Saturday Hot Links

Time for the 337th installment of Saturday Hot Links, your week’s essential reading about movies, TV, streaming, Hollywood, and other things of writerly interest.

Franklin Leonard’s The Black List Makes Deal To Produce/Finance Meridian Entertainment-Backed Indie Films.

‘A Quiet Place’: Why the Horror Film Roared at the Box Office.

‘A Quiet Place’: How Two Indie Filmmakers Accidentally Wrote a Studio Film for Emily Blunt and John Krasinski.

Stephen King Praises ‘A Quiet Place’ and Its Use of Silence: ‘It’s An Extraordinary Piece of Work’.

‘A Quiet Place’: What you might actually hear during John Krasinski’s nearly silent thriller.

‘A Quiet Place’ is a Horror Movie for Non-Horror Fans (And That’s Okay).

‘A Quiet Place’ Was Almost a ‘Cloverfield’ Movie.

‘A Quiet Place’: How ‘The Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ Remake Laid the Groundwork for a Surprise Box Office Hit.

10 Teenagers on “Love, Simon” and What It’s Actually Like to Come Out in 2018.

How ‘I Can Only Imagine’ Became a Breakout Indie Hit.

MPAA Report: Asian and Latino Audiences Love Movies Most, but North American Moviegoing Is in Decline.

Women in Animation, Indie Studios Partner on Anti-Harassment Initiative.

Cassian Elwes Launches Crowdfunding Venture Movie Collective With Indie Filmmaker Marcus Markou.

Irish Film Board to Receive $250M Funding Boost and New Branding.

Can Anyone Besides Marvel Make a Cinematic Universe Work?

Appeals Court Declines to Revive Antitrust Suit Against Big Talent Agencies.

Disney Stumps Internet by Sharing ‘When You’re Dead Inside’ Meme With Pinocchio.

Disney Deletes “Dead Inside” Pinocchio Tweet.

Alfonso Cuarón Writes Essay Praising Kubrick.

The Story of a Voice: HAL in ‘2001’ Wasn’t Always So Eerily Calm.

Tony Gilroy Finally Talks The “Terrible Troubled Mess” Of Star Wars’ ‘Rogue One’.

Neill Blomkamp Is Crowdfunding an Indie Studio That Will Make a ‘Firebase’ Feature.

Margaret Atwood believes Star Wars may have inspired the 9/11 terrorists.

How Screenplays Describe Characters From Texas.

Hollywood screenplays love to describe women as pretty — but not too pretty.

Galloway on Film: Why I’m Drowning in Too Many Media Choices.

Are You Getting Sick of the Reboot Era of Movie Making? Then Let’s Talk About U.S. Copyright Law.

Meet the next generation of genre filmmakers.

Fox Searchlight Launches TV Division.

3 Female Showrunners Shed Light on Process, TV Today, Diversity in Hollywood.

The Meta Storytelling of ‘Westworld’.

‘The Wire’s’ David Simon Developing New Series Set During Spanish Civil War.

Netflix Accused of Violating U.S. Tax Law in Bonuses to Top Executives.

Netflix yanks films from Cannes after new rule about theatrical release.

Stand-Up Comedy Scene Thrives in Arab Nations.

A Landslide of Classic Art Is About to Enter the Public Domain.

Facebook Was Vital For Indie Filmmakers. Now Their Followers Are Held Hostage, and the Ransom Keeps Changing.

Most Links to Popular Sites on Twitter Come From Bots.

Garry Shandling’s Twitter Account Reactivated by Friends.

Gimlet Announces Scripted Podcast Starring Kristen Wiig and Alia Shawkat, Renews ‘StartUp’ for Season 7.

Read: Reality TV, Why Do We Love You So?

Read: How Well Do You Know Your Generic Network Dramas?

Watch: 5 Mistakes You Typically See in Student Films (and How to Fix Them).

Watch: Surgical Resident Breaks Down 49 Medical Scenes From Film & TV.

Screenwriting Master Class tip of the week

I’m only offering two Prep workshops this year, so check them out.

The next session of my Prep: From Concept to Outline workshop begins Monday, May 28. I love teaching it because it’s exciting to dig into a new batch of stories and the process we use has a transformational effect on writers, a wonderful thing to behold. For example, here is an email sent to me from Dawn LeFever who worked with me in the Prep workshop in October-November 2014:

Hey Scott –
Hope you and your family are well. I know you are about to begin another prep course and I thought I’d give you a little insight you might want to share with your new students.
Since taking the course last year at this time, I not only wrote the script I prepped in class, but have written three more since then, having just completed the first draft of the third one yesterday. I LOVE this process and it feels really organic to me.
Every time I begin a new project, I pull out my notebook with the reading assignments and work through the process just as we did in class. I sort of begin the brainstorming list from day one and just add to it whenever anything comes to me while working through the process. I also use note cards before going to outline because it helps me with pacing.
Then, when I’m writing, I have both my script and my outline on my screen and just write away, checking back at the outline to stay on track. More than a few times, as I’m writing, I think about a line of dialog or an action and then look back at my outline and realize what I have in the outline is much better than what was occurring to me in the moment.
At other times, while writing, I will find ways to weave moments in the script that foreshadow what happens later, because I know what’s coming thanks to the thorough prep process.
In other words, as you say, I do truly break the story in prep, which makes the writing so much easier and (hopefully) deeper and richer. I easily knock out 10 pages a day with this process.
I know there are as many different ways to approach writing as there are writers, but, for me, your process makes everything click and, even more, allows me to get really excited to finally sit down and write.
In the past year, I have had some encouraging responses — I was in the top 15% of the Nicholl Fellowship screenplays and was in the top 50 for the ISA Fast Track Fellowship. I made the quarter finals for the Screencrafting Comedy Competition with two scripts (One of them a rewritten version of Smoker’s Choice).
So… forging ahead and having a blast!
Thanks again for everything and tell the folks IT WORKS!!!
All the best,

Prep: From Concept to Outline: “It works!”

When Tom Benedek and I launched Screenwriting Master Class 8 years ago, the very first course I created was Prep: From Concept to Outline. Why? Because no one else was teaching story prep online for screenwriting. That struck me as crazy because most professional screenwriters I know and all TV writers break stories in prep.

Since 2010, I have led over 30 online sessions of Prep and worked privately with dozens of writers. The response has been almost universally like the sentiments expressed by Dawn above.

In fact, Christian Contreras whose script “LAbyrinth” made the 2015 Black List is a Screenwriting Master Class alumnus, having taken this same Prep class with me back in 2014. Verity Colquhoun, an Australian writer who did a private one-on-one version of my Prep class in 2011, let me know the script she wrote (“Wonderful Unknown”) landed a director and is slated to go into production. And David Broyles, who participated in the very first Prep workshop I led back in 2010, was named as one of 25 Screenwriters to Watch in 2016 by the Austin Film Festival. When I emailed David to congratulate him, he sent back a note with this comment about Prep: From Concept to Outline: “I loved that workshop!”

I literally tell writers at the beginning of every Prep workshop: “If you do the work… it works.”

It’s not magic. It’s just a proven, professional approach to develop your story, stage by stage, from concept all the way to outline, beat sheet, or treatment, whichever you prefer.

In fact, Prep: From Concept to Outline has proved so successful, I adapted into a collegiate level course here at the DePaul University School of Cinematic Arts and it is required for our B.F.A. and M.F.A. screenwriting students.

Consider joining my next session of Prep. But whether you take a class with me or not, it’s imperative you learn some sort of approach to story prep.

Can you imagine routinely writing 10 pages per day? Can you imagine being able to write 3 full-length screenplays in a year? Can you imagine actually enjoying the page-writing process?

As Dawn suggests, all of that can happen if you wrangle your story before you type FADE IN.


The first session starts May 28. The second session begins July 9.

To check out the Prep: From Concept to Outline workshop, go here.

I look forward to the opportunity to work with you!