Hank Isaac Remembers the Great Stewart Stern

by Hank Isaac


Earlier this month my mentor and former teacher, Stewart Stern, passed away. He was 92. A gentle man with a kind heart, Stewart was much more than just the writer of the classic film “Rebel Without a Cause.” He was an ardent fan of Barrie’s Peter Pan, Paul Newman’s friend and biographer, and was never at a loss for captivating career anecdotes. Even when he told his stories over and over again [yes, my point exactly] you never got tired of hearing them.

We grew up not too far from each other. We attended rival prep schools in NYC, though about twenty years apart. Both our families had close ties to Loews/MGM. read article

Hank Isaac: Underfunded Overachievers #5


The Crafting of “Lilac” – Writing a Ten-Minute Episode with a Dozen Subplots
by Hank Isaac

Speaking with a few writers and directors on the topic of “writing short,” I learned that writing TV commercials and promos is a great way to hone one’s writing skills. Face it: 10 seconds to a minute – not a whole lot of time to get a point across, is it?

Okay, so I don’t write commercials. But WEB series episodes (not counting the hour-long House of Cards) are necessarily short. Maybe not half a minute, but definitely not full TV episode running times.

“Lilac” has ten characters in its ensemble cast. Each has his own life, story, problems, etc. One season is thirteen episodes of roughly ten minutes each (the Pilot Episode plays for 15 minutes). So each season is essentially a feature film. But it’s broken up into ten-minute segments. Something has to “happen” in each episode. read article