The Secret To Being A Working Writer In Hollywood by Lee Jessup

Watch the video interview on Youtube here


Film Courage: How are you softening some of the screenwriters you’re working with who are either too defensive or too much of a namby-pamby “yes” person?


“Because you’re going to get notes that are outright offensive to you. But you learn to take the good with the bad. I always tell writers as they prepare for the industry, go find people who will hate your work, those are the people whose notes you want. You don’t want the people who will tell you how brilliant you are, how perfect it is. You’re not going to learn anything from that.”


Lee Jessup: It is a balancing act. I think once writers start getting notes and a lot of notes, they learn…they learn. Because you’re going to get notes that are outright offensive to you. But you learn to take the good with the bad. I always tell writers as they prepare for the industry, go find people who will hate your work, those are the people whose notes you want. You don’t want the people who will tell you how brilliant you are, how perfect it is. You’re not going to learn anything from that. You’re going to learn how to take notes from getting notes that are really offensive and finding something in there that you can use. What is the core of that? What is the little kernel inside that note that you can take and do something with and really move the material forward with? And listen, I remember this from my days from getting notes as a writer and getting infuriated and coming back and going “Okay, there was something there. What was that thing that was there? What is the note giver really saying?”

Watch the video interview on Youtube here

So you want really to teach writers to take notes, to be receptive to finding that kernel, that truth, that is in every note or in most notes. You also want to work with writers the way that I work with writers and that is in not giving them the answers when they are like “Okay, here is this note so I am going to execute it that way…Is that good?” No! Figure out your way to execute that note and I get writers coming back and going “There was one note that said this, how do I implement it?” You figure it out. You’re on your own. I’ll sit with you and I’ll brainstorm with you once you have the direction but it has to be your direction. And that is where you have to listen to your inner writer. You have to really foster your talent, your sensibilities. Of course it has to be malleable. You have to be able to work with other people’s sensibilities, but the key to being a great writer is taking other people’s ideas and making them your own. And falling just as in love with them and being just as invested in them as you would be had your idea or concept originated with you because the reality today is that 2014, 1,800 WGA members made income in the film industry. Roughly 132 scripts sold. What does that mean? That means that over 1,600 people made their money writing pages, doing writing assignments.

So how do you become that writer who does writing assignments and does it successfully? You’re able to take a kernel of an idea and make it your own and fall in love with it. And really take it and run with it in a way that makes other people want to work with you.


Question for the Viewers: Do you give your script to people who will tear it apart?


Watch all of Lee Jessup’s Film Courage video interviews on Youtube here

Getting it Write: An Insider’s Guide to a Screenwriting Career
by Lee Zahavi Jessup






Watch The Special Need on Vimeo here

THE SPECIAL NEED: Enea is 29. He has blue eyes, likes trucks, and loves girls. He hasn’t found the right one yet. Still he has never stopped looking for her. One more thing about Enea: he is autistic. One day, after taking a photo of a girl on the bus, he is pushed to the ground by her boyfriend. Enea’s therapist convinces his mom that the time has come for the man to cope with his sexual desires. Enea’s friends Carlo and Alex get involved and try to find a way for Enea to have sex in a safe and legal environment.

Watch Problemski Hotel on Vimeo here

PROBLEMSKI HOTEL: For the inmates of the multinational residential center somewhere in Europe, the circular, black comedy that is the cross-frontier migrant’s life ‘within the system’ becomes even blacker in December. For we are in the European ‘season of gladness and joy.’ Bipul doesn’t want to admit it to himself, but the Russian girl’s arrival makes a difference: Lidia. Hope? Surely not! A future? Get real! December is also the ninth month of Martina’s pregnancy. Pregnancies don’t go round in circles; they end in eruptions. Because when the situation is hopeless, rescue is near.

Watch Surviving Skokie on Vimeo here

SURVIVING SKOKIE: They survived the horrors of the Holocaust and came to America to put the past behind. For decades they kept their awful memories secret, even from their children. But their silence ended when a band of neo-Nazi thugs threatened to march in their quiet village of Skokie, Illinois “because that is where the Jews are.”

Surviving Skokie is an intensely personal documentary by former Skokie resident Eli Adler about the provocative events of the 1970s, their aftermath, his family’s horrific experience of the Shoah, and a journey with his father to confront long-suppressed memories.

Hi, Mom!” Zooppa has partnered up with T-Mobile on a brand new project! T-Mobile gives its customers unlimited data and texting in over 140 countries and destinations—at no extra cost. T-Mobile wants to inspire those customers to travel and get off-the-beaten path—to be explorers, not tourists—and unlock adventures they can share when they take their phones. The ‘Hi, Mom’ project focuses on sharing the most extreme moments of adventure outside of the United States with family and friends back at home. The project is open for submissions until February 21st, 2017 at 4:00 PM PST. There are $40,000 in total cash awards available that will be assigned to the top eight videos chosen by T-Mobile. In addition to the cash awards, all winning videos will also be featured on T-Mobile’s social and web platforms or as a part of a compilation celebrating adventurous moments from around the world.

Watch THE WEEKEND SAILOR on VOD January 10, 2017

THE WEEKEND SAILOR is a new feature documentary about the unexpected victory of the Mexican yacht Sayula II in the first crewed sailing race around the world in 1974. The most demanding sailing quest in history. Sailor, Ramon Carlín visits his rebellious son, Enrique in the United Kingdom and comes across a magazine advertising a sailing race around the world. Although he had been sailing casually for two years, Ramon embarks on this race and brings his son along as an opportunity to not only teach him discipline but real life experiences as well.

Watch CATCH 22: based on the unwritten story by seanie sugrue – coming soon on January 17, 2017

Catch 22: based on the unwritten story by seanie sugrue: With Hurricane Sandy looming on the horizon, five hard-lived friends come to from a send-off celebration alongside an unexplained dead girl. What are friends for?


Find out more here!

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT): Zooppa and Nickelodeon are inviting filmmakers and motion graphic artists from around the world to reimagine TMNT on a global scale through depicting what they are up to in various home towns or cities. The goal is to show how the Turtles would come to life in any given location, using local city or pop culture influences to help tell the story. Zooppa and Nickelodeon are looking for imagination and creativity, the videos made should be a fun way to share Turtle stories from across the globe––authenticity is key! The project is open for submissions until February 23rd, 2017 at 4:00PM PST. There are $25,000 in cash awards available to the top 10 videos that will be chosen by Nickelodeon.