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
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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 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.

October 11 – DUNE (2021)

Meet ONLINE from 7:00-10:00 PM Pacific Time on October 11th for an in-depth analysis and discussion of the screenplay for the upcoming remake of DUNE.

LOGLINE: A duke oversees the spice mining operations on a dangerous, desert planet, battling the natives for the most valuable substance in the universe, a drug that extends human life.

THE WRITERS: Dune is based on the first half of the Nebula and Hugo award-winning 1965 novel by FRANK HERBERT and is expected to be followed by a sequel based on the second half of the book. Inspired partially by the author’s experiences with psychedelic mushrooms, Herbert wrote five sequels to Dune before his death in 1986. The novel was adapted by screenwriters ERIC ROTH and DENIS VILLENEUVE and JON SPAIHTS. Roth won an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for Forrest Gump and has been nominated four other times, most recently for the 2018 remake of A Star Is Born. He has also written the upcoming Martin Scorsese Western Killers of the Flower Moon. French Canadian Villeneuve, who also helmed this version of Dune, gained prominence as the director and co-writer of Incendies, which was nominated for an Oscar for Best Foreign Film. He has also made the acclaimed thrillers Prisoners and Sicario and sci-fi films Arrival and Blade Runner 2049. Spaihts started his career when his sci-fi spec script Passengers appeared on the 2007 Black List; it was produced in 2016, starring Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence. Spaihts’s other screenwriting credits include Ridley Scott’s Alien prequel, Prometheus, and Marvel’s Doctor Strange.

(registration deadline: Friday, October 8)

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

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

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

Dune: Part One stars Timothée Chalamet (Call Me by Your Name). Also featured in the epic film are Rebecca Ferguson (The Greatest Showman), Oscar Isaac (Star Wars episodes VII-IX), Josh Brolin (The Goonies), Stellan Skarsgård (Erik Selvig in the MCU movies), professional wrestler Dave Bautista (Drax the Destroyer in the MCU), Zendaya (MJ in the most recent Spider-Man movies), Charlotte Rampling (Basic Instinct 2), and Javier Bardem (No Country For Old Men). The film premiered September 3 at the Venice International Film Festival and will be released theatrically in the U.S. while simultaneously streaming on HBO Max beginning October 22.

Rated PG-13. 130 pages (9/24/18 draft). 155 minutes. Sci-Fi. Action/Adventure. Drama.

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.

August 10 – MULAN

Meet ONLINE on August 10th for an in-depth analysis and discussion of the screenplay MULAN.

LOGLINE: The daughter of an ailing warrior disguises herself as a man to take her father’s place in battle defending their country from a vengeful invader and a powerful witch.

THE WRITERS: The live-action epic is based on a 6th-century Chinese poem, which was the source for Disney’s 1998 animated feature. The update came about when unproduced screenwriters ELIZABETH MARTIN and LAUREN HYNEK heard BenderSpink producer Jake Weiner was looking for four-quadrant stories based on public domain IP. They got a meeting with him and pitched ten ideas; he picked Mulan. Sticking to the original Chinese story without referencing any Disney-owned elements, the duo turned in their spec script twelve weeks later, which Weiner sold to Disney in 24 hours. Disney then hired Rise of the Planet of the Apes scribes RICK JAFFA and AMANDA SILVER to rewrite the script, reincorporating some elements from the animated version. Jaffa & Silver also served as writers on Jurassic World and were involved in writing the two upcoming Avatar sequels for James Cameron.

(registration deadline: Friday, August 7)

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

Click the Register Now button for instructions.

Directed by New Zealander Niki Caro (Whale Rider), Mulan features an all-Asian cast including Liu Yifei (The Forbidden Kingdom) in the title role, Donnie Yen (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story), Jason Scott Lee (The Jungle Book), Yoson An (Dead Lucky), Gong Li (Memoirs of a Geisha), Jet Li (The Expendables), Rosalind Chao (The Joy Luck Club), and Tzi Ma (The Farewell) as Mulan’s father.

The film had its Hollywood premiere on March 9, ahead of planned March 27 release. That release was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Mulan has been rescheduled to open in theaters on August 21.

Rated PG-13. 115 minutes. 100 pages. Drama, Action/Adventure.

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.