February 13 – The Fabelmans

Meet ONLINE from 7:00-10:00 PM Pacific Time on December 12th for an in-depth analysis and discussion of Steven Spielberg’s screenplay THE FABELMANS.

LOGLINE: A young aspiring filmmaker explores how the power of films can help him see the truth about his dysfunctional family and those around him.

“I’ve been hiding from this story since I was 17 years old,” director and co-writer STEVEN SPIELBERG said at the Golden Globe awards last week, where The Fabelmans won Best Motion Picture – Drama and Best Director. “I put a lot of things in the way of this story. I told this story in parts and parcels all throughout my career. E.T. has a lot to do with this story. Close Encounters has a lot to do with this story. But I never had the courage to hit this story head on until [co-writer] TONY KUSHNER sat me down and said, ‘Tell me about all these stories I’ve heard about your life.’ And we started a conversation that lasted all through Munich, all through Lincoln, all through West Side Story. And my wife, Kate, was always saying, ‘You have to tell this story.'” So the 74-year-old filmmaker finally sat down to tell the most personal story of his career, a story he says is “about the fact that it’s not easy to be a kid, the fact that everybody sees me as a success story, and everybody sees all of us based on how they get the information, but nobody really knows who we are until we’re courageous enough to tell everyone who we are.”

(registration deadline: Friday, February 10)

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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The Fabelmans premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival last September and opened nationwide in November. Also currently available on VOD and scheduled for DVD/Blu-ray/4K UHD releases the day after our meeting, the film stars Gabriel LaBelle (Showtime’s American Gigolo) as Sammy Fabelman — a fictional version of Spielberg, Michelle Williams (Dawson’s Creek), Paul Dano (There Will Be Blood), Seth Rogen (Knocked Up), Judd Hirsch (Ordinary People), and filmmaker David Lynch as filmmaker John Ford. It currently holds a 92% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes and has been nominated for hundreds of awards so far. 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 on the page.

UPDATE: On January 24, The Fabelmans was nominated for seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Original Screenplay!

Rated PG-13. 144 pages. 151 minutes. 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.

January 9 – Empire of Light

Meet ONLINE from 7:00-10:00 PM Pacific Time on December 12th for an in-depth analysis and discussion of the screenplay EMPIRE OF LIGHT.

LOGLINE: An interracial love story set in an English coastal cinema during the 1980s.

ABOUT THE WRITER: Knighted in 2020, Sir SAM MENDES is best known as a celebrated director of stage and screen. He first gained attention in London with his dark re-inventions of the stage musicals Cabaret, Oliver!, and Gypsy, among others, before making his film debut with American Beauty, which won five Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Original Screenplay (Alan Ball). He went on to direct two James Bond films (Skyfall and Spectre), as well as Road to Perdition, starring Tom Hanks and Paul Newman, and Revolutionary Road, which reunited his then-wife, Kate Winslet, with her Titanic co-star Leonard DiCaprio. Empire of Light is only Mendes’s second screenwriting credit. He previously directed and co-wrote the World War I hit 1917, which was nominated for three Academy Awards: Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Original Screenplay.

(registration deadline: Friday, January 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
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Empire of Light premiered at the Telluride Film Festival last September and opened in the US in limited release last month. The Searchlight Pictures film, which is scheduled to open in the UK the same night as our discussion, stars Academy Award winner Olivia Colman (The Favourite), Micheal Ward (2020 BAFTA Rising Star), Colin Firth (The King’s Speech, Bridget Jones’s Diary), and Toby Jones (The Hunger Games, Captain America: The First Avenger). 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 on the page.

Rated R. 126 pages. 115 minutes. Drama. Romance.

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 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.

December 12 – TÁR

Meet ONLINE from 7:00-10:00 PM Pacific Time on December 12th for an in-depth analysis and discussion of the screenplay TÁR.

LOGLINE: A renowned orchestra conductor’s life unravels as she prepares a book launch and a live performance of Mahler’s 5th Symphony.

ABOUT THE WRITER: As a teenager, TODD FIELD co-created Big League Chew bubble gum. He began his movie career as an actor, appearing in such films as Twister, Woody Allen’s Radio Days, and Stanley Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut. He made his feature directorial debut in 2001 with In The Bedroom, which won the Independent Spirit Award for Best First Feature and was nominated for five Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay, which Field co-wrote. Field’s second film, Little Children, starred Kate Winslet and Jackie Earle Haley and earned Field another Oscar nomination in the Best Adapted Screenplay category. Tár, written, produced, and directed by Field, is his first film since 2006 and his first original feature-length screenplay to be produced.

(registration deadline: Friday, December 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
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Tár stars two-time Oscar winner and six-time nominee Cate Blanchett as Lydia Tár. The film was released in October by Focus Features after premiering at the Venice and Telluride film festivals and is currently available on VOD. 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 on the page. Afterward, you are encouraged to also see the film, as our discussion may include choices made in the process of adapting the script to a finished film.

Rated R. 92 pages. 158 minutes. Drama.

Diana LesmezDIANA LESMEZ will provide in-depth analysis and lead our discussion. A produced feature-film screenwriter and an award-winning filmmaker, Diana is a Jane-of-all-trades with vast industry experience in production, development, acquisitions, distribution, physical production, film finance, business and legal affairs, as well as new media. She wrote the adapted screenplay for the feature film The Journey Ahead starring Michael Madsen, and produced the feature film Culture Class in AmeriCCA directed by Emilio Estevez. Previously, she served as President of Production at a mini-studio, Arenas Entertainment in partnership with Universal Pictures, and was the Head of Development for a production entity, Patriot Pictures, and the industry liaison for Banque Paribas, a film financing institution, and has taught at the New York Film Academy. Via her banner company, Bumptious Media Consulting, Diana offers screenwriting and producing one-on-one coaching, workshops, and master classes, with a specialty in pitching and mastering communication skills. Follow her on Twitter (@DianaLesmez).

November 14 – The Whale

Meet ONLINE from 7:00-10:00 PM Pacific Time on November 14th for an in-depth analysis and discussion of the screenplay THE WHALE.

LOGLINE: A morbidly obese English teacher attempts to reconnect with his teenage daughter for one last chance at redemption.

ABOUT THE WRITER: SAMUEL D. HUNTER is a playwright, best known for Obie Award winning dark comedy A Bright New Boise (2010), and his Drama Desk Award winning The Whale (2012), which he has adapted for the screen. Based on his “track record of significant accomplishments,” Hunter was awarded the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship, also known as the “Genius Grant,” in 2014. He has also written for television, penning nine episodes of the FX series Baskets starring Zack Galifianakis and Louie Anderson (who won an Emmy for his performance as the mother of a rodeo clown). The Whale is Hunter’s first produced screenplay.

(registration deadline: Friday, November 11)

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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Producer/director Darren Aronofsky (mother!, Black Swan, Requiem for a Dream) spent ten years trying to get The Whale made, waiting until he found an actor who could handle the lead role. The Whale stars Brendan Fraser (The Mummy trilogy), Sadie Sink (Stranger Things, Fear Street), Hong Chau (Downsizing, The Menu), Samantha Morton (Minority Report, The Walking Dead), and Ty Simpkins (Iron Man 3, Avengers: Endgame).

The film premiered in competition last month at the Venice Film Festival where it won four awards and received a six-minute standing ovation. A24 is scheduled to release the film on December 8. There is no trailer yet, but here is a clip from 2015 of playwright and screenwriter Samuel D. Hunter discussing the impetus for writing the original play.

Rated R. 109 pages. 117 minutes. 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 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 13 – Watcher

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

LOGLINE: A paranoid couple believes the man watching them from the building across the street is the serial killer known as The Headhunter.

ZACK FORD wrote two or three screenplays a year from the time he was twelve. At sixteen, he entered the Nicholl Fellowship and finished in the top twenty percent. His first produced feature script underwent sixty revisions before becoming Scar 3D. The finished film scored a 0% on Rotten Tomatoes and Ford’s agent dumped him. Without representation, he became a literary manager for a made-up media company to submit his spec screenplays under various pseudonyms for nearly ten years. One of those scripts, The Watcher by “Carl Young,” ended up on the 2016 Bloodlist, a horror version of the Black List, securing Ford a new agent. The script was optioned three times before going into production in 2021 after the director, CHLOE OKUNO (V/H/S/94), rewrote it, which Ford didn’t learn until the film’s Sundance premiere earlier this year. (We will be reading and discussing the 2016 Bloodlist draft by “Carl Young”.)

(registration deadline: Friday, June 10)

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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Opening exclusively in theaters on June 3, Watcher stars Maika Monroe (It Follows), Karl Glusman (The Neon Demon), and Burn Gorman (Game of Thrones). The film currently (as of 5/18/22) holds a score of 82% from 55 critics on Rotten Tomatoes, with Harper’s Bazaar calling it “A stunning gaslighting whodunnit” and Variety calling it “pretty damn good.”

If you have not seen the movie but plan to, it is highly recommended that you read the screenplay first so that your initial impression comes from the writing on the page before you are influenced by any revisions that were made prior to shooting or the execution (acting, production design, cinematography, editing, and music) of the finished film. Please prepare for our discussion by writing down your detailed recommendations for rewriting this script. What would you keep, change, delete, or add?

Rated R. 90 pages (“Carl Young” draft). 91 minutes. Horror. Thriller. Suspense.

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.

April 11 – BELFAST

Meet ONLINE from 7:00-10:00 PM Pacific Time on April 11th for an in-depth analysis and discussion of the Academy Award winning screenplay BELFAST.

LOGLINE: A young boy and his working-class Belfast family experience the tumultuous late 1960s.

THE WRITER: Sir KENNETH BRANAGH was almost nine years old in August of 1969 when the thirty-year conflict known as the Troubles began in his Belfast neighborhood in Northern Ireland. Trained at the Royal Academy of Art in London, where he has served as its president since 2015, Branagh received his first two of eight Academy Award nominations for directing and starring in Henry V in 1989. The actor-writer-director continued making acclaimed films of Shakespeare’s plays with his 1996 screenplay of Hamlet bringing him another Oscar nomination. Some of his other films include Disney’s 2015 live-action Cinderella remake starring Lily James, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein starring Robert De Niro, Murder on the Orient Express and its sequel, Death on the Nile, currently in theaters, and the Marvel Cinematic Universe blockbuster Thor. As an actor, he has appeared in Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk and TenetHarry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, and My Weekend with Marilyn as Laurence Olivier, for which he was nominated for another Oscar. Based on his own childhood, his most personal film, Belfast, was nominated for seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture, winning Branagh his first Oscar for Best Original Screenplay.

(registration deadline: Friday, April 8)

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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Filmed in black and white during the COVID pandemic, Belfast stars ten-year-old Jude Hill in his film debut, for which he was nominated for fifteen industry, critics, and festival awards, winning six. The coming-of-age film also features Caitríona Balfe (Now You See Me, Ford v Ferrari), Jamie Dornan (Christian Grey in the Fifty Shades trilogy), Dame Judi Dench (Shakespeare in Love, Skyfall), and Ciarán Hinds (There Will Be Blood, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows Part 2, Game of Thrones).

The film received more than 200 nominations and won more than 40 awards, including the BAFTA for Outstanding British Film of the Year, a Golden Globe for Best Screenplay, and Best Film at the Toronto International Film Festival. Belfast grossed over $46 million worldwide at the box office and is currently available to rent or purchase on DVD, Blu-ray, and streaming.

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 PG-13. 94 pages. 98 minutes. Drama. Coming-of-Age.

Diana LesmezDIANA LESMEZ will provide in-depth analysis and lead our discussion. A produced feature-film screenwriter and an award-winning filmmaker, Diana is a Jane-of-all-trades with vast industry experience in production, development, acquisitions, distribution, physical production, film finance, business and legal affairs, as well as new media. She wrote the adapted screenplay for the feature film The Journey Ahead starring Michael Madsen, and produced the feature film Culture Class in AmeriCCA directed by Emilio Estevez. Previously, she served as President of Production at a mini-studio, Arenas Entertainment in partnership with Universal Pictures, and was the Head of Development for a production entity, Patriot Pictures, and the industry liaison for Banque Paribas, a film financing institution, and has taught at the New York Film Academy. Via her banner company, Bumptious Media Consulting, Diana offers screenwriting and producing one-on-one coaching, workshops, and master classes, with a specialty in pitching and mastering communication skills. Follow her on Twitter (@DianaLesmez).

March 14 – The Power of the Dog

Meet ONLINE from 7:00-10:00 PM Pacific Time on March 14th for an in-depth analysis and discussion of the Oscar-nominated screenplay THE POWER OF THE DOG.

LOGLINE: A charismatic rancher inspires fear and awe in those around him, tormenting them until he finds himself exposed to the possibility of love.

THE WRITERS: The Power of the Dog is based on the 1967 novel of the same name by THOMAS SAVAGE, who, like one of the characters, moved with his mother and stepfather to a Montana cattle ranch as a boy in the 1920s, where he felt like a misfit. He wrote thirteen novels, all Westerns set in or connected to Montana, in a career spanning 44 years. The Power of the Dog is said to have previously been optioned five times, including once by Paul Newman, but did not make it to the screen until acclaimed Kiwi filmmaker JANE CAMPION read her stepmother’s copy of the book in 2017. In 1993, Campion became the first woman to win the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival for her best-known film, The Piano, which also earned her an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. Some of her other work includes The Portrait of a Lady starring Nicole Kidman, Holy Smoke! starring Kate Winslet and Harvey Keitel, In the Cut with Meg Ryan, and Top of the Lake, the first TV series to screen at the Sundance Film Festival. The Power of the Dog is her first feature film in over a decade.

(registration deadline: Friday, March 11)

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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The Power of the Dog leads this year’s Academy Awards with 12 nominations including Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, and four acting nominations. Furthermore, Jane Campion is the first woman ever to receive a second Best Director nomination, 28 years after her nomination for The Piano. The Netflix original film premiered last September at the Venice film festival where Campion won the Silver Lion award for directing. After a healthy festival run and a limited theatrical run, it began streaming on Netflix last December. It stars Benedict Cumberbatch (Dr. Strange), Kirsten Dunst (Spider-Man), Jesse Plemons (Breaking Bad), Kodi Smit-McPhee (X-Men: Apocalypse), Thomasin McKenzie (Jojo Rabbit), and Frances Conroy (American Horror Story).

The film has already won three Golden Globes, including Best Picture – Drama and Best Director, as well as hundreds of other awards and nominations from SAG, DGA, USC, BAFTA, and many more.

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 on the page. Afterward, for extra credit, you are encouraged to also watch the film (currently streaming on Netflix) and/or read the novel (available from Amazon or your local library), as our discussion may include choices made in the process of adapting the novel to the script to a finished film.

Rated R. 106 pages. 123 minutes. Drama. Romance. Western.

Diana LesmezDIANA LESMEZ will provide in-depth analysis and lead our discussion. A produced feature-film screenwriter and an award-winning filmmaker, Diana is a Jane-of-all-trades with vast industry experience in production, development, acquisitions, distribution, physical production, film finance, business and legal affairs, as well as new media. She wrote the adapted screenplay for the feature film The Journey Ahead starring Michael Madsen, and produced the feature film Culture Class in AmeriCCA directed by Emilio Estevez. Previously, she served as President of Production at a mini-studio, Arenas Entertainment in partnership with Universal Pictures, and was the Head of Development for a production entity, Patriot Pictures, and the industry liaison for Banque Paribas, a film financing institution, and has taught at the New York Film Academy. Via her banner company, Bumptious Media Consulting, Diana offers screenwriting and producing one-on-one coaching, workshops, and master classes, with a specialty in pitching and mastering communication skills. Follow her on Twitter (@DianaLesmez).

February 14 – CODA & The Tender Bar

Meet ONLINE from 7:00-10:00 PM Pacific Time on February 14th for a coming-of-age DOUBLE FEATURE in-depth analysis and discussion of the screenplays CODA and THE TENDER BAR.

This month we’ll read, discuss, analyze, compare, and contrast not one, but two screenplays, both in the coming-of-age genre and both generating awards-season buzz.

Written and directed by SIAN HEDER, CODA follows a hearing teenage girl who is a Child Of Deaf Adults torn between following her dream of attending Berklee College of Music and her fear of abandoning her deaf family. Heder won a Peabody award in 2010 for her work on the TV series Men of a Certain Age and wrote for the first three seasons of Orange Is the New Black. She made her feature debut as writer/director with Netflix’s Tallulah starring Ellen Page and Allison Janney. An English-language remake of the 2014 César-nominated French film La Famille Bélier, CODA stars Emilia Jones (Locke & Key), Academy Award winner Marlee Matlin (Children of a Lesser God, Switched at Birth), and Eugenio Derbez (Instructions Not Included, How to Be a Latin Lover).

Based on the memoir of Pulitzer Prize winning journalist J.R. Moehringer (Resurrecting the Champ), The Tender Bar tells the story of a nine-year-old Long Island boy from a dysfunctional family who bonds with his uncle, a bar owner who encourages him to become a writer. The screenplay was written by former journalist/novelist WILLIAM MONAHAN, whose screenwriting credits include Ridley Scott’s Kingdom of Heaven, Body of Lies, and The Gambler (2014). In 2007, Monahan won an Academy Award for his screenplay adaptation of Infernal Affairs, Martin Scorsese’s The Departed. The Tender Bar is directed by George Clooney (The Ides of March, Suburbicon) and stars Ben Affleck (Justice League, The Accountant), Tye Sheridan (Ready Player One, The Card Counter), Lily Rabe (American Horror Story), and Christopher Lloyd (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Back to the Future).

(registration deadline: Friday, February 11)

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!
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.)

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. He 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 original feature scripts.

CODA is currently streaming on Apple TV+. It premiered at Sundance in 2021 where it won the audience award, the grand jury award, and the directing award, and was nominated for two Golden Globes, Best Picture Drama and Best Supporting Actor (Troy Katsur) among its many other accolades.

Rated PG-13. 79 pages. 111 minutes. Drama.

The Tender Bar is currently streaming on Amazon Prime Video. Its accolades include a Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actor (Ben Affleck).

Rated R. 131 pages. 104 minutes. Drama.

If you have not seen the movies, it is highly recommended that you first read the screenplay so your initial impression is from the writing on the page. Also please watch the movies before the meeting as our discussion will include comparison of the writing on the page with what is seen and heard while watching the movie.

January 10 – The Card Counter

Meet ONLINE from 7:00-10:00 PM Pacific Time on January 10th for an in-depth analysis and discussion of Paul Schrader‘s new screenplay, THE CARD COUNTER.

LOGLINE: After teaching himself card counting in military prison, a former interrogator’s plan to bet small and win modestly falls apart when his dark past catches up with him.

THE WRITER: Screenwriter PAUL SCHRADER is best known for his collaborations with director Martin Scorsese, including Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, and The Last Temptation of Christ. As a writer/director, Schrader’s films include American Gigolo (which made Richard Gere a household name), Affliction (for which actor James Coburn won an Academy Award), and 2017’s First Reformed, which brought Schrader his first Oscar nomination (for Best Original Screenplay).

(registration deadline: Friday, January 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
SPECIAL OFFER
– ONLY $150 FOR A 6-MONTH MEMBERSHIP OR RENEWAL!
Save $120 over the single meeting fees and get six consecutive online meetings!

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Executive produced by Scorsese, The Card Counter stars Oscar Isaac (Star Wars sequel trilogy, X-Men: Apocalypse, Dune), Tiffany Haddish (Girls Trip), Tye Sheridan (Ready Player One, The Tender Bar), and four-time Oscar nominee Willem Defoe (Platoon, Spider-Man 2).

The Focus Features film premiered last September at the Venice Film Festival and was released theatrically a week later. With a Rotten Tomatoes approval rating of 86%, the “bruising character study” (The Hollywood Reporter) has landed on a number of ten-best lists for the year, including Cahiers du Cinéma, Time Magazine, The New Yorker, RogerEbert.com, and IndieWire, and was included in a tweet from President Barack Obama listing his personal favorite movies of 2021.

Rated R. 81 pages. 111 minutes. 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.

December 13 – House of Gucci

Meet ONLINE from 7:00-10:00 PM Pacific Time on December 13th for an in-depth analysis and discussion of the screenplay for the upcoming Ridley Scott-helmed crime thriller HOUSE OF GUCCI.

LOGLINE: Three decades of love, betrayal, decadence, and revenge mark the extravagant life and grisly 1995 murder of fashion designer Maurizio Gucci.

THE WRITERS: The screenplay is based on the book The House of Gucci: A True Story of Murder, Madness, Glamour, and Greed by SARA GAY FORDEN, a journalist who covered Italian fashion for fifteen years and now covers corporate influence in Washington, DC for Bloomberg News. Academy Award nominated screenwriter BECKY JOHNSTON (The Prince of Tides) wrote the screenplay. Johnston’s other credits include Under the Cherry Moon, starring and directed by Prince, and Seven Years in Tibet, starring Brad Pitt. Ridley Scott was first attached to the project in 2006 with a script by Andrea Berloff (Straight Outta Compton). Charles Randolph (The Big Short) also worked on the script. We will be reading and discussing the April 19, 2019 draft by Italian filmmaker ROBERTO BENTIVEGNA. This will be the first feature screenwriting credit for Bentivegna, which he shares with Johnston, who also has story credit.

(registration deadline: Friday, December 10)

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!
Save $120 over the single meeting fees and get six consecutive online meetings!

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Scheduled for release on November 24, House of Gucci stars Lady Gaga (A Star Is Born), Adam Driver (Marriage Story, Star Wars sequel trilogy), Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club, Fight Club), Jeremy Irons (The Lion King, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice), Salma Hayek (Frida), and Al Pacino (The Godfather trilogy).

Rated R. 133 pages. 157 minutes. Drama. Crime. Biopic.

Jennifer DornbushJENNIFER DORNBUSH will provide in-depth analysis and lead our discussion. The daughter of a medical examiner, Jennifer is a forensic specialist who began investigating deaths at eight years old. Trained at the Forensic Science Academy, her decades of experience have made her a sought-after consultant on such shows as Hawaii Five-0, Suits, Rectify, and Prison Break, and speaker at The Writer’s Store, Sisters in Crime, Scriptwriters Network, and Story Expo, to name a few. Wanting to share her love of forensics with other storytellers, she penned Forensic Speak: How To Write Realistic Crime Dramas, published by Michael Wiese Productions. She is also the author of the Coroner’s Daughter Mystery two-book series and wrote the screenplay for God Bless the Broken Road as well as its novelization for Simon & Schuster. Visit jenniferdornbush.com for more.