The Craft of Writing for Film and Television: 2016/15


May 20 History and Heroes
With WGN America’s new hit Underground, MISHA GREEN and JOE POKASKI bring a thriller pace and keen sense for character to their depiction of the grim reality of Antebellum slavery.

April 8 Original Gangster
DON CHEADLE and STEVEN BAIGELMAN Don jettison traditional biopic conventions to capture the gangster truth of enigmatic jazz genius Miles Davis in Miles Ahead.

March 25 The Mother of Greek Weddings
NIA VARDALOS confesses why it took 14 years for her to write the sequel to My Big Fat Greek Wedding and how many times a day she wrote herself into John Corbett’s mouth.

March 18 Sci-fi Verité
JEFF NICHOLS reveals how a personal crisis helped shape the trajectory of his third feature, the enigmatic sci-fi thriller Midnight Special and why he’s so militant about the use of dialogue.

March 2 Broadly Speaking
Broad City’s ABBI JACOBSON & ILANA GLAZER might be paving the way for women in comedy, but the creators of the Comedy Central critical darling say what they really care about is what’s funny.

February 5 The Powers of Two
For most writer-producers, the prospect of running one show is daunting at best, so how does CARLTON CUSE manage three? The creative force behind Colony, Bates Motel, and The Strain says collaboration is the key.

January 8 Coming Up Big
The Big Short’s CHARLES RANDOLPH and ADAM MCKAY talk about their “chocolate and peanut butter” partnership and how comedy writers are changing the way movies are made.

December 22: Waking the Giant
LAWRENCE KASDAN, J.J. ABRAMS, and MICHAEL ARNDT talk about the daunting task of reawakening the Star Wars saga for Episode VII and dissect that one spoiler moment in The Force Awakens you can’t talk about.

December 4: Bard of Blood
After more than a decade of languishing, TODD LOUISO & JACOB KOSKOFF's reimagining of Shakespeare’s most bloody drama Macbeth finally comes to life as a visceral modern movie with the help of director Justin Kurzel and writer Michael Lesslie.

November 20: A Love Unspoken
PHYLLIS NAGY expounds on the difficulties of adapting her friend Patricia Highsmith’s novel The Price of Salt into the new acclaimed period piece Carol and how to portray characters falling in love without words or melodrama.

November 13: The Lessons of Loneliness
The Martian’s DREW GODDARD explains how the story of a man stranded on the Red Planet was personal tale for him and why choosing a project because it’s a “smart business move” can lead to trouble.

November 6: It Takes a Village
TOM MCCARTHY and co-writer Josh Singer script an ode to the Fourth Estate with Spotlight, a meticulous look at The Boston Globe’s Pulitzer prize-winning investigation into cover-ups in the Boston archdiocese and their global implications.

October 30: Rocking the Boat
Fresh Off the Boat’s NAHNATCHKA KHAN talks about writing satire without stereotypes and the groundbreaking responsibility and opportunity of running “the Asian show.”

October 23: Good Company
What makes characters likeable? JULIE KLAUSNER, star and creator of Hulu’s Difficult People, explains why, when it comes to watchability, it’s more important for them to be funny than moral.

October 2: The Outsiders
Pulitzer-nommed playwright, screenwriter, and veteran showrunner JON ROBIN BAITZ responds to critics of his LGBT historical drama Stonewall and explains why he’s always identified with those who’ve felt different from those around them.

September 11: <CMD><CTRL><PWR>
Mr. Robot creator SAM ESMAIL comments on the sleeper hit’s eerie parallels with real current tragic events and why trying to veer the hacker show away from what’s happening in today’s society would be a misstep.

September 4: Almost Famous
DENIS LEARY takes on fame and rock ‘n’ roll fantasies in Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll, his new FX comedy about an aging front man coming to terms with the realization that his dreams of rock stardom might be over.

August 28: Back Where He Started
PAUL WEITZ’s films have grossed $1.6-billion but riding the studio rollercoaster made him hungry to return to his roots. He found them in a barbed, heartfelt valentine to comedy legend Lily Tomlin, the self-made, micro-budgeted indie Grandma.

August 6: Brief Interviews with Ingenious Men
Pulitzer-winning playwright DONALD MARGULIES makes his big screen debut with The End of the Tour, a look at brilliant and tragic writer David Foster Wallace at the height of his rock star-like success.

July 24: Lose Yourself
KURT SUTTER learns the power of letting go as he teams up with director Antoine Fuqua, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Eminem to make Southpaw, a boxing movie that adds a little 8 Mile to the classic genre.

July 17: Cinderella’s Balls
MARTI NOXON and SARAH GERTRUDE SHAPIRO go for the jugular with their new, critically lauded Lifetime show UnREAL, a scripted drama about the not-so-fairy-tale truth behind the making of a reality dating show.

July 10: Taking It to the Street
SEAN BAKER and CHRIS BERGOCH forgo the old adage about writing what you know to script Tangerine, the iPhone-shot indie comedy about transgender sex workers seeking revenge and love in the heart of Hollywood.

July 2: With the End in Mind
Wayward Pines’ CHAD HODGE reflects on how the limited run of his Fox mystery series gave him a creative advantage and why a writer should never begin without knowing their ending.

June 19: Balancing Act
MAYA FORBES struggled for years to “Hollywood” her personal story of being raised by a manic-depressive father, but the writer-director of the new indie drama Infinitely Polar Bear explains why it was the complicated truth that ultimately set her script free.

June 5: All You Need Is Love
Love & Mercy’s OREN MOVERMAN tackles one of pop music’s most enduringly enigmatic icons, the Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson and shares his thoughts on why trying to capture a real person’s life on film is impossible.

May 22: Making New Friends
MARTA KAUFFMAN, co-creator of Friends, and HOWARD J. MORRIS make their case for second act lives with Netflix’s new star-laden comedy Grace and Frankie.

May 15: Dude, Where’s My Civilization?
WILL FORTE, star and showrunner of The Last Man on Earth, talks about plans for season two of his post-apocalyptic Fox comedy and how to make the end of the world funny.

May 1: Go Ask Alice
After the sudden death of his creative partner, ELIOT LAURENCE found himself “very much at sea” until the idea for Welcome to Me, the new dark comedy starring Kristen Wiig about bipolar woman winning the lottery, brought him back.

April 24: The Good Couple
ROBERT and MICHELLE KING reflect on the reasons behind The Good Wife’s award-winning run and how their writers are able to consistently tap into the zeitgeist without really trying.

April 10: Latin Lover
JENNIE SNYDER URMAN sends a love letter to telenovelas with Jane the Virgin, the CW’s surging sophomore comedy about a virtuous, young Latina who is accidentally artificially inseminated by her doctor.

April 2: Happy Together
JAY DUPLASS dishes on how, after years of feature work, his hit HBO show Togetherness has finally given him and brother Mark the chance to write the way they’ve always dreamed of.

March 20: The Faults of Our Stars
BRUCE WAGNER detours off the road to “corruption and hackdom” to script his “howl in the wilderness,” the cathartic, hallucinatory, taboo-shattering, David Cronenberg collaboration Maps to the Stars.

March 13: Minding His Business
At 19, STEVE CONRAD was a screenwriting wunderkind but a career downturn nearly forced him from the industry. Now a veteran, the Unfinished Business scribe recaps what adversity taught him and how he kept going.

March 6: Fairy Tale Beginnings
The success of TERRI TATCHELL’s first script District 9 might seem like out of a storybook, but the writer of the new sci-fi film Chappie, explains why more failure at the start of her career could’ve been a good thing.

February 6: Back to black-ish
KENYA BARRIS reveals what, after years of false starts, finally got his freshman, hit comedy black-ish off the ground and explains why trying to “reach out” to audiences is a wrong move.

January 23: In Sickness and In Health
For WASH WESTMORELAND & RICHARD GLATZER life imitates art as the married writing team battles A.L.S. while scripting the emotional drama about Alzheimer’s Still Alice.

January 8: A Friend’s Goodbye
JASON HALL’s rise to awards-nominated screenwriter might seem Cinderella-like, but behind the American Sniper scribe’s “overnight success” is a tragic story that helped define the new film.

The Craft: 2014 Archives