Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Give Your Screenplay the Magic Touch with Script Wizard Michael Heartsong

Want a FREE seat?
Hint: Give us a tweet!
What does it take to make a good script great? Everyone seeks that frustratingly elusive magic formula, but to put it simply: you need to have a really interesting story about really interesting people, and you've got to tell your story in a way that grabs an audience's attention and never lets go. How exactly you do that is what this workshop is all about.

During this information-packed workshop with development executive and script consultant Michael Heartsong, a.k.a. Script Wizard, you'll learn:
    • Three simple techniques to overcome writer's block
    •  The three items a script MUST exhibit in order to be attractive to Hollywood (and they aren't sex, violence, or chases)
    •  The important and vital difference between a spec script and a shooting script
    •  Script blindness 
    • What the three-act structure really is, and why it is so important 
    • 7 specific techniques guaranteed to make your screenplay much more interesting, engaging, and entertaining than it is now
    •  Proper formatting and why this is important
    •  A few ideas on finding an agent or manager
    • A few tips on getting your script sold
    • The significant ways in which a screenplay differs from a theatrical play 
This will be a highly interactive event, so bring your questions, issues, and concerns. Michael wants everyone who attends to come away with specific knowledge and insight about how to write better screenplays.
Saturday, September 14th
General Admission: $15 
* FREE for Junction members * 
Limited Seats Available
RSVP here:
open to members & non-members
1001 Colorado Ave., Santa Monica, CA 90401

About Michael Heartsong:
 For the past 10 years, Michael Heartsong has been a Development Executive and confidential script consultant, working with writers and producers to help make scripts MUCH better than they were when he first became involved. As an independent script consultant, he has always provided his help with an unconditional satisfaction money-back guarantee. If a client honestly feels he or she has not received abundant value, Michael's commitment is that he will cheerfully refund any money that was paid. No one yet has asked for his or her money back. His skill at helping to make scripts much better has earned him the moniker of "Script Wizard" by his happy, satisfied clients. You are encouraged to visit his website at
Michael has been involved in the film industry for 30 years, and has an extensive background in production as a Director of Photography, cameraman, grip, electrician, sound recordist, editor, production manager, and projectionist.
From Michael's Clients:
"We'd been through six drafts and knew the project simply wasn't working. But no one seemed to know what was wrong or how to fix it. Your five pages of notes broke the logjam and made everything crystal clear. Now I understand what my film is really all about, and we are moving full steam ahead on a revision. Thanks!"
"Your viewpoint and comments on our project were enormously refreshing and insightful. I've never worked with anyone who comes at scripts from the perspective you do. Besides being innovative, your approach helped my partners and me better understand the film we want to make. Before your help, we were having difficulty getting a draft of the script we all liked. Now the project really sings! I look forward to engaging your assistance on future projects."

"I've directed or produced more than 50 films. I like to think I know something about this business. But, frankly, I was stymied with our project until you came along. Your extremely insightful and penetrating comments enabled us to break out of the blockages we were in, and understand how we needed to modify characters, plot line and story points to make the script and film work the way we wanted it to. I was initially very skeptical about your ability to be of help. You've made me a believer! I look forward to working with you on future projects. Thanks again for your help."

The Junction

Monday, May 20, 2013

3 Tried and True Tips to Block Writer's Block

by Jacqueline Fauni

We picked up lots of sage advice on combating writer's block from "Write Now with Corey Mandell" on April 28th. Here are a few tips Corey shared with us that can help you silence that inner critic, tap into your happy place, and churn out those pages:

(1) Dear, Dear Journal: Why is journaling different from screenwriting or novel-writing? Your journal presents no threats of rejection or failure because it's just for you-- not your manager, agent, spouse, or acquaintances-you-don't-like-that-much-anyway who barely contain their smirks when you talk about your "writing" (their quotations, of course). If you commit to it, your journal can be a safe space you can turn to time and again when you're feeling stuck and need to rediscover the pure, unbridled joy that got you writing in the first place.

(2) Meditate: If you're still stuck, getting burnt out, or your journal just isn't a happy place at the moment, put down that pen and do something else! Try meditating, or doing something that gets you into a meditative state. Go for a walk, or take a bubble bath, or dance, or exercise, or sing, or paint, or play an instrument, or listen to music-- anything that gets you relaxed, recharged, and ready to resume the battle against the blank white page.

(3) "Triage": Desperately need to finish that script in 2 weeks? Write a $500 check to an organization that you absolutely abhor (e.g. the KKK, American Nazi Party, etc.), give it to a trusted friend (or annoying person that never fails to follow through), and tell him/her to mail it if you don't meet your deadline. Needless to say, a device as extreme as this is extremely effective, but please note this is NOT a method to be used on a regular basis. This is a temporary solution that merely fixes the symptom, not the problem, and is meant for emergencies only!

Many thanks to Corey Mandell and all the attendees for making the class such a great experience! Missed out and want to attend a future presentation? Shoot us an e-mail at and we'll let you know when Corey's having another one.

Best of luck, and happy writing!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Rediscover the Joy of Writing with Brooke Berman!

Locating the Joy
A Weekend Workshop for Writers of All Disciplines

 Saturday, February 9th - Sunday, February 10th

$75 for each day
Package deal: $125 for the weekend
R.S.V.P. here:
open to members & non-members
1001 Colorado Ave., Santa Monica, CA 90401
From Brooke: 
Writers in Los Angeles face the unique challenge of writing in an "industry town." Many of us, myself included, look at Deadline, Facebook, The LA Times or New York Times before we sit down each day and actually get to work. We're writing for money or for the dream of earning more money-- and the baseline, why we started telling our stories in the first place, gets obscured. If you find yourself worrying about what's just sold rather than what you have to say-- or checking Facebook status updates instead of tuning into your characters and their idiosyncrasies-- this workshop is for you!

Spend the weekend rediscovering the joy of writing and creating multi-dimensional characters with playwright Brooke Berman. This two-day workshop is devoted to having fun while finding the authentic voice(s) of your characters and uncovering the story you most want to  
tell. Saturday's workshop will focus on the joyful writing process and Sunday's on the creation of vivid, rich characters. Both days will rely on in-class writing exercises designed to drop you back into your authentic voice and subconscious mind. Brooke has been teaching these exercises (or variations on them) since 1998, and they're drawn from her work with theater-makers Maria Irene Fornes, Anne Bogart, Deb Margolin as well as writer Natalie Goldberg and others.

Devote 2013 to your creativity!

About Brooke Berman:

Brooke Berman is an award-winning playwright, screenwriter and memoirist whose work has been produced and developed at theaters including: Primary Stages, The Second Stage, Steppenwolf, The Play Company, Soho Rep, Williamstown Theater Festival, Naked Angels, MCC, WET, SPF, New Dramatists, New Georges, The Hourglass Group, The Bay Area Playwrights Foundation and the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center; and in London at The Royal Court and The National Theatre Studio. Plays include: Hunting and Gathering (Primary Stages); Smashing (The Play Company, The O'Neill); Until We Find Each Other (Steppenwolf, The O'Neill); The Triple Happiness (Second Stage), Sam and Lucy (SPF, Cleveland Playhouse), A Perfect Couple (WET), Out of the Water (Cape Cod Theater Project, ARS Nova), Casual Encounters (New Dramatists Creativity Fund) and others. Her plays are published by Broadway Play Publishing, Playscripts, Backstage Books and Smith & Kraus.

Brooke is the recipient of a Berilla Kerr Award, a Helen Merrill Award, two Francesca Primus Awards, two LeCompte du Nuoy awards and a commissioning grant from the National Foundation for Jewish Culture. She recently completed a seven-year residency at New Dramatists, where she served on the Board of Directors and developed countless plays. She has received support for her work from the MacDowell Colony and the Corporation of Yaddo and commissions from Arielle Tepper Productions and CTC in Minneapolis.

Brooke's short film All Saints Day, directed by Will Frears, won Best Narrative Short at the Savannah Film Festival and played at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2008. She has since written screenplays for Vox Films, Red Crown, Fugitive Films, and the Mark Gordon Company.

Her memoir No Place Like Home was published by Random House in 2010.

"Brooke is a perfect, nurturing, inspiring and open inspiration. She is a superb teacher and a loving complex thinker."
~Erin Cressida Wilson, writer, Professor and Director of Writing for Performance, UCSB

"Brooke Berman is an exceptional teacher. She has an innate ability to generously connect to her students and help them deepen and strengthen their writing. She creates a supportive environment where writers can truly grow. I highly recommend her workshops."
~Anne Garcia-Romero, playwright and theater professor, University of Notre Dame

"A terrific artist and a compassionate & patient instructor."
~Robert LuPone, Artistic Director, MCC Theater, New York, NY

"It is not axiomatic that a fine playwright make a fine teaching of playwriting, or any other kind of writing, for that matter.  But Brooke brings the same sense of imagination, wonder and rigor to her work as a teacher as her writing so clearly manifests."
~Daniel Aukin, former Artistic Director, Soho Rep Theater

"Brooke Berman is a deeply generous and ardent teacher; her insightful attention to structure and construction along with her belief in writing-from-the-self creates an ideal learning environment for the unhindered exploration of the creative self."
~Lawrence Dial, Playwright, NYC

"Brooke is easily one of my favorite teachers, of anything, ever. When I first took her class I was completely unsure of myself, completely unsure of what I wanted, completely unsure of whether or not playwriting was something I could do. But she grounded me, showed me that writing is not so much an achievement as it is a practice--as something you grow and live with. Her classes are motivating, challenging, exciting, and inspiring. She encourages you to reach deeper, to use what you have and to open yourself up to what's ahead. Every day that I write I call on something she taught me, and I am terribly grateful to know her."
~Meghan Deans, Playwright, NYC

"Brooke Berman kicks your ass out of pure love for the craft."
~Holland Hamilton, Actress, Writer, Artist and Activist, NYC