October 10 – The Menu

Meet ONLINE from 7:00-10:00 PM Pacific Time on October 10th for an in-depth analysis and discussion of the dark comedy/horror screenplay THE MENU.

LOGLINE: A young couple travels to a remote island to eat at an exclusive restaurant where the celebrity chef, who treats his food as conceptual art, has some shocking surprises for his wealthy guests.

WRITERS: The Menu is the first feature screenwriting credit for SETH REISS and WILL TRACY. A graduate of Boston University, Reiss began contributing to The Onion while working as a page for The Late Show with David Letterman. After interning at The Daily Show and working his way up to head writer at The Onion, he wrote for Late Night with Seth Meyers, earning Emmy nominations four years in a row for Best Writing for a Variety Series. Raised in Portland, Oregon, Tracy was the editor for The Onion and has won five Emmy awards: two for writing for Last Week with John Oliver, three for writing for HBO’s Succession. He also created the upcoming HBO miniseries The Palace starring Kate Winslet. Reiss and Tracy’s spec collaboration, The Menu, was on the 2019 Black List, and they both have executive producer credits on the film.

(registration deadline: Friday, October 7)

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

Single Meeting Fee: $45
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Directed by Mark Mylod (Succession, Game of Thrones, Shameless), The Menu stars Ralph Fiennes (Schindler’s List, The English Patient), Anna Taylor-Joy (The Queen’s Gambit, Emma) and Nicholas Hoult (About a Boy, Renfield), with Hong Chau (Downsizing), Janet McTeer (Ozark), Judith Light (Who’s the Boss?), and John Leguizamo (Moulin Rouge!).

Produced by Adam McKay and Will Ferrell, the film premiered at the Toronto film festival in September and is scheduled to be released by Searchlight Pictures on November 18.

Rated R. 104 pages. 106 minutes. Drama. Thriller. Horror. Comedy.

Donna Michelle Anderson, will provide in-depth analysis and lead our discussion. “DMA,” as she is professionally known, is a story analyst, development executive, and the author of Write It, Pitch It, Sell Your Screenplay: A Hollywood Buyer’s Insider Guide to Getting Your Script Past the Gatekeepers, an update of her 1-3-5 Story Structure Made Simple System: The Nine Essential Elements of a Sellable Screenplay, which was the first story structure system integrated into Final Draft. She has helmed top-rated programming for CBS, Bravo, BET, A&E, TLC and more. Visit her at PlanetDMA.com.

September 12 – Don’t Worry Darling

Meet ONLINE from 7:00-10:00 PM Pacific Time on September 12th for an in-depth analysis and discussion of the screenplay DON’T WORRY DARLING.

LOGLINE: A 1950s housewife living with her husband in a utopian experimental community begins to worry that his glamorous company may be hiding disturbing secrets.

WRITERS: Don’t Worry Darling is based on a spec script written by THE VAN DYKE BROTHERS, who share story credit on the film. Actors Carey and Shane Van Dyke have both appeared on numerous episodes of Diagnosis: Murder with their grandfather, Hollywood icon Dick Van Dyke. Together and separately, they have writing credits on several low-budget horror films, and Shane wrote, directed, and starred in the 2010 Asylum film Titanic II. Their spec script for Don’t Worry Darling appeared on the 2019 Black List. Actress Olivia Wilde chose the film as her next directorial project, sparking a bidding war among eighteen buyers. Wilde then hired KATIE SILBERMAN to rewrite the script, as she had done previously for her fist film as director, the acclaimed indie teen comedy Booksmart. (We will be reading and discussing the Black List draft by the Van Dyke Brothers.)

(registration deadline: Friday, September 9)

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

Single Meeting Fee: $45
SPECIAL OFFER
– ONLY $150 FOR A 6-MONTH MEMBERSHIP OR RENEWAL!

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Don’t Worry Darling is scheduled to premiere early next month at the Venice International Film Festival, with a theatrical release from Warner Bros. scheduled for September 23.

The film stars Florence Pugh (Marvel’s Black Widow), Harry Styles (One Direction, Dunkirk), Gemma Chan (Crazy Rich Asians), KiKi Layne (If Beale Street Could Talk), Nick Kroll (Kroll Show), Chris Pine (Star Trek), and the film’s director, Olivia Wilde.

Rated R. 95 pages. 122 minutes. Drama. Thriller.

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, which Quentin Tarantino praised on his podcast last month for its “fantastic use of exposition.” Wendell 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 and producing original feature scripts.

May 9 – The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent

Meet ONLINE from 7:00-10:00 PM Pacific Time on May 9th for an in-depth analysis and discussion of the screenplay THE UNBEARABLE WEIGHT OF MASSIVE TALENT.

LOGLINE: Hollywood has-been Nick Cage finds himself tumbling down a rabbit hole of references to his past roles in a real-life action-adventure.

THE WRITERS: TV writer/producer KEVIN ETTON began his career as a writer for The Late Show with David Letterman. His credits include such notable shows as Scrubs, Reaper, Ghosted, and Desperate Housewives, for which he won a Golden Globe award for Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy. Unbearable is his first feature film screenplay credit, which he shares with the film’s director, TOM GORMICAN. In addition to working with Etton as a writer on Ghosted, Gormican co-produced the 2013 anthology comedy Movie 43 and made his directorial debut in 2014 with That Awkward Moment starring Zac Efron, Miles Teller, and Michael B. Jordan, from his spec script, Are We Officially Dating?, which landed on the 2010 Black List.

(registration deadline: Friday, May 6)

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

Single Meeting Fee: $45
SPECIAL OFFER
– ONLY $150 FOR A 6-MONTH MEMBERSHIP OR RENEWAL!

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

The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent stars Academy Award winner NICOLAS CAGE (Leaving Las Vegas, Adaptation) as Nick Cage. The film also stars Pedro Pascal (The Mandalorian), Sharon Horgan (Catastrophe), Tiffany Haddish (Girls Trip), Ike Barinholtz (Suicide Squad), Alessandra Mastronardi (Master of None), DEMI MOORE (G.I. Jane) as Cage’s ex-wife, and Neil Patrick Harris (Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle).

Filmed in Croatia, The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent premiered in March at the South by Southwest film festival. The Lionsgate film was released on April 22 and spent its opening weekend in the top five at the box office.

If you have not yet seen the movie, it is highly recommended that you first read the screenplay so your initial impression is from the writing. After reading the screenplay, please make an effort to watch the movie as our meeting will include discussion of the writing as well as what is seen and heard while watching the movie.

Rated R. 117 pages. 107 minutes. Action. Comedy.

BILL TAUB will provide in-depth analysis and lead our discussion. Screenwriter, producer, author, creative troubleshooter, and teacher Bill Taub has written or co-written the pilots for Relic Hunter, Friday the 13th: The Series, Mission Genesis, The Odyssey, and Dark Shadows (1991), as well as two unproduced pilots for NBC, Blue Skies and Burger Palace. He was recently honored by the WGA for his work on Barney Miller and Hill Street Blues, and his spec pilot, Raffle Guy, won first place at Scriptapalooza. Bill has also recently taught Creating a Web Series at UCLA Extension Online. His book, Automatic Pilot: Writing a TV Pilot has never been so easy!, is available at Amazon. For more information, visit billtaub.com. or follow @BillyTaub on Twitter.

November 8 – King Richard

Meet ONLINE from 7:00-10:00 PM Pacific Time on November 8th for an in-depth analysis and discussion of the screenplay KING RICHARD.

LOGLINE: Richard Williams, an undeterred father instrumental in raising two of the most extraordinarily gifted athletes of all time, changes the sport of tennis forever.

THE SCREENWRITER: King Richard is the first produced script by ZACH BAYLIN, who previously had art department credits on Steven Soderbergh’s Side Effects and Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Jack Goes Boating. Baylin’s spec biopic about the father of tennis pros Venus and Serena Williams came in second on the 2018 Black List and, with Will Smith attached to star and produce, was picked up by Warner Bros. after a bidding war. Baylin, who had won a spot on the Black List the year before with a script called Come as You Are, about a woman who moderates X-rated content on a social media platform and goes on a violent mission to take down the creators, was recently hired to pen the screenplay for the third film in the Rocky spinoff franchise, Creed, expected to be released in November 2022.

(registration deadline: Friday, November 5)

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

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

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Directed by Reinaldo Marcus Green (Monsters and Men), King Richard stars Will Smith (Independence Day, Bad Boys, Men in Black), Tony Goldwyn (Ghost, Scandal), Jon Bernthal (The Walking Dead, Marvel’s The Punisher), Dylan McDermott (The Practice), Aunjanue Ellis (When They See Us), and, as the Williams sisters, Saniyya Sidney (American Horror Story: Roanoke, Fences) and Demi Singleton (Godfather of Harlem).

The movie, which features the original song “Be Alive” by Beyoncé, premiered last month at the Telluride Film Festival and opens in theaters and on HBO Max on November 19. It won the audience award at the Heartland International Film Festival in Indiana and currently holds a 93% critics’ rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Entertainment Weekly called King Richard “a surprisingly nuanced portrait of a flawed and deeply complicated man and the kind of classic-uplift sports movie that used to fill multiplexes once upon a time.”

Rated PG-13. 122 pages. 138 minutes. Drama. Sports Biopic.

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 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.

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

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

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.

August 9 – Free Guy

Free Guy (2021)Meet ONLINE from 7:00-10:00 PM Pacific Time on August 9th for an in-depth analysis and discussion of the comedy screenplay FREE GUY.

LOGLINE: A bank teller discovers that he’s actually an NPC (non-player character) inside a brutal, open world video game.

SCREENWRITERS: The first draft of Free Guy was a spec script by MATT LIEBERMAN that appeared on the 2016 Black List, an annual survey of the industry’s best unproduced screenplays. Lieberman’s screenwriting career began in the Disney Feature Writer’s Program, where he worked on various scripts based on IP like Monopoly and Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride that are still in development. His first spec sale, 12/24, a found-footage feature about two kids trying to catch Santa Claus on video, eventually became Netflix’s hit comedy The Christmas Chronicles. Lieberman also received story and writing credits on computer animated reboots of The Addams Family (2019) and Scooby Doo (Scoob!, 2020), and has several other projects in development, including reboots of The Jetsons and Rin Tin Tin, as well as the original screenplays Meet the Machines and Meebo and Me. Before going into production, Free Guy was re-written by ZAK PENN, whose other high-concept output includes Last Action HeroThe Incredible HulkThe Avengers, and Ready Player One[We will be reading and discussing Lieberman’s draft only.]

(registration deadline: Friday, August 6)

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

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

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

Directed by Shawn Levy (Night at the Museum), Free Guy stars Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool), Jodie Comer (Killing Eve), Lil Rel Howery (Get Out), rapper Utkarsh Ambudkar (The Mindy Project), Joe Keery (Stranger Things), and Academy Award winner Taika Waititi (Jojo Rabbit). The comedy will be released theatrically by Disney’s 20th Century Studios on Friday, August 13.

Rated PG-13. 115 minutes. 109 pages (Lieberman’s undated Black List draft). Sci-Fi Action Comedy.

STEVE KAPLAN will provide in-depth analysis and lead our discussion of the sci-fi action comedy Free Guy. 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.

February 8 – Breaking News in Yuba County

Meet ONLINE on February 8th for an in-depth analysis and discussion of the screenplay BREAKING NEWS IN YUBA COUNTY.

Logline: After catching her husband in bed with a hooker, causing him to die of a heart attack, a housewife decides to bury his body, then takes advantage of the media spotlight covering the search for her missing husband.

Amanda Idokok (screenwriter)ABOUT THE WRITER: Halfway through college, Nigerian-American AMANDA IDOKO (@amidoko) switched from pre-med to a theater arts major at Cornell University. After college, she wrote plays in New York before moving to Hollywood, starting out there as a writer’s assistant on Bones. Since participating in the Disney/ABC Television Writing Program in 2016, she’s written for several sitcoms including The Goldbergs and Apple TV’s animated hit Central Park. Her spec feature screenplay Breaking News in Yuba County landed in the top ten on the 2017 Black List, an annual ranking of the industry’s best unproduced screenplays. Idoko is currently scripting an adaptation of Plastic Man for the DCU and an untitled Rip Van Winkle musical starring Oscar nominee Cynthia Erivo.

(registration deadline: Friday, February 5)

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

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

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

MGM is set to release Breaking News in Yuba County on February 12 as the launch for its new specialty label, American International Pictures, the former independent production company known for its string of highly successful low-budget, teen-oriented drive-in fare by Samuel Z. Arkoff and Roger Corman from the 1950s through the 1970s. Breaking News will be the first movie released under this banner in over 40 years. Black List founder Franklin Leonard is a credited producer on the film, as is actor Jake Gyllenhaal.

Directed by Tate Taylor (The Help, Ma, The Girl on the Train), Breaking News in Yuba County stars Academy Award winner Allison Janney (I, Tonya, Juno), Mila Kunis (Black Swan, That ’70s Show), Regina Hall (Girls Trip, The Hate U Give), Awkwafina (Crazy Rich Asians, The Farewell), Juliette Lewis (Cape Fear, Natural Born Killers), Wanda Sykes (Bad Moms, The Chris Rock Show), Ellen Barkin (The Big Easy, Sea of Love), and Matthew Modine (Full Metal Jacket, Stranger Things) as the dead guy.

Rated R. 96 minutes. 118 pages. Black Comedy.

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

May 11 – The High Note

Meet ONLINE on May 11th for an in-depth analysis and discussion of the screenplay THE HIGH NOTE.

LOGLINE: The longtime assistant of a famous singer must navigate the rocky waters of the LA music scene to make her dreams of producing music a reality.

ABOUT THE WRITER: With no other screen credits to her name, newbie FLORA GREESON landed on the 2018 Black List, an annual industry list of the best unproduced scripts of the year, with her spec script Covers. That attention won her a job rewriting When Prince Made a Chambermaid His Queen for a Day, based on a true story published in The Daily Beast in 2017 about a 1986 MTV contest where a small-town Wyoming motel maid won a date with the late rock star Prince. Greeson was hired by producer and star Elizabeth Banks (The Hunger Games, Pitch Perfect) to rewrite Josh Stolberg (Good Luck Chuck); the still-in-development project’s title has been shortened to Queen for a Day. Meanwhile, the scribe’s Black List entry, Covers, has been made by Cats producers Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner, after also undergoing a title change — to The High Note.

(registration deadline: Noon, Wednesday, May 6)

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.

Starring Dakota Johnson (50 Shades of Grey) as the assistant and Tracee Ellis Ross (Black-ish) as singing superstar Grace Davis, The High Note also features Ice Cube (N.W.A., Friday), Bill Pullman (Independence Day), Kelvin Harrison Jr. (It Comes At Night), and comedian Eddie Izzard. Directed by Nisha Ganatra (Late Night), the film’s release date, originally scheduled for May 8, is like to be changed due to ongoing stay-at-home orders that have shuttered most movie theaters.

Rated PG-13. Draft dated January 17, 2018, 99 pages. Comedy.

DMA will provide in-depth analysis and lead our discussion. Story analyst, development executive, and author of Write It, Pitch It, Sell Your Screenplay: A Hollywood Buyer’s Insider Guide to Getting Your Script Past the Gatekeepers, an update of her 1-3-5 Story Structure Made Simple Structure: The Nine Essential Elements of a Sellable Screenplay, which was the first story structure system integrated into Final Draft, DMA (Donna Michelle Anderson) has helmed top-rated programming for CBS, Bravo, BET, A&E, TLC and more. Visit her at PlanetDMA.com.

April 13 – Promising Young Woman (UPDATED)

Meet on the lot at Fox Studios ONLINE on April 13th for an in-depth analysis and discussion of the screenplay PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN.

LOGLINE: After her sexual assault complaint is dismissed, a promising medical student drops out to systematically lure badly-behaving men into her vengeance-seeking clutches.

ABOUT THE WRITER: The erotic thriller was penned by EMERALD FENNELL, who also makes her feature directorial debut, following Careful How You Go, a short film she wrote and directed that played at Sundance in 2018. An actress who has appeared in such films as Albert Nobbs, Anna Karenina (2012), and The Danish Girl, and the hit Netflix series The Crown, Fennell is a two-time prime-time Emmy nominee as head writer for the BBC series Killing Eve, a position she took over from her good friend, Fleabag sensation Phoebe Waller-Bridge. Fennell is also a novelist, having authored the children’s book series Shiverton Hall as well as the 2015 adult horror novel Monsters.

(registration deadline: Noon, Wednesday, April 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 instructionsDUE TO THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC, THE APRIL 13th MEETING WILL BE HELD ONLINE. INSTRUCTIONS WILL BE SENT TO ALL REGISTERED PARTICIPANTS IN ADVANCE OF THE MEETING, so don’t forget to register by April 8.

Oscar nominee Carey Mulligan (An Education) stars as the titular woman along with Bo Burnham (writer/director of Eighth Grade), Alison Brie (GLOW), Connie Britton (American Horror Story), Adam Brody (The O.C.), Jennifer Coolidge (American Pie), Laverne Cox (Orange Is the New Black), Max Greenfield (New Girl), Christopher Mintz-Plasse (Superbad), Sam Richardson (Veep), Molly Shannon (SNL), and Alfred Molina (Raiders of the Lost Ark, Spider-Man 2). Margot Robbie, who was nominated for an Oscar for her performance in last year’s similarly-themed Bombshell, was one of this film’s producers.

Universal’s arthouse label Focus Features acquired distribution rights for the film early last year and premiered it at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, earning rave reviews and an early tomatometer score of 98%. The film opens nationwide on April 17. UPDATE: The film, originally scheduled to be released on April 17, has been pulled from the schedule due to the coronavirus pandemic; new release plans have not yet been announced by Universal.

Rated R. 113 minutes. 106 pages. Drama. Thriller.

UPDATE: Longtime StoryBoard member DIANA CALDWELL will lead our in-depth analysis and discussion. Diana wrote her first spec script at the age of 11 and got her first notes on that script from Academy Award winner Louis Gossett Jr. More recently, she has placed in numerous screenwriting competitions, winning the Legacy Award in Screenwriting at the Festival Angelica in Big Bear for her script Fair Trade, which also won her a slot in the prestigious Cinestory Writers Retreat. Diana has also worked as a reader for Barry Levinson’s production company and as Film Inspector and Technical Director for various film festivals, including Telluride, TCM, and AFM.

November 11 – Hala

 Meet on the lot at Fox Studios on November 11th for an in-depth analysis and discussion of the screenplay HALA.

LOGLINE: 17-year-old girl navigating the conflicting worlds of her traditional Muslim household and her modern American high school struggles with her identity when she uncovers a secret that threatens to destroy her nuclear family.

Inspired by her own experiences growing up in Chicago, first-generation Pakistani-American MINHAL BAIG wrote and directed the coming-of-age story. Previously a staff writer on the Hulu series Ramy and story editor on Netflix’s BoJack Horseman, Baig was chosen to participate in Ryan Murphy’s Half Foundation Directing Mentorship in 2017. She is currently a story editor on Dune: The Sisterhood, a new series to be launched on the upcoming streaming platform HBO Max. Hala is her feature filmmaking debut.

(registration deadline: Noon, Wednesday, November 6)

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.

The film was executive produced by Jada Pinkett-Smith, using an inclusion rider to guarantee the hiring of women in all department head positions and 75% of critical below-the-line roles. Geraldine Viswanathan (Blockers, Bad Education) stars in the title role along with Jack Kilmer (The Nice Guys, Palo Alto), Gabriel Luna (Terminator: Dark Net, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), and Anna Chlumsky (Veep, My Girl).

Hala premiered in competition at the Sundance International Film Festival in January, where it became the first of three films acquired by Apple Inc. The tech giant will release the film in select theaters on November 22 before dropping it on their new Apple TV+ streaming service in December.

UPDATE: See Hala on November 18 (6:30pm) or November 20 (7:00pm) at AFI Fest. (Click here to get tickets now before they sell out!)  (StoryBoard is not affiliated with AFI Fest.)

Rated R. 94 minutes. 89 pages. Drama, Coming-of-Age.

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.


SPECIAL BONUS MEMBER WORKSHOP SESSION!

Every screenplay is perfect until  someone reads it. A recent StoryBoard moderator was so impressed with the group’s ability to pinpoint potential script problems, he’s asked us to apply those analytical skills to his work. Don’t miss your chance to help him improve his screenplay in this special bonus StoryBoard Workshop.

For regular, paid StoryBoard members only, this session, at no extra cost to members, will be held on Monday, October 28, 7:30 PM at Fox Studios. Refreshments included. If you wish to participate but did not pick up the script at the October 14th meeting, please contact Scott at StoryBoardDG@gmail.com no later than Wednesday, October 23.