Wendall Thomas


Presented by MIFF 37ºSouth Market & Accelerator, celebrated LA-based developer, writer and lecturer Wendall Thomas, who has written and developed projects for companies including Disney, Warner Brothers, Paramount, Universal, Showtime, PBS, A&E and NBC, returns exclusively to Melbourne for more of her hugely-popular series unlocking the secrets of film writing with a series of four stand-alone all-day seminars. Thomas’ recent client films include Any Day Now (Winner Audience Award Tribeca 2012), The Truth Below (2011), The Space Between (2011) and the Republic of Two (2013).

All tickets $85 per seminar (MIFF passes not valid).


GENRE: THE ROAD TO BROMANCE – Writing the Buddy Film

Monday 04 August, 9.30am-4.30pm; Kino Cinemas

Beginning with classic duos like Laurel and Hardy, Hope and Crosby, and Lewis and Martin, recent box office success like 21 Jump Street and The Heat prove that the “Buddy” film is as viable as is has been through the decades with the likes of Some Like it Hot, Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Lethal Weapon, Trading Places, Thelma & Louise, Romy & Michelle’s High School Reunion, Men in Black, Sideways and The Wedding Crashers, as well as Australian classics Gallipoli, Muriel’s Wedding and Proof continuing and expanding the tradition. This session offers practical advice on

how to create memorable, polarized characters, how to face the unique challenges of a dual protagonist structure, and how to deliver (or consciously subvert) the classic conventions audiences expect from this enduring genre.


CHARACTER: MENTORS, TRICKSTERS & PAUL GIAMATTI- Writing Unforgettable Secondary Characters

Tuesday 05 August, 9.30am-4.30pm; Kino Cinemas

This year’s supporting actor nominees demonstrate the vital part supporting characters play in the best screenplays. It’s hard to imagine 12 Years a Slave or Dallas Buyers Club without Lupita Nyong’o’s Patsey or Jared Leto’s Rayon and they join a pantheon that includes Claude Rains in Casablanca, Marilyn Monroe in Some Like It Hot, Alan Arkin in Little Miss Sunshine, Jackie Weaver in Animal Kingdom Armin Mueller-Stahl in Shine, Bill Murray in Rushmore, and the late, great Phillip Seymour Hoffman in The Master and countless other films. This session offers practical advice on how to create and use secondary characters to incite and complicate plots, illuminate aspects of the script’s protagonist, and echo and modernize classical archetypes like the mentor, the shape-shifter, and the trickster.



Wednesday 06 August, 9.30am-4.30pm; Kino Cinemas

Multi-protagonist structure is always challenging and Crazy Stupid Love offers a perfect case study of a complex romantic comedy with 11 story-lines! This seminar breaks-down Dan Fogelman’s Crazy Stupid Love scene-by-scene, examining the structure of all 11 storylines and the ways they intersect, discussing economical ways to create memorable characters and character arcs, and finding the overall three-act structure and theme which hold the entire script together.


STORY & STRUCTURE: THE VITAL FIRST ACT: “Grab ‘em by the throat and never let them go.”

Thursday 07 August, 9.30am-4.30pm; Village Roadshow Theatrette at the State Library

Billy Wilder said if there’s a problem in the third act, there’s a problem in the first act. This session focuses exclusively on the all-important set-up of your story, character, genre and tone, drawing on both classic and modern film examples. Discussed are the importance of the inciting incident and how it relates to the climax of the script, the importance of creating empathy with the protagonist, the economical set-up of your world and central conflicts, as well as the pivotal first act break decision, which starts the story in earnest, and resisting the impulse to force too much exposition, too many subplots, and too many characters into the first 30 pages.