First Person

How murky rights keep movies in limbo

A listener with experience in home video writes with more information about why some titles aren’t available online.

My abortion story

In the spirit of talking openly about the subject, I’ve decided to share my experience of an unplanned pregnancy, and how it demonstrated why restricting abortion may constitute a moral crime.

Starting a screenwriting career somewhere else, part two

In a recent episode of Scriptnotes, we shared stories from screenwriters who managed to build careers while living outside of Los Angeles, New York or London. Here are additional tales from writers who got their start without moving to the big city first.

How to Get Staffed on a TV show

Gina Ippolito writes about how she got staffed on her first TV show.

Green Umbrage, or That Escalated Quickly

Craig Mazin wrote in to respond to criticism of his remarks in last week’s Scriptnotes.

Making a short film when you’re actually a writer

Nick Rheinwald-Jones agreed to write up his recent experience making a short, providing useful illustrations of what happens when screenwriters get behind the camera.

Pepperoni, parenthood, and the zone of solitude

For a writer, being jerked out of the process by a ringing phone or car alarm or a question from a well-meaning spouse can be devastating.

When you think someone stole your idea

A screenwriter sees a trailer that matches the premise of something he wrote ten years earlier. Was it idea theft, or just a good idea.

When post-production never ends

Doug Karr’s new film Art Machine is available on demand and through iTunes. I asked him to write up a post about his experience finishing it. Nearly three years ago John watched my ambitious and rather complicated short film Ten for Grandpa and liked it enough to not only post it, but also ask me […]

Subtitling for screenwriters

Emmanuel Denizot works as a translator in Paris, subtitling US and UK films and TV series for release in France. Some of the films he’s worked on include Puccini for Beginners, Project Nim, Keep the Lights On, Queer as Folk and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Global Edition. Since subtitlers are often the final […]

A Hollywood Christmas Story

Billy Ray shares a screenwriter-themed Christmas tale.

Moving past micro-budget

Director Michael Mohan writes about the process of making Save the Date, his bigger-budget follow-up to One Too Many Mornings.

Another look at junkets

On a recent podcast, Craig and I discussed press junkets from the screenwriter’s perspective. Tim from London wrote in to offer the view from the other side of the roundtable.

Amazon Studios at AFF

A reader shares his notes on a Amazon Studios panel at this year’s Austin Film Festival.

Writing screenplays with Scrivener and iA Writer

A reader named Gerry wrote in to share his screenwriting workflow using Fountain, which includes Scrivener, iA Writer, Dropbox and Highland.

Adam Davis, year five

Adam Davis wrote one of the original First Person posts for the site back in 2007, when he first moved to LA. Five years later, it’s time for an update.

Is screenwriting dead?

A working screenwriter shares his frustration with how difficult it has become to sustain a career.

Spending a year on Ringer

Jay Faeber writes in with an update on his earlier First Person post, this time detailing his first year on the writing staff of Ringer.

Confessions of a trust-fund screenwriter

In response to the discussion Craig and I recently had about the perceptions of nepotism and wealth in the film industry, a listener wrote in to share his experience of being quite literally a trust-fund screenwriter.

What does a reality producer do?

Matthew Watts, a producer on both The First 48 and Swamp People, discusses three kinds of producers in reality television.

From thesis script to feature film

Jamie Jensen recently wrote and co-directed her first feature with Nadia Munla. I asked her to talk about her experience taking a project from graduate school thesis script to finished film. In 2007, I moved from New York City to Los Angeles to pursue a screenwriting career. I did it by way of the Peter […]

Missed opportunities and second chances

Melissa Rossi won a Student Academy Award for her university thesis film. That success prompted her to move to Los Angeles to begin a career as a writer/director. But she wasn’t ready.

From pixel-pusher to TV writer

Kiyong Kim sacrificed time and money to write before becoming a Nickelodeon Writing Fellow. Now, writing is a full-time job.

Newly arrived in Los Angeles

Matthew Hickman was born and raised in rural Georgia. After dropping out of law school, he started working an hourly-wage job at a UPS store, and saved money for a year in hopes of moving to Los Angeles to begin a screenwriting career.

Starting a career from Puerto Rico

Gabriel de Jesus is a screenwriter living in Puerto Rico. It’s hard enough to make it in this business living in Los Angeles, but trying to make it from thousands of miles away is even harder.