Brock Swinson

Nothing Fake: Amanda Kernell on Sami Blood

Nothing Fake: Amanda Kernell on Sami Blood

Amanda Kernell discusses the importance of conveying how a situation feels, filming in a language only a few hundred people speak, and the extraordinary casting process for her film.

Amanda Kernell discusses the importance of conveying how a situation feels, filming in a language only a few hundred people speak, and the extraordinary casting process for her film.

 Brock Swinson

Inspired by Sam Elliott: Brett Haley on The Hero

Inspired by Sam Elliott: Brett Haley on The Hero

Brett Haley discusses the ideas behind his latest film, the use of dream sequences, and the importance of opening yourself up to criticism.

Brett Haley discusses the ideas behind his latest film, the use of dream sequences, and the importance of opening yourself up to criticism.

 Brock Swinson

Art Holcomb on The Art of Preparation

Art Holcomb on The Art of Preparation

Art discusses his new book The Art of Preparation, exploring your premise, and the difference between plot line and emotional line.

Art discusses his new book The Art of Preparation, exploring your premise, and the difference between plot line and emotional line.

 Brock Swinson

“Writing is Free Therapy.” John Butler on Handsome Devil

“Writing is Free Therapy.” John Butler on Handsome Devil

John Butler discusses the personal origins of his latest film, the distinction between autobiography and emotional truth, and importance of exercise to writing.

John Butler discusses the personal origins of his latest film, the distinction between autobiography and emotional truth, and importance of exercise to writing.

 Brock Swinson

Get the story in your DNA: David Michôd on War Machine

Get the story in your DNA: David Michôd on War Machine

David Michôd discusses developing fiction from non-fiction, use of narration, and why you should treat your brain like an oven.

David Michôd discusses developing fiction from non-fiction, use of narration, and why you should treat your brain like an oven.

 Brock Swinson

Text as pure thought and pure poetry: Julian Rosefeldt on Manifesto

Text as pure thought and pure poetry: Julian Rosefeldt on Manifesto

Julian Rosefeldt discusses the inspiration behind Manifesto, characters as messengers of thought, and finding what is original in yourself.

Julian Rosefeldt discusses the inspiration behind Manifesto, characters as messengers of thought, and finding what is original in yourself.

 Brock Swinson

“This is a story that we have to honor.” Misha Green on Underground

“This is a story that we have to honor.” Misha Green on Underground

Misha Green discusses making your worst stories better, the importance of strong opinions, and the use of contemporary music in a period show.

Misha Green discusses making your worst stories better, the importance of strong opinions, and the use of contemporary music in a period show.

 Brock Swinson

Go For The Throat: Amber Tamblyn on Paint It Black

Go For The Throat: Amber Tamblyn on Paint It Black

Amber Tamblyn discusses writing about grief, poetic language in film, and the importance of asking for advice.

Amber Tamblyn discusses writing about grief, poetic language in film, and the importance of asking for advice.

 Brock Swinson

“Tell the Story Through Jokes.” Chris Spain & Jon Zack reveal How to Be a Latin Lover

“Tell the Story Through Jokes.” Chris Spain & Jon Zack reveal How to Be a Latin Lover

Chris Spain & Jon Zack on writing comedy, taking a joke to the next level, and gender-flipping.

Chris Spain & Jon Zack on writing comedy, taking a joke to the next level, and gender-flipping.

 Brock Swinson

“There are no rules or guidelines.” Ilene Chaiken on Empire

“There are no rules or guidelines.” Ilene Chaiken on Empire

Ilene Chaiken discusses working in television, recognizing when ideas in the room are better than your own, the recipe for creating an iconic cliffhanger, and the spectacular season 3 finale of Empire.

Ilene Chaiken discusses working in television, recognizing when ideas in the room are better than your own, the recipe for creating an iconic cliffhanger, and the spectacular season 3 finale of Empire.

 Brock Swinson

“Filmmaking is a disease.” Steven Shainberg on Rupture and Fur

“Filmmaking is a disease.” Steven Shainberg on Rupture and Fur

Steven Shainberg discusses writing female leads, portraying fear, and why movies are like splinters in the eye.

Steven Shainberg discusses writing female leads, portraying fear, and why movies are like splinters in the eye.

 Brock Swinson

Let characters be at the top of their intelligence: Paul Rust on Love.

Let characters be at the top of their intelligence: Paul Rust on Love.

Paul Rust discusses taking an idea from pitch to finished show, how working with Judd Apatow literally opens doors, exploring character through location, and the importance of characters having an intelligence.

Paul Rust discusses taking an idea from pitch to finished show, how working with Judd Apatow literally opens doors, exploring character through location, and the importance of characters having an intelligence.

 Brock Swinson

Time, Money and the Invisible Bullshit Line: Chris Morgan on The Fate of the Furious

Time, Money and the Invisible Bullshit Line: Chris Morgan on The Fate of the Furious

Chris Morgan discusses The Fate of the Furious, the three things that limit action, and and the heartbreak of losing franchise star, Paul Walker.

Chris Morgan discusses The Fate of the Furious, the three things that limit action, and and the heartbreak of losing franchise star, Paul Walker.

 Brock Swinson

For Here or to Go: Blog Post to Big Screen

For Here or to Go: Blog Post to Big Screen

Rishi Bhilawadikar on how he learned to write in order to tell this story, communicating through entertainment, and taking an idea from blog post to a finished film.

Rishi Bhilawadikar on how he learned to write in order to tell this story, communicating through entertainment, and taking an idea from blog post to a finished film.

 Brock Swinson

The Discovery: A Big Premise Character Piece

The Discovery: A Big Premise Character Piece

Charlie McDowell on making exposition interesting, the importance of regret, writing for your actors, and news of an upcoming adaptation of Don DeLillo’s novel Zero K.

Charlie McDowell on making exposition interesting, the importance of regret, writing for your actors, and news of an upcoming adaptation of Don DeLillo’s novel Zero K.

 Brock Swinson

The script doesn’t exist on its own: Ed Gass-Donnelly on Lavender

The script doesn’t exist on its own: Ed Gass-Donnelly on Lavender

Ed Gass-Donnelly on what two things a scene has to accomplish, figuring out the ‘why now’ of your story, and the importance of working on many scripts at once.

Ed Gass-Donnelly on what two things a scene has to accomplish, figuring out the ‘why now’ of your story, and the importance of working on many scripts at once.

 Brock Swinson

Bitter Harvest: More Than Just a Movie

Bitter Harvest: More Than Just a Movie

George Mendeluk on pruning your script, why going to film school is a waste of time, and why writers don’t make good directors.

George Mendeluk on pruning your script, why going to film school is a waste of time, and why writers don’t make good directors.

 Brock Swinson

The Moment of Leaning Forwards: Matthew Newton on From Nowhere

The Moment of Leaning Forwards: Matthew Newton on From Nowhere

Matthew Newton discusses going home with your characters, the importance of the “leaning forwards” moment, and the constant process of revelation in childhood.

Matthew Newton discusses going home with your characters, the importance of the “leaning forwards” moment, and the constant process of revelation in childhood.

 Brock Swinson

Finding Your Creative Value: Jamal Joseph on Chapter & Verse

Finding Your Creative Value: Jamal Joseph on Chapter & Verse

Jamal Joseph on writing a film based on your own experience, the importance of comedy in drama, and not waiting for that big studio movie.

Jamal Joseph on writing a film based on your own experience, the importance of comedy in drama, and not waiting for that big studio movie.

 Brock Swinson

“Nothing’s harder than writing.” Evan Oppenheimer on Lost in Florence

“Nothing’s harder than writing.” Evan Oppenheimer on Lost in Florence

Evan Oppenheimer discusses achieving authenticity, getting to the heart of the story, and finding your point of entry.

Evan Oppenheimer discusses achieving authenticity, getting to the heart of the story, and finding your point of entry.

 Brock Swinson

“Dive Deep and Flush Out Your Craft.” Patrick Massett and John Zinman on Gold

“Dive Deep and Flush Out Your Craft.” Patrick Massett and John Zinman on Gold

Watching movies with the script in your lap, the rhythm of a scene, and why you should not send out your first script.

Patrick Massett and John Zinman on watching movies with the script in your lap, the rhythm of a scene, not sending out your first script, and why working in Hollywood is like prospecting for gold.

 Brock Swinson

Making Your Protagonist the Antagonist: Robert Siegel on The Founder

Making Your Protagonist the Antagonist: Robert Siegel on The Founder

Robert Siegel discusses his fascination for outsiders, using research to get into your characters’ heads, and writing what you love.

Robert Siegel discusses his fascination for outsiders, using research to get into your characters’ heads, and writing what you love.

 Brock Swinson

Brock Swinson’s Year in Quotes

Brock Swinson’s Year in Quotes

Brock looks back over his interviews from 2016, and shares some of his favourite quotes.

Brock looks back over his interviews from 2016, and shares some of his favourite quotes.

 Brock Swinson

“One Script does not make you a writer.” Gloria Calderon Kellett on One Day at a Time

“One Script does not make you a writer.” Gloria Calderon Kellett on One Day at a Time

Gloria Calderon Kellett talks about how a show is developed, writing for television, and how exactly a writers' room works.

Gloria Calderon Kellett talks about how a show is developed, writing for television, and how exactly a writers’ room works.

 Brock Swinson

“I could hear their voices.” Michael Hirst on Vikings

“I could hear their voices.” Michael Hirst on Vikings

Michael Hirst discusses the process of writing historical fiction, the importance of poetry, and how Vikings has rejuvenated interest in Scandinavian culture.

Michael Hirst on the process of writing historical fiction, the importance of poetry, and how Vikings has rejuvenated interest in Scandinavian culture.

 Brock Swinson

Blunt Talk: No Unkind Humor

Blunt Talk: No Unkind Humor

Jonathan Ames on writing about friendships, his rules of screenwriting, and ideas for a film of his cult show Bored to Death.

Jonathan Ames on writing about friendships, his rules of screenwriting, and ideas for a film of his cult show Bored to Death.

 Brock Swinson

“I want to entrance and surprise.” Stephen Poliakoff on Close to the Enemy

“I want to entrance and surprise.” Stephen Poliakoff on Close to the Enemy

Stephen Poliakoff discusses handling multiple characters, seeing what your protagonist sees, and avoiding the distancing effect of period dramas.

Stephen Poliakoff discusses handling multiple characters, seeing what your protagonist sees, and avoiding the distancing effect of period dramas.

 Brock Swinson

Into the Badlands: Blood-splattered Heroes and the One Degree of Jackie Chan

Into the Badlands: Blood-splattered Heroes and the One Degree of Jackie Chan

Alfred Gough and Miles Millar on keeping the martials arts authentic, why a fight scene is like jazz, and writing for Jackie Chan.

Alfred Gough and Miles Millar on keeping the martials arts authentic, why a fight scene is like jazz, and writing for Jackie Chan.

 Brock Swinson

“Don’t bow to that trope.” Ben Younger on Bleed for This

“Don’t bow to that trope.” Ben Younger on Bleed for This

The pros and cons of taking ten years off from screenwriting, the boxing film as a parable, and choosing what to tell.

The pros and cons of taking ten years off from screenwriting, the boxing film as a parable, and choosing what to tell.

 Brock Swinson

True Memoirs of an International Assassin: A Tonal Tightrope

True Memoirs of an International Assassin: A Tonal Tightrope

Jeff Morris and Jeff Wadlow on writing characters into a corner, the challenge of balancing action and comedy, and giving yourself permission to quit for the day.

Jeff Morris and Jeff Wadlow on writing characters into a corner, the challenge of balancing action and comedy, and giving yourself permission to quit for the day.

 Brock Swinson

Defending Your Time to Write: Michael Lannan on Looking

Defending Your Time to Write: Michael Lannan on Looking

Michael Lannan on defending your time to write, writing what scares you, and the importance of observation.

Michael Lannan discusses defending your time to write, writing what scares you, and the importance of observation, and offers great advice for writers.

 Brock Swinson

Banshee: Brutal Good Fun

Banshee: Brutal Good Fun

Jonathan Tropper on collaborating with your actors, imperfect characters, and saying goodbye to a show.

Jonathan Tropper on collaborating with your actors, imperfect characters, and saying goodbye to a show.

 Brock Swinson

“Every movie requires a different storyteller.” Michel Franco on Chronic

“Every movie requires a different storyteller.” Michel Franco on Chronic

Michel Franco on writing about end-of-life care, shooting without manipulating the audience, and the importance of knowing where your story is headed.

Michel Franco on writing about end-of-life care, shooting without manipulating the audience, and the importance of knowing where your story is headed.

 Brock Swinson

Stories People Weren’t Telling: A Stray

Stories People Weren’t Telling: A Stray

Musa Syeed on media portrayal of Islam, symbolism, and getting feedback on your script from the people it is about.

Musa Syeed media portrayal of Islam, symbolism, and getting feedback on your script from the people it is about.

 Brock Swinson

Brother Nature: Old School, Family Comedy with an R-Rating

Brother Nature: Old School, Family Comedy with an R-Rating

Mikey Day on being in class with Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Wiig, how to decide when a joke has gone too far, and why shorter is always better.

Mikey Day on being in class with Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Wiig, how to decide when a joke has gone too far, and why shorter is always better.

 Brock Swinson

Love the Process: Dan Kay on I.T.

Love the Process: Dan Kay on I.T.

Dan Kay on stakes characters, research and influence, and why you can’t be protective of your work.

Dan Kay on stakes characters, research and influence, and why you can’t be protective of your work.

 Brock Swinson

Transpecos: Moving the Big Reveal to the First Act

Transpecos: Moving the Big Reveal to the First Act

Greg Kwedar on building the story from the world up, when to scrap a monologue, and what happens when you move the big reveal into the first ten minutes.

Greg Kwedar on building the story from the world up, when to scrap a monologue, and what happens when you move the big reveal into the first ten minutes.

 Brock Swinson

Writing: The Dying Art. Kaufman on Ace the Case

Writing: The Dying Art. Kaufman on Ace the Case

Kevin Kaufman on screenwriting takeaways from docu-dramas, realistic dialogue for children, and working with the biggest rabbit he's ever seen.

Kevin Kaufman on screenwriting takeaways from docu-dramas, realistic dialogue for children, and working with the biggest rabbit he’s ever seen.

 Brock Swinson

The Nine Lives of Rachel Weisz in Complete Unknown

The Nine Lives of Rachel Weisz in Complete Unknown

Joshua Marston on the idea for this unique character study, the underlying theme behind the film, and why screenwriters need to get out more.

Joshua Marston on the idea for this unique character study, the underlying theme behind the film, and why screenwriters need to get out more.

 Brock Swinson

“That’s my family, more or less.” Jim Strouse on The Hollars

“That’s my family, more or less.” Jim Strouse on The Hollars

Jim Strouse on character-driven movies, basing a script on real-life events, and what makes a good story.

Jim Strouse on character-driven movies, basing a script on real-life events, and what makes a good story.

 Brock Swinson

Taylor Sheridan on Sicario and Hell or High Water

Taylor Sheridan on Sicario and Hell or High Water

Taylor Sheridan discusses research, challenging the audience, and the importance of being selfish.

Taylor Sheridan discusses research, challenging the audience, and the importance of being selfish.

 Brock Swinson

“Great Comedy Concepts Are Not That Funny!”

“Great Comedy Concepts Are Not That Funny!”

Scott Moore and Jon Lucas on appropriate subjects for humor, The Hangover, and their latest film Bad Moms.

Scott Moore and Jon Lucas on appropriate subjects for humor, The Hangover, and their latest film Bad Moms.

 Brock Swinson

Aaron Sorkin on Screenwriting

Aaron Sorkin on Screenwriting

Aaron Sorkin discusses intentions and obstacles, his new screenwriting masterclass, and how to write great dialogue.

Aaron Sorkin has one of the most distinctive voices in the business. From A Few Good Men to The Social Network and The West Wing, he is best known for his intelligent and witty dialogue. His latest venture is an online screenwriting Masterclass, where he shares the secrets of his trade. Creative Screenwriting spoke with […]

 Brock Swinson

The Nutshell Technique

The Nutshell Technique

Jill Chamberlain on the difference between situation and story, the Nutshell Technique, and why writers should choose the banana!

As a practiced script consultant, Jill Chamberlain has read more scripts than most individuals have seen movies. In her research, she has discovered that 99 percent of first-time writers are missing the fundamental step in writing: to tell a story. While any basic class or beat book can encourage writers to format a script, jot […]

 Brock Swinson

Septembers of Shiraz: A Universal Refugee Story

Septembers of Shiraz: A Universal Refugee Story

Hanna Weg on the burning need to write, choosing a medium, and telling an Iranian story in English.

Heavyweights Salma Hayek and Adrien Brody star in Hanna Weg’s Septembers of Shiraz, based on the novel of the same name. The story follows an Iranian Jewish family as they cope with the total upheaval of the 1979 Revolution. Creative Screenwriting spoke with Hanna Weg about the burning need to write, choosing the medium, and telling an […]

 Brock Swinson

“It’s a Good-Natured Insanity.” Andrew Bergman on Screenwriting.

“It’s a Good-Natured Insanity.” Andrew Bergman on Screenwriting.

Andrew Bergman discusses The In-Laws, Blazing Saddles, and working with Marlon Brando.

Once described as “The Unknown King of Comedy” by New York Magazine, Andrew Bergman is a well of comedic charisma. Known for his pen on Blazing Saddles, Fletch, The Freshman, and Honeymoon in Vegas, Bergman’s iconic film The In-Laws, starring Alan Arkin and Peter Falk, continues to delight new audiences, and has been accepted as […]

 Brock Swinson

Finding the Emotional Core of Zootopia

Finding the Emotional Core of Zootopia

Byron Howard, Rich Moore, and Clark Spencer on pop culture references in Zootopia, the Disney collaboration model, and serious themes in animation.

In Disney Animation, story is king. For the film Zootopia, seven creators worked to shape the story that began in the mind of Byron Howard. In the later portion of their five-year battle to bring the Zootopians to life, major plot changes occurred while they remained true to an idea of discussing prejudices frankly, through […]

 Brock Swinson

Narrative Therapy: Pamela Romanowsky on The Adderall Diaries

Narrative Therapy: Pamela Romanowsky on The Adderall Diaries

Pamela Romanowsky on adapting The Adderall Diaries, fictionalizing a memoir and how we edit our life stories.

By Brock Swinson. Written and directed by Pamela Romanowsky, The Adderall Diaries stars James Franco as author Stephen Elliot, with co-stars Ed Harris, Amber Heard, Cynthia Nixon, and Christian Slater. Overcome with writer’s block, substance abuse, fleeting relationships, and parental issues, Stephen Elliot hits rock bottom when his estranged father arrives and publicly claims that his son […]

 Brock Swinson

“You Can’t Be Precious.” Bryan Sipe on Demolition

“You Can’t Be Precious.” Bryan Sipe on Demolition

Bryan Sipe discusses the ideas behind his latest film, the use of music in film, and his approach to writing.

By Brock Swinson. In Demolition, Jake Gyllenhaal stars as Davis, an investment banker perched atop the corporate ladder, whose seemingly perfect life is shaken when his wife Julia (Heather Lind) dies in a car crash. Numb and unsure of his next move, Davis begins to dismantle his life, beginning with the materials around him, believing, […]

 Brock Swinson

“When I’m not writing there is incredible guilt.” Matt Brown on The Man Who Knew Infinity

“When I’m not writing there is incredible guilt.” Matt Brown on The Man Who Knew Infinity

Writer/Director Matt Brown on the project's long gestation, the cathartic moment of a good story, and the scene he wishes he hadn't cut.

Writer/Director Matt Brown on the project’s long gestation, the cathartic moment of a good story, and the scene he wishes he hadn’t cut.


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Joss Whedon on Screenwriting

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