Predicting the Unpredictable

A letter arrived recently from Screenwriting Newsletter subscriber Ronald M. Sandgrund, a prominent Colorado attorney, law professor, and writer. (Full disclosure: Ron is also my wife’s brother.) We had both read Erik Larson’s masterful bestseller Dead Wake, which recounts the history of the sinking of the ocean liner Lusitania by a German submarine during World War […]

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Going Behind the Screen with Steve Cuden

Steve Cuden, author of Beating Hollywood: Tips for Creating Unforgettable Screenplays (December, 2015), has written teleplays for many familiar TV series, such as X-Men, The Batman, Iron Man, Xiaolin Showdown, Loonatics Unleashed, The Mask, Goof Troop, Bonkers, Quack Pack, Gargoyles, Beetlejuice, Pink Panther, RoboCop, Extreme Ghostbusters, Stargate Infinity, ExoSquad, and Mummies Alive. Steve directed and […]

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ESCAPE FROM FILM SCHOOL

Approximately thirty-five years ago I got an idea for a screenplay called Film School. I like to consider the script an ‘homage’ to Billy Wilder and his Oscar winning Sunset Boulevard. Another way to put it is: I stole the idea from Billy Wilder. If you’re going to steal, steal from Wilder. Sunset Boulevard opens with an oppressed, […]

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Featured Q&A – Behind the Screen with Writer Ben Kopit

Ben Kopit recently sold his first screenplay, THE LIBERTINE, to Warner Bros and is working on another original project with them. Prior to that, he received an M.F.A. in screenwriting from UCLA and garnered a number of writing awards. (2015 Reddit Screenwriting Contest winner, 2014 Austin Film Festival Screenwriting Finalist, 2013 Sloan Screenwriting Fellowship, 2013 […]

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My Fifteen Minutes

My fifteen minutes of glory and fame (it was more like four or five years) have come and gone. There was a time when I constantly appeared on radio and TV political talk shows: maybe ten times on Today, a dozen on (may God forgive me) The O’Reilly Factor, perhaps two dozen on MSNBC’s Hardball […]

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My Favorite Film Critic

I rarely read movie reviews. Here and there I may peek at a review, but never one that treats a movie I have not yet seen. My reluctance is not because I want to avoid spoilers. The reason is this: if a reviewer loves a film, I’m likely to find it disappointing. Conversely, if a […]

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WRITE WHAT YOU DON’T KNOW (WITH THANKS AND APOLOGIES TO JULIAN HOXTER)

Thirty years ago I was profiled in The Wall Street Journal. Their reporter called me–I’ve memorized it—“… the prime broker for Hollywood’s hottest commodity: new writing talent.” I mention this not to brag—though it’s surely worth bragging about, and I’m a shameless braggart—but to explain why agents and producers approach me regularly in search of […]

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Screenwriting Tips: Finance 101 for Screenwriters

A well known and somewhat wacky NY stage actor friend of mine was irresponsible regarding the way he managed his money. ‘Wacky actor,’ I expect, strikes many as a redundancy. His finances were handled by an old neighborhood pal whom he’d known since grade school. The kid had become an accountant. As his bookkeeper and […]

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LONELY AT THE TOP – A DIRECTOR’S NARCISSISM

Not the director but the writer is film’s first artist, if for no other reason because she’s first. There’s no use for upscale stars, fancy effects, and sophisticated equipment without a worthy script. – Richard Walter LONELY AT THE TOP – A DIRECTOR’S NARCISSISM Heave a sigh of relief. If you’ve been losing sleep worrying about […]

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Lost in Translation: Killing In Beijing

A privilege I have enjoyed now over several decades is to travel the world lecturing, teaching master classes, and consulting on film and screenwriting issues to international audiences. I’ve taught and advised and counseled writers and producers and studio executives and national film development corporation officials all across North America and also in London, Paris, […]

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