The Craft of Writing for Film and Television: 2014

December 12: Rock, the Writer
CHRIS ROCK opens up about the crisis that inspired him to pen his new, critically lauded, semi-autobiographical comedy Top Five, and why all he ever wanted to be in life was a writer.

December 5: Nick Hornby’s Wild Ride
Bestselling British author NICK HORNBY might not seem the most obvious choice to adapt Cheryl Strayed’s grief-stricken memoir Wild, but the novelist explains why he feels a deep connection to her redemptive story.

November 26: Isolation Drills
GRAHAM MOORE turns a lifelong obsession into The Imitation Game, a layered portrait of Alan Turing, the British mathematician who broke the Nazi Enigma machine code, saving millions of lives only to lose his own.

November 14: Wrestling the Demons
MAX FRYE and DAN FUTTERMAN tag team to tell Foxcatcher, the tragic, true story of industrial heir John du Pont and Olympians Dave and Mark Schultz.

October 31: Madam Showrunner
Madame Secretary’s BARBARA HALL shares her veteran wisdom on creating show bibles, why it’s still important to talk about women in television, and her keys to a long and fruitful career.

October 24: Saints Among Us
THEODORE MELFI recounts the real-life redemption that inspired his new dramedy St. Vincent and explains why he always begins a script by writing backwards.

October 17: Men of Steel
DAVID AYER aims to create the first great Hollywood tank movie with Fury, his brutal new thriller about a bloodied band of brothers in the waning days of World War II.

October 10: Cruel Jazz
Newcomer DAMIEN CHAZELLE stuns at Sundance with Whiplash, the tale of a young jazz drummer’s descent into artistic obsession and sublime transcendence to greatness.

October 3: Killing Her Darlings
Former critic GILLIAN FLYNN takes a scalpel to her blockbuster novel to hone the taut, twisty, dread-soaked, often corrosively funny screenplay for Gone Girl.

September 18: Married to the Job
MAURISSA TANCHAROEN and JED WHEDON search for the balance between love, marriage, and showrunning one of the most geektastic shows on television, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

September 12: Drops of Zen
DENNIS LEHANE follows his subconscious back into the underworld of bleak, blue-collar criminals to tell the story of scarred characters searching for penance, peace and love.

August 29: Inventing the End of the World
Manhattan’s SAM SHAW makes use of the “hive mind” and his own obsessive attention to detail to dramatize the lives of those burdened with the task of potentially killing millions in the name of world peace.

August 15: Lost and Found
RAY MCKINNON, creator of the SundanceTV’s character drama Rectify, artfully wanders in the dark space between concrete notions of justice and closure and the fickle illusiveness of real life.

August 1: While You Were Making Other Plans
Does TV really need another show about cancer? Chasing Life’s JONI LEFKOWITZ and SUSANNA FOGEL didn’t think so until they found a new perspective on the disease that they realized had yet to be explored.

July 25: In the Company of Men
Ray Donovan creator ANN BIDERMAN pulls no punches about why she doesn’t worry over her characters’ likeability and why gender should have nothing to do with what one writes.

July 18: The Eyes Have It
MIKE CAHILL ponders the big questions about science, God, coincidence, and the nature of attraction all through the lens of the human eye in his ambitious indie drama I Origins.

July 3: The Times of His Life
RICHARD LINKLATER reflects on his Boyhood, a deeply felt, groundbreaking cinematic experiment chronicling a boy’s coming of age over the course of 12 years.

June 20: The IT Crowd
The success of TV newcomers CHRISTOPHER CANTWELL and CHRIS ROGERS might appear to have happened overnight, but the Halt and Catch Fire creators explain why the road from point A to point AMC was more circuitous than some might think.

May 23: Spies, Character, Action
SIMON KINBERG might be the go-to scripter for tentpole actioners like X-Men: Days of Future Past, but the comic book hero scribe says every screenplay he writes – no matter how superhuman – is a character-driven story that’s deeply personal.

May 9: Two Ladies and a Baby
JESSICA ST. CLAIR & LENNON PARHAM, creators/stars of the new baby-raising series Playing House, offer their insights on the recent shift in women-driven comedy and what they really think about breast pumps in the writers’ room.

April 18: Finding Transcendence
JACK PAGLEN channels an actor’s tool set into a story about Artificial Intelligence.

April 11: Fargo Regained
How does one begin to reimagine a film classic like the Coen brothers’ Fargo for television? For novelist and new showrunner NOAH HAWLEY, the answer was in a name – Mike Yanagita.

April 4: Just Like Magic
On the heels of their Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner Like Crazy, BEN YORK JONES & DRAKE DOREMUS get all grown up with an adult tale of untenable love and shattered middle-aged dreams in the new drama Breathe In.

March 28: Making Forrest Run
ANDY DALY, star of Comedy Central’s new mockumentary series Review, outlines the rules to writing his character Forrest MacNeil, a critic who rates life experiences like addiction, racism, and making a sex tape with dark and entertaining results.

March 14: Life After Mars
ROB THOMAS talks about how Veronica Mars’ stunningly successful, record-breaking Kickstarter campaign affected his creative approach to the big screen adaptation of his TV cult classic.

March 7: It Girl
LENA DUNHAM’s rocket launch into the pop cultural heavens might have left a trail of detractors in her wake, but the Girls writer, director, and star says she already knows what the haters are saying because she’s said it first.

February 28: Red’s Black Heart
The Blacklist’s JON BOKENKAMP describes the largest difference between writing features and TV and what makes a murderous psychopath such as James Spader’s “Red” Reddington so likeable.

February 14: A Love Letter to the Lost
The sudden, tragic death of AKIVA GOLDSMAN's wife paralyzed the Oscar winner, but a passion project helped him find his way back to writing - his deeply felt adaptation of the novel Winter's Tale.

January 31: Black Diamond
Novelist NIC PIZZOLATTO makes use of his outsider’s perspective to bring a fresh depth to HBO’s new hit series True Detective, a darkly existential crime drama featuring Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson.

January 17: An Orange By Any Other Name
JENJI KOHAN addresses racial stereotypes on Orange Is the New Black and offers her opinion on whether the new world of binge-watching streaming content will affect how shows are written.

January 10: The Road to Sitcom Hell
Episodes’ DAVID CRANE & JEFFREY KLARIK riff on why they’re still scripting the Hollywood-skewering comedy all by themselves and why they’ll never, ever, go back to writing for network.

January 3: Alone in a Dark Corner
PETER BERG sidesteps politics to salute Marcus Luttrell and the fallen Navy SEALs of Operation Redwing in the visceral, brutal tale of grit and courage Lone Survivor.

The Craft: 2013 Archives