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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Why I Love Cold Callers

I know it’s a cold call, designed to sell me some product or cause, even before the caller speaks. Indeed, more often than not the caller doesn’t speak at all. The equipment in telephone boiler rooms dials multiple phone numbers simultaneously. The software connects with the first one that answers, hanging up on the others. […]

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Screenwriting and The Dreadful Weight of Truth

Art, Picasso tells us, is the lie that tells the greater truth. Screenwriters need to learn how to lie through their teeth. As a screenwriting educator and script doctor I have seen more scripts brought down by a writer’s wrongheaded devotion to some idealized, romanticized, self-conscious, narcissistic, pie-in-the-sky notion of The Truth. In script consultation […]

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THE QUALITY OF GENIUS or SNEAKING A CREW BACKSTAGE TO FILM THE ROLLING STONES

 Einstein told us there are two—and only two—constants in the universe: 1) the speed of light and 2) The Rolling Stones. They showed up in downtown Los Angeles last spring celebrating their fiftieth anniversary. The first time I saw them was October of 1965, in Syracuse, New York, when I was enrolled in a jackpot, […]

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The Average Versus the Mean or It’s Not Called Screen Talking

The graduate screenwriting program at UCLA enjoys an embarrassment of riches. We receive fifteen times as many qualified applications as we have available slots for new writers. The ‘take rate’ for students admitted is virtually one hundred percent. That is, among applicants admitted, almost everyone enrolls. Continue reading…  

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Behind the Screen: Getting to Know J.M. Evenson

J. M. Evenson received a Ph.D. in Renaissance literature from the University of Michigan and an M.F.A. from UCLA’s famed School of Theater, Film and Television. At UCLA, she was awarded the Harmony Gold Screenwriting Prize and the Women In Film Eleanor Perry Writing Award and won top honors at the UCLA Showcase Screenwriting Contest. […]

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THE PROFESSOR’S PET PEEVES

  Writing is language; language is words. It often seems to me these days that the English language is under assault. But then maybe I’m just an old professorial fuddy-duddy. Language evolves, doesn’t it? Isn’t the Oxford English Dictionary and, indeed, aren’t all dictionaries merely history books detailing the way particular words were used at […]

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