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This Week in Screenwriting: May 13th, 2015

Cannes report: Day 1 A.C.L.U takes on bias against women in Hollywood Roadside Attactions buys AFF alum/writer Chris Sparling’s Sea of Trees, directed by Gus Van Sant AFF 2012 Outstanding Television Writer Chris Carter’s The X-Files series gets 2016 release date TNT adds Cary Fukunaga’s Alienist series with Eric Roth and Hossein Amini executive producing; TBS orders Greg Daniels-Conan O’Brian comedy Lee Daniels, Beau Willimon, …

Cannes report: Day 1

A.C.L.U takes on bias against women in Hollywood

Roadside Attactions buys AFF alum/writer Chris Sparling’s Sea of Trees, directed by Gus Van Sant

AFF 2012 Outstanding Television Writer Chris Carter’s The X-Files series gets 2016 release date

TNT adds Cary Fukunaga’s Alienist series with Eric Roth and Hossein Amini executive producing; TBS orders Greg Daniels-Conan O’Brian comedy

Lee Daniels, Beau Willimon, Damon Lindelof, Michelle King, Alex Gansa, and Michelle King discuss the pressures and rewards of showrunning

New series, renewals, and cancellations for 2015-2016 network season

Marvel courting Ava Duvernay to direct diverse superhero movie

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Guest Blog: Jared Frieder

With the final deadline for the Screenplay Competition coming up on May 20, we’re featuring a guest blog post from one of last year’s winners to share his thoughts on why you should submit your screenplay to AFF. Jared Frieder won the 2014 Comedy Screenplay Award for his script Three Months which is currently being developed with Oren Uziel (22 Jump Street), one the AFF …

With the final deadline for the Screenplay Competition coming up on May 20, we’re featuring a guest blog post from one of last year’s winners to share his thoughts on why you should submit your screenplay to AFF. Jared Frieder won the 2014 Comedy Screenplay Award for his script Three Months which is currently being developed with Oren Uziel (22 Jump Street), one the AFF judges who reviewed his script and a previous AFF winner. Who knows? You could have a similar experience if you enter your script by the May 20 deadline. For more information and to enter your script, CLICK HERE.

 

I submitted my screenplay Three Months to the Austin Film Festival a year ago for two reasons: 1) I read on one of those STOP CRYING THIS IS HOW YOU MAKE IT IN HOLLYWOOD blogs that it was one of the top screenwriting competitions in the industry and 2) I have a toxic relationship with Austin’s barbecue sausages. And while the competition is prestigious and the sausages irresistible, the power of the Austin Film Festival and its screenplay competitions derives from the fact that they reward, explore, and support good storytelling.

I never imagined that Three Months would win Austin. I had entered other screenwriting competitions with varying levels of success. A lot of the time, the judge’s feedback was along the lines of, “This is nice. But what about a hot girl! A car chase! A flash mob!” And while a hot girl car chase flash mob might have totally jived with my AIDS dramedy, it didn’t quite get to the heart of the story I wanted to tell: a story about a gay teenager’s resilience when he’s exposed to HIV the weekend of his high school graduation. I was afraid that I had gone too far down the indie rabbit hole to be recognized by industry screenwriting competitions. So when Competition Director Matt Dy called my name at the Austin awards ceremony for best comedy feature screenplay, I wasn’t prepared. “Uh…this is bananas,” was basically the thesis of my acceptance speech. I made the mistake of listening to Big Hollywood when they told me that only a certain kind of screenplay would find success in the film industry. I made the mistake of underestimating the Austin Film Festival: a place where they simply reward great stories.

After I got off stage, Oren Uziel (one of the competition judges, a former Austin winner, and the wildly hilarious screenwriter of 22 Jump Street) told me that he wanted to help me take Three Months from script to screen. And now, that’s just what we’re doing. I know it sounds like one of those super lucky and incredibly annoying success stories you hear people talk about at networking events, but that’s what Austin does: it gives you the platform to be your own super lucky and incredibly annoying success story.

But at AFF, the competition portion itself is merely the gravy on a very decadent Salt Lick brisket sandwich. The conference component of the festival gathers the finest storytellers working in film and television for master class sessions on story and writing for the industry at large. I learned just as much from that week as I did in a semester of my MFA program. (Where else can you share a beer and sweet potato fries with Daniel Petrie Jr. while he dishes out genius writing advice?) In an industry that places so much emphasis on the market, the director, and the actor, the Austin Film Festival centers itself around the screenwriter. And for that, I will be forever grateful.

So sure, submit to Austin so you can stop crying and yes, submit to Austin for the BBQ sausages. But do yourself a favor and submit to Austin because you have a story to tell. Submit to Austin because you want to make your screenplay into a movie. And who knows? Maybe you’ll leave with more than a trophy and a Salt Lick sandwich.

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This Week in Screenwriting: May 6, 2015

Writer/director and AFF Alum Brian Helgeland’s upcoming Legend releases trailer Shonda Rhimes and Pariah writer/director Dee Rees team up for FX Drama based on The Warmth of Other Suns AFF Alum and Blade Runner 2 writer Michael Green to pen Wolverine for 20th Century Fox, with Denis Villeneuve to direct AFF Alum and 2015 Confirmed Panelist Nicole Perlman to write Marvel’s Captain Marvel Les Bohem, …

Writer/director and AFF Alum Brian Helgeland’s upcoming Legend releases trailer

Shonda Rhimes and Pariah writer/director Dee Rees team up for FX Drama based on The Warmth of Other Suns

AFF Alum and Blade Runner 2 writer Michael Green to pen Wolverine for 20th Century Fox, with Denis Villeneuve to direct

AFF Alum and 2015 Confirmed Panelist Nicole Perlman to write Marvel’s Captain Marvel

Les Bohem, creator of the Emmy-winning miniseries Taken, to adapt Brave New World for Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Television

From Written By: “William Goldman and the Screenwriting Kids”

AFF Alum Eric Heisserer to adapt comics Bloodshot and Harbinger for big screen

The Simpsons renewed for two more seasons

The Writers Guild East open letter to the Nonfiction Producers Association

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Alumn Update: Paul Harrill and Ashley Manor Selected as ’10 to Watch’

Paul Harrill and Ashley Manor, AFF 2014 alumni with their film Something, Anything, have been selected as part of The Independent‘s “10 Filmmakers to Watch in 2015.” The Independent honors 10 filmmakers every spring who are poised to make a notable impact on independent film in the coming year. Check out the rest of the list here.

Paul Harrill and Ashley Manor, AFF 2014 alumni with their film Something, Anything, have been selected as part of The Independent‘s “10 Filmmakers to Watch in 2015.” The Independent honors 10 filmmakers every spring who are poised to make a notable impact on independent film in the coming year. Check out the rest of the list here.

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