IFH 089: How To Write A Screenplay with Fight Club Screenwriter Jim Uhls



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We have a MAJOR treat for the tribe this week. I have no other than Jim Uhls, the master screenwriter behind David Fincher’s “Fight Club”, one of the greatest films in my generation, in my humble option.

Jim Uhls, Screenwriter, Fight Club, David Fincher, Tyler Durden, Screenplay, Screenwriter's Toolkit, Movie Script, How to Write a Screenplay

via 20th Century Fox

When Chuck Palahniuk’s Fight Club was making the rounds in Hollywood, it was a tough sell to be adapted for the screen. But then Brad Pitt got involved; add David Fincher and Ed Norton, throw Jim Uhls into the mix and you’ve got a modern classic.

Jim’s screenwriting credits include of course the modern classic “Fight Club” the feature-film “Jumper” the NBC television film “Semper Fi” and the SyFy miniseries “Spin“.

In this remarkable discussion, Jim Uhls breaks the first rule of Fight Club: He talks about it, working with David Fincher, why he hates outlines and why you should interview your characters. Step inside the mind of the man who figured out how to conquer Hollywood as he lays down knowledge bomb after knowledge bomb in this eye-opening interview.

Jim Uhls, Screenwriter, Fight Club, David Fincher, Tyler Durden, Screenplay, Screenwriter's Toolkit, Movie Script, How to Write a Screenplay

via 20th Century Fox

Towards the end of the interview, Jim gives easily the GREATEST ADVICE ON HOW TO BECOME A WORKING SCREENWRITER I’VE EVER HEARD! This podcast is not to be missed.

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Learn How To Write A Screenplay with Jim Uhls

Screenwriting classes often either lean too heavily on theory or simply study the technical approach to writing without a greater context for its use, as if the act of screenwriting exists in a vacuum – it does not. In The Screenwriters Toolkit with Jim Uhls, you’ll learn both the nuts and bolts of the craft, as well as its relationship to getting your work read and ultimately produced.

In this class, he’ll share lessons from his extensive experience writing for Hollywood and the small screen. He’ll teach you how to develop better scripts, get traction for your projects, and navigate the complex professional landscape of script development.

You’ll learn about screenwriting form and content, including:

  • Vocabulary and formats
  • Dialogue vs silence
  • Adapting existing works for the screen
  • Genre-writing

Jim will also share essential insights on developing a career in screenwriting. You’ll learn:

  • The differences between writing for television and features
  • Who to work with: agents vs managers vs lawyers
  • How to obtain and manage projects of various sizes and contexts

The Screenwriters Toolkit is a comprehensive examination of screenwriting form, content, craft, and traffic. You’ll learn how to adapt your content to the size, genre, and desired professional results of the script while also learning about the best on-ramps for aspiring writers.

Right-click here to download the MP3

Alex Ferrari 7:30
I like to welcome to the show Jim Uhls. Thank you, man so much for taking the time out to to share some knowledge and drop some knowledge bombs to the the indie film hustle tribe.

Jim Uhls 7:39
Oh, you're welcome. It's I've been pressured. I mean, it's a pleasure to be on the show.

Alex Ferrari 7:46
Well, I have I have stalked you on Twitter. So yeah, that's, that's how we got that's how I got a hold of you. So

Jim Uhls 7:54
It's very effective to stalk on Twitter.

Alex Ferrari 7:56
You know, apparently it is I've gotten, you'd be amazed at the people on the show purely because I've I've stalked him on Twitter. So Twitter is pretty powerful.

Jim Uhls 8:07
Yes, indeed.

Alex Ferrari 8:09
So Jim, I wanted to get started, I want to take you back to the beginning of it all. I know, all the way back when you were a small child. No, um, when? When did you get started in the business? And how did you get started in the business? Like what brought you to this crazy carnival that we call the film industry?

Jim Uhls 8:25
Well, I at UCLA, I got a combination degree that was both playwriting, and screenwriting. And I, I entered it as a playwright with some places a background, you know, that I wrote, you know, after high school and early college. And I was like, thinking, well, I'll look into both of them. I'll study both of them. And it was a great program to go through.

Alex Ferrari 8:54
And it's a really great program, the UCLA program, especially screenwriters

Jim Uhls 8:58
It's yeah, it's, it's, it's still top notch. And so I was able to get plays done there at UCLA, which is more of an instant gratification than a screenplay, which is, you know, you write it and, and you hope

Alex Ferrari 9:15
15 years later, maybe.

Jim Uhls 9:18
So I was able to see actors doing my stuff and all that and it was great. And a bunch of us, you know, we went out into the world after that, and some friends of mine, you know, had connections and got agents and then that's how I got an agent and for quite a while I was, he was using a couple of my sample screenplays to seek out work for me and I have got work here and there read writing work. I sold a screenplay. It didn't get made. But um,

Alex Ferrari 9:52
Something I hear a lot of in the business. There's a lot of big screenwriters I've talked to they're like, Yeah, I've sold a ton of screenplays. And not many of them in need.

Jim Uhls 10:02
But yeah, well, in my case, I was paid to write them, right. And then they didn't get made. That's what started to happen after, after I sold one. Either way they didn't get made. So they ended up in the same pile. Exactly. And then one of my spec scripts was, which was about a very incendiary kind of funny but dangerous relationship with this man and this woman. It had, it had some heat on it. And it was used as a sample when Fight Club was going to be when it was being considered, actually, what was happening is the book was in galleys, and it was being rejected by every studio in town, when a friend passed it to me and said, I don't think this is going to be made. But I think you should read it. And so I read it, and I just was blown away. And I thought, Yeah, this'll nobody will make this into a movie. It's too good.

Alex Ferrari 11:06
And it's, it's, I mean, it's a pretty, I mean, it's a pretty difficult novel to translate to, to the film medium. I mean, it's it's pretty it pretty intense, to say the least.

Jim Uhls 11:16
Yeah, at the time, I was lucky. Luckily enough, I was dumb enough to not know how difficult

Alex Ferrari 11:23
As Orson Welles says, ignorance is the best form of confidence.

Jim Uhls 11:30
And so I thought, well, even though it'll never get made, if somebody is hired to write it, I'd love to have that gig because it certainly be fun to be paid to do it even even though there's no chance, you know, so have it be made. And so I the my sample basically got me the job. I was acquaintances already with Fincher for a place called the pad of guys, which also had people it's just it was just a place where people hung out and we're screenwriters basically.

Alex Ferrari 12:03
We're kind of had of guys. Yeah. Is that is the pad of guys still around?

Jim Uhls 12:08
No, no. Okay. But people like Shane Black, were there and Fred Decker. And so in any case, I it worked, the sample work, and I got, I got basically I got the job. And

Alex Ferrari 12:26
No, it was an adventure that got you the job, or

Jim Uhls 12:29
Well, they all decided basically together Fincher, Laura Ziskin was running Fox 2000. And Fox main studio had already said no way. But Fox 2000 had a certain autonomy as a division, and she wanted to make it she was the only place in town that wanted to make. And when she got Fincher on the board, she got, I guess, the really high up powers at Fox to say, you know, you can proceed with developing the script. And so,

Alex Ferrari 13:01
Now Fincher, so everyone understands where Fincher was at his career at that point, he had already made seven. Well, he did alien three, seven, and then the game. So

Jim Uhls 13:10
That actually was a game before. The game wasn't no actually, that's an interesting part of the story. He hadn't made the game yet.

Alex Ferrari 13:16
Oh, so it was right off the seven then when this started being developed.

Jim Uhls 13:19
Right. Right. So he had made seven and it it certainly made his deals from that point, a lot sweeter.

Alex Ferrari 13:29
Yes, seven tends to do that.

Jim Uhls 13:33
And so I started writing, and I was still writing the first draft when he called me and said, I'm going to go make a movie. Okay. So we went to make the game and Fox had to actually, I mean, I was gonna still gonna finish the first draft. But in terms of my other steps, which were in the contract, you know, rewrite in a Polish. They had to postpone those steps. But I turned in when I turned in the first draft after really doing you know, a lot of my own internal drafts, like over and over over and over again. Apparently, I got it right. The studio was excited. Laura was excited. Fincher was excited. And the producers who with when we began, admin entertainment was a combination of Josh Donovan and Ross bell. And then Josh Donen left that company and became an agent again, he had been before. So it was just Ross Bell, and the studio brought in you know, another producer of art Linson, to join in so it was art Linson and Ross Bell producing. Then also along with Seon Chafin who was cinchers producing partner,

Alex Ferrari 14:55
So did seven when you guys were getting fightclub off the ground, obviously finished Name helped a bit to get the thing started. But I think from what I've read because I've studied Fight Club immensely, it's actually one of my top five films of all time. I mean, it's it's an absolute masterpiece. No, I mean, it's it really is anytime anyone asked me I'm like, Well, seven and fight club are up there somewhere up there with Shawshank Redemption and you know, a couple other ones and a Blade Runner. But, but from what I understand with Fight Club, I mean, the studio was going and going, but Brad Pitt really kind of took it over the top at that point, correct? Yeah.

Jim Uhls 15:32
Yeah. I mean, that's what took it over the top to the studio. They've got a well, we've got Brad Pitt doing film with David Fincher. And we're, you know,

Alex Ferrari 15:38
Yeah. And in the way Hollywood thinks, Well, they did seven, and seven was a hit.

Jim Uhls 15:45
Yeah, they love that pairing again. And. And then another great idea, you don't actually Artland tonight, as I recall, had the idea, which was to, you know, the casting of the non named character Jack, to use Edward Norton, who at that time, had his first year of movies coming out his ones. He had three. And they were all very different role, you know?

Alex Ferrari 16:14
Yeah, he had an Oscar nomination off of Primal Fear, if I remember correctly,

Jim Uhls 16:18
I don't remember. But I wouldn't be surprised. But in any case,

Alex Ferrari 16:24
He wasn't. He wasn't a big star by any stretch yet. He was he was good.

Jim Uhls 16:28
But he had that kind of upward trajectory that was also very appealing to the studio and everybody. We liked his acting chops, of course. And so having, having him and then some great actor like Brad Pitt, really, really, you know, put it over the top and

Alex Ferrari 16:49
Halina. I mean, Elena Bonham Carter was chest.

Jim Uhls 16:53
I remember, you know, I was, there's a lot of names of people that were kind of more like that urging, you know, female waif type. And David called me and said, What do you think about Helena Bonham? Carter? I just thought it was so high class, like, wow, she she played that part.

Alex Ferrari 17:13
Like she was in merch, and I removed these like, what's,

Jim Uhls 17:16
Uhh, you know, she'd been in a Woody Allen movie where she was playing someone that was a breast, sort of a, a tough American character. And, you know, she clearly could do anything really, you know, I saw I was just amazing. That sort of like, brought up sort of the, the art level of the whole thing.

Alex Ferrari 17:37
Right. All of a sudden, you had some art house cred? Yeah, that's not just a big studio movie. Now the casting of that movie is, is brilliant. Across the board, I mean, meatloaf, and Jared Leto and all these, like how I mean, I mean, you obviously were pretty close to the production. Obviously, you just didn't write a script and went away. You were pretty close. If I'm, am I correct?

Jim Uhls 18:00
Yeah. Well, I mean, he showed me, he said, we sat down the two of us, David, and showed me the first half of the red cut, rough cut, you know, on his home theater system, and my jaw was just on the floor. You know, it's like everybody was right. For their roles. Everything looked and sounded in was like, everything that I imagined it. You know, I was just floored by it. How? Go ahead. Oh, that's all

Alex Ferrari 18:32
No, no, how much freedom did both you and David have during the making of this? I mean, because this does not seem like a studio movie. I mean, there is a lot of stuff that would have normally been nixed off of a script and never even gotten to a production state. How much freedom Did you guys have? And did you have a lot of battles that you can talk about?

Jim Uhls 18:58
Yeah, that I can talk about? Well, I mean, all I know is that there certainly was a lot of freedom afforded. Fincher and I know that both he and you know, the other producers in Arlington would talk about having conversations with the studio. You know, see what their eyes were kind of like this when I said that so I don't know. But they, you know, they managed to keep it protected. Really the whole way through. I know that in the middle of production. You know, this this story has been told but I'm Laura Ziskin didn't want the line. And it's a line from the book the line.

Alex Ferrari 19:40
I think I know which line you're talking about.

Jim Uhls 19:42
I want to have your abortion and I don't really want that line. It was actually David came up with the substitute. I haven't had sex like that since grade school. Or I said, Can we change it back to I want to have your portion which was nice. Change back.

Alex Ferrari 20:01
No, I mean, but but that other line does work quite well in the movie. I think I heard that story to interview with David to that he was he said that was like, such a great, he is a very, he's a dark human being.

Jim Uhls 20:16
Well, I mean, you know, what, really what I would say is he fires on all cylinders. I mean, he, he had a reputation up to that point. I mean, it started to change with seven, which was such a great character performances and MIDI drama and all that and suspense. But you know, he'd been labeled a visual guy, I mean, he's everything. characters, story, humor, tech, dramatic moments. You know, the whole thing. He's, he really has a comprehensive grasp of making a film.

Alex Ferrari 20:52
He is a comp, he is a contemporary to, to Kubrick, in many ways, I know He is a devotee of Kubrick's from what I, from what I've read.

Jim Uhls 21:01
It's interesting, you brought that up, because when I first read the galleys of fightclub, when I was finished, I kept thinking Clockwork Orange. Oh, and that was part of why I was thinking this will never be done, you know, here by a major studio in the United States. I was like, No, I it's not going to happen. But I always kept thinking of Kubrick the whole way through. Because I feel like fightclub is, is definitely something that is in the same line of films that go back to clockwork line.

Alex Ferrari 21:35
Right? I was actually, probably about a year ago, I had watched Clockwork Orange again, and I hadn't seen it in probably a decade. And my mouth was on the ground. I just, I forgot, like within the first 20 minutes that Kubrick got away with I'm like, my god, if this movie comes out today, it would cause an insane amount of controversy today. I can only imagine what it did in the 70s. So I think Fight Club is is definitely deserves a place on that mantle without question. Because their stuff in Fight Club, they just go How did this get through? Like how did this get intercutting? I mean, I think it was the first male penis male, any penis?

Jim Uhls 22:20
I've seen male. Yeah. On a studio movie.

Alex Ferrari 22:25
You know, I remember seeing it at like the AMC. I was like, did they just flash a penis on the screen? Now, let me ask you, when? What's your process to adapt something like this? Like, what was your you know, it was like a lot of people said it was almost impossible to adapt into, into into this medium. So what was your process? And then adapting that not only this but other other like other material into the medium of film? Like what was your process in this fight club specifically?

Jim Uhls 22:58
Well, to start with, I want to say that it's very interesting, but Ross Bell had someone type the novel as a screenplay, and it was 500 600 pages. And it was just in suffering, couldn't you because you want to do like read parts of it with actors. And it was just like, flow, you obviously can't do it that way. That's not how you adapt.

Alex Ferrari 23:21
Yeah, the godfather would have been he wasn't doing that.

Jim Uhls 23:24
He just wanted to have some actors read parts of it and stuff like that. But it was just interesting to see very vivid way of seeing that you cannot just turn a novel into a screenplay. So I, I knew that what everybody wanted at the end of the line. When I turned into first draft, was a screenplay, a screenplay that everybody would want to make. And that was the overriding priority. It has to be a screenplay. It has to work as a screen story. And fortunately, I sort of stylistically sort of melded with Chuck poloneck and put in the step where I put in my own material it seemed to mix with where I was using stuff from the book. But the main thing was, is this structurally, I had to put together something that worked as a screen story. And I would take the book and go through and use a highlighter to highlight all this stuff, like I want to use, I want to use this I want to use that because the book has got a lot of stuff and it can't all go into the movie, right? So I would I would do that. And then sort of use that as a guide. And then sit down and stare at a blank screen for hours on end and be full of fear.

Alex Ferrari 24:57
Yes, yes.

Jim Uhls 24:59
Well It's interesting that sometimes writing scenes that feel like they're like you felt when you read those scenes in the book, writing them differently than they are the book is what it took to make it seem like it was from the book. It was actually the changing that made it seem more like it was from the book, it was an odd thing. But I think that's one of the parts of adaptation is to convey the spirit of the book sometimes means you're changing something.

Alex Ferrari 25:42
Got it? Yeah, I can omit Yeah, cuz, I mean, I remember when I first watched the first Harry Potter, I'm like, well, they skipped that part. And they skipped up. Right. I mean, enough's enough. But absolutely. Now, how, um, How involved was David? Oh, first of all, how involved was Chuck in the in your process? Or did you talk to him at all?

Jim Uhls 26:04
Yeah, David. And I brought him down a couple times. We first time, we just hit him with all these questions. Why did this happen? And why did that happen in check to say, I don't know. And then we said, yeah, for instance, the scene in which Tyler is driving the car and swerving into headlights. While he's forcing, we call the narrator Jack. He's never called a name in the movie. Or, you know, in the dialogue of the script at all, but we had to put a name down. So we put jack down. When Tyler's forcing him to answer questions, and threatening to have a car accident, well, in the book, it's not Tyler. It's just another one of this project, ma'am. Space monkeys driving? Mm hmm. And we said, why wouldn't it be Tyler and Chuck because, wow, that's a really good idea. But he was also great. He also did clarify a lot. I don't want to make it sound like it was all like that he did clarify a lot. And he also was extremely supportive. Uh, he had no official you know, attachment to the project. But in this casual, friendly way he was he was just a wonderful presence. Supportive, informative. And we did get a lot out of having him around.

Alex Ferrari 27:33
He is an interesting soul.

Jim Uhls 27:35
Oh, he is totally fascinating. I mean, really, he's so multi layered. I could just do a separate interview about him.

Alex Ferrari 27:46
Stuff I was like, It's the it's the whole. I mean, just look at his body of work. I mean, you look at someone's, you know, you look at an artist's work. You can kind of creep a little bit into the into the soul of that person. And if Fight Club is any indication, or choke or any

Of the other books that he's written?

Jim Uhls 28:08
Yeah, they're into his soul for sure.

Alex Ferrari 28:10
Yeah. And they're making they made a sequel to fight club in comics, right?

Jim Uhls 28:15
Yeah, that was Chuck project. He wrote it in an artist did the artwork of course yeah, that was interesting. I also wanted to tell you my I actually don't know if you know this Alex, but I'm writing a pilot based on his second novel survivor. Oh really be a top pilot for an ongoing series. Let's change the name of course because of the reality show. It's his novel about a person who survived a religious cult and then basically it focuses on after that and he becomes a call leader a different kind you know, more on the national circuit more not not on a compound like he was but a guru a thought leader going around you know, traveling and being on television and all that kind of stuff a Tony

Alex Ferrari 29:14
Robbins kind of guy Yeah, right Wow. That's gonna be so hopefully on HBO or Netflix.

Jim Uhls 29:22
Yeah, we don't we you know, we don't have I'm the company's paying me and we don't have the studio or the network yet.

Alex Ferrari 29:29
So hopefully it's a network where you guys can kind of just flourish and not have to worry about I don't I don't know if that would work on network television hopefully cable or or streaming so you

Jim Uhls 29:39
Would not be welcomed in the doors of a network.

Alex Ferrari 29:44
No, so much on NBC and ABC at this point. From the creator of Fight Club calm.

Jim Uhls 29:52
I like to have my ass hit steps as I bounced down. You what I tried to go into

Alex Ferrari 29:59
Oh, that would be fun. That would be a fun interview. fun meeting to watch. So, so how involved so obviously, Fincher was extremely involved in the screenwriting process with you, correct?

Jim Uhls 30:12
Oh, yeah, yeah. And, you know, when I was doing the second draft and third draft, I go to his house. You know, for a few weeks before actually just going back to myself, and doing the draft, we would have these, you know, daily meetings and go through everything. And he was just wonderful working with him. I remember by the time we were working on the end of the movie, he and I both got up and started. Well, he could say this, and he'd move over here, and we're going all around his living room.

Alex Ferrari 30:45
Like just having fun, like really creating.

Jim Uhls 30:49

Alex Ferrari 30:49
What a shock. Amazing, isn't it?

Jim Uhls 30:54
Oh, creative people. You know how they are?

Alex Ferrari 30:56
Well, I've heard well, I've heard that he's, he's just brilliant in the sense of just he is so multi layered. And he knows a lot about a lot. And he's just one of those guys. I saw an interview with Morgan Freeman, who said that he's just like, his mind is a steel trap. It's just remarkable to work with with him on anything, and and obviously, his career has flourished over the years.

Jim Uhls 31:20
Yeah, right. definitely been a great career.

Alex Ferrari 31:26
So when Fight Club was released, it was not a huge hit when it first came out. It was domestically, yeah. Domestically, it's just kind of well, so. So was it a hit overseas? Well, by their standards,

Jim Uhls 31:38
Yes. I had the studio standards. And they I don't know if it wasn't all countries, but it was, I believe in England, or the UK. And some of the continental European countries it was.

Alex Ferrari 31:50
But here in the state, I remember when it came out people. I mean, it's a hard movie to mark it. No one really knew how to

Jim Uhls 31:55
Yeah, that was a really, you know, I mean, after everything we went through and put it all together, and it's there it is, and it's just Fincher is really put together this wonderful thing. It was like, oh,

Alex Ferrari 32:09
Marketing, how do you market like, and I remember, I remember, friends come up to oh, sorry, go ahead. And I remember seeing the posters of it up in the, in my local in my local theater, and I was like, I'm gonna go see that because I knew who Fincher was. And I knew, you know, I wanted to see Brad and all that. But I'm like, wow, over the years are you start analyzing, like, Man, that's a tough movie to sell. Like, it's,

Jim Uhls 32:31
Yeah, I had friends come up, you know, maybe in a couple weeks afterwards released and they hadn't seen it yet. And they said, Oh, yeah, no, I'm gonna see it. It's what it's about amateur boxing, right? Oh, my God. I just, I didn't know what to say. I was like, No, oh,

Alex Ferrari 32:49
It's not about amateur boxing. By any stretch. So when so but it was obviously a movie that was a slow burn. And but it was very well received, wasn't received. Well, critically. I don't remember

Jim Uhls 33:04
Why it was mixed. But we did have some great champions like Janet Maslin of The New York Times with just a glowing review. And the San Francisco and Chicago, we did pretty well. Now with the LA Times. Oddly enough, so he was mixed, which I kind of liked, because that made me feel like the well, that's right. It should be mixed.

Alex Ferrari 33:28
Yeah. If everyone loves this movie, there's a society.

Jim Uhls 33:31
I feel like well, wait a minute. What's wrong with everybody? Not supposed to love?

Alex Ferrari 33:37
Exactly. So for you as a screenwriter, how was it like when this this beautiful thing that you guys put together came out? And it was mixed, and it wasn't a huge hit right away? Um, how did it feel for you as I mean, this was, at that point, the biggest thing you would have done, correct?

Jim Uhls 33:54
Well, I was my first produced film. I, the mixed reviews I was excited about actually, I mean, I didn't like reading the negative one. So I was really jazzed that it was mixed the box office. That was disappointing. And then when it was released on DVD, and those sales skyrocketed through, you know, yeah, stratosphere. I was just, it was so vindicating, you that was just validating. It was great.

Alex Ferrari 34:26
I've much I must have purchased at least four or five different special editions of that damn movie. So your residuals, you got at least a few cents for me, sir.

Jim Uhls 34:36
Well, thank you, I appreciate that.

Alex Ferrari 34:38
Um, so, enough about FICO, because God knows we've talked a lot about that, but we talked for hours about Fico. But can you tell me the craziest story that you can publicly tell us about working as a screenwriter in Hollywood?

Jim Uhls 34:55
The craziest story?

Alex Ferrari 34:57
Yeah, just like, did that just really happen to me?

Jim Uhls 35:03
I think that probably the I mean, if it's really about being the screenwriter, in those moments, I'd probably say, craziest thing is something really that I did, which I did it several times, which is when I was supposed to come in and pitch my take on doing an adaptation of something. I turned it into a full on conversation with everyone in the room. And we all talked about it and, and we had ideas about how you'd handle certain things. Now you do it. And we'd have this long conversation by the end of it, they go great. And I got the jobs. But I never pitched you know,

Alex Ferrari 35:41
You just would walk in and like Alright guys. So what do you guys think about this? And let's see this.

Jim Uhls 35:45
I wouldn't start with what do you think about? I mean, that would be too much. Right? Start off actually talking about some things I thought, right first, then I would bring them into a conversation. And it was great because I hate pitching. I hate pitching. You know what, I'm just talking from beginning to end. I hate it. But of course, I've also done that too, because there's been people that are not going to sit there and have a conversation. Okay, what's the tank gym?

Alex Ferrari 36:16
Got it. Got it. Pitching is not something a lot. I mean, it's it's an art form in itself. Yeah. And I know a lot of screenwriters who just don't dig it?

Jim Uhls 36:26
Yeah, I even thought about hiring a real sales type guy to just do it for me while I'm sitting there. You know,

Alex Ferrari 36:32
That would be brilliant. Can you imagine walking into a studio meeting? Like, who's that? That's my pitch, man. I'm just gonna sit here. Oh, that has to go in a script somewhere. I mean, seriously, that is brilliant.

Jim Uhls 36:46
Well, I mean, it's, and the only reason it wouldn't work is they want to hear it from the writer. You know, unfortunately, it's a fantasy, but I don't think they they go for it.

Alex Ferrari 36:55
One day before, before, it's all said and done. And you catch up you, you walk away, you should just do it for the hell of it.

Jim Uhls 37:02
Just It was right before I was gonna walk away. There's a lot of stuff I would do. And I mean, it might be I get arrested for it.

Alex Ferrari 37:10
Fair enough. I'm sure I'm sure I'm sure you can tell some stories off air. Were pretty interesting. Entertaining. Now you did do a you did have a formal education at arguably one of the best screenwriting schools in the world. Do you think you need a formal education to to be a successful screenwriter?

Jim Uhls 37:33
Well, I mean, what helped about it is the roundedness of it the breadth breadth of courses, and, you know, understanding a lot of different things about the world and studying a lot of different areas is certainly good for any writer. But I wouldn't say you have to have that. I think you have to have some kind of, you know, professional class that really teaches structure and everything else, but I would think that's pretty important. whatever form it takes, but it doesn't have to be, you know, in the university system. Got it. You guys. Okay, good. Oh, no, that was it. I have some I have a hallucination next to me who sometimes murmuring you might hear it that fair enough.

Alex Ferrari 38:27
Do you? Do you outline the story before you write it? Well,

Jim Uhls 38:34
I hate outlines. I hate pitches. I hate outline. The reason I hate outlines is they're bloodless, lifeless statements of, you know, you put down in this scene, this emotional thing happened. Oh, really? Well, great. Okay. The idea is like, it's a clinical technical description of what the script is supposed to be. And people want it because they want to know what the script is going to be. But when they read it, they don't know what the script is going to be. They know what the technical description this cold clinical collection of statements is. That's all they know. And they can go I don't know, I don't feel it. What course you don't feel like

Alex Ferrari 39:18
I haven't written it.

Jim Uhls 39:22
But I have to do them. I mean, I haven't always had to do them. But some projects you you have to do them and I'm just sort of cultivated getting better at making them seem to have feelings in them. That's the the only way I can handle doing them.

Alex Ferrari 39:44
Now in your opinion, and there's a couple there's two camps here. For for screenwriters and writers in general. Are you more in the character camp that drives a story or plot camp or both?

Jim Uhls 39:58
I know it's funny. I think I am in the character camp. But it seems like that when I'm thinking about character, I'm thinking about the plot as well like, but because it's because I'm thinking about the care, I might not only think about the character solely as filling out a whole human being and making them three dimensional and you know, all the texture with them, I'm thinking about them doing things and going through stuff. So it's, it's, I would say, it's definitely heavily character driven, generated, but I'm thinking about plot, same time.

Alex Ferrari 40:40
No, do you? How do you find the voice of a character? Like as a writer? I mean, I know every writer is a little bit different. But how do you find your voice and your characters?

Jim Uhls 40:49
Well, I'll put two of them together. And I'll just start writing scenes, I like to do what's I call it writing outside the script. And there's various forms of takes. One is scenes that are, well, they are scenes that are not going to be in the script. And sometimes they're just scenes that I put in any situation. And sometimes there are scenes that would come before the story of the script starts. And sometimes I interview the characters, where it's, you know, I type Jim, and I type my first question, I type character, name the answer, and I try to go them, provoke them, get them angry, then get them, you know, suddenly talking in a sentimental way about some memory or something, and then get them joking and laughing and basically just get them all over the range with questions. And, you know, it starts off it's very, very mechanical at first. But they sort of start to come alive in the interview. It's interesting.

Alex Ferrari 41:59
When you were talking about that I was thinking about Charlie Kaufman's adaptation, pushing the character and asking the character just for whatever reason, as a writer, I love watching that movie is one of my favorite movies as well. Yeah, that's a great, it's such a brilliant, again, that's one of those movies that's outside the box without question. Anything Charlie writes is pretty much outside the box.

Jim Uhls 42:22
Yeah, exactly. Exactly.

Alex Ferrari 42:24
So um, you wrote plays before you got into screenwriting? How did that help you in your screenwriting craft?

Jim Uhls 42:31
Well, I mean, that was, you know, it's it's characters behaving and talking. So that was the critical aspect of it, that I carried over into screenwriting plays also have structure and you have to write to that structure and build it well. And you have to build scenes so that a scene has, what is the purpose of the scene? What's the event of the scene? And then what's the takeaway from the scene? And all that thinking, in playwriting is are the same considerations you have in screenwriting, it's a completely different medium, in a different form, because of course, plays have long, extended scenes. And on the same set, you know, before the set changes, if it does someplace take place on the same set the whole way through. screenplays go all over the place, and scenes are short. But you still have those considerations. Why is the scene exist? Why is it in this story? What's the advent of it? And what's the takeaway from it? And you're also writing characters who are alive and vivid and behaving and speaking and doing things to each other.

Alex Ferrari 43:51
Now, you spoke about structure, what is your take on the like the hero's journey structure, the three act structure, the four act structure? What is there something that you kind of always gravitate to? What is your thoughts on structure in general? Because I think that's something a lot of screenwriters, especially young screenwriters are starting out screenwriters kind of forget?

Jim Uhls 44:11
Right, right. Well, I do basically go by the three act structure. It's, you know, I mean, I may not slavishly follow it. But it's basically what I do with the structure. I mean, then the second act is, is the long act and it's a very difficult act to write. It's one in which the build, really you have to keep an eye on the bill. You have to make this thing continually raise the level of the adrenaline in the audience watching whatever type of story it is. I'm not just talking about thrillers or something, but I didn't have a professor once say to me something very interesting, which is when an audience starts to watch something.

Alex Ferrari 44:59
We'll be right back. back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show

Jim Uhls 45:10
their tolerance is very high. And that tolerance, you know, for what they're watching what what's happening, decreases incrementally as time passes. So you can start off with anything happening, anything going on and you know it, maybe it's mysterious and the audience doesn't really, you know, whatever, it's the opening, you're kind of just getting into it, the audience is totally, we're ready to, yeah, let's let's do this. And then after a while, it's going to be i, this better be going somewhere.

Alex Ferrari 45:47
You're absolutely right. He was absolutely right,

Jim Uhls 45:50
That that attitude of this better be going somewhere gets more pointed as time goes on. So that's one thing to keep in mind. When, when you it's it's it's sort of a structural overview to keep in mind as you're going through the whole thing.

Alex Ferrari 46:09
Now, as a screenwriter, and as a storyteller, you know, things that God you got away with, in the 80s, or, you know, or movies that got things got away with in the 30s or 40s. You know, this audience has become so much more sophisticated because of their bombardment of media and movies and stories, that it's becoming harder and harder for screenwriters and filmmakers to really do something that surprises them, or keeps them enthralled or keeps them going. What is what's your feeling on that? Because I mean, things that that that played in the 80s Don't play today? Like you can't put you can't you couldn't release commando today. You know, in the in the 80s, it was just great, you know, but now you'd be like, I'm probably not gonna fly. So what what do you think? What's your feeling on that?

Jim Uhls 46:59
Well, at this point, movies have become basically two things. tent poles, you usually if not always based on pre existing material that has audience recognition, because that's the studio's you know, clamor for safety and their investments. And the other type of movie is the independent film or the independent, like film that's actually being done by a division in a studio. Yeah. Yeah, there's a term Washington insiders and Washington outsiders and everything. And I was in the indie film is outside the studio system, but he, the independent divisions of Studios is like, pretending to be outsiders, while they're actually insiders.

Alex Ferrari 47:47
Right! Because Because that's another that's another market that's like, oh, wait a minute, let's get a piece of that market. Because there's so many of

Jim Uhls 47:54
Making an independent film, though, as an independent film. Yeah, we're putting it out. You know,

Alex Ferrari 47:58
Yeah, it's look, it's there's a there's a cool little logo, it's not Paramount is paramount Vantage. It's not the same. It's Fox 2000. It's not, you know,

Jim Uhls 48:10
Right. But, you know, thankfully, they're, they're doing it because that's another venue. But I think those are the two basically type type of films and the independent film. It's actually part of the, the ethos of the financial model that it be successful. Critically. In festivals, if it does go through the festival circuit, that's not the same commercial model for a temple. It's just, you know, it better be making money, you know. And so independent films, basically live or die by their quality, which, you know, it's that actually a very exciting thing about them. I think,

Alex Ferrari 48:53
Well, yeah. I mean, there's, like, you know, we're making our movie right now. You know, Julie, the star of our movie, and we're making our little movie. Yes. She's, she's tremendous. Yeah. And and, you know, we're making our little movie and it's truly an independent film. You know, Fox 2000 or Fox Searchlight is not doing anything you know, we raised our money and we're, you know, we're making a small little independent film for a small market. But the financial risk is slow as low extremely low as opposed to Ghostbusters. Which, you know, after this last weekend that came out as of this recording it did not It's not living up to the expectations of the studio I'm from what I've read same thing with independent state I mean, the these big budget films that these 10 poles that keep coming out that are there's a lot there's been a lot of bombs this summer, like a lot of like big

Jim Uhls 49:48
They liked it. They use the word disappointment and and I actually go along with that. I mean, a bomb is a bomb. I mean, that's like, you know, yeah,

Alex Ferrari 49:56
A million dollars in five

Jim Uhls 49:59
But a disappointment is it's not as big a hit. And that that happens to you know, I mean, I really enjoyed Ghostbusters. I have a lot of fun and but, you know it financial disappointment means well, we wanted to make more, you know,

Alex Ferrari 50:18
That kind of thing. Exactly, exactly. Or Independence Day for that matter or the BFG, the Spielberg movie that didn't do as well. Things like that. But do you believe in that whole Hollywood implosion that, you know, there's going to be a moment that these studios are going to have, you know, let's say a studio puts out two or three temples and they all financially just die or not do well. And that could it could cripple a studio because some of these I mean, some of these movies are 200,000,200 50 million. I mean, look, the risks that they took on Avatar was massive back then, and right, you know, I mean, that I could have not fought out. I mean, it really could have hurt them really badly if that movie did not do what it did. But or imagine if Disney's $4.5 million investment and Star Wars, which is obviously not a risk. But if that asks for our Star Wars movie didn't do well, my God. I mean, that could have really hurt his knee. Do you believe in that? Oh, how like Spielberg and Lucas said that there's going to be a Hollywood implosion at one point that the studio system is going to take a big hit. And some of these studios are going to going to fall because they're just rolling the dice so much on these big big temples.

Jim Uhls 51:33
I don't know. I mean, it is a possibility. It's definitely a possibility. I I don't know how many CO production co I don't know what you call it. It's not really CO production. It's co distributed distribution. With two studios. I mean, that's been done in the past. I don't know how much they're trying going to try to do that in the future, but certainly is something that helps share the burden. But yes, it's a possibility the implosion is could happen.

Alex Ferrari 52:04
Now, um, this is a this is a loaded question. But it's a question. I'm just curious to see what you think of what is the greatest challenge for a screenplay screenwriter facing and staring at a blank screen?

Jim Uhls 52:21
Starting to type,

Alex Ferrari 52:23
Just the first word, you know,

Jim Uhls 52:24
I mean, really, I know that sounds like I'm just kidding. But actually, I'm serious. Sometimes I just make myself guy is like, Okay, I'm tired. I'm not gonna do this writer's block thing. I'm not doing it. So I just type. I just make myself type. I mean, I'm typing the scenes that, you know, a scene I'm supposed to be working on. But I just do it. I mean, there's a point in, you know, it's like they say, with working out exercise, you know, just do it that kind of, but it's really true. It's sit there and start putting your fingers on the keys and typing, you may not feel a thing, you may feel like, Oh, I just totally have no inspiration. I don't know what I'm going to type anyway. Just start typing. Because at some point, if you don't let yourself stop, you're going to get into it.

Alex Ferrari 53:22
Eventually, so you don't sit around waiting for that muse to come and tap you on the show?

Jim Uhls 53:25
Oh, yeah. That's, that's the road to writer's block, which is the you know, that's I look at that, like a disease. I don't want to get, you know, I never want to go into that. Because I've known people who've been in there, and they've been in it for months and months, like, No, I'm not doing it. I'll just type I'll type gibberish if I have to, but I'm not going to get into writer's block.

Alex Ferrari 53:48
You just got to let it you got to turn the hose on. And whatever comes out comes out. Exactly, exactly. And eventually that water will turn into wine.

Jim Uhls 53:56
That's true. It will if you just keep typing it well.

Alex Ferrari 54:00
So you also created a remarkable course online called the screenwriters toolbox. Can you tell me a little bit about that?

Jim Uhls 54:08
Yeah, it's interesting. I when I first after I did it, I started to try to get some people to tweet about it and stuff like that. And they thought that I, because I said it wrong. I said, I did an online screenwriting course. And I forgot that there are ones that take place in real time that are over, you know, and that's not what this is it all this is permanently there. It's a filmed lecture that's always there that you can always get. So I want to make that clear.

Alex Ferrari 54:39
I'll make sure everybody knows the link to it. It will be in the show notes and I'll I'll mention it in the podcast as well.

Jim Uhls 54:46
All right, thanks. Yeah, no, it's, it's meant to be the basics. So I cover the basics of you know, format. A cover the basics of style, and by that I mean you know, How you use things like going into a shot, because greenroom screenplays are supposed to be written mostly in the master scene format, because you're not supposed to direct on paper and cut to his face cut to his hand, show this show that you're not supposed to do that. So I talked about using a master scene, but the permissible use of going to individual shots, you know. And so that's kind of like handling the stylistic, the basic stylistic approach. And I talked about, you know, starting to seem late and ending early, which is you don't want to write every you want to seem to be as short as it can be. And you want to start Absolutely. Where it has to start and not before. And you want it to end where it should in. And so that that bring, you know, that's part of that is what I call shoe leather, which is the stuff that really doesn't need to be in the script, you know? Hey, Alex, where's it pencil? Oh, it's in a drawer over there under the calendar. Oh, thanks. Oh, yeah, I just opened the drawer here. Yeah, you're right. There's a pencil in here. Yeah, no, I'm sorry.

Alex Ferrari 56:16
That's good. I've read that

Jim Uhls 56:17
It doesn't need to be in the script. And you were talking about how audiences become more sophisticated part of that is we can, you can shortcut a lot more. You can make transitions of cutting into a scene to something else. Without an intern interval scene, I guess you'd call it or a scene between them. You mean, you don't have to show him go to his car, or walk in the building? Or, you know, even more things you don't have to show if you just go bam, right from this scene into the next one. And the audience can follow because they're more capable of following the short handed film grammar now. And so you've got to write that way. So anyway, I you know, I cover things like that, in the Creative Live. course that I did

Alex Ferrari 57:10
Now you, when you were saying that one of the huge mistakes I've always seen in screenplays, and I've been in my early screenplays, I was I was guilty of it as well. Is it just telling everything and not showing? So now or being economical with my words, like, you know, as opposed to to people? Hey, Jim, remember when we were in high school? A wasn't Mrs. What's her name's class great. She was hot like you, there's a much better way of saying that statement or getting that information across maybe in a couple words, or maybe even in a look, or maybe in something else. So the the economy of, of that kind of information is something that is basically the screenwriters job, right?

Jim Uhls 57:52
Yeah. Well, I mean, one of the hardest things that we all face with it is exposition. You know, it's information that has to get out, but you can't have two characters telling each other things they already know. They just can't.

Alex Ferrari 58:06
Because you don't do it in real life.

Jim Uhls 58:08
Right? You don't know how to do it in real life. So, you know, they can't sit there and say, you knew Mr. Williams, and you didn't? Yeah, I knew Mr. Williams. And you knew Mr. Williams. See how we both knew? Yeah, it's like, you can't do that.

Alex Ferrari 58:24
But we've seen movies, we both see movies that does that. Yeah. Without question.

Jim Uhls 58:30
Or can be a character telling the character, something he doesn't know. But it's just a bunch of setup information. That is not really a scene between two people. You can't do that either. So it's difficult to find a way to get information out with characters behaving naturally as they would in real life.

Alex Ferrari 58:54
That is the job of the screenwriter. That's why That's why they get paid well, when eventually they get paid. So um, the what is the best advice you can give to a screenwriter just starting out today?

Jim Uhls 59:12
Well, I mean, if you're starting out then that's that's actually what you're doing. You're starting so you should be writing like a maniac because you're passionate you love writing, right? So you should be doing it writing one script after another. I mean, the advice I give to somebody who's actually going to write their first script is write your first script all the way through don't stop don't go back and revise while you're in the middle of it. You can make notes but write four words only to the words the end right Oh, first draft I say that because I want to prevent people from rewriting act one for the rest of their life.

Alex Ferrari 59:53
Yes, I I've been in editing for a long time. I know that feeling.

Jim Uhls 59:59
And then I say Put that script aside, you wrote a rough draft, put it aside, no, can't touch it. No, write a second screenplay. And write that one all the way through. With only writing forward, no going back all the way to the end. And put that second script aside. Write a third script, same thing all the way through to the end. You can make notes, but you can't go back and revise, put the third script away and take the first one out. Now, you're a better writer, you're a better writer just for having written three scripts, you're going to approach the first script. As a better writer, you're going to look at it more objectively because you haven't been looking at it for a while, and your head has been in two different screenplays. Now you're going to go back and have a more masterful view. Avoid should be done to that first script. And then you're going to apply the same thing. When you go again, to the second, and the third script.

Alex Ferrari 1:01:10
It's great. That is probably some of the best screenwriting advice I've ever heard. And seriously, it's like so simple, but yet so powerful. And so just basic,you know?

Jim Uhls 1:01:21
Thanks. i Yeah, it's,

Alex Ferrari 1:01:23
You write three screenplays, you're gonna be a better writer. Yeah,

Jim Uhls 1:01:27
I mean, yeah, that's, that's part of it, too. We were talking about education classes and all that. But if but what I just said, is one way that you're already making yourself a better writer on your own, just by yourself.

Alex Ferrari 1:01:41
That's really, it's something that, you know, I preach from the top of the indie film, hustle, mountain here, that it's about work. And about showing up every day, as Woody Allen says, 90% of success is just showing up.

Jim Uhls 1:01:57
Right? That's the same thing with just type. That's exactly the same just type, just keep writing.

Alex Ferrari 1:02:03
And I know a lot of screenwriters who are still like, I've been on my screenplay for a year. I'm like, Jesus, man. Jesus, you got it. But what you've just said makes perfect. That's the difference between someone who's just going to be stuck in this one script for seven years, or someone who's going to build a career, at least have 30 scripts that go shop around. And probably it was 30 scripts, maybe two or three of them were or something that could be shopped.

Jim Uhls 1:02:31
Well, another thing, I'm what I want someone to get past that three scripts, right, three scripts thing is, emotionally, people can put a lot of expectation on the first script, I'm writing a script, and now I want it to sell or get an agent or whatever, and all that stuff is swirling around in the person's head. So if they drop it after the first draft, and go to a second screenplay, they broken that cycle of having so much need for the first group to do everything for them and make their entire career happen.

Alex Ferrari 1:03:05
You know, it's the it's what I call the homerun derby is you only think you're going to up the bat once. And you're going to and you have to hit a homerun. And if you miss and you strike out the will, that's it, as opposed to concentrating on hitting singles. Because right singles will eventually turn into homeruns. You know, you will get you get on base and you'll score, but because of all the singles you've hit every once in a while, they'll throw that pitch the right way and boom, you hit it out of the park.

Jim Uhls 1:03:33
Well, that's really good. That is yes, I like that analogy a lot.

Alex Ferrari 1:03:37
I that's I just actually said that the other day on a podcast because I was like, Guys, you got to stop this homeowner mentality because I've been in that home run mentality. And the funny thing is that you what you're just saying now about screenwriting. I've, I've, I've started to do, but with directing. And I know that sounds crazy, but I have, I've always had the same problem. Because I've been stuck on trying to make my first feature for 20 years, mind you, the technology is changing. Now it's much more affordable. But now I've just said, Screw it, I'm just going to make my first movie. And I already have two other ones lined up. And I'm just going to keep shooting because I'm going to keep them at a certain budget level. Or I can keep shooting and every day I shoot, I learned something new. And I'm doing it all myself. And it's all coming out great and blah, blah, blah. And you just kind of keep doing it. And you're not putting all those eggs. And that pressure on the one movie or the ones right where you're doing Yeah,

Jim Uhls 1:04:30
That's great.

Alex Ferrari 1:04:30
You know, it's it's something you have to do. And I think that it's it's great advice that I mean that seriously some of the greatest advice for screenwriter have ever heard. And I've had a lot of people on the show. And it's like just write three screenplays straight and don't go back. And then after the third one, go back to the first one. And you'll be a better screenwriter. It's just, that's really really the best advice is always the simplest I find.

Jim Uhls 1:04:53
Well, well, thank you. Thank you. I appreciate that. But but you know, I'm one of my one of the things I like to impart is you know how much A person can learn on their own. And I'm not dissuading from taking a screenwriting course or anything but like the screenwriters toolbox. Yeah, I want you to take my course. Go to Creative Live and get my course I will give you. But I like I like ways that writers can learn on their own and get better on their own. That's an important part of it. So it looks like that's what you're doing with directing as well. So that's helpful. And it's

Alex Ferrari 1:05:30
Also what Robert Rodriguez did before he made a mariachi. He's like I did 30 short films, they were bad. And I just kept doing them and doing them and doing I got all the bad crap out of my way. And then I went off and did all mariachi and then just kept going. But you need to get that bad stuff out. It's like your first script, which a lot of screenwriters didn't like my first scripts gonna win the Oscar. I'm like, that's extremely rare. I don't know if it's happened. I'm sure it has happened. Like, you know, the first got Well, I mean, what was the usual suspects? I'm not sure if he that was his first script. But I know there's there's there's some cases to be said that there was a screenwriter who first script was like, you know, amazing. But generally speaking, that's the lottery ticket. Generally speaking for the rest of us mortals. It takes time to develop our craft. Right. So what is the last? These are the questions I ask all my, all my guests. So what is the lesson that took you the longest to learn whether in life or in the film business?

Jim Uhls 1:06:32
The lesson that took the longest it was most important, and it was a tough one to finally really, really learn is to be have your mind in the process, and not in the result. Don't be obsessed about the result, just stay in the process. Because it may not get made, it may not happen. That's not what you're supposed to be thinking about. That's what does, that's what causes ulcers. That's what causes anxiety, right? Be in the process. And it did take a long time for me to get away from constantly be thinking about the result, rather than the process.

Alex Ferrari 1:07:13
It's it's enjoy the journey, not the destination,

Jim Uhls 1:07:16
Right! Basically, well don't obsess about the destination,

Alex Ferrari 1:07:20
You get there. Right. Right. Right. So what are your three favorite films of all time in any order? Or any kind of films that just tickle your fancy at the moment?

Jim Uhls 1:07:32
Well, I mean, that's, that's a really, really difficult question for me, because I like so many in the span of going to films from the past. The deep past international films, it's just, let's say, really difficult for me as it but I can say that, certainly one of them is Dr. Strangelove. I've had a profound impact on me because of the tone, the tone is nearly impossible. It's it's it's ridiculous, greatest tones of a movie, it's ever been achieved. And I think that's the most difficult thing, element of a movie to achieve is the tone of it. And I then became obsessed with writing reality based characters in a mix of comedy, and drama, or suspense, or, or whatever it is, as a style that really impacted me

Alex Ferrari 1:08:32
Dr. Strangelove or anything Kubrick? I mean, I'm a huge, huge, huge Kubrick fan.

Jim Uhls 1:08:37
Like I could just then I could start naming directors or I could start naming countries and

Alex Ferrari 1:08:43
So which director so if you can name two other movies, what are two directors who just, you know, blow up your skirt?

Jim Uhls 1:08:51
Well, in all honesty, I have to say David Fincher is one of them. I mean, and I know that's not the same as somebody viewing their work only because I didn't work with him, but also viewing his work. You know, I mean, he's he and Kubrick and, and Spielberg who has this way of you, he pulls you so in that you just believe whatever he wants you to believe. You know, it's just amazing. So I mean, I can go on with directors. It's like that's Daisy. Yeah. Scorsese oh my god that was a big mean STS was also a huge influence on me in terms of tone and and the way characters can behave. And it can be funny and it can be scary and I mean, just and that applies to his other movies as well. Oh, good. I mean, and certainly taxi driver and Raging Bull are like you know, it's Wow, you just don't know tight wire of anything you know, that you could do. Dangerous, funny, scary, exciting. It's you know, so yeah, Martin Scorsese is way up there. I mean, that's the Westway don't like to list because I'm going to leave somebody out in the movie out in the moment.

Alex Ferrari 1:10:15
And yeah, I mean, we could sit down and just geek out about movies and for four days, I'm sure.

Jim Uhls 1:10:23
Right, right. I mean, and Orson Welles, you know, certainly is a is another major favorite of mine.

Alex Ferrari 1:10:30
And when you saw Mean Streets, I mean, you saw it when it came out. Like I saw Mean Streets later on.

Jim Uhls 1:10:35
I saw it later. Oh, you saw it later. Yeah, I saw later.

Alex Ferrari 1:10:39
Okay, so it was, but it was still when that's hard for people to feel like when you see Mean Streets, like, at the moment, that was something really, like out there saying, like, Easy Rider, like, you know, you look at each rider now you're like, oh, that's, that's kind of okay. Or Blade Runner, Blade Runner you like, oh, that's that looks nice. But boink manette came out? There was nothing like it.

Jim Uhls 1:11:02
Yeah, mind blowing. I think it is. But no,

Alex Ferrari 1:11:05
I mean, I could I mean, I'll put a Blade Runner against. I mean, many things going on today.

Jim Uhls 1:11:11

Alex Ferrari 1:11:12
Many, many, many movies. So Jim, where can people find you? Online, not your personal home address. Just have to really clarify. I've had a few guests go? What I'm like, No, you'd like online.

Jim Uhls 1:11:31
Right! I don't have my own website. But I on Twitter, I'm Wohojak, wohojak

Alex Ferrari 1:11:41
Okay. You're gonna get a lot of stalkers now I'm sorry.

Jim Uhls 1:11:45
That's all right. You know, it's Twitter. I'm used to it. It's everybody else's used to it. So there you go.

Alex Ferrari 1:11:53
You have a Facebook page?

Jim Uhls 1:11:55
Yeah, I do. I'm just under my my own name.

Alex Ferrari 1:12:00
I'll put the links to where you can find Jim and his personal home address in the show notes.

Jim Uhls 1:12:07
But you can't find me there though. That's the problem.

Alex Ferrari 1:12:09
Exactly. You're always all over the place. Jim, and thank you so much for this has been an absolute joy and pleasure talking to you. So thank you so much for being on the show.

Jim Uhls 1:12:19
Well, thank you. It's been great talking to you too, Alex, really? Terrific. Terrific. Conversation.

Alex Ferrari 1:12:25
Thank you, my friend.

Jim Uhls 1:12:27

Alex Ferrari 1:12:29
I told you. I told you. I mean, that was such a fun. You have no idea what a thrill it was for me to be interviewing Jim rules. I mean, you know, as a kid growing up watching Fight Club, and you know, and studying and analyzing Fight Club over the years. It is such a thrill having him on the show, and he brought the goods, and then some that piece of advice. Right, those three screenplays is, I mean, seriously, as simple as that sounds, guys. It is kind of the basis of everything. And and I'm glad he liked my analogy of the homeruns. Because I really do think that's a lot of times what filmmakers and screenwriters do is they put all that pressure on that first movie or that first screenplay. And when it doesn't go, they get discouraged, and they fall out. And I just want to say something on the side note, guys, you know, as you guys are listening to this, because you are creative artists, you are content makers in one way, shape, or form, whether that be a writer, or a filmmaker, or an artist, and it is your responsibility as an artist to succeed. Now, I know that sounds weird, but you have a responsibility to the world to get your voice out there. All right, because you have no idea. Like I said before, you have no idea, the impact your work as an artist could have on another human being, you have no idea. And I do speak from experience with this with what I've done with indie film, hustle. And with my past films, and what I've done in the past, you can change the course of one person's life that could change the course of many other lives. So it's your responsibility, whether it's making a song, whether it's writing a movie, making a movie, creating a YouTube channel, putting up content, you have no idea what the impact of your art will be. So God dammit, it's your responsibility. So get to it. Well, yeah, and stop messing around. So as promised, I was going to give you guys a link to Jim's amazing course called the screenwriters toolkit. So all you got to do is go to indie film hustle.com Ford slash toolkit. That's indie film hustle.com Ford slash toolkit, and you'll take you right to Jim's course. And if I were you, I would definitely pick it up. It is really, really, really cool. So now guys, if you want to be part of the indie film Syndicate, which is our amazing filmmaking community that we've created, that is flourishing And we're talking and helping filmmakers out in the community. It's really, really amazing and they're getting access to a ton of stuff that that I've been able to put up there as far as courses are concerned on screenwriting, on filmmaking, on distribution on film festivals on all sorts of great great things on cameras and cinematography, and so on, and new content going up every month. And of course, the micro budget film a feature film masterclass, which is analyzing this as Meg as I make it, you definitely should check it out guys indie film syndicate.com. And I will be opening up in the next few weeks after I'm done shooting this is Meg. But we're going to have a small window where you can have lifetime access to the membership to the community for one flat rate. So that is something coming up in the next few weeks. So definitely keep an eye out for that. But definitely guys check it out indie film syndicate.com. As for the coming weeks, I've been stockpiling a ton of amazing interviews with great filmmakers, like Diane Bell, who won Sundance, and we go through the entire what happened to her and her crazy ride, roller coaster ride at you know, actually being in Sundance and winning Sundance. And as far as a bunch of other new guests coming up very, very soon, as well as some more hard hitting raw episodes of some subject matters that I think need to be discussed. So they might be coming up very soon. So keep an eye out or an ear out for that. Please, guys, share this information with as many people as you can. Okay, I want to help as many people I want this information to get out to as many artists and as many filmmakers, as many screenwriters as as I can, because I really hope what we're doing here at Indie film, hustle can help the world a bit. I know that's grandiose, but help the world a bit and help create some good art that can hopefully change the way things are in the in the world. I know that sounds fufu that hippie from LA, but but in all honesty, I really do hope that so please share every episode you can or the episodes that move you or touch you. Of course just animo was always the indiefilmhustle.com. And if you really love the podcast, and love the content that we're creating, head over to filmmakingpodcast.com And leave us a good review. Hopefully, that really helps out our ranking and helps us out to get the show seen by more and more people. So thanks again. The show notes for this episode are at indiefilmhustle.com/089 and have links to everything me and Jim talked about in the episode. And as a treat. I will leave you today with the philosophy of life. By the one the only Tyler Durden keep that hustle going. keep that dream alive. And I'll talk to you soon.

Tyler Durden 1:18:02
No, man, it couldn't be worse. woman could cut off your penis while you're sleeping partially out the window moving car. There's always that and you buy furniture and tell yourself that's it. That's the last sofa and everywhere else happens. Got that so I had all I had there. There was a wardrobe that was getting very respectable close to being complete shit man. No, it's all gone to Vegas come through, like just a blank. One guys like you and I know what a cafe is essential to our survival in the hunter gatherer sense of the word. Know what our consumers or consumers we are byproducts of lifestyle obsession. Murder, crime, poverty, these things don't go so what concerns me celebrity magazines, television 500 channels. Some guy's name on my underwear. Rogaine. Viagra Leicester, Martha Stewart. Buck Martha Stewart. Artist polishing the brass on the Titanic. It's all going down man. Fuck off. Sophie units and string green stripe back. I'd say never be stopping or I say let's evolve chips forward ma that's mean that could be wrong. terrible tragic. Stuff. Good lose a lot of versatile solution for modern accurate my insurance is probably gonna go what things you own end up owning.




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