Saturday Hot Links

Time for the 270th installment of Saturday Hot Links, your week’s essential reading about movies, TV, streaming, Hollywood, and other things of writerly interest.

2016 Box Office Crosses $ 11B for Another Record Year.

Box Office 2016 Wrap: How a Record Year-End Total Masks Big Troubles for Studios.

2016’s International Box-Office Surprises.

France’s 2016 Box Office Is the Second-Biggest in Modern Times.

‘Ben Hur’ to ‘BFG’: Hollywood’s Biggest Box-Office Bombs of 2016.

The 10 Most Inventive Original Screenplays of 2016.

The Best Laid Supervillain Plans: What Worked and What Didn’t in 2016.

2016: The Year in Certified Fresh Movies.

2016: The Year American Cinema Was Saturated in Beauty, and American Reality Was Saturated in Ugliness.

101 reasons 2016 wasn’t quite as shit as we all thought it was.

35 Directors Pick Their Favorite Movies of 2016.

Is 2017 The Year DC Will Set the Course Straight?

The 52 Most Anticipated Movies of 2017.

In 2017, Hayao Miyazaki Rises Again.

Alibaba to Invest $ 7.2 Billion in Entertainment Over Next 3 Years.

Cinematic Advertisements: How Modern Hype Changed Cinema Ads.

How Hollywood’s Trump Ennui Has Changed Awards Season.

DGA Approves New Deal That ‘More Than Triples’ SVOD, Raises Feature Length Royalties.

20 Latin Americans Making a Difference for American Independent Film Today.

Did our ancestors speak like Yoda?

Every upcoming Star Wars movie to 2021 and beyond.

It May Be an Accident, but ‘Rogue One’ Is the Most Politically Relevant Movie of the Year.

How Batman Helps Me Survive My Mental Illness.

How ‘A Monster Calls’ Defeated Death From Page To Screen.

Most Memorable L.A. Locations in ‘La La Land’.

The 100 Jokes That Shaped Modern Comedy.

Sidney Lumet and Paddy Chayevsky’s ‘Network’: The Grim Prophecy that Was Once Just Brilliant Satire.

Why 1994–95 Was One of Network TV’s Last Truly Great Seasons.

2016: The Year in Certified Fresh TV.

29 Very Black Things That Happened on TV in 2016.

The sheer brilliance of Hallmark’s corny Christmas movies.

Why National Geographic Decided To Dump The Dumb And Get Back To Its Educated Roots.

Netflix’s New Releases Coming in January 2017.

Netflix Launches Video Previews: How The Company Landed On Its Biggest Redesign Ever.

Why 2017 Will Be Crunch Year for the Global Ambitions of Netflix and Amazon.

7 Signs Augmented and Virtual Reality Are Ready for the Masses in 2017.

The 50 Best Podcast Episodes of 2016.

Their Words to Live By: Artists We Lost in 2016.

The Bitter Script Reader: In defense of ‘Passengers’.

Film School Rejects: Dear Readers, Thanks For 2016.

Jeff Willis: Intellectual Property.

Jeff Willis: Options.

Listen: Bart & Fleming (Episode 8).

Listen: Scriptnotes (Episode 281).

Watch: The Incredibles Symbolism: The Power of Family.

Watch: 9 Ridiculously Shitty Pixar Ripoffs.

Watch: The Godfather: Solozzo’s Death — Script to Screen Analysis.

Watch: 2016 — The Horror Movie Trailer.

Hollywood Mourns Iconic ‘Star Wars’ Star Carrie Fisher.

Carrie Fisher, Script Doctor: Her Unknown Legacy Examined.

What Carrie Fisher, Bowie, Prince and Muhammad Ali Taught Us.

Debbie Reynolds, ‘Singin’ in the Rain’ Actress and Carrie Fisher’s Mother, Dies at 84.

Screenwriting Master Class tip of the week

As far as I’m concerned, there’s only one rule about a first draft and it’s this: “Get the damn thing done!”

Easy to say. Hard to do.

That’s why I created the Pages I: The First Draft writing workshop, a structured online environment — 10 weeks, 10 lectures, 10 writing assignments — to empower a writer to get from FADE IN to FADE OUT.

If you have a story you’ve pretty well developed and could benefit from:

  • Weekly due dates to compel you to knock out script pages
  • Lectures to steer you through the writing process
  • Feedback and support from a community of fellow writers
  • Analysis of your pages from a professional screenwriter and educator
  • Teleconferences to drill down in your story and the craft of screenwriting

I have found the approach we use in the workshop, breaking down each weekly assignment to 10 pages or so, basically one or two sequences, makes the writing much more manageable. That in combination with several other factors make the success rate in my writing workshops — writers actually completing their scripts — quite high.

Some testimonials from writers who have participated in the workshop:

“A great experience. I didn’t just get a 99 page first draft out of it, I got all the notes, comments and ideas to start my second draft.” — Michael Waters

“I would highly recommend the Pages I course. The class set up and size is optimal. And although, personally, I was unsure how much I would get from the peer feedback — I found that incredibly rewarding as well.” — Stacey Fernengel

Consider enrolling in the upcoming Pages I workshop. Instructor: Tom Benedek.

It begins Monday, January 9.

Go here to learn more. Or if you have any questions feel free to email me.

Let me end with a some writer quotes about first drafts:

“First drafts are for learning what your story is about.”
 — Bernard Malamud

“The first draft is nothing more than a starting point, so be wrong as fast as you can.”
 — Andrew Stanton

“Then comes the great leap which is the first draft, I call it ‘the muscle draft,’ where you just muscle it out. You don’t worry about what you’re missing, you just get through it, get to the end.”
 — Darren Aronofsky

“Rewrite, rewrite, rewrite. That first draft is just spaghetti on the wall.”
 — Dennis Lehane

“Sometimes you’re swinging your way through a first draft like a blind miner with a pick-axe. That’s OK. Get it done, nothing else matters.”
–Justin Marks

“The first draft, the first structure is really important… Do it fast, don’t get stuck.”
 — Oliver Stone

“No matter what you write, good or bad, it’s an improvement to a blank page.”
 — Chris Sparling

Of course, you can write a script on your own. Indeed, you want to develop practices which enable you to do that effectively and efficiently. The Pages I workshop can not only get you from FADE IN to FADE OUT, you can also learn an approach to page-writing which you can use in all future projects.

So get the New Year off to a creative and productive start. Join Tom Benedek in the upcoming Pages I: Writing the First Draft workshop.

Saturday Hot Links was originally published in Go Into The Story on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Go Into The Story – Medium

Golden Globe Presenters Announced for the 74th Awards

Golden Globe Presenters Announced for the 74th Awards

Golden Globe presenters announced for the 74th Awards

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) has announced the Golden Globe presenters for the 74th annual awards. Included in the line-up are Drew Barrymore (Golden Globe Award winner and three-time award nominee), Steve Carell (Golden Globe Award winner and eight-time award nominee), Priyanka Chopra, Matt Damon (two-time Golden Globe Award winner and seven-time award nominee), Viola Davis (five-time Golden Globe Award nominee), Laura Dern (three-time Golden Globe Award winner and five-time award nominee), Goldie Hawn (Golden Globe Award winner and nine-time award nominee), Anna Kendrick (Golden Globe Award nominee), Nicole Kidman (three-time Golden Globe Award winner and eleven-time award nominee), Brie Larson (Golden Globe Award winner and award nominee), Diego Luna, Sienna Miller (Golden Globe Award nominee), Mandy Moore (Golden Globe Award nominee), Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Timothy Olyphant, Chris Pine, Eddie Redmayne (Golden Globe Award winner and two-time award nominee), Zoe Saldana, Amy Schumer (Golden Globe Award nominee), Sylvester Stallone (Golden Globe Award winner and three-time award nominee), Justin Theroux, Milo Ventimiglia, Sofia Vergara (four-time Golden Globe Award nominee), and Reese Witherspoon (Golden Globe Award winner and four-time award nominee).

Jimmy Fallon will host the ceremony airing on Sunday, January 8, 2017, LIVE coast-to-coast on NBC from 5-8 p.m. PT / 8-11 p.m. ET from the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills. Previously announced, eight-time Golden Globe-winner Meryl Streep will be the recipient of the 2017 Cecil B. DeMille Award. Produced by dick clark productions (dcp) in association with the HFPA, the Golden Globe Awards are viewed in more than 236 countries worldwide and are one of the few awards ceremonies to include both motion picture and television achievements.

“The HFPA Presents: Globes Red Carpet Live,” the official red carpet pre-show for the “74th Annual Golden Globe Awards” will live stream exclusively on Twitter on Jan. 8 from 6-8 pm ET (3-5 pm PT). The pre-show will be available in the United States for Twitter’s logged-in and logged-out audience on Twitter and connected devices and can be found at, in Twitter Moments or @goldenglobes.

Lorenzo Soria is President of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. Allen Shapiro, CEO of dick clark productions; Mike Mahan, President of dick clark productions; and Barry Adelman, Executive VP of Television at dick clark productions will serve as executive producers.

The post Golden Globe Presenters Announced for the 74th Awards appeared first on

Update: 2016 Award Season Screenplay Downloads — 44 Total!

Plus a link to download nearly 200 movie scripts from last 6 years.

For movie lovers and especially those interested in screenwriting, this is a great time of year as Hollywood studios and production companies have their annual ritual of making the year’s movie scripts available to the public. As I update them here and add them to the site’s script archive, what this means is unlike other sites, all scripts here are both free and legal.

Current total of 2016 scripts for download: 44.

For background on how Go Into The Story helped secure the public release of The Invitation script, go here.

20th Century Women (A24)

A Monster Calls (Focus Features)

Anthropoid (Bleecker Street)

Arrival (Paramount)

Birth of a Nation (Fox Searchlight)

Bridget Jones’s Baby (Universal)

Captain Fantastic (Bleecker Street)

The Comedian (Sony Classics)

Denial (Bleecker Street)

Elle (Sony Classics)

Equity (Sony Classics)

Eye in the Sky (Bleecker Street)

Fences (Paramount)

The Founder (TWC)

The Girl on the Train (Universal)

Gold (TWC)

Hail, Caesar! (Universal)

Hell or High Water (CBS Films)

The Hollars (Sony Classics)

I Saw the Light (Sony Classics)

The Invitation (Drafthouse)

Jackie (Fox Searchlight)

Julieta (Sony Classics)

Kubo and the Two Strings (Focus Features)

Land of Mine (Sony Classics)

Lion (TWC)

Love & Friendship (Amazon)

Loving (Focus Features)

Maggie’s Plan (Sony Classics)

Manchester by the Sea (Amazon)

The Meddler (Sony Classics)

Miles Ahead (Sony Classics)

Moonlight (A24)

My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 (Universal)

Nocturnal Animals (Focus Features)

The Red Turtle (Sony Classics)

The Secret Life of Pets (Universal)

Silence (Paramount)

Sing (Universal)

Sing Street (TWC)

Sully (Warner Bros.)

Toni Erdmann (Sony Classics)

Victor Frankenstein (David Entertainment)

Zootopia (Walt Disney)

As the scripts become available, we add them to our Movie Script Download archive which is now approaching 200 screenplays from movies released during the last 6 years.

There are probably 5–10 more 2016 movie scripts to be made public in January including La La Land which I have confirmed with one of the movie’s producers.

Hitchcock with a stack of his movie scripts

Many thanks to Sarah Grimes, Alecia Hodges, and Paul Huffman who are doing us all a solid by tracking the studio and production company sites for new script releases.

Reading movie screenplays is absolutely critical to your development as a screenwriter. Along with watching movies and writing pages, it is a fundamental practice you should put into place. Make it a goal to read at least one movie script per week.

Where can you go to get access to many of the top movie scripts from 2016? Right here at Go Into The Story! And to learn when they first come online, follow me on Twitter: @GoIntoTheStory.

Reminder: These scripts are for educational purposes only.

Update: 2016 Award Season Screenplay Downloads — 44 Total! was originally published in Go Into The Story on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Go Into The Story – Medium

Dear 2016, Thanks for the Great Films

2016 has been an interesting year, especially for movies.

It’s finally here, the last day of 2016! While some of us may celebrate with shots and chanting “Ding dong, the witch is dead,” some may find it appropriate to look back on a truly spectacular year in films, especially those coming from the indie sector. Inevitably, video essayists and casual videomakers, like Max Shishkin, Fernando Andrés, and Ben Zuk, have created end-of-year supercuts and mashups of all of 2016’s films, so, we chose a few of our favorites as a fitting tribute to a year that we hate to see go, but love to watch leave.

It’s heartening to see filmmakers in 2016 continuing to push boundaries and take chances with their projects. Barry Jenkins told a story most feared to tell in Moonlight, the Daniels managed to sell a film about a farting corpse, and Nicolas Winding Refn and DP Natasha Braier showed us some of the most spectacular cinematography in Neon Demon. Hopefully 2017 will show us the same spirit.

What were your favorite films of 2016? Let us know in the comments below.

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No Film School

How to Use Go Into The Story

A 5 part series to help readers use the blog’s resources.

With over 20,000 posts on this blog, here’s a logical question:


With this series, you don’t need to check into Hotel Hell like Barton Fink did to write a script.

An end of the year series to help.

Part 1: Watch Movies

Part 2: Read Scripts

Part 3: Write Pages

Part 4: Study the Craft

Part 5: Learn the Business

Rock solid resources, all for FREE!

How to Use Go Into The Story was originally published in Go Into The Story on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Go Into The Story – Medium

This Week In Trailers: Prevenge, Denial, Brillo Box (3 Cents Off), Werewolf, Nothing Grows Here

Green Band Trailer

Trailers are an under-appreciated art form insofar that many times they’re seen as vehicles for showing footage, explaining films away, or showing their hand about what moviegoers can expect. Foreign, domestic, independent, big budget: What better way to hone your skills as a thoughtful moviegoer than by deconstructing these little pieces of advertising? This week we are convinced the fetus inside of us is ordering us to kill, delight in some Andy Warhol sellers remorse, wonder at an environmentally friendly family drama, develop a bad drug habit, and marvel at some young kids who discover friendship and that one of them doesn’t have a heartbeat.

Nothing Grows Here Trailer

Short and sweet.

Director Lauren Belanger has made a 17 minute short that looks absolutely charming. Removed from any recognizable face and any preconceived notions about how a narrative about a young boy and young girl ought to go, the high concept isn’t at all jarring and, is in fact, completely disarming. One of the best things I’ve stumbled on this month, this trailer shows how to gin up interest with nothing but a fascinating concept and an interesting visual style.

Prevenge Trailer

Just read the logline and tell me you’re not interested too.

Alice Lowe, who co-wrote Ben Wheatley’s fantastically dark and delicious Sightseers, is making her directorial debut with a movie that is described thusly:

A darkly satirical slasher film in which she plays a pregnant woman who is convinced her fetus is ordering her to kill.

Yup, I’m in. I dunno what it is about this twisted little yarn that has me so wound up but it’s probably the far-out-ness of it that makes it so alluring. If there ever was an opportunity to say something has completely come off the rails, this trailer comes off the rails and all you can do is just roll with where we’re at by the end which is a very bad, very dark, place. Embrace it.

Werewolf Trailer

Reminds me of last year’s Animals.

Director Ashley McKenzie may not have the same style that made Animals such a top pick on my list of best trailers from last year but there is real energy here that cannot be overlooked or denied. There is rawness in the performances and the story that is trying to be told so while it may be missing some musicality to take you from moment to moment this trailer punches you in the eyes with communicating the struggles of this drug addled couple. Searing and emotional.

Brillo Box (3 cents Off) Trailer

It’s hard not to laugh.

Documentary filmmaker Lisanne Skyler charts the unfortunate path that an Andy Warhol original “Brillo Box 3 Cents Off” her father purchased for $ 1,000 sold for over $ 3M at auction but only after he unloaded it 40 years ago. These are the true moments no one would wish on anyone but to get some background on this piece and to see her dad’s response when he hesitates and you know it’s something of a difficult subject to broach it’s just too temping not to engage with this narrative. Myself, I want to know what happened here and how these eager art collectors let this one get away. I realize nothing great will be revealed but how people deal with the one that got away always seems to be great fodder for exploration.

Denial Trailer

I get it.

There are absolutely so many documentaries about the environment that I would’ve skipped this one too if it didn’t take such a personal sharp turn. Hell, even Bernie Sanders pops up for a laugh.

Documentary filmmaker Derek Hallquist has a story to tell and while the environment certainly is at the top of his list of things to explain in this documentary, the trailer mines some choice nuggets about how this story intersects with his life at home. To be a crusader and have your kids look on as you do it is an interesting dynamic and one that ought to make for a great story.

Nota bene: If you have any suggestions of trailers to possibly be included in this column, even have a trailer of your own to pitch, please let me know by sending me a note at or look me up via Twitter at @Stipp

In case you missed them, here are the other trailers we covered at /Film this week:

The post This Week In Trailers: Prevenge, Denial, Brillo Box (3 Cents Off), Werewolf, Nothing Grows Here appeared first on /Film.


Daily Dialogue — December 31, 2016

“We find the defendant guilty as charged.”

To Kill a Mockingbird (1962), screenplay by Horton Foote, novel by Harper Lee

The Daily Dialogue theme for the week: Failure, suggested by Melinda Mahaffey and Will King.

Trivia: Brock Peters, who played Tom Robinson in the film, delivered Gregory Peck’s eulogy on the date of his funeral and burial, Monday, June 16th, 2003.

Dialogue On Dialogue: The determination the jury makes in finding Tom guilty is a failure of justice. You can see it in the faces of the people involved once the foreman announces the verdict.

However the courage, even righteousness Atticus Finch demonstrates as the defendant’s lawyer is not a failure, witness the reactions of the African-Americans in the balcony.

This is a scene which NEVER fails to move me and I’ve watched it dozens of times. It is a clarion call for each human being to stand up for what is right, moral, and respectful of ALL human beings irrespective of race, religion, or creed. Something to carry with us as we enter 2017.

Daily Dialogue — December 31, 2016 was originally published in Go Into The Story on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Go Into The Story – Medium

Video: “On Story: Deconstructing ‘Dog Day Afternoon’”

Screenwriters Peter Craig and Robin Swicord at the Austin Film Festival.

Clicking around online, lo and behold, I found this video featuring Peter Craig (The Town, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Parts 1 and 2) and Robin Swicord (Little Women, Matilda, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) in a panel discussion at the 2014 Austin Film Festival. The discussion: Deconstructing the 1975 movie Dog Day Afternoon for which Frank Pierson won an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.

Interesting piece of trivia related to the panel: I was the moderator! You don’t see me, but there’s an acknowledgement at the end of the video.

“On Story” is an excellent PBS program out of Austin. You can see a whole bunch of episodes online for free by going here.

Video: “On Story: Deconstructing ‘Dog Day Afternoon’” was originally published in Go Into The Story on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Go Into The Story – Medium

What’s the Difference Between F-Stops and T-Stops (And Why Does It Matter)?

If you’ve never bothered to learn about the difference between f-stops and t-stops, now might be the time.

Most filmmakers and photographers are familiar with what an f-stop is and how each measurement on your camera affects your images, but how many know about t-stops? Sareesh Sudhakaran of wolfcrow puts it all in terms anyone can understand in the video below, explaining the differences between the two, as well as why it might be more helpful to use t-stops for filmmaking.

F-stops and t-stops both represent a certain value, one that is determined by the focal length of a lens divided by the diameter of the aperture. However, while f-stops are a “theoretical” measurement, t-stops are actual measurements that are tested when the lens is calibrated. This is why lenses that show t-stops tend to be so expensive, like the cinema lenses of Cooke, Zeiss, Angenieux, and Leica, because manufacturers have to put each lens through a lengthy and costly testing process.

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No Film School

Plunder Revealed in The Flash Episode 3.10 Photos

Plunder Revealed in The Flash Episode 3.10 Photos

Plunder revealed in The Flash Episode 3.10 photos

The CW has released the first photos from The Flash Episode 3.10 which give us a first look at Stephen Huszar as the expert marksman Plunder. Let us know what you think of Plunder in the comments below.

Episode 3.10 of The Flash is titled “Borrowing Problems From The Future” and is set to air Tuesday, January 24 on The CW.

Grant Gustin stars as Barry Allen/The Flash in the series along with Candice Patton as Iris West, Danielle Panabaker as Caitlin Snow, Carlos Valdes as Cisco Ramo, Tom Cavanagh as Dr. Harrison Wells and Jesse L. Martin as Detective Joe West. Season 2 of the series also introduced Keiynan Lonsdale as Wally West and the Earth-3 version of The Flash as played by John Wesley Shipp (who also played Barry’s father, Henry Allen) who continue to guest star in the series. Season 3 also features Tom Felton as Julian Albert.

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