MY MOTHER THE MOVIE STAR

My sister and her husband are actors. A couple of decades ago, while living in Los Angeles, they went to New York for an extended stay in order to star together on Broadway in Neil Simon’s then-new play: Rumors. Upon their arrival in Gotham a huge party was held in their honor, welcoming them to the city. […]

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GEORGE

He was a short, nerdy, geeky, scratchy-voiced little guy, and the most powerful genius I have ever known. The last time I saw him was forty years ago at a party at Randal Kleiser’s house up Laurel Canyon on a street appropriately named Wonderland. Randal, a consummately sweet, decent fellow after all these years, is […]

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Fire, Bloodshed, and Parking

It’s not an official faculty meeting, a former dean remarked at a UCLA film department gathering, until someone complains about parking. For me, having joined the faculty forty years ago, the cost of parking has risen from about ninety bucks a year to about twelve-hundred. That’s a hike of more than a thousand percent. If […]

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Life Rights and Wrongs

Am I allowed to write a movie (or book or article) about you without your permission? Unequivocally and without hesitation the answer is: maybe. At the time of this writing, a former television reality show host and NY real estate developer has held the office of President of the United States for nearly a year. […]

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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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