The Coen Brothers and the Craft of Storytelling

My one-week online class begins Monday, May 22nd.

I have two favorite contemporary filmmakers. In terms of mainstream commercial films, there is Pixar. For independent movies, there are the Coen brothers. Both are hugely successful in what they do, commercially and critically.

That’s why I’m thrilled to follow up the popular Pixar class I teach with a companion course: Coen Brothers and the Craft of Storytelling.

Ethan Coen and Joel Coen

In this 1-week online course, we will analyze most of the movies the Coen brothers have written and directed including such memorable films as Blood Simple, Raising Arizona, Fargo, The Big Lebowski, O Brother, Where Art Thou, No Country for Old Men, and True Grit.

Through extensive analysis and discussion, we will dig into six narrative dynamics that appear throughout Coen brothers movies, and enable you to use them to workshop your own original story.

Let’s face it: The Coen brothers have created some of the most distinctive, entertaining movies in the last two decades. They return to certain themes, tropes, memes and talismans like this one: The Howling Fat Man.

We will look at that minutia because… well, it’s just fun. However our focus will be on larger principles that are more applicable to our own writing.

Here is the lecture schedule [all written by me]:

Lecture 1: The Coen Brothers’ Narrative Legacy
Lecture 2: Ordinary Character / Extraordinary Circumstance
Lecture 3: The Long Shadow of Authority Figures
Lecture 4: The Shiny Hope of Grand Schemes
Lecture 5: The Dynamism of Violence
Lecture 6: Morally Complicated Universe
Lecture 7: Unresolved Endings

Plus I will share 6 practical storytelling tips gleaned from Coen brothers movies.

The class includes:

Seven lectures written by Scott Myers
Six Coen brothers inspired storytelling tips
Daily forum Q&As
Workshop writing exercises with feedback
A 75-minute live teleconference between instructor and class members

Movies written by Joel and Ethan Coen have been nominated for 14 Academy Awards, winning 4 times, and nominated for the Cannes Film Festival Palm D’Or 7 times, winning once.

Like Pixar, the Coen brothers have carved their own path and have proven themselves to be master storytellers.

I am excited to share storytelling insights I have learned from studying Coen brothers movies in this exciting 1-week online class providing insights you can use to elevate your own writing.

Consider joining me beginning Monday, May 22 for Coen Brothers and the Craft of Storytelling, a great way to learn principles, dynamics and techniques apparent in the movies of these fine filmmakers to upgrade your own story-crafting abilities.

As the Dude might say, “That’s fuckin’ ingenious, if I understand it correctly. It’s a Swiss fuckin’ watch.”

Sign up now here.

The Coen Brothers and the Craft of Storytelling 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

First Trailer for Tarantino-Inspired Crime Thriller ‘The Mason Brothers’

The Mason Brothers Trailer

«This is what we got. It’s a bank job, and everybody’s gunna be going in on this one.» A trailer has arrived for a film titled The Mason Brothers, the feature directorial debut of filmmaker Keith Sutliff originally hailing from Tampa, Florida. The crime thriller is about a group of brothers + bank robbers who try to pull off a clean heist, but things go wrong. Starring Brandon Pearson, Matthew Webb, Michael Whelan, Julien Cesario, Chris Park, and Nazo Brava. It’s clear this is an homage to Tarantino and to Reservoir Dogs specifically, but it also seems to be inspired by Christopher Nolan’s films, too. Doesn’t look that good. ›››

Continue reading First Trailer for Tarantino-Inspired Crime Thriller ‘The Mason Brothers’

‘The Dinner’ Trailer: Richard Gere and Steve Coogan Aren’t the World’s Best Brothers

The Dinner trailer

Actress Cate Blanchett was originally going to make her feature directorial debut with The Dinner. Back in 2013, she signed on to direct screenwriter Oren Moverman (Love & Mercy) adaptation of Herman Koch‘s novel, “The Dinner.” Blanchett has directed in the theater, but never a film. She ultimately left the director’s chair, which then went to Moverman, who’s made some passionate dramas over the past couple of years, including Rampart and The Messenger.

Below, watch The Dinner trailer.

Richard Gere and Moverman worked together on the 2014 film, Time Out of Mind. They reunited for this adaptation, which also stars Steve Coogan (Philomena), Laura Linney (Nocturnal Animals), and Rebecca Hall (Christine) as a family having one intense dinner. Gere’s character, Stan Lohman, is running for Governor and has learned his and his brother’s sons have committed a terrible crime.

He wants to reveal the truth at a press conference, which will likely ruin his career. His brother and his wife (Linney), on the other hand, don’t want to see their son’s life ruined. Moverman describes the story as an “extraordinarily provocative, conscience-bending ride that takes on culturally relevant issues and turns them into an intricate menu of human passions and primal fears.”

Here’s The Dinner trailer (Source: Entertainment Weekly):

Moverman’s films are commonly stacked with talent in front of the camera, and he typically gets great performances. These four actors at a dinner table, playing characters debating their lives and their sons’ lives and what happened, looks potentially thrilling. With that concept, these actors, and Moverman behind the camera, The Dinner has potential. The director’s stories often live in the gray. He can write challenging characters and scenarios, so I’m looking forward to seeing what he has to say with Koch’s story about family and truth.

Here’s the synopsis:

Paul has no desire to go out to dinner with his brother Stan, a well-known politician, and his sister-in-law Barbara. But his wife Claire insists on him accompanying her. The couples meet at a hip restaurant but, in between each exquisite course, dark family secrets are brought out onto the table. The couples’ sons are responsible for a terrible crime — as yet undiscovered — and their parents must now decide how to deal with the situation. An argument soon ensues, since public disclosure would change the lives of each of them forever.

The Dinner opens in theaters May 5th.

The post ‘The Dinner’ Trailer: Richard Gere and Steve Coogan Aren’t the World’s Best Brothers appeared first on /Film.


The Coen Brothers Channel ‘Easy Rider’ In Their Super Bowl Ad for Mercedes

Everyone loves Super Bowl ads, but cinephiles are going to love them even more this year.

As of right now, the Patriots and the Falcons are still battling toward victory in Super Bowl LI, but if you’re like me, you’re much more interested in checking out the commercials. And this year is a good year for film fans, seeing as the Coen Brothers directed an ad for Mercedes-Benz that pays homage (or maybe spoofs) Dennis Hopper’s indie road movie, Easy Rider—the ad even stars Peter Fonda!

Check it out below:

The Coen’s ad, which features the Mercedes-AMG GT C Roadster, has all the hallmarks of Hopper’s 1969 film, including Peter Fonda, who played Wyatt in the film, the Steppenwolf song «Born to be Wild,» choppers, and plenty of rough and tumble bikers.

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Coen Brothers and Annapurna Team on Buster Scruggs

Coen Brothers and Annapurna Team on Ballad of Buster Scruggs

Coen Brothers and Annapurna team on Ballad of Buster Scruggs

Annapurna Television is partnering with the Coen Brothers on a project called The Ballad Of Buster Scruggs, a Western anthology. Annapurna intends to pursue an innovative television and theatrical integrated approach. Joel and Ethen Coen wrote the script and will direct the project.

The Coens will produce the project through their Mike Zoss Productions label. Ellison and Annapurna Television’s President of Television, Sue Naegle, will serve as Executive Producers.

“We are very excited to be working with Megan and Sue on this project,” commented Joel and Ethan Coen.

The Coens are repped by UTA.

(Photo Credit: Getty Images)

The post Coen Brothers and Annapurna Team on Buster Scruggs appeared first on

The Director Series: The Coen Brothers

Excellent video series on iconic filmmaking duo.

Ethan Coen, Joel Coen, Hailee Steinfeld on the set of “True Grit”

Cameron Beyl is a writer, director, and producer. One of his projects I’ve been tracking is his excellent “The Director Series: The Coen Brothers” and he just wrapped up the 7 part Vimeo series. Here are all of the videos:

Part 1: Murder & Mania

Part 2: The Postmodern Pictures

Part 3: The Break Out Classics

Part 4: An Odyssey Into Style

Part 5: The Screwball Scoundrels

Part 6: A Prestigious Pinnacle

Part 7: The Art of Commerce

Beyl goes through the Coen brothers’ entire opus of movies they have written and directed, so it’s comprehensive. It’s also quite insightful and comes from a storyteller’s perspective.

The Holy Quartet of my favorite filmmakers is Billy Wilder, Stanley Kubrick, Pixar, and the Coen brothers. In fact, I created one-week online classes for the latter two: Pixar and the Craft of Storytelling, The Coen Brothers and the Craft of Storytelling.

For more in The Director Series and other short films and educational videos, go to the Raccord Vimeo site.

For more on Cameron Beyl, go here.

The Director Series: The Coen Brothers 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