Screenwriting success is not a static thing. It’s something that has to keep happening in many different ways. Screenwriter Nicholas Griffin broke out early with his script, Matchstick Men, written with his brother Ted. The film was directed by Ridley Scott and stared Nicholas Cage. He and Ted went on to write the FX drama, Terriers, and Nick has worked with most of the major studios in town. He’s also taught graduate level screenwriting at UCLA. We’ll talk about the strange, circuitous routes to screenwriting success, script doctoring, and how to keep your wits in studio notes meeting.
For indie filmmakers, nothing is more heartbreaking than pouring your soul into a film that no one sees. Producer Lindsay Lanzilotta has worked on films that made it to Sundance, garnered Film Independent noms, and opened SXSW. She knows how much work it takes. Now, She’s working on a new avenue to help filmmakers reach audiences. We’ll talk about indie film producing and cracking the distribution nut.
We talk about Lindsay's films The Vicious Kind, and The Invitation. Her work with The Film Arcade, and Carousel. Films like The Peanut Butter Falcon, filmmakers like Karyn Kusama, and Naomi McDougall Jones self-distribution strategy for her film, Bite Me. We also talk about previous Hearthside Salon episodes with festival programmer Drea Clark and with archeologist Sarah Yeomans and historian Rob Latimer on the future of story post-pandemic.
Christina Kotlar - Writer/Director - Film Town 1910: When Hollywood was in Jersey and the studio owner was a woman
Hollywood didn’t start out as a boy’s club, nor did it start in Hollywood. Alice Guy Blache was the industry’s first woman director and the co-owner of Solax, a film studio built in Fort Lee, New Jersey in 1910. Writer/Director Christina Kotlar has been celebrating Alice and working to bring her forgotten story to the world. We’ll talk about Alice’s groundbreaking life and career before there were barriers to inclusion, including directing the first film with an all African American cast.
More on Christina and her work. More on Alice. We talk about filmmaker Pamela Green and the Alice documentary Be Natural. Filmmaker Marquise Lepage and her film The Lost Garden. More on Fort Lee where it all happened. Alice's memoir. Her 1896 film The Cabbage Fairy. Alison's McMann's book The Lost Visionary. Alice's legacy in female filmmakers like Maya Deren and her 1943 film Meshes of the Afternoon. Suffragist Alice Paul. Trainee and later rival, Edison. And Alice's final resting place. We also mention the very first episode of Hearthside Salons featuring Emmy winning puppeteer, Liz Hara.
And as always, more information on PageCraft's upcoming screenwriting classes and workshops.
Trying to figure out how to wow the powers that be and get past the Hollywood gatekeepers is a full-time job. One way for your film to fly is to impress Drea Clark. Former teacher of music video production at USC, Drea has curated for film festivals like Slamdance, Sundance, LA Film Fest, and Geena Davis’ Bentonville Film Festival. She produces too so she knows firsthand what it takes from both sides. We’ll talk about what she looks for, what makes for a great festival run, and what makes a film a winner.
Here's lots more info on Drea, her IMDB, Film Independent, and her Instagram. Here's more on her films: The Last Time You Had Fun, Lake Los Angeles. Her festival work includes Slamdance, Sundance, LA Film Fest, and Geena Davis' Bentonville Film Festival.
We talk about filmmaker Maggie Kylie, Clarissa Jacobson's Book on navigating film festivals, resources like Film Freeway, PageCraft's Writer's Lunch, and a previous Hearthside Salon episode about what art might come out of this pandemic.
Emmy-winning documentarian, Sarah Moshman, is drawn to stories of women overcoming seemingly insurmountable obstacles. We’ll talk about her three docs: The Empowerment Project: Ordinary Women Doing Extraordinary Things, Losing Sight of Shore about four women rowing to Australia, and Nevertheless following seven people grappling with sexual harassment claims in work or school. We’ll also talk about what’s next for her and how her new book, Empowered Filmmaking: How to Make a Documentary on Your Own Terms, can help with what’s next for you.
Sarah and I talk about:
Jackson Katz' TedTalk on languaging and violence against women. Rashad Beal and Peace Over Violence. Fiona Tatten and Womenthology. Film resources like IndieFlix and GirltalkHQ. And of course, Sarah's films Losing Sight of Shore, The Empowerment Project, Nevertheless, her MovieMaker Magazine article on directing Losing Sight of Shore, and her great new book: Empowered Filmmaking.
When Rebecca Field left her small town in the Berkshires for Hollywood, she knew one thing: she was going to be an actor no matter what. After more than a decade of working steadily in your favorite films and shows, she worked opposite Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper in A Star Is Born. NBD. Just another job on the track of a woman focused on her goal. We’ll talk balance, craft, and stardom.
We talk about Janis Joplin and many films and movies including (many Rebecca has acted on, some we just like) All Rise, Unbelievable, A Star Is Born, Shrill, Dietland, Ozark, Downton Abbey, Succession, Schitt's Creek, The Boys, Cobra Kai, Umbrella Academy, Lovecraft Country and its very handy episode syllabus.
As always, information on our screenwriting workshops and coaching is here.
Filmmaker Sara Nesson knows something about succeeding in a man’s world. Her recent documentary Women Who Score covers 20 female composers in changing Hollywood. Her documentary Poster Girl about the first female gunner in the Iraq war, garnered her Oscar and Emmy nominations. Her quest to bring the story to the screen as a narrative feature continues to be a roller-coaster. We’ll talk about representation and what it means to be a woman who persists.
Watch Sara's new music video and get more info on all her work.
Watch Sara's documentary on Combat Paper: Iraq Paper Scissors
and her documentary Poster Girl
and her documentary for Women Who Score
We also talk about the film We Live in Public, my short film Washed Away, and my upcoming short documentary Arrow: The Stolen Life of an American Heritage Mustang.
As always, information on our upcoming screenwriting workshops and coaching are here.
Voices of Persistence: Filmmakers Behind Films on Inez Milholland and the American Suffrage Movement
In 1916 suffragist Inez Milholland went up against President Woodrow Wilson who, like many men of the time, saw the possibility of women voting as a threat. With one of the most important voting days in our lifetime right around the corner, I talk with filmmakers who’ve made both narrative and documentary films about Inez and her fight to make sure every American has the right to vote. Join me, Amy Walker, Jessica Graham, and Martha Wheelock.
More on the symbols of the suffrage movement including the 19th Amendment ratification flag.
And more resources at the National Women's History Alliance.
The radical tea towel company Martha loves.
Bob Cooney's book on Winning the Vote.
Martha's earlier Votes for Women film
As always, more on Pagecraft writing workshops here.
Composer Jeff Rona has always been curious about what moves people. His curiosity served him well. He’s got a list of film, TV, and video game credits a mile long. He’s scored projects for names like Spielberg, Altman, Soderbergh. He composed music for the 2008 Beijing Olympic games. Heavily involved in music technology his innovations have touched your life if ways you don’t know. We’ll talk about the intersection of creativity and technology and how music creates emotion.
The power of the music in Hitchcock's Psycho to influence the film's rating.
Jeff's score for my short film, Washed Away.
As always, information on upcoming PageCraft classes and script coaching is here.
Visual artist and illustrator Lauren Over has always been interested in synchronicity, connection, and in the Rorschach-test-like effect an image can have on a viewer. Working steadily on movie posters and commercial client work, she’s mixed pen and ink and watercolor to produce an astro-botanical deck of tarot cards that reinterpret traditional symbology with birds, animals, traditional herb use, and historical figures. We'll talk about finding a path with art.
We talk about the Myers Briggs test, Enola Holmes, and the Language of Flowers. She designed movie posters for Can You Dig This, and the upcoming Good Vibrations. We also talk about previous Hearthside Salon with Sesame Street Puppeteer Liz Hara.
As always, more on PageCraft screenwriting courses and coaching is here.