fbpx

IFH 738: Inside Warner Bros Writing Program with Rebecca Windsor

Today on the show is Rebecca Windsor, the Vice-President of the Warner Bros. Television Workshop, the premier writing and directing program for professionals looking to start and/or further their careers in television.

As an extension of her role developing new talent, Rebecca was recruited to help launch Warner Bros. new digital content brand Stage13, overseeing the critically acclaimed short-form digital series Snatchers, which premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival and is available on Verizon’s go90 platform.

Previously, she was the Creative Producing Initiative Manager of Sundance Institute’s Feature Film Program, playing a key role in coordinating the Creative Producing Lab and Summit, Screenwriters and Directors Labs, and Episodic Story Lab.

Prior to Sundance, Windsor was Manager of Development at Samuel L. Jackson’s television company, UppiTV, and at Mandeville Films. She started her career as an assistant at the Broder Webb Chervin Silbermann Agency and ICM. A San Diego native, she attended Northwestern University, where she received a BS in Theatre.

Enjoy my conversation with Rebecca Windsor.

Right-click here to download the MP3

Read more

IFH 737: How to Write for and Land a Movie Star for Your Indie Film with Shaye Ogbonna

We have on the show today writer Shaye Ogbonna.

When not in pursuit of retro sneakers, Shaye Ogbonna can be found worshiping at the Temple of Story. His most recent feature project is the contemporary western feature GOD’S COUNTRY — starring the incomparable Thandiwe Newton.

Based on a short story by acclaimed author James Lee Burke, God’s Country is a character-driven thriller set in the snowy wilderness of the American West. Thandiwe Newton plays Sandra Guidry, a Black professor living and working in a rural college town. She’s also grieving her recently-deceased mother, for whom she’d served as primary caretaker. On the day of the burial, Sandra discovers a mysterious red truck parked in her driveway.

She soon learns it belongs to a pair of local hunters seeking to enter the forest behind her house. Sandra turns them away politely but firmly – her experience tells her these are not the sort of men to welcome freely into her world. But they won’t take no for an answer, and soon Sandra finds herself drawn into an escalating battle of wills that puts her most deeply-held values to the test.

In the television/streaming space, Shaye is currently developing JUMPMEN — a one-hour drama set in the cutthroat world of the sneaker industry – with Showtime. He is also staffed on Showtime’s THE CHI and JJ Abrams’s DUSTER on HBO. His feature writing debut — 2017’s genre-bending LOWLIFE — opened the 2017 Fantasia Film Festival and became a darling of the genre festival circuit, culminating in its acquisition and worldwide distribution through IFC Midnight.

Shaye’s creative mission is to center marginalized voices within genre storytelling.

Enjoy my conversation with Shaye Ogbonna. 

Right-click here to download the MP3

Read more

IFH 736: How I Got My Screenplay on Disney Plus with Arash Amel

Acclaimed screenwriter and producer Arash Amel is known for writing the critically-lauded motion picture, A PRIVATE WAR (2018), directed by Matthew Heineman and starring Rosamund Pike as celebrated war correspondent, Marie Colvin.

He recently served as Executive Producer on the Netflix sci-fi action movie, OUTSIDE THE WIRE (2021), starring Anthony Mackie, which was viewed by 66 million households in its first 28 days. In addition to writing RISE (2022) for Disney + and telling the coming-of-age story of NBA superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo, Amel wrote Paramount Pictures’ feature film, THE MINISTRY OF UNGENTLEMANLY WARFARE, a World War II action adventure directed by Guy Ritchie and produced by Jerry Bruckheimer that is slated to start production later this year.

He also wrote the screenplay for SNAFU, an upcoming action comedy starring Jackie Chan and John Cena. Currently, Amel is in pre-production as producer on the Amazon Studios feature film, FRED & GINGER, which is based on his screenplay, directed by Jonathan Entwistle, and stars Jamie Bell and Margaret Qualley as the icon screen pair, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.

Right-click here to download the MP3

Read more

IFH 735: Getting in the Door Screenwriting for Netflix with Alan Trezza

Alan Trezza wrote WE SUMMON THE DARKNESS, a horror-thriller set during the “Satanic Panic” craze of the 1980s. It was directed by Marc Meyers (MY FRIEND DAHMER) and starred Alexandra Daddario, Keean Johnson and Johnny Knoxville.

The film made it’s US premiere at the 2019 Fantastic Fest film festival in Austin and was released on all digital outlets in early 2020. Alan also wrote the zombie-comedy BURYING THE EX, which was directed by horror icon Joe Dante (GREMLINS) and starred Anton Yelchin, Ashley Greene and Alexandra Daddario. The film premiered at the 2014 Venice Film Festival and received a theatrical run in the summer of 2015.
Alan has sold scripts to Paramount Pictures and Miramax Films and is currently developing a LatinX-themed horror film and a supernatural-thriller TV series.

Right-click here to download the MP3

Read more

IFH 734: Confessions of a First Time Showrunner with Kaye Singleton

Kaye Singleton is an award-winning writer, producer, and actress that is well on her way to making her own footprint in this industry, or as the much-respected Tyler Perry would say, created her own seat at the table. As a multi-faceted creative talent, she is committed to telling culturally authentic stories for, about, and that explore, the beautifully diverse experiences of Black Women.

To date, as an actress she has taken on a variety of roles on hit shows and films. She’s best known for her series regular role beginning in Season 3 of Tyler Perry’s The Oval on BET as Simone, the beautiful, smart, and cunning wife of the Vice President of the United States, and her Six Season recurring role as the long-suffering, loyal – but problematic – “Josie” on Saints & Sinners, BounceTV’s #1 Show. She’s also had memorable roles on Sistas (BET), Claws (TNT), Don’t Waste Your Pretty (TV One), Tales (BET), American Soul (BET), and Dumplin (Netflix).

In 2020, Kaye secured her first production deal as a first-time Showrunner and Creator for the highly-rated anthology series – Covenant” which premiered on October 14th, 2021 on AMC’s allblk. Covenant’s unique take on bible stories is a stand out for the network as it’s quoted to “create a world of thrilling, suspenseful drama where characters and stories of the bible are thrust into a vicious dystopia of present-day, real-life situations. Each episode will reimagine a classic story as it would take place in the modern world – challenging viewers to examine how sacred lessons of faith and love fit into today’s society.

Enjoy my epic conversation with Kaye Singleton.

Right-click here to download the MP3

Read more

Top Filmmaking Podcasts: Oscar® Winners & Nominees

The Indie Film Hustle Podcast has been blessed to have the opportunity to speak to many Oscar® winners and nominees. These craftsmen and women had amazing insight into what it takes to make it to the top of the filmmaking craft. Enjoy these remarkable conversations, and we hope to see you at the Oscar®, too, one day.

Click here to subscribe on Apple,  Spotify, & Youtube.


The Daniels

Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, collectively known as DANIELS, have been writing and directing together for over a decade, initially with a slew of viral music videos, commercials, and short films, then with feature films and TV directing.

They’ve developed a reputation for combining absurdity with heartfelt personal stories. Oftentimes they incorporate a unique brand of visual effects and visceral practical effects into their genre-blending projects.

They have directed music videos for Manchester Orchestra, Foster, the People, and won a VMA for their video for “Turn Down For What,” in which Scheinert bullied Kwan into being the lead actor. Kwan is a really good dancer.

They wrote and directed the feature film Swiss Army Man starring Paul Dano and Daniel Radcliffe, which went on to win the Directing Award at the Sundance Film Festival, received multiple nominations, and gained a large cult following.

While they were writing & developing their Oscar® Winning movie Everything Everywhere All At Once, a kung fu sci-fi dramedy starring Michelle Yeoh, Scheinert went and directed a small redneck dramedy called The Death of Dick Long, also released by A24.


Oliver Stone

Today on the show, I bring you one of the most influential and iconic writers/directors in the history of cinema, three-time Oscar® winner Oliver Stone. Throughout his legendary career, Stone has served as a writer, director, and producer on various films, documentaries, and television movies. His films have been nominated for forty-two Oscars® and have won twelve.


Richard Linklater

We are joined by indie film icon and Oscar® nominated writer/director Richard Linklater. Richard was one of the filmmakers who helped launch the independent film movement we know today with his classic 1991 indie film Slacker. As a bonus, we will dive into not only the extraordinary career of Richard Linklater but also that of collaborator and longtime friend writer/director Katie Cokinos, the filmmaker behind the film I Dream Too Much. 


Edward Zwick 

We have been on a major roll lately on the podcast, and this episode keeps that going in a big way. Today’s guest on the show is Oscar® Winning writer, producer, and director Edward Zwick. Edward made his big shift from his childhood passion for theater to filmmaking after working as a PA for Woody Allen in France on the set of Love and Death.


John Sayles

John Sayles is one of America’s best-known independent filmmakers, receiving critical acclaim for films including Eight Men Out (1988), Lone Star (1996), and Men with Guns (1997). He’s also written screenplays for mainstream films such as Passion Fish (1992), Limbo (1999), and The Spiderwick Chronicles (2008) and did a draft of Jurassic Park (1993) for Steven Spielberg.


Neill Blomkamp

Ever since I saw District 9 and learned of all the mythical stories behind the short film becoming a feature, I have been a massive fan of today’s guest, Neill Blomkamp. Though Neill is here today to talk about his new sci-fi horror fiction film, Demonic, we also chatted up about his other films that have been successful over the years.


Taylor Hackford

Sitting down with one of the big names in this business this week was a really cool opportunity. I am honored to have on the show today, Oscar® winning director, producer, and screenwriter, Taylor Hackford.

Taylor’s has directed films like An Officer and a Gentleman (1982), White Nights (1985), Proof of Life (2000), Dolores Claiborne (1995), Against All Odds (1984), Parker (2013), the iconic Ray Charles biopic, Ray of 2004, and The Comedian (2016) just to name a few. He also has served as president of the Directors Guild of America and is married to the incomparable acting legend Helen Mirren.


Sean Baker

Sean Baker is a writer, director, producer, and editor who has made seven independent feature films over the course of the past two decades. His most recent film was the award-winning The Florida Project (2017) which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival and was released by A24 in the U.S. Among the many accolades the film received — including an Oscar nomination for Willem Dafoe for Best Supporting Actor — Sean was named Best Director by the New York Film Critics Circle.

His previous film, Tangerine (2015) premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and won an Independent Spirit and two Gotham Awards. Starlet (2012) was the winner of the Robert Altman Independent Spirit Award, and his previous two features, Take Out (2004) and Prince of Broadway (2008), were both nominated for the John Cassavetes Independent Spirit Award.


John Lee Hancock

I have an epic conversation in store for you all today. Our guest is an Oscar-nominated screenwriter and filmmaker, John Lee Hancock. While working as a lawyer by day back in 1986, John moonlighted as a screenwriter, writing script after script. His spec script, A Perfect World, caught the eye of Steven Spielberg and was eventually directed by Clint Eastwood

Hancock’s famous five-year hiatus comeback film, The Blind Side, an adaptation of Micheal Lewis’s 2006 book, The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game yield and performed outstandingly. The film received countless major awards nominations, including an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture and a win for Best Actress for Sandra Bullock.

The Blind Side is the story of Michael Oher, a homeless and traumatized boy who became an All-American football player and first-round NFL draft pick with the help of a caring woman and her family. The Blind Side went on to make $309.2 million internationally on a $29 million budget. Not too bad.


Simon Kinberg

Today on the show, we have Oscar® and two-time Emmy® Nominee Simon KinbergHe has established himself as one of Hollywood’s most prolific filmmakers, having written and produced projects for some of the most successful franchises in the modern era. His films have earned more than seven billion dollars worldwide.  

Kinberg graduated from Brown University and received his MFA from Columbia University Film School, where his thesis project was the original script, “Mr and Mrs Smith.” The film was released in 2005, starring Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. 


Kevin MacDonald

On the show today is academy award-winning documentary and film director and producer Kevin Macdonald. He is one of few directors who seamlessly dance the line of film and documentary. He directed documentaries like Whitney (2018), the crowdsourced documentary – Life in a Day (2011), and Marley (2012), among others.

He is famously known for his 2006 drama film, The Last King of Scotland, starring Oscar-winning best actor Forest Whitaker. Kevin has made a huge name for himself and his work over his 27 years in the industry – dabbling in commercials, films, and documentaries.

As a boy, his granddad, Emeric Pressburger, a legendary filmmaker in the 1940s, lit his passion for filmmaking. When his grandfather passed, Kevin wrote a biography in 1994 about his grandad’s life journey, titled, ‘ The Life and Death of a Screenwriter’, which he later made into a documentary, ‘The Making of an Englishman’ (1995). This was the start of his becoming a documentary maker.

In 1999 he directed the Box office hit and Oscar-winning documentary, One Day in September, which is about the 1972 Munich Olympic Games massacre, featuring a lengthy interview with Jamal Al-Gashey, the last known survivor of the Munich terrorists.

This project catapulted his career big time. He then made the adventure-docudrama, Touching the Void, another critically acclaimed film that won Best British Film at the 2003 BAFTA. The true story of two climbers and their perilous journey up the west face of Siula Grande in the Peruvian Andes in 1985.


Reinaldo Marcus Green

Reinaldo Marcus Green is a writer, director, and producer. He most recently directed the critically acclaimed Warner Brothers film King Richard starring Will Smith. The film is nominated for Best Picture at the Critics Choice Awards and was named one of the Top 10 Films of the Year by both AFI, the National Board of Review, and an Academy Award® nomination for Best Picture.


SCREENWRITERS

Eric Roth

This week, I sat down with one of Hollywood’s most legendary and successful screenwriters/producers, Oscar® Winner Eric Roth. Over a 50+ years career, he’s well-known for writing or producing films like Forrest Gump. A Star is Born, Mank, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Munich, Ali, and the list goes on.


Jordan Peele

Get ready to have your mind blown! I’ll be releasing a 3-Part Limited Series of conversations between the legendary screenwriter James V. Hart, the writer of Hook, Contact, Bram Stroker’s Dracula, and Tomb Raider, to name a few, and some of the top screenwriters in the game.

First up is the screenwriter that took the world by storm with his Oscar-Winning screenplay Get Out, Jordan Peele. If you have been living under a rock for the past few years, here is what the film is about.

This was recorded before Jordan’s next hit film, Us, was released. Listening to these two masters discuss character, plot, theme, and more is a rare treat. It’s like being a fly on the wall. When you are done listening to this conversation, you can read some of Jordan’s screenplay here.


Alan Ball

Academy and Emmy Award-winning writer/director/producer Alan Ball is among our generation’s most important creative voices. Born in Atlanta, Ball studied Theatre Arts at Florida State University. In March 2000, AMERICAN BEAUTY, Ball’s first screenplay to get produced, won five Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay.

Ball went on to create and executive produce the groundbreaking HBO drama SIX FEET UNDER. The series ran for five seasons and received two Golden Globes, six Emmys, and an Emmy and DGA Award for Ball’s direction of the pilot.


At age five, Bruce Joel Rubin had a spiritual experience playing in a sandbox in the middle of the afternoon. The sun disappeared, and a dense night sky appeared in its place. Infinite galaxies were swirling in the vastness of his own head, and he sensed the entire universe was contained within him.

He knew instantly he was one with all there was. In the years that followed, Bruce became an Oscar-winning screenwriter, a spiritual teacher, and, most recently, a photographer. Each aspect of his life has been a conscious effort to explore and reveal what he learned in that sandbox.


Damien Chazelle

Today on the show, we have Damien Chazelle, the Oscar® Winning director and screenwriter of La La Land. He burst onto the scene with his debut film, Whiplash. The film is about a young musician (Teller) struggling to become a top jazz drummer under a ruthless band conductor (Simmons).

James and Damien discuss how he wrote and structured La La Land and much more. Enjoy this rare conversation between James V. Hart and Damien Chazelle.


PRODUCERS

Jason Blum

I’m excited to talk to a fellow low-budget independent filmmaker today. Granted, he does low-budget films on a completely different level than I or most people do at this point. But if we are going to talk about budget filmmaking, it is only fitting to have expert horror film and television producer Jason Blum of Blumhouse Productions.

That is a testament to his company’s high-quality production. Blumhouse is known for pioneering a new model of studio filmmaking: producing high-quality micro-budget films and provocative television series. They have produced over 150 movies and television series with theatrical grosses amounting to over $4.8 billion.


Chris Moore

Every once in a while, I have a conversation on this show that blows my mind; this episode did just that. Today on the show, we have Oscar® Nominated producer Chris Moore. He produced films like Good Will Hunting, American Pie, Waiting, The Adjustment Bureau, and Manchester by the Sea. Chris’ profile grew from his appearance as the producer on the early 2000’s filmmaker reality show Project: Greenlight.

After graduating from college, Chris Moore moved to Los Angeles after working in a major agency’s mailroom; he got promoted to a literary agent. He championed projects like The Stoned Age, PCU, Airheads, Last Action Hero, and My Girl. 

When ICM acquired Chris’ agency, he left and became an indie film producer. With some friends, he raised the budget to produce the indie film Glory Daze, which starred an unknown Matt Damon. Damon turned down the leading role in favor of paid work on another paid project but introduced him to his friend Ben Affleck, who ultimately starred in Glory Daze.

Afterward, Affleck and Damon wrote the screenplay for what would become the Oscar® winning Good Will Hunting, and they asked Chris to help them produce the film that Gus Van Sant directed.

Chris and I had a remarkable conversation about how to produce films in today’s eco-system. We also discuss what it’s like working in the studio system, some of his issues with the system, how filmmakers are treated, and so much more. This an EPIC 2-hour conversation full of knowledge and truth bombs, so prepare to take some notes.

Enjoy my conversation with Chris Moore.


Gary W. Goldstein

Today, we are hearing from one of the cultural influencers of the 90s film industry, and that’s non-other than Gary Goldstein, the Oscar Nominated producer of the iconic rom-com Pretty Woman, starring Richard Gere and Julia Roberts.

Pretty Woman was most of your introduction to Gary’s work, but mine was Cannibal Women in the Avocado Jungle of Death. I know. After all these years, the title still makes me chuckle. Years later, I would reference the title to people. And in case you were curious, Gary goes into the movie title origin story in this interview.

Gary films have generated well over one billion dollars – consistent box office hits. Pretty Woman, for example, grossed $463.4 million – more than 30 times its budget. After the massive success of Pretty Woman, Gary collaborated once more with his filmmaking partner, writer Jonathan Lawton to produce the action thriller, Under Seige, in 1992. Like Pretty Woman, this too performed successfully at the box office and critically – including an Academy Award nomination. An ex-Navy Seal turned cook is the only person who can stop a group of terrorists when they seize control of a U.S. battleship.

In 2013 he authored Conquering Hollywood: The Screenwriter’s Blueprint for Career Success, which is a compilation of strategies to help anyone, whether looking to sell a spec script, option a screenplay, land a writing assignment, and get hired, attract an agent or manager of your dreams…or get a producer to take a meeting with you. Gary blessed us with knowledge bombs in this interview, including tips on entrepreneurship and film as a business. Enjoy my conversation with Gary Goldstein.


Cassian Elwes

Cassian Elwes began his producing career with 1984’s Oxford Blues, starring Rob Lowe and Ally Sheedy, and has enjoyed continuing success in film. His earlier roles include Men at Work with Emilio Estevez and Charlie Sheen, The Chase with Charlie Sheen, Kristy Swanson, and Henry Rollins, and The Dark Backward with Judd Nelson, Bill Paxton, and Rob Lowe. In 1989 he produced the independent film Never on Tuesday, which featured a cast of cameos including Charlie Sheen, Emilio Estevez, Judd Nelson, Nicolas Cage, and Cary Elwes.

The Hollywood Reporter has said that Elwes was “involved in a virtual who’s who of every great independent film of the last ten years.” with films such as Thank You for Smoking, Half Nelson, and Frozen River (the last two of which garnered Oscar nominations for Ryan Gosling and Melissa Leo, respectively).


David Permut

The first interviewee in my Sundance Film Festival Interview Series is legendary producer David Permut. David has produced almost 40 feature films in the course of his career. From Blind Date and Dragnet to Face/Off and the Oscar® Nominated Hacksaw Ridge. His new film, The Polka King starring Jack Black,  just got released on Netflix.

Enjoy my interview with David Permut.


Marshall Herskovitz

Our guest today is producer, director, and screenwriter Marshall Herskovitz. Many of his production projects have been in partnership with his long-time filmmaking collaborator, Edward Zwick, whose films he’s produced and written half of. Their decades-long filmmaking partnership was launched as co-creators of the 1987 TV show, ThirtySomething.


ACTORS

Billy Crystal 

Some performers impact your life without you even knowing it and today’s guest fits that bill. On the show, we have comedic genius, multi-award-winning actor, writer, producer, director, and television host, Billy Crystal. We’ve seen Billy’s versatile work across all areas of the entertainment world, stand-up, improv, Broadway, behind and in front of the camera, feature films, television, live stages like SNL, and animated movies.


Edward James Olmos

Our guest today is 80s star, multiple-award film and theater actor, and activist Edward James Olmos. Olmos’s roles in films or TV shows like Stand and DeliverBattlestar Galactica, broadway musical and film Zoot SuitBlade Runner as detective Gaff, and many others are some of the most memorable of all time, and he’s still dominating our screens. While I could not resist discussing his iconic roles over several decades, we mainly discussed Olmos’s new must-see film, Chasing Wonders.


Robert Forster

This week we are joined by legendary actor Robert Forster. Robert has been a working actor for decades, appearing in classic films like Medium Cool, the iconic John Huston’s Reflections in a Golden Eye80’s action classic Delta Force (love me a good 80’s action flix), and Disney’s The Black Hole (one of my favorite films growing up).

He was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in 1997 for Quentin Tarantino’s Jackie Brown, which he credits with reviving his career. Since then, Robert has been on fire in the second half of his career, appearing in The DescendantsLike Mike; Mulholland Drive; Me, Myself, & Irene; Lucky Number Slevin, and Firewall, to name a few.


CINEMATOGRAPHERS & PRODUCTION DESIGNERS

Jeff Cronenweth A.S.C.

Today on the show, we have Oscar® nominee Jeff Cronenweth A.S.C. 

Cronenweth worked as a loader and 2nd assistant before graduating high school and then enrolled in film school at USC, where he studied cinematography. Among his classmates were John Schwartzman and Robert Brinkmann, as well as director Philip Joanou.

After graduation, Cronenweth resumed working with his father, joining a core camera team that included operators John Toll and Dan Lerner and 1st assistants Bing Sokolsky and Art Schwab.

Jeff worked with their father, Jordan Cronenweth (cinematographer most notable for Blade Runner), as a camera loader and second assistant camera during high school, working his way up to the first assistant camera and then camera operator until the mid-1990s.

Moving up to the first assistant, Cronenweth began working with Toll, who was beginning his work as a cameraman, and veteran Sven Nykvist.

David Fincher’s masterpiece Fight Club was the first major motion picture where he acted as a DP. Other notable feature films on which he worked as a DP are One Hour Photo, K-19: The Widowmaker, Down With Love, The Social Network, Hitchcock, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and Gone Girl.


Dean Cundey A.S.C

Today, my guest is Oscar® nominated prolific cinematographer, accomplished photographer, and member of the American Society of Cinematographers, Dean Cundey A.S.C.

Dean rose to fame for extraordinary cinematography in the 1980s and 1990s. His early start was working on the set of Halloween.  Dean is credited as director of photography on five Back To The Future films and Jurassic Park.

Cundey holds over one hundred and fifty cinematography & photography credits for movies, television, and short films. That is no small feat in this business. The man has stayed busy and booked since graduation from film school. That kind of consistency in Hollywood is only doable with extreme persistence and excellence.

One of the many things he did to stay prepared and on top of his craft was investing in building himself a ‘super van’ or one couple call it a cinematographer’s heaven that contained every equipment (cameras, editings tools, etc.) required to help him get work get and do work easily.
We also talk more about Dean joining The Book of Boba and The Mandalorian crew.


Russell Carpenter A.S.C

I can’t tell you how excited I am about today’s guest. I sat down with the legendary and Oscar® Winning Cinematographer Russell Carpenter A.S.C. Russell has been shooting blockbusters for over 40 years and has shot films like Ant-Man,  xXx: Return of Xander Cage, Charlie’s Angels, The Negotiator, True Lies, Monster-in-Law and classic 90’s action flicks like Hard Target, The Perfect Weapon, and Death Warrant. He just finished Avatar 2: The Way of Water.

He won the Oscar® for his cinematography on the second highest-grossing film of all time, Titanic. We go down the rabbit hole on shooting Titanic, working with James Cameron, crazy Hollywood stories, how he approaches each project, and much more. This episode is a treasure chest of behind-the-scenes stories and cinematic techniques from the highest levels of Hollywood.


Erik Messerschmidt A.S.C

Award-winning director of photography Erik Messerschmidt, ASC, has a natural eye for arresting and spellbinding images, thriving in a role that allows him to combine his love of art, craft, and science. Recently, he lensed Devotion for director J.D. Dillard, based on the real-life story of a Black naval officer who befriends a white naval officer during the Korean War, with both becoming heroes for their selfless acts of bravery.

He also is currently shooting Michael Mann’s biographical film Ferrari, starring Adam Driver, Shailene Woodley, and Penélope Cruz, and recently completed shooting David Fincher’s The Killer, starring Michael Fassbender and Tilda Swinton.


Janty Yates

Today on the show, we have Oscar® winning costume designer Janty Yates. Janty Yates has had a collaborative relationship with Ridley Scott since the great success of Gladiator in 2000, for which she won an Academy Award®, one of the eight Oscars® garnered by the film.

IFH 733: The Art of World Building – Immersive Screenwriting with Margaret Kerrison

Born in Indonesia and raised in Singapore, Margaret Kerrison received my Master of Fine Arts degree in Screenwriting from the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts. Her career spans television, film, digital media, games, brand storytelling, location-based entertainment, and immersive experiences.

Margaret worked as a Story Lead, Story Consultant, and Writer for multiple projects around the world, including Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, Star Wars: Launch Bay, Hyperspace Mountain, Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser, Avengers Campus, Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind, National Geographic HQ, NASA Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex’s Journey to Mars: Explorers Wanted, Heineken Experience, StoryGarden by AMOREPACIFIC, and the Information and Communications Pavilion (Expo 2010 Shanghai).

Margaret was the writer for five projects that received Themed Entertainment Association (THEA) Awards. She appeared in the Disney+ series Behind the Attraction, the Freeform television special Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge – Adventure Awaits, and the online educational program Imagineering in a Box. Margaret has been invited to speak at prestigious conferences and universities including SXSW, Star Wars Celebration, D23, IAAPA Expo, FMX Conference, University of Southern California, and Johns Hopkins University. Her projects have been featured around the world in The New York Times, Good Morning America, The Los Angeles Times, Entertainment Weekly, Wired magazine, and the official site for Star Wars. Margaret Kerrison was a Disney Imagineer from 2014-2021 and was recently featured in a blooloop article.

Margaret is currently a Senior Experiential Creative Lead in Airbnb’s Experiential Creative Product team.

Enjoy my conversation with Margaret Kerrison.

Right-click here to download the MP3

Read more

IFH 732: How to Avoid Career Pitfalls for Screenwriters with Felicity Wren

I wanted to take a deep dive into the marketing side of screenwriting today because it is in fact, a necessity in the industry today. Unfortunately, not many writers bother themselves as much about marketing their work. While I have some course resources on the IFH Academy website to help writers pitch stories or to get past the gatekeepers and so on, I thought it would be favorable to have marketing and development exec, Felicity Wren on the show to delve into the subject. 

Felicity started off in this business as an actor and now is a producer and VP of Development at the International Screenwriters Association (ISA). ISA (Est 2008), is a screenwriters community and resource platform that allows branding, marketing screenplays to producers and provide learning resources for seasoned and new writers. 

To date, ISA subscribers include 5,104 Industry Pros, approximately 70,000 Screenwriters, and 8,039 resources for screenwriters. Definitely, a goldmine!

Felicity trained academically across the performing arts sphere (writing, directing, acting technique, and script analysis). She pursued acting and appeared in films like Star Trek Into Darkness, The Battle of Hogwarts, Tales of Uplift and Moral Improvement, and more, but lost interest in the competitive reality and stress of waiting for the callback.

So, she pivots. Alongside her partner, she launched a theater company, Unrestricted View (1999) in London that worked primarily with new professional creatives. A decade later, Felicity moved to Hollywood to seek the bigger dream.

Some of Wren’s work includes short films like The Trap, Homeless Realtor, Who’s Who, The Force, and several others. At the ISA, she get’s to work directly with the Program Writers, and ISA Contest Winners, ensuring their projects get in front of eminent producers, managers, and agents in Hollywood.

For screenwriters trying to sell a script, you have to know your voice and feel comfortable using it beyond your incredible writing. Understanding what you bring to the table is key in every profession. Of course. Coupling that with some marketing tools can propel you for higher success. That’s why this conversation is important.

Enjoy my very informative conversation with Felicity Wren.

Right-click here to download the MP3

Read more

IFH 731: The Screenwriter’s Workout with Will Hicks

Right-click here to download the MP3

Read more

IFH 730: Writing the Netflix/TV Drama Series with Pamela Douglas

Right-click here to download the MP3

Read more