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To enter for a chance to win a pair of tickets to the 2014 Toronto Screenwriting Conference, tweet at @WGAEast with the number of years of protection writers get when they submit a script to WGAE Script Registration.
Don’t tweet? Don’t worry! Simply email your answer to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject “Toronto Screenwriting Conference Contest” for a chance to win.
The deadline to enter is Monday March 17, 2014, at 4pm ET. A winner will be notified on March 18th.
The 2014 Toronto Screenwriting Conference (TSC) is a two-day weekend event taking place on April 5-6, 2014, which gathers together the best creative talent, authors and speakers in writing for film, television and media in Canada and the United States. The TSC offers screen-based industry professionals an advanced level of education and skills development unparalleled by any other screenwriting event on the continent. Michael Arndt (Toy Story 3, Little Miss Sunshine) and David Webb Peoples (12 Monkeys, Unforgiven, Bladerunner) have already been announced as speakers for this years’ conference.
Visit the TSC website for more details: www.torontoscreenwritingconference.com
CONTEST: One randomly selected winner will each get TWO (2) tickets to attend the 2014 Toronto Screenwriting Conference. The winner must be a WGAE member. The winner and their guest are responsible for all additional expenses, including hotel and travel.
Hollywood four decades ago was a very different place. How a screenwriter worked was also very different. In those days scripts were typed up on typewriters. It was a painstaking process, scripts went through their multiple drafts and then had to be typed up to checked for errors. There was no backspace or delete in those days.
A simple flood or fire could destroy your spec scripts. Making copies of scripts was comparatively expensive. As was postage. To make or expand on connections in the film industry, you had to be on the ground in Los Angeles itself. Even to get a call, you had to be near a landline phone. Or otherwise you’d miss the call. But today’s there’s a whole new way of doing things. Laptops and other computing devices, along with internet service make it possible to store screenplays digitally and safely. One can e-mail a screenplay to others in the industry from anywhere in the world. And various forms of social media make it extremely easy to stay in touch.
As for as writing screenplays, the typewriter became obsolete awhile ago. As computers became standard, Final Draft became the standard way of writing screenplays on a pc. It certainly saved screenwriters on paper costs and made revising and editing scripts much easier. And one was able to e-mail files in either fdr or pdf format to others in the industry. Purchasing final draft was expensive, and your copies of the script were stored on your pc. Should your pc be damaged you were out of look. And Final Draft was only available in for Windows and Mac machines. Still, it was a big improvement. But technology has far surpassed the Final Draft era. Celtx, an open source program, was created to have Windows, Max, and Linux versions. It was an open source program, and free. Celtx eventually offered a cloud service program allowing one to write screenplays from any browser on any device, whether Android, Iphone, Ipad, Linux, ChromeOs, Windows, or whatever else might be out there. It’s free, but to get full functionality one must pay $50 a year. Still, anything typed in your browser is automatically saved in Celtx’s cloud, provided that your computer is online. The downloadable version of Celtx can be used for offline service (as back up should your connection go temporarily down). It saved screenwriters from having to worry about what happens to scripts should a computer get damaged. And as Gmail, Yahoo!, and Outlook all have many gigabytes of storage, one can use one’s web based e-mail as additional storage/back up.
In terms of getting read and staying in touch, the internet offers many options. Screenwriter Kraig Wenmen broke into the industry by submitting to Inktip. E-mail queries certainly save writers on postage. While going to industry events in Los Angeles and New York are still extremely important, today one doesn’t have to hold on to cards or just lock contacts away into a rolodex that is rarely used.
New contacts in the film industry can be friended on Facebook or added on twitter. Frequently using social media is essential to writers and other artists. Via social media one can notify others en masse of new projects that you’re undertaking or looking for. Also, if you regularly chat with friends in the industry on social media, you make it much more likely that they’ll want to work with you and vice versa.
And as many of us have residences and lives outside of LA and NYC, social media enables us to keep in touch with what’s on the ground in the business while we’re doing things outside of Los Angeles or New York. Also, internet records are permanent. A quick google on an artist will show work that the artist is done. This creates a free resume of sort for the artists. Prolific writers can use this to build up a name for themselves as writers. It’s also a good way to let a writer’s fans keep in touch with what the writer is doing in between film projects or book projects. The fact the internet allows a screenwriter to create and manage their own buzz is a huge plus.
The more of a presence one has online, the greater interest is generated in one’s work from producers, agents, and editors (depending on what type of writing the writer does).
Overall, new forms of technology have made it much easier to find ways around traditional barriers in the industry. As technology continues to evolve, the industry and a screenwriters job will change with it.
The 2014 Writers Guild Awards New York Ceremony was held on Saturday, February 1st, at the Edison Ballroom in New York City.
Renowned television star and Emmy Award nominee Colin Quinn hosted the ceremony, which was executive produced by John Marshall. Presenters who appeared at the WGAE’s New York awards ceremony included Fred Armisen (Portlandia), Robert Carlock (30 Rock), Raúl Esparza (Law & Order: SVU), Nelson George (CB4), Terry George (Hotel Rwanda), Kate Mulgrew (Orange Is The New Black), Steve O’Donnell (Late Show with David Letterman), Archie Panjabi (The Good Wife), Matthew Rhys (The Americans), Keri Russell (The Americans), Danny Strong (Lee Daniels’ The Butler) and Beau Willimon (House of Cards). Barbara Rosenblat (Orange is the New Black) served as the evening’s announcer.
The Writers Guild of America, East presented several special honors during its ceremony: James Schamus was presented with the Evelyn F. Burkey Award for bringing honor and dignity to writers. His award was presented to him by Dee Rees, the screenwriter and director of Pariah. Schamus co-founded Focus Films, produced the Oscar®-nominated Brokeback Mountain, and wrote award-winning screenplays including Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and The Ice Storm.
Wendell Pierce, who starred as Detective Bunk Moreland in The Wire and trombonist Antoine Batiste in Treme, presented The Hunter Award for career achievement to David Simon. A MacArthur Genius Grant Fellow, Simon created the acclaimed television series Treme and The Wire. He also wrote for Homicide: Life on the Streets, which was based on one of his books, and the miniseries Generation Kill and The Corner.
Writers Guild council member Philip V. Pilato was presented with The Jablow Award for his service to the guild by last year’s recipient, Bob Schneider, Secretary-Treasurer of Writers Guild of America, East.
The John Merriman Memorial Award was presented to Rachel Baye of American University by Michael Winship, President of Writers Guild of America, East. The Writers Guild Initiative’s 6th annual Michael Collyer Memorial Fellowship in Screenwriting was presented to Hennah Sekandary of New York University by Lowell Peterson, Executive Director of Writers Guild of America, East.
Attendees at the WGAE’s awards ceremony included Tina Fey (30 Rock), Ethan Hawke (Before Midnight), Terence Winter (The Wolf of Wall Street), Richard Linklater (Before Midnight), Michael Barker (Co-founder, Sony Picture Classics), Emily Mortimer (Newsroom), Alessandro Nivola (American Hustle), Jeremy Scahill and David Riker (Dirty Wars), A.M. Homes (The L Word). Mike Schur (Parks & Recreation), Lizz Winstead (The Daily Show), Franklin Leonard (The Black List), Gina Gionfriddo (House of Cards) and Joe Weisberg (The Americans), among many other illustrious guests.
Here are the winners of the 2014 Writers Guild Awards:
Her, Written by Spike Jonze; Warner Bros.
Captain Phillips, Screenplay by Billy Ray; Based on the book A Captain’s Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALS, and Dangerous Days at Sea by Richard Phillips with Stephan Talty; Columbia Pictures
Stories We Tell, Written by Sarah Polley; Roadside Attractions
TELEVISION AND NEW MEDIA WINNERS
Breaking Bad, Written by Sam Catlin, Vince Gilligan, Peter Gould, Gennifer Hutchison, George Mastras, Thomas Schnauz, Moira Walley-Beckett; AMC
Veep, Written by Simon Blackwell, Roger Drew, Sean Gray, Armando Iannucci, Ian Martin, Georgia Pritchett, David Quantick, Tony Roche, Will Smith; HBO
House of Cards, Written by Kate Barnow, Rick Cleveland, Sam Forman, Gina Gionfriddo, Keith Huff, Sarah Treem, Beau Willimon; Netflix
“Confessions” (Breaking Bad), Written by Gennifer Hutchison; AMC
“Hogcock!” (30 Rock), Written by Jack Burditt & Robert Carlock; NBC
LONG FORM – ADAPTED
Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight, Written by Shawn Slovo, Based on the book by Howard Bingham and Max Wallace; HBO
SHORT FORM NEW MEDIA – ORIGINAL
“Episode 4: The Collected Sylvia” (Sylvia Plath: Girl Detective), Written by Mike Simses; sylviaplathgirldetective.com
“A Test Before Trying” (The Simpsons), Written by Joel H. Cohen; Fox
COMEDY / VARIETY (INCLUDING TALK) – SERIES
The Colbert Report, Writers: Stephen Colbert, Tom Purcell, Michael Brumm, Nate Charny, Rich Dahm, Paul Dinello, Eric Drysdale, Rob Dubbin, Glenn Eichler, Gabe Gronli, Dan Guterman, Barry Julien, Jay Katsir, Frank Lesser, Opus Moreschi, Bobby Mort, Meredith Scardino, Max Werner; Comedy Central
COMEDY / VARIETY – MUSIC, AWARDS, TRIBUTES – SPECIALS
Blake Shelton’s Not So Family Christmas, Head Writers: Jay Martel, Ian Roberts Writers: Alex Rubens,Charlie Sanders; NBC
QUIZ AND AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION
Jeopardy!, Written by John Duarte, Harry Friedman, Mark Gaberman, Debbie Griffin, Michele Loud, Robert McClenaghan, Jim Rhine, Steve D. Tamerius, Billy Wisse; ABC
Days of Our Lives, Written by Lorraine Broderick, David Cherrill, Carolyn Culliton, Richard Culliton, Rick Draughon, Christopher Dunn, Janet Iacobuzio, David A. Levinson, Ryan Quan, Dave Ryan, Melissa Salmons, Christopher J. Whitesell; NBC
CHILDREN’S – EPISODIC & SPECIALS
“influANTces” (A.N.T. Farm), Written by Vincent Brown; Disney Channel
DOCUMENTARY – CURRENT EVENTS
“Egypt in Crisis” (Frontline), Written by Marcela Gaviria & Martin Smith; PBS
DOCUMENTARY – OTHER THAN CURRENT EVENTS
“The Choice 2012” (Frontline), Written by Michael Kirk; PBS
“Silicon Valley” (American Experience), Telescript by Randall MacLowry and Michelle Ferrari; Story by Randall MacLowry; PBS
NEWS – REGULARLY SCHEDULED, BULLETIN, OR BREAKING REPORT
“Tragedy at Newtown” Special Edition (ABC World News with Diane Sawyer), Written byLisa Ferri and Matt Negrin; ABC
NEWS – ANALYSIS, FEATURE, OR COMMENTARY
“Lethal Medicine” (60 Minutes), Written by Michael Rey, Oriana Zill de Granados, Michael Radutzky; CBS
“2012 Year in Review,” Written by Gail Lee; CBS Radio News
NEWS – REGULARLY SCHEDULED, BULLETIN, OR BREAKING REPORT
“Afternoon Drive,” Written by Bill Spadaro; CBS Radio/1010 WINS
NEWS – ANALYSIS, FEATURE, OR COMMENTARY
“Remembering C. Everett Koop,” Written by Scott Saloway; CBS Radio News
PROMOTIONAL WRITING AND GRAPHIC ANIMATION WINNERS
ON-AIR PROMOTION (TELEVISION, NEW MEDIA OR RADIO)
The Crazy Ones, “Building a Better Comedy,” Written by Erial Tompkins; CBS
TELEVISION GRAPHIC ART AND ANIMATION
CBS News Animations: “Brain Injury,” “Pills,” “Bionic Leg,” “Midland Parade,” “Concordia Salvage;” Animation byDavid Rosen; CBS News
OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN VIDEOGAME WRITING
The Last of Us, Written by Neil Druckmann; Sony Computer Entertainment
Last night, the Writers Guild of America, East opened its offices for a send off party for those heading to Park City for Sundance, Slamdance, and the Independent Spirit Awards. The event was sponsored by Variety.
The evening featured short remarks from WGAE’s president Michael Winship and executive director Lowell Peterson, along with acclaimed screenwriters Jeremy Pikser, Mary Harron, Darci Picoult, and Stu Zicherman. The speakers shared advice and stories from their own Sundance experiences with the few dozen local filmmakers in attendance, many of whom will be heading to Park City for the first time.
Vote online at: https://eballot4.votenet.com/wga/login.cfm (Your login is your last name and your password is your 5-digit member ID number.)
The deadline for casting your votes is FRIDAY, JANUARY 24, 2014
Winners will be honored at the 2014 Writers Guild Awards on Saturday, February 1, 2014, at simultaneous ceremonies in Los Angeles and New York City. Tickets for the Writers Guild Awards New York Ceremony are now available here. Additional information on the awards show can be found here.
Here are the screen nominees:
- American Hustle, Written by Eric Warren Singer and David O. Russell; Columbia Pictures
- Blue Jasmine, Written by Woody Allen; Sony Pictures Classics
- Dallas Buyers Club, Written by Craig Borten & Melisa Wallack; Focus Features
- Her, Written by Spike Jonze; Warner Bros.
- Nebraska, Written by Bob Nelson; Paramount Pictures
- August: Osage County, Screenplay by Tracy Letts; Based on his play; The Weinstein Company
- Before Midnight, Written by Richard Linklater & Julie Delpy & Ethan Hawke; Based on characters created by Richard Linklater & Kim Krizan; Sony Pictures Classics
- Captain Phillips, Screenplay by Billy Ray; Based on the book A Captain’s Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALS, and Dangerous Days at Sea by Richard Phillips with Stephan Talty; Columbia Pictures
- Lone Survivor, Written by Peter Berg; Based on the book by Marcus Lutrell with Patrick Robinson; Universal Pictures
- The Wolf of Wall Street, Screenplay by Terence Winter; Based on the book by Jordan Belfort; Paramount Pictures
- Dirty Wars, Written by Jeremy Scahill & David Riker; Sundance Selects
- Herblock – The Black & The White, Written by Sara Lukinson & Michael Stevens; The Stevens Company
- No Place on Earth, Written by Janet Tobias & Paul Laikin; Magnolia Pictures
- Stories We Tell, Written by Sarah Polley; Roadside Attractions
- We Steal Secrets: The Story of Wikileaks, Written by Alex Gibney; Focus Features
The final voting period to determine the screenplay and series winners for the 2014 Writers Guild Awards will begin on Monday, January 6th.
The Writers Guild of America, East today announced that members can RSVP for the 66th annual Writers Guild Award East Ceremony. This year’s event will take place on Saturday, February 1st, at the Edison Ballroom in New York City.
The ceremony will be hosted by comedian W. Kamau Bell. Presenters include Robert Carlock, Kate Mulgrew, Lawrence O’Donnell, Archie Panjabi, Wendell Pierce, Frank Rich, Matthew Rhys, Keri Russell, and Beau Willimon, with more to be announced.
David Simon, creator of The Wire and Treme, will receive the Ian McClellan Hunter Award for Career Achievement.
James Schamus, the award-winning screenwriter of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and co-founder of Focus Films, will be presented with the Evelyn F. Burkey Award for bringing honor and dignity to writers.
The Writers Guild Awards New York Ceremony is supported by Screen Craft.
Writers Guild members can RSVP here.
For more information on the awards, please visit wgaeast.org/awards.
Thanks to our partners at The Black List and their bountiful blog, Go Into the Story by Scott Myers.
David Guggenheim broke into the business in February 2010 by selling the spec script Safe House which was produced and has grossed $208M worldwide. Since that time, Guggenheim has sold two more spec scripts: “Black Box” to Universal and “Narco Sub” to 20th Century Fox, as well as the pitch “Puzzle Palace”. With several other projects in development and having made the Black List twice (2010, 2012), it’s safe to say Guggenheim is one of the hottest action-thriller screenwriters in Hollywood today.
Here are links to the six installments of the entire interview:
Part 1: “You know, I just love the craft of constructing a story, coming up with movie concepts. That’s the fun for me. Just you and a blank page and you’re just coming up with stories.”
Part 2: “I love spy movies, and that’s my favorite genre to work in. And what I like doing, is taking a piece of a movie, that’s usually isn’t the focal of the movie, and blowing that up, and saying let’s do the movie from that point of view.”
Part 3: “For me, the best action movies are always the character‑driven action movies and they’re the one’s you always remember.”
Part 4: “Obviously, for the sake of the read, you want the action to jump off the page as much as possible, but what’s more important than the actual choreography is to come up a fresh way figuring out how the characters got into the action scene in the first place and how they get out of it.”
Part 5: “I think in a spec you need to make sure you’re hooking your reader in that first 15 pages, and that it has a strong enough concept. Because your concept it what’s going to set it apart.”
Part 6: “I will take any idea and I will try it. I may not agree with it when it’s given to me, but I always give the idea a chance, and I’ll try it.”
Please stop by comments to thank David and ask any questions you may have.
David is repped by Paradigm and Madhouse Entertainment.
By W. Kamau Bell. Originally posted here.
So… that happened.
That is one of my favorite lines in the history of film. It is from David Mamet’s brilliant State and Main. It comes out of the mouth of Alec Baldwin’s character right after he totals his car and the underage girl he was — and shouldn’t have been —with runs from the scene of the crimes. Alec casually looks to the person who witnessed the whole thing and says, matter of factly, “So… that happened.”
I always took that to mean, “I don’t know what the fuck that was exactly, but it happened. And now we all just have to deal with it and move on.”
Yup, Totally Biased has been canceled.
So… that happened.
Although what DID happen with Totally Biased has happened thousands of times in the history of show business… nay the world. It goes like this. Person gets job. Person works hard at job. Person loses job. My whole career I’ve seen talented comics get opportunities that I thought, “WOW! That is definitely going to be the THING for her!” And then I’ve seen that thing not become the THING. This is just my time for that. I thought Totally Biased was going to be my “THING!” I worked hard to make it so, and it didn’t happen. So now I get the chance to find a new “THING” and to see how that goes. That’s amazing. The show was canceled. I’m not canceled. 99.999% of stand-up comics don’t get this far. If I’m really lucky, what we did on Totally Biased will be remembered long after it stops airing. Heck, my mom is still mad that they canceled Frank’s Place. (Google it. It was great.)
The one thing I truly hope is that whoever the next comic is to be considered for a show doesn’t get judged by my lack of… you know… still having show. I hope John Landgraf and the beautiful people at FX (and FXX) continue to take chances on the underdogs. Their batting average is kind of amazing. I hope this doesn’t bum them out too much.
I am very proud of Totally Biased. The Lindy West / Jim Norton debate was amazing. For the rest of my career I will chase the highs of Sikh vs Sheikh. Hell, I got to talk to Rachel Maddow for nearly TEN MINUTES! I learned I like talking to random people on the street about real things; (I will be more proud of Anything to Say to a White Guy than anything else I do in my career.) Also I got to have one of my heroes, Vernon Reid of Living Colour, write me a theme song. I was able to work closely with the comedy Jedi Chris Rock. And, above it all, I was able to employ some awesome comics with original voices. Many of whom are my friends… and who will hopefully forgive how crazy I have been the last several months.
There are so many people who worked on the show. So many talented people who have much more experience in TV than I have (not hard to beat since I had none before this.) And they humbled themselves to pull in my direction, even when they sometimes had no idea where we were all headed. I appreciate all of their support. I will never forget it.
Most importantly, when Totally Biased was at it’s best it gave comedic voice to people and issues that do not often get that space on television. (I am overwhelmed by the love the show is getting now.) I tried. I really tried. And I’ll keep trying somewhere else.
Who knows what the next thing will be? (Seriously, who knows? I need a job. — Kidding… Mostly.) I am literally boiling over with ideas, and I can’t wait to get started. I am excited to get back into stand-up in a big way. I can’t wait to get my voice back. Many of you who watched Totally Biased have only seen a sliver of the real me. Check out my Fresh Air interview with Terry Gross for a more distilled version. But until then, I will see you on Twitter, Facebook, and in a city near you. I have a lot to say.
Thank you for your support. And still remember to stay totally biased.
Now, I’m gonna go update my LinkedIn profile.
P.S. Bring back Frank’s Place.
By Amanda Cole
A couple of nights ago I was at a small film get together hosting Derek Cianfrance (writer/director of Blue Valentine). He used phrases like “I thought I was cursed” and “people thought I was delusional” about making his first movie. This language oddly made me feel better, then as I was bitching to him about my own personal film curse and delusion – which if you are ever going to bitch and moan to a well-known successful writer/director, friends, he was an elegant pick- he told me master marble makers used to strike at marble 1,000 times with a hammer and it would look the same. Then they would strike that 1,001st time- and blammo! It would crack. Then I went home and wrote 20 pages of my newest screenplay. I love my Writers Guild of America, East. Thanks for making that happen.