10455 N. Central Expressway

#109 PMB #295

Dallas, TX 75231

info@dallasscreenwriters.com

MONTHLY MEETINGS are held at:

KD Studios
2600 N. Stemmons Frwy #117
Dallas, TX 75220

MONTHLY SCENE READS are held at: 

Half Price Books
5803 E. Northwest Highway
Dallas, TX 75207

Meetings and/or workshops are held monthly.

Please check the DSA calendar for specific dates and times,

or add your name to the DSA mailing list.

   Past DSA Speakers   

 

2019

NOVEMBER 2019

The Entertainment Industry in Texas {Panel Discussion}

 

Johnathan Brownlee

Producer - Director - Writer

CEO and President of the Dallas Film Society

Johnathan Brownlee co-produced the feature films Decoding Annie Parker (2013), Three Days in August (2016), Occupy, Texas (2016), Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich (2018), The Standoff at Sparrow Creek (2018), and Satanic Panic (2019).

 

In 2017, Johnathan was named CEO and President of the Dallas Film Society and Executive Director of the Dallas International Film Festival. In 2018, he created the Veterans Institute for Film and Media (VIFM), a program of Dallas Film that prepares veterans for careers in film and media production through education, mentorships, and job placements. In 2019, Johnathan founded Dallas Film's second festival, the North Texas Film Festival (NTXFF), which premiered September 26–29 in 2019.

 

Johnathan received a Leo Awards Best Host – Information Series honor in 2003 for his television show, Johnathan Brownlee's at Home. He received five Leo Award Nominations, including Best Lifestyle Series, Best Writing – Lifestyle Series, Best Information Series, Best Screenwriting – Information Series, and Best Host – Lifestyle Series.

 

Preston Fassel

Story Editor – Staff Writer

Preston Fassel is a three-time Rondo Award nominated journalist and author whose work has appeared in Rue Morgue Magazine, Screem Magazine, and on Cinedump.com.

 

He was born in Houston, Texas and grew up between St. Charles, Missouri and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. In 2004, he was a recipient of the President's Volunteer Service Award, Gold Level, for work conducted with the Broken Arrow Police Department evidence room. He graduated Summa Cum Laude from Lone Star College-Montgomery with an AA in 2009 and Cum Laude from Sam Houston State University with a BS in 2011.

 

He is the author of Remembering Vanessa, the first published biography of British horror star Vanessa Howard, printed in the Spring 2014 issue of Screem Magazine.

 

From 2015 to 2017, he served as the assistant editor of Cinedump.com; in 2017, he joined Cinestate as story editor and staff writer for Fangoria magazine.

 

Our Lady of the Inferno is his first novel.

Mike Farris

 

Author – Copyrights Rights Counselor

Past DSA President

Attorney/writer Mike Farris was lead counsel for the plaintiff in the recent Fifty Shades of Grey litigation in Fort Worth, involving royalty rights, that resulted in a $13.25 million judgment in favor of his client.  His nonfiction collaboration with his client to tell the story of that case, Fifty Shades of Black and White: Anatomy of the Lawsuit Behind a Publishing Phenomenon (Stairway Press 2018), is an Amazon bestseller and winner of the American Book Fest’s Best Book Award in the category of Law.

 

As an entertainment attorney, Mike has been heavily involved in negotiating film rights agreements, including negotiating the sale of film rights to the non-fiction The Free State of Jones for his client, University of North Carolina Press, which was made into a major motion picture starring Oscar-winner Matthew McConaughey and directed by multi-time Oscar nominee Gary Ross. Film rights to Mike’s Hawaiian true crime book, the Amazon bestselling A Death in the Islands: The Unwritten Law and the Last Trial of Clarence Darrow (Skyhorse Publishing 2016)  have been optioned by Aaron and Jordan Kandell, two of the writers on the Disney hit Moana and writers/co-producers of the feature film Adrift.

 

Mike’s most recent true crime book, Poor Innocent Lad: The Tragic Death of

Gill Jamieson and the Execution of Myles Fukunaga (Untreed Reads 2018), was released in 2018.  Also in the world of non-fiction, Mike collaborated with rodeo cowboy-turned-actor-producer Robert Hinkle to write Bob’s memoir of his years in show business, Call Me Lucky: A Texan in Hollywood (University of Oklahoma Press 2009).  In the world of fiction, Mike is the author of seven published novels, including thrillers such as The Bequest and Manifest Intent, and the Hawaiian historical fiction Isle of Broken Dreams.

 

Now retired from law practice, in addition to writing, Mike is a book reviewer

for the New York Journal of Books and is an adjunct professor of Constitutional Law at the University of Texas at Arlington.

JUNE 2019

Pablo De Leon

Executive Producer - Actor - Author

Pablo De Leon (Born Pablo Contreras) had his first on-screen debut on Fox's  The Good Guys. He then landed roles on NBC's Chase and Friday Night Lights.

 

Pablo went on to have a supporting role in the independent short feature,  The Ugly. He then made his first independent full-length feature debut in Crossing the Enemy as Roma the hired hitman. He also played a supporting role as Joe in the short independent feature It's Complicated.

 

In addition to acting Pablo is also credited as an associate producer in The Ugly and executive producer on It's Complicated and Wrong Girl.

 

Recently, Pablo added to his repertoire Natural Hair: The Movie and Ghost Note, which premiered at the 2017 Barebones International Film Festival.

MAY 2019

Jason Mirch

​Feature Film, TV, Branded Entertainment,

Digital Content Producer and Executive

Most recently, he produced a 3D animated feature film starring Jacob Tremblay, Christopher Lloyd, Mel Brooks, Kenan Thompson, and Carol Kane. 

Mirch was the Head of feature and TV development at Image Nation, a finance and production company based in Abu Dhabi, UAE. There, he supervised the Image Nation contributions in the development of Flight, The Help, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Contagion, Careful What You Wish For, Ghost Rider 2, Midnight Sun, and 100 Foot Journey.​ Prior to his work at Image Nation, Mirch was Co-Head of Development at Zadan/Meron Productions (Chicago, Footloose, The Bucket List) where he was actively involved in developing a slate of feature film projects for New Line, Paramount, Summit Ent., and CBS/Paramount. He also developed and sold television projects and mini-series to CBS, NBC, Fox, ABC, and Lifetime. 

He has lectured on all areas of filmmaking, speaking on panels at the Producers Guild of America, the Harvard Screenwriting Group, American Film Market, University of Southern California Film School, as well as several international film festivals and markets. In addition, he has consulted brands, including Burberry and Creative Artists Agency, on the expansion of their operations into emerging markets in the Middle East and Asia. 

Mirch graduated Cum Laude from Chapman University’s School of Film and Television, where he received a B.F.A., in Film Production, with an emphasis in Writing and Directing. He was mentored by Academy Award Winning Writer/Director David S. Ward, in the spring of 2004, and is the winner of Chapman University Student Filmmaker Award, for Best Director for his film Ally. 

APRIL 2019

Tom Rogers

Animated Films Screenwriter – Author

Tom Rogers is a novelist and the screenwriter of numerous animated films. Originally from Texas, he now lives in Los Angeles with his wife and tango partner, Jennifer.

 

Tom's animated film credits include: The Lion King 1-1/2, Kronk's New Groove, LEGO: The Adventures of Clutch Powers, and Disney's Secret of the Wings and Legend of the NeverBeast.

Tom Rogers uses a step-by-step process when he creates a new, expansive, animated world with his fellow writers and animators at Disney Pictures.

 

One example is the development of the animated world of the new Tinker Bell series. Back in 2007, Rogers was part of a group of Disney filmmakers who began building Pixie Hollow and its cast of characters that would surround one of the most famous of the ferries of all time, Tinker Bell.

 

Since then there have been six movies from this world. The latest is Tinker Bell and the Legend of the NeverBeast. In this film, the ferries suddenly find themselves in the company of a new visitor – a NeverBeast. They’re just not sure if he’s friend or foe.

Eleven is Tom's first novel. Written for young adults, Eleven follows the journey of a boy who turns eleven on 9/11.
 

MARCH 2019

Tom Huckabee

Film Maker - Photographer - Poet - Musician - Journalist

Tom Huckabee graduated from the RTF program of UT Austin, was the drummer and songwriter for The Huns and Reversible Cords, and has made his living in the entertainment business for forty years, including 25 years in Los Angeles as a writer, director, producer, quality control supervisor, and development executive. He currently resides in Fort Worth.

He was the founding director of the Lone Star Film Festival and has enjoyed considerable acclaim on the festival circuit with his semi-autobiographical feature, Carried Away, available for rental or purchase on Amazon.

Tom is the founder of GoldAlchemy, an arts and entertainment co-op, dedicated to the evolution of human consciousness, from which he offers a wide variety of creative services, including screenwriting, script doctoring, research, and event planning - plus workshops and tutoring in story structure and verbal presentation.

An autodidact in mind expansion, wellness, and comparative religion, Tom has just started practicing Pilates again, which he believes is one of the secrets to enjoying a long, happy, and healthy life in preparation for a noble and blissful demise.

Loving to barter, conspire, and collaborate, he works and plays well with others.

FEBRUARY 2019

Mike Farris

Author of Fiction and Non-Fiction – Copyrights Rights Counselor

Past DSA President

Attorney/writer Mike Farris was lead counsel for the plaintiff in the recent Fifty Shades of Grey litigation in Fort Worth, involving royalty rights, that resulted in a $13.25 million judgment in favor of his client.  His nonfiction collaboration with his client to tell the story of that case, Fifty Shades of Black and White: Anatomy of the Lawsuit Behind a Publishing Phenomenon (Stairway Press 2018), is an Amazon bestseller and winner of the American Book Fest’s Best Book Award in the category of Law.

 

As an entertainment attorney, Mike has been heavily involved in negotiating film rights agreements, including negotiating the sale of film rights to the non-fiction The Free State of Jones for his client, University of North Carolina Press, which was made into a major motion picture starring Oscar-winner Matthew McConaughey and directed by multi-time Oscar nominee Gary Ross. Film rights to Mike’s Hawaiian true crime book, the Amazon bestselling A Death in the Islands: The Unwritten Law and the Last Trial of Clarence Darrow (Skyhorse Publishing 2016)  have been optioned by Aaron and Jordan Kandell, two of the writers on the Disney hit Moana and writers/co-producers of the feature film Adrift.

 

Mike’s most recent true crime book, Poor Innocent Lad: The Tragic Death of

Gill Jamieson and the Execution of Myles Fukunaga (Untreed Reads 2018), was released in 2018.  Also in the world of non-fiction, Mike collaborated with rodeo cowboy-turned-actor-producer Robert Hinkle to write Bob’s memoir of his years in show business, Call Me Lucky: A Texan in Hollywood (University of Oklahoma Press 2009).  In the world of fiction, Mike is the author of seven published novels, including thrillers such as The Bequest and Manifest Intent, and the Hawaiian historical fiction Isle of Broken Dreams.

 

Now retired from law practice, in addition to writing, Mike is a book reviewer

for the New York Journal of Books and is an adjunct professor of Constitutional Law at the University of Texas at Arlington.

JANUARY 2019

Bart Weiss

Tonight, Bart Weiss will introduce DSA members to a new art form: the GoShow. It tells a serial story through a digital app for smartphones and tablets that sends out episodes via push notifications. In this respect it works like a podcast subscription: when there’s a new episode, you get a push notification. The GoShow uses video, audio podcasts, still images, songs, and gifs. At every turn, we choose the particular medium that would do the best job of telling that particular part of the story.

Bart is an award-winning independent film and video producer, director, editor and educator, who has lived in Dallas since 1981.

 

He is mostly known as the director and founder of the Dallas VideoFest. He produces the TV show Frame of Mind on KERA TV in Dallas, and is the artistic Director of 3 Stars Cinema. He has traveled to Nigeria Pakistan and China to show American Documentaries for the US State Department.

 

Bart has taught film and video at Texas A&M's Visualization Lab, Southern Methodist University, the University of Texas at Austin, and West Virginia State College, and is currently an Associate Professor at UT Arlington.

He is a former President of the Association of Independent Video and Filmmakers (AIVF), former (and founding) board member Dallas Artists Research and Exhibition (DARE), past Vice President of the Texas Association of Film and Tape Professionals (TAFTP), founder and past President of the West Virginia Filmmakers' Guild, and co-founder of the Dallas Video Festival and the Video Association of Dallas.  He has been a video columnist for The Dallas Morning News, Dallas Times Herald, and United Features Syndicate.

 

2018

NOVEMBER 2018

Preston Fassel

Story Editor – Staff Writer

Preston Fassel is a three-time Rondo Award nominated journalist and author whose work has appeared in Rue Morgue Magazine, Screem Magazine, and on Cinedump.com.

 

He was born in Houston, Texas and grew up between St. Charles, Missouri and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. In 2004, he was a recipient of the President's Volunteer Service Award, Gold Level, for work conducted with the Broken Arrow Police Department evidence room. He graduated Summa Cum Laude from Lone Star College-Montgomery with an AA in 2009 and Cum Laude from Sam Houston State University with a BS in 2011.

 

He is the author of Remembering Vanessa, the first published biography of British horror star Vanessa Howard, printed in the Spring 2014 issue of Screem Magazine.

 

From 2015 to 2017, he served as the assistant editor of Cinedump.com; in 2017, he joined Cinestate as story editor and staff writer for Fangoria magazine.

 

Our Lady of the Inferno is his first novel.

SEPTEMBER 2018

Eddie Harris

Eddie Harris was born on June 3, 1972 in Jersey City, NJ. Eddie's father, a former actor, was a consummate storyteller and the person Eddie credits with nurturing his early appreciation of the arts.

 

After studying Drama and Communications at Trenton State College in Trenton, NJ, Eddie began working at The A Group, a commercial and music video production company. While with The A Group, Eddie learned the art of film making and directing. A random meeting with Ray Murphy (president of Eddie Murphy Productions) quickly turned Eddie’s focus from directing towards screenwriting after Eddie got a chance to read the script for Nutty Professor 2.

 

With his astuteness, passion and hunger to learn, Eddie has gone on to write numerous screenplays for films of different genres - which are dynamic, high energy scripts with real commercial potential and franchises.

 

Now a more seasoned writer, Eddie has worked as a freelance writer in the film industry on various projects for many years. Eddie wrote the screenplay for, House Of Bodies. This horror film, which is produced by Queen Latifah's Flavor Unit Productions, stars Oscar nominees Queen Latifah and Terrence Howard, and Oscar Winner Peter Fonda. House of Bodies was released 2013 on Netflix and aired on BET television.

Eddie has penned projects for Wesley Snipes, Eddie Murphy Enterprises, Master P, famed music video Director Lil X, to name just a few. Recently, Eddie wrote an indie film entitled Steps that was eligible for a NAACP Image Award. He is also one of the executive producers for Steps along with Shaquille O'Neal. Steps premiered in Denton earlier this year. (see STEPSTHEMOVIE.INFO)

JULY 2018

Heather Hale

Author, Screenwriter, Former American Film Market Host

Heather’s new book How to Work the Film & TV Markets: A Guide for Content Creators was published this summer.

Her Story$elling: How to Develop, Market and Pitch Film & TV Projects will be published in 2019.

 

Heather will share critical advice about how to package and pitch at the Film Markets.

JUNE 2018

Greg Green

Screenwriter, Cinematographer & Director

Greg Green is the award-winning writer and director of the psychological thriller, 3 of a Kind.

Greg Green Films develops and produces feature films for a national and international audience. He also writes BLOGs featured on Stage32 for indie filmmakers and screenplay writers.

He's currently in development for his newest feature, Magpie Funeral.
 

Greg won Best Picture and Best Director at the Houston International Film Festival for his feature 3 of a Kind.


He also has to his credit 4 regional Emmy Awards, a national Clio Award, numerous Addy Awards, and a Pro Max Award.


Born in Oshkosh, WI, Greg Green started making films at the age of nine and hasn't stopped since. He was accepted to the Warner Bros. National Film Workshop, and received his film degree from the University of Iowa.

MAY 2018

Roger Lindley

 

Cinematographer and Director

Roger Lindley has over three decades of experience in the production of award-winning films and other video content. Early in his career, Roger was Producer, Director and Editor for Marriage Today, an international marriage relations television program.

 

Roger was Director of two feature films including Taken By Grace with Angus McFadyen and Haylie Duff.

 

He was the Director of Photography of three feature films including Meant To Be with Della Reese, Dean Caine and Erika Eleniak.

 

He was Producer and Editor of the award-winning documentary, The Kurdish Factor, featuring General David Petraeus and the Iraqi Amabassador to Great Britain.

Roger also worked as:

  • Director of Photography for Investigation Discovery and Travel Channel, Field Producer/Shooter for Discovery Canada, ABC News World News Tonight, Good Morning America and Nightline

  • Camera Operator for CNBC, Country Music Television and Telemundo

MARCH 2018

Win Shields

Executive Producer & former Staff Writer

For 37 years, Win Shields was a staff writer at Universal Studios where he worked on Murder She Wrote, Columbo, Charles in Charge et cetera.

For the past 25 years, he has been President & Executive Producer in Win Shields Productions with offices in Dallas, Hawaii, and the United Kingdom.

Win is a frequent speaker and lecturer at meetings and conferences for writers organizations teaching classes in Basic Screenwriting, Character Development, Writing for Commercial Television, Adapting the Printed Word for the Screen and many others. Examples of Win's work include:

  • Adjunct Professor National University – Orange County California Campus
    (4 years) Under Graduate Classes in Humanities (Film as Art, History of Film, Modern American Culture through Film, Comparative Religion) Graduate Classes in Human Behavior (Personal and Professional Ethics, Human Communication, The Nature of Human Kind)

  • Producer/Director of Classic Plays for Public Television (Produced and Directed The Rivals, Lady Windermere’s Fan, and Doctor Faustus. Produced only The Importance of Being Ernest and Gilbert and Sullivan’s Trial by Jury)

  • Director of Media Relations for The American Heart Association (Volunteer Position) 1 Year - Wrote and directed 25 Heart Association Public Service Announcements (PSAs) Wrote and directed TV series Health Safety and You 16 - 30 minute Episodes

Highlights

The attendees divided into four teams , each of which functioned as a Writers Room group of Staff Writers for an hour or two. Each Writers Room created a precis as per Win's previous description of Staff Writing.

FEBRUARY 2018

Mike Farris

Author of Fiction and Non-Fiction – Copyrights Rights Counselor – Past DSA President

Mike Farris is the author of both fiction and non-fiction, Mike’s most recent non-fiction book is A Death in the Islands: The Unwritten Law and the Last Trial of Clarence Darrow, which follows the historical record of a rape/murder case in 1931-1932 Honolulu that saw Clarence Darrow come out of retirement at the age of 74 to travel to the Territory of Hawaii for what would be his final courtroom battle.  Film rights to the book have been optioned by Aaron Kandell and Jordan Kandell, writers on the Disney hit Moana and writers/producers of the upcoming film Adrift, which will star Shailene Woodley (co-star of The Descendants).

Mike’s next non-fiction project, set for release later in 2018, is also true crime and also from the Territory of Hawaii (in pre-statehood days).  Titled Poor Innocent Lad: The Tragic Death of Gill Jamieson and the Execution of Myles Fukunaga, the book draws upon trial transcript, court records, and contemporaneous news reports to tell the story of the abduction and murder of the ten-year-old son of an executive with the Hawaiian Trust Company in 1928 Honolulu.

Mike is a 1983 cum laude graduate of Texas Tech University School of Law, where he was an associate editor on the Texas Tech Law Review and was inducted into the Order of the Coif. In 2014, Mike was the Chair of the Dallas Bar’s Entertainment Art and Sports Law Section, after also having served as Chair in 2009 and 2012, and Vice-Chair in 2011. 

He is the chair for 2016-2017 of the State Bar of Texas Entertainment and Sports Law Section, and was past editor of the Entertainment and Sports Law Journal.  He has been an adjunct professor at the University of Dallas in its Sports & Entertainment Manage-ment MBA program, where he served on the Sports & Entertainment Advisory Board. Mike is now retried from the active practice of law.

 

2017

NOVEMBER 2017

Tom Huckabee

Film Maker - Photographer - Poet - Musician - Journalist

Tom Huckabee graduated from the RTF program of UT Austin, was the drummer and songwriter for The Huns and Reversible Cords, and has made his living in the entertainment business for forty years, including 25 years in Los Angeles as a writer, director, producer, quality control supervisor, and development executive. He currently resides in Fort Worth.

He was the founding director of the Lone Star Film Festival and has enjoyed considerable acclaim on the festival circuit with his semi-autobiographical feature, Carried Away, available for rental or purchase on Amazon.

Tom is the founder of GoldAlchemy, an arts and entertainment co-op, dedicated to the evolution of human consciousness, from which he offers a wide variety of creative services, including screenwriting, script doctoring, research, and event planning - plus workshops and tutoring in story structure and verbal presentation.

An autodidact in mind expansion, wellness, and comparative religion, Tom has just started practicing Pilates again, which he believes is one of the secrets to enjoying a long, happy, and healthy life in preparation for a noble and blissful demise.

Loving to barter, conspire, and collaborate, he works and plays well with others.

SEPTEMBER 2017

Michael Stokes

Screenwriter - Director - Producer

Michael Stokes is a Humanitas Prize winning screenwriter whose diverse body of work includes big budget action features like Expendables 4, independent thrillers such as the Dallas-shot Exit Speed, and studio writing assignments like MGM’s Roadhouse remake, Millennium’s South China Sea, and Fox Searchlight’s Keys to the Street.

 

He has also written for numerous critically acclaimed children’s programs, including Paw Patrol and the Beatles-inspired Netflix series Beat Bugs.  He was the creator and head writer on Babar and the Adventures of Badou for Nelvana, and tapped by Lucasfilm Animation to develop stories for the television spin-off of Clone Wars.

Michael has directed two of his own screenplays: Haunting at the Beacon and the action-adventure Infiltrators.  His spec script, Crash Bandits, was recently purchased by Millennium Films.  One of his earliest movies, Bram Stoker's Shadowbuilder, has just been slated for a Special Edition re-release by MVD Entertainment Group.

Michael is a member of the Writers Guild of America and the Writers Guild of Canada.

Highlights

Michael led a tour-d-force review of subtext in screenplays.

  • Why subtext makes a screenplay fun for the writer, the director, the actors, and (most importantly)
    the audience.

  • What subtext looks like in a screenplay.

  • How to construct subtext from the ground up, dropping breadcrumbs in early scenes that pay off as the story develops.

  • How to back-fill an existing screenplay with vital subtext.

The beauty (and challenge) of subtext is that it's what goes unsaid in a screenplay, the magical secrets that rivet everybody's attention to the more visible parts of the story.

Building on this, Michael focused a spotlight on two kinds of subtext.

  • Linear subtext – a specific series of breadcrumbs that inform one or more characters' motivations

  • Colliding subtexts – the storied explosions that occur when a couple of subtext lines become entangled

Russ Pond

AUGUST 2017

Author - Producer

With a background in technology and marketing, Russ experienced immediate success with telecom giants like Uniden and Nokia. His pragmatic and creative perspective regarding today’s business landscape created a variety of opportunities in the area of new business development and marketing communications. His 16 years of experience working for Fortune 500 companies helped him gain invaluable experience and business insight in the medium of visual marketing.

 

In 1998, Russ launched Top Pup Media, a Dallas-based video production company. His knowledge of technology and product marketing helped build his clientele of technology companies such as AT&T, Nokia, Chase, MasterCard, BP, Progressive Insurance, American Express and FedEx.

 

Since starting Top Pup Media, Russ has produced three features films, numerous short films, a reality TV show and over a thousand corporate productions.

 

Russ is married with one son.

 
JULY 2017

Pablo De Leon

Executive Producer - Actor - Author

Pablo De Leon (Born Pablo Contreras) had his first on-screen debut on Fox's  The Good Guys. He then landed roles on NBC's Chase and Friday Night Lights.

 

Pablo went on to have a supporting role in the independent short feature,  The Ugly. He then made his first independent full-length feature debut in Crossing the Enemy as Roma the hired hitman. He also played a supporting role as Joe in the short independent feature It's Complicated.

 

In addition to acting Pablo is also credited as an associate producer in The Ugly and executive producer on It's Complicated and Wrong Girl.

 

Recently, Pablo added to his repertoire Natural Hair: The Movie and Ghost Note, which premiered at the 2017 Barebones International Film Festival.

MAY 2017

Win Shields

 

Executive Producer Win Shields was a staff writer in Los Angeles (Universal Studios) for 37 years, where he worked on hit shows such as Murder She Wrote and Columbo, and worked with some of the finest stars. For the last
20 years he has set up home in the Dallas/Ft.Worth area where he has continued to write and teach. He is also a Writer/Director/Producer of
classic plays for public television in Los Angeles.

​Current Projects

  • Professor Higa (US) -- Professor Higa is on loan from the University of Tokyo to a college in the US to teach Japanese philosophy and culture. One of his classes is called The Philosophy of Mysteries. He uses the things taught in his lectures (sometimes with the help of his students) to solve real mysteries in and around the college.
     

  • Western Style (Dallas) -- A middle aged couple and their teenaged daughter come to a small rural town in Texas to run a western style restaurant named Western Style, with the help and sometimes interference of Wade a town good ole’ boy local who always means well but doesn’t always do well. They set up a stage for entertainment and a different famous western band performs at the end of every episode.
     

  • Angels of Mercy (Maui) -- A rapid response team of medical professionals finds challenge and rewards as they render aid to victims of man-made and natural disasters around the world in the action drama.
     

  • Smith and Weston (UK) -- Hugh Weston (a classic product of the British Public School system who is the Head of Security for the Prime Minister has to work with Alfie Smith a working class bruiser who is a member of the Metropolitan Police Drug Squad. In the pilot feature film they must protect and save the Prime Minister’s daughter from what, on the surface, appears to be dire jeopardy.
     

  • Tea Room Tales (UK) -- An elderly woman from the US and an elderly woman from the UK find their mutual aunt has passed away leaving them a tea room in Siena, Italy.

Highlights

Win gave DSA members an insider's view how to be a staff writer. His key points were:

  • A staff writer needs to learn to write fast, be creative and know the characters well.

  • He also emphasized the importance of knowing the jargon, having a good memory and being well-versed in the news, business and industry.

  • Staff writers don't have time to write their own story lines. They adhere to the characters developed for
    the show and work within these boundaries as documented in a series canon.

Win reviewed the key steps in the development of screenplays for each weekly program in a TV series.

  • A precis (pronounced PRAY-see) is developed. This is a concise synopsis that covers the beginning,
    middle and denouement of the story.

  • The precis provides the basis for the dialogue and other elements of the screenplay.

 
APRIL 2017

Eddie Harris

Eddie Harris was born on June 3, 1972 in Jersey City, NJ. Eddie's father, a former actor, was a consummate storyteller and the person Eddie credits with nurturing his early appreciation of the arts.

After studying Drama and Communications at Trenton State College in Trenton, NJ, Eddie began working at The A Group, a commercial and music video production company. While with The A Group, Eddie learned the art of film making and directing. A random meeting with Ray Murphy (president of Eddie Murphy Productions) quickly turned Eddie’s focus from directing towards screenwriting after Eddie got a chance to read the script for Nutty Professor 2.

With his astuteness, passion and hunger to learn, Eddie has gone on to write numerous screenplays for films of different genres - which are dynamic, high energy scripts with real commercial potential and franchises.

Now a more seasoned writer, Eddie has worked as a freelance writer in the film industry on various projects for many years. Eddie wrote the screenplay for, House Of Bodies. This horror film, which is produced by Queen Latifah's Flavor Unit Productions, stars Oscar nominees Queen Latifah and Terrence Howard, and Oscar Winner Peter Fonda. House of Bodies was released 2013 on Netflix and aired on BET television.

Eddie has penned projects for Wesley Snipes, Eddie Murphy Enterprises, Master P, famed music video Director Lil X, to name just a few. Recently, Eddie wrote an indie film entitled Steps that was eligible for a NAACP Image Award. He is also one of the executive producers for Steps along with Shaquille O'Neal.  (see STEPSTHEMOVIE.INFO)

He also wrote a film slated to start production early 2017 in Atlanta and executive produced by Jacob York (Brotherly Love and The Perfect Match). Presently, Eddie is writing a script for award-winning film producer Lisa Cortes (Precious, Monster's Ball), as well as creating and developing several TV and Film projects TBA.

His creativity pushes him to projects that make calculated use of current technology while connecting with the generation that understands a vast array of genres and themes. Eddie writes to promote growth.

APRIL 2017

Eddie Harris

Eddie Harris was born on June 3, 1972 in Jersey City, NJ. Eddie's father, a former actor, was a consummate storyteller and the person Eddie credits with nurturing his early appreciation of the arts.

After studying Drama and Communications at Trenton State College in Trenton, NJ, Eddie began working at The A Group, a commercial and music video production company. While with The A Group, Eddie learned the art of film making and directing. A random meeting with Ray Murphy (president of Eddie Murphy Productions) quickly turned Eddie’s focus from directing towards screenwriting after Eddie got a chance to read the script for Nutty Professor 2.

With his astuteness, passion and hunger to learn, Eddie has gone on to write numerous screenplays for films of different genres - which are dynamic, high energy scripts with real commercial potential and franchises.

Now a more seasoned writer, Eddie has worked as a freelance writer in the film industry on various projects for many years. Eddie wrote the screenplay for, House Of Bodies. This horror film, which is produced by Queen Latifah's Flavor Unit Productions, stars Oscar nominees Queen Latifah and Terrence Howard, and Oscar Winner Peter Fonda. House of Bodies was released 2013 on Netflix and aired on BET television.

Eddie has penned projects for Wesley Snipes, Eddie Murphy Enterprises, Master P, famed music video Director Lil X, to name just a few. Recently, Eddie wrote an indie film entitled Steps that was eligible for a NAACP Image Award. He is also one of the executive producers for Steps along with Shaquille O'Neal.  (see STEPSTHEMOVIE.INFO)

He also wrote a film slated to start production early 2017 in Atlanta and executive produced by Jacob York (Brotherly Love and The Perfect Match). Presently, Eddie is writing a script for award-winning film producer Lisa Cortes (Precious, Monster's Ball), as well as creating and developing several TV and Film projects TBA.

His creativity pushes him to projects that make calculated use of current technology while connecting with the generation that understands a vast array of genres and themes. Eddie writes to promote growth.

Highlights

Often, DSA presentations describe a cookbook for successful screenwriting.

Instead, Eddie Harris outlined a "Write Your Own Cookbook" plan.

 

Step 1: Be very, very, very sure you have a burning passion for screenwriting. The number of script pages you'll have to write to succeed could fill a library. If that doesn't sound like one of the two most fun things to do in life, then skip the other steps and find a different niche in the entertainment industry (the options are endless).

 

Step 2 ... 999,999: Write screenplay pages -- lots and lots of them.

  • What to do with the screenplay pages: First, get them read by others (experts, friends, avowed non- experts...anybody who's sober). Integrate the feedback from this into rewrites and return to Step 2 for more mountains of fun. (Note: the DSA provides a monthly gathering of expert screenplay readers at
    the Scene Reads. Membership has its advantages.)

  • How to get the wider world to see your screenplay pages: Make a list of the jobs associated with getting screenplay pages produced. Decide which of these jobs you are qualified to do, and "hire" others to do the others. (Begging a friend for help counts as "hiring".)

For example: If you enjoy pressing the flesh and meeting people in order to meet other people to meet more people, then you can be your own agent.

Otherwise, "hire" one, perhaps by placing highly in a screenplay contest.

 

Last but by no means least ... Be sure to sign yourself up to be a producer (with a seat at the producer's table during production meetings). Failure to do this has a better than 98% probability of causing your screenplay to be something very different than the screenplay that appears on the screen.

MARCH 2017

Daniel Blake Smith

Highlights

Daniel Blake Smith, is an award-winning filmmaker who has written and produced several feature films and documentaries, including:

  • Emmy-nominated FEBRUARY ONE:  THE STORY OF THE GREENSBORO FOUR, which was broadcast on PBS’s “Independent Lens”
     

  • TRAIL OF TEARS:  CHEROKEE LEGACY, hosted by Cherokee film star Wes Studi and narrated by James Earl Jones
     

  • BLACK INDIANS:  AN AMERICAN STORY, also narrated by James Earl Jones
     

  • TERROR OF THE SOUL:  EDGAR ALLAN POE, a docudrama starring Treat Williams and John Heard (with music by Philip Glass).

 

Most recently Dan co-authored and produced the award-winning feature film, TEXAS HEART (Indie Rights, 2016), a crime thriller starring John Savage

(THE DEER HUNTER), Lin Shaye (INSIDIOUS), and Daniela Bobadilla (ANGER MANAGEMENT), which is now out on DVD. 

His newest film project is also set in Texas, THE KISS, a romantic drama co-authored with Dallas filmmaker Elizabeth Anne Martin, now under consideration with award-winning producer Will Wallace (TREE OF LIFE

and THE THIN RED LINE). 

Dan is also the author of four books in American history, among them the prize-winning An American Betrayal:  Cherokee Patriots and the Trail of Tears (Henry Holt, 2011) and Our Family Dreams:  The Fletchers’ Adventures in 19th Century America (St. Martin’s Press, 2016).

 

A native Texan, Smith now lives in St. Louis, Mo.

  • On the film front, Dan's top recommendation was to find a way to be a producer, so you can have the influence on what you write that is lost with just a screenwriter's role.

  • Dan advised writing toward your ending. We have a tendency to get too caught up in a story when the ending is the key. Everything -- theme, pacing, character arc, etc. -- should point to the ending.

  • Don't forget your audience. Dan warned that it's too easy to get caught up in self-indulgent stories.
    Our stories need to be universal.

  • One inspiring theme for Dan is courage. In this vein, he is most proud of the PBS documentary February One: The Story of the Greensboro Four, a powerful civil rights drama from his pen.

  • Dan provided a book recommendation as a guide to filmmaking (including his own documentaries)
    Thinking In Pictures: The Making of the Movie Matewan by John Sayles. It  reminds us that film is,
    at its heart, a visual medium.

February 2017

Chad Gundersen

Chad Gundersen’s producing career began 17 years ago while in college at the University of North Texas. In 1998, Chad teamed up with writer/director Joe Scott to found Night & Day Films. Together they made numerous award winning commercials, music videos and short films.

 

Going out on his own in 2006 Chad started Gundersen Entertainment and since then has worked alongside studios and award-winning filmmakers to produce life-changing films.

Chad's recent production credits include:


Ace Wonder: Message from a Dead Man (Vertical, 2014) with HeuMoore Productions

Unlimited (Provident Films, 2014) starring Fred Thompson and Robert Amaya

The Redemption of Henry Myers (EchoLight Studios, 2014) starring Erin Bethea and Drew Waters

Hoovey (EchoLight Studios, 2014) starring Patrick Warburton and Lauren Holly

Owlegories (Gundersen Entertainment, 2014) Animated kids series

Chad is currently in development on numerous features, including The Lock-In, a teen comedy, The Delusion, a supernatural teen thriller, and a series of films based on the best-selling Song of Acadia Series by Janette Oke and Davis Bunn. He has been married to his wonderful wife, Amanda, for 10 years. They have two children, their son, Kai, and daughter, Kenlee.

Highlights

Chad Gundersen, Producer, shared insight into the world of writing scripts that will be attractive to production companies (e.g., scripts based on acclaimed books).  He provided personal stories of how he got his start in the business and things writers should consider when writing their stories.  His advice was to keep writing, because a serious writer will always have a stack of scripts available to demonstrate devotion to the craft.

Before 2016

Prior to 2016, records of DSA speakers were not maintained online, however ...

An anthology of selected past DSA speakers is provided by the Pinterest world’s catalog of ideas.