Advice To 22 Year Old Screenwriters by LA4hire’s Wendy Kram

Watch the video interview on Youtube here

Film Courage: Wendy, we have a lot of screenwriters in their 20’s that watch our videos. They are just starting out and are in an early stage of their writing careers. Is there any advice you can give them?

LA4hire’s Wendy Kram: Oh sure, luck. But one of the best tips is I’ve heard, a female showrunner say when she came out to LA, she spent the first year reading every single pilot that had been picked up that she could get her hands on. And also maybe reading pilots of series from a couple years ago. When I said Shakespeare for me was one of my best teachers. Just understanding how well-defined his characters were, the dialogue and the conflicts and the characters needs and wants and what gets in their way. I mean it’s the stakes, you don’t get bigger than Shakespeare with Macbeth or Hamlet. And so there are great teachers and Matthew Weiner [creator of MAD MEN] you can watch MAD MEN absolutely, you can watch a lot of series but there is something about seeing the written word.

The other thing as an exercise (and I think this is a very powerful exercise) which might not seem like fun, but it can be fun is to watch (I did this actually when I was in my 20’s starting out) an OFFICER AND A GENTLEMAN and this is before you could download scripts off of the Internet. I watched the whole movie and I wrote down as I was watching it, what each scene was, so I had to pause a lot. But what it does is it really helps you understand and get a feel for rhythm and structure almost through osmosis, through that process of doing it and the point of doing it isn’t so you can go and you’re not plagiarizing or copying, it’s to get you to just understand and rhythms of scenes and how they flow from one to the next and you can see when you’re doing. Okay, what’s the Act one, the Act one break? Usually it’s supposed to be around Page 27 in the feature. So you see where that kind of flows when you’re copying a script. And you don’t have to do every single line but okay Richard Gere’s with his father, they wake up right after they’ve had an evening of debauchery and hookers and Richard Gere is now off to training camp in the military. Then the next scene and I don’t remember exactly but let’s say the next scene is he’s on a bus and we see exterior. Then next scene maybe we see Debra Winger as a waitress I don’t remember everything so forgive me. But it also gets you into the understanding and the that screenwriter is a wonderful…(Watch the video interview on Youtube here).

Watch the video interview on Youtube here

About Wendy Kram:

Seasoned Film and Television producer, Wendy Kram, created L.A. FOR HIRE, a consulting firm for production companies, writers, directors and anyone in media and PR seeking Hollywood connections and expertise on how to get their project to the next level.

With over fifteen years of experience in the entertainment industry, Wendy has supervised and produced a number of award-winning motion picture and television films for companies including: Walt Disney Studios, Sony Pictures, Hearst Entertainment, Sandollar Productions, Granada Entertainment, CBS, NBC, ABC, USA, HBO, Showtime and Lifetime Networks. Credits include “Mad Money” with Diane Keaton, Queen Latifah, and Katie Holmes, the award-winning miniseries, “Sally Hemings: An American Scandal” with Sam Neill, and the romantic comedy, “Making Mr. Right” with Dean Caine for Lifetime Network. Wendy has a track record working with A-level talent, agents, filmmakers and executives.

As a native New Yorker who loves the city she grew up in, Wendy recognized a gap between many New York-based production companies and the Hollywood community. L.A. FOR HIRE was created to help fill this gap by providing a bridge between Hollywood’s key decision makers and companies in New York and other metropolitan cities around the globe.

Our clients come to us in order to help them navigate through the Hollywood system, where we provide insider knowledge and know-how that comes from our years of experience.

 

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