Go Into The Story Resource: Interviews

Over the years, I have interviewed over 100 screenwriters, filmmakers, and industry insiders.

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On May 16, 2019, Go Into The Story turns 11 years old — you can read the very first blog post here. I led with this paragraph:

Welcome to Go Into The Story! Right now, it’s nothing but a humble, threadbare blog, but I hope it will evolve into an active resource for aspiring screenwriters, as well as a community for anyone interested in storytelling and the creative life.

And evolve it did! To the point where it was recently named “Best of the Best” Scriptwriting Website in the 20th Annual Writer’s Digest Best Websites for Writers list.

To celebrate 11 years of blogging about screenwriting, writing, Hollywood, movies, TV, and the creative life, each day in May, I’m going to feature a piece of Go Into The Story trivia, plus a writing resource you can find in the site’s archives. This is not an exercise in self-congratulations so much as I figured readers could use some tips about how to best use the site. With — to date — 26,297 articles and over 100 archive topics, there is a LOT of content here. Hopefully, these posts for the next 31 days will clue in more recent followers and remind long-time readers about resources you can use to facilitate deepening your understanding of the writing craft.

Today’s trivia: The blog’s twitter feed (@GoIntoTheStory) has over 54,000 followers including many of today’s top screenwriters and filmmakers such as Andrew Stanton, Richard Lagravenese, Justin Marks, Scott Frank, Nicole Perlman, Stephany Folsom, Scott Derrickson, Lisa Joy, Julia Hart, Ava DuVernay, Scott Neustadter, Nia Vardalos, Brian Duffield, Liz Hannah, Eric Heisserer, Kelly Marcel, Jon Spaihts, Robin Swicord, Gary Whitta, Steven E. de Souza, Brian Koppelman, Kristen “Kiwi” Smith, Phyllis Nagy, and many more.

Today’s Go Into The Story resource: Interviews.

Over the years, one thing I’ve noticed about screenwriter interviews is the interviewer almost always shows little interest in the writer’s approach to story and creative process. That led me to conducting regular in-depth 60–75 minute interviews in which we dig deep into the writer’s creative process.

Here are links to all of my Go Into The Story interviews:

FILMMAKERS (Screenwriters, Writer-Directors, Directors)

2011 Screenwriters Roundtable: Chris Borrelli, F. Scott Frazier, Jeremiah Friedman, Nick Palmer, Justin Rhodes, Greg Russo, John Swetnam.

2012 Screenwriters Roundtable: Chris Borrelli, F. Scott Frazier, Chris McCoy, Justin Rhodes, Greg Russo, John Swetnam.

2013 Screenwriters Roundtable: Chris Borrelli, F. Scott Frazier, Chris McCoy, Justin Rhodes, Greg Russo, John Swetnam.

2014 Screenwriters Roundtable: Chris Borrelli, Brian Duffield, F. Scott Frazier, Chris McCoy, Justin Rhodes, and Greg Russo.

2015 Screenwriters Roundtable: Jessica Bendinger, Lindsay Devlin, Stephany Folsom, Liz W. Garcia, Julia Hart, and Lisa Joy.

Jen Bailey and Max Lance: 2017 Nicholl Fellowship winners for their script “The Queen of Sleaze”.

Scott Beck and Bryan Woods: Co-writers and producers of the hit horror movie A Quiet Place.

Alisha Brophy and Scott Miles: 2014 Nicholl Fellowship winners for their script “The United States of Fuckin’ Awesome”.

Samantha Buck and Marie Schlingmann: Co-writers and co-directors of the 2019 Sundance Film Festival entry Sister Aimee.

Allison and Nicolas Buckmelter: 2018 Nicholl Fellowship winner for their script “American Refugee”.

TJ Cimfel and David White: Wrote horror thriller movie Shut In.

Spenser Cohen and Anna Halberg: Sold 3 spec scripts in 2 years, The Driver, High Target Value, Pantheon.

Frank DeJohn and David Hedges: 2013 Nicholl Fellowship winner for their script “Legion”.

Jeremiah Friedman and Nick Palmer: Writing duo who sold the spec script Family Getaway and sold the pitch to the remake The Bodyguard.

Julia Hart and Jordan Horowitz: They co-wrote the wonderful indie dramedy Miss Stevens, Julia directing, Jordan producing. Jordan also produced La La Land.

Spencer Harvey and Lloyd Harvey: Brother-sister filmmaking duo who won 2016 Nicholl Fellowship for their screenplay “Photo Booth”.

Bill Holderman and Erin Simms: Director, co-writers, producer of the movie Book Club.

Anna Hozian and Brad Riddell: Co-writers and co-directors of the comedy web series ‘Other People’s Children’.

Rajiv Joseph and Scott Rothman: Wrote the movie Draft Day (2012 Black List).

Amy Koppelman and Paige Dylan: Adapted Koppelman’s novel for the movie I Smile Back.

Matt Manfredi and Phil Hay: Wrote Aeon Flux, R.I.P.D., Ride Along and the indie film The Invitation.

Rob Meyer and Luke Matheny: Co-writers and director of the indie film A Birder’s Guide to Everything.

Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber: (500) Days of Summer screenwriters, Black List 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2012.

David Rabinowitz and Charlie Wachtel: Co-writers of BlacKkKlansman.

Jim Stansberry and Annika Tuneld: Writing duo from the U.S. and Sweden who wrote and sold spec script Wildflowers.

Isaac Adamson: Wrote 2015 Black List top-rated screenplay “Bubbles”.

Arash Amel: Writer, Grace of Monaco, writing “Seducing Ingrid Bergman” and “The Infinity Principle”.

Michael Arndt: Writer, Little Miss Sunshine, Toy Story 3.

Amma Asante: Director, Belle.

Michele Atkins: Won 2016 Nicholl Fellowship for the script “Talking About the Sky”.

Minhal Baig: Writer, 2016 script “Hala”.

Sam Baron: Won 2014 Nicholl Fellowship for the script “The Science of Love and Laughter”.

Nikole Beckwith: 2012 Black List, 2012 Nicholl winner for her script “Stockholm, Pennsylvania”.

Tom Benedek: Screenwriter who has worked in Hollywood since early 80s and wrote the hit movie Cocoon.

Roberto Bentivegna: 2012 Black List for his screenplay “The Eel”.

Amy Berg: TV writer, producer, showrunner, ‘Counterpart’, ‘Person of Interest’, ‘Caper’, ‘Da Vinci’s Demons’.

Carter Blanchard: 2012 Black List for his screenplay “Glimmer”.

Chris Borrelli: 2009 Black List, sold three spec scripts, “The Vatican Tapes”, “Wake”, and “Sad Jack”.

Craig Borten: Nominated for an Academy Award for the screenplay Dallas Buyers Club.

Jon Boyer: 2013 Black List for his screenplay “Free Byrd”.

Elijah Bynum: 2013 Black List for his screenplays “Mississippi Mud” and “Hot Summer Nights”.

Reid Carolin: Writer-Producer, Magic Mike.

Damien Chazelle: Writer-director, Whiplash.

Stan Chervin: Academy Award nominated screenwriter, Moneyball.

Vigil Chime: 2017 Nicholl Fellowship for the script “Bring Back Girl”.

Elizabeth Chomko: 2015 Nicholl Fellowship for the script “What They Had”.

Tze Chun: Writer-director, Children of Invention, Cold Comes the Night.

Dana Coen: TV writer-producer, “JAG,” “Bones”, playwright, screenwriter.

Laura Colella: Writer-director, Breakfast with Curtis.

Destin Daniel Cretton: Screenwriter-director of critically acclaimed independent movies I Am Not a Hipster and Short Term 12.

Sean Robert Daniels: 2012 Nicholl Fellowship winner for his screenplay “Killers”.

Pen Densham: Screenwriter whose movie credits include Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and Moll Flanders.

Scott Derrickson: Co-writer and director of the hit Marvel movie Doctor Strange as well as horror movies The Exorcism of Emily Rose and Sinister.

Lindsay Devlin: Screenwriter of the movie Devil’s Due.

James DiLapo: 2012 Black List, 2012 Nicholl winner for his script “Devils at Play”.

Neil Drumming: Screenwriter-director of the movie Big Words.

Brian Duffield: Wrote 2 Black List scripts, “Your Bridesmaid is a Bitch” and “Jane Got a Gun”.

Allan Durand: 2012 Nicholl Fellowship winner for his screenplay “Willie Francis Must Die Again”.

Ava DuVernay: Screenwriter-Director, I Will Follow, Middle of Nowhere.

Jay Eden: Sold spec script “Incinerator” to the Boies Schiller Film Group.

Jack Epps: Wrote iconic 80s and 90s movies including Top Gun, The Secret of My Success, Turner & Hooch, Legal Eagles, and Dick Tracy.

Mickey Fisher: Wrote spec TV pilot and TV series ‘Extant’.

Stephany Folsom: 2013 Black List for her screenplay “1969: A Space Odyssey or: How Kubrick Learned to Stop Worrying and Land on the Moon”.

F. Scott Frazier: Wrote and sold 4 spec scripts in 2 years including The Numbers Station, “Autobahn”, and “Line of Sight” [2011 Black List].

Andrew Friedhof: Won 2015 Nicholl Fellowship for the screenplay “Great Falls”.

Liz W. Garcia: TV writer-producer (Dawson’s Creek, Wonderfalls, Cold Case) and writer-director (The Lifeguard).

John Gary: Writing projects for Lionsgate and Paramount.

Josh Golden: Won 2014 Nicholl Fellowship for his screenplay “Road to Oz”.

Kristen Gray-Rockmaker: Won 2017 Nicholl Fellowship for her screenplay “Last Days of Winter”.

Anthony Grieco: Won 2015 Nicholl Fellowship for the screenplay “Best Sellers”.

David Guggenheim: Wrote and sold 3 spec scripts in 2 years, Safe House [2010 Black List], Narco Sub, and Black Box [2012 Black List].

Aaron Guzikowski: Wrote Contraband, Prisoners and the TV series The Red Road.

Liz Hannah: 2016 Black List for her screenplay The Post, directed by Steven Spielberg, starring Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks.

Julia Hart: 2012 Black List for her screenplay The Keeping Room, wrote and directed Miss Stevens.

Sean Hartofilis: Writer-director of the indie comedy Beach Pillows.

Spencer and Lloyd Harvey: Wrote 2016 Nicholl Fellowship script “Photo Booth”.

Eric Heisserer: 2012 Black List for his screenplay Story Of Your Life, writer-director, Hours, writer, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Final Destination 5, and The Thing, and 2016 movie Arrival.

Jason Hark Hellerman: 2013 Black List for his screenplay “Shovel Buddies”.

Jim Hemphill: Writer-Director, The Trouble With the Truth.

Brad Ingelsby: 2008, 2012 Black List for his screenplays “The Low Dweller”, “Hold On To Me”, and “Run All Night”.

Sarah Jane Inwards: 2017 Black List and won 2017 Nicholl Fellowship for her script “Jellyfish Summer”.

Melissa Iqbal: Won 2014 Nicholl Fellowship for “The Death Engine”.

Ben Jacoby: Writing “The First Omen” and “Borderland”.

Elgin James: Wrote and directed the indie drama Little Birds.

Patty Jones: Won 2013 Nicholl Fellowship for the script “Joe Banks”.

Lisa Joy: Wrote spec script Reminiscence [2013 Black List], co-wrote HBO pilot “Westworld”.

Jessica Kaye: Writer-Director-Actor in the indie film Inheritance (2017).

Joe Kelly: Author and screenwriter of the movie I Kill Giants.

Kyle Killen: Wrote The Beaver [2008 Black List] and created the TV series “Lone Star” and “Awake”.

Eric Koenig: Wrote and sold spec script “Matriarch”.

Justin Kremer: 2012 Black List for his screenplay “McCarthy”.

Daniel Kunka: 2014 Black List for “Yellowstone Falls”, 2015 Black List for “Battle of New Orleans”, wrote and sold 2 spec scripts, “Agent Ox” and “Bermuda Triangle”.

Geoff LaTulippe: Wrote 2008 Black List script and movie Going the Distance.

Jeffrey Lieber: Screenwriter (Tangled, Tuck Everlasting) and TV writer-producer (Miami Medical, The Whole Truth, Pan Am, Necessary Roughness, Lost).

Seth Lochhead: Wrote the movie Hanna (2006 Black List script).

Geeta Malik: Won 2016 Nicholl Fellowship for her script “Dinner With Friends”.

Kelly Marcel: Wrote the movie Saving Mr. Banks (2011 Black List script).

Justin Marks: Written over 20 movie projects including The Jungle Book and the sequel to Top Gun.

Donald Marguilies: Wrote the adaptation for the movie The End of the Tour.

Michael C. Martin: Wrote and sold spec script Brooklyn’s Finest which became a movie starring Richard Gere, Don Cheadle, Ethan Hawke, and Wesley Snipes.

Marc Maurino: Wrote and sold spec script “Inside the Machine”.

Craig Mazin: Wrote numerous movies including RocketMan (1997), Scary Movie 3 (2003), Scary Movie 4 (2006), Superhero Movie (2008), The Hangover Part II (2011), Identity Thief (2013) and The Hangover Part III (2013).

Chris McCoy: Wrote 3 Black List scripts, “Get Back”, “Good Looking”, and “Good Kids”.

Denise Meyers: Wrote the film “The Dark of Night” which premiered at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival.

Debbie Moon: Created the U.K. TV series “Wolfblood”.

James Morosini: Co-wrote, directed, acted, and produced the movie Threesomething.

Jeff Morris: Wrote the movie True Memoirs of an International Assassin.

Tess Morris: Wrote the spec script and movie Man Up.

Terrance Mulloy: Australia based writer who sold spec script “Priority Run”.

Declan O’Dwyer: U.K. based writer-director who sold spec “Broken Cove”.

Anton Outkine: Russia-based screenwriter, director, and producer of award-winning web series It’s Complicated and VR science fiction film Kessler Effect.

Elizabeth Oyebode: 2016 Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting winner for her script “Tween the Ropes”.

Chris Parrish: Writer-director of the adventure family film Thrill Ride.

Michael R. Perry: Wrote the 2009 Black List script and movie The Voices.

Justin Piasecki: Won 2016 Nicholl Fellowship for his script “Death of an Ortolan”.

Ashleigh Powell: Wrote and sold 2012 Black List script “Somacell”.

Sam Regnier: Won 2015 Nicholl Fellowship for the screenplay “Free Agent”.

Justin Rhodes: Wrote and sold 2 spec scripts, “Second Sun” and “The Join”.

Brad Riddell: Screenwriter (American Pie Presents Band Camp, Crooked Arrow), film professor (School of Cinema Arts at DePaul University).

Chris Roessner: Wrote 2012 Black List script “Sand Castle”.

Alan Roth: Won 2013 Nicholl Fellowship for his script “Jersey City Story”.

Greg Russo: Wrote and sold 2 spec scripts, “Down” and “Autobahn”.

Misan Sagay: Wrote the movie Belle.

Stephanie Shannon: 2013 Nicholl Fellowship winner, 2013 Black List for her screenplay “Queen of Hearts”.

Grace Sherman: 2018 Nicholl Fellowship winner for her screenplay “Numbers and Words”.

Will Simmons: Wrote and sold 2012 Black List spec script “Murder City”, two other projects set up “Romeo” and “Defenders”.

Jon Spaihts: Wrote Prometheus, Doctor Strange, and Passengers as well as upcoming The Mummy and Van Helsing.

Chris Sparling: Wrote and sold 2 spec scripts, both of which were produced, Buried and ATM.

Barbara Stepansky: 2013 Black List, 2013 Nicholl Fellowship winner for her screenplay “Sugar in My Veins”.

Daniel Stiepleman: 2014 Black List script for the movie On the Basis of Sex.

John Swetnam: Wrote and sold 3 spec scripts, Evidence, Category 6, and Spinback.

Robin Swicord: Writing credits include Little Women and Matilda, writing-directing credits include The Jane Austen Book Club and Wakefield.

Lori Evans Taylor: Wrote and sold spec script “Bed Rest”.

Amy Tofte: Won 2015 Nicholl Fellowship for the screenplay “Addis Abeka”.

Aaron Tracy: Wrote and sold spec script “Article III”.

Daniel Turkewitz: Wrote and sold spec script “Tranquility Base”.

David Turpin: Screenwriter of 2017 horror film The Lodgers.

Cesar Vitale: 2017 Black List and won 2017 Nicholl Fellowship for his script “The Great Nothing”.

Michael Werwie: 2012 Nicholl Fellowship winner, 2012 Black List for his screenplay “Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile”.

Sallie West: Won 2014 Nicholl Fellowship for the script “Moonflower”.

Gary Whitta: 2007 Black List writer, Book of Eli, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

Don Winslow: Author of “Savages” and “The Cartel”.

INDUSTRY

Anonymous: Marketing executive at one of Hollywood major studios

Chicks Who Script: Weekly podcast from a female-centric perspective with hosts Emily Blake, Maggie F. Levin, and Lauren Schacher

Mary Coleman: Head of Pixar’s story department.

Emile Gladstone: Former ICM agent, producer, Army of One.

Marc Hofstatter: Head of film at IndieGoGo.

Ted Hope: Noted movie producer and CEO of Fandor.

Darnell Hunt: Director of Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies, lead author of annual Hollywood Diversity Report.

Adam Kolbrenner: Manager-producer, Madhouse Entertainment.

Mynette Louie: Independent film producer (Children of Invention, California Solo, Cold Comes the Night).

D.C. Mar: Long-time script reader and story analyst.

Rachael Prior: Head of Film at U.K.-based Big Talk Pictures.

Tasia Valenza: Actor (All My Children, The Bold and Beautiful, The Heights) and voice-over artist (The Clone Wars).

Resource Tip: Apart from watching movies and reading scripts, listening to interviews with notable screenwriters, TV writers, and/or field trip is one of the very best ways for a writer to elevate their understanding of the craft. That is, if the interviewer asks some relevant questions.

I ask relevant questions.

Check out my interviews. They are chock full of information, insight, and inspiration.

Finally, each day this month, I want to take the opportunity to thank you for supporting Go Into The Story. I’d love to hear from you in RESPONSES. When did you start following the blog? What are your favorite features? And as always, if you have any suggestions, feel free to suggest away.

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