December 14 – Hillbilly Elegy

Meet ONLINE on December 14th for an in-depth analysis and discussion of the screenplay HILLBILLY ELEGY.

LOGLINE: A Yale Law School student returns to his Appalachian roots, recalling the values he learned being raised by his grandmother while his mother fought a heroin addiction.

ABOUT THE WRITER: Venture capitalist J.D. VANCE wrote the New York Times bestseller, Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and a Culture in Crisis, while at Yale Law School. The book received national attention during the 2016 election cycle as a window into the white working class. Vance currently lives in Ohio, where he started the nonprofit Our Ohio Renewal to combat drug addiction in the Rust Belt and has been contemplating a run for the U.S. Senate. Imagine Entertainment optioned the book’s film rights for Ron Howard to direct and hired VANESSA TAYLOR to write the screenplay. Taylor began her writing career in television with credits on such popular shows as Alias, Everwood, and Game of Thrones. Some of her feature screenplays include her original spec Hope Springs, which starred Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones; the adaptation of the YA dystopian novel Divergent; and The Shape of Water, which earned Vanessa her first Academy Award nomination and went on to win four Academy Awards including Best Picture. More recently, she adapted the nonfiction book Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup, with Adam McCay attached to direct and Jennifer Lawrence attached to star.

(registration deadline: Friday, December 4)

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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Directed by Ron Howard (A Beautiful Mind, Apollo 13), the true coming-of-age story stars six-time Oscar nominee Amy Adams (Enchanted, Lois Lane in the DC Extended Universe), seven-time Oscar nominee Glenn Close (Fatal Attraction), Freida Pinto (Slumdog Millionaire), Haley Bennett (The Girl on the Train, The Devil All the Time), and Gabriel Basso (Super 8, The Big C) as Vance.

Netflix won a bidding war for the film’s distribution rights, putting up the entire $45 million budget. Although the Academy’s theatrical screening eligibility requirement has been suspended this year, Netflix did open Hillbilly Elegy on November 11 in Middletown, Ohio, where the film is set, as well as a handful of other cities in Ohio. It’s scheduled to premiere on the streaming service on November 24.

Rated R. 116 minutes. 122 pages. Coming-of-Age 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.

November 9 – Dreamland

Meet ONLINE on November 9th for an in-depth analysis and discussion of the screenplay DREAMLAND.

LOGLINE: A small-town, Depression-era bounty hunter falls in love with the seductive, wounded fugitive he’s captured.

ABOUT THE WRITER: Dreamland is the first produced feature film credit for screenwriter NICOLAAS ZWART. As a musician, Zwart released several albums in the 2000s under the names Desolation Wilderness and Electric Sunset. After making the short film Here Comes Midnight, the San Francisco native landed a spot in the fast-paced writers room for the CW series Riverdale, for which he penned the first season’s sixth episode. He spent three years shepherding Dreamland from his original concept, through more than fifty drafts of notes, to the end of postproduction on the $8 million film produced by Margot Robbie. Zwart has since worked on feature animation projects for Luma Pictures and Dreamworks Animation that are still in development.

(registration deadline: Friday, November 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!
Save $120 over the single meeting fees and get six consecutive online meetings!

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Dreamland stars two-time Academy Award nominee Margot Robbie (I, Tonya, Bombshell), Finn Cole (Peaky Blinders), Travis Fimmel (Vikings), Garrett Hedlund (TRON: Legacy), Kerry Condon (Better Call Saul), Darby Camp (The Christmas Chronicles), and Hans Christopher (Waco).

Shot in New Mexico in 2017, Dreamland held its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2019. Produced by Romulus Entertainment, Automatik, and Robbie’s LuckyChap label, the film will be distributed by Vertical Entertainment in a limited theatrical run starting November 13, followed by a VOD release by Paramount on November 17.

Rated R. 98 minutes. 119 pages. Western. Drama.

pamelajayesmithPAMELA JAYE SMITH will provide in-depth analysis and lead our discussion. A mythologist and award-winning producer/director with over thirty years experience in features, TV, music videos, and more, Pamela is the author of five books, including The Power of the Dark Side: Creating Great Villains and Inner Drives: How to Write and Create Characters Using the Eight Classic Centers of Motivation. Her company, MYTHWORKS, offers consulting and coaching and, through her Pitch Proxy service, pitches writers’ projects at pitch festivals they cannot attend. Visit pamelajayesmith.com for more information.

October 12 – The Trial of the Chicago 7

Meet ONLINE on October 12th for an in-depth analysis and discussion of the screenplay THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7.

LOGLINE: In a year of civil unrest, seven political activists stand trial for inciting a riot after an anti-war protest outside the Democratic National Convention turns violent.

ABOUT THE WRITER: Academy-Award-winning screenwriter AARON SORKIN initially wrote the script in 2007 for Steven Spielberg to direct. The writers strike that year delayed production, forcing Spielberg to drop out. A former playwright, Sorkin began his screenwriting career in the 1990s, adapting his Broadway play A Few Good Men for the 1992 Rob Reiner film. He created The West Wing in 1999 and wrote or co-wrote all but three of the series’ first 90 episodes, taking home six of the show’s 26 Emmy awards. In 2011, Sorkin won his first Academy Award for his screenplay about Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, The Social Network, and earned a second nomination the following year for co-writing Moneyball. He won Golden Globe awards for The Social Network and his 2016 biopic of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, and made his directorial debut with 2018’s Molly’s Game, which netted him his third Oscar nomination for screenwriting. Sorkin returns to the director’s chair for The Trial of the Chicago 7, which premieres on Netflix on October 16.

(registration deadline: Friday, October 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!
Save $120 over the single meeting fees and get six consecutive online meetings!

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Based on true events surrounding the tumultuous 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, The Trial of the Chicago 7 stars Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything) as Tom Hayden, Sacha Baron Cohen (Borat) as Abbie Hoffman, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II (Aquaman) as Black Panther Party co-founder Bobby Seale, Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies) as attorney William Kunstler, Michael Keaton (Birdman), Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Inception), Jeremy Strong (Succession), John Caroll Lynch (The Founder), Frank Langella (Frost/Nixon) as Judge Julius Hoffman, and William Hurt (Marvel’s Avengers and Black Widow films) as Attorney General John Mitchell.

Originally planned for a September 25 theatrical release by Paramount Pictures, movie theater shutdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic prompted the studio to sell the distribution rights to Netflix for $56 million. The streaming service now plans to release the film online on October 16, just ahead of the November 3 election, with a possible limited theatrical run in September.

Rated R. 129 minutes. 130 pages. Historical Courtroom Drama.

JEFF KITCHEN, top-rated scriptwriting teacher and author of Writing a Great Movie: Key Tools for Successful Screenwriting will lead our script analysis and in-depth screenwriting discussion. Classically trained in playwriting technique, Jeff worked as a dramaturg in the New York theater, and taught playwriting on Broadway. He’s currently in the process of launching a two-year intensive training program for scriptwriters called Script Kitchen. His current BuildYourScript.com website will soon change to Script.Kitchen.

September 14 – Greenland

Meet ONLINE on September 14th for an in-depth analysis and discussion of the screenplay GREENLAND.

LOGLINE: When comets smash into Earth causing an extinction-level event, a Philadelphia man races against time to get his family to safety in a bunker in Greenland.

Screenwriter CHRIS SPARLING‘s breakthrough came with 2010’s groundbreaking single-character contained thriller Buried, which starred Ryan Reynolds and was set entirely inside a coffin. This was followed by script work on a string of scary movies including ATM, about three friends trapped in an ATM by a psycho killer; The Atticus Institute, a horror film dealing with demonic possession; and an adaptation of the 1974 Gothic YA boarding school novel Down a Dark Hall, produced by Twilight author Stephenie MeyerVariety named Sparling one of “10 Screenwriters to Watch” in its November 2014 issue. Originally writing the Greenland script for District 9 director Neill Blomkamp, Sparling told reporters he tried to make his screenplay more like the 2012 character-based tsunami drama The Impossible than the 1998 Michael Bay end-of-the-world popcorn hit Armageddon.

(registration deadline: Friday, September 11)

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.)

Directed by Rick Roman Waugh (Angel Has Fallen), a former stunt performer, Greenland stars action hero Gerard Butler (300, Law Abiding Citizen), Morena Baccarin (Firefly, Homeland, Deadpool), David Denman (The Office), Hope Davis (About Schmidt, Captain America: Civil War), Holt McCallany (Mindhunter), Scott Glenn (The Right Stuff, The Silence of the Lambs), and internet celebrity King Bach.

Currently scheduled to be released in the United States on September 25, the summer disaster flick has already earned more then $10 million dollars on a small number of screens internationally.

Rated PG-13. 119 minutes. 117 pages [1/25/17 draft]. Drama, Action, Thriller, Disaster.

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.

June 8 – Unhinged

Unhinged poster Meet ONLINE on June 8th for an in-depth analysis and discussion of the screenplay UNHINGED.

LOGLINE: This psychological thriller takes road rage – something so many of us have experienced – to an unpredictable and terrifying conclusion.

ABOUT THE WRITER: CARL ELLSWORTH has a long list of television writing credits, from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Xena: Warrior Princess to Godzilla: The Series and Cleopatra 2525. Inspired from reading an early draft of Phone Booth, Ellsworth penned the thriller Red Eye, which became his first produced feature. Like Unhinged, it involves a seemingly random encounter — on a plane — that sets the stage for a test of wills between two resourceful individuals. The 2005 film starred Rachel McAdams and Cillian Murphy and was directed by Wes Craven. Ellsworth would go on to pen the 2009 remake of Craven’s The Last House on the Left as well as the 2012 remake of Red Dawn, but his most successful feature so far is the 2007 hit Disturbia, which he rewrote from an earlier draft by Christopher Landon (Paranormal Activity 2, 3, and 4) that had been optioned in the 1990s.

 

(registration deadline: Friday, June 5)

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 Derrick Borte (The Jonses), Unhinged stars Academy Award winner Russell Crowe (Gladiator, A Beautiful Mind) and Caren Pistorius (Slow West). Moved up from its scheduled September 4 release date, it is now expected to be the first new movie to be released as theaters around the world begin to reopen on July 1.

Rated R. Draft dated June 9, 2019, 101 pages. 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. 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.

May 11 – The High Note

Meet ONLINE on May 11th for an in-depth analysis and discussion of the screenplay THE HIGH NOTE.

LOGLINE: The longtime assistant of a famous singer must navigate the rocky waters of the LA music scene to make her dreams of producing music a reality.

ABOUT THE WRITER: With no other screen credits to her name, newbie FLORA GREESON landed on the 2018 Black List, an annual industry list of the best unproduced scripts of the year, with her spec script Covers. That attention won her a job rewriting When Prince Made a Chambermaid His Queen for a Day, based on a true story published in The Daily Beast in 2017 about a 1986 MTV contest where a small-town Wyoming motel maid won a date with the late rock star Prince. Greeson was hired by producer and star Elizabeth Banks (The Hunger Games, Pitch Perfect) to rewrite Josh Stolberg (Good Luck Chuck); the still-in-development project’s title has been shortened to Queen for a Day. Meanwhile, the scribe’s Black List entry, Covers, has been made by Cats producers Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner, after also undergoing a title change — to The High Note.

(registration deadline: Noon, Wednesday, May 6)

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.

Starring Dakota Johnson (50 Shades of Grey) as the assistant and Tracee Ellis Ross (Black-ish) as singing superstar Grace Davis, The High Note also features Ice Cube (N.W.A., Friday), Bill Pullman (Independence Day), Kelvin Harrison Jr. (It Comes At Night), and comedian Eddie Izzard. Directed by Nisha Ganatra (Late Night), the film’s release date, originally scheduled for May 8, is like to be changed due to ongoing stay-at-home orders that have shuttered most movie theaters.

Rated PG-13. Draft dated January 17, 2018, 99 pages. Comedy.

DMA will provide in-depth analysis and lead our discussion. Story analyst, development executive, and author of Write It, Pitch It, Sell Your Screenplay: A Hollywood Buyer’s Insider Guide to Getting Your Script Past the Gatekeepers, an update of her 1-3-5 Story Structure Made Simple Structure: The Nine Essential Elements of a Sellable Screenplay, which was the first story structure system integrated into Final Draft, DMA (Donna Michelle Anderson) has helmed top-rated programming for CBS, Bravo, BET, A&E, TLC and more. Visit her at PlanetDMA.com.

April 13 – Promising Young Woman (UPDATED)

Meet on the lot at Fox Studios ONLINE on April 13th for an in-depth analysis and discussion of the screenplay PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN.

LOGLINE: After her sexual assault complaint is dismissed, a promising medical student drops out to systematically lure badly-behaving men into her vengeance-seeking clutches.

ABOUT THE WRITER: The erotic thriller was penned by EMERALD FENNELL, who also makes her feature directorial debut, following Careful How You Go, a short film she wrote and directed that played at Sundance in 2018. An actress who has appeared in such films as Albert Nobbs, Anna Karenina (2012), and The Danish Girl, and the hit Netflix series The Crown, Fennell is a two-time prime-time Emmy nominee as head writer for the BBC series Killing Eve, a position she took over from her good friend, Fleabag sensation Phoebe Waller-Bridge. Fennell is also a novelist, having authored the children’s book series Shiverton Hall as well as the 2015 adult horror novel Monsters.

(registration deadline: Noon, Wednesday, April 8)

Registration in advance is required to attend the discussion, and includes a copy of the script sent to you in advance as well as sandwiches, snacks, and beverages at the meeting. Click the Register Now button for instructionsDUE TO THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC, THE APRIL 13th MEETING WILL BE HELD ONLINE. INSTRUCTIONS WILL BE SENT TO ALL REGISTERED PARTICIPANTS IN ADVANCE OF THE MEETING, so don’t forget to register by April 8.

Oscar nominee Carey Mulligan (An Education) stars as the titular woman along with Bo Burnham (writer/director of Eighth Grade), Alison Brie (GLOW), Connie Britton (American Horror Story), Adam Brody (The O.C.), Jennifer Coolidge (American Pie), Laverne Cox (Orange Is the New Black), Max Greenfield (New Girl), Christopher Mintz-Plasse (Superbad), Sam Richardson (Veep), Molly Shannon (SNL), and Alfred Molina (Raiders of the Lost Ark, Spider-Man 2). Margot Robbie, who was nominated for an Oscar for her performance in last year’s similarly-themed Bombshell, was one of this film’s producers.

Universal’s arthouse label Focus Features acquired distribution rights for the film early last year and premiered it at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, earning rave reviews and an early tomatometer score of 98%. The film opens nationwide on April 17. UPDATE: The film, originally scheduled to be released on April 17, has been pulled from the schedule due to the coronavirus pandemic; new release plans have not yet been announced by Universal.

Rated R. 113 minutes. 106 pages. Drama. Thriller.

UPDATE: Longtime StoryBoard member DIANA CALDWELL will lead our in-depth analysis and discussion. Diana wrote her first spec script at the age of 11 and got her first notes on that script from Academy Award winner Louis Gossett Jr. More recently, she has placed in numerous screenwriting competitions, winning the Legacy Award in Screenwriting at the Festival Angelica in Big Bear for her script Fair Trade, which also won her a slot in the prestigious Cinestory Writers Retreat. Diana has also worked as a reader for Barry Levinson’s production company and as Film Inspector and Technical Director for various film festivals, including Telluride, TCM, and AFM.

March 9 – Knives Out

Meet on the lot at Fox Studios on March 9th for an in-depth analysis and discussion of the screenplay KNIVES OUT.

LOGLINE: A modern whodunnit that follows a family gathering gone awry after the patriarch’s death leads a master detective to investigate.

Writer/director RIAN JOHNSON graduated from USC School of Cinematic Arts in 1996. He pitched his first screenplay, a Dashiell Hammett-inspired neo-noir mystery called Brick, unsuccessfully for seven years before raising the $500,000 budget from friends and family and making the film independently. Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, the film earned back more than $4 million, won a special jury prize at Sundance for originality of vision, and went on to become a cult classic. Two other low budget hits followed (The Brothers Bloom starring Oscar winners Rachel Weisz and Adrien Brody and Looper starring Bruce Willis and Gordon-Levitt) before Johnson was tapped to write and direct Star Wars: Episode VIII: The Last Jedi, which grossed over $1.3 billion. Johnson received his first Academy Award nomination this year, in the Best Original Screenplay category, for Knives Out.

(registration deadline: Noon, Wednesday, March 4)

Registration in advance is required to attend the discussion, and includes a copy of the script sent to you in advance as well as sandwiches, snacks, and beverages at the meeting. Click the Register Now button for instructions.

Knives Out features an all-star ensemble cast including Daniel Craig (James Bond), Chris Evans (Captain America), Ana de Armas (Blade Runner 2049), Jamie Lee Curtis (Halloween), Michael Shannon (The Shape of Water), Don Johnson (Django Unchained), Toni Collette (Hereditary), Lakeith Stanfield (Sorry To Bother You), Katherine Langford (13 Reasons Why), Jaeden Martell (It), and Christopher Plummer (The Sound of Music).

Still in current release, Knives Out has grossed nearly $300 million worldwide so far and holds a 97% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes (based on 420 professional critics’ reviews), with an audience score of 92%. In addition to its Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay, the script was nominated for BAFTA, Critics’ Choice, Hollywood Critics Association, and Writers Guild of America awards, along with three Golden Globe nominations including Best Picture (Musical or Comedy), a Producers Guild nomination for Best Picture, and placement in the National Board of Review’s and American Film Institute’s top ten lists for 2019.

If you have not yet seen Knives Out but plan to before our meeting, reading the script before watching the film is advised. EXTRA CREDIT: Watch the 1973 murder mystery film The Last of Sheila, which Rian Johnson cited as his inspiration and main influence in writing Knives Out. Written by Anthony Perkins (Psycho) and Stephen Sondheim (Sweeney Todd, West Side Story, Into the Woods) and directed by Herbert Ross (Footloose), The Last of Sheila stars Richard Benjamin, Dyan Cannon, James Coburn, James Mason, and Raquel Welch, and can be digitally rented for $2.99 or purchased for $9.99 from Amazon, YouTube, Google Play, Vudu, Microsoft, Fandango, and Apple TV.

Rated PG-13. 131 minutes. 124 pages. Mystery. Comedy.

Brian HerskowitzBRIAN HERSKOWITZ will provide in-depth analysis and lead our discussion. Brian was previously with us in January 2018 for BlacKkKlansman. He 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.

February 10 – Parasite

Meet on the lot at Fox Studios on February 10th for an in-depth analysis and discussion of the screenplay PARASITE.

LOGLINE: A family of con artists worms their way into employment for a wealthy family, but startling secrets keep them from enjoying their plush new surroundings when their bosses leave them alone for a weekend.

THE WRITERS: South Korean-born writer-director BONG JOON-HO garnered international acclaim with his second feature, Memories of Murder, based on the true story of his country’s first serial killer. He followed that up with The Host, a monster movie that became the highest-grossing South Korean film of all time. Joon-ho’s first English-language film, Snowpiercer, a post-climate change sci-fi action adventure, starred Chris Evans, Tilda Swinton, Jamie Bell, Octavia Spencer, John Hurt, and Ed Harris, and appeared on dozens of critics’ ten-best lists for 2014. Okja, his Netflix debut, premiered in competition at Cannes where it received a four-minute standing ovation. Parasite was co-written by Han Jin-won, based on Joon-ho’s original story; it is his only writing credit so far, but he previously worked as an AD on Joon-ho’s Okja.

(registration deadline: Noon, Wednesday, February 5)

Registration in advance is required to attend the discussion, and includes a copy of the script sent to you in advance as well as sandwiches, snacks, and beverages at the meeting. Click the Register Now button for instructions.

SPECIAL ASSIGNMENT: If you plan to attend this event, please watch the film Snowpiercer, also by Bong Joon-ho, if you have time (in addition to reading the Parasite script).

Parasite premiered at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival where it won the Palm d’Or by unanimous vote. South Korea’s official submission for the Best International Feature Film category of the Academy Awards, last week Parasite became the first film from South Korea to win the Golden Globe award for Best Foreign Film. In November, the film surpassed The Godfather as the most popular film of all time on social media site Letterboxd, and it was announced last week that Joon-ho and Adam McKay (The Big Short) are currently in talks to develop a limited series based on Parasite for HBO. This morning the film was nominated for six Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Original Screenplay.

Still in current release, Parasite has grossed over $130 million worldwide so far and holds a 99% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes (based on 349 professional critics’ reviews). Over 40 critics and publications have named it the best movie of 2019, including Christy Lemire, Justin Chang, Michael Phillips, Film Comment, and IndieWire (based on a 300+ Critics Survey). More than sixty others placed it in their top ten for the year, and more than a dozen put it in their top ten for the decade. It’s also nominated for four BAFTAs, a SAG, a Spirit, and a DGA award among its hundreds of other accolades, including Best Screenplay and Best Director nominations for the Golden Globes and a still-pending WGA nomination for Best Original Screenplay.

If you have not yet seen Parasite but plan to before our meeting, reading the script before watching the film is advised. Also, please watch Joon-ho’s Snowpiercer before the meeting if you can. It’s currently streaming on Netflix and can be rented online for just $1.99 at Redbox.

Rated R. 132 minutes. 141 pages (English translation). Drama. Horror.

STEVE KAPLAN will provide in-depth analysis and lead our discussion. 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.