125 episodes

Rather than looking at movies in terms of "two thumbs up" or "two thumbs down" Award Winning Screenwriter Jacob Krueger discusses what you can learn from them as a screenwriter. He looks at good movies, bad movies, movies we love, and movies we hate, exploring how they were built, and how you can apply those lessons to your own writing. More information and full archives at WriteYourScreenplay.com

Write Your Screenplay Podcast Jacob Krueger

    • TV & Film

Rather than looking at movies in terms of "two thumbs up" or "two thumbs down" Award Winning Screenwriter Jacob Krueger discusses what you can learn from them as a screenwriter. He looks at good movies, bad movies, movies we love, and movies we hate, exploring how they were built, and how you can apply those lessons to your own writing. More information and full archives at WriteYourScreenplay.com

    The Power of The First Image

    The Power of The First Image

    The Power of the First Image

    Show Notes

    Write Your Screenplay Podcast

    Hosted by: Jacob Krueger



    In an age where people make instantaneous decisions about the entertainment they consume, do you know what makes a reader, producer, or star swipe left or right on your script? It’s all based on the very first image they read on the page.



    “Remember, your first image is the first moment of your audition.”



    Your first image is that powerful, which is why choosing the right image to open with is so important. Every person who encounters your script is going to decide how invested they’ll become in your story based on that first image. Even whether your audience chooses to set down the remote or change the channel hinges on the opening scene of your show or movie. Your first image should accomplish three main goals right from the get-go:



    It’s something your audience hasn’t seen presented in exactly this way before.

    It’s the beginning of your main character’s journey.

    It sets the tone and feel you want your audience to experience.



    “That first image never goes away...that first image of your script becomes a window through which every other thing that happens is experienced.”



    In screenwriting, you have to hook your audience immediately and give them a reason to stick around for the rest of your story. But a powerful first image is much more than a trick to lure in your audience:



    It’s a structural building block you can keep coming back to and exploring.

    It creates a blueprint informing everything that follows.

    It piques your audience’s curiosity, which allows you the time and space to develop your story.



    “The way you structure your January as a screenwriter is your opportunity to show yourself that you are a genuine writer. This is your first image, the place you’re starting from, and the way you want to build your life.”



    The concept behind using a powerful first image in your script can also bring powerful change to your writing career. How do you see yourself as a writer? If you’d like to start the new year with a new attitude toward yourself and your writing, put the power of the first image to work and begin to see yourself in a new light by:



    Setting small, consistent writing goals you know you can achieve.

    Noticing how you feel when you meet those goals.

    Celebrating your successes!



    As you meet and celebrate each goal, you’ll see yourself more and more as a real writer. You’ll find more and more time to write begin building a writing lifestyle you love because, just like a captivated audience, you can’t wait to see what happens next.



    If you’d like a full transcript of this podcast or information on our screenwriting classes available in New York City and online as well as any of the other wonderful community events happening at Jacob Krueger Studio, please visit our website at www.writeyourscreenplay.com.

    • 32 min
    Does Your Writing Feel Boring?

    Does Your Writing Feel Boring?

    Does Your Writing Feel Boring?

    Show Notes

    Write Your Screenplay Podcast

    Hosted by: Jacob Krueger



    Do you ever feel disconnected from your writing? A sense that there’s a hidden wall or missing link between what you’re trying to communicate and what’s actually showing up on the page?



    Believe it or not, this is a very subtle form of writer’s block. It’s not only impacting your writing, it’s probably also got you beating yourself up and believing you simply don’t have any talent at all. But nothing could be further from the truth!



    “Getting a writer writing again is easy. Getting a writer connected again is hard.”

    Why is that? Why do you struggle as a writer to share this part of yourself that so desperately desires to be heard? It’s because you learned at a very young age to hide parts of yourself behind masks that kept you safe from being judged, labeled, made fun of, or hurt. These masks taught you to:



    Ignore your instincts

    Censor yourself and speak only the “acceptable” truths

    Avoid any original or disruptive ideas so as not to risk losing approval



    “The first step in pulling away a mask is to make it safe enough for the person to start to remove it...to create a world where everything is acceptable, even if we’re writing something normal and boring.”



    Writers are their own toughest critics. When you strive for perfection, you’re actually making your job that much harder because you’re judging every word you write. The harsher you are on yourself, the more your creative side will hide behind that mask and the less connection you’ll have to your story. To begin peeling away your mask and reconnecting with your writing, it’s vital you give yourself a safe space to do so by:

    Acknowledging you are not your mask

    Telling your editing brain to take a break

    Accepting everything you write on the page no matter how it sounds



    “The art of creativity is not actually about being creative and it’s not about making s**t up. The art of creativity is about learning to look, listen, and feel.”

    Breaking through this more complex form of writer’s block involves using your senses in a way that gets underneath your writing and helps you find the specificity in each line of dialogue, action, and structure. When you give yourself permission to be curious, to dig deeper, and to openly receive whatever ideas your inner artist shows you, your mask will slowly fall away and you’ll begin to uncover the unexpected in your story and your unique talent as a writer.

    If you’d like a full transcript of this podcast or information on our screenwriting classes available in New York City and online as well as any of the other wonderful community events happening at Jacob Krueger Studio, please visit our website at www.writeyourscreenplay.com.

    • 25 min
    Break Through Writer’s Block

    Break Through Writer’s Block

    Write Your Screenplay Podcast

    Hosted by: Jacob Krueger



    Do you struggle with writer’s block? You’re not alone; every writer has had to face this obstacle. Though commonly thought of as being stuck and staring at a blank page, the truth is more than one type of writer’s block can impact your ability to share your story. Both forms can lead you to the false belief you weren’t meant to be a writer.



    “If you're experiencing standard writer’s block, where you aren't writing at all, this is actually a good thing.”



    It’s true! It’s so important for any writer to understand that breaking through writer’s block is easier than you thought possible. In Part One of this two-part podcast series on writer’s block, Jacob Krueger will show you how to build a no-stress, low stakes, regular writing habit that allows your playful, creative mind to freely flow and fill the page with some simple steps, such as:



    Creating a sacred writing space

    Breaking your writing down into manageable goals

    Focusing on quantity not quality



    “In order to build a habit of writing, you need positive reinforcement.”

    When you retrain your subconscious mind to treat your writing with the same respect as showing up for an important meeting, you’ll completely shift your ability to create and kiss writer’s block goodbye. It’s all about reframing your attitude toward your writing goals by:

    Scheduling your writing

    Celebrating your successes

    Releasing the myth of “discipline”

    “It isn't whether you do or don’t have enough time to write, it’s a matter of the little choices you're making every day.”

    If you’re driven by a passion to write, don’t let writer’s block stop you. With just a few small choices each day, you have the power to overcome it, breakthrough, and put yourself back in the driver’s seat of your creative life!

    If you’d like a full transcript of this podcast or information on our screenwriting classes available in New York City and online as well as any of the other wonderful community events happening at the Jacob Krueger Studio, please visit our website at www.writeyourscreenplay.com. And be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube for more writing tips!

    • 21 min
    Succession Season 2: Generating an Advanced Series Engine

    Succession Season 2: Generating an Advanced Series Engine

    Succession Season 2: Generating an Advanced Series Engine

    In this podcast, we’re going to take a look at the Season 2 pilot episode of Succession to learn a little more about engine. 

    Last year, I did an in-depth podcast on the structure and engine of Succession and how the show is built.

    But one thing we haven’t talked about on this podcast is how to build an engine season after season and how the season engines, not just the episode engines, of a really complicated series work.

    Looking back on Season 1 of Succession, the engine is quite simple. Engine begins with character and character begins with want. 

    What do the characters in Succession want more than anything in the world? Every character wants the company, their dad’s love, and a chance to succeed their father. 

    The father, Logan Roy played by Brian Cox, needs a successor, but he doesn’t want one. Logan thinks he is never going to die and he doesn’t want to let go.

    The series is a beautiful mash-up. If King Lear met Rupert Murdoch, that’s Logan Roy. And every character wants to succeed their dad. Some think they can, some think they can’t, but everybody wants this company and Logan Roy doesn’t want to let it go. 

    That’s the structure of the pilot in Season 1; it’s very simple. You’ve got four children who want the company and none of them deserve it. Kendall Roy is the next in line. He’s the closest thing there is to a golden child and, while he isn’t exactly golden, he’s getting the company.

    However, what ends up happening in the pilot is that on the day Kendall is supposed to inherit the company, a very complicated mind game begins between Logan and Kendall. It starts to become clear to both father and son, and all the other children, that a power play is underway and Kendall isn’t getting this company.

    This power game drives the whole season. The siblings are played against each other and themselves by their very complicated father as Kendall tries to save the family from Logan, while also trying to solidify his own power. What proceeds from this is a tragedy of Shakespearian proportion. 

    By the end of Season 1 — and there is a spoiler here — Kendall, who may be the only person who actually loves Logan Roy, has lapsed back into drug addiction because of the pain caused between him and his father which began with that power game.

    Kendall tried to take over his father’s company with the help of his father’s worst enemy. He has betrayed everybody in his family and accidentally driven off the road and killed a young man. He finds himself crawling back to his father for protection so he doesn’t get punished for the horrible thing he has done.

    So, as Season 2 of Succession begins, we have a problem. How do you restart that engine? How do you get the series moving again when the original story that moved it is gone? 

    There is absolutely no way, after everything that occurred in Season 1, that Kendall Roy can inherit the company. Because Kendall has already played his hand and tried his best to do everything he can to get the company, because his relationship with his father is so fractured at this point, and because Logan has survived every attempt Kendall used to overthrow him, there’s a feeling of, “Where do you go from here?” 

    At the top of Season 2, Kendall has basically become a puppet for his dad. In fact, he is physically becoming a puppet. Every single time he’s asked why he changed his mind, because he can’t tell the truth about the young man he killed, he keeps repeating what he was told by his father, “I saw their plan. My dad’s plan is better.”

    This is what he says to the competitors, to newspaper interviewers, and to his sister.

    • 18 min
    Once Upon a Time in Hollywood: How To Pitch A Work For Hire Project

    Once Upon a Time in Hollywood: How To Pitch A Work For Hire Project

    Once Upon a Time in Hollywood: How To Pitch a Work-For-Hire Project.

    This week we’ll be talking about Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, by Quentin Tarantino. We’re going to set aside the question of whether the movie actually works or not. Some people think it’s Quentin Tarantino’s finest work; some people don’t like the film at all.

    What I’m interested in with Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is how you build a premise into the story you want to tell. 

    Now, it’s impossible to talk about Once Upon a Time in Hollywood without some spoilers. I’m going to give some spoilers here at the beginning, but I’m going to keep them light. Then, as we get deeper into the discussion, there’s a big spoiler at the end. I promise to give you a nice warning before we get there. 

    The inception for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is the Manson murders, obviously a subject that has been explored quite a bit both in news media and film.

    So, Quentin Tarantino wants to write a movie about the Manson murders. Whenever you’re exploring a topic other people have explored, you have to have a take. Now, you might love Quentin Tarantino’s take or you may hate Quentin Tarantino’s take, but he’s got a take.

    A take means this: why is your approach to this film slightly different than anyone else’s? How are you telling the story differently from an angle that only you could tell it?

    This is one of the most important skills to develop as a writer, both for the development of your own projects and also when you get into the work-for-hire world. 

    When someone is interested in hiring you, they have an idea, a project that’s maybe just beginning, or a project needing to be rewritten, and you’re being auditioned as the potential person to do that rewrite.

    What they don’t want to hear is, “Hey, I’m a great writer and wasn’t Manson horrible?” They want to hear how you are going to approach the material in a way that will differentiate it from how anyone else would approach it.

    A lot of that comes from instinct and a lot comes from who you are. But the goal is to learn how to talk about it in a way that’s instantly clear so other people will instantly understand it.

    What you realize while watching Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is that Quentin Tarantino is doing the Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead version of the Manson murders.

    Instead of focusing on Sharon Tate and Roman Polanski, the people living at Cielo, the Manson family, or even Manson himself (who we only get one tiny little glimpse of during the whole movie), Tarantino’s take on the material is to focus on two fictional and tangential characters. One is an actor named Rick Dalton, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, who’s on the declining portion of his career. The other is his stunt man Cliff Booth, played by Brad Pitt, who is his best friend in the world and doesn’t have two nickels to rub together.

    Instead of watching the story from the main character’s point of view, we’re going to watch it from these secondary characters’ points of view.

    If you don’t know about Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, this is a play by Tom Stoppard in which he took Hamlet and turned it inside out using the perspective of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, the two tiniest characters in Hamlet.

    Quentin Tarantino is using Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead as a model to find his own take on the Manson murders. Maybe he’s doing that consciously or maybe he’s not.

    One of the interesting things people do when they pitch screenplays is they always say, “It’s this meets that.” 

    “It’s the Manson murders meets Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead.” “It’s Jaws meets Rosemary’s Baby.” People always like to pitch mash-ups. 

    When I’m pitching a script, I don’t like to pitch mash-ups. If I pitch a mash-up, what I’m doing is sounding jus

    • 22 min
    Produce Your Script: An Interview with Indie Producer and Filmmaker Ramfis Myrthil

    Produce Your Script: An Interview with Indie Producer and Filmmaker Ramfis Myrthil

    Jake: I’m here today with a special guest, Ramfis Myrthil. Ramfis is our newest teacher here at the Studio and he’s going to be teaching a topic we’ve always wanted to share. 

    Ramfis is an incredibly talented, independent film producer and he’s going to be teaching a one-day seminar on October 19th called Produce Your Script. It will cover how to produce your own work as well as attach stars and money, all those important things we need to do. 

    When I was starting out, we did everything on film. If you weren’t super-wealthy and super-connected, it was just impossible.

    But today, people are making movies and web series on iPhones. You can do all of this with so little money; it’s so easy.

    The great dream used to be everyone wanted to write a novel. Now, the great dream is everyone wants to make a movie. And the truth is you can make a movie, but you have to have a plan because otherwise your movie, series, short, or pilot is just going to get lost in the chaos. 

    It really is about having a plan for everything, a business plan that’s going to take this dream and turn it into a reality.

    Ramfis has produced a ton of stuff. He recently got back from speaking at Cannes. He’s had films at Sundance and Tribeca and he is an all-around badass guy.

    So, today we’re going to be talking about how you start in self-production. You’ve written a script, you know the script is great, you’ve done all the work, you’ve gotten the professional feedback, and you know this thing is actually ready to go. What do you do? What’s the first step, Ramfis?

    Ramfis: Thank you for the very kind words and support. 

    The most important thing is obviously the screenplay. Your screenplay should be ready to rock and roll.

    The second most important thing I always advocate for is having a great team, building a team of producers or a production company and a director. 

    If you’re the writer/director, then that role is filled. But if you’re strictly the writer, finding a director that makes sense to warrant the stars you want to go after, if you’re going after stars, and to also warrant the financing, depending on the budget level you’re looking to make the film for, and to also warrant the distribution, that’s the end goal. The most important thing is setting that up whether it’s theatrical or straight to VOD or one of the streaming platforms.

    The key ingredient is the team. You could have a great script, but if you don’t have the proper people behind it, how are you going to execute? How are you going to get the stars and people that communicate well and follow through?

    Jake: Yeah. So, for a lot of new screenwriters, or even experienced screenwriters, there’s a lot of terror around the idea of production, right? And there’s a lot of terror around the idea of networking.

    I know a lot of our students who have fabulous scripts are asking themselves, “What do I do? Should I be trying to get an agent? Should I be shopping this to producers? Should I be trying to raise money myself? Should I be trying to get attachments? Or should I just keep my head down in my laptop and hope I get lucky?”

    How does a writer who has never produced before, how do you make that decision about whether this is something you should do yourself? And how do you know if you even have the skills to do it if you’re brand new to this?

    Ramfis: Well, I think if you’re a writer/director and the plan is to make this movie or project you’re looking at, first make sure you have a reel or something you can show people because that’s what everyone is going to ask for.

    For example, if you’re going after a star — their reps, their team,

    • 51 min

Customer Reviews

Joshua A. Mangrum ,

More episodes?

Working through a back log of AMAZING episodes! But we need more! When is the new stuff coming out?

Ariel1076 ,

Always get help from here

Whenever I get stuck I listen to on episode and I can write again! Thanks for Jacob I’ve finished 3 short screenplay in 3 months. A big leap for myself. A lot amazing techniques and concepts I never thought before but absolutely useful. Thank you!

Nancy Vogl ,

The BEST Screenwriting Podcast

For three decades I've aspired to write screenplays. However, as a single mother and the owner of an agency that books professional speakers, celebrities and notable presenters (I'm an expert in the industry), along with one challenge after another, life kept getting in the way. Still, I immersed myself in the craft whenever I could (I own practically every book ever written on screenwriting) and had a couple screenplays in the works. Finally, I was able to get serious. In doing so, I recently discovered screenwriting podcasts. Without a doubt, Jacob Krueger's "Write Your Screenplay" podcast is my absolute favorite. Within the last month, I've listened to every single episode. I truly appreciate Jacob's unwavering wisdom, his uncanny ability to dig deep into the psychology of a film, the spiritual way he looks at things, and his infectious voice. He's as much of a screenwriting instructor as he is a sage, a philosopher. Jacob Krueger is not only is helping me to be a better screenwriter, he's helping me to be a better human being.

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