Indie Film Hustle® - A Filmmaking Podcast

Indie Film Hustle

The Indie Film Hustle Podcast is your #1 source for how to hack the film business and indie film world! The show is here to help as many indie filmmakers as I could. We wanted to bring the best guests, industry leaders, creative legends, and film business friends to you, the IFH Tribe.

Some of the past guests include 3X Oscar® Winning Writer/Director Oliver Stone, Barry Sonnenfeld (Men in Black), Alex Proyas (The Crow, I, Robot), James V. Hart (writer Dracula, Hook), John August (Big Fish, Aladdin), Jim Uhls (writer of Fight Club), Oscar® Winner Russell Carpenter (DP of Avatar, Titanic) Joe Carnahan (Smokin' Aces, The Grey), and David F. Sandberg (Shazam!) to name a few.

We hope this podcast can help you along your journey as an artist, filmtrepreneur, filmmaker, screenwriter, and as a human being. read less
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Episódios

IFH 739: Horror Screenwriting - The Nature of Fear with Devin Watson
Há 3 dias
IFH 739: Horror Screenwriting - The Nature of Fear with Devin Watson
I was glad to take a deep dive into the deep end of horror screenwriting with writer and producer, Devin Watson, notably known for writing and producing The Cursed (2010) which was the first draft he wrote in only two days. He’s also written several books, the latest of which is Horror Screenwriting: The Nature of Fear. Horror has, among all of the genres in film and written works, one of the longest, most distinguished, and often misunderstood bloodlines in history.It is often overlooked by critics who don't see anything more than blood and guts on the screen or a collection of cheap scares. But what is missed is the hard-hitting commentary on society and life contained in those works.Devin got his start working with the website, 'moviepartners.com' in the late 90s which was one of the first websites out there that really had any kind of information on independent filmmaking.Eventually, he decided to try out writing some scripts. But reading what every he could find to prepare him for scriptwriting. He was influenced in a big way by Lew Hunter's book, Screenwriting 434. Here, Lew Hunter shares the secrets of his course on the screenwriting process by actually writing an original script, step by step in Screenwriting 434.When he felt ready, Devin wrote his first five scripts, all of which turned out not very good. Not until November 2006 that he wrote a script in 2 days for his friend, Phil Melfi. That was when he felt confident in his work. That script became his debut production and writing, The Cursed, which is still a sci-fi channel Halloween rotation regular.Devin’s book Horror Screenwriting really dives into the craft of horror and screenwriting pretty deeply.Enjoy my conversation with Devin Watson.
IFH 737: How to Write for and Land a Movie Star for Your Indie Film with Shaye Ogbonna
13-02-2024
IFH 737: How to Write for and Land a Movie Star for Your Indie Film with Shaye Ogbonna
We have on the show today writer Shaye Ogbonna.When not in pursuit of retro sneakers, Shaye Ogbonna can be found worshiping at the Temple of Story. His most recent feature project is the contemporary western feature GOD’S COUNTRY — starring the incomparable Thandiwe Newton.Based on a short story by acclaimed author James Lee Burke, God’s Country is a character-driven thriller set in the snowy wilderness of the American West. Thandiwe Newton plays Sandra Guidry, a Black professor living and working in a rural college town. She’s also grieving her recently-deceased mother, for whom she'd served as primary caretaker. On the day of the burial, Sandra discovers a mysterious red truck parked in her driveway. She soon learns it belongs to a pair of local hunters seeking to enter the forest behind her house. Sandra turns them away politely but firmly – her experience tells her these are not the sort of men to welcome freely into her world. But they won’t take no for an answer, and soon Sandra finds herself drawn into an escalating battle of wills that puts her most deeply-held values to the test.In the television/streaming space, Shaye is currently developing JUMPMEN -- a one-hour drama set in the cutthroat world of the sneaker industry – with Showtime. He is also staffed on Showtime’s THE CHI and JJ Abrams’s DUSTER on HBO. His feature writing debut — 2017’s genre-bending LOWLIFE — opened the 2017 Fantasia Film Festival and became a darling of the genre festival circuit, culminating in its acquisition and worldwide distribution through IFC Midnight.Shaye’s creative mission is to center marginalized voices within genre storytelling.Enjoy my conversation with Shaye Ogbonna.
IFH 734: Confessions of a First Time Showrunner with Kaye Singleton
23-01-2024
IFH 734: Confessions of a First Time Showrunner with Kaye Singleton
Kaye Singleton is an award-winning writer, producer, and actress that is well on her way to making her own footprint in this industry, or as the much-respected Tyler Perry would say, created her own seat at the table. As a multi-faceted creative talent, she is committed to telling culturally authentic stories for, about, and that explore, the beautifully diverse experiences of Black Women.To date, as an actress she has taken on a variety of roles on hit shows and films. She's best known for her series regular role beginning in Season 3 of Tyler Perry's The Oval on BET as Simone, the beautiful, smart, and cunning wife of the Vice President of the United States, and her Six Season recurring role as the long-suffering, loyal - but problematic - "Josie" on Saints & Sinners, BounceTV's #1 Show. She's also had memorable roles on Sistas (BET), Claws (TNT), Don't Waste Your Pretty (TV One), Tales (BET), American Soul (BET), and Dumplin (Netflix).In 2020, Kaye secured her first production deal as a first-time Showrunner and Creator for the highly-rated anthology series - Covenant'' which premiered on October 14th, 2021 on AMC's allblk. Covenant's unique take on bible stories is a stand out for the network as it's quoted to "create a world of thrilling, suspenseful drama where characters and stories of the bible are thrust into a vicious dystopia of present-day, real-life situations. Each episode will reimagine a classic story as it would take place in the modern world - challenging viewers to examine how sacred lessons of faith and love fit into today's society.Enjoy my epic conversation with Kaye Singleton.
IFH 733: The Art of World Building - Immersive Screenwriting with Margaret Kerrison
16-01-2024
IFH 733: The Art of World Building - Immersive Screenwriting with Margaret Kerrison
Born in Indonesia and raised in Singapore, Margaret Kerrison received my Master of Fine Arts degree in Screenwriting from the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts. Her career spans television, film, digital media, games, brand storytelling, location-based entertainment, and immersive experiences.Margaret worked as a Story Lead, Story Consultant, and Writer for multiple projects around the world, including Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, Star Wars: Launch Bay, Hyperspace Mountain, Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser, Avengers Campus, Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind, National Geographic HQ, NASA Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex’s Journey to Mars: Explorers Wanted, Heineken Experience, StoryGarden by AMOREPACIFIC, and the Information and Communications Pavilion (Expo 2010 Shanghai).Margaret was the writer for five projects that received Themed Entertainment Association (THEA) Awards. She appeared in the Disney+ series Behind the Attraction, the Freeform television special Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge – Adventure Awaits, and the online educational program Imagineering in a Box. Margaret has been invited to speak at prestigious conferences and universities including SXSW, Star Wars Celebration, D23, IAAPA Expo, FMX Conference, University of Southern California, and Johns Hopkins University. Her projects have been featured around the world in The New York Times, Good Morning America, The Los Angeles Times, Entertainment Weekly, Wired magazine, and the official site for Star Wars. Margaret Kerrison was a Disney Imagineer from 2014-2021 and was recently featured in a blooloop article.Margaret is currently a Senior Experiential Creative Lead in Airbnb's Experiential Creative Product team.Enjoy my conversation with Margaret Kerrison.
IFH 732: How to Avoid Career Pitfalls for Screenwriters with Felicity Wren
09-01-2024
IFH 732: How to Avoid Career Pitfalls for Screenwriters with Felicity Wren
I wanted to take a deep dive into the marketing side of screenwriting today because it is in fact, a necessity in the industry today. Unfortunately, not many writers bother themselves as much about marketing their work. While I have some course resources on the IFH Academy website to help writers pitch stories or to get past the gatekeepers and so on, I thought it would be favorable to have marketing and development exec, Felicity Wren on the show to delve into the subject. Felicity started off in this business as an actor and now is a producer and VP of Development at the International Screenwriters Association (ISA). ISA (Est 2008), is a screenwriters community and resource platform that allows branding, marketing screenplays to producers and provide learning resources for seasoned and new writers. To date, ISA subscribers include 5,104 Industry Pros, approximately 70,000 Screenwriters, and 8,039 resources for screenwriters. Definitely, a goldmine!Felicity trained academically across the performing arts sphere (writing, directing, acting technique, and script analysis). She pursued acting and appeared in films like Star Trek Into Darkness, The Battle of Hogwarts, Tales of Uplift and Moral Improvement, and more, but lost interest in the competitive reality and stress of waiting for the callback.So, she pivots. Alongside her partner, she launched a theater company, Unrestricted View (1999) in London that worked primarily with new professional creatives. A decade later, Felicity moved to Hollywood to seek the bigger dream.Some of Wren’s work includes short films like The Trap, Homeless Realtor, Who’s Who, The Force, and several others. At the ISA, she get’s to work directly with the Program Writers, and ISA Contest Winners, ensuring their projects get in front of eminent producers, managers, and agents in Hollywood.For screenwriters trying to sell a script, you have to know your voice and feel comfortable using it beyond your incredible writing. Understanding what you bring to the table is key in every profession. Of course. Coupling that with some marketing tools can propel you for higher success. That’s why this conversation is important.Enjoy my very informative conversation with Felicity Wren.
IFH 731: The Screenwriter's Workout with Will Hicks
02-01-2024
IFH 731: The Screenwriter's Workout with Will Hicks
I had a fun chat with our guest today. We hit it off pre-interviewing, geeking out about James Cameron and his latest masterclass, and so much more. On the show this today is Will Hicks who is head of Screenwriting and production at Colorado Film School and an associate professor at the Community College of Aurora.Will had a start in producing and screenwriting earlier in his career until making the shift to teaching few years in --- appreciating more, the elements of studying the craft of form and purity in teaching that he feels are more rewarding.His commitment to academia led to publishing his book, The Screenwriter’s Workout, which we discuss lengthy in this interview. The Screenwriter’s Workout is a training program consisting of over 75 exercises and activities designed for screenwriters. It aims to help screenwriters explore their creativity and strengthen their storytelling skills.The book includes exercises on designing dynamic characters, exploring structure, creating stories, redefining conflict, analyzing the work, craft compelling loglines ad discovering interactive screenwriting.The 2021 Variety Entertainment Impact Report featured Hicks on its Top 50 Film Schools and Instructors from around the world list---revering his 100 plus professional credits nurturing some of the best talents in the country.Besides talking about Hick's career teaching screenwriting, we also do some surface character building and storytelling analysis of some famous films and writers. But also, the complexity of writing the end of a sustaining story for TV.Enjoy this conversation with Will Hicks.
IFH 730: Writing the Netflix/TV Drama Series with Pamela Douglas
26-12-2023
IFH 730: Writing the Netflix/TV Drama Series with Pamela Douglas
There’s always been a feel-good, easy-times nostalgia for the 80s and 90s TV shows. More so now that we sometimes feel overwhelmed by the plethora of shows we have to pick from. If you feel me then you will enjoy this conversation. Our guest today is the award-winning screen and television writer, professor, and best-selling author, Pamela Douglas. Pamela is a member of the Board of Directors of the Writers Guild of America and a USC School of Cinematics Arts tenure professor for screenwriting. She is credited for her writing on shows/series such as Star Trek: The Next Generation and The Ghostwriter (1992) to name a few.Aside from her awesome career as a screenwriter, she’s an international writer with multi-lingual adaptations of her books (German, Mandarin, Italian, French, Korean, and Spanish). Pamela packed her expertise in her 2018 revised fourth edition of her 2008 book 'Writing the TV Drama Series: How to Succeed as a Professional Writer in TV'.The book is a complete resource for anyone who wants to write and produce for television drama series or create an original series, as well as for teachers in screenwriting classes and workshops. It leads the reader step-by-step through every stage of the development and writing process, offering practical industry information and artistic inspiration. The Fourth Edition leads readers into the future and engages provocative issues about the interface between traditional TV and emerging technologies. It’s also the single most comprehensive source on what is happening in original television drama around the world, with surveys of 15 countries.As you will learn in this episode, Pamela’s passion for writing goes back to her childhood. Even though she’s dabbed in screenwriting for movies, she’s discovered throughout her career that television carries a bigger pull in terms of communicating ideas, stories, characters, life, and experience. Its essence allows for vertical story-telling, expansion, and continuity to reveal newer plots and characters.Star Trek: The Next Generation is a classic sci-fi series set almost 100 years after Captain Kirk's five-year mission, a new generation of Starfleet officers set off in the U.S.S. Enterprise-D on its own mission to go where no one has gone before - the exploration of the Milky Way galaxy.Ghostwriter is an American children's mystery television series that revolves around a circle of friends from Brooklyn who solve neighborhood crimes and mysteries as a team of young detectives with the help of a ghost named Ghostwriter who can only communicate through writing and words.Chatting with a seasoned screenwriter like Pamela, there is so much wealth of knowledge packed in every word. We talked about presentation reelers, the forex structure and her approach to it, and why she thinks The Wire is the best show of all time in terms of character, layering, and sterilized storytelling.Enjoy this conversation with Pamela Douglas.
IFH 729: How to Create Story & Character Conflict with Eileen Cook
19-12-2023
IFH 729: How to Create Story & Character Conflict with Eileen Cook
Today on the show we have best-selling author and screenwriter Eileen Cook. She is a multi-published, award-winning author with her novels appearing in nine languages. Her books have been optioned for film and TV.She spent most of her teen years wishing she were someone else or somewhere else, which is great training for a writer. She’s an instructor/mentor with The Creative Academy and Simon Fraser University Writer’s Studio Program where she loves helping other writers find their unique story to tell.Her best-selling book Create Story Conflict: How to increase tension in your writing & keep readers turning pages is a must-read for screenwriters. Here's a bit about the book:Conflict is essential to story—regardless of genre. The friction between what a character wants and the lengths they will go to reach that goal is what pulls readers through your book. Great conflict is what leaves readers cheering (or crying) at the end of a story. Using humor and her deep knowledge of human behavior, counselor and award-winning author Eileen Cook will guide you through the causes of conflict, the differences between internal and external conflict, and show you how conflict resolution techniques can be turned upside down to ramp up the tension in your book. Filled with practical tips, examples, and prompts, this is a craft book you’ll keep on your shelf to use again and again.Enjoy my conversation with Eileen Cook.
IFH 728: The Science of Storytelling for Screenwriters with Will Storr
12-12-2023
IFH 728: The Science of Storytelling for Screenwriters with Will Storr
I'm super excited to bring you today's show. Today on the podcast we have best-selling author Will Storr. Will's latest book The Science of Storytelling: Why Stories Make Us Human and How to Tell Them Better is a deep dive into how story affects the brain. Here's a bit about the book:Who would we be without stories?Stories mold who we are, from our character to our cultural identity. They drive us to act out our dreams and ambitions and shape our politics and beliefs. We use them to construct our relationships, to keep order in our law courts, to interpret events in our newspapers and social media.Storytelling is an essential part of what makes us human.There have been many attempts to understand what makes a good story – from Joseph Campbell’s well-worn theories about myth and archetype to recent attempts to crack the ‘Bestseller Code’. But few have used a scientific approach. This is curious, for if we are to truly understand storytelling in its grandest sense, we must first come to understand the ultimate storyteller – the human brain.In this scalpel-sharp, thought-provoking book, Will Storr demonstrates how master storytellers manipulate and compel us, leading us on a journey from the Hebrew scriptures to Mr. Men, from Booker Prize-winning literature to box set TV. Applying dazzling psychological research and cutting-edge neuroscience to the foundations of our myths and archetypes, he shows how we can use these tools to tell better stories – and make sense of our chaotic modern world.His TED Talk is a must-watch for all filmmakers and screenwriters. After interview hundreds of the world's thought-leaders on story it's rare for me to find a completely new way of looking at story. I can't tell you how fascinating this conversation is. If this episode doesn't spark an idea or two in your screenwriting I don't know what will.Enjoy my conversation with Will Storr.
IFH 724: What is Maximum Screenwriting with Jeff Schimmel
07-11-2023
IFH 724: What is Maximum Screenwriting with Jeff Schimmel
Jeff Schimmel began his Writing/Producing career in the 1980s while attending law school in Los Angeles. When not studying for the bar exam, Jeff wrote and sold his original Cold War spy thriller, Archangel, to Phoenix Entertainment Group. Soon after, Jeff was chosen by comedy legend Rodney Dangerfield and award-winning Writer/Director Harold Ramis to co-write the full-length Warner Brothers animated film, Rover Dangerfield. This led to a sports comedy screenplay assignment from Orion Pictures and 20th Century Fox, and Jeff’s first TV writing job as Story Editor on ABC’s top ten sitcoms, Full House.Next, Jeff co-wrote and produced The Schimmel Papers, a series of several short films for Fox TV's Sunday Comics, then went on to write for the groundbreaking, Emmy Award-winning sketch comedy series, In Living Color, worked as Story Editor on the WB network’s first-ever sitcom, then served as Writer and Producer on Laughing With The Presidents, NBC TV's final comedy special starring Bob Hope, with appearances by Presidents George Bush and Bill Clinton, actors Tom Selleck, Don Johnson, Tony Danza, Ann-Margret, Naomi Judd, and many more.In 2016, Jeff took over as Executive Producer of Fuse network’s music intensive Skee TV series, working with hip hop artists like Snoop Dogg, Tyler the Creator, Post Malone, and T.I. Also in the rap world, Jeff was credited as a producer on three multi-platinum selling CDs by Busta Rhymes. In 2017, Jeff’s book, “Maximum Screenwriting,” was released and has earned Amazon’s five-star rating. Jeff has appeared as a guest lecturer at L.A.’s famed Screenwriting Expo, is a popular speaker at prestigious universities and film schools, and has worked closely with the Writers Guild of America to protect the best interests of writers.25 COMMONLY ASKED QUESTIONS AND STRAIGHT ANSWERSThe entertainment industry is the toughest business around. To achieve success as a professional screenwriter, you will need every advantage you can get. A writer who faces readers, agents, producers, and creative executives are no different than a soldier going into combat. To have the best chance of survival, both would be wise to bring every weapon they can carry into the fight.This book is ammunition for the battles every screenwriter will face as it teaches: How to create a bulletproof outline, How to build and breathe life into compelling characters, How to defeat crippling procrastination, How to avoid being ripped off, and How to deal with a myriad of situations other books never mention.The one thing this book will not do is tell you what the proper margins are for a screenplay, where to place a parenthetical in dialogue or what is supposed to happen on page 30. There are dozens of books and free online lectures for that. Maximum Screenwriting was written for one reason only: to teach you what other books don’t and to tell you what other writers won’t.Enjoy my conversation with Jeff Schimmel.
IFH 722: The Art of Television Showrunning with Steve DeKnight (Marvel's Daredevil, Spartacus)
24-10-2023
IFH 722: The Art of Television Showrunning with Steve DeKnight (Marvel's Daredevil, Spartacus)
Showrunning is a mysterious art form to many so I wanted to bringing he someone who can shine a light on what it takes to be one. Today on the show we have powerhouse show runner, writer, director, producer, and all-around good guy Steven Deknight. Best known for his work across the action, drama, and sci-fi genres on TV shows like Smallville, Spartacus, Daredevil, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, and Jupiter's Legacy.Realizing his strengths early on in his career, Steven is a jack-of-all-trades who studied acting at the onset of film school transitioned through to writing, playwright, and screenwriting. Buffy the Vampire Slayer was his big break - starting off as writer and story editor on the show, Deknight went on to produce 42 episodes of the Spin-off show, Angel.The vampire Angel, cursed with a soul, moves to Los Angeles and aids people with supernatural-related problems while questing for his own redemption.Steven went on to direct and co-executive produce 66 episodes of the 2001 show, Smallville which set a viewers rating record of 4.34 million viewers per episode and had an amazing 10 seasons run.The series goes along with Clark Kent through his struggles to find his place in the world as he learns to harness his alien powers for good and deals with the typical troubles of teenage life in Smallville, Kansas.In 2009, He briefly wrote, directed, and consulted on the short-lived Dollhouse series. Almost immediately after, Deknight got an offered to executive produce and write the hit sensation and everyone's guilty-pleasure, Spartacus.A fictional historical drama series inspired by, Spartacus, the show focused on Spartacus's obscure early life leading up to the beginning of historical records.We do a deep dive on how Steve brought the Marvel universe's darker and grittier character Daredevil to Netflix that help launch The Defenders superhero on the streaming giant.Blinded as a young boy, Matt Murdock fights injustice by day as a Lawyer and as a street-level superhero by night, in Hell's Kitchen, New York City.His feature-film directorial and writing debut Pacific Rim: Uprising. We go into the weeds on his experience bring a studio tentpole to the big screen while under extreme pressure and restraints.Steve was a blast to chat.Enjoy this conversation with Steve Deknight.
IFH 720: Psychology for Screenwriters with William Indick
09-10-2023
IFH 720: Psychology for Screenwriters with William Indick
I’m taking a journey down the rabbit hole of screenwriting psychoanalysis with Professor William Indick, who is a psychology professor at William Paterson University in New Jersey, professor of psychology executive chair of faculty at Dowling College, and author of Psychology for Screenwriters.We take a nerdy dig into the world of psychology and how it affects writers, screenwriters, and characters. With some expert contextualization, William psychoanalyzes some of our favorite films and characters while also breaking down character archetypes and themes he has studied. How did it all start, you ask? Well, in 2003 he made the decision to incorporate more culturally relevant theories of personality instead of antiquated theories in his psychology classes by sorting references from famous films. Based on his students growing interested and fascination, William researched to find psychology textbooks about films, but none existed. So he wrote one instead. The book was published by Michael Wiese productions in 2004. Psychology For Screenwriters supports that screenwriters must understand human behavior to make their stories come alive. This book clearly describes theories of personality and psychoanalysis with simple guidelines, thought-provoking exercises, vivid film images, and hundreds of examples from classic movies.Basically, the book takes general psychology theories and applications and adapts them into helpful tools for screenwriters.He delves into various genre archetypal characters and themes that are repetitive in screenplays in the second edition of the book which will be out soon. Just this summer, William published his sixth book, Media Environments and Mental Disorder: The Psychology of Information Immersion. It deals a lot with narcissism, and the notion that all media is a mirror, and how we understand ourselves at a time when we're constantly being reflected in a million ways. The information environments that modern society requires us to master and engage in are based on literacy and digital communication. Mediated information not only passes through our brains, it alters and rewires them. Since our environment, to a large extent, is shaped by the way we perceive, understand, and communicate information, we can even think of mental disorders as symptoms of maladaptation to our media environments.This book uses this "media ecology" model to explore the effects of media on mental disorders.It traces the development of media from the most basic forms--the sights and sounds expressed by the human body--to the most technologically complex media created to date, showing how each medium of communication relates to specific mental disorders such as anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, and autism. As the digital age proceeds to envelop us in an environment of infinite and instantly accessible information, it's crucial to our own mental health to understand how the various forms of media influence and shape our minds and behaviors.My conversation with William was one of those discussions that you come out of, more informed than you went in.We had a blast.Enjoy my very informative conversation with William Indick.