September 29 2011

TV Writer Podcast 028 - Tamiko Brooks (8 Simple Rules, Half & Half)

Writer Tamiko Brooks grew up in Detroit, but knew from an early age she wanted to work in the entertainment industry. She was not only the first Nickelodeon live action fellow, but was also accepted to the Disney/ABC writing fellowship.

Tamiko Brooks earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Columbia College Chicago. After graduation, she headed west to L.A., and got a job as an assistant on the TV sitcom, Moesha. Under the mentorship of some of the writers, Tamiko began writing spec sitcoms and ultimately received her first writing credit in 1999 with an episode of Moesha.

Soon after, Tamiko was accepted to the first year of the Nickelodeon Writing Fellowship, along with former podcast interviewee Courtney Lilly. She was relocated to Orlando, FL to work on the Nick sitcom, Taina.

After that, she became an ABC/Disney writing fellow. As a result, she was placed on the sitcom, 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter. The head writer was so impressed with her that he hired her on staff, and she was with the show for two seasons until its cancellation.

Tamiko was then hired as a writer on Half & Half. Additionally, Tamiko has written freelance assignments for The Proud Family and the daytime drama One Life to Live.

You'll learn a lot from Tamiko about navigating the industry, and dealing with the ups and downs and cyclical nature of TV schedules.

Make sure you take part in the TV Writer Chat this Sunday night, as it will feature the launch of the first TV Writer Podcast contest, with some amazing prizes! Get the details about the chat at tvwriterchat.com.

Follow Tamiko on Twitter: @TamikoBrooks

Didn't get your questions asked? Make sure you follow Gray on Twitter so you can get the scoop on who is being interviewed and how to get your questions in. Also check out our TV Writer Twitter Database to find Twitter addresses for several hundred TV writers. Find previous episodes and other resources at www.tvwriterpodcast.com.

Hosted by Gray Jones, the TV Writer Podcast is devoted to interviews with working TV writers. It is brought to you by Script magazine and Scriptmag.com, the leading source for scriptwriting information in print and on the web; and by Final Draft scriptwriting software, the entertainment industry standard for scriptwriting worldwide.

Subscribe: iTunes (Video)iTunes (Audio)PodBean (Audio)

00:0000:00

September 28 2011

Lady Screenwriters Talk Sex and Anna Faris in What’s Your Number?

When screenwriters Gabrielle Allan and Jennifer Crittenden read the book 20 Times a Lady, about a woman who is afraid she's slept with too many men to be able to find the right one, they knew they had to get involved. The book turned out to be a great starting place for a movie they would title What's Your Number? Starring Anna Faris and Chris Evans, this romantic comedy takes a look at one woman's sexual dating history. Thanks to programming like Sex and the City and box-office hits like Bridesmaids, studios no longer shy away from women leads talking, with candor and humor, about their sex lives.

Script sat down with Allan and Crittenden to find out how they brought the taboo topic of multiple partners to the big screen, with tons of laughs and a whole lot of heart.

Podcast highlights:

  • "We wanted to find an edgy female comedy ..."
  • "We had pitched TV but we didn't realize how different features are ..."
  • "What their true number really is ..."
00:0000:00

September 20 2011

Screenwriter Shawn Christensen on Abduction

When the idea of a high school kid who finds his photo on a missing persons site was given to screenwriter Shawn Christensen, he couldn't get it out of his mind. He was pitched the one-line story nugget while at a meeting at Gotham Group for another job. The screenwriter was given the chance to write his take on the film, on spec. It took 64 days, he said, but it was worth it.

[caption id="attachment_21974" align="alignright" width="150" caption="Screenwriter Shawn Christensen"]Screenwriter Shawn Christensen. [/caption]

The next thing he knew, teen heartthrob Taylor Lautner was interested in playing the staring role. A week-long bidding war began which ended in Lionsgate paying high-six figures for the project. Christensen couldn't have been more thrilled. Less than a year later, the movie, staring Lautner, Lily Collins, Sigourney Weaver, and Alfred Molina, is ready for release.

Abduction is a high-paced thriller about a high school kid on the run to find the truth about his past. Script sat down with Christensen to find out just what it takes to write a script top to bottom in only two months.

Podcast highlights:

  • [On holding back exposition] "I'm one of those people who watched Lost and didn't care if they solved the mysteries ..."
  • [On writing thrillers] "Whenever you give one pay-off, you still have to set up another pay-off..."
  • [On writing] "Go read your favorite screenplays ... whatever inspires you."
00:0000:00

September 12 2011

Screenwriter Hossein Amini on Drive

When asked to adapt a script about a man with no name, no backstory and barely any dialogue, screenwriter Hossein Amini knew he hit the jackpot. "I love silences," Amini says about Drive, the film he adapted from a book by James Sallis. The story is about a stunt driver by day who runs a getaway car service at night. Starring Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, and Albert Brooks, it's one of the most anticipated indie films of the season. But no one talks, or has any backstory ... ? That's what makes it exciting, says Amini, whose credits include The Four Feathers, Jude, and The Wings of the Dove. Script sat down with Amini to talk about how much white space he likes to see on the page.
Podcast highlights:
  • "I was surprised the studio wanted to make something so spare ..."
  • "The whole idea of a cowboy coming in from outside ..."
  • "There's a difference between scripts written for studios and producers to read and scripts that are meant to be shot ..."
00:0000:00

September 6 2011

Scott Z. Burns on Contagion

Ever wonder, when you dip your fingers into a bowl of nuts at the bar or a mint tray at the hostess stand, how many other people have done the same (and where their fingers have been)? Screenwriter Scott Z. Burns (The Bourne Ultimatum) did. He was fascinated by the thought. So much so, he pitched his idea of a fatal disease, that spreads like the common cold, through doorknobs and turnstiles, to director Steven Soderbergh while they worked together on 2009's The Informant!. Burns' pitch grew into the action-thriller Contagion, starring Matt Damon, Kate Winslet, Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Marion Cotillard. Script sat down with Burns to talk multiple storylines, multiple locations, and keeping his fingers on the keyboard and out of the nut bowl.

Podcast highlights:

  • "Blank paper is both a warning and an invitation ..."
  • "I may have some ideas about things, but I try not to fall in love with them."
  • "If you're falling in love with a piece of language in a movie, you have to be really careful."
00:0000:00

August 9 2011

Writer-Director Tate Taylor on The Help

He ain't a woman and he ain't black, but Tate Taylor wrote and directed The Help. He's leaving it to audiences to decide if he did justice to the best-selling novel by the same name. Taylor’s childhood friend, author Kathryn Stockett, penned the story of black maids working for white families in a Jim Crow-governed Jackson, Mississippi. An aspiring novelist (Emma Stone) urges black maids (Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer) to speak about out the racial injustices inflicted on them during this tumultuous time. So, what’s a white guy from Mississippi got to say about it? A lot apparently. Taylor was raised by a black maid, and although that doesn’t make him an expert, it gives him an insight into a story he says isn’t necessarily about civil rights. It’s about “humanity and friendship,” he says. It’s about “taking chances and getting out of your comfort zone.” Script sat down with writer-director Tate Taylor to talk about racism, growing up in the South and adapting his best friend’s novel.

00:0000:00

August 3 2011

Podcast: Doc Filmmaker Michael Barnett on Real-Life Superheroes

Ever felt the injustice of the world was a weight upon your shoulders? Perhaps you should go out and do something about it. In the past few decades, the movement of underground superheroes -- regular people who feel compelled to fight crime -- has gone from a sparse few to several hundred. Documentary filmmaker Michael Barnett felt compelled to capture the story of these "Superheroes" in his new documentary, which premieres on HBO August 8.

Podcast highlights:

  • "Terrifica is a woman who would go out and protect drunk women at bars ..."
  • "Five or six years ago, [the movement of regular people behaving as superheroes] really started to explode and became a nationwide phenomenon ..."
  • "A lot of these guys had been exploited by the media ... so getting these guys to trust us was a real challenge ..."
  • "We're living in cynical times, and I think this movement has arisen out of that ..."
00:0000:00

August 1 2011

TV Writer Podcast 027 - Eric Haywood (Soul Food, Relative Stranger)

Writer-director Eric Haywood started out as a successful Atlanta-based music video director, but since moving to Los Angeles has written for cable and network television, has written a TV movie, and has written and directed many short films. You'll love hearing how he has approached every step of his interesting journey through the industry!

Eric was born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He began his career as a music video director while still enrolled at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in filmmaking. After relocating to Atlanta, Eric went on to direct and produce videos featuring such artists as Usher, Cee-Lo Green, Outkast, New Edition, Ice-T, Tupac Shakur, and legendary Parliament-Funkadelic bassist Bootsy Collins. His video for Bay Area rapper E-40's song "Sprinkle Me" was selected by MTV and XXL Magazine as the #10 Greatest West-Coast Rap Video of All Time.

Eric then turned his focus to writing, and moved to Los Angeles, where he landed jobs as a writer on all five seasons of Showtime's Soul Food: The Series, and NBC's police drama Hawaii. Along the way, he has periodically returned to his filmmaking roots, writing and directing three short films (Staring at the Sun, Intersection, and Nick of Time), each of which has screened at a number of film festivals around the country.

Most recently, Eric wrote the Hallmark Channel Original Movie Relative Stranger, starring Eriq LaSalle and directed by Charles Burnett. After premiering in the spring of 2009, the film garnered three NAACP Image Award nominations and a Best Supporting Actress Emmy® nomination for Cicely Tyson.

Follow Eric on Twitter: @Eric_Haywood

Didn't get your questions asked? Make sure you follow Gray on Twitter so you can get the scoop on who is being interviewed and how to get your questions in. Also check out our TV Writer Twitter Database to find Twitter addresses for several hundred TV writers. Find previous episodes and other resources at www.tvwriterpodcast.com.

Hosted by Gray Jones, the TV Writer Podcast is devoted to interviews with working TV writers. It is brought to you by Script magazine and Scriptmag.com, the leading source for scriptwriting information in print and on the Web; and by Final Draft scriptwriting software, the entertainment industry standard for scriptwriting worldwide.

Subscribe: iTunes (Video)iTunes (Audio)PodBean (Audio)

00:0000:00

July 26 2011

Dan Fogelman Talks Crazy, Stupid, Love

Adorable, charming, and an amazing writer, Dan Fogelman has it all. So, why does he need to write a film called Crazy, Stupid, Love if life is such a peach? Because he's human. And, that  -- why love is so crazy wonderful but so terribly stupid at the same time -- is the focus of his new movie. The film stars Steve CarellRyan Gosling, Emma Stone, and Julianne Moore and comes to theaters July 29. With a series of successful animated films (Cars, Cars 2, Tangled, and Bolt) and a big-budget comedy (Fred Claus) under his belt, Fogelman decided it was time to write something from the heart. He set aside everything he learned about writing commercially, he says, and pounded out this beauty "relatively quickly." Script caught up with the man -- who is quickly becoming one of the most sought-after screenwriters in Hollywood -- to get a few secrets to his success.

Podcast highlights include:

  • "I write a lot quickly and then work on fixing it after ..."
  • "Figure out what works for you and make that a pattern."
  • "You need to be able to separate the good ideas from the bad ..."

Click below to listen!

00:0000:00

Podcast: Dan Fogelman Talks Crazy, Stupid Love

Adorable, charming, and an amazing writer, Dan Fogelman has it all. So, why does he need to write a film called Crazy, Stupid, Love if life is such a peach? Because he's human. And, that  -- why love is so crazy wonderful but so terribly stupid at the same time -- is the focus of his new movie. The film stars Steve CarellRyan Gosling, Emma Stone, and Julianne Moore and comes to theaters July 29. With a series of successful animated films (Cars, Cars 2, Tangled, and Bolt) and a big-budget comedy (Fred Claus) under his belt, Fogelman decided it was time to write something from the heart. He set aside everything he learned about writing commercially, he says, and pounded out this beauty "relatively quickly." Script caught up with the man -- who is quickly becoming one of the most sought-after screenwriters in Hollywood -- to get a few secrets to his success.

Podcast highlights include:

  • "I write a lot quickly and then work on fixing it after ..."
  • "Figure out what works for you and make that a pattern."
  • "You need to be able to separate the good ideas from the bad ..."

Click below to listen!

00:0000:00
« Older episodes · Newer episodes »