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Write On

The Importance Social Media and Cloud Computing to Screenwriters

Justin SamuelsBy Justin Samuels

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.

Recap: 2014 Writers Guild Awards New York Ceremony

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:

SCREEN WINNERS

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

Her, Written by Spike Jonze; Warner Bros.

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

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

DOCUMENTARY SCREENPLAY

Stories We Tell, Written by Sarah Polley; Roadside Attractions 

TELEVISION AND NEW MEDIA WINNERS

DRAMA SERIES

Breaking Bad, Written by Sam Catlin, Vince Gilligan, Peter Gould, Gennifer Hutchison, George Mastras, Thomas Schnauz, Moira Walley-Beckett; AMC

COMEDY SERIES 

Veep, Written by Simon Blackwell, Roger Drew, Sean Gray, Armando Iannucci, Ian Martin, Georgia Pritchett, David Quantick, Tony Roche, Will Smith; HBO

NEW SERIES

House of Cards, Written by Kate Barnow, Rick Cleveland, Sam Forman, Gina Gionfriddo, Keith Huff, Sarah Treem, Beau Willimon; Netflix 

EPISODIC DRAMA

“Confessions” (Breaking Bad), Written by Gennifer Hutchison; AMC

EPISODIC COMEDY

“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

ANIMATION

“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

DAYTIME DRAMA

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 KirkPBS 

TIED WITH:

“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

RADIO WINNERS

DOCUMENTARY

“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

VIDEOGAME WINNER

OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN VIDEOGAME WRITING

The Last of Us, Written by Neil Druckmann; Sony Computer Entertainment

Interview: Beau Willimon, ‘House of Cards’

beau_headshot_(2) copyThe debut season of House of Cards (Netflix) was political drama at its best. Now, viewers are waiting to see what House of Cards’ writing staff concocts for Francis and Claire Underwood in the show’s highly anticipated second season, which goes live on February 14th. (Watch the season 2 trailer here).

House of Cards is nominated for “Drama Series,” “New Series,” and “Episodic Drama” at the 2014 Writers Guild Awards. Tickets for the February 1st Writers Guild Awards New York Ceremony are available here.

The WGAE Write On Blog interviewed House of Cards creator and writer Beau Willimon, who will also be a presenter at the 2014 Writers Guild Awards New York Ceremony. Here’s what he had to say:

Congratulations on House of Cards being nominated for multiple Writers Guild Awards. One of the awards you’re up for is “Episodic Drama” for the show’s first episode. Do you mind telling me a bit about your writing process?

The most important part is hiring a bunch of wildly talented writers!  I have a great staff – brilliant minds and tireless workers.  We spend 6 weeks breaking the season grid – all of the major story-lines and how they will progress over the course of 13 episodes.  Then we shift to breaking and writing individual episodes.  We’ll spend about 2 weeks breaking an episode, culminating in an outline.  If I’m not writing the episode myself, I’ll assign it to one of my writers.  They’ll have a couple weeks to write a first draft, then I’ll give notes.  They get an additional week for rewrites, then I take over and give every script my pass.  We repeat this process in a rolling fashion, beginning to break the next episode as soon as a writer heads off to write the previous one.

It takes us about 8 months total to write a season, so there’s some overlap with production.  Often we’ll make big changes to the grid along the way, or come up with a better idea for a script several weeks after it’s been written – so there is a constant ongoing revision process.  And that continues right up until the table read and even rehearsals.

I’m a strong believer in getting the actors’ and director’s input.  Listening to their thoughts and answering their questions usually makes a script better.  And I want them to feel as much ownership over the story as we do.  At its heart, making television is a deeply collaborative process – from the writer’s room to set and eventually the editing bay.  Ultimately I have to make the decisions, but the more I can involve everyone, the better chance we have of achieving sophistication and subtlety.

In addition to being a nominee, you’ll also be a presenter at the New York Ceremony. What do you think makes a good awards show presenter?

Excellent posture, clear enunciation and sparkling eyes.  The first two I was supposed to learn in elementary school, but I was more interested in beating Super Mario Bros. For the third I’m hoping there’s VFX in post.

What propelled you to make the move from working in politics to writing about politics?

I was always a writer – before, during and after I worked in politics.  It wasn’t as though I moved from one field to another. Political campaigns were never really a career for me. I worked for candidates I believed in, because I honestly wanted to see them get elected.  But it wasn’t my vocation.  It was sporadic – intense periods where I’d disappear from my everyday life for a few months and work around the clock until Election Day.  I was drawn to the pace and energy, the adrenalin, and the thought that – in my own small way – I could make a difference.

A lot of people think I’m cynical about politics because of Ides of March and House of Cards – but the opposite is true.  I’m very optimistic about what government can accomplish when it’s populated by the right people and working well.  I just temper that optimism with a good dose of realism – the fact that power can often corrupt and leadership often requires people to have a flexible moral spectrum in order to be effective.

What do you think the best piece of dialogue Francis Underwood has spoken on the show?

I’ve always been fond of “The nature of promises is that they remain immune to changing circumstances.”  One of the more amusing lines is “I despise children.  There – I said it.”  And another one of my favorites is one that Francis didn’t come up with, but which he quotes, stealing from Oscar Wilde: “A wise man once said: ‘Everything in the world is about sex, except sex; sex is about power.”

Many politicians make cameos in movies and television shows. What show do you think Francis would make a cameo on?

I’d love to see him make a cameo on VEEP.  VEEP is such a well-written, well-acted, viciously funny and satirical sharp show.  And it would be a blast to see Frank go head to head with V.P. Meyer.

Whose writing – or what films/shows – grabbed your attention in 2013?

I loved The Top of the Lake.  The commune story-line especially grabbed me.  It’s so original.  Of course Vince Gilligan and Breaking Bad never ceases to amaze.  What a glorious final season.  American Hustle was pure brilliance.  But what blew me away more than anything in 2013 was Vinterberg’s The Hunt.  The writing, acting and direction were so compact and gut-wrenching – not a single frame wasted.  It’s as close to a perfect movie as I’ve seen since Donnersmarck’s The Lives of Others.

If you could write a scene for any fictional film or television character throughout history, who would it be?

I think it would have to be Falstaff.  500 years later we’re all still grasping to touch the wonderfully impossible high bars Shakespeare set in both comedy and drama.  And Falstaff is his greatest creation.  He a mixture of humor and heartbreak, largeness and smallness, the prosaic and poetic – everything that The Bard did so well.  Falstaff is an entire universe – the best and worst of humanity with all the complexity in between.

In terms of more modern characters, I’d have to say Al Swearengen from Milch’s Deadwood, Bubbles from Simon’s The Wire, and GJ from Campion & Lee’s Top of the Lake, because she’s such a compelling, delicious freaky enigma.

Interview: Gary Lennon, ‘Orange Is The New Black’

gary lennonA smart, dark comedy set in a women’s prison that features a magnificent ensemble cast? Count us among the millions of people who binge watched Orange is The New Black (Netflix) and absolutely loved it.

Orange is nominated for “Comedy Series,” “New Series,” and “Episodic Comedy” at the 2014 Writers Guild Awards. Tickets for the February 1st Writers Guild Awards New York Ceremony are available here.

The WGAE Write On Blog interviewed Gary Lennon, a supervising producer and writer for Orange. Here’s what he had to say:

Congratulations on Orange is The New Black being nominated for “Comedy Series” and “New Series” at the 2014 Writers Guild Awards. Can you talk a bit about the writing process for the show and how you personally like to work?

The writing process for the show was fun. We all sat around the writer’s room and told crazy stories, often personal ones and plenty of them wound up in the first season of the show. Jenji was wide open and receptive to bold and innovative stories. She assembled a group of writers who were outside the box, sort of from the island of broken toys and that led to plenty of strange personal storytelling and laughter and sometimes tears. Once a story area code was decided upon, then we all set around and broke the story together and then finally an episode was given to one writer to write, but ALL of the episodes were designed by the entire writing staff.

My favorite way of working on an episode is to talk about a theme and then riff on that theme and our characters and develop a story where our characters can live truthfully under imaginary circumstances. I know that I have had a good week in the writer’s room if I leave on Friday and know something new about one of my co-workers that I never knew before and it should be juicy.

What piece of dialogue/scene from the first season is your personal favorite?

My personal favorite scene in the first season of Orange is The New Black is the scene between Miss Claudette and Piper in Episode 4, where Piper defends herself for the first time to her new roommate, Miss Claudette.

It’s the ‘cut me some slack’ speech that Piper delivers to Claudette. I like that scene because it really shows Piper’s growth as a character, it moves the plot forward, reveals character and it was funny and emotional. I think it was one of the first turning points for Piper and earned her some well-deserved respect. I felt like it was her first big step in not being a tourist in prison anymore, but in fact, she was going native.

If you were to go out with any of the characters, who would it be and why? What do you imagine the topics of conversation would be?

If I were to go out to dinner with one of the characters from Orange, I’d want it to be Taystee.

Taystee would make me laugh and  would want to talk about sex, food and good times which are three of my favorite subjects and I feel like we would have some friends in common and then she would want to go dance all night long and maybe not sleep at all.

Without giving anything away, what can viewers expect from the upcoming second season?

I assume season 2 will be more laughs, more flashbacks and more surprises.

Whose writing – or what films/shows – grabbed your attention in 2013?

My favorite TV show and writers of 2013 are Vince Gilligan/Breaking Bad, Henry Bromell/Homeland, Glenn Mazara/Walking Dead  and Howard Korder and Terrance Winter/Boardwalk Empire…..ohhhh, and Julian Fellowes/Downton Abbey. I love me some Downton!

Fave 2013 Films – 12 Years A Slave/John Ridley, Her/Spike Jonze, Blue Jasmine/Woody Allen.

If you could write a scene for any fictional character throughout history, who would it be?

I’d want to write for Oliver Twist – I’d like to see the man he’d become. Or Terry Malloy from On The Waterfront.

Interview: Joe Weisberg & Joel Fields, ‘The Americans’

TheAmericans1The Americans (FX) is a Reagan-era drama that follows two undercover KGB officers, brilliantly portrayed by Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys, as they infiltrate Washington, D.C. By day, the couple lives a fairly innocuous suburban life. At night, they will do anything – ANYTHING! – to gather intel for their homeland.

The Americans is nominated for “New Series” at the 2014 Writers Guild Awards. Tickets for the February 1st Writers Guild Awards New York Ceremony are available here.

The WGAE Write On Blog interviewed the show’s creator and executive producer Joe Weisberg and executive producer  Joel Fields. Here’s what they had to say:

Congratulations on The Americans being nominated for “New Series” at the 2014 Writers Guild Awards. Can you talk a bit about the writing process for the show and how you personally like to work?

We spend a lot of time taking walks and talking about character and theme before we break story… then we walk more as we talk about story. The colder it gets, the faster we walk and the more motivated we are. Fortunately we work on the East Coast… otherwise there might not be a show. We and our writing staff rely heavily on our network and the other producers we work with who are great creative partners for us and often provide perspective that helps us see the work in new ways. We try to have every script be both an expression of the individual writer’s passion and voice while at the same time having the entire staff weigh in and provide creative support and insight.

What piece of dialogue/scene from the first season is your personal favorite?

JOEL: Elizabeth beating the shit out of Claudia actually brought us to our feet in the editing room, chanting, “KGB! KGB! KGB!”… but the real moment that resonates from that sequence is the scene after, where Philip and Elizabeth walk out of the safe house and confront the cracks in their relationship, and the meaning of trust, love and betrayal.
JOE: Gregory leaving the safe house after refusing to be exfiltrated to Moscow, and then Philip and Elizabeth going to their separate cars, acknowledging each other’s decency in the middle of their painful separation.

What are the key things you need to remind yourself when you’re writing scenes with Elizabeth and Philip?

That’s easy: they are not self-aware or articulate. They feel strongly, but aren’t necessarily in touch with their feelings, so often they have to be expressed in unconscious, non-linear ways.

Season 2 of The Americans debuts on February 26th. What can you tell us?

In Season One, we struggled a lot as we figured out what the show was. This season we started in a very clear place and, for better or worse, we’ve followed that singular path all season. We hope you like it!

Whose writing – or what films/shows – grabbed your attention in 2013?

We’ve been so busy with the show that there is a lot waiting for us to watch after wrap! That said… Joel binged on Breaking Bad, we both loved Game of Thrones. We both watch and love Justified. Joel watched every episode of Masters of Sex and loves escaping into The Mindy Project. Joe has been watching Veep and an Israeli show called Srugim. Joe loved Saving Mr. Banks, which Joel can’t wait to see during hiatus. We both loved Captain Philips and Her. Billy Ray: would you like to write an episode? Spike Jonze?

If you could write a scene for any fictional film or television character throughout history, who would it be?

JOE: NYPD Blue.
JOEL: HILL STREET BLUES… Joel gets to call Steven Bochco for advice from time to time, for which he is eternally grateful!

WGAE Hosts Park City Send Off Party

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.

2014 Writers Guild Awards: Final Voting Now Open

Awards Letterhead 2013.inddThe FINAL voting period to determine the winners for the 2014 Writers Guild Awards begins today for the following categories:

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
COMEDY SERIES
DRAMATIC SERIES
NEW SERIES

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

The Writers Guild Awards New York Ceremony will take place on Saturday, February 1st, at the Edison Ballroom in New York City.  Tickets are now available here.  Thank you to our sponsor ScreenCraft.

2014 WGA Awards: Screen Nominations Revealed

Awards Letterhead 2013.inddThe Writers Guild of America, West (WGAW) and the Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE) have announced nominations for outstanding achievement in writing for the screen during 2013.

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:

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

  • 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

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

  • 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

DOCUMENTARY SCREENPLAY

  • 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.

Writers Guild Awards Tickets On Sale

awards INVITE POSTER

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.

Interview: David Guggenheim (2010, 2012 Black List)

David GuggenheimThanks 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.