Wendall Thomas

Wendall Thomas Talks Scripts

**For 2018 Wendall Thomas Talks Scripts, click here**

Presented by MIFF 37ºSouth Market & Accelerator Lab, 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).


Structure: Five techniques to improve scene writing

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

What are the elements that burn certain film scenes into our collective memory? What do the goodbye in Casablanca, Dorothy clicking her red heels in Wizard of Oz, the leap off the cliff in Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid, the “deli orgasm” in When Harry Met Sally, the twist competition in Pulp Fiction, or a boy floating in the arms of a drug dealer in Moonlight have in common?

Strong screen writing is the foundation of successful screenplays. Even perfectly-structured scripts can fail to connect to producers and audiences if the scenes are flat. This seminar examines the alchemy of great scene writing, offering five specific techniques that can make your scenes more memorable and effective.


Spotlight: Moonlight – from Indie to Oscar

Tuesday 08 August, 9.30am-4.30pm; Village Roadshow Theatrette at the State Library

In a year of extraordinary, award-winning independent features, Moonlight—a coming-of-age film featuring an African-American cast, gay themes, an unconventional screenplay structure, and a mere $1.5m budget—won Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay Oscars and the Independent Spirit Award for Best Picture.

This seminar includes a scene-by-scene breakdown of the film, a discussion of its business model, and an examination of the elements it shares with two of its fellow nominees, the Australian films Lion and Tanna.


Dialogue: Creating unforgettable film & TV voices

Wednesday 09 August, 9.30am-4.30pm; Village Roadshow Theatrette at the State Library

I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!” “I’m ready for my close-up.” “Show me the money!” How did these seasoned writers create such “quotable” lines and how did they create characters, like Travis in Taxi Driver, Holly in Breakfast at Tiffanys, Jules in Pulp Fiction, or Phoebe in Friends, whose voices are so distinctive they’ve become part of the lexicon?

This workshop discusses the particular combination of vocabulary, rhythm, and content that makes for an unforgettable voice. From Sunset Boulevard, Fargo, and Dallas Buyers Club to Frasier, Breaking Bad, and The Big Bang Theory, specific, unique voices help films and TV shows succeed and endure. This workshop offers practical tips to uncover your characters’ voices and, once you find those voices, how to approach writing subtext, fights, speeches, and rapid-fire banter.


Character: Constructing transformative character arcs

Thursday 10 August, 9.30am-4.30pm; Village Roadshow Theatrette at the State Library

Character arcs reveal the meaning of a film. The slow disintegration of T.S. Lawrence in Lawrence of Arabia, the transition from injustice to justice in Erin Brockovich, Leon’s change from adultery to reconciliation in Lantana, Ron’s transformation from homophobe to AIDS advocate in Dallas Buyers Club, the bittersweet movement from obscurity to success in La La Land, or from fame to obscurity in Birdman; all allow audiences to connect to the characters and the films’ themes.

Once you have a unique protagonist and a distinctive voice, how do you create a believable and organic arc for your character that fully links them to the structure and theme of the story? This workshop offers ways to create dramatic, comic, and suspenseful decisions that will move your characters two steps forward, one step back, towards a resolution which is believable and satisfying.