• One of my favorite shows rendered into one of my favorite video game styles.

  • This photo and this caption…

    "August, 1970. My mother and father met when they did an off broadway play together called ‘Dylan.’"

    …make me feel everything I love about live theater.

  • Screenwriting Class This Fall

    Looking for a good screenwriting class? My pal Corey Mandell has a great series of professional workshops (one of which I’ll be teaching this fall) and his intro class is a must-take for any dramatic writer. His next one starts in September. Here’s the info:

    PROFESSIONAL SCREENWRITING WORKSHOP

    There are two essential skill-sets required for screenwriting success.

    The ability to write scenes that grab a reader’s attention and make them want to keep reading, and the ability to sequence those scenes into the most compelling order (story structure). These skills are not equal.

    The first skill is far more important than the second one.

    Many writers believe they already write sufficiently strong scenes, characters and dialogue, and that if they could only get better at story structure they’d be able to write professional-level scripts. Unfortunately, this is too often not the case. 

    I met a producer who received 116 script submissions from writers at a pitch fest. He read the first scene or two of each script, but would only continue reading if those scenes were written to professional-level standards.  I asked how many scripts he read beyond the first couple of scenes? 

    He said only two.  

    Which means he tossed 114 of the 116 scripts after only a few pages.

    The single most important skill required for success is the ability to write original, powerful, and compelling scenes.  If a writer can’t consistently do that, all the story structure in the world won’t save them.  Without this ability, a writer simply has no shot.

    ABOUT THE WORKSHOP

    In this
     intensive eight-week workshop, we will analyze successful scenes, complete weekly writing assignments, and review participants’ work in a supportive, yet challenging environment. By working on emotional context, narrative intensity, cohesion, organic escalations, clarity, efficiency, high impact pacing, set-ups, builds and pay-offs, participants will learn the tools necessary to write and edit professional-caliber scenes essential for any successful screenplay or TV script.   

    Additionally, participants will learn how to develop the four essential screenwriting skill sets necessary for long-term success – writing clear and compelling professional-level conflict, strengthening and integrating both the conceptual (story) and intuitive (character) sides of writing, organic story structure, and rewriting.

    WHEN 

    The class will meet for eight sessions on Tuesday’s from 3:00pm – 6:00pm PST from September 16 through November 11 (no class October 21).

    WHERE

    The workshop will be on-line using multi-video conferencing technology.  We will all be able to see and hear each other in real time as if we were all in the same room.

    COST

    $495  Participants can pay by check or credit card.

    TO SIGN-UP:  

    Please contact Lisa Mulcaster at lisa@coreymandell.net

    ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR

    Corey Mandell is an award-winning playwright and screenwriter who has written projects for Ridley Scott, Wolfgang Petersen, Harrison Ford, John Travolta, Meg Ryan, Warner Brothers, Universal, 20th Century Fox, Fox 2000, Fox Family, Working Title, Paramount, Live Planet, Beacon Films, Touchstone, Trilogy, Radiant, Kopelson Entertainment and Walt Disney Pictures.

    Corey is also a distinguished instructor at UCLA, where he earned his MFA.  His students have gone on to sell or option scripts to Warner Brothers, Paramount , Sony Pictures, Disney, Fox, Fox 2000, MGM, Universal , Showtime, USA Network and Lifetime. Others have gained admission to the USC and UCLA MFA Screenwriting Programs, the AFI Conservatory Screenwriting Program and Sundance Screenwriter’s Lab. He is also a mentor for Film Independent’s screenwriting lab.

    SOME THOUGHTS FROM FORMER STUDENTS

    No one, and I mean no one, is teaching what Corey is teaching.  This is the best workshop I have ever attended.  There is no way to describe how beneficial it is.  I always felt close as a screenwriter, but after taking this workshop I was able to make the necessary changes in my writing and recently sold my first script to Paramount.

    Michael Helvin, writer of The Lesser Heart.

    After developing thousands of television shows and feature films, and lecturing on behalf of the UCLA Film, Theater and TV Program for the past 20 years, I can say unconditionally that Corey’s method is the most successful, succinct, clear and constructive I’ve ever encountered - - and I’ve probably read every notable book on the subject and seen every leading expert who teaches screenwriting and pilot writing.  Corey’s program, which helps people who are great with story, become great with dialogue, and those who are branded as excellent with character but awful with structure - - represents nothing less than a paradigm shift in writing instruction and learning.  No longer does a writer have to be told, “You’re only good with concepts, but you can’t write believable dialogue.”  Or, “I love your characters, but you just aren’t good with structure.”  Corey’s idea of creative integration isn’t just revolutionary, it is fundamental to successful writing - - and has never before been taught.  I can’t recommend Corey and his programs highly enough. 
    — Tom Nunan, former network and studio president, and Executive Producer of the Academy Award-winning Best Picture, Crash

    As someone with years of experience in the development world I found Corey’s class to be absolutely refreshing.  He provides exercises which reinforce fundamental elements needed to create a strong screenplay.  If you are committed to becoming a better screenwriter this class can help you. 

    —Jennifer Soskin, Director of Development and Production at HBO films.

    I’ve written 11 screenplays without any success. During that time I read every screenwriting book and attended all the seminars. After four weeks with Corey I FINALLY knew why my scripts didn’t work, and more importantly, what to do about it. I used everything he taught me to write a script that landed me a manager and then my first script option. THANK YOU 

    —Monica Owens, writer of Timebends

    I read the books and took the classes but Corey’s workshop was different. Honestly, it was transformative for me. I use the tools I learned from him in every single script meeting. He reshaped the way I think about screenwriting. If you want to become a better screenwriter and you are not signed up for Corey’s class — seriously, get it together! 

    —Nick Weiss, Co-Writer and Director of the upcoming Paramount movie, Destination Wedding.

    Every client I sent to work with Corey has taken great leaps and bounds. His techniques are ingenious, unique and valuable for both beginners and seasoned professionals.  I can’t recommend it enough

    —Jeff Graup, Literary Manager, Graup Entertainment

    After four years, an MFA, and finally my first break into writing for television, I can say that no one—not even the best graduate programs are teaching what Corey is, and that integrating his techniques into the day-to-day framework of my writing has been the most important variable in any success I’ve had as a screenwriter. The skills I’ve learned have become my secret weapon in the writer’s room and one of the best things that have ever happened to my career. Anyone that has the opportunity to take his courses— consider yourself one of the lucky ones. I know I do. 

    —Tamara Carter, Staff Writer on The Fosters

    Corey’s instruction is ground-breakingly brilliant. I received my MFA in Filmmaking where I took dozens of screenwriting courses.  My thesis film won the Gold Medal at the Student Academy Awards.  I have representation as a writer/director.  I have written five screenplays in the last two years.  I’ve read every book there is on the subject.  I don’t say this to brag.  I say this to make a point.  Corey’s class is the biggest wake up call of my life.  I have devoted tremendous time, effort, and money to the craft of screenwriting, yet Corey’s class is the best investment of them all.   I’ve never witnessed such drastic improvement in my writing in just a few short weeks

    — Patrick Alexander, writer and director of Rundown

    As a development executive with the dubious honor of having to read countless boring predictable scripts written to the same old boring predictable formulas taught by a growing number of experts who have never actually written a successful script, I am appreciative someone is finally telling the truth. Anyone serious about wanting to be a professional writer needs to take Corey’s workshop. 

    —Michelle Sart Tanner

    I wish I could pay Corey to stop teaching. It’s hard enough to keep getting writing gigs without someone like Corey so effectively training the competition. I take great solace in the fact that most wannabe writers follow the formulas and rules taught in the popular books and seminars, and am outraged that Corey has the nerve to actually let people know all that stuff is bullshit. So please do me a favor and do not take a class from Corey and do not listen to a single thing that he tells you. Thank you

    —Robert Cohen

    Over the years, I’ve developed an impressive distaste for screenwriting courses.  Most offer little more than paint by numbers formulas and inapplicable industry advice.  But Corey’s class is the exception to the rule.  It was a wake up call to me.  Corey’s teaching method is so unique, so singular, and effective it made me wonder how I ever wrote without it.  It’s hands down, the best class out there!

    —Gary Lundy, writer of A Happening of Monumental Proportions and  Stache

    Taking Corey’s class was the single best thing I’ve done. I learned more from working with Corey than from all the other books and classes I’ve encountered put together. I can’t sing his praises enough

    — Lauren Ludwig, writer director of Burn Brightly, ABC’s The Gates


    I wish I’d taken Corey’s class when I was twenty. Having spent years reading countless books that mainly seem to contradict what you see in actual movies, I can’t tell you how relieved I was to finally be taught the way actual real professional writers go about their business.

     Michael Goldman

    Corey is by far the best writing teacher I’ve ever had and taught me techniques I had never heard of before or since.  After finishing his class I landed an agent and my first produced writing credit on the A&E show The Beast.  I sill consult the notes from Corey’s class in my writing as they’ve been indispensable.  

    —Keith Schreier, FX’s Justified, CBS’s The Good Wife, Hellcats on the CW 

    After taking Corey’s seminar I had a whole new perspective on what makes a film great.  The techniques and tools he gave us applied to every client’s screenplay, regardless of genre, and I’m amazed that no one has taught this approach previously. I highly recommend people take the time to hear what he has to say and absorb it

    — Richard Demato, Literary Manager and Partner, Fuse Entertainment 

    I feel as if I’ve been liberated from Story Structure Hell.  I never could fit myself into those formulas and yet felt guilty and inadequate that I was unable to make it work according to their edicts. It always felt constricting and wrong.  Thank you for showing me a sane way out. 

    — Jennifer Hoffman