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.

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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