≡ Menu

I believe that most screenwriting books, seminars, blogs and other screenwriting resources don’t spend nearly enough time on teaching people how to market their screenplays. SellingYourScreenplay.com tries to bridge that gap.

When I started out in the industry I didn’t know anyone. I was just a guy with a few ideas and a dream. With a lot of hard work and persistence I have been able to sell several screenplays (click here to view my credits on IMDB) by applying the exact lessons I’m going to teach you on this blog. It’s not quick or easy and it’s going to take a lot of hard work. But if you’re willing to do the work I believe that you too can have some success as a screenwriter.

There are no shortcuts and neither I, nor anyone else, can sell your screenplay for you. Ultimately you’ve got to decide if it’s worth the effort to make a go at screenwriting. You’re reading this blog, so that’s a good first step. But that’s all it is, a first step. Now you’ve got to really dig in and start doing the hard work.
[click to continue…]

This is a transcript of SYS 451 – Making A Feature At Only Two Locations With Alrik Bursell and Jeffrey Allard .

Welcome to Episode 451 of the Selling Your Screenplay Podcast. I’m Ashley Scott Meyers, screenwriter and blogger over at sellingyourscreenplay.com. Today I am interviewing Ullrich Bursell and producer Jeffrey Allard. They just did a sci-fi feature film called The Alternate. It’s a contained thriller where man finds a portal into a parallel dimension gets to view his own life in this parallel dimension. We talk in depth about how this film came together. Jeffrey was a producer on the 2003 remake of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. So, he’s done some pretty big films. And he’s a real sharp business guy. So, he has some really interesting things to say about these types of films, and just how this film all came together for Alec and Jeffrey, so stay tuned for that interview. If you find this episode valuable, please help me out by giving me a review in iTunes or leaving a comment on YouTube or retweeting the podcast on Twitter or liking or sharing it on Facebook. The social media shares really do help spread word about the podcast, so they’re very much appreciated. Any websites or links that I mentioned in the podcast can be found on my blog in the show notes. I also publish a transcript with every episode in case you’d rather read the show or look at something later on. You can find all the podcast show notes at www.sellingyourscreenplay.com/podcasts and then just look for episode number 451. If you want my free guide How to Sell a Screenplay in five weeks, you can pick that up by going to sellingyourscreenplay.com/guide. It’s completely free, you just put in your email address and I’ll send you a new lesson once per week for five weeks along with a bunch of bonus lessons. I teach the whole process of how to sell your screenplay in that guide. I’ll teach you how to write a professional logline and query letter, and how to find agents, managers and producers who are looking for material. Really is everything you need to know to sell your screenplay just go to sellingyourscreenplay.com/guide. So, a quick few words about what I’ve been working on. Obviously, the film festival is a big piece of what I’ve been spending my time on the festivals. And now it’s just a couple of weeks October 7th to October 9th. I’ve been putting all of this together do check out the website, www.sixfigurefilmfestival.com. It’s all letters, all lowercase, all one word, you can buy tickets to all the shows, we basically have 10 programs, we’re showing 15 short films and six feature films. I’m showing my own film The Rideshare Killer, October 7th at 10pm. We’re going to be doing a table read of one of the winning screenplays from the contest on Sunday, October 9th at 2pm. That should be a fun event for screenwriters, the writers and producers will sit in the audience as actors read the material on stage. And then once the Read is done, then the writers and producers who were listening they will then give notes and I’ll be there you know sort of managing it, and if you come out, we really encourage everybody to listen and to give notes, the more notes that we get for the material, the better it potentially could be. Anyway, if you’re in the LA area, please do think about coming out. It’d be great to meet some of the listeners of the podcast. And I’m hopefully just a fun time and a great way of celebrating truly independent film. Once again, you can learn more about the festival just go to www.sixfigurefilmfestival.com. Anyways, that’s what I’ve been working on. Now, let’s get into the main segment today I am interviewing writer director Ullrich Bursell and producer Jeffrey Allard. Here is the interview.

Ashley

Welcome Ullrich and Jeffrey to the Selling Your Screenplay Podcast. I really appreciate you guys coming on the show with me today.

Jeffrey

Thanks for having us.

Ullrich

So happy to be here.

Ashley

So, maybe you guys can give us a quick overview of your background. How did you get into the entertainment industry? And sort of what were some of those first steps to kind of break in and maybe Jeffrey, you go first and then Ullrich maybe you could follow up after that, just a quick one or two-minutes sort of, you know, overview of kind of your career.

Jeffrey

Sure. So, I was a banker by background for almost 20 years and back in 2002, my bank got acquired and I was out of work and a good friend of mine from college, I created The Bachelor TV series Mike Fleiss. And so, he wanted to also get in the movie business. So, I reached out to me, and the idea was, he’d have the Hollywood contacts. I’d have the Banking Finance background. And long story short, I ended up befriending the creators of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I acquired two option rights to remake their film, and that really kicked it off. You know, once I acquired the rights, Michael Bay reached out to me, wanted to partner up, and we ended up doing the remake in 2003 with Jessica Gill, and I did a prequel in 2006 with Jordan, Anna Brewster

Ashley

And I noticed that on your IMDB and can you just give us a just again, just give us a little bit of insight. I mean, how do you go and you optioned the rights to a you know, just an iconic film like that? How did you actually get in a position where you were in could even option those rights? I would think other places like you mentioned Michael Bay and stuff. I mean, a guy like that, I would think there’s tons of companies trying to get these rights.

Jeffrey

There are. So, these guys Ken Henkel and Toby Hooper. First of all, were in the middle of lawsuit so I had to help settle that out. And that’s one of the things I do. I’m kind of a negotiator deal maker. And so, I’d befriended both of them. And this is one of the few franchises is not owned by a major studio or major production company that has tons of experience doing these types of deals. And they were kind of anti-big studio because they got burned on multiple projects, the original one was sold to the mob. And so, they made very little money from the original one that that grossed over 24-million in 1974. So, that’s close to a billion dollars in today’s dollars. And so, they’re very weary of dealing with many pieces, not only them, but then the studios acquired the rights to do two sequels, they got burned on that. And they were committed to doing it independently. And when I made that proposal, they had already written a script, Toby was going to direct it. And it was kind of just what they wanted. And when Michael Bay got involved, it just became a completely different animal, we became a much larger deal, bigger financing, and I had to take that deal. They weren’t originally excited about that. But in the end, they made a lot more money than they would have. And the franchise is continuing, because of what we did back in 2003.

 

Ashley

Gotcha. That’s a fascinating story. So, Ullrich, maybe you can do the same thing. Just kind of give us a quick overview, kind of how did you get into the business? And then bring us up to date where you’re now directing this new film?

Ullrich

Yeah. So, I started as a production assistant working on sets, you know, and making my way up in the world in the Bay Area. And then, you know, I’ve made some short films. And that was the path that all directors take. And once I had made my first short film that did really well played a bunch of film festivals, won some awards and all that stuff. I was like, okay, well, this now I’m ready to make my first feature film, let’s do it. And so that was back in like 2013, or 2014. And I basically, it took me, like, a long time to figure out like, what that actually meant. So, I had already written the script, like I had gotten that all going. But, you know, it wasn’t until 2017, when I finally had met Jeff, and this is after already raising some money. This is after, like, pitching it to like tons and different production companies and producers and everything. And then I went to the American Film Market to try to pitch it there. And that basically, through our lawyer, you know, who had helped me put all the business package together to like, raise money and sign on investors. That’s how I met Jeff. So, I got introduced to Jeff. And so, when I got back from AFM, having struck out after 20 different pitches, where everyone wants me to have the budget raised on my own, or to have Brad Pitt already attached to the movie, in order for it to happen. I had a coffee with Jeff, he had read the script, and he had just come off of making another movie. And he was like, Yeah, this looks good. Like, you know, I’ll help you out, I’ll join your project. And maybe we can like raise a little bit more money. And then that was basically in 2017. And like the winner, and then it took us one year of fundraising, we got like, maybe half the way there, we made a teaser trailer for the movie. And then later that year, we kind of got a little bit closer, but then we’re like, you know what, in order to get to the end, like we have to do some crowdfunding. So, we use that teaser trailer for the crowdfunding campaign. And we also raise more money at the same time. And basically, in the fall of 2019, we basically set up production date of like, you know, late November, and then just rushed to hit that deadline and basically got all the money in the last like, the other half of the budget, basically, in the last like two months or a month and a half before we shot the movie.

Ashley

Gotcha. Now, Jeffrey, as you were being brought into this project, maybe you can talk a little bit about what was impressive to you about Ullrich, what was impressive about his script? Why did you want to get involved with this project? Certainly, now you have a lot of experience. So maybe there’s some things you can kind of pass on to aspiring writers and directors like how do they get on a radar of an experienced producer like yourself? What are some things that you’ve seen in Ullrich that you liked?

Jeffrey

Sure. There are a couple of things. So, he came highly recommended to me through a couple of friends, including my attorney. So, you know, having a good relationship is one of the most important things. Life is too short to be battling with your director over a movie. So, we got along immediately. Number two, he lives in the Bay Area. We’re both in the San Francisco Bay Area. And while I produced over 20 movies, very few of them, this would be my third now in the Bay Area and I wanted to shoot more in the Bay Area. So, I want to support local Bay Area filmmakers I want the shoot my backyard, and we literally shot in my backyard. We shot in my garage, we converted that to a set. And we shot it one of my best friend’s house since grade school. He gave us his house. He kind of regrets it. But no, not really. He’s an executive producer. And he catered on a set to because this is one of the lowest budget movies I’ve ever done, and I love the story. So, it was a combination of Ullrich the story and it was contained, because I knew, you know, getting financing on movies is really difficult. And one of the key things that I look for on independent projects is the viability of shooting it within a small budget. And this was a contained production, we shot two locations over four weeks, basically, in my house, my buddy’s house, and then all the exterior shots were just done here locally. But for the most part, we worked within two locations. So, I knew the script can be done on a very low budget and that was important too.

Ashley

So, Ullrich, let’s get into the alternate. Maybe to start at you just give us a quick pitch or logline. What is the logline for this story?

Ullrich

So, The Alternate is about a videographer who discovers a portal to another dimension in which he has the perfect version of his life. So, the version of his wife who treats him the way that he wishes his wife treated him, the child they never had, and then the filmmaking career of his dreams. So, he starts to go into this other world and like spy on his other family, and then, you know, impersonate his other self. And then eventually he decides that he’s the person who actually deserves this perfect life, not his other self. And so, the plots to switch places, with his alternate take the good life for himself.

Ashley

And where was the genesis for this story? Where did this idea come from?

Ullrich

So, the first short film that I made called Strange Thing back in 2013-2014, it was a movie about a couple who discover a portal to another dimension in their apartment. And then on the other side, is this monster this like, ooze monster that ends up taking over one of the characters and then wreaking havoc in their apartment, basically. And so, I was trying to write that version as a feature length movie, and I realized quickly, that’s going to be like a $10 million movie, like, there’s all these effects. It’s all the stuff like, this monster is just going to be too much to do for 90 minutes. So, I started to think about, like, what’s the scariest thing on the other side of the portal that isn’t a monster. And then I thought about like, well, it would be the worst version of me, like the evil me is the scariest thing I can imagine. So, I kind of started with that idea. And I actually wrote the ending to the movie first and came up with the way it all kind of comes to an end. And then I wrote my way back to the beginning. And I infused a lot of my own life as a filmmaker, and, you know, trying to make movies while also like shooting corporate video interviews on the side. And that kind of worked that into the story. And took it from there.

Ashley

And, Jeffrey, I’m curious. From your standpoint, like I go to a lot of meetings, I talked to producers, you know, contained low budget sci fi is a great genre, it travels internationally. How much did that affect? You mentioned that it could be shot contained, but how much does the actual genre like if this had been a contained drama, or contained rom com, how much would have that affected your perception of the project?

Jeffrey

Yeah, so I’ve done you know, probably 40% of my movies or rom coms or traumas. So, I like doing all types of movies, but what it does affect is the ability to monetize the project, and I knew from the beginning, we’d have a much better chance at selling this recouping our investment. And versus some of the other projects that we’ve looked at.

Ashley

So, Ullrich, let’s talk about your writing process a little bit. Just take us through sort of your writing process. Where do you typically write, when do you typically write, are you someone that writes in the morning, you write late at night? Do you go to Starbucks, do you have a home office? What is your writing process look like?

Ullrich

Well, it’s changed a lot since I’ve had a kid, I used to, when I wrote The Alternate, I took time off, like I took, like probably at least a couple of weeks or at a time and I would just write every day and so I would just sit I’d have my desk and I would sit at and I would try to write and then just make sure that I was putting time in every day. Now, I basically try to fit it in wherever I can, which is usually like right before I go to bed at night for like the last hour or so before I go to sleep or very first thing in the morning right when I wake up, because for me it’s really hard throughout the day like you know, taking care of a baby and you know, also with a day job and other projects to work on. It’s just so hard to do it in the middle of the day. So, it really has to be for me like either like write before I go to bed, set an hour aside, get it done or write first thing in the morning.

Ashley

I’m curious, just as Jeffrey just mentioned that he wanted to something he could monetize, you know, in sci fi as potential for that. How much of that affected you when you were coming up with ideas? Did you sort of understand the business realities of indie film? Did that play into your decision to go with a sci fi thriller like this?

Ullrich

Yeah, it did. And it’s not even to the point of like, just for this one movie, it was a decision I had made really early on in my career that I am going to make genre films, like, I’m going to be a genre filmmaker, like for my life. And you know, maybe I’ll make another drama movie here and there, whatever. But like, I love science fiction, I love thrillers. I love horror movies, I love action movies. These are the movies I like to watch the most out of all movies. And so, it just made sense for me to like, be these the movies that I want to make. It’s also what I want to write the most too. It’s like, all my ideas are around something either supernatural or like science fiction based or horror based or something. There’s always like an edge or like some sort of something going on in my stories that like, is more than meets the eye basically. And I don’t know, it’s just like, I think kind of built into who I am really.

Ashley

Gotcha. So, as you had your script finished, take us through some of those initial steps. Like before you met Jeffrey, it sounds like you got some money raise. You got some other people involved? So just take us through those steps. Did you enter a screenplay contest? Did you send it out to manager, agent? Did you send out query letters? What were sort of those initial steps?

Ullrich

I did all those things. I sent it out query letters. I sent it to managers and agents. I did all these things, I don’t know if you’ve heard of them, but like through stage 32. And open. We’ve heard road map riders. So, I did about 20 of these pitches is paid for executive pitches. Through those different like, I think it did some through stage three, two, and some through roadmap riders. And that was like a really big eye opener, because like, even the people who liked it, like there wasn’t really much they could do for me, really, he was like, you know, I kind of felt like this sort of helplessness. Like, oh, like these, these people, they basically want something that they can like, you know, slap a movie star on and then go make it like, but if even if they loved my idea, I mean, it was like so great that they couldn’t say no, they would never ever let me direct. This is like an ad for someone who was writing to direct, it was very clear that like, that was not a really good way to go. And then like, you know, like some of those I didn’t even get the feedback that was promised me from them. Because I did get a couple accepts or whatever. And then the and then I just never heard back from a couple of people. And so that was like the first thing, then I was like, Okay, well, now I want to do it myself. So, then I reached out to friends and family, and basically made a list of everyone I knew in my life who I could ask to invest in this movie. And I just started asking everybody if they would have lunch with me. And I started with like my parents and then like, my dentist is an investor who actually came to one of our screenings, which was pretty amazing. And, yeah, I just kind of circled out from there. And I got like, maybe a 10th of the budget or something doing it that way, you know, and then that’s when I met Jeff. And then Jeff kind of helped me like, it’s so funny. So, the Forum One thing, I was like really clear to all filmmakers. It’s not like I got Jeff to join as a producer. And suddenly he snapped his fingers. And all this money started from being the project, it’s not like a dump truck of money came to my door, because Jeff knows the right people, it was more than like, I had Jeff as this, you know, and so much credibility to the project, like, you know, producer of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, it was like it was a huge, like, kind of boon to the project. And so now I went back to the same people I knew before who had money, and I’d be like, hey, like, I’ve got this amazing experience producer onboard now. Like now will you meet with me and then then they would be like, Yeah, of course. And so basically, it was still my network that we’re pitching and still people that I met through my connections. But it was now that Jeff was willing to pitch with me and like the outcome of those meetings started to change drastically and then the getting people to actually sit down with me was way easier once I had Jeff on board.

Jeffrey

And I have a background in finance and banking. So, that helps a lot there’s always a plethora of creativity and all my projects that I work with, with all my directors, but I had a lot of credibility dealing with investors having done this before and so that makes a big difference I’m like it really saw closer I don’t source potential investors, but when I meet him, I’m going to closing and I’m very transparent on the realities of filmmaking.

Ashley

Yeah. And so, what it your pitch, especially a film like this is obviously a distinctly different pitch than something like a remake. kind of an iconic film. So, what are you actually pitching to the investors? Is it ROI? Is it a cool experience? How do you get them to come on board?

Jeffrey

So, ROI is probably the last thing I pitch actually, I never pitch that I let people know that this is if you’re looking for an ROI, you know, it happens occasionally. But you should really look at alternative investments, you know, finance the stock market, even the stock market’s not doing that great right now. So, you might be competing with them. But it’s more about the other aspects of filmmaking, supporting filmmakers, seeing your name up in the big screen, going to festivals, coming out on set, meeting the actors. And by the way, I have distributed 100% of the movies I’ve produced, I’ve produced and completed 100% of everything I’ve attempted. And so, we will monetize some of the capitalization, we’ll get that money back how much I can never tell you. But what I’ll tell you is we’ll get it out there, we’ll get it distributed, and keep our fingers crossed. And maybe this won’t be a homerun, but we’ll get some money back. For sure. It always happens and just know that going in. And so, we’ve never had an investor, I’ve never had investor over 20 plus movies that’s been dissatisfied, even when they haven’t received all their money back.

Ashley

Yeah, yeah. So, talk about a little bit, maybe you can give us some tips for the Kickstarter, do your Kickstarter, Indiegogo sounds like you did some crowdsourcing at the end? What are some tips there, and either Jeffrey or Ullrich, I’d be curious to get your thoughts if there’s any quick tips for our listeners on that.

Ullrich

I would say make a lot of content to share during your crowdfunding campaign, like we did little movies with all our casting crew. So, before we started the crowdfunding campaign, I took my camera and like, while we were at a meeting for the project, or whatever, I would just capture like Jeff, or our cinematographer, or our production designer, whoever, like on camera, just talking about the project. And then I use those as rewards for when we hit certain like peaks during the or milestones during the project. So, like we could have $1,000, here’s a video with our cinematographer that, we $12,000. Here’s the video with our production designer, you know, and like, it would just be like just the extra little pieces of rewards and content that we could sprinkle out throughout the release of the or through the campaign. Also, really huge, very important thing is to get, like some of your money, completely, like agreed to be put into the project before you start. So, like, I would say, at least 50…I think we had like around 30%, or maybe 40% people, some people say 50% is good, but you should try to get as much as you can, like pre you committed beforehand. And then like you basically let people know when to release that money into the crowdfunding campaign. So, you want to kind of have a big hit at the beginning, you know, is like a few 1000, 4000, 5000, whatever. So, like, really exciting right at the beginning. And then like you want to make sure like, at every stage that you’re always like having big enough incremental increases. So that by the time that you’re halfway through the project, you’re already like 70%, or over your goal, because you don’t want to look like you’re going to fail ever, you know, you always want to look like you’re going to succeed. So, I did that. And that worked really well. And it was actually kind of smart to like, be crowdfunding and to be raising equity investors at the same time. Because basically, you can approach an equity investor, and then they would be like, oh, yeah, I don’t know. I mean, I’m not really interested, then you can be like, oh, I got a crowdfunding campaign coming up. What would you throw a couple $1,000 into that? And they’d be like, Sure, no problem. So, then you go from not making an investment at all to actually getting $2,000 for your crowdfunding campaign. And that happened over and over again. And that was one of the ways we were able to generate such a good start to our crowdfunding.

Ashley

Yeah. So, those are excellent tips for sure. Thank you for sharing those. So, is there anything I just like to wrap up the interviews by asking my guests if there’s anything recently you guys have seen; Netflix, HBO, Hulu, anything out there that you think screenwriters could really benefit from watching?

Jeffrey

I’ll leave that to Ullrich because I really don’t watch too many movies. And then when I get on a script, I start researching and watching other programs.

Ullrich

You gave me like so much time to think about this. I’ve been watching a lot of shows lately. The Sandman is one that I just started I really like. I just watched the first episode of that. But as for screenwriters specifically. I think Tokyo vice is one that people should check out because I feel like the amount of research and the amount of detail that went into making that show and like how really expertly all the characters are written in those stories woven through the whole series and that was really expertly done. So, I would definitely make sure to check that one out.

Ashley

Okay, perfect. Yeah, Tokyo Vice. That’s a good recommendation. How can people see The Alternate? Do you know what the release schedule is going to be like?

Jeffrey

September 6th on all video digital platforms, and available on DVD and blu ray.

Ashley

Okay, perfect. And what’s the best way for people to keep up with what you guys are doing? Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, anything you’re comfortable sharing our roundup for the show notes.

Jeffrey

Instagram for me, JeffreyAllard.

Ashley

Okay, perfect. Ullrich yours?

Ullrich

UllrichBursell on Instagram. And then also we’re on Facebook for The Alternate film. I’m also on Facebook, and then, you know, the Twitter for me as well UllrichB on Twitter. But just make sure to you know, check out the movie when it comes out on September 6th.

Ashley

Perfect. Perfect. Well, guys, I really appreciate you coming on and talking with the day. Good luck with this film. And good luck with all your feature films as well.

Jeffrey

Thank you very much, Ashley.

Ashley

Thank you. We’ll talk to you guys later.

SYS from concept to completion, screenwriting course is now available just go to www.sellingyourscreenplay.com/screenwritingcourse, it will take you through every part of writing a screenplay, coming up with a concept, outlining, writing the opening pages the first act, second act, third act and then rewriting and then there’s even a module at the end on marketing your screenplay once it’s polished and ready to be sent out. We’re offering this course in two different versions, the first version, you get the course plus you get three analyses from an SYS reader, you’ll get one analysis on your outline, and then you’ll get two analyses on your first draft of your screenplay. This is just our introductory price, you’re getting three full analyses, which is actually the same price as our three-pack analysis bundle. So, you’re essentially getting the course for free when you buy the three analyses that come with it. And to be clear, you’re getting our full analysis with this package. The other version doesn’t have the analysis. So, you’ll have to find some friends or colleagues who will do the feedback portion of the course with you. I’m letting SYS select members do this version of the course for free. So, if you’re a member of SYS select you already have access to it. You also might consider that as an option. If you join us why so that you will get the course as part of that membership too. A big piece of this course is accountability. Once you start the course, you’ll get an email every Sunday with that week’s assignment. And if you don’t complete it, we’ll follow up with another reminder the next week, it’s easy to pause the course if you need to take some time off, but as long as you’re enrolled, you’ll continue to get reminders for each section until it’s completed. The objective of the course is to get you through it in six months so that you have a completed power screenplay ready to be sent out. So, if you have an idea for a screenplay, and you’re having a hard time getting it done, this course might be exactly what you need. If this sounds like something you’d like to learn more about, just go to www.sellingyourscreenplay.com/screenwritingcourse. It’s all one word, all lowercase. I will of course the link to the course in the show notes and I will put a link to the course on the homepage up in the right-hand sidebar.

On the next episode of the podcast, I have writer-director Michael Baumgarten. He is a writer director who is also a producer. He’s done a number of shorts and feature films both as a writer, director and a producer. He comes on next week to talk about his new comedy feature film Hollywood laundromat. It’s a contained comedy, which takes place of all places in a Hollywood laundromat. It’s also our feature presentation at the festival this year. So that’s going to be Saturday, October 8th at 8pm. We’re going to show Hollywood laundromat so I thought it’d be fun to bring him on and talk about that film and just kind of highlighted a little bit then hopefully people can come out and see it as well the following week, so keep an eye out for that episode next week. That’s our show. Thank you for listening

This week Ashley Scott Meyers talks with Producer Jeffrey Allard and filmmaker Alrik Bursell. They talk about their latest movie, a contained Sci-Fi Thriller called The Alternate (2021).

Topics include how Director/Writer Alrik Bursell wrote an interesting genre feature set in just two locations and how he started with the ending of the story first. Jeffrey Allard is the producer of The Alternate and many other great movies including The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003) and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning (2006). He talks about how he was able to get the rights to produce a remake of this iconic horror franchise. You will be surprised to learn who originally owned The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

This episode is packed with info about the creative and the business side of filmmaking.

The podcast is available in iTunes, YouTube, Stitcher (for Android users), the Windows Marketplace, and the Blackberry store or you can simply listen to it or watch it right from my blog.

You can also read a transcript of this episode.

Links mentioned in the show:

Below is a list of all the screenplays that made it into the Semi Finals of this year’s SYS’s Six-Figure Screenplay Contest. A big congratulations to all the writers. Congratulations!

With each round we try to choose the scripts that best fit what we’re looking for with SYS’s Six-Figure Screenplay Contest. All of these screenplays are well written, original and could be produced on a modest budget. We’ll be making our final announcement on November 10th.

Here are this years Semi Finalists:

Shorts:

Gloomy Sunday (horror) by Kevin Machate
Scumbags (comedy) by Tony Hunter
Thirty Magic Candles (horror) by Joe Hurst

Features:

Bad Business (comedy) by Andrew Adams
Barth (drama) by Scott Marshall Taylor
The Edge of Darkness/DARK SMOKE (horror) by Amy Rebecca Blackwelder
The Unseen (thriller) by Shiva Ramanathan

This is a transcript of SYS 450 – Directing A-List Actors With Matt Eskandari .

[click to continue…]

This week our guest Matt Eskandari talks about how directing several movies with Bruce Willis gave him a track record for working well with A-list actors.

Matt Eskandari is the director of Wire Room (2022), Survive The Night (2020) and Trauma Center (2019), which all star Bruce Willis. He gives details about his most recent feature Wire Room, about an FBI agent who is pushed to his limit while monitoring a wire tap. This Action Thriller also stars Kevin Dillon.

Other topics include what made the Wire Room script so unique and what Matt Eskandari did to become the kind of director an actor of Bruce Willis’ caliber wanted to keep working with.

The podcast is available in iTunes, YouTube, Stitcher (for Android users), the Windows Marketplace, and the Blackberry store or you can simply listen to it or watch it right from my blog.

You can also read a transcript of this episode.

Links mentioned in the show:

A big congratulations to all the writers who’s screenplays have advanced to the quarter finals of this year’s Six-Figure Screenplay Contest!

There were lots of well written, exciting, original, and interesting screenplays in a wide variety of genres this year, and choosing the ones to advance was no easy task.

We’re still busy at work trying to figure out which screenplays will move into the semi finals, so stay tuned for that announcement on September 26th.

Here is the list of screenplays that have made it through to the quarter finals (listed alphabetically by title):

Short Screenplays:

Gloomy Sunday (horror) by Kevin Machate
Scumbags (comedy) by Tony Hunter
The Autocorrect Stage (drama) by Sara Joy Skerritt
Thirty Magic Candles (horror) by Joe Hurst
Waiting For Joey Pants (drama) by Tom Cavanaugh

Feature Screenplays:

A Solid B (thriller) by Brian O’Connor
Bad Business (comedy) by Andrew Adams
Barth (drama) by Scott Marshall Taylor
Blue Winter (horror) by Madison Sean Flannery
Call Me Thor (drama) by Jamie Campbell
Christian Morris (drama) by Jeffery Brown
Funeral for a Friend (drama) by Brian Mulligan
Mercy Dearest (comedy) by Joseph Guerrieri
The Edge of Darkness/DARK SMOKE (horror) by Amy Rebecca Blackwelder
The First Michael (comedy) by Michael Buonocore
The Last Stage, or Wyatt’s Earp Dying Dream (drama) by Bruce Scivally
The Loneliest Road (drama) by Thayenne Behr
The Unseen (thriller) by Shiva Ramanathan
The Voyeur’s Logbook (thriller) by Kenneth Perkins

This is a transcript of SYS 449 – Writing A Lifetime Movie With Richard Pierce .

[click to continue…]

This week Ashley Scott Meyers talks with writer Richard Pierce. This is a returning guest, SYS 378 was his prior interview.

He talks about the art of writing and pitching a made for TV Movie for networks like Lifetime. Richard Pierce talks about the writing and development process for Do You Trust Your Boyfriend (AKA Killer Profile – 2021). His writing credits also include Student Seduction (2022).

Topics also include how writing a made for TV movie (MOW or Movie Of the Week) is structured very differently than other screenplays.

The podcast is available in iTunes, YouTube, Stitcher (for Android users), the Windows Marketplace, and the Blackberry store or you can simply listen to it or watch it right from my blog.

You can also read a transcript of this episode.

Links mentioned in the show:

Below is a list of all the screenplays that made it into the second round of SYS’s Six Figure Screenplay Contest 2022.

A big congratulations to all the writers who had screenplays make it out of the first round. Congratulations!

Trying to grade something as subjective as screenwriting is not always easy, and we acknowledge that no process, including our own, is perfect. If you didn’t place as highly as you had hoped, get another opinion. It’s always possible we’ve overlooked a great screenplay.

We will be announcing the quarter finalists on September 19th, 2022.

So without further ado here are the screenplays that have progressed to the second round of SYS’s Six-Figure Screenplay Contest 2022 (listed alphabetically by screenplay title):

Short Screenplays:
Gloomy Sunday (horror) by Kevin Machate
Luke and Emma and a Gas Station on Franklin Avenue (drama) by Levi Wilson
Metal Box (drama) by Brayden Dalmazzone
Requiem for a Life (drama) by Tony Macy
Scumbags (comedy) by Tony Hunter
Song Of The Selkie (fantasy) by Kerry Browne
The Autocorrect Stage (drama) by Sara Joy Skerritt
The Wager (drama) by Timothy O’Brien
Thirty Magic Candles (horror) by Joe Hurst
Waiting For Joey Pants (drama) by Tom Cavanaugh

Feature Screenplays:
A Solid B (thriller) by Brian O’Connor
Abyss (horror) by Seya Hug
Anti-Social (horror) by Brendan Byrne
Arden (drama) by Dale Wolf
Backwaters (action/adventure) by Jeffrey Craine
Bad Business (comedy) by Andrew Adams
Barth (drama) by Scott Marshall Taylor
Blue Chip Red (comedy) by Jason White
Blue Winter (horror) by Madison Sean Flannery
Call Me Thor (drama) by Jamie Campbell
Cherry (drama) by Kat Kaevich
Christian Morris (drama) by Jeffery Brown
Cicada Summer (comedy) by Andrew Adams
Fertility (horror) by David Ferris
Funeral for a Friend (drama) by Brian Mulligan
Ghosts of Cape May (drama) by Tom Frangicetto
Giants (drama) by Kathleen Scott
Highway of Tears (horror) by Philip Elliott
Ignition (thriller) by Steve Looker
Indiana Jones and the Tree of Life (action/adventure) by Isaiah Mouw
Infinity (thriller) by Chris Bonneau
Iron Mountain (drama) by Jeff Hindenach
Late Fees (comedy) by Darren Coyle
Lockdown Generation (drama) by Joel McElvaney
Mercy Dearest (comedy) by Joseph Guerrieri
Sent Away (drama) by Joel McElvaney
The Jekyll Effect (horror) by Joseph Dzikiewicz
The Only Child (thriller) by JSHinds
Trick Of The Eye (drama) by Dennis Haseley
The Bearing (thriller) by Christian Hearn
The Edge of Darkness/DARK SMOKE (horror) by Amy Rebecca Blackwelder
The First Michael (comedy) by Michael Buonocore
The Hunted (drama) by Nic Lendvoy
The Last Stage, or Wyatt’s Earp Dying Dream (drama) by Bruce Scivally
The Loneliest Road (drama) by Thayenne Behr
The Unseen (thriller) by Shiva Ramanathan
The Voyeur’s Logbook (thriller) by Kenneth Perkins
Vice Grip (thriller) by Steven Traviss Smith
WereClaus (horror) by Andrew Hopps
World Peace (sci-fi) by Colton David Coate

This is a transcript of SYS 448 – Co-Writers With Boxing Gloves: Diego Hallivis and Julio Hallivis.

[click to continue…]