Podcast: Inside the Writers Room with Better Call Saul

On May 26, we welcomed the talented writers room of BETTER CALL SAUL, including co-creator and showrunner Peter Gould, executive producer Thomas Schnauz, co-EP Gennifer Hutchison, story editor Gordon Smith, co-producer Jonathan Glatzer, executive story editor Ann Cherkis and staff writer Heather Marion.

Moderated by the fabulous Stacey Wilson Hunt of Vulture, the conversation took a closer look at the choices made in episodes written by each writer (we showed video clips which we had to edit out, but Stacey does mention the specific episode numbers if you want to look them up for context). We learned how Kim became an accidental feminist, why the writers wanted to put Jimmy in a scene wearing his underwear, and exactly how they came up with the term ‘Squat Cobbler.’ Enjoy the podcast!

Click here for photos from the Better Call Saul event.

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Music on this podcast is Conversation by Loathar.

Podcast: Writing and Acting with Jane the Virgin

On May 25, we had the pleasure of welcoming JANE THE VIRGIN’s writers and cast, including showrunner Jennie Snyder Urman, co-executive producers Jessica O’Toole and Amy Rardin, staff writer Carolina Rivera, cast members Justin Baldoni, Ivonne Coll, Yael Grobglas, and Andrea Navedo.

The group talks to Buzzfeed’s Jarrett Wieselman about the show’s very female-centric writers room, how choices are made when addressing certain issues such as immigration, and the actors share their approach to their characters. If you’re as big of a fan of The CW comedy as we are, you’ll get a kick out of this fun conversation. NOTE: We had a bit of technical difficulties in the beginning so the recording starts after the event intros–don’t worry, you didn’t miss anything crucial!

Click here for photos from the Jane the Virgin event. 

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Music on this podcast is Day Dreamin’ by stackz989.

Podcast: Master Class with Courtney A. Kemp

On May 17, we welcomed Courtney A. Kemp, the fabulous creator and showrunner of the hit Starz series POWER, which premieres its third season on July 17.

In this entertaining and insightful conversation with Deadline Hollywood’s Dominic Patten, Courtney expands on how she broke in, how she transitioned from writing on a half-hour comedy to hourlong legal dramas, and eventually her process for creating and running her own show. We also hear fun stories about working with POWER star and executive producer Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson as well as Courtney’s emphatic advice for anyone trying to build a career writing for television.

Click here for photos from the Courtney A. Kemp event. 

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Music on this podcast is Nostalgia in the Air by Zooloo75.

Podcast: The World Builder with Frank Spotnitz

On March 24, we had the pleasure of welcoming Frank Spotnitz, the show developer and executive producer of Amazon’s THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE, for a talk with moderator Neil Landau about building worlds.

Frank not only spoke about the complexities of adapting Phillip K. Dick’s novel about a world in which the Axis Powers had won World War II, but also his world-building experience as a longtime writer on X-FILES. Now living in Europe, he also dished advice on how to navigate a career writing for overseas productions.

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Music on this podcast is Smooth Guitar by cyclops845.

Podcast: Master Class with Evan Daugherty

On February 23, we had the pleasure of having screenwriter Evan Daugherty join us for a Master Class, which was moderated by fellow writer and NYU alum Elliott DiGuiseppi. Evan, who shot to fame for writing the blockbuster SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN and has since penned screenplays for big box office draws such as DIVERGENT, TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES and the upcoming TOMB RAIDER reboot, detailed his journey from broke aspiring screenwriter to selling his reimagining of a fairy tale and working on famous franchises.

For the many students in the audience, Evan also offered some good do’s and don’ts of pitching (Do keep to the strong central through-line of the protagonist’s journey; Don’t memorize your pitch) as well as more practical advice for writers. Enjoy the podcast!

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Music on this podcast is Mahogany by Drew6464.

Podcast: Writers on Writing with Meg LeFauve

We had the joy of welcoming recent Academy Award nominee Meg LeFauve for a Writers on Writing event on February 18. With the help of moderator Dana Stevens, the writer of Pixar’s INSIDE OUT, THE GOOD DINOSAUR and the upcoming CAPTAIN MARVEL went into the complex process of building the world behind INSIDE OUT. As warm and animated as the characters she has helped create, Meg is a fantastic, thoughtful storyteller with some great advice for all writers. Enjoy the podcast!

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Music on this podcast is Bossa Nova Baby by David Grossman Music

Podcast: The Multi-Hyphenates with Jay & Mark Duplass

 

With their list of credits as writers, actors, producers, and directors, Jay and Mark Duplass may be two of the hardest working people in Hollywood. In this November 10 event, which was moderated by Kirsten “Kiwi” Smith, Jay summed up the secret to their success as filmmakers: “We were just two dudes making stuff…and making stuff relentlessly.”

Along with amusing stories from the trenches of making indie films such as THE PUFFY CHAIR and BAGHEAD and their HBO series TOGETHERNESS, the brothers gave sage advice to aspiring filmmakers (basically, learn to do everything yourselves) and proved their point by bringing out writer and director Sean Baker, who made the film TANGERINE (which the Duplass brothers executive produced) for $100K and with an iPhone 5s.

We apologize for the volume and distortion issues on this recording. We’ve gotten our act together for recordings after this one. But we hope you enjoy this hilarious conversation anyway!

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Music on this podcast is Peanut Bummer Jam by Benjamin Tibbetts

Podcast: The Humorist with Adam McKay

This January 12 event with Adam McKay was all sorts of awesome. Not only did it kick off with Garry Shandling meandering into the room during McKay’s introduction, but his co-writer on THE BIG SHORT, Charles Randolph, also joined the conversation midway to talk about the process of developing Michael Lewis’s book about the 2008 financial collapse into a film that has garnered Golden Globe, Writers Guild Award, and Academy Award nominations (plus a Producers Guild Award win for Best Picture).

Moderator Craig Mazin did a fine job of exploring McKay’s comedic past as the writer, director and producer of films such as ANCHORMAN, TALLADEGA NIGHTS, STEP BROTHERS, and THE OTHER GUYS, as well as his longtime partnership with Will Ferrell, whom he met on Saturday Night Live and co-founded the website Funny or Die.  Before you tune into the remaining awards shows to see how THE BIG SHORT fares, listen to this great discussion first.

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Music on this podcast is Cafe-Solitude by iCafe.

Podcast: Character Sketch: Glen Mazzara on Writing the Anti-Hero

For this September 9 event, Glen Mazzara did something different and delivered his talk sans moderator. But don’t expect some boring school-type lecture. The Anti-Hero–a central character that lacks conventional heroic characteristics such as idealism and morality–is such a prevalent trope in TV and film today that a study in its relevance is bound to be fascinating, not to mention the fact that Mazzara is an engaging personality with a strong point of view. He discusses the Anti-Hero’s literary history as well as puts the trope within the context of gender, race and politics. Interesting stuff!

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Music on this podcast is Swinging by RaceTTar.

Podcast: Master Class with Winnie Holzman

For this August 26 event, we reunited MY SO-CALLED LIFE creator Winnie Holzman with writer, producer and friend Jason Katims (PARENTHOOD, FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS), who got his start writing for TV on her show 21 years ago. The special night recalled Holzman and Katims’s memorable moments from the show, from an episode seemingly gone awry to a reading of Katims’s favorite scene from the pilot. True to her genuine, warmly funny style, Holzman shared her approach to writing for TV, film and Broadway, how she deals with writer’s block, and how she inhabited a teenage girl’s voice.

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Music on this podcast is The Mezzanine by Jassummisko.