August 14 – The Only Living Boy in New York

RegisterNow(registration deadline: Friday, August 11)

Meet on the Fox Studios backlot on August 14th for an in-depth analysis and discussion of the screenplay THE ONLY LIVING BOY IN NEW YORK.

Logline: Adrift in New York City, a recent college graduate’s life is upended by his father’s mistress.

Screenwriter: After a twelve-year struggle to get noticed in Hollywood, screenwriter ALLAN LOEB finally broke through in 2005 when two of his spec scripts landed in the top four of the industry’s inaugural Black List, leading to sales of six projects in a single year. The first to make it to the cinema was 2007’s Things We Lost in the Fire starring Halle Berry. Subsequent writing credits include 21 (the fictionalized true story of a card-counting ring from MIT), Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, The Switch (starring Jennifer Aniston and Jason Bateman), The Dilemma (directed by Ron Howard), and the musical Rock of Ages. Earlier this year Loeb shared a writing credit on the sci-fi romantic drama The Space Between Us, and just two months before that his original screenplay Collateral Beauty hit the screen with Will Smith in the lead. Along with Things We Lost…, The Only Living Boy in New York was Loeb’s other script on the 2005 Black List.

Named after the 1970 Simon & Garfunkel song, The Only Living Boy in New York is Loeb’s “version of my favorite movie, The Graduate, with kind of a Manhattan love-letter to New York flourish to it,” according to a 2012 interview with the scribe. Directed by Marc Webb ((500) Days of Summer, The Amazing Spider-Man), the film stars Callum Turner (Queen and Country), Kate Beckinsale (Pearl Harbor), Pierce Brosnan (Die Another Day), Cynthia Nixon (Sex and the City), Kiersey Clemons (Justice League), and Jeff Bridges (True Grit, The Big Lebowski).

Producers and Production Companies: Ron Yerxa and Albert Berger, nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture for Alexander Payne’s Nebraska, produced The Only Living Boy… through their Bona Fide Productions. Previously, the pair had produced Payne’s Election, Loeb’s The Switch, and the Oscar winning Little Miss Sunshine. They have a first-look deal with Amazon Studios (Manchester by the Sea), who financed the picture. John Fogel also produced. This is his first credit.

Release Date: August 11 (Roadside Attractions)

Rated R. 88 minutes. 105 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.

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January 9 – Miss Sloane

RegisterNow(registration deadline: Friday, January 6)

Miss Sloane movie posterMeet on the Fox Studios backlot on December 12th for an in-depth analysis and discussion of the screenplay MISS SLOANE.

Logline: A ruthless lobbyist faces off against the powerful gun lobby in an attempt to pass gun control legislation.

First-time British screenwriter JONATHAN PERERA wrote Miss Sloane while working as an elementary schoolteacher in South Korea after a BBC News interview with corrupt D.C. lobbyist Jack Abramoff inspired him to explore the untapped milieu of the behind-the-scenes power players pulling the strings in American politics for his first-ever attempt at writing a screenplay. The original spec script found representation through a query letter and landed on the 2015 Black List. Perera is managed by Scott Carr of Management SGC and the script was repped by Peter Dodd and Carolyn Sivitz at UTA.

Directed by John Madden (Shakespeare in Love). Starring Jessica Chastain (The Help, Zero Dark Thirty), Alison Pill (The Newsroom), Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Dr. Who), John Lithgow (3rd Rock from the Sun), Michael Stuhlbarg (Trumbo, Steve Jobs), Mark Strong (The Imitation Game), and Sam Waterston (Law & Order).

Producers and Production Companies: Perera’s manager took the property to executive producer Patrick Chu at FilmNation (Arrival, The Founder) where Ben Browning (Passengers) produced alongside Kris Thykier (Kick-Ass) of Archery Pictures. EuropaCorp (Taken franchise), the France-based international distributor co-founded by Luc Besson (The Professional), picked up Miss Sloane for distribution after a bidding war in Toronto.

Release Date: Opened in limited release on November 25th, followed by a wide release on December 9th. 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 R. 132 minutes. 123 pages. Drama, Thriller, Political Thriller.

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.

October 10 – The Accountant

RegisterNow(registration deadline: Friday, October 7)

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

Logline: After a life spent un-cooking the books for the world’s most dangerous criminal organizations, a brilliant forensic accountant tries to go straight just as the US Treasury Department closes in on him and the body count starts to rise.

Screenwriter: The Accountant is the third feature writing credit for BILL DUBUQUE. In 2008, the newbie scribe won the PAGE International Screenwriter Award for Best Drama for his original spec script Confessions of a Headhunter, which premieres this month at the Toronto International Film Festival as The Headhunter’s Calling starring Alison Brie and Gerard Butler. Before that got made, Dubuque was hired to rewrite The Judge for Robert Downey Jr.’s production company, Team Downey, and director David Dobkin. The Judge became Dubuque’s debut writing credit in 2014 and earned an Academy Award nomination for Robert Duvall. The Accountant was on the 2011 Black List.

Ben Affleck (Argo, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice) stars in the title role alongside Anna Kendrick (Twilight, Pitch Perfect), J.K. Simmons (Whiplash), Jon Bernthal (The Walking Dead, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl), Jeffrey Tambor (Transparent) and John Lithgow (3rd Rock from the Sun). The film was directed by Gavin O’Connor (Jane Got a Gun, Warrior).

Producers and Production Companies: The Accountant was produced by Lynette Howell for Electric City Entertainment (Captain Fantastic, Big Eyes, Blue Valentine) and Mark Williams for Zero Gravity Management. Williams also directed Dubuque’s other 2016 release, The Headhunter’s Calling. Zero Gravity (Beasts of No Nation, The Cooler) “is actively seeking talented writers with a unique voice and vision.”

Release Date: October 14 (Warner Bros.).

Rated R. 128 minutes. 113 pages. Drama, Crime, Thriller.

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. Visit SmartG.com or follow @smartgirlspr on Twitter.

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).

May 9 – Money Monster

RegisterNow(registration deadline: Friday, May 6)

Money MonsterMeet on the Fox Studios backlot for an in-depth analysis and discussion of the screenplay MONEY MONSTER.

Logline: A financial TV host and his producer are put in an explosive situation when an irate investor takes over their studio.

The screenplay, which appeared on the 2014 Black List, was written by ALAN DiFIORE & JIM KOUF. This is DiFiore’s first feature writing credit. He co-created the Canadian TV series The Bridge and is a writer/producer on the hit NBC series Grimm. Kouf is the co-creator of Grimm and wrote for The Ghost Whisperer and Angel, and is also known for his many feature screenplays including National Treasure, Rush Hour, and Stakeout. JAMIE LINDEN (We Are Marshall, Dear John) was brought in for rewrites on Money Monster (making this the second script in a row we’ll be studying from a writer who previously adapted a Nicholas Sparks novel).

Money Monster is the fourth pairing of Oscar winners George Clooney (The Descendants) and Julia Roberts (Erin Brockovich), and the fourth feature film directed by two-time Academy Award winning actress Jodie Foster. The $30 million film also stars Jack O’Connell (Unbroken) and Dominic West (The Wire).

Producers and Production Companies: Daniel Dubieck (Up in the Air) launched Allegiance Theater in 2012 to produce Money Monster. Stuart Ford provided the financing through his company, IM Global (Insidious, Sleeping with Other People). Clooney also produced with Grant Heslov through their Smokehouse Pictures banner (Argo).

Release Date: May 13 (Sony/Tri-Star).

Rated R. 95 minutes. 123 pages. Drama, Thriller.

DianeDrake150DIANE DRAKE will provide in-depth analysis and lead our discussion. Prior to writing the hit movies Only You (starring Robert Downey Jr. and Marissa Tomei) and What Women Want (starring Mel Gibson and Helen Hunt), Diane served as Vice President of Creative Affairs for Sydney Pollack (Out of Africa, Tootsie), honing her story skills while analyzing hundreds of screenplays to find and develop material for the Oscar-winning producer-director. She has taught through the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program and currently offers online courses and workshops at www.dianedrake.com. Her first book, Get Your Story Straight, is scheduled for release in 2016. Follow her on Twitter (@dianedrake) to find out more.

UPDATE: Diane’s book, Get Your Story Straight, is now available at Amazon.com.

April 11 – Demolition

RegisterNow(registration deadline: Friday, April 8)

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

Logline: A man forms an unlikely bond with a sympathetic customer service representative he complained to when a vending machine failed to give him his M&Ms minutes after his wife died.

Written by BRYAN SIPE (The Choice), this indie drama opened the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival. The script was on the 2007 Black List, where it was discovered by director Jean-Marc Vallee (Dallas Buyer’s Club, Wild).

Demolition stars Jake Gyllenhaal (Nightcrawler), Naomi Watts (Birdman, King Kong), and Chris Cooper (American Beauty, Adaptation).

Production Companies: Mr. Mudd (Juno), with financing from Black Label Media (Sicario) and Sidney Kimmel Entertainment (Sleeping with Other People).

Producers: Black Label’s Molly Smith and Trent Luckinbill, Mr. Mudd’s Lianne Halfon and Russell Smith, and Sidney Kimmel. Executive producers include actors Thad Luckinbill (The Young and the Restless) and John Malkovich (Zoolander No. 2), talent agent Nathan Ross, director Jason Reitman (Up in the Air), Helen Estabrook (Whiplash) and SKE’s Carla Hacken.

Release Date: April 8 (Fox Searchlight). If you plan to see the movie before our meeting, reading the script before watching the film is advised.

Rated R. 100 minutes. 113 pages. Drama.

David SilvermanDAVID SILVERMAN will provide in-depth analysis and lead our discussion. David studied screenwriting and story analysis at USC School of Cinematic Arts, worked on over 30 TV shows, pitched, wrote and sold screenplays to studios, and has done rewrites on features for Steven Spielberg at Amblin Entertainment. He has created five TV shows, including The Wild Thornberrys, which spawned two feature films. Having graduated from Stanford University with Honors in psychology, David coaches writers on the psychology of writing, strategies to improve writing skills, creative writing tools, overcoming writer’s block, reinventing yourself and Breaking In: Alternative Strategies, a class he has taught at UCLA. Visit him at HollywoodScriptwriting.com and find out how to get a free 20-minute phone consultation, and follow him on Twitter (@creativeshrink)

June 8 – Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

RegisterNow(registration deadline: Monday, June 1)

Me and Earl and the Dying GirlMeet on the 20th Century Fox studio lot for an in-depth analysis and discussion of the screenplay ME AND EARL AND THE DYING GIRL.

First-time screenwriter JESSE ANDREWS adapted his debut YA novel, the resulting screenplay landing on the 2012 Black List. Premiering at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, the movie won both the Audience award (drama) and Grand Jury Prize (drama), drawing a five-minute standing ovation!

Fox Searchlight won worldwide rights over bids from Focus, CBS Films, Lionsgate, A24, Miramax, and The Weinstein Co. The film, which stands on its own in inventiveness, humor, and heart, is “destined not only to connect with young audiences in a big way, but also to endure as a touchstone for its generation,” according to Variety, while Indiwire calls it “a beautifully charming, captivating knock-out.”

Directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon (American Horror Story, Glee)

Starring Thomas Mann (It’s Kind of a Funny Story, Welcome to Me), Olivia Cooke (Ouija, Bates Motel), Nick Offerman (Parks and Recreation), Connie Britton (Nashville, Friday Night Lights), and Molly Shannon (Saturday Night Live)

Release date: June 12 (Fox Searchlight, Indian Paintbrush)

Rated PG-13. 104 minutes. 116 pages. Drama

Diana LesmezDIANA LESMEZ will provide in-depth analysis and lead our discussion. Currently an independent writer, producer, and director for her company, The StoryMaker Entertainment, Diana’s screenwriting has placed her as a finalist in the Walt Disney Fellowship Program, Broad Humor Film Festival, and Slamdance Screenwriting Competition. Her vast background in the entertainment industry includes developing film projects for Atlantic Streamline (Igby Goes Down) and Patriot Pictures (Air Force One) and she has taught at the New York Film Academy and the Los Angeles Film School. Diana also offers pitching, producing, distribution, and marketing consulting services through her Bumptious Media Consulting banner.