Wed, 29 November 2023
Eddie Murphy’s new holiday comedy Candy Cane Lane pokes fun at the idea of being super competitive during the Christmas decorating season. Kelly Younger sat down with Final Draft’s Write On podcast to talk about writing the spec script that became a reality in our latest episode.
Direct download: Write_On_-_Candy_Cane_Lane_Kelly_Younger_mixdown.mp3
Category:screenwriting -- posted at: 12:34pm PST
Mon, 27 November 2023
Write On: 'The Continental: From The World Of John Wick' Writer Kirk Ward and Director Albert Hughes
“I'm now at a place where I say to myself, ‘What haven't we seen?’ And then we take it to a place that’s completely, absolutely bonkers,” says writer Kirk Ward about his new show The Continental: From The World Of John Wick. “You take the audience down the road of a trope and then turn. That's the joy of collaboration and creativity for me.”
The Continental is a disco noire three-part miniseries that tells the origin story of The Continental Hotel from the famed John Wick universe. In my discussion with Ward and director Albert Hughes, we talk about creating The Continental Hotel as a character in the show, writing a totally unhinged role for Mel Gibson and depicting the High Table in the most unexpected way – even though they were told not to go there.
“Chad [Stahelski, the director of the John Wick films] said, ‘Whatever you do, don't reveal the High Table. Do not come up with your own impression of what the High Table is.’ Well, I don't know what it is. So, we had to really lean into the mysterious elements of this show for that,” says Hughes.
To learn more secrets about The Continental, take a listen to the podcast. The three-part show is currently streaming on Peacock and is a must-see for every John Wick fan.
Direct download: Write_On_-_The_Continental_Albert_Hughes_Kirk_Ward_mixdown.mp3
Category:screenwriting -- posted at: 12:21pm PST
Tue, 21 November 2023
“A lot of the scenes are [shot in] one take. The space that they hold, the amount of air that they let sit there before saying their next line. I mean it’s an incredible amount of tension and intimacy,” says screenwriter Samy Burch about her new film May December, which streams on Netflix December 1st.
It sounds so simple and commonplace, but it's a lesson in not only great acting but also writing great subtext. Directed by Todd Haynes and starring Julianne Moore and Natalie Portman, May December is about Gracie (Moore), a middle-aged woman who seduced and later married a 13-year-old boy. Natalie Portman plays Elizabeth, an actress who gets to know Gracie so she can play her in an upcoming film.
Mon, 20 November 2023
Final Draft's Write On podcast sits down with Showrunner Chris Black to talk about his new show, Monarch: Legacy of Monsters. “For it to be successful as a TV series, it couldn't be a show about monsters. It had to be a show about people who happen to live in a world where monsters are real," Black says when describing what it was like to pitch the show to Apple TV.
Monarch: Legacy of Monsters picks up the "monsterverse" story after the battle between Godzilla and the Titans and follows one family's journey to uncover secrets about their history linking them to Monarch.
Known for his work on Apple's mind-boggling workplace drama Severance, Black knows what it takes to make a successful TV series. Listen to our podcast to find out more on how to expand a universe, writing for monsters and creating new characters.
Monarch: Legacy of Monsters premieres on Apple TV+ on November 17.
Direct download: Write_On_-_Monarch_Legacy_of_Monsters_Chris_Black_mixdown.mp3
Category:screenwriting -- posted at: 3:16pm PST
Mon, 13 November 2023
“Be sneaky and read every script that you can get your hands on. If you can work in a studio, read the original draft, read the revisions, see how the script got to the final script. That's what I was doing. I would use the opportunities of working in that system to learn,” says screenwriter Julian Breece on Final Draft’s Write On Podcast.
Julian, along with Dustin Lance Black, wrote Rustin, the new biopic about little-known civil rights activist Bayard Rustin, played exquisitely by actor Colman Domingo. Rustin, alongside Martin Luther King, helped make the 1963 March on Washington a pivotal moment in the Civil Rights Movement, while dealing with racism and homophobia as an out gay Black man in the 1960s.
Julian shares his inspiration for writing the film, Bayard Rustin’s belief in non-violent civil disobedience and what it was like working with Ava DuVernay on the Netflix series When They See Us.
Julian also talks about sneaking his own scripts into the reading pile while he was working at Disney and other risks he took to help jumpstart his career. Take a listen to the podcast to see what you can learn from Justin’s journey.
Fri, 10 November 2023
Director Alexander Payne’s new film The Holdovers, is set in the 1970s and tells the story of a grumpy ancient history instructor (Paul Giamatti) at a New England prep school who’s forced to remain on campus during the Christmas break to babysit the handful of students with nowhere to go. Eventually, he forms an unlikely bond with one of the students, an oddball troublemaker (Dominic Sessa), and the school’s cafeteria lady (Da’Vine Joy Randolph), whose son was recently killed in Vietnam.
Wed, 8 November 2023
One year after saving the town of Angel Falls from a psychotic killer on Christmas Eve, Winnie Carruthers (Jane Widdop) can’t let the fear and guilt of the event go. Struggling to make sense if her life, she wishes she’d never been born – only to find herself in a nightmare parallel universe. The film is a mash up of the Christmas classic It’s a Wonderful Life and Scream.
On this episode, I speak to screenwriter/producer Michael Kennedy about using a classic Christmas movie as inspiration for a slasher horror/comedy film. We also talk about the importance of queer representation in the horror genre.
“I wanted to give this a cornucopia of vastly different types of representation in the movie, but I also didn’t want for that to be what the movie is about. I wanted it to be just matter of fact. For me, if I can make a movie where seven of the characters are gay, then I should do that!” says Kennedy.
He went on to say that the quest for queer representation in Hollywood has been slow, but those who want to see it need to speak up. “It is satisfying as a producer to see that a lot of the change and stuff in this industry can happen if you just ask for it. Sometimes, you won’t be in the position to be able to do that and I really bided my time with that, so I’m really fortunate. It was great to not only ask for what I wanted but also get it,” he says.
For a deeper dive into the screenplay, take a listen to the podcast.
Mon, 6 November 2023
Season 3 of The Morning Show is now streaming on Apple TV+. With some of the most engaging actors working in television (Jennifer Anniston, Reese Witherspoon, Billy Crudup and Nicole Beharie), showrunner Charlotte Stoudt talks with us about some of the most shocking and groundbreaking scenes that are meant to blow your mind this season.
This dramaturge-turned-showrunner, Stoudt’s love of working with other writers is palpable. “The delight of sharing a story space with other writers is one of the great joys of this job. I never get tired of sitting across from a writer and having them say, ‘What if we did this?’ It’s like a Christmas present every day,” Stoudt says.
Stoudt also gives her advice on what to include in a spec script, no matter what kind of writing job you’re up for. “The best writing samples give some insight and truth about what it means to be alive. That can take any form – comedy, sci-fi – I don’t think the genre matters if you’re able to put something of your most primal self on the page. There has to be something that’s alive inside of you, that hooks you and makes you go, ‘Who is this person telling this story?’”
To hear more about the challenges and delights of running The Morning Show, take a listen to the podcast.
Mon, 6 November 2023
The new film Nyad tells the true story of athlete Diana Nyad (Annette Benning) who, at the age of 60 and with the help of her best friend and coach Bonnie (Jody Foster), commits to achieving her life-long dream: a 110-mile open ocean swim from Cuba to Florida. We talk to screenwriter Julia Cox about what it was like getting to know the real Diana Nyad, structuring the screenplay to create a satisfying sports movie and creating one of the most daunting physical antagonists on the page: the ocean.
Thu, 2 November 2023
“Starting to write a project like this, we always begin with a set of very strong personal desires,” says Anatomy of a Fall writer/director Justine Triet, adding, “I’m quite reticent of scripts that are too clever or that clearly have the intension of disseminating things where information or the person disseminating information has the upper hand over my ability to navigate the narrative.”
The new film Anatomy of a Fall won the Palme d’Or at the recent Cannes Film Festival and could be called Anatomy of a Marriage – at least one that ends in a mysterious tragedy. Set in a remote village in the French Alps – perhaps reminiscent of the hotel in The Shining, frustrated writer Samuel (Samuel Theis), is found dead in the snow beneath his family’s chalet and his wife Sandra (Sandra Hüller), becomes the number one suspect in his suspicious death. In this shocking family drama that moves into a chaotic courtroom, the verdict comes down to the couple’s 11-year-old blind son’s gut-wrenching testimony.
Directed by Justine Triet from a script written by Triet and her own life-partner Arthur Harari, Triet talks about writing the film from an emotional place and not relying on structure or over-used devices like flashbacks to create a deeper sense of mystery.
This film is the best lesson on how to tell a character-driven murder mystery – while keeping the audience guessing – I’ve seen in a long time! Listen to the podcast to go deeper into how Triet crafted the story.