September 13 – Finch

Meet ONLINE from 7:00-10:00 PM Pacific Time on September 13th for an in-depth analysis and discussion of the comedy screenplay FINCH.

LOGLINE: On a post-apocalyptic earth, a robot, built to protect the life of his creator’s beloved dog, learns about life, love, friendship and what it means to be human.

SCREENWRITERS: CRAIG LUCK initially wrote Finch as a short called BIOS. Too expensive to be filmed as a short, Luck expanded the script to feature length with 78-year-old British producer IVOR POWELL, who began his film career as a publicity department liaison for the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey and later served as associate producer on Ridley Scott’s first three films, The Duellists, Alien, and Blade Runner. Powell brought Finch to Game of Thrones director Miguel Sapochnik, with whom he had previously co-written The Dreamer, a 2000 sci-fi short about a clone trying to escape the fate of being recycled. Finch, which appeared on the 2017 Black List, is the first produced feature writing credit for both scribes.

(registration deadline: Friday, September 10)

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

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Finch stars Tom Hanks (Forrest Gump), Caleb Landry Jones (X-Men: First Class, Get Out), Samira Wiley (Orange Is the New Black), Laura Harrier (Spider-Man: Homecoming), and Skeet Ulrich (Scream, Riverdale).

There is no trailer yet, but watch screenwriter Craig Luck discuss the film’s development:

Amblin Entertainment won a bidding war for the spec script in 2018. Robert Zemeckis (Back to the Future) is among the executive producers. Originally intended to be distributed by Universal Pictures, Apple Original Films won the distribution rights at auction in May after the COVID pandemic delayed the film’s release. Finch is now set to premiere on Apple TV+ on November 5, with a possible limited theatrical run for awards qualifications.

Rated PG-13. 114 pages. Sci-Fi Drama.

JEFF KITCHEN will lead our script analysis and in-depth screenwriting discussion. Jeff trains writers in a two-year apprenticeship program as well as a three-month program at http://script.kitchen. He has taught thousands of writers from Broadway to Hollywood, with former students nominated for multiple Oscars and Emmy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay. Jeff is the author of the bestselling book, Writing a Great Movie: Key Tools for Successful Screenwriting.

June 14 – Minari

MINARI Movie Poster Meet ONLINE from 7:00-10:00 PM Pacific Time on June 14th for an in-depth analysis and discussion of the screenplay MINARI.

LOGLINE: A Korean family starts a farm in 1980s Arkansas.

WRITER/DIRECTOR: Munyurangabo, the first-ever narrative feature in the Rwandan language Kinyarwanda and the debut feature film of Asian-American LEE ISAAC CHUNG, premiered at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival in the Un Certain Regard section and won the Grand Prize at that year’s AFI Fest. After three more films, Chung had to take a full-time teaching job to support his family, but decided to write one more script, hunkered down in his regular South Pasadena coffee shop, before the gig started. Searching for public domain material to adapt, Chung was inspired by Willa Cather’s 1918 novel My Ántonia, about a 19th century child of immigrants growing up on a farm in Nebraska, to write about his own similar upbringing as a South Korean boy on a farm in Arkansas. Thus, the filmmaker says, the writing of his breakthrough film began when he “ceased to admire and began to remember.” (The semi-autobiographical script was written in English, with the dialogue later translated into Korean.)

(registration deadline: Friday, June 11)

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

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Minari premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2020 where it won the Audience Award and Grand Jury Prize for drama. The long list of subsequent accolades includes placing on the year-end top ten lists of 68 critics, winning twelve awards with 25 additional nominations for the screenplay, winning the Golden Globe award for Best Foreign Language Film, earning six Film Independent Spirit Awards nominations (including Best Screenplay), and six Academy Award nominations (including Best Original Screenplay), and winning the Spirit, BAFTA, SAG, and Oscar for Best Supporting Actress (Yuh-Jung Youn).

A24 released the film virtually and in select theaters on February 12. If you have not yet seen Minari, it is recommended that you read the script first, as our discussion will focus on the writing on the page. This month we also plan to discuss the finished film, so it is suggested that you also watch the movie after reading the script. Minari is currently available to rent or buy digitally at Redbox, Amazon, Google Play, YouTube, Fandango, Vudu, and Apple TV.

Rated PG-13. 155 minutes. 97 pages. Drama.

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.

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.

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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.

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.

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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!

January 11 – MANK

Mank (2020) Meet ONLINE on January 11th for an in-depth analysis and discussion of the screenplay MANK.

“You cannot capture a man’s entire life in two hours. All you can hope is to leave the impression of one.”

Mank attempts to capture, in 134 pages, the life of Herman J. Mankiewicz, the legendary screenwriter who had a hand in creating such classics as The Wizard of Oz, The Front Page, The Pride of the Yankees, and Citizen Kane, considered by many to be the greatest movie ever made.

The biopic was penned by JACK FINCHER, father of its director, David Fincher (Se7en, Fight Club, The Social Network). The elder Fincher wrote the script in the 1990s, which David intended to be his next picture after The Game, but the studio where it was set up (with Kevin Spacey to star as Mankiewicz and Jodie Foster as Marion Davies) refused to let him shoot it in black-and-white. Around the same time, Jack Fincher also wrote a Howard Hughes biopic that ended up being merged with Martin Scorsese’s The Aviator. Jack, a talented essayist, had numerous articles published in Readers Digest, Saturday Review, The Smithsonian, and other major publications, and served as the San Francisco Bureau Chief of Life magazine. He passed away in 2003.

Now, thanks to Netflix, David Fincher has finally been able to realize his father’s dream project. The script underwent an uncredited polish by Fincher’s The Curious Case of Benjamin Button writer Eric Roth (Forrest Gump, 2018’s A Star Is Born, next year’s Dune remake), who has a producer credit on the film.

(registration deadline: Friday, January 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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Mank stars last year’s Best Actor Oscar winner Gary Oldman (Darkest Hour, The Dark Knight) as Mankiewicz, Amanda Seyfried (Les Misérables (the 2012 musical), Mamma Mia!) as Marion Davies, Lily Collins (Les Misérables (the 2018 BBC miniseries)), Arliss Howard (Full Metal Jacket) as MGM boss Louis B. Mayer, Tom Pelphrey (Ozark), and Tom Burke (Only God Forgives) as Citizen Kane director Orson Welles.

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. However, if you have not seen Citizen Kane, or have not seen it in a while, you are encouraged to watch that prior to reading Mank.

Rated R. 131 minutes. 134 pages. Biopic. Drama.

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.

October 12 – The Trial of the Chicago 7

Meet ONLINE on October 12th for an in-depth analysis and discussion of the screenplay THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7.

LOGLINE: In a year of civil unrest, seven political activists stand trial for inciting a riot after an anti-war protest outside the Democratic National Convention turns violent.

ABOUT THE WRITER: Academy-Award-winning screenwriter AARON SORKIN initially wrote the script in 2007 for Steven Spielberg to direct. The writers strike that year delayed production, forcing Spielberg to drop out. A former playwright, Sorkin began his screenwriting career in the 1990s, adapting his Broadway play A Few Good Men for the 1992 Rob Reiner film. He created The West Wing in 1999 and wrote or co-wrote all but three of the series’ first 90 episodes, taking home six of the show’s 26 Emmy awards. In 2011, Sorkin won his first Academy Award for his screenplay about Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, The Social Network, and earned a second nomination the following year for co-writing Moneyball. He won Golden Globe awards for The Social Network and his 2016 biopic of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, and made his directorial debut with 2018’s Molly’s Game, which netted him his third Oscar nomination for screenwriting. Sorkin returns to the director’s chair for The Trial of the Chicago 7, which premieres on Netflix on October 16.

(registration deadline: Friday, October 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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Based on true events surrounding the tumultuous 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, The Trial of the Chicago 7 stars Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything) as Tom Hayden, Sacha Baron Cohen (Borat) as Abbie Hoffman, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II (Aquaman) as Black Panther Party co-founder Bobby Seale, Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies) as attorney William Kunstler, Michael Keaton (Birdman), Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Inception), Jeremy Strong (Succession), John Caroll Lynch (The Founder), Frank Langella (Frost/Nixon) as Judge Julius Hoffman, and William Hurt (Marvel’s Avengers and Black Widow films) as Attorney General John Mitchell.

Originally planned for a September 25 theatrical release by Paramount Pictures, movie theater shutdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic prompted the studio to sell the distribution rights to Netflix for $56 million. The streaming service now plans to release the film online on October 16, just ahead of the November 3 election, with a possible limited theatrical run in September.

Rated R. 129 minutes. 130 pages. Historical Courtroom Drama.

JEFF KITCHEN, top-rated scriptwriting teacher and author of Writing a Great Movie: Key Tools for Successful Screenwriting will lead our script analysis and in-depth screenwriting discussion. Classically trained in playwriting technique, Jeff worked as a dramaturg in the New York theater, and taught playwriting on Broadway. He’s currently in the process of launching a two-year intensive training program for scriptwriters called Script Kitchen. His current BuildYourScript.com website will soon change to Script.Kitchen.

March 9 – Knives Out

Meet on the lot at Fox Studios on March 9th for an in-depth analysis and discussion of the screenplay KNIVES OUT.

LOGLINE: A modern whodunnit that follows a family gathering gone awry after the patriarch’s death leads a master detective to investigate.

Writer/director RIAN JOHNSON graduated from USC School of Cinematic Arts in 1996. He pitched his first screenplay, a Dashiell Hammett-inspired neo-noir mystery called Brick, unsuccessfully for seven years before raising the $500,000 budget from friends and family and making the film independently. Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, the film earned back more than $4 million, won a special jury prize at Sundance for originality of vision, and went on to become a cult classic. Two other low budget hits followed (The Brothers Bloom starring Oscar winners Rachel Weisz and Adrien Brody and Looper starring Bruce Willis and Gordon-Levitt) before Johnson was tapped to write and direct Star Wars: Episode VIII: The Last Jedi, which grossed over $1.3 billion. Johnson received his first Academy Award nomination this year, in the Best Original Screenplay category, for Knives Out.

(registration deadline: Noon, Wednesday, March 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.

Knives Out features an all-star ensemble cast including Daniel Craig (James Bond), Chris Evans (Captain America), Ana de Armas (Blade Runner 2049), Jamie Lee Curtis (Halloween), Michael Shannon (The Shape of Water), Don Johnson (Django Unchained), Toni Collette (Hereditary), Lakeith Stanfield (Sorry To Bother You), Katherine Langford (13 Reasons Why), Jaeden Martell (It), and Christopher Plummer (The Sound of Music).

Still in current release, Knives Out has grossed nearly $300 million worldwide so far and holds a 97% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes (based on 420 professional critics’ reviews), with an audience score of 92%. In addition to its Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay, the script was nominated for BAFTA, Critics’ Choice, Hollywood Critics Association, and Writers Guild of America awards, along with three Golden Globe nominations including Best Picture (Musical or Comedy), a Producers Guild nomination for Best Picture, and placement in the National Board of Review’s and American Film Institute’s top ten lists for 2019.

If you have not yet seen Knives Out but plan to before our meeting, reading the script before watching the film is advised. EXTRA CREDIT: Watch the 1973 murder mystery film The Last of Sheila, which Rian Johnson cited as his inspiration and main influence in writing Knives Out. Written by Anthony Perkins (Psycho) and Stephen Sondheim (Sweeney Todd, West Side Story, Into the Woods) and directed by Herbert Ross (Footloose), The Last of Sheila stars Richard Benjamin, Dyan Cannon, James Coburn, James Mason, and Raquel Welch, and can be digitally rented for $2.99 or purchased for $9.99 from Amazon, YouTube, Google Play, Vudu, Microsoft, Fandango, and Apple TV.

Rated PG-13. 131 minutes. 124 pages. Mystery. Comedy.

Brian HerskowitzBRIAN HERSKOWITZ will provide in-depth analysis and lead our discussion. Brian was previously with us in January 2018 for BlacKkKlansman. He 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.

February 10 – Parasite

Meet on the lot at Fox Studios on February 10th for an in-depth analysis and discussion of the screenplay PARASITE.

LOGLINE: A family of con artists worms their way into employment for a wealthy family, but startling secrets keep them from enjoying their plush new surroundings when their bosses leave them alone for a weekend.

THE WRITERS: South Korean-born writer-director BONG JOON-HO garnered international acclaim with his second feature, Memories of Murder, based on the true story of his country’s first serial killer. He followed that up with The Host, a monster movie that became the highest-grossing South Korean film of all time. Joon-ho’s first English-language film, Snowpiercer, a post-climate change sci-fi action adventure, starred Chris Evans, Tilda Swinton, Jamie Bell, Octavia Spencer, John Hurt, and Ed Harris, and appeared on dozens of critics’ ten-best lists for 2014. Okja, his Netflix debut, premiered in competition at Cannes where it received a four-minute standing ovation. Parasite was co-written by Han Jin-won, based on Joon-ho’s original story; it is his only writing credit so far, but he previously worked as an AD on Joon-ho’s Okja.

(registration deadline: Noon, Wednesday, February 5)

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.

SPECIAL ASSIGNMENT: If you plan to attend this event, please watch the film Snowpiercer, also by Bong Joon-ho, if you have time (in addition to reading the Parasite script).

Parasite premiered at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival where it won the Palm d’Or by unanimous vote. South Korea’s official submission for the Best International Feature Film category of the Academy Awards, last week Parasite became the first film from South Korea to win the Golden Globe award for Best Foreign Film. In November, the film surpassed The Godfather as the most popular film of all time on social media site Letterboxd, and it was announced last week that Joon-ho and Adam McKay (The Big Short) are currently in talks to develop a limited series based on Parasite for HBO. This morning the film was nominated for six Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Original Screenplay.

Still in current release, Parasite has grossed over $130 million worldwide so far and holds a 99% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes (based on 349 professional critics’ reviews). Over 40 critics and publications have named it the best movie of 2019, including Christy Lemire, Justin Chang, Michael Phillips, Film Comment, and IndieWire (based on a 300+ Critics Survey). More than sixty others placed it in their top ten for the year, and more than a dozen put it in their top ten for the decade. It’s also nominated for four BAFTAs, a SAG, a Spirit, and a DGA award among its hundreds of other accolades, including Best Screenplay and Best Director nominations for the Golden Globes and a still-pending WGA nomination for Best Original Screenplay.

If you have not yet seen Parasite but plan to before our meeting, reading the script before watching the film is advised. Also, please watch Joon-ho’s Snowpiercer before the meeting if you can. It’s currently streaming on Netflix and can be rented online for just $1.99 at Redbox.

Rated R. 132 minutes. 141 pages (English translation). Drama. Horror.

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.

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.