On September 27, we had the pleasure of welcoming the marvelous Terence Winter, creator of BOARDWALK EMPIRE and VINYL, screenwriter of THE WOLF OF WALL STREET, and Emmy-winning writer of THE SOPRANOS. The TV legend spoke frankly with WGF Vice President Laurence Andries about his beginnings growing up in Brooklyn, how he gave up a career in law to pursue his dream of becoming a writer, and how his experiences informed the memorable shows, films and characters he wrote.
On September 15, we, along with the Writers Guild of America, West and Variety, presented Sublime Primetime, our annual event celebrating Emmy-nominated writers. We welcomed a panel of incredibly talented writers, including Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski (THE PEOPLE VS. OJ SIMPSON), Joel Fields and Joe Weisberg (THE AMERICANS), Peter Huyckand Alex Gregory (VEEP), Marti Noxon and Sarah Gertrude Shapiro (UNREAL), Caroline Omine (THE SIMPSONS), and Alex Rubens (KEY & PEELE). To top it off, BETTER CALL SAUL star Bob Odenkirk served as moderator, which naturally led to a hilarious conversation about this year’s memorable episodes.
On September 6, we welcomed film and TV writer William Blake Herron (AGENT X, THE BOURNE IDENTITY) for an event co-hosted by NYU Tisch in LA. Moderated by fellow NYU alum Elliott Diguiseppi, Herron shared his experiences creating characters deep in the world of espionage. He also gave his perspective on studio assignments and how writers can approach that route.
On August 2, we welcomed prolific screenwriter, director and showrunner Steven Knight for a conversation about his career and writing process. The creator of PEAKY BLINDERS and the upcoming BBC/FX series TABOO shared his approach with moderator, Deadline Hollywood Senior Editor Dominic Patten, including his philosophy for dealing with writer’s block, how he designs seasons of PEAKY BLINDERS, and how he came up with the concept behind his film LOCKE.
On July 26, we had the pleasure of teaming up once again with NYU Tisch to host the wonderful screenwriter, playwright and director Phyllis Nagy for a conversation on her work and process of adapting novels for the stage and screen. Nagy, whose critically acclaimed film CAROL was adapted from a Patricia Highsmith novel, has also penned plays based on other novels by Highsmith as well as Anton Chekhov and Nathaniel Hawthorne. She gives great advice on how to honor one writer’s work while also highlighting your own.
On June 26, we teamed up with the Academy Education and Nicholl Fellowship Programs to host a panel about breaking into the industry as a screenwriter at any age. We welcomed a stellar lineup, including Ronald Bass (RAIN MAN, MY BEST FRIEND’S WEDDING), Douglas Jung (STAR TREK BEYOND), Peter Landesman (CONCUSSION), Meg LeFauve (INSIDE OUT), and Linda Woolverton (ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS, MALEFICENT). Moderated by WGF President Larry Andries, the group shared their individual journeys to screenwriting from different careers and gave sage advice to all aspiring writers about how they can use those previous work experiences to inform their approach to a career in the film and TV industries.
On June 21, we once again teamed up with our pals from NYU Tisch to welcome three writers/producers (and NYU Tisch alumni) from MARVEL’S JESSICA JONES: Hilly Hicks, Jamie King and Edward Ricourt. The trio shared their various paths to the writers room, their process for delving into Jessica’s world, and how showrunner Melissa Rosenberg’s approach to addressing particularly controversial story lines informed the room’s choices.
On June 14, we welcomed writer and actor extraordinaire Mike O’Malley for a Master Class. The creator and showrunner of the Starz Original Series SURVIVOR’S REMORSE, which premieres its third season on July 24, spoke with moderator and LA Times TV Editor Sarah Rodman about juggling his roles as a writer/producer and as an actor known for his memorable turns in shows such as GLEE and YES, DEAR.
O’Malley doles out tons of advice to both writers and actors who want to do both as well as gives insight into developing the hit Starz show. Enjoy the discussion!
On June 7, we had the pleasure of welcoming the fantastic writers from the hit Starz show OUTLANDER, including show developer and showrunner Ronald D. Moore and executive producers/writers Toni Graphia, Anne Kenney, and Matthew B. Roberts. Moderated by TV Guide’s Kate Hahn, the lively conversation covered the challenges of adapting Diana Gabaldon‘s enormously popular novels into TV, the scenes the writers fought for, and exactly how they craft the show’s steamy sex scenes.
We’ve got to say, OUTLANDER fans are some of the most passionate out there, and it only added to the energy of this night. Enjoy this spirited conversation!
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 editorAnn 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!
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!
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.
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.
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!
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!
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.