Wendall Thomas

Wendall Thomas Talks Scripts

Presented by MIFF 37ºSouth Market & Accelerator Lab, celebrated LA-based developer, writer and UCLA lecturer Wendall Thomas, who has written and developed projects for Disney, Warner Brothers, Showtime, PBS, A&E and NBC, returns exclusively to Melbourne for more of her hugely-popular series unlocking the secrets of screenwriting with a series of four stand-alone all-day seminars.

Thomas’s client projects include The Chi (Showtime 2018), I’m Dying Up Here (Showtime 2017), Don’t Tell (Newport Audience Award 2017), Superstore (NBC 2016), The Water Diviner (Warner Bros 2015) and Any Day Now (Tribeca Audience Award 2012). Her novel, Lost Luggage, was shortlisted for Left Coast Crime’s best debut mystery novel of 2017 and her short fiction has appeared in the crime anthologies Ladies Night (2015) and Last Resort (2017).


Interview with Wendall Thomas


Character: Five elements for great screen chemistry

Monday 06 August, 9.30am-4.30pm; Village Roadshow Theatrette at the State Library

Rick and Ilsa in Casablanca. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Bertie and Lionel in The King’s Speech. From the tragic lovers in Japanese Story and the blind photographer and waiter in Proof to this year’s human/non-human lovers in The Shape of Water, there are certain screen relationships that take on a life beyond their films, and endure in the collective imagination. What makes these relationships come alive on screen? What sets them apart from the rest?

This workshop focuses on the specific set-ups, conventions, and arcs of notable screen relationships and the elements they share, offering tools to create memorable and lasting on-screen chemistry.


Spotlight: Lady Bird: Indie to Oscars

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

This year, Greta Gerwig (Frances Ha) added her compelling Oscar-nominated and Golden Globe-winning Lady Bird to the pantheon of memorable teen coming-of-age dramas, from Rebel Without a Cause and Stand By Me to Whale Rider, Mud, and last year’s The Edge of Seventeen and Moonlight.

This seminar includes a scene-by-scene break-down of Lady Bird’s script — focusing on characters, relationships, structure, dialogue, imagery, and tone — to understand what it is about writer/director Gerwig’s vision that sets it apart.


Dialogue: Unlocking the magic of voice-over

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

Voice over, when it works, can be magic. It defines so many classics on the big screen— Double Indemnity, Good Fellas, Adaptation, Whale Rider, The Railway Man, Mudbound, Birdman— and the small—Sex and the City, Dexter, House of Cards, Black-Ish, Bloodline.

This workshop breaks-down specific approaches to narrative voice over — first person, third person, multiple voices, framing, fourth wall, etc.— and offers suggestions for the kinds of stories where each technique can be the most effective.


Structure: Mastering the dreaded second act

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

The second act of a screenplay is a challenge in any genre. So, how to navigate this “desert” of the middle – particularly in the current market, which favors genre-benders like Get Out, Thor, The Big Sick, or Deadpool, and complex, unconventional structures like Lion, Boyhood, Spotlight, Gone Girl, Dunkirk, or I, Tonya?

This lecture examines the specific pitfalls and possibilities of the second act, through in-depth, scene -by-scene look at this “desert” in three recent, successful, soundly-structured screenplays.