IFH 039: How to Write the Million Dollar Screenplay with August Rush writer Paul Castro

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August Rush: The Million Dollar Screenplay Paul Castro

We’ve all read in Variety or The Hollywood Reporter of some no name screenwriter selling his or her screenplay for a million bucks. Ever wonder how they did it? What structure did they use? What tricks of the trade were employed?

May I introduce Paul Castro, the original writer of one of my favorite films August Rush. Paul Castro is a produced, award winning screenwriter and world-renowned screenwriting professor.

Structure…is the canvas on which we paint with words.” – Paul Castro

His project, August Rush was produced by Warner Brothers and starred the late great Robin Williams, Keri Russell, Freddie Highmore and Jonathan Rhys Meyers. The film took Paul Castro into the belly of the Hollywood beast.

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The business of screenwriting can be tough, but while a student at the UCLA School of Theater, Film, and Television, he was a finalist for the Coca-Cola Refreshing Filmmaker’s Award for directing and producing his original screenplay Healing, and landed a three picture screenwriting deal worth $1 million.

The lessons he learned not only from selling August Rush but many other Hollywood screenwriting adventures were invaluable. He later went back and became a screenwriting professor at UCLA School of Theater, Film, and Television, teaching thousands of students over his ten years of teaching.

Paul Castro teaches screenwriting from the inside out.” – Richard Walter, UCLA Screenwriting Chairperson.

After being a screenwriting professor, script doctoring and consulting Paul decided to create the ultimate screenwriting course. He calls it “The Million Dollar Screenplay.” – NEW YEARS SPECIAL $10

I took the course myself and all I have to say is WOW! Paul teaches with an elegant style that’s extremely understandable and straight to the point. Success leaves clues and so do masterfully crafted screenplays that sell for millions of dollars.

Paul Castro shows you those secrets. Not trying to do a hard sell here but I just love this course.

What clearly resonates with me is Paul’s love for and dedication to his students and to storytelling. He is a composed and practical artist and teacher, yet highly imaginative in his approach.” – Michael Eisner, Former CEO of The Walt Disney Company.

Here’s some of what Paul covers in his course:

  • Professional screenwriting techniques
  • Plot development for the big screen
  • Creating compelling characters to attract movie stars
  • Winning dialogue
  • Structure to serve as the blueprint for your movie
  • Scene construction to evoke suspense
  • Sequence writing to manage an ensemble cast

After taking his course I reached out to him and asked him to be a guest on the podcast. What followed was not only a master class in screenwriting but also lessons on the film business and he also discussed how to discover your own voice as an artist. Pretty mind-blowing.

Enjoy this whopper of a podcast episode and if you haven’t seen August Rush do yourself a favor a watch it. It’s worth watching for Robin Williams alone!

If you’re interest in downloading his course click here:
The Million Dollar Screenplay – NEW YEARS SPECIAL $10

Right click here to download the MP3


Here is info on his new course:

Screenwriters are creative, but not all understand how art and commerce merge to create wealth and a lasting career. This course unveils the intricate maze of the business of the entertainment industry biz-ness. Go from a want-to-be to a fine-tuned professional making a healthy living while sharing your creative genius with the world.

Click here to check out this highly recommended new course:


Action Items:

If you like August Rush writer Paul Castro: The Million Dollar Screenwriter, then click below:
Top 10 Screenwriting Books you need to Read!
screenwriting books, screenplay, screenwriter, david flores, indie film hustle, independent film, indie film

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  • Franco Strydom

    Just thank you for this. I really enjoyed this episode a lot. I tend to share the opinion you shared in the podcast about being guarded and ‘armoring up’ as a creative in the industry and it was so refreshing to hear from someone who holds the opposite perspective; especially where writing is concerned (I think).

    I would like to ask about the coupon code you mentioned in the podcast with regards to ‘The Million Dollar Screenplay!’. I’ve read through the show notes and I can’t seem to find that coveted code; I’m super keen to use the resource and every discount helps.

    Thanks again for this.
    Franco Strydom

  • Hey Franco,

    Thank you for the kind words. The sale ended yesterday. I’ll see if I can get another coupon code for it in the next few weeks. I’ll let you know. Thx!!

    • Franco Strydom

      Thanks for your quick response. Damn, can’t believe I missed it, it really looks like an great resource. I’d really appreciate if there could be another coupon, but I understand if not.

      Going out on a limb here, but is there a forum or platform where people can connect with you directly? I can understand that you must be incredibly busy but I’d love to have a chat with you? I’m new to Indie Film Hustle and I’m starting to work my way through the content to ‘catch up’ to where you are currently but that might take some time seeing the amount of content there is.

      Anyway, thank you again for this and I look forward to hearing from you.
      Franco Strydom

      • Hey Franco,

        Glad you like IFH. Unfortunately time is a huge community I don’t have at the moment. Drop comments, messages or emails and I’ll do my best to answer them. Good luck!

      • Hey Franco, I got a coupon for you: WARMUP10

        $10! Enjoy the amazing course!

        • Franco Strydom


          Thanks so much for the response and also thanks for the coupon! I really appreciate it a lot.

  • Jim Henson

    Alex, I just finished up Paul’s class on Udemy and it was an excellent course. He’s engaging, passionate, and is great for beginning screenwriters as well as offers new thoughts and techniques for seasoned writers as well. His choice of intro and exit music was top notch… Of course it would be the type of music you’d hear in August Rush. Thank you for spotlighting this gifted writer and instructor.

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  • Andrew Riley

    Hey I attended Paul’s college courses at Elon University and they completely changed my life! His freeform formula is a one-size-fits-all, yet uniquely tailored, view of storytelling. Those are all competing metaphors, but so is yin & yang. Paul doesn’t teach you to write a movie. He teaches you to take the essence of the story and construct a structure that can support its weight, while guiding you through the storytelling devices that aid in evoking heightened emotion from the viewer – not to mention how character, story, and plot knit together to create intrinsic and natural storytelling. The viewer won’t even know what hit them until it’s all over! His courses can’t give you the idea of a lifetime, but they can guide what you already know is “good” into a package that can be digested, understood, and discussed – without all the “huh,” “what about that,” and “who is that again” problems all first time storytellers encounter. Paul’s classes can best be described as a defensive driving course. You have all the freedom to go anywhere in the world, but within parameters that ensure a safe and successful arrival at your destination – including the adventure of a lifetime.