Saturday, May 23, 2009


Gayla Nethercott, long-established heavy-hitter Hollywood literary agent, discusses in this short featurette the finer points of starting a client's career and keeping it on track.  The following clips are extracts from the feature-length documentary, "Spec", now in post production and shooting for a September 1 rough assembly.

Friday, May 22, 2009


John August is unique among screenwriters, not only for his body of work, but for his commitment to guide other screenwriters along the erratic pathway to success through his blog,
Recently, John generously participated in an interview for the documentary and covered a number of want-to-know topics of value equally to emerging scripters as well as accomplished and veteran writers.
John describes his blog as "a ton of useful information about screenwriting" but I think he greatly underestimates the mass of value in his postings.
John August Filmography: The Nines (& directed), Corpse Bride, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Big fish, Charlie's Angels (I&II), Go.

Monday, April 27, 2009


Millard Kaufman, who passed away on March 14, 2009, at the age of 92, accomplished something maybe even more significant than his two Academy Awards nominations. And that is the fact that he managed to sustain a writing career for seven decades.

The "Spec" production team presents a segment tribute to Millard, extracted
from footage from their feature length documentary about the cult, culture, and commerce of spec screenplay writing. 
Last June, Millard was generous enough to to contribute an interview for this movie and here are a few excerpts and his take on "a life well-written."  
And his voice lives on in the novel, "A Bowl of Cherries," published at age 90, as well as a future novel to be published later this year.  
A special thank you goes out to his 66 years, Lorraine Kaufmann.
                                                                                                                       CLICK  here to view movie


As we now begin the process of editing all of the wonderful material you all have contributed, we wanted to take this opportunity to thank and acknowledge all of you who have so far participated in the making of "Spec: The Documentary". Though we are still scheduling a few final interviews, please stay posted for more developments, such as our first public screening which we are planning for the end of October.

From Pitchfest ’07:

Bob Chimiel, Robert Chmiel Productions

Bob Schultz, Pitchfest Director

Zoltan Barabas, Vancouver writer/promoter

Andrea Seybold, Seattle housewife writer

Viki King, motivational writer

Josh Weinstock, husband/father and pharmaceuticals rep

Loren Reed, writer/comedian

Evelyn Cole, writer/novelist

Talana Lynum, 9-year-old writer/actress

Justin DiPego, writer, horse trainer, son of Jerry DiPego

Elena Zaretsky, writers group participant

Gayle Jackson, writers group participant

Laurence Cruz, writers group participant

Christopher Schultz, writers group participant

Nicholas Johnson, writers group participant

Sam Simkin, screenwriter, Writers Store worker

Mario Moreno, screenwriter, Writers Store worker

Jesse Douma, Writers Store owner

C. Andrew Hilton, script reader, screenwriter

Michael Zola, DMD, visited by Josh Weinstock on business call

John Truby, author, screenwriting guru

Kirsten Thayer, Final Draft product planner

Marc Madnic, Final Draft founder and president

Mark Clark, Las Vegas screenwriter, form prison guard (speaks outside prison)

Mark Gelarderes, Las Vegas screenwriter (speaks at petroglyphs)

David Chance, president, Las Vegas Screenwriters

Kris Young, screenwriter and WGA member, Asian writers group

Oscar Toruna, Latino screenwriter

Demetrius Bady, screenwriter and member of WGA Gay Writers Caucus

Michael Sodersten, NYC screenwriter

Cornelia Ravenal, NYC screenwriter

Mark Grisar, Westchester screenwriter and optometrist

Angela Schultz, Queens screenwriter

Jason Smiley, Vermont screenwriter

Kristen Gray, Queens N.Y. Screenwriter

Jeff Drongowski, screenwriter, sold script at eleventh hour before start of strike

Anthony Grieco, screenwriter, sold script at eleventh hour before start of strike

Emile Gladstone, agent, ICM

John Walton, Salt Lake writer, with MS now living in elder care facility

Angela Grimmer, Walton daughter, talks about hardship brought by father’s writing dreams

Dr. John Zhang, Wharton Business School PHD with theory on successful scripts

Dr. Jehoshua Eliashberg, Wharton PHD with theory on successful scripts

Lee Ross, Sundance screenwriter

Pamela Cuming, Sundance screenwriter

Ellen Smiler, wife of Josh Weinstock

Leslie Weinstock, mother of Josh Weinstock

Michael Weinstock, father of Josh Weinstock

Pitchfest ’08

Stewart Fergeson, English screenwriter

Marc Cherry, Desperate Housewives creator

Millard Kaufman, 92-year-old screenwriter, Academy Award nominee

Sonya Gay Bourn, screenwriter, stand-up comedian

Jenna Turner, Susina Bakery owner (popular writer hangout)

Stephanie Marracco, screenwriter

Maric Yates, carpenter-screenwriter

Raynold Gideon, “Stand by Me” co-writer

Bruce Evans, “Stand by Me” co-writer; director

Asia Esterak, African-American screenwriter

Rachelle Williams, African-American screenwriter

Kelly Fremon, screenwriter, sold spec, August release by Fox Searchlight

Ligiah Villabos, writer, “Under the Same Moon”

Dennis Palumbo, screenwriter, author, and therapist

Austin Kalish, long-time TV writer

Irma Kalish, former WGA Vice-President and screen/TV writer

Dale Launer, “My Cousin Vinny”

Marc Comstock, WGA Script Registration

Patrick Verrone, President, WGA

Gayla Nethercott, Agent, Nethercott Agency

Julianna Baggott, novelist, "Girl Talk"

Chad Clough, Script Pimp

John August, "Big Fish"

Ron Bass, Academy Award, "Rainman"

Kent Bowen, Fog River Fisheries

Michael Blackburn, editor, trailer cutter

Adrian Kay, editor, trailer cutter

Friday, March 20, 2009


Screenwriter Kelly Fremon and Spec producer Moe El Emam take a break during filming with Kelly, noting that one of the great percs of arriving as a screen writer is a good parking space on the studio lot.  Kelly is now awaiting the August premier of the Fox Searchlight comedy, "Post Grad," Kelly's first produced feature, based on her spec script, her first attempt at the form.

Thursday, October 16, 2008


Tape. Lots, and lots of tape.

In the last year, the filmmakers have interviewed a fantastic number of people for this project. Screenwriters from vastly different walks of life have shared their stories, as have their spouses, families, teachers, even the people who make the lattes that keep them typing away, day in and day out.

As “Spec” nears completion, MOE EL EMAM has come on board to interview even more writers, and help sift through the hours of material that will soon be a feature length documentary. A spec screenwriter himself, Moe is wholly familiar with the process of writing a script that no one has yet commissioned.

Writing on spec can be a solitary, maddening process, given the odds of attaining some measure of success for the endeavor. On the bright side, there will soon be a movie that may shed some light on why so many continue to do just that…

Which brings us back to the tape. Lots, and lots of tape.


Nobody ever writes about happy people, they’re boring.”

MARC CHERRY sat down with us to talk about the spec that nobody wanted, “Desperate Housewives.” One of the first things that many writers say is that selling a spec screenplay is like winning the lottery.

With the success of his hit ABC drama, Mr. Cherry will tell you that he did just that.

Before it became the popular drama that millions tune in to watch every week, “Desperate Housewives” was turned down as an idea, and then rejected as a spec screenplay by everyone that read it – except for the one that didn’t.