Helpful Infographics for Screenwriters

Screenwriting is an inspiring, creative, amazing profession with seemingly endless opportunities. However, it can be daunting, especially for the newcomers. There’s a lot to take into account when writing out your movie: the setting, the time period, the genre, which actors will play which characters. The movie business has a lot of moving parts, but unlike writing novels where the novel is the finished product, the screenplay is where the whole journey begins. And that process is often very long and arduous. Stephanie Palmer, author of Good In a Room, provides several infographics to help decipher the screenwriting and process and movie business.

Read the Full Article Here: Screenplay Writing Explained In 7 Infographics

Common Misconceptions About Hollywood

Ken Miyamoto from ScreenCraft discusses common misconceptions about Hollywood, debunks the myths, and discusses the changes that the industry has experienced.

Read full article here: Top 5 Misconceptions Novice Screenwriters Have About Hollywood

Do You Want to Light a Green Screen? Here’s how it’s done

The gentlemen at Aputure provide some tips and guidelines on how to use a green screen when shooting your films and when it’s the best time to use a blue screen instead.

Watch full video here: How Hollywood Lights Green Screens

Hollins Takes Over the 2017 Austin Film Festival

That’s a wrap! Hollins Summer Graduate Student Ashley Stratton recounts her experiences at the Austin Film Festival with her classmates from Hollins University:

Every year hundreds of screenwriters, both those working in the industry and those who desperately wish they were, descend upon the city of Austin for the Austin Film Festival (AFF). AFF is known unofficially as “the writer’s film festival,” and it’s a great chance to pick the brains of some of the most prolific writers in the field, shake the hand of one of your heroes, or to find your voice in Austin’s famous Pitch Competition.

This year, a group of intrepid students from Hollins University’s Graduate Screenwriting & Film Studies program made the trip to Texas to learn as much as possible, party until the wee hours of the morning (it’s networking, okay?), and to sample some killer Voodoo donuts. Tim Albaugh, director of the program, encourages as many students as possible to go, because this festival is unique. “AFF is an investment in yourself. Not only as a writer, but also as a collaborator.” He continues, “There’s nothing like hanging out with like-minded folks that are passionate about the same thing you’re passionate about. It’s an investment that will pay dividends now and for years to come.”

Nick Leitzke, a Hollins alumnus who made the trek, absolutely agrees, “To be honest I was asking myself why I was going for the entire month before the trip. But as soon as I was in my first panel on Thursday I knew why I was there. If you want to see what it really takes to make it in Hollywood and to get inspired by the journey, Austin is where you want to be.” Not only is the festival a wonderful opportunity to get inspired, the city itself is a great place to spend a weekend. It’s super walkable, and downtown is chock full of dimly lit bars, cozy coffee shops, and fantastic restaurants. (There’s so much queso, everywhere!) There’s something for everyone in Austin. Half of the group landed downtown in an Airbnb close to the Driskill Hotel, where most of the Festival action was held, and smack in the middle of all of the Halloween Parties going on that weekend. Needless to say, there wasn’t much sleep to be had, but that was okay because there was always something new to do.

When most people hear film festival, they think of, well, films. And while there were a bunch of shorts and feature-length films–including Greta Gerwig’s excellent Lady Bird, that many of us saw opening night–the main attractions are the conference panels. This year’s panelists included Academy Award winner Kenneth Lonergan, Academy Award Nominee Eric Heisserer, Emmy-winning writer/director/producer Keenan Ivory Wayans, showrunner Misha Smith, and so many more. The panels were diverse and enthralling. You never knew if someone was going to tell a witty story or drop a piece of advice that changed your view of the craft. There were sessions on everything from overcoming common screenwriting issues, to writing well-crafted stories about social justice, to master classes in individual writer’s films and careers. When you got in line for a panel, you never knew exactly what you were going to get, but you knew it was going to be good.

A unique part of AFF is the roundtable sessions. Roundtables are a chance to sit down in small groups with working writers, producers, and showrunners to pick their collective brains about topics ranging from the business of film and television to one-hour dramas to the business of podcasting. Alumnus Tyler Gallimore found the entire experience unbelievable, saying, “The access you have to the writers at the roundtable sessions and the other writers at the festival is amazing. I was blown away and so glad I came. Any time you can get up close and personal with a working writer/producer/manager is something that we should all take advantage of.” At AFF there is always the potential for a random conversation to turn into a new idea or a new friendship. But, with world-class storytellers at your fingertips, you know it’s never going to be boring.

AFF is fascinating because it focuses on storytelling techniques of the future including podcasts and writing for virtual reality and video games. One panel was, itself, a podcast, and many of us enjoyed the madcap antics of Craig Mazin combined with the staid calm of John August in person instead of through our car speakers during a taping of their popular Scriptnotes podcast. (Seriously, if you’ve never listened to it before, give’em a try). Second-year student, Jami Scholl was particularly interested in the off-beaten path nature of some of AFF’s tracks saying, “I wanted to get the ‘lay of the land’ for subsequent years of creation and to find out more about the other options for writers outside of features and television.” For those looking to expand their content creation horizons, AFF is a goldmine of information.

AFF isn’t all sitting in the dark and frantic note-taking; there’re so many people to meet. If you aren’t chatting people up in line, you’re sharing tips at one of the many parties throughout the week, or congregating in the lobby or the bar of the Driskill. Everyone at AFF is passionate about film and storytelling, and so it’s easy to strike up a conversation with a perfect stranger. Purnesh Konathala, a second-year student, experienced the AFF social phenomenon and was blown away. “The thing that often weighs me down in my craft is the introvert in me. But, at AFF, I left that all behind, I couldn’t believe it, I ended up speaking to more than twenty strangers in those three days. And I have the business cards to prove it.” Making connections that last for years is all a part of the AFF experience.

Our own Hollins AFF time was wrapped up nicely at a low-key get-together on Saturday night. Our little band of adventurers took over the back room of the Gingerman, a great Austin bar, and spent hours inhaling gallons of mac and cheese, drinking enough beer to float home on, and regaling each other with our festival adventures. For a film lover and screenwriter, AFF is a magical experience, but it was made even better by being able to experience it all with our Hollins fam.

Every one of us came away with some insight or important chance encounter over the course of the weekend, but Jamie Hoover, staring down her thesis project, had one of the best takeaways when she considered how the festival might affect her in the long run. “I realized that I can’t be scared to create. I think too often we as writers can get into our heads about the logistics and merits of our work and it can stop us before we even start. If we start at all, we can rework the weaker components; we can’t fix what isn’t there to begin with.”

The pursuit of screenwriting can sometimes feel like soloing a mountain. Breaking an act or even just writing a single scene can feel like a cold, exhausting, climb where one slip in concentration can send you free-falling into the bowels of the internet, or worse. Much like the Hollins University’s six-week summer residencies for the Screenwriting and Film program, the Austin Film Festival is a welcome respite from that lonely journey. Both Hollins and the Austin Film Festival are opportunities to go all in, to set your heart on creation, and to remember that there are so many amazing writers toiling right alongside you that, if need be, are willing to reach out and provide a steadying hand.  

If you find yourself in need of climbing partners in your screenwriting journey, check out Hollins University’s kick-ass M.F.A. in Screenwriting program. It meets every summer in gorgeous Roanoke, Virginia and offers classes from some of the most compelling writers working today. Or even if you just find yourself at AFF looking for a great gang to connect with, come find us. We’ll be in the back, hoarding the craft beer. We’ve got a cold one saved for you.

Diane Kruger: #WomenInMotion

During the 70th Annual Cannes International Film Festival, Diane Kruger sits down with Variety magazine and discusses women in Hollywood and the gender pay gap.

Watch the full video here: Diane Kruger on the gender pay gap in Hollywood: “I’ve never been paid as much as a male costar in the United States.” #WomenInMotion

Lynda Obst’s No-B.S. Advice for Fighting Hollywood Gender Inequality

Producer Lynda Obst wrote an insightful guest column for Hollywood Reporter on how to fight gender inequality in the film industry. She even argues that the film industry is the best industry for women and minorities as she points out the progress that has been made over the past few years while also reminding us that we have a lot more work to do.

Read the full article here: Producer Lynda Obst’s No-B.S. Advice for Fighting Hollywood Gender Inequality (Guest Column)

Martin Scorsese’s Go-To Film Editor Thelma Schoonmaker on the Secret Behind Their Epic Collaborations

Carolyn Giardina with Hollywood Reporter sat down with Thelma Schoonmaker to discuss Thelma’s incredible career (she recently received a career achievement award at the American Cinema Editor’s 67th Eddie Awards), her collaboration and friendship with Martin Scorsese, and what it’s like working as a woman behind the camera in Hollywood.

Read her full interview here: Martin Scorsese’s Go-To Film Editor Thelma Schoonmaker on the Secret Behind Their Epic Collaborations

“You Try.”

Liz Shannon Miller with IndieWire shares insight on the gender gap problem in Hollywood. She discusses how the women in the industry address the issue and how they are working to ameliorate it.

Read the full article here: How Do You Create a TV Industry that Supports Women Directors? You Try.

Episode Four of Page Ten Podcast

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Episode four of Page Ten, the Hollins University Screenwriting Podcast, is up and running, just click on the link below, or if you’d rather, it’s also available to download on iTunes. Head over and take a listen to the interview with guest Lawrence Ross, and if you like what you hear, be sure to subscribe and catch future episodes.

“Wait. Ben. Say That Again.”: Graham Moore on How to Write Characters That Are Smarter Than You

Academy Award winning writer Graham Moore, The Imitation Game, talks about his experiences writing the film that won him Oscar gold. He discusses the challenges of writing about a character who is smarter than you as well as fighting the cliches that surround the portrayal of highly intelligent figures in films.

*Graham Moore won the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for The Imitation Game.

*Benedict Cumberbatch received an Academy Award nomination for his role as Alan Turing in The Imitation Game.

Read the full article here: How to Write About Characters That Are Smarter Than You