Wendall Thomas

Wendall Thomas Talks Scripts

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).

Interview with Wendall Thomas

All tickets $90 per seminar (MIFF passes not valid).


Genre: It’s All A Big Conspiracy – Writing 21st Century Thrillers

Monday 01 August, 9.30am-4.30pm; Village Roadshow Theatrette at the State Library

Oscar wins for Argo, The Departed, No Country For Old Men, The Constant Gardener, and Michael Clayton, and nominations for Animal Kingdom, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and Sicario all point to a renaissance of the dramatic thriller—a genre also consistently generating box office.

This workshop offers a roadmap to this exciting genre, examining the structure, characters, themes, and worlds of the studio releases above, as well as independents like Drive, Arbitrage, Predestination, and Nightcrawler. Which elements do these films draw from classic 1970s conspiracy films like Three Days of the Condor, The Conversation, or The Parallax View, and what do they require to make them thoroughly modern?


Genre: A Fine Romance – The Past & Future of Romantic Comedy Writing

Tuesday 02 August, 9.30am-4.30pm; Village Roadshow Theatrette at the State Library

Romantic comedies, from It Happened One Night, Bringing Up Baby and When Harry Met Sally to Strictly Ballroom, 500 Days of Summer and The Proposal, have always been audience favorites. Romantic comedy conventions and beats have also contributed emotional B-stories to many hit comedies like The 40 Year Old Virgin, Bridesmaids and Trainwreck.

The workshop discusses memorable pairings from 1934 through 2016 and breaks-down the classic structure, and explores genre conventions (such as the “cute meet,” fights, best friends, and declarations of love) which can be useful in creating effective romantic subplots in any genre. The workshop also explores the challenges of writing and producing the romantic comedy in today’s marketplace, considering options for the Millennial and Baby Boomer audiences, and all the demographics in between.


Structure: Four Weddings, A Heist & Alien Invasion- Importance of Sequences in Screenwriting

Wednesday 03 August, 9.30am-4.30pm; Ian Potter Theatrette at the NGVA, Federation Square

Imagine The Great Escape without the escape or Muriel’s Wedding without the weddings. From E.T’s bicycle chase to Little Miss Sunshine’s “pageant sequence” to Six Feet Under’s funerals or Breaking Bad’s Winnebago disaster, sequences form the backbone of TV series or film and stick in audiences’ memories.

Providing focus and pace, sequences are vital tools for any writer and this workshop examines a variety of memorable sequences—from funerals to dreams to heists to high school reunions—and breaks-down how they work and how they can be used effectively to strengthen scripts.


Tv & Character: Unforgettable Small Screen Relationships – From I Love Lucy to The Good Wife

Thursday 04 August, 9.30am-4.30pm; Ian Potter Theatrette at the NGVA, Federation Square

Relationships are central to TV writing: think I Love Lucy’s best friends, Kath & Kim’s sparring mother and daughter, Breaking Bad’s mismatched drug dealers or The Good Wife’s competitive lawyers. It’s the interplay and evolution of the characters’ reactions to each other, and the tensions in the ensemble, that keep audiences returning week after week – or binging for 13 hours in one day.

Although film and TV characters have much in common, a TV relationship, be it central or secondary, may have to last for seven seasons or more, so the pace of the arcs and the necessity for creating a host of flaws and inherent recurring conflicts in the character relationships is much more crucial in TV.

This workshop breaks-down a series of enduring TV relationships, from both drama and comedy, and offers practical advice on creating and managing these projects on the page.