September 11 – Rebel in the Rye

RegisterNow(registration deadline: Friday, September 8)

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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March 13 – Hidden Figures

RegisterNow(registration deadline: Friday, March 10)

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.

July 11 – The Founder

RegisterNow(registration deadline: Friday, July 8)

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).

November 9 – TRUMBO

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Trumbo 2015 movie posterMeet on the Fox Studios backlot for an in-depth analysis and discussion of the screenplay TRUMBO.

Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad) stars as Dalton Trumbo, whose screenwriting career came to a crushing halt when he was blacklisted from Hollywood by the House Committee on Un-American Activites in the 1940s for his political beliefs.

Veteran TV writer/producer JOHN McNAMARA (Aquarius, Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman) penned the screenplay from the 1977 Bruce Alexander Cook biography Dalton Trumbo, written with Trumbo’s full cooperation. The script is Mcnamara’s first feature credit.

Directed by four-time Emmy Award winner Jay Roach (Recount, Game Change), Trumbo also stars Diane Lane (Unfaithful) as Cleo Fincher Trumbo, Helen Mirren (The Queen) as Hollywood gossip columnist Hedda Hopper, Louis C.K. (Louie), Elle Fanning (Maleficent), John Goodman (Roseanne), Michael Stuhlbarg (Boardwalk Empire, Steve Jobs), Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (Lost), and David James Elliott (JAG) as John Wayne.

Producers: Michael London for Groundswell Productions (Sideways, Milk, The House of Sand and Fog), Shivani Rawat for ShivHans Pictures (Danny Collins), Monica Levinson (Brüno), and Janice Williams (Love the Coopers).

Premiere: Toronto International Film Festival (September 12, 2015).

Release date: November 6 (Bleeker Street). If you plan to go to the movie before our meeting, reading the script before watching the film is advised.

Rated R. 124 minutes. 117 pages. Drama, Biopic.

Max TimmMAX TIMM, Director of Community Outreach with International Screenwriters’ Association will provide in-depth analysis and lead our discussion. After six years as Director of Development at Writers Boot Camp, Max helps bring writers and industry professionals closer with a program for submitting ISA writers’ projects around town, helping them find representation and get their material read. So far in 2015 he has helped five writers receive options. Max is also a development consultant, screenwriting instructor, and author. His first novel, The WishKeeper, won the Los Angeles Book Festival YA category. As a part-time instructor, Max teaches film and television history to high school students at the UCLA Summer Discovery program. Visit him at maxtimm.com and follow him on Twitter (@iMaxTimm).

NOTE: On October 26th, StoryBoard also presents
the following Special Event:

WRITING FOR TV, CABLE, AND NEW MEDIA

October 12 – STEVE JOBS

RegisterNow(registration deadline: Friday, October 9)

SteveJobsBoyleBorderMeet on the Fox Studios backlot for an in-depth analysis and discussion of the screenplay STEVE JOBS.

Set backstage at three iconic product launches and ending in 1998 with the unveiling of the iMac, Steve Jobs takes us behind the scenes of the digital revolution to paint an intimate portrait of the brilliant man at its epicenter.

Based on Walter Isaacson’s best-selling, authorized biography of the Apple Inc. co-founder, the screenplay was written by Aaron Sorkin. The A-list screenwriter won the Academy Award in 2011 for The Social Network, his biopic of Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg, and was nominated again the following year for Moneyball. Sorkin’s other credits include A Few Good Men, HBO’s The Newsroom, and The West Wing, for which he won five Emmys. He is currently writing a screenplay about I Love Lucy stars Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, with Cate Blanchette set to star as the redheaded comedienne.

Directed by Academy Award winner Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire), Steve Jobs stars Michael Fassbender (12 Years a Slave, X-Men franchise) as Jobs, Seth Rogen (The Interview) as Steve Wozniak, Jeff Daniels (Dumb and Dumber) as Pepsi CEO John Sculley, Michael Stuhlbarg (Boardwalk Empire) as Mac developer Andy Hertzfeld, and Kate Winslet (Titanic, Divergent) as Apple marketing director Joanna Hoffman.

Producers: Scott Rudin (No Country for Old Men), Mark Gordon (Saving Private Ryan), Guymon Casady (Game of Thrones), Christian Colson (Slumdog Millionaire)

Production Companies: Legendary Pictures, Management 360, Scott Rudin Productions, The Mark Gordon Company

Festivals: Telluride Film Festival (September 5, 2015 – Premiere), New York Film Festival (October 3, 2015).

Release date: October 9 (Universal). If you plan to go to the movie before our meeting, reading the script before watching the film is advised.

Rated R. 122 minutes. 177 pages. Biopic.

Colin CostelloCOLIN COSTELLO will provide in-depth analysis and lead our discussion. A former advertising creative director/copywriter, Colin is a produced, award-winning WGA writer. His credits include the 2013 family comedy The Stream (starring Rainn Wilson, Mario Lopez, and Kelly Rutherford) and the currently airing PBS Kids educational series Moochie Kalala Detectives Club. His second family feature, Traveling Without Moving, featuring Steve Guttenberg and Harry Lennix, just wrapped production in Chicago. Visit him at colincostello.com and follow him on Twitter (@colincostello10).

September 14 – BLACK MASS

RegisterNow(registration deadline: Friday, September 11)

Black MassMeet on the 20th Century Fox studio lot for an in-depth analysis and discussion of the screenplay BLACK MASS.

Johnny Depp heads an all-star cast in the true story of infamous mob boss Whitey Bulger, second on the FBI’s most-wanted list for 12 years (behind only Osama bin Laden), who became an FBI informant to take down the Mafia family invading his turf.

The 2001 book Black Mass: The True Story of an Unholy Alliance Between the FBI and the Irish Mob by Dick Lehr and Gerard O’Neill was adapted by screenwriter Jez Butterworth (Edge of Tomorrow, Fair Game) and executive producer Mark Mallouk (Rush, A Walk Among the Tombstones).

Cast includes: Joe Edgerton (The Gift), Benedict Cumberbatch (12 Years a Slave, The Imitation Game), Dakota Johnson (Fifty Shades of Grey), Kevin Bacon (The Following), Jesse Plemons (Breaking Bad), Peter Sarsgaard (An Education), Corey Stoll (House of Cards), Sienna Miller (American Sniper), Adam Scott (Sleeping with Other People), and Juno Temple (Maleficent).

Directed by Scott Cooper (Crazy Heart, Out of the Furnace), the film premieres September 4 at the Venice Film Festival.

Release date: September 18 (Warner Bros.).

Rated R. 122 minutes. 113 pages. Crime Drama.

David Kohner ZuckermanDAVID KOHNER ZUCKERMAN will provide in-depth analysis and lead our discussion. David began his producing career as a production associate on Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles before heading his own production company, DKZ Films, where he produced the comedy Strictly Sexual, which found unexpected popularity on the fledgling streaming service Hulu in 2010, spawning a limited six-episode series. His other producing credits include All I Want for Christmas (Hallmark), Chump Change (Miramax), Caught in the Act (Lifetime), and the just-completed The Fourth Noble Truth starring Harry Hamlin. David is also the president of ScriptCoach.com and CEO and co-founder of VirtualPitchFest.com.

February 9 – The Imitation Game

RegisterNow(registration deadline: Monday, February 2)

Meet on the 20th Century Fox studio lot for an in-depth analysis and discussion of the screenplay THE IMITATION GAME

Based on the real life story of legendary cryptanalyst Alan Turing, the film portrays the nail-biting race against time by Turing and his brilliant team of code-breakers at Britain’s top-secret Government Code & Cypher School at Bletchley Park, during the darkest days of World War II.

Writers: Graham Moore (screenplay), Andrew Hodges (book)

Director: Morten Tyldum (Headhunters, 2011; Buddy, 2003)


Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley

Budget: $15 million

The screenplay topped the 2011 Black List.

The Weinstein Company acquired US distribution rights for $7 million, a European Film Market record.

Premiered at Telluride Film Festival and also played at Toronto and nearly 50 other international film festivals.

Release (US): November 28, 2014 (limited), December 25, 2014 (wide)

AWARDS: Over 100 nominations, including eight Academy Award nominations (Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Adapted Screenplay, editing, production design, score), five Golden Globe nominations (including screenplay), eight BAFTA nominations, three SAG nominations, a USC Scripter nomination, and a WGA nomination.

Rated PG-13. 114 minutes. 117 pages. Biography, Drama, Thriller

JeffKitchen_smallJEFF KITCHEN will provide in-depth analysis and lead our discussion. Jeff is a sought-after script doctor and working writer who has taught screenwriting professionally since 1989. He is the author of Writing a Great Movie: Key Tools for Successful Screenwriting, and has trained development executives from all the major studios who have consistently said that he teaches “the most advanced development tools in the film industry.” Creative Screenwriting listed him as one of the top five screenwriting teachers working today. Visit his website DevelopmentHeaven.com.