Film Courage: How do you keep faith in yourself and in your craft during turbulent times?
Brad Rushing, Cinematographer: Boy is that a good question! Talk about dirty laundry. I have this terrific career coach. Her name is Erica Wernick and she’s really fabulous. You should interview her. She’s got a book coming out. I’ll send you her information. But she would probably punch me in the arm for saying this, but there was a time early in my career (early on in the 90’s) where I was so frustrated and so down and didn’t believe in myself and I just had this revelation You know what, I’ve set a goal. I don’t have to believe in myself…(Watch the video interview on Youtube here).
Film Courage: Shane in your new book What You Don’t Learn In Film School was there a chapter or section that sparked controversy?
Shane Stanley, Filmmaker/Author/Instructor: Oh absolutely. I think the most controversial chapter in the book is the one that is the most important is to get out, dig ditches, get your hands dirty and make yourself available and whatever it takes to get on a set within your morals, values, and ethics parameter to go do it. And when I came up as we talked about how I made phone calls and hustled to get work and get…
Film Courage: Without naming names, can you tell us a story about how a studio took your script or one of your ideas?
Shane Stanley, Filmmaker/Author/Instructor: Which time? I’m a really big proponent of protecting your work. I will go on record to say don’t waste your time or your $20.00 or $30.00 doing WGA West. It’s a waste of time, it doesn’t do anything. It’s not going to do what you want it to do. Spend the extra $25.00 and go with the USCO (U.S. Library of Congress), US Copyright office is what that stands for. The process is…
1) 0:45 — Write Something That Only You Can Write
2) 2:20 — The Primary Goal
3) 2:53 — A Mediocre Script
4) 6:01 — Not Enough Story
5) 6:23 — Burning Questions
6) 10:18 — No Curiosity
7) 10:53 — Not Hooking The Reader
8) 12:50 — People Can’t Read Your Script
9) 14:06 — Cliché Character Descriptions
10) 14:27 — Main Character Must Want Something
11) 16:42 — Boring Characters
12) 18:06 — Secrecy & Deception
13) 20:41 — The 4 Goal Rule
14) 22:20 — Know The Characters
15) 24:45 — Characters That Do Not Serve The Story
16) 25:20 — The Heart And Soul Of The Story
17) 27:34 — Skin Jump
Film Courage: We’ve imagined that you’ve received your share of screenplay pitches or you’ve heard about others pitching. What are some of the wrong ways to pitch? What are some of the wrong ways to reach out to someone?
Shane Stanley, Filmmaker/Author/Instructor: I think there is a right way and a wrong way to present people your work (your screenplays) and to approach them. If you break it down I think writers need to be just as good if not better at writing a synopsis or a treatment. I like getting those two-page treatments where if it’s five acts it’s…
Jack Grapes, Artist, Writer, Author, Instructor: That’s what they want, that’s what they pay for…
Film Courage: What is a transformational line?
Jack: It’s a sentence with “I” in it that you then massage to go deeper.
What’s the deeper truth, what’s the answer to the question?
Film Courage: Can we have an example?
Jack: Yeah, say something with “I” in it?
Film Courage: Okay, I’ve been really thinking about my life.
Film Courage: Shannan, for anyone who knows nothing about screenwriting, how would you begin to teach them the craft?
Writer/Instructor and Script Consultant Shannan E. Johnson (The Professional Pen): That’s a great question because we all kind of start from this place of not knowing screenwriting unless you decide to go to a film program that’s actually teaching screenwriting. It’s one of those things that is not a part of our education system or anything like that so a lot of us are starting from scratch. The great thing about it being 2021 is that there are resources everywhere. I…
Shane Stanley, Filmmaker/Author/Instructor: You may not think five thousand dollars for a gift basket is a lot of money for an actor, but you’re also spending this much at night on a hotel room and in reality they’re going to spend 12 hours a day on a set.
Film Courage: Toward the end of your book What You Don’t Learn in Film Schoolyou have this fascinating story where you saved a Hollywood studio 50 million [dollars]?
Film Courage: How many feature scripts have you written?
Jeremy Foley, Filmmaker/Actor/Screenwriter: Oh gosh, let me think… feature scripts we have written…one…two ( I have to count)…probably seven or eight feature scripts and then probably two or three television or teleplay scripts, shorter pilots or our podcast script. Probably about a dozen scripts in total and then within those dozen completed scripts you know certainly we have a giant board with all of our ideas and then we have a lot of treatments for things that we’ve written and we’ve written a lot of you know we’ve written a lot…
Erica Wernick, Personal Coach, Author and Speaker: Procrastination really has nothing to do with laziness and everything to do with resistance and a lot of times when people procrastinate it’s really truly because they don’t feel worthy of the thing that they’re trying to make happen.
Film Courage: Erica what’s the biggest obstacle you’ve had to overcome?
A lot of times when people procrastinate it’s really truly because they don’t feel worthy of the thing that they’re trying to make happen.