September 11 – Rebel in the Rye

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Meet on the Fox Studios backlot on September 11th for an in-depth analysis and discussion of the screenplay REBEL IN THE RYE.

Logline: The true story of how J.D. Salinger came to write The Catcher in the Rye.

Screenwriter: Known for his roles as Jonathan on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Doyle on Gilmore Girls, DANNY STRONG launched his screenwriting career with a pair of HBO movies about the 2000 and 2008 elections. Recount earned Strong a WGA award and an Emmy nomination, while Game Change won him his second WGA trophy, two Emmys, and a Peabody. For the big screen he wrote the script for Lee Daniels’ The Butler and had a hand in adapting the third and fourth Hunger Games movies from the novel Mockingjay. Strong is also co-creator, executive producer, and writer for the hit series Empire. Rebel in the Rye, which marks Strong’s feature film directorial debut, was adapted from the non-fiction book J.D. Salinger: A Life by Kenneth Slawensky, which Strong is said to have optioned with his own money.

Rebel in the Rye stars Nicholas Hoult (About a Boy, X-Men franchise) as the struggling author, Zoey Deutch (Vampire Academy, Why Him?) as love interest Oona O’Neill, Kevin Spacey (House of Cards) as mentor Whit Burnett, and Sarah Paulson (American Horror Story, The People v. O.J. Simpson) as Salinger’s agent.

Producers and Production Companies: Writer/director Danny Strong also serves as a producer on Rebel in the Rye along with Academy Award winner Bruce Cohen (American Beauty, Silver Linings Playbook), Jason Shuman (Middle Men, Little Black Book) and the team of Molly Smith and identical twin brothers Thad and Trent Luckinbill under their Black Label Media banner (La La Land, Sicario, Demolition). Rebel is the first production credited in IMDb to West Madison Entertainment, a production company recently founded by executive producer Christina Papagjika, an associate producer on Lee Daniels’ The Butler.

Release Date: September 15 (IFC Films). The film premiered this January at the Sundance Film Festival.

Rated PG-13. 106 minutes. 97 pages. Drama, Biopic.

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.

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July 10 – Dunkirk

RegisterNow(registration deadline: Friday, July 7)

Meet on the Fox Studios backlot on July 10th for an in-depth analysis and discussion of the screenplay DUNKIRK.

Logline: WWII Allied forces mount a mission to rescue 400,000 soldiers surrounded by the enemy after the Battle of Dunkirk.

Screenwriter: Writer-director CHRISTOPHER NOLAN gained acclaim for his second feature, Memento (2000), a noir thriller told in converging timelines as a man with short-term memory loss attempts to hunt down his wife’s killer. His Dark Knight trilogy has grossed more than $2.4 billion worldwide and his screenplays for Memento and Inception have both been nominated for Academy Awards. Dunkirk is his first film since 2014’s Interstellar, and his first film based on true events.

The film, which will be told from three perspectives (air, land, and sea) and will contain as little dialogue as possible, stars Tom Hardy (The Revenant), Kenneth Branagh (Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets), Cillian Murphy (Scarecrow in the Dark Knight trilogy), Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies), and Harry Styles of One Direction in his acting debut.

Producers and Production Companies: As with all his films since Batman Begins, Nolan produced Dunkirk with his wife, Emma Thomas, through their London-based production company Syncopy, which also produced Man of Steel, on which Nolan shares a story credit.

Release Date: July 21 (Warner Bros.)

Rated PG-13. 107 minutes. 130 pages. Historical Drama, War, Action.

DANIEL P. CALVISI will provide in-depth analysis and lead our discussion. Dan is a story analyst, speaker, screenwriter, and the author of Story Maps: How to Write a GREAT Screenplay, Story Maps: TV Drama, Story Maps: 12 Great Screenplays, and Story Maps: The Films of Christopher Nolan. He is a former Story Analyst for major studios like 20th Century Fox, Miramax, and New Line Cinema. He coaches writers, teaches webinars on writing for film and television with The Writers Store, and speaks at writing conferences and book signings. He lives in Los Angeles and holds a degree in Film and Television from the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. To learn more about Story Maps and how you can work with Dan, visit ActFourScreenplays.com.

March 13 – Hidden Figures

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Hidden Figures (UK poster)Meet on the Fox Studios backlot on March 13th for an in-depth analysis and discussion of the screenplay HIDDEN FIGURES.

Logline: The untold true story of a team of African-American women mathematicians who served a vital role in NASA during the early years of the US space program.

Based on the 2016 bestseller Hidden Figures: The Story of the African-American Women Who Helped Win the Space Race by debut author Margot Lee Shetterly, the script was adapted by ALLISON SCHROEDER and rewritten by the film’s director, THEODORE MELFI, focusing on balancing the home lives of the three protagonists with their careers at NASA. Schroeder, a former production assistant on Smallville who had interned at NASA as a teenager, previously wrote Mean Girls 2. Hidden Figures is her first feature writing credit. Melfi previously wrote and directed St. Vincent and wrote the upcoming remake of 1979’s Going in Style, scheduled to be released in April.

The 1961-set historical drama stars Taraji P. Henson (Empire), Octavia Spencer (The Help), Grammy Award nominated singer Janelle Monáe (Moonlight), Kevin Costner (Dances with Wolves), Kirsten Dunst (Spider-Man), Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory), Mahershala Ali (Moonlight), and Glen Powell (Scream Queens) as John Glenn, and features the music of Pharrell Williams, who is also one of the film’s producers.

Awards and Nominations: Hidden Figures is nominated for three Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Supporting Actress (Spencer), and Best Adapted Screenplay. The ensemble cast recently won the top honor at the Screen Actors Guild awards, and the screenplay is also nominated for BAFTA, WGA, and USC Scripter awards.

Producers and Production Companies: Academy Award winning producer Donna Gigliotti (Shakespeare in Love) acquired the book’s film rights for Levantine Films (Beasts of No Nation, The Fundamentals of Caring), where she is the president. Gigliotti has had two other Best Picture nominations (Silver Linings Playbook and The Reader) since beginning her career as an assistant to Martin Scorsese on Raging Bull. Gigliotti produced Hidden Figures with former News Corp. COO Peter Chernin and his Chernin Entertainment production company (Rise of the Planet of the Apes, The Heat, St. Vincent).

Release: Fox 2000 gave the film a limited Christmas Day release for awards qualification. Having grossed over $130 million since its wide release on January 6, Hidden Figures is currently the highest grossing of the nine films nominated for Best Picture and of all ten films nominated in the two screenplay categories. If you have not seen it yet and plan to go to the movie before our meeting, reading the script before watching the film is advised.

Rated PG. 127 minutes. 121 pages. Historical Drama, Biopic.

BSchiffmanhead150Script consultant and book adaptation coach BARBARA SCHIFFMAN will lead the discussion. For over 35 years, Barbara read scripts for Miramax, Dreamworks, Mandalay, HBO, CAA, UTA, and more. The writing guide NOW WRITE! Screenwriting Exercises by Today’s Best Screenwriters and Teachers includes her chapter “Key Things to Know About Your Script Before You Write.” She has also evaluated candidates for NBCUniversal’s Emerging Writers Fellowship programs and in 2016 presented seminars on Adapting Books and True Stories to Film/TV at the 26th annual Flathead Writers Conference in Kalispell, Montana. Barbara currently offers script coaching and “first look” feedback for screenwriters, as well as book coaching and editing for authors and self-publishers. Get info on Barbara’s services at her website, barbaraschiffman.com.

December 12 – GOLD

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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.

July 11 – The Founder

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The FounderMeet on the Fox Studios backlot for an in-depth analysis and discussion of the screenplay THE FOUNDER.

Logline: An over-the-hill milkshake machine salesman discovers a revolutionary fast food restaurant and builds it into the most successful franchise in history

Screenwriter: The Founder was written by ROBERT SIEGEL and appeared on the 2014 Black List. A former senior editor of the online news satire publication, The Onion, Siegel’s first screenwriting credit came from The Onion Movie in 2008. His other credits include The Wrestler, for director Darren Aronofsky, which was nominated for two Academy Awards, and the low-budget Sundance hit, The Fan, starring Patton Oswalt, which Siegel also directed. He is currently directing Cruise, a 1980s-set romance between an Italian-American from the wrong side of the tracks and a Jewish girl from Long Island, which he also wrote.

The Founder, directed by John Lee Hancock (Saving Mr. Banks, The Blind Side), stars Michael Keaton (Birdman, Batman) as McDonald’s founder Ray Kroc, Laura Dern (Wild, Jurassic Park) as Kroc’s wife, and Nick Offerman (Parks and Recreation) and John Carroll Lynch (Fargo, The Drew Carey Show) as the McDonald brothers.

Producers and Production Companies: Don Handfield and two-time Oscar nominated actor Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker) produced The Founder for their company, The Combine (Kill the Messenger) along with Aaron Ryder of FilmNation (Mud, Room, Nebraska, The King’s Speech).

Release Date: August 5 (The Weinstein Company).

Rated PG-13. 115 minutes. 113 pages. Drama, Biopic.

Ruth AtkinsonRUTH ATKINSON will provide in-depth analysis and lead our discussion. Ruth is a Los Angeles-based script consultant and story editor with over 20 years of experience in the film/television business. She is a story analyst for the Sundance Institute’s Feature Film Screenwriting and Directing Labs and story advisor for Film Independent’s Director’s Lab as well as their diversity program where she helps develop short film scripts which are produced and showcased at the Los Angeles Film Festival. She is also story advisor for the inaugural Global Media Makers, a cultural exchange with FIND, the US State Department, and 14 filmmakers from the Middle East. She has spoken at the Great American PitchFest, International Screenwriters’ Association, the Writers Store, On the Page podcast, and more. Ruth is available for script consulting. Visit her at ruthatkinson.com for more information and follow her on Twitter (@ruth_atkinson).

January 11 – Spotlight

RegisterNow(registration deadline: Friday, January 8)

SpotlightMeet on the Fox Studios backlot for an in-depth analysis and discussion of the screenplay SPOTLIGHT.

The true story of how The Boston Globe‘s elite “Spotlight” team of investigative reporters uncovered the massive child molestation scandal and cover-up within the local Catholic Archdiocese.

DIRECTOR/CO-SCREENWRITER TOM McCARTHY – As an actor, McCarthy has appeared in such films as Meet the Parents and The Lovely Bones, and on the small screen in The Wire and Boston Public. His 2003 writing and directing debut, The Station Agent, starring Peter Dinklage, won the Waldo Salt screenwriting award at Sundance, Best First Screenplay at the Independent Spirit Awards, and a Best Screenplay BAFTA award. He received WGA nominations for that film as well as his next two, The Visitor and Win Win, and was nominated for an Oscar for co-writing Disney/Pixar’s Up.

CO-SCREENWRITER JOSH SINGER – Spotlight is Singer’s second feature film writing credit, following 2013’s The Fifth Estate, a fact-based thriller about WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.  Before writing for Fringe and The West Wing, for which he earned two WGA nominations, Singer interned at Disney, Nickelodeon, and Sesame Workshop, and graduated magna cum laude from Yale in mathematics and economics.

AWARDS – The film has already won the Independent Spirits’ Robert Altman Award for its ensemble cast, which includes Mark Ruffalo (Marvel’s The Avengers), Michael Keaton (Birdman), Rachel McAdams (Mean Girls), Liev Schreiber (X-Men Origins: Wolverine), John Slattery (Mad Men), Stanley Tucci (The Hunger Games franchise), and Billy Crudup (Almost Famous).

Spotlight is also nominated for a WGA award, four Spirit Awards for Best Feature, Director, Screenplay and Editing, three BAFTAs for Best Film, Supporting Actor (Mark Ruffalo), and Original Screenplay, and three Golden Globes for Best Motion Picture Drama, Director, and Screenplay, and has won Gotham Awards for Best Feature and Best Screenplay as well as the Hollywood Film Award for Screenwriter of the Year, with more accolades expected.

AWARDS UPDATE: The screenplay alone has won 15 more writing awards so far from: Boston Online Film Critics Association, Boston Society of Film Critics, Chicago Film Critics Association Awards, Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association, Detroit Film Critic Society, Florida Film Critics Circle, Indiana Film Journalists Association, Indiewire Critics’ Poll, Kansas City Film Critics Circle, Las Vegas Film Critics Society, Los Angeles Film Critics Association, Online Film Critics Society, Phoenix Critics Circle, Southeastern Film Critics Association, and St. Louis Film Critics Association.

It has also received an additional 14 screenplay nominations from: Alliance of Women Film Journalists, Austin Film Critics Association, Broadcast Film Critics Association, Houston Film Critics Society, London Critics Circle, North Carolina Film Critics Association, Phoenix Film Critics Society, San Diego Film Critics Society, San Francisco Fim Critics Circle, Satellite Awards, Toronto Film Critics Association, Utah Film Critics Assocation, Vancouver Film Critics Circle, and Washington DC Area Film Critics Association.

Producers and Production Companies: Steve Golin (The Revenant, HBO’s True Detective) and Michael Sugar (The Fifth Estate) for Anonymous Content, Nicole Rocklin and Blye Faust for Rocklin/Faust (The Queen Latifah Show), and Participant Media (Bridge of Spies, Beasts of No Nation).

Premiere: Venice Film Festival (September 3, 2015, out of competition). Also played at the Telluride and Toronto film festivals.

Release date: November 20 (Open Road Films). If you plan to go to the movie before our meeting, reading the script before watching the film is advised.

Rated R. 128 minutes. 131 pages. Drama.

Danny ManusDANNY MANUS,  founder of No BullScript Consulting, will provide in-depth analysis and lead our discussion. Author of No BS for Screenwriters: Advice from the Executive Perspective, Danny has taught workshops and seminars at prestigious events and venues including the Austin Film Festival, Great American Pitchfest, Screenwriting Expo, Sherwood Oaks, and more. As Director of Development for Clifford Werber Productions, he sold the family adventure project To Oz to United Artists and was instrumental in developing Sydney White (Amanda Bynes) and Just Add Water (Jonah Hill, Melissa McCarthy). He was also a Development Consultant for Eclectic Pictures and Director of Development for Sandstorm Films, and was named one of Screencraft’s “25 People Screenwriters Should Follow on Twitter (@DannyManus).”

December 14 – The Big Short

RegisterNow(registration deadline: Friday, December 11)

Meet on the Fox Studios backlot for an in-depth analysis and discussion of the screenplay THE BIG SHORT.

Four outsiders in the world of high-finance predict the credit and housing bubble collapse of the mid-2000s and decide to take on the big banks for their lack of foresight and greed in this true story based on the book The Big Short: Inside The Doomsday Machine by Michael Lewis (Moneyball, The Blind Side).

Screenwriters: ADAM McKAY (Ant-Man, Get Hard, Saturday Night Live) and CHARLES RANDOLPH (Love & Other Drugs, The Interpreter). Directed by Adam McKay.

Cast: Christian Bale (The Dark Knight trilogy), Steve Carell (Foxcatcher, The Office), Ryan Gosling (The Notebook, Lars and the Real Girl), Brad Pitt (Fight Club, 12 Years a Slave), Melissa Leo (The Fighter), Marisa Tomei (The Wrestler), Selena Gomez (Spring Breakers)

Producers: Brad Pitt and Dede Gardner for Plan-B Entertainment (12 Years a Slave, Moneyball, World War Z), and Regency Enterprises (Birdman, Gone Girl).

Premiere: AFI Fest, closing night (November 12, 2015).

Release date: December 11 (limited), December 23 (wide), Paramount. If you plan to go to the movie before our meeting, reading the script before watching the film is advised.

Rated R. 130 minutes. 121 pages. Drama.

Dave KlineDAVE KLINE, senior script consultant at Script Pipeline, will provide in-depth analysis and lead our discussion. Dave co-founded Script Pipeline (formerly Script P.I.M.P.) in 2000 with Chad Clough. With Dave’s focus on contest judging and one-on-one script consultations to help writers find representation, the service has grown into a vital online outlet for agents and managers seeking emerging talent. As a writer, Dave sold his TV series, Detail, to CBS in 2011, which gained him representation at CAA. He has gone on to develop projects for Rough House Pictures, Mosaic, and Le Grisbi Productions (Black Mass). His latest pilot is being produced by Rashida Jones’s production company, Le Train Train. Dave is currently repped by George Heller at Apostle.