Back at My Desk…
… after a whirlwind tour of Toronto and New York City.
I met so many new people, and got a chance to get reaquainted with good friends, too.
On the new friend front, I had two very successful talks in Toronto. About 50 of us gathered at the Toronto Film College Thursday night for a chat about screenwriting, and what a great creative bunch! I have received lots of emails from the group since, including some brilliant questions and insights into movies. I just love this stuff! And I am now officially coming back in June to see you again.
I also did a day-long lecture Friday for Nelvana, the famous Canadian-based TV animation company. Since my roots are in animation, it felt like old home week. Nelvana has some great new shows in the works, including a dark and funny Beetlejuice-but-better series called Ruby Gloom, which has yet to hit the states but must! Thanks to my good friend, Paul Teolis, for arranging my appearnce there and for being such a considerate host, and to Jocelyn Hamilton at Nelvana! Paul, dude, you are the best!
Met some other old acquaintances this past weekend in a fantastic Master Class in NYC. I am in awe of how these screenwriters have grown in their skills since my Beats Class workshop in February. John Austrian, who created our Cat! discussion board and is putting up talking space for everyone who has taken a Cat! class, arranged for a workspace for us — and his enthusiasm is incredible. He also has an awesome script in the works that I can’t wait to see written and filmed — what a great ride of a movie! But John was not the only bright light in the room. Congrats to Nick, Rueben, Alden, and Alexander too for your incredible progress! I got the additional treat of seeing Jackie Brown and Amy Biven at lunch yesterday — these women are hilarious company! And great writers with so much going on. Thank you both, and next time — quiche!
Now back to my desk…. Good to be away, good to get home as well. Back in my screenwriting laboratory to cook up some more new stuff to tell you when I hit LAX next time!
There’s an L.A. Master Class this coming weekend. Barcelona at the end of the month! Then more clases in L.A., Toronto, San Francisco, and Chicago! Thank you for being so kind to me out there, old friends and new friends alike!
- Nick Contopoulos
I completely agree with John! You are an amazing teacher who has successfully explained the ethereal and frustrating process of writing a screenplay. Being a newbie I must admit I feel inspired and overwhelmed at the same time!
I am committed and determined to break through any story difficulties to get to what serves the story. The concepts of logline and structure being the KEYS to creating a screenplay that works are simple, yet powerful.
I feel so lucky to have found your process very early in my career. Thank you for your patience and support, and for your uncanny ability to be able to sit and listen to every story beat from every writer and be able to give constructive criticism and be GENUINELY NICE ABOUT IT TOO!
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The reason we had such an amazing weekend is because you are such an amazing person! Not only are you talented, with a true gift of seeing the heart of a story but you are compassionate, generous and genuine. It was amazing to see the time, energy and focus you put into each of our scripts and how you transformed what were rough ideas into plotted, compelling stories with beginnings, middles and ends.
I shudder to think what my script would look like if I hadnâ€™t found you- (Actually, it wouldnâ€™t even be this script since youâ€™re the one who pointed out which idea I needed to go with.)
Anyone out there who is thinking of taking a workshop with Blake- DONâ€™T! I want to keep him all to myself!!! Oh, alright. You can go. But be ready to â€œkill your darlingsâ€ and have the best experience of your writing career.
Blake, you are the coolest cat around! (Yeah, I knowâ€¦ But I couldnâ€™t help myself.)
John J. Austrian