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

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

IFH 729: How to Create Story & Character Conflict with Eileen Cook

Right-click here to download the MP3

Read more