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    The War With Your (Creative) Self

    Recently, my Intermediate class students all had a difficult workshop session.  Most of the comments on all of their scripts were not positive.  The comments were constructive to be sure but even constructive criticism is hard to take.  It still means "this isn't working."  I wrote them an open letter that then became this article.  I've expanded it a bit from the original form.

    There's a war going on inside you.

    Your head and fingers are in constant battle.  What you see with your mind's eye about your script never ends up to be what actually gets to your fingers.  Why is that?  I blame...uh, Canada (that's from the movie "South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut" and I'm just kidding so relax.)

    war5 Here's the problem; it's too easy to write that first flush of great scenes that you see so clearly when that concept comes to you.  After that it's nearly impossible to clearly see the ramifications of that work.  You think you know the story but unless you've carefully charted out each moment, sh*t happens. 

    Even if you've carefully charted out your script you take side trips; a character inserts himself or herself demanding more attention than you had intended.  Maybe a piece of information comes to you or you have to change something that you thought worked.

    Also, each day you're a different person and your mood, attitudes, sense of life changes.  If you're doing the work properly, you are writing from your subconscious mind and that changes - a lot - as you process each and every moment of your life.

    A script seems simple but is maddeningly complex. 

    Most of the time, what you have in your head is not what ends up on the page. 

    Continue reading
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    Robert Schenkkan: "All The Way" from Stage to HBO

    Robert Schenkkan:

    Acclaimed writer Robert Schenkkan talks to Final Draft about Lyndon Johnson, Bryan Cranston and adapting his Tony Award winning, historical play for HBO.

    All The Way premiers Saturday, May 21st on HBO. Check your local listings!

    Original author: Final Draft
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    "Empire" Writer Eric Haywood on Music Videos and Finishing Your Writing


    Eric Haywood, writer and producer on Fox's hit show, Empire, shares his background in music videos and the mindset it takes to get your story on the page. 

    Watch Empire Wednesday nights 9/8c on Fox!

    Original author: Final Draft
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    Bryan Sipe Discusses "Demolition" and His Own Creative Path Through Loss

    Bryan Sipe Discusses

    Screenwriter Bryan Sipe opens up to us about the origins of Demolition and his own struggle through the creative process. 

    In the film, Jake Gyllenhaal's character is told, "to understand what's broken, you have to take it all apart," Sipe says. Here, Sipe deconstructs his writing process for us as well. 

    Demolition is out in theaters today, April 8th!

    Original author: Final Draft
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    Bob Nelson on "The Confirmation" and the Merits of the Dramedy Genre

    Bob Nelson  on

    We talked to Bob Nelson, screenwriter of Nebraska, about his latest film The Confirmation, his background in comedy and the origin story of Bill Nye the Science Guy. 

    The Confirmation is out in theaters and on iTunes March, 18th. 

    Original author: Final Draft
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    Julie Delpy Talks About Her New Film Lolo

    Julie Delpy Talks About Her New Film Lolo

    Julie Delpy writes, directs and stars in her new film Lolo. Here she talks with us about the bonds of parenthood, French humor and what inspired her love of writing.

    Lolo is out in theaters Friday, March 11th.

    Original author: Final Draft
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    Straight Outta Compton

    American music isn't just jazz.

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    DEADPOOL

    He's bigger  than The Donald!

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    The Big Short Co-Writer Charles Randolph Stops By The Insider View Podcast

    The Big Short Co-Writer Charles Randolph Stops By The Insider View Podcast

    Charles Randolph, co-writer of The Big Short, drops by the Insider View Podcast to chat with host, Pete D'Alessandro about his background in aesthetic philosophy, working with Adam McKay and what makes credit default swaps such a fascinating film topic. 

     The Big Short is out in theaters now. 

    Original author: Final Draft
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    Final Draft Insider View with The Revenant Screenwriter Mark L. Smith

    Final Draft Insider View with The Revenant Screenwriter Mark L. Smith

    Listen as Mark L. Smith, screenwriter of The Revenant, talks to Insider View host Pete D'Alessandro about everything from Colorado dude ranches to drafting screenplays before pitching. 

     

    The Revenant is out in wide release today - January 8th, 2016!

     

     

     

    Original author: Final Draft
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    Final Draft Insider View with Filmmaker Andrew Jenks

    Final Draft Insider View with Filmmaker Andrew Jenks

    Andrew Jenks, award-winning twenty-something American filmmaker, explains how to find the story in documentaries, and how the story often leads you to discover material you were never expecting. From the realities of nursing homes to  a young man fighting to get a wrongful conviction overturned, Jenks finds moving topics and uses his storytelling skills to craft unforgettable documentaries. In addition to his filmmaking, he is also the host of MTV's very popular documentary series World of Jenks. If all that work werent enough to keep him busy, he is the founder of the All-American High School Film Festival. The annual event was designed to inspire and educate young filmmakers from around the world and features judges such as Kristen Stewart, Morgan Spurlock, and Diablo Cody.

    Original author: Final Draft
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    Final Draft Insider View with Daniel Vang and Christopher Lockhart

    Final Draft Insider View with Daniel Vang and Christopher Lockhart

    Final Draft sits down with WME's Christopher Lockhart and Benderspink's Daniel Vang  for a discussion about the life of a script. Many writers don't consider what happens after an executive reads a script and thinks it has potential to go to production. But the more you the screenwriter know about the process, the better you can prepare your script to be a part of it, and the better your odds of seeing your name in the credits.

    Original author: Final Draft
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    'Sleepy Hollow' Co-Creator Phillip Iscove on the Evolution of a Hit Show

    'Sleepy Hollow' Co-Creator Phillip Iscove on the Evolution of a Hit Show

    Phillip Iscove, creator of hit TV series Sleepy Hollow, talks about his early days at film school in Toronto, working as an assistant at powerhouse agency UTA for eight years, and how Sleepy Hollow was not just his first sale: it also saved him from being kicked out of the country. Along the way he discusses the prevalence of genre stories on television, the challenges of working on such a large budget show, and what he looks for when hiring staff writers. 

    Original author: Final Draft
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    'Insurgent' Screenwriter Brian Duffield talks writing for the hit franchise

    'Insurgent' Screenwriter Brian Duffield talks writing for the hit franchise

    A native of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Brian Duffield burst onto the screenwriting scene with his rom com spec 'Your Bridesmaid Is A Bitch', a Black List script that launched his career. Brian talks moving to Los Angeles after college, struggling to make himself known in Hollywood, and what it's like to write a script for a hit franchise.

    Original author: Final Draft
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    'How To Train Your Dragon 2' Writer/Director Dean DeBlois Discusses Animation

    'How To Train Your Dragon 2' Writer/Director Dean DeBlois Discusses Animation

    Dean DeBlois, writer/director of such animated classics as Lilo and Stitch and the How To Train Your Dragon series, talks about how he got his start in animation, how to approach fantasy/adventure screenplays, and what it's like to write for a dragon. - 

    Original author: Final Draft
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    Anthony McCarten talks ‘The Theory of Everything’

    Anthony McCarten talks ‘The Theory of Everything’

    Acclaimed novelist, playwright and screenwriter Anthony McCarten tells how it took him eight years to convince Stephen and Jane Hawking to give him the rights to their story, his "exaggerated desire" to express himself, and how "putting words into the mouth of the smartest guy on the planet" took an enormous leap of faith. - 

    Original author: Final Draft
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    ‘Nightingale’ writer Frederick Mensch discusses the fast-paced ramp up into production

    ‘Nightingale’ writer Frederick Mensch discusses the fast-paced ramp up into production

    Frederick Mensch, founder of the online screenwriting database MovieBytes, can now add working screenwriter to his resume. His uncompromising screenplay, 'Nightingale', was recently made into a movie by HBO, starring Golden-Globe nominee David Oyelowo. 'Nightingale' is the first movie to be made from a script uploaded to the Black List, and has launched Mensch’s career many years after he began writing. Mensch discusses his long journey from film school to Hollywood, how to write a film with one character and one location, and the importance of writing a “splashy role” that will attract a movie star to your project.

    Original author: Final Draft
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    Better Call Saul writer Gennifer Hutchison on how she learned to be an asset to the writers' room in any role

    Better Call Saul writer Gennifer Hutchison on how she learned to be an asset to the writers' room in any role

    Television writer Gennifer Hutchison has spent time in some of the most famous writers' rooms of recent years.  Her roles have spanned everything from producer’s assistant to supervising producer on the wildly popular and critically acclaimed Better Call Saul.

    Original author: Final Draft
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    Jason Dean Hall writes the controversial true story of Chris Kyle’s life in ‘American Sniper’

    Jason Dean Hall writes the controversial true story of Chris Kyle’s life in ‘American Sniper’

    Jason Dean Hall discusses what it was like to tell the story of Chris Kyle in 'American Sniper', a polarizing figure whose controversial and disturbing story broke box-office records. The writer's deeply personal connection to the story is filling the trades and garnering awards attention while, in a world far away from Hollywood, the trial for Kyle's tragic murder is taking place.

    Original author: Final Draft
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    Final Draft Insider View With Comedian-Screenwriter Jim Jefferies

    Final Draft Insider View With Comedian-Screenwriter Jim Jefferies

    Comedian-screenwriter-actor Jim Jefferies bares all about his writing process, getting a series on the air, and killing off characters - even disabled ones.

    Original author: Final Draft
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