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James Franco: A Look Inside 127 Hours

September 9, 2017

James Franco reveals his unique experience working on 127 Hours, including his faith in director Danny Boyle’s vision, and the collaborative approach from cast and crew to fulfill the tension needed to capture this true and tantalizing story. Followed by the allegorical short film, Voice Over, directed by Martin Rosete, about a few extreme situations that literally take your breath away.

Frank Marshall on Producing from

the Creative Side

August 26, 2017

The producer behind Raiders of the Lost Ark, Back to the Future, The Sixth Sense, and more talks about starting his career with Spielberg, Coppola, and Lucas, the creativity in producing, and working with writers.

Treat Yo Self: A Conversation with Alan Yang

August 19, 2017

Parks and Recreation and Master of None writer Alan Yang talks about making up for lost time, writing for the Harvard Lampoon, and putting stories from his personal life into the show.

From the Golden Age to the Platinum Age: A Conversation with Ed Begley Jr. 

August 12, 2017

With hundreds of film and television credits to his name, including Better Call Saul, A Mighty Wind, and Six Feet Under, second generation actor Ed Begley Jr. talks about what he looks for when choosing new projects, finding the pain in a character, and working with Christopher Guest and other comedy legends.

Trail Stories: The Making of Lonesome Dove

August 5, 2017

Producer Suzanne de Passe, screenwriter Bill Wittliff, and crew share stories about the making of Lonesome Dove, the movie adapted from the NYT bestselling novel by Larry McMurtry. From Tommy Lee Jones doing his own stunts to cattle stampedes, cowboy hats with personality to confounding Hollywood executives, this episode is full of entertaining stories about the made-for-TV movie that almost didn’t happen.

Deconstructing Jane Austen

July 29, 2017

The filmmakers behind Sense and Sensibility, The Jane Austen Book Club, and The Lizzie Bennet Diaries discuss the timelessness and relate-ability of Jane Austen’s characters, from the jealousies, the romances, the desire to improve one’s status, and, of course, Mr. Darcy.

Psychological Thrillers

July 22, 2017

The writers behind Red Eye, The X-Files, Disturbia, and Shut In weigh in on the crucial elements for those psychological thrillers that keep you up all night; namely putting regular people into horrifying scenarios – and hopefully getting them out in one piece.

Writing Dumb: A Conversation with Bobby Farrelly

July 15, 2017

The Bobby half of the Farrelly brothers team that brought us There’s Something About Mary, Kingpin, and Dumb and Dumber talks about improv, keeping the material fresh, and what makes comedy funny.

Script to Screen: The Revenant

July 8, 2017

Screenwriter Mark L. Smith discusses adapting The Revenant from book to screen, working with Alejandro Iñárritu, and getting that famous bear attack right. For their work on this stunning - and freezing - historical picture, Iñárritu won the Academy Award for Best Director, Emmanual Lubezki won for Best Cinematography, and DiCaprio won his first award for Best Actor.

Script to Screen: Motorcycle Diaries

July 1, 2017

In this episode, screenwriter Jose Rivera discusses his approach to bringing Che Guevara’s story to the screen, balancing Guevara’s political awakening with his road trip adventures, and working with director Walter Salles and actor Gael Garcia Bernal.

A Conversation with Jim Sheridan

June 24, 2017

Heavily-influenced by politics and family, the screenwriter of In the Name of the Father, My Left Foot, In America, and more discusses his efforts to do justice to Irish fathers, and translate Irish situations and accents for American audiences.


Complicated Relationships: A Conversation with Nancy Meyers

June 17, 2017

From Private Benjamin to Something’s Gotta Give, writer/director Nancy Meyers has created and championed some of the most memorable complicated women characters on the screen. In this episode she shares her career path and stories of her collaborations – with Goldie Hawn, Mel Gibson, and former husband and writing partner Charles Shyer

Deconstructing Billy Wilder

June 10, 2017

Inarguably one of the greatest storytellers in Hollywood, filmmaker Billy Wilder’s classic films include Double Indemnity, Sabrina, Sunset Boulevard, Some Like it Hot, The Apartment, and more. This episode dissects several of his films to analyze what makes his filmmaking style so unique and relevant to audiences today.

Creed: A New Legend

June 3, 2017

In this episode, writer Aaron Covington discusses how he and co-writer/director Ryan Coogler came up with the idea for a unique and personal spin on the Rocky Balboa story and in the process created a new legend.

Freaks & Muppets: A Conversation with Jason Segel

May 27, 2017

As charming as any muppet, actor/writer Jason Segel relays how he was destined for the stage at an early age and how, from goofball to vampire puppet musical to full frontal nudity, he’s formed a family of weirdos in film and television.

Comedy is Queen: A Conversation with Paula Pell

MAY 20, 2017

With Saturday Night Live and the movies Sisters and This is 40 in her credits, Paula Pell is the queen of comedy. In this episode, Pell talks about her background in theater, creating characters that stick, and drawing from a funny family.

John Patrick Shanley: Writing for the Stage and Screen

May 13, 2017

John Patrick Shanley holds a unique position as both playwright and screenwriter. The writer behind Moonstruck, Doubt, and others shares how he pulls from real life and makes every action count toward story.

I'll Be There for You: A Conversation on Friends(hips) with Marta Kauffman

May 6, 2017

Marta Kauffman takes viewers into that unforgettable New York apartment and talks about how the phenomenon of Friends came to be, the universal appeal of Grace and Frankie, and working with the network versus Netflix.

Arrested Development to Veep: A Conversation with Tony Hale

April 29, 2017

From Arrested Development’s Buster Bluth to Veep’s bag man, actor Tony Hale discusses meeting audience’s expectations, getting into character, making out with Liza Minnelli, and the collaborative environment of comedy.

The jungle book: justin marks on updating a classic

April 22, 2017

Screenwriter Justin Marks shares the bear necessities on updating the classic Disney story to the modern screen. Drawing from influences like Westerns, the New York City black out, and more, this episode takes audiences through the jungle and to the beloved wolf pack that raised Mowgli from a cub to a boy.


 LOving: Jeff Nichols Brings History To The Screen

April 15, 2017

In this episode, award-winning writer/director Jeff Nichols talks about bringing a highly charged true story to the screen and finding the personal connection to Richard and Mildred Loving – apolitical people at the center of the landmark 1967 civil rights decision of the U.S. Supreme Court to invalidate laws prohibiting interracial marriage. 


APRIL 8, 2017

Vince Gilligan, creator of the AMC hit series Breaking Bad, reflects upon the show’s hyper-serialized storytelling, along with his inspirations and influences. Accompanied by Victor Nores’ short film, Euthanas Inc., about an old lady whose family wishes to no longer be burdened by her presence, and her plans to grant them an unexpected change of scene.

Rodrigo Garcia on Writing Relationships

APRIL 1, 2017

Rodrigo Garcia, whose credits include Albert Nobbs, Nine Lives, Mother and Child, and most recently, Last Days in the Desert, contemplates the importance of writing honest relationships in his work, and the visceral connection audiences have with stories about family. Followed by a short film from Faraday Okoro about a father and son who agree to a ‘winner takes all’ blitz chess game in order to settle a bet.


MARCH 25, 2017

Frank Darabont, writer and director of such classics as The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile and The Mist, discusses adapting works by Stephen King and keeping his characters at the core of the story. Followed by Jeffrey DeChausse’s short film, Anniversario, trailing a woman’s visit to her two favorite hairdressers on the day of her 45th wedding anniversary for what becomes the most important makeover of their lives.

America Ferrera on the Storyteller's Responsibility

March 18, 2017

Producer/Emmy®-award winning actress, America Ferrera talks her early roles in film and television including the hit show Ugly Betty, Real Women Have Curves, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and working with Ryan Piers Williams on the independent film The Dry Land.


This special On Story episode features actresses Diane Lane, Margo Martindale and producer Suzanne de Passe discussing how their characters helped shape the classic western TV series, Lonesome Dove at a special cast and crew reunion held in Fort Worth, Texas last year. We would like to extend a special thanks to Bill & Sally Wittliff, and The Wittliff Collections at Texas State University.

Selling Non-Fiction to an Audience: A Conversation with Terry George

MARCH 4, 2017

Terry George (writer/director Hotel Rwanda; writer In the Name of the Father) reflects on the art of fictionalizing fact and placing ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances as a storytelling vehicle. Followed by Dean Loxton’s short film, Under, about a train operator struggling to deal with a traumatic event and finding solace in an unsuspecting way.

A Conversation with Damon Lindelof:

Co-Creator of Lost & The Leftovers

February 18, 2017

Damon Lindelof discusses his hand in some of the most celebrated and scrutinized works of science fiction over the past five years, and how much of their success is attributed to writing stories that leave a lot up to one’s imagination. Accompanied by the improvised short film, Metro 7 Bis by writer/director Dean Loxton about a woman’s encounter with a handsome stranger in Paris, only to find their meeting was hardly by chance.

The Path of An Action Writer:

A Conversation with Robert Kamen

February 4, 2017

Robert Mark Kamen looks back on his long-time working relationship with Luc Besson and his approach to writing description, violence, and well-developed characters in films such as The Fifth Element, The Transporter, and the Taken franchise. Followed by Luke Patton’s short film, Foos Your Daddy?, about a young man’s turning point with his overbearing father on the day he leaves for college.

A Conversation with Carl Reiner

JANUARY 28, 2017

Comedy titan Carl Reiner looks back on creating The Dick Van Dyke Show, how the show evolved over the course of its five seasons, and the collaborative efforts of the writers and actors involved. Reiner recalls special moments from behind the scenes and, ultimately, how the creative vision was translated to the screen.

Norman Lear- A Retrospective

January 7, 2017

Perhaps one of the most influential contributors to the landscape of situational comedies and progressive writing in Hollywood, Norman Lear transformed a genre known for play-it-safe humor into a platform for how Americans experience social issues. In this week’s On Story, Lear remembers a few of his favorite episodes and how he created some of the most beloved characters in the history of television.


DECEMBER 31, 2016

In this second On Story® installation featuring Paul Thomas Anderson and Jonathan Demme, the duo look back on the vision, style, influences, and creative passion for Demme’s The Silence of the Lambs, Stop Making Sense, Rachel Getting Married and Something Wild.


DECEMBER 24, 2016

Breaking Bad drove into television like a dump truck filled with nitroglycerine. Chained to a hyper growth curve and vociferous viewership, Vince Gilligan oversaw a monstrous hit turned cultural phenomenon with this serialized masterpiece. Casual fans to fervent fanatics will find something to chew on in this personal reflection.


DECEMBER 17, 2016

The road to screen can be a punishing, rigorous trek. In this episode, a storied collection of creators, behind some legendary films (Braveheart, Empire Strikes Back, and Lethal Weapon) relive some of their most memorable journeys, marked by each step along the way. Featuring Lawrence Kasdan, Shane Black, and Randall Wallace. Film: Northeast Front, an Austin Film Festival 2010 Official Selection, by Angela Torres Camerena



DECEMBER 10, 2016

Callie Khouri reflects upon her experience working with Ridley Scott and writing the classic female-driven-buddy film, Thelma and Louise. Followed by Avram Dodson’s short film, Pistachio Milk, a coming of age tale about a young suitor using only his wits and a bottle of pistachio milk to pursue his love interest.

Chris Cooper: A CONVERSATION on ACTing

December 3, 2016

Chris Cooper, the Academy Award® winning Best Supporting Actor, for his role in the comedy-drama Adaptation, discusses his acting career in both film and television. Cooper looks back on how he managed to navigate through his roles in iconic films such as Lone Star, Adaptation, American Beauty, Seabiscuit, and August: Osage County among many others.



NOVEMBER 26, 2016

Comedy titan Carl Reiner looks back on creating The Dick Van Dyke Show, how the show evolved over the course of its five seasons, and the collaborative efforts of the writers and actors involved. Reiner recalls special moments from behind the scenes and, ultimately, how the creative vision was translated to the screen.


November 18, 2016

How to tether a rocketship; or how to keep your high-flying creations grounded and accessible. In this week's fascinating discussion, the brilliant tacticians behind such classics as Edward Scissorhands, Toy Story, and Up wade deep in the underlying mechanics of structure and where to find resonant truth in its rigid formalities.

Re-imagining The Classics

November 12, 2016

The writers of re-imagined classics and popular franchises such as Ghost, Charlie & The Chocolate Factory, Twins and Snow White and the Huntsman deliberate how to keep stories fresh while remaining faithful to the original version. Accompanied by Spencer and Lloyd Harvey’s short film Jack & Jill, a fresh take on the classic nursery rhyme that follows a young Australian girl who finds an inventive way to contact her father, a soldier stationed in New Guinea during WWII.




NOVEMBER 5, 2016

Beau Willimon (creator House of Cards) and Eli Attie (writer The West Wing) debate politically-driven narratives, power struggles, and dramatizing the truths and fictions that comprise ideologically-charged stories. Accompanied by Topher Field’s short film, The Hustle, offering a glimpse inside a swindler’s artful technique and deception.


the elements of horror

OCTOBER 29, 2016

Professional horror writers explore how great drama lies at the core of the most frightening films, and discuss the style and techniques used to invoke fear, suspense and thrills that linger long after the credits roll.  Followed by Lynne Vincent McCarthy’s STRANGEFACE, a haunting and suspenseful short film about a peculiar and defiant young girl who unexpectedly finds companionship.


heroes and anti-heroes: Loving the villain

OCTOBER 22, 2016

The voices behind THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA, BRIDESMAIDS, and RACHEL GETTING MARRIED deliberate how the most impressionable characters – both good and evil - are compelling because of their flaws, complexities, and personal truths. Accompanied by the short film, MENTIROSO by writer/director Will Shipley about trailing a young boy whose incessant lies are almost as far-fetched as an astonishing encounter with the most beautiful girl in town.


zombies and groot - bringing comics to life

OCTOBER 8, 2016

Nicole Perlman (Guardians of the Galaxy) and Angela Kang (The Walking Dead) explore navigating a male-dominated industry as female genre writers. The women discuss tackling comic book adaptations, the importance of character development, and the fine line between staying true to the spirit of the source material while also breathing new life into preexisting storylines.



OCTOBER 1, 2016

Ray McKinnon, creator of the Sundance Channel's breakout hit, Rectify, details how to capture the personality of a culture through establishing strong characters, tone, and atmosphere. The short film Spanola Pepper Sauce Company follows, directed by McKinnon and written by Graham Gordy, suggesting there's more brewing in Spanola, AK than just its fine pepper sauce cooking.


america ferrera on the storyteller's responsibility

SEPTEMBER 24, 2016

Producer/Emmy®-award winning actress, America Ferrera talks about her early roles in film and television including the hit show Ugly Betty, Real Women Have Curves, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and working with Ryan Piers Williams on the independent film The Dry Land.


a conversation with Oliver stone and john milius

SEPTEMBER 17, 2016

One of the oldest genres has long been obsessed with the pain, patriotism and catastrophic honesty of battle. In this episode, two stalwarts, behind such classics as Red Dawn, Born on the 4th of July, and Apocalypse Now, deconstruct the life and death realities of working in the war machine. Featuring Oliver Stone and John Milius. Film: Veterans by Miguel Alvarez.


comedy that resonates

SEPTEMBER 10, 2016

Curb Your Enthusiasm and Seinfeld writer/producer Alec Berg and Bridesmaids director and Freaks and Geeks creator Paul Feig pull back the curtain to show how they create comedy that resonates with us all. Followed by the hilarious short film Spit by writer/director Benjamin Hayes. Paul will never have his first kiss until he overcomes his fear of saliva.


Alien, DECONSTRUCTING a Sci-fi classic

september 3, 2016

An iconic example of its genre, Alien’s tension, pacing, and craftsmanship are deconstructed by veteran screenwriters John August and Ashley Miller.  Accompanied by Jason Mann and Frieda Luk’s mystical short film, Delicacy, following a culinary connoisseur and his loyal chef as they dangerously navigate into the unknown with hopes to obtain a rare treat.

*In this episode: John August, Ashley Miller



AUGUST 27, 2016

Frank Pierson's Academy Award® winning Dog Day Afternoon elevates the classic crime genre through its exploration of textured characters and rationale. Screenwriters Robin Swicord (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) and Peter Craig (The Town) examine the story's masterful reveal of information and its surprising, but inevitable and honest conclusion.


A conversation with John Ridley

August 20,2016

John Ridley reflects on his beginnings and the inspirations that have shaped his approach to screenwriting, with a special look into his journey adapting the Academy Award®-winning script for 12 Years a Slave. Accompanied by Alex Clark's short film, Siren, about two ambulance paramedics faced with an emergency that's out of this world.


Deconstructing the fly

AUGUST 13, 2016

Mick Garris (Masters of Horror) and Alvaro Rodriguez (Machete) deconstruct the shock, suspense, and subtleties of David Cronenberg’s The Fly and how his execution has contributed to the legitimacy and intellect of the horror genre. 


Saving mr. Banks: script to screen

august 6, 2016

Director John Lee Hancock and writer Kelly Marcel discuss how the script for Saving Mr. Banks was successfully transformed onto the screen using heavily stylized elements, and musical cues from the classic film Mary Poppins to depict the life of author PL Travers during the 1960’s.


Time Travel and the Filmmaker's Trek

July 30, 2016

Rian Johnson (Looper), Richard Kelly (Donnie Darko), and Roberto Orci (Star Trek), masters of weaving time travel into film, dissect the elements that make for a believable "operating system" when writing a comprehensible screenplay timeline.


A Conversation with Jason Reitman

July 23, 2016

Writer/director Jason Reitman, whose credits include Thank You for Smoking, Up in the Air, Juno, and most recently, the TV series Casual, discusses his journey from novice filmmaker to indie stalwart.


Saving Mr. Banks: Script to Screen

July 16, 2016

Director John Lee Hancock and writer Kelly Marcel discuss how the script for Saving Mr. Banks was successfully transformed onto the screen using heavily stylized elements and musical cues from the classic film Mary Poppins to depict the life of author PL Travers during the 1960s.


Charles Burnett: Film as a Means of Social Change

July 9, 2016

Writer/Director/Producer Charles Burnett shares his career development process in narrative and documentary filmmaking with Killer of Sheep (1978), his seminal film, which was definitive in highlighting African American cultural experience. Burnett's films Killer of Sheep and To Sleep with Anger were both added to the National Film Registry at the Library of Congress for being culturally significant.


America Ferrera on the Storyteller's Responsibility

July 2, 2016

Producer/Emmy®-award winning actress, America Ferrera talks about her early roles in film and television including the hit show Ugly Betty, Real Women Have Curves, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and working with Ryan Piers Williams on the independent film The Dry Land.


Gary Ross on Drive and Inspiration

June 25, 2016

Writer/Director Gary Ross discusses his film trajectory from co-writing the iconic film Big to approaching and adapting Seabiscuit on screen as well as working on historically depicting his new film Free State of Jones starring Matthew McConaughey.


JUNE 18, 2016

Screenwriter Andrew Kevin Walker dissects his bleak thriller masterpiece, Se7en and working with director David Fincher to create the cult classic film.