Tuesday, July 28, 2015

What's your favorite line in a movie?

Dialogue lovers: here's a fun new Academy Originals video in which industry pros reveal their favorite movie lines.

What's your favorite movie line?

Monday, July 13, 2015

What to expect in an entertainment internship interview

A.R. writes: As someone hoping to get their first internship doing script coverage, I'm not really sure what questions to expect for the interview. What, in your experience, do employees looking for script interns usually ask? What would be any advice you have for the interview?

Don't stress out too much about the interview. When it comes to internship interviews, employers are just trying to make sure you're an intelligent, responsible person with a good attitude. Show up on time, have a printed copy of your resume on hand and be prepared to talk about your favorite movies. Ideally, you'll like movies that are similar to the ones the company makes (do some internet research to find out what they've released and what they're developing -- they'll be impressed if you can mention a title or two). You don't have to fawn all over the company's films, though. At one of my internship interviews, the creative executive was happy to hear I liked Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (which wasn't their film); "The last guy said his favorite movie was Weekend at Bernie's, and I didn't know what to do with that," she said.

You can also talk about any previous internship or script coverage experience, if you have any. If not, don't worry -- the questions should be pretty simple where-are-you-from? kind of questions. The interview might even be a formality; the employer might be ready to hire you and just want to convince you to come on board or discuss scheduling. Interns often go on many interviews and have their pick of positions (it's vice versa when you're looking for a paid job). Some internship positions will be more competitive than others -- so if you want the position, be sure to send the person you interview with a succinct thank you email or card afterward. You might also be asked to submit some sample coverage -- take your time and make sure it's free of errors. (For more on script coverage, check out this post.)

Lastly, take the time to prepare a question or two. It can be awkward if the interviewer says "do you have any questions for me?" and you say "Nope." You can ask about what made other interns successful (or what made them annoying), what the company looks for in coverage (if this hasn't been covered), etc. You can also ask about the person's own history -- people love talking about themselves. What does she wish she knew as an intern?

Monday, June 8, 2015

Get $50 off an Austin Film Festival conference badge

The 2015 Austin Film Festival will run from October 29-November 5 and feature panelists such as Norman Lear, Shane Black, Jack Burditt, David Wain, Kelly Marcel and Terry Rossio (along with other writers, industry agents and creative executives).

If you're interested in a Conference Badge for this year's festival, you can get $50 off here with the promo code CON300.

For more info about the Austin Film Festival in general, check out its main site: www.austinfilmfestival.com.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Fellowship & contest deadline alert: Austin and WB

Austin Film Festival Screenplay & Teleplay Competition
Final Deadline: May 20

For the first time ever, AFF will provide Reader Comments to ALL entrants in the Screenplay & Teleplay Competition for FREE!  In addition, all entrants receive registration discounts, with even bigger discounts when you place in the competition. Unlike other screenplay competitions, your experience with AFF doesn’t end after making the first cut. Second Rounders (the esteemed top 10-12% in each category), Semifinalists, and Finalists attend special panels, programmed specifically for them and not open to regular badge holders.  This year, AFF has an exciting line-up of sponsored award judges including AMC for the One-Hour Pilot category, the Writer’s Guild of America East who will provide three established WGAE screenwriters to judge the Final Round of the Drama category, Enderby Entertainment who will be looking for scripts with an original concept and distinctive voice that can be produced under $5 million, and Frank Darabont’s Darkwoods Productions who will be reviewing this year’s top Sci-Fi scripts. AFF is also now accepting short and digital series scripts!

Warner Brothers TV Writing Workshop
Final Deadline: May 31

For over 30 years, the Warner Bros. Television Writers’ Workshop has been the premier writing program for new writers looking to start and further their career in the world of television. Every year, the Workshop selects up to 10 participants out of almost 2,000 submissions and exposes them to Warner Bros. Television’s top writers and executives, all with the ultimate goal of earning them a staff position on a Warner Bros. produced television show. Selected writers will attend lectures, work in a simulated writers' room and get connected with staffing opportunities. To apply, submit a resume, one or two spec scripts (from WB's list of accepted shows), a one-page statement and a submission agreement.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

NHMC TV writers program open for submissions

Created in 2003, the NHMC Television Writers Program is an intensive scriptwriters workshop that prepares Latinos for writing jobs at major television networks. Modeled after the previously successful Hispanic Film Project, the program is a direct response to the lack of diverse writers in primetime network TV. To take NHMC TV Writers Program graduates to the next level, NHMC has also created the NHMC Pitching Lab and the Latino Scene Showcase.

The television scriptwriters workshop is designed to familiarize participants with the format, characters and storyline structure of specific shows that are currently on the air. The five-week, total immersion workshop is mentored and guided by former NBC V.P of Script Development, Geoff Harris and is conducted in Burbank, CA. A total of 10 writers are accepted nationwide from an established network of non-profit agencies, schools, universities, guilds and media organizations. The goal is that the writers garner the skills necessary to obtain employment in the industry.

During the five-week program, you'll write a half-hour comedy or one-hour drama that will be read by network executives. Those writers whose scripts show promise will be interviewed and mentored by the network executives with the objective of placing them on a show.

A stipend of $250 per week will be given to each participant. Southwest Airline vouchers, housing, and meals will be provided to accepted participants who hail from out of state. If accepted into the program you must be willing to take a leave of absence from work or school as the program is a full time commitment Monday-Friday. Those who reside outside of Southwest’s flying regions will have to get to an airport that flies Southwest, AT THEIR OWN COST, and then catch a Southwest flight to Burbank.

Submissions for the 2015 program will be accepted from April 6 - August 3. The program takes place October 5 – November 6.

To apply, you'll need a writing sample, resume or bio, statement of interest, application and completed release form. Apply and get more info here!

Monday, April 20, 2015

NYWIFT launches writers lab for women over 40

Funded with the generous support of Meryl Streep and organized by Iris, The NYWIFT Writers Lab brings 8 women screenwriters over the age of 40 together with established mentors from the film industry for an intimate gathering and intensive workshop at Wiawaka Center for Women on Lake George, NY from September 18-20, 2015.

The only program of its kind, The Writers Lab evolved in recognition of the absence of the female voice in narrative film, along with the dearth of support for script development. The lab offers 8 promising films by women over 40 a springboard to production.

Applicants must be women who were born on or prior to June 1, 1975, and must be US Citizens or Permanent Residents. The Lab seeks submissions from all racial, ethnic, socioeconomic, and cultural groups. Submissions must be full-length narrative screenplays in English. (No TV scripts, shorts or documentaries.)

You may enter starting May 1, 2015. Click here for more info!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Resources for comedy writers

Fernando writes:

Thanks for reading! For screenwriting advice in general, definitely check out Go Into the Story. There, Scott Myers has produced an absolute wealth of information, and plenty of the movies he explores are comedies. Geoff LaTulippe, who wrote GOING THE DISTANCE, also doles out advice on his blog and on Twitter.

You might also like the Scriptnotes podcast, since co-host Craig Mazin has written comedies such as IDENTITY THIEF.

Lastly, I enjoy the website Splitsider, which curates a lot of news and interviews about comedy (including TV and stand-up).

Check out the right side of this blog for a more complete list of screenwriting blogs, podcasts and places where you can download scripts. Reading professional comedy scripts is probably the most important thing you can do!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

How to get a pitch meeting

razor7 writes: Can you explain the process of ACQUIRING a pitch meeting.

In most cases, you need an agent or manager before someone (such as producer or studio executive) will hear your pitch, and your rep can set it up. Otherwise, you'll need to have a personal connection to the person you're pitching (but even in that case, you might need a rep). I first pitched a TV idea in a general meeting with a producer because my close friend was the producer's assistant and pre-pitched my idea to her to find out if she'd like it before I met with her. However, the producer wouldn't have met with me if I didn't have some kind of representation.

I got another opportunity to pitch my take on a movie adaptation when a friend of mine (whom I met when he was a manager assistant and I was an agent assistant) reached out to me. So the overall answer to your question goes along with my overall answer for everything: move to LA and start meeting people (probably through a job) so that you can start cultivating relationships and opportunities. Also, you'll need to have writing samples before you pitch anything; people generally won't hear pitches until after they've seen the kind of writing they can expect from you.

Readers, how did you get your first pitch meeting? I'd love to hear stories in the comments.