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.

Podcast: Writers on Writing with Drew Goddard

In this October 28 event, Drew Goddard takes fellow writer John August and us through his beginnings growing up as a voracious reader in Los Alamos, New Mexico, the valuable lessons learned in his first years as a writer’s assistant and staff writer on shows like BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER, LOST and ALIAS, and his approach to writing feature films such as CLOVERFIELD, THE CABIN IN THE WOODS, WORLD WAR Z and the current blockbuster THE MARTIAN.

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Music on this podcast is Brewing Something Funky by SRT-M1tch.

Podcast: Writers on Writing with Jason Katims

There are few TV shows in which I’ve shed real tears while watching, and FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS is one of them. I’m talking tears during every. single. episode of the first season, and I blame all that mascara smudging on the show’s fantastic writing. If you feel the same, then you’ll enjoy hearing tales behind the writing of FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS, as well as another equally heart-warming NBC show PARENTHOOD, from showrunner Jason Katims at our September 14, 2014 event Writers on Writing.

Interviewed by moderator and fellow writer Jan Oxenberg, you’ll hear Katims’ thoughts on developing such relatable characters and real family dynamics; his approach to running a writers room; and how he channels his personal experiences into the shows he writes.

Stay tuned for more podcasts featuring Jason Katims, who takes the moderator seat for our upcoming Master Class with Winnie Holzman on August 26.

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Music on this podcast is Sensational by NGKFlower.

New Podcast: Words Into Pixels Video Game Writing Panel

It’s been a while since our last podcast, so we’re excited to share this one from our recent sold-out event Words Into Pixels: Couches, Consoles and Creating Worlds, which was all about writing for video games.

Moderated by Neil Druckmann (THE LAST OF US, UNCHARTED 4: A THIEF’S END), our panel included TJ Fixman (RATCHET & CLANK series), Marianne Krawczyk (GOD OF WAR series) and Tom Bissell (GEARS OF WAR: JUDGMENT). Listen for their insightful and very funny stories on:

  • The specific challenges and constraints of writing video game scripts
  • The most annoying parts of the job (Barks!)
  • What skills are important if you want to write for games.

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Music on the podcast is Electronic World v2 by FoxythePirateFoxPL

Kay Cannon at GENRE SMASH!

Even though we hear nothing but great things from our podcast listeners, it’s been quite a while since we’ve been able to post one. But fear not! Here’s a new one! and it’s amazing!

And for those of you who haven’t read the title of this post, and are therefore wondering what’s amazing about it: It’s a recording of a GENRE SMASH earlier this year featuring Kay Cannon, the writer of PITCH PERFECT and PITCH PERFECT 2! Kay has also written for great shows like 30 ROCK and NEW GIRL, and has some great projects in development.

This was a wonderful interview – Kay is as hilarious as she is insightful. Listen for some truly great moments:

  • The basis of the burrito-throwing scene in the first PITCH PERFECT
  • The strange year she had writing PITCH PERFECT 2
  • How she got her first writing gig on 30 ROCK

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David Fury at GENRE SMASH!

Just before we all left for the holidays, David Fury joined us at the NerdMelt Showroom for GENRE SMASH!, where he chatted with us about his early days writing for cartoons like PINKY AND THE BRAIN; getting on board the Joss Whedon Express early; writing some of the most memorable shows on television; and what The Hatch on LOST could have led to, had things gone in a different direction.

Actually, stay for that last part. It’s near the end, and you’ll want to hear it.

But wait, there’s more: David gifted our archive with some truly fascinating materials, including early drafts and notes from many of his scripts. Click here to take a look.

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FRASIER NIGHT!

GUYS. REAL QUICK. Last month we hosted FRASIER co-creator Peter Casey and writer David Isaacs at GENRE SMASH!.

It was a great night, and let me tell you that we got some really excellent audience questions. Maybe it was the intimate atmosphere. Maybe it was the smallish crowd. Maybe it was the fact that we had a really truly dedicated group of working and aspiring TV writers in the room with us. But those audience questions were even better than usual. Not a single “Can I give you my screenplay?” or “What advice would you have…?” in the bunch.

Plus, Peter Casey is brilliant and David Isaacs is hilarious. Plus, we talk about the perils of working with Jack Russell terriers.

Listen. You’ll feel like you’re right there with us.

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J. Michael Straczynski at GENRE SMASH!

Here’s a quick project: Look up J. Michael Straczynski on Wikipedia. I won’t link to it; I’ll just hang out here while you go check out his page.

(twenty-seven minute pause)

So yeah. You probably noticed that not only is Straczynski – known as “JMS” or simply “Joe” – has a pretty huge body of work dating back to the 1980s. And you probably also noticed that it spans media; he’s done features, television, comic books, and more. And you probably also noticed that while he focuses largely on genre fiction like SF and superheroes, he also does straight drama, like 2008’s CHANGELING.

The guy is a machine. He created BABYLON 5 and is working on a new TV project with the Wachowskis. He wrote THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN from 2001-2007. He started his own comics imprint. He wrote a guide to screenwriting.

He does a lot of stuff.

Here’s our conversation with him from about a year ago, in which he talks about how he manages to be so prolific. Here’s a hint: It has to do with getting up, writing, and then writing some more.

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