalypse Now, stars Brad Pitt (Fight Club, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood), Tommy Lee Jones (The Fugitive, Men in Black), Ruth Negga (Loving, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), Liv Tyler (The Lord of the Rings trilogy), and Donald Sutherland (The Hunger Games franchise).

Rated PG-13. 124 minutes. 108 pages. Sci-Fi, Drama, Adventure.

BARNEY MILES LICHTENSTEIN will provide in-depth analysis and lead our discussion. Barney has worked as a professional story analyst for such companies as Amblin, Imagine, and New Line Cinema. He also assists in training new analysts for the Sundance Institute and is the recipient of the UCLA Extension Outstanding Instructor Award in Screenwriting.

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.

December 12 – GOLD

RegisterNow(registration deadline: Friday, December 9)

Gold (2016)Meet on the Fox Studios backlot on December 12th for an in-depth analysis and discussion of the screenplay GOLD.

Logline: An unlikely pair venture to the Indonesian jungle in search of gold in a treasure hunt story inspired by the 1996 Bre-X scandal, the most elaborate fraud in the history of mining.

Writers: PATRICK MASSETT & JOHN ZINMAN, the team who adapted the video game Tomb Raider into the massive 2001 hit Lara Croft movie that made Angelina Jolie an international superstar, were nominated for an Emmy and five WGA awards for their work on the series Friday Night Lights. More recently they have written for such shows as The Blacklist and The Chicago Code. Massett is a former actor who has appeared in Star Trek: The Next Generation, Murphy Brown, and Quantum Leap.

Directed by Sephen Gaghan, the Oscar-winning screenwriter of Steven Soderbergh’s Traffic (2000), Gold stars Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club), Edgar Ramirez (The Girl on the Train), Bryce Dallas Howard (Jurassic World), Timothy Simons (Veep), Corey Stoll (House of Cards), Bruce Greenwood (Star Trek (2009)), and Stacy Keach (The Bourne Legacy).

Producers and Production Companies: Two-time Oscar-winning screenwriter Paul Haggis (Crash, Million Dollar Baby), who began developing the script in 2011 with the writers, executive produced the film with Michael Nozik (Haggis’s The Next Three Days, Syriana, Quiz Show) through their HWY 61 Films. Producers Teddy Schwarzman (The Imitation Game) and Ben Stillman provided financing through their Black Bear Pictures. McConaughey and the two writers also have producing credits.

Release Date: December 25 (TWC-Dimension).

Rated R. 121 minutes. 129 pages. Adventure, Drama, Thriller, Crime.

Lane Shefter-BishopLANE SHEFTER-BISHOP will provide in-depth analysis and lead our discussion. Currently the CEO of Vast Entertainment, the go-to book-to-screen company, producer/director Lane Shefter-Bishop has won numerous accolades for her work including an Emmy, six Telly awards, and the DGA Fellowship Award for Episodic Television. Lane holds a BA in Literature from UC Santa Barbara and an MFA in Production from USC’s School of Cinematic Arts and began her career producing and directing projects at ABC, Showtime, HBO, and MTV. In 2016 she released her first book, Sell Your Story in a Single Sentence: Advice from the Front Lines of Hollywood. Follow @LaneShefterBish on Twitter.