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, August 5)

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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.

July 11 – Vengeance

Vengeance (2022) [Movie Poster]Meet ONLINE from 7:00-10:00 PM Pacific Time on July 11th for an in-depth analysis and discussion of the black comedy screenplay VENGEANCE.

LOGLINE: A true-crime podcaster from New York investigates the mysterious death of a Texas woman he once dated.

B.J. NOVAK wrote, directed, and stars in Vengeance. Novak began his writing career while in college at the Harvard Lampoon and later performed stand-up comedy after graduating and moving to Los Angeles. He made his TV acting debut on MTV’s Punk’d with Ashton Kutcher, who co-stars with him in Vengeance, but is best known for his portrayal of temp worker Ryan Howard on The Office, where he also served as writer, director, and executive producer, earning five Emmy nominations and a WGA award. As an actor, Novak has appeared in such films as Inglourious Basterds, Saving Mr. Banks, and The Founder. He makes his feature film writing/directing debut with Vengeance.(registration deadline: Friday, July 8)

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

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Novak is joined on screen by Boyd Holbrook (The Sandman), Dove Cameron (Liv and Maddie), Issa Rae (Insecure), and Ashton Kutcher (That ’70s Show). The film premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival on June 12 and is scheduled to be released nationwide by Focus Features on July 29.

Not Yet Rated. 116 pages (12/7/17 draft). 107 minutes. 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.

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)

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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.

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.

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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.

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.

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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).

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
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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.

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!
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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.

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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!
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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.

July 12 – Stillwater

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

LOGLINE: A father travels from Oklahoma to France to help his estranged daughter, who is in prison for a murder she claims she didn’t commit.

WRITERS: Two teams of screenwriters are credited in the Stillwater trailer. THOMAS BIDEGAIN & NOÉ DEBRÉ are from France. Bidegain has won two César Awards, one for Best Original Screenplay for the gritty prison crime thriller A Prophet, one for Best Adapted Screenplay for Rust And Bone, a romantic drama about a bouncer who falls in love with a woman who lost both her legs while training killer whales. TOM McCARTHY & MARCUS HINCHEY make up the second credited writing team for the film which was inspired by the real-life case of Amanda Knox. Hinchey, whose name is not on the 2/19/19 draft we will be reading and discussing, previously wrote All Good Things, a fictional account of accused murderer Robert Durst, starring Ryan Gosling, and Come Sunday, a Netflix movie about the real-life excommunication of Oklahoma minister Carlton Pearson. Stillwater is the first theatrical feature McCarthy has directed since 2015’s Spotlight won Academy Awards for Best Original Screenplay and Best Picture. His other films include The Station Agent, Win Win, and The Visitor, and he shared another Oscar nomination for his writing contributions to the Disney/Pixar animated hit Up.

(registration deadline: Friday, July 9)

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!
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Stillwater is set to premiere at the Cannes Film Festival in July ahead of its July 30 release from Universal’s Focus Features. Academy Award winning screenwriter Matt Damon (the Bourne franchise, the Ocean’s trilogy) stars as the father. Academy Award nominee Abigail Breslin (Little Miss Sunshine, Zombieland) plays his Foxy Knoxy-like daughter. Damon’s character gets help overcoming language and cultural barriers from a lawyer played by Camille Cottin (Parisian Bitch, Princess Of Hearts).

Rated R. 122 pages. Drama.

JAMES N. FREY, author of How to Write a Damn Good Thriller, will lead our script analysis and discussion. James is one of America’s leading creative writing teachers. For over ten years, he conducted the popular Open Workshop at the Squaw Valley Community of Writers conference. He’s taught and lectured at dozens of other schools and conferences in America and Europe, including the Oregon Writers Colony, the Santa Barbara Writers Conference, and the California Writers Club conference. An award-winning playwright and author of nine novels including The Long Way to Die, which was nominated for an Edgar Award, and Winter of the Wolves, a Literary Guild selection, Frey is also the author of How to Write a Damn Good Novel, How to Write a Damn Good Novel II, How to Write Damn Good Fiction Using the Power of Myth, and How to Write a Damn Good Mystery.