When screenwriter Brian Helgeland talks about Screenwriting, we listen

Writer Brian Helgeland (L.A. Confidential, Mystic River) explains what it feels like to win an Oscar an a Razzie on the same weekend, why he thinks writer’s block is a myth, and reveals Clint Eastwood’s unique powers of persuasion.

Brought to us by BAFTA Guru, a service the British Academy of Film and Television Arts…for which TVWriter™ is mucho thankful!

7 Screenwriting Tips from – Oh, You Guessed! – Screenwriters

The mother and father of all showbiz trade maags, Variety.Com comes up with a winner for writers. In other words, this is about writing because that’s how we and our viewers win, yeah?

Here’s what Variety has to say about this vid:

Variety recently sat down with some of our 2016 Writers to Watch, including the scribes behind “Moana” and “Sully,” at the Whistler Film Festival where they gave us a few tips on how to become a successful screenwriter in Hollywood.


New Year’s with Bri Castellini Part 2 – @brisownworld

My 2019 New Years Resolutions
by Bri Castellini

  1. Write 5 new projects. Be them short films, web series pilots, TV pilots, audio dramas, or a play, I want 5 brand new things written in 2019. 5 scripts doesn’t count unless they’re from 5 different projects.
  2. Host 3 table reads. Since I’m stepping back a bit from producing this year, I’m going to miss my actor friends. So in order to focus on my writing but also keep my creative, talented friends involved, I want to host at least 3 table reads for 3 unique projects in 2019.
  3. Post one blog and one YouTube video a month. I really did try last year, but it got away from me. This isn’t an insane ask, though, so let’s try again.
  4. Cook dinner at least twice a week. Quinn has taken a lot of the burden of cooking for us- when he doesn’t, we order out, and that’s not fair or healthy. Plus, I used to love cooking! I want to recapture that this year.
  5. Start or end my day active at least three times a week. No excuses 2019.
  6. Release and submit for festivals both projects I have in post. I filmed two major projects in 2019, and they both deserve a shot at glory and laurels. This is my pledge to actually put them into the world.
  7. Leave New York at least 4 times. Everyone knows I’m bad at boundaries and balance, so in 2019, I’m making an effort to live a less workaholic life. I have 2 guaranteed trips (DC in January and Christmas) that I’ll be out of the city for, so it’s unfair to just say “2” like the last few years.
  8. Save $2k. Last year I saved $1500, which was great, but I’m an adult who goes more into debt every time I make a student loan payment because of accrued interest, so I’m not in great financial shape. Savings will at least keep me, well, safe, in case something terrible happens.
  9. Pick my battles. As I age, I get better at when my input or opinion is needed, but I’m also a naturally argumentative person. In 2019, I want to really analyse when a topic deserves a debate or when I should just let it go.
  10. Be a better adult. When I get overwhelmed or over-tired, I neglect important things like dishes and emptying the trash and cleaning my room and the bathroom. I am almost 27 years old- that’s gotta stop. Regardless of my exhaustion level, the dishes need to be done, and not just when company is coming over.

What are YOUR resolutions this year?  How did yours last year shape up? Let me know, and here’s to at least a pretty ok 2019!

Bri Castellini is an indie filmmaker and Community Director at Stareable, our favorite web series hub. Watch the remarkable Ms. Castellini’s award-winning web series, Brains, HERE. See Sam And Pat Are Depressed HERE. This post first appeared on Bri’s wonderfully refreshing blog.

New Year’s with Bri Castellini Part 1 – @brisownworld

How My 2018 New Year’s Resolutions Faired
by Bri Castellini

High level: this was an incredibly busy year, just not in the ways I’d planned back in January 2018.

Produce 2 new projects I write to completion- COMPLETE!

Back in January I filmed my latest short film, co-written and co-produced by my buddy Colin Hinckley.

We also shot season 2 of Sam and Pat Are Depressed! It’s mid-edit and we hope to release it early 2019.

Write a feature-length screenplay- lol nah

My workload for producing and for my day job just didn’t allow for this. There were multiple months in a row where I had maybe two days off, total, which is including weekends.

Post a blog twice a month and a personal YouTube video once a month.- PARTIAL FAILURE

Didn’t do either, though I stuck with blogging for most of the year! See above for my other excuses. I was in a play for two months, also! Literally every weekend and several weeknights that whole period were taken up by hours-long rehearsals or performances!

Write 2 new TV scripts- one original pilot, one spec script.- lol nah

Mid-year I wrote: “I’ll definitely have a new original pilot written unless I do nothing from now until January 2019” which is ADORABLE. At the time of writing that, I was a week away from filming Sam and Pat season 2, then less than two months later (mid-editing for that project and the short film I did) I was in that play, and then I continued to need to edit and also take a dang break once in a while, and no writing got done. I basically haven’t written anything new since last winter, which is a bummer and which will be heavily emphasized in 2019.

Close caption all previous (and new 2018) projects – COMPLETE

Done! Pain in the ass, but done!

Save $1500  COMPLETE

Done! I really needed the padding, because last year I burnt through everything I’d been saving diligently for like two years prior.

Leave New York City at least twice.– COMPLETE

Trip #1: New Jersey to speak on a panel/ participate web series screening!

Eat out less than three times a week and do something active every day.- lol nah

Yeah. Nah.

Take a photo every day- lol nah

Mid-January my phone shattered and the new one I purchased made the camera sound every time I took a photo and I couldn’t turn it off. So I largely just stopped taking photos. Then I shattered THAT phone and got one without that issue, but by then it was September and too late to really get back into the swing of things.

Talk less, listen more – COMPLETE (I guess?)

I like to think I completed this one. If you disagree, I don’t want to hear it. I need this.

Final tally…



Given all the other things not on this list that got completed, plus stepping up significantly at my day job, I’m not upset by this outcome. But I do have a lot of new ideas for 2019…

EDITOR’S NOTE: For Bri’s original version, which includes a lot more pix and cute captions, you’ll want to click your way HERE

Bri Castellini is an indie filmmaker and Community Director at Stareable, our favorite web series hub. Watch the remarkable Ms. Castellini’s award-winning web series, Brains, HERE. See Sam And Pat Are Depressed HERE. This post first appeared on Bri’s wonderfully refreshing blog.

Bri Castellini: 2018: The Opposite of 2017 – @brisownworld

by Bri Castellini

Last year, I:

  • Lost my job at MTV, a job I loved
  • Moved apartments
  • Released my short film and the second Brains Extended Universe project
  • Attempted to film and release a new web series, called “Why Isn’t Bri Making A New Web Series?”
  • Failed at that
  • Went broke
  • Wallowed in self pity
  • Started working for Stareable, first for free, then part time, then full time
  • Crowdfunded for two projects in one month
  • Wallowed some more
  • Shot and released Sam and Pat Are Depressed season 1

This year, I:

  • Shot and edited a brand new short film (January)
  • Spoke at a web series panel/screening in New Jersey (February)
  • Moved apartments, unplanned (February)
  • Produced the web series The Mother Lode (February-April)
  • Produced the web series Stray (February-July)
  • Organized a film festival from scratch (January-July)
  • Spoke at a film festival in Toronto (May)
  • Launched a podcast with Stareable (June)
  • Crowdfunded for Sam and Pat season 2 (June-July)
  • Produced and shot Sam and Pat season 2 (May-August)
  • Started a podcast for Sam and Pat (July)
  • Spoke on a panel at FlameCon (August)
  • Hired as the digital media professor for my old grad program (August)
  • Spoke at a film festival in New Jersey (September)
  • Starred in a one-act play (October-November)
  • Started a DnD podcast (October)
  • Started planning another film festival from scratch (November)
  • Hit 1000 followers on Twitter (December)

“I am dedicated to making this year my most creatively fulfilling one yet, and so far, I’m as on track as possible.” -Bri, January 2018

Last year, the only new thing I created was Sam and Pat, a show I love and that continues to bring me joy. But I made it late in the year, after a year of professional and financial setbacks that nearly overtook me. Yes, my short film and a Brains EU project came out last year, but both were already completed and just needed releasing, so they don’t count as “new.”

Last year, I was miserable. Trump was newly elected, I was newly laid off, and I was floundering. I wasn’t creating, I didn’t feel productive, and everything sucked.

This year, whatever the opposite of that happened. As you can see from that list, I was building something every month, whether it was a film project for me, a film project for someone else, a podcast, or a major work event. I traveled all over to speak at festivals and film schools, was hired as an adjunct, and despite that, I still only completed half of my New Years Resolutions. I wanted a busy 2018, and I got it, but I’m looking forward to calming the hell down next year.

I’ve never been great at balance. Some (much) of this years’ busy schedule was out of my control, but plenty came from choices I made. I am… exhausted. Yes, I feel better about this year than last year, but I am so, so tired. I need a break. I need a vacation! I haven’t had a vacation all year- every day I took off of work was spent working on something else. Half my weekends (probably more) were overtaken by meetings, being on set, traveling to speak somewhere, or post production. Not again.

Since Brains came out in 2015, I like to think I’ve proven myself in the indie production arena. I’ve made two seasons of Brains, two extended universe projects, two seasons of Sam and Pat, and two short films, all in three years. And that’s not counting the projects I’ve personally produced (Relativity, the first two episodes of Vloggers, History, The Mother Lode, Stray). But I think that that phase of my life is coming rapidly to an end, for two reasons:

  1. My means haven’t changed. While every project has of course improved in production value and marketing strategy, I still have no real, sustainable way of paying my cast and crew, let alone myself. And I’m past the point of the “passion project” defense. I’ve got plenty of no-budget work that I’m proud of on my resume, but unless my means change, every subsequent project is going to be more of the same.
  2. I don’t want to be a producer. I really, really don’t enjoy logistics, particularly when it’s not my project. I love the work I’ve gotten to do, and the people I’ve gotten to help, but I do not love producing, and continuing to produce will only make it harder to do the work I actually want to do: write and direct.

I don’t want to continue to make no-budget work, begging friends to volunteer their services, and go further into debt every time I do. That’s not getting me to the next stage of my career, and makes me a shitty friend. With very few exceptions, unless my means to pay people (including marketing people) increase, I’m taking off my producer hat for a while.

So what does this mean for 2019? You’ll see in more detail when I publish my new New Years Resolutions on the 1st, but as a teaser:

  • More writing. Like, by a lot
  • More table reads, to keep in touch with actor friends despite likely not seeing them on set
  • Releasing two projects (Buy In and Sam and Pat season 2) and giving them a real shot at success with all that I’ve learned about marketing, film festivals, and more
  • Even more writing. I’m a writer, I should be writing, and not just how-to blogs for work
  • Vacations. I didn’t take any time off in 2018 that wasn’t explicitly for an indie production, and I can’t do that again. I need to actually take non-work time because being this tired all the time isn’t healthy

2019 will hopefully be defined by boundaries and balance, two things I’m The Worst At. Since there is no finish line in sight, I’m going to try not to put so much pressure on myself to become a household name by 30. I am enough as I am right now, and killing myself to hit a “more impressive” level of success by a “more impressive” age is short-sighted and dangerous.

I’m an adult. And I need to start acting like one.

Bri Castellini is an indie filmmaker and Community Director at Stareable, our favorite web series hub. Watch the remarkable Ms. Castellini’s award-winning web series, Brains, HERE. See Sam And Pat Are Depressed HERE. This post first appeared on Bri’s wonderfully refreshing blog.