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.

August 14 – The Only Living Boy in New York

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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.

November 14 – Nocturnal Animals

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Nocturnal Animals (Amy Adams)Meet on the Fox Studios backlot for an in-depth analysis and discussion of the screenplay NOCTURNAL ANIMALS.

Logline: An art gallery owner is haunted by her ex-husband’s novel, a violent thriller she interprets as a veiled threat and a symbolic revenge tale.

Writers: Director and producer TOM FORD penned the script, based on the 1993 novel Tony and Susan by AUSTIN WRIGHT. Ford gained worldwide acclaim as a fashion designer before making his motion picture directorial debut in 2009 with A Single Man, which he also co-wrote. That film earned its star, Colin Firth, his first Oscar nomination. Novelist and literary critic Austin Wright died in 2003 at the age of 80. The only novel of his to be adapted for the screen to date, Tony and Susan was not successful in Wright’s lifetime. Released posthumously in the UK for the first time in 2010, the book finally found its audience and was re-released in the US to critical acclaim.

The stellar ensemble cast includes five-time Oscar nominee Amy Adams (Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Big Eyes), Jake Gyllenhaal (Nightcrawler, Demolition), Michael Shannon (Man of Steel, Revolutionary Road), Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Kick-Ass, Avengers: Age of Ultron), Isla Fisher (Now You See Me, Confessions of a Shopaholic), Armie Hammer (The Social Network, The Birth of a Nation), Laura Linney (The Big C), and Michael Sheen (Masters of Sex).

Producers and Production Companies: As with A Single Man, Ford produced Nocturnal Animals through his production company, Fade to Black Films, again with Robert Salerno, whose other credits include 21 Grams and next year’s Going Places, a spin-off of The Big Lebowski.

Premiere: Venice Film Festival, September 2 (Grand Jury Prize winner). Also played at Toronto International Film Festival and BFI London Film Festival.

Release Date: November 18 (L.A. & New York), November 23 (limited), December 9 (wide) (Focus Features).

Rated R. 115 minutes. 126 pages. Drama, Thriller.

Jeff KitchenJEFF 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.

January 11 – Spotlight

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rated R. 128 minutes. 131 pages. Drama.

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

November 9 – TRUMBO

RegisterNow(registration deadline: Friday, November 6)

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).

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