Meet Tom Benedek
Tom Benedek wrote the screenplay for Cocoon and other films. He has completed more than thirty-five writing assignments at major studios, independent production companies, TV networks. Along the way, he has worked with Robert Zemeckis, Ron Howard, Martin Scorsese, Sydney Pollack, Richard Rush, Harold Ramis, Lauren Schuler Donner and many other amazingly talented filmmakers.
Tom also teaches screenwriting online at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst where he earned his Bachelor’s Degree with an Individual Concentration in Film. He attended L’Institut de Formation Cinematographique in Paris and is a graduate of the Director’s Program at the American Film Institute.
He has also taught extensively at the the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor and in the MFA and BFA programs at the USC School of Cinematic Arts.
In His Own Words:
Dramatic writing technique can be taught but most often the best insights and enunciations of plot and character in a piece of writing are discovered on the long, sometimes lonely road of creative process.
I endeavor to equip students with the tools of screenwriting craft as well as to support the creative mindfulness which will help them to realize their goals. I believe that each writer’s creative path, his experience and method while writing, is of value in and of itself, apart from the resulting first draft or final shooting script.
Every time we write we define ourselves, enunciate who we are and why we exist. Inescapably, we evolve emotionally whenever we write.
The product — the writing, the script — is important but the emotional process of the writer in flow with his or her work deserves care and respect if each writer is to do the most resonant creative work.
The writing workshop and the collaborative critiques shared with other class members support this process and help each student to envision and realize the best possible version onto paper and onto the screen. By reinforcing mastery of screenwriting technique and resourcefulness in their efforts to tap into themselves creatively,
I seek to help students build and shape their cinematic visions.
Meet Scott Myers
Scott Myers has written over thirty movie and TV projects at every major Hollywood studio and broadcast network, working with such producers as Larry Gordon, Dawn Steel, Wendy Finerman, Chuck Gordon, Castle Rock Entertainment, Working Title, Outlaw Productions, and others.
His writing credits include K-9, starring Jim Belushi, Alaska, starring Vincent Kartheiser, and Trojan War, starring Jennifer Love Hewitt.
He is a member of the Writers’ Guild of America West and is an assistant professor at the DePaul University School of Cinematic Arts in Chicago. In addition, Scott has taught through the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program since 2002, receiving its Outstanding Instructor Award in 2005.
Scott graduated from the University of Virginia with a Bachelor’s Degree (with Honors) in Religious Studies and Yale University, where he received a Masters of Divinity Degree cum laude. Introduced in college and graduate school to the writings of Joseph Campbell and Carl Jung, Scott continues to explore the relationship of their theories to screenwriting and storytelling.
Scott’s blog GOINTOTHESTORY.COM is a major resource for screenwriters and filmmakers all over the world, and is the official screenwriting blog of the Black List.
In His Own Words:
“Unless you happen to share the last name of a studio mogul, the most direct way to break into the movie business is by writing a screenplay.
Why? Because screenplays are the lifeblood of the entire filmmaking business. Studio executives wage war over them, agents make 10% from them, producers schlep them all around town, actors audition for parts written in them, directors give a year or more of their life to them, readers provide endless coverage on them, every key grip, best boy, and production assistant on down makes a living off them.
In short, nothing moves in Hollywood without a screenplay. Which means The Powers that Be are always on the lookout for “The Next Great Script.” That budding screenwriter could be you. I speak from personal experience. I was an utter and complete industry outsider when I wrote and sold a spec script to Universal studios in 1987.
The screenplay turned into a hit movie, two sequels, and a thirty-year career for me.
I love screenwriting. It is a wonderful craft.
As instructor, my goal is to teach you the nuts and bolts of that craft: concept, structure, plot, subplots, characters, dialogue, scene construction, theme, subtext, and the ins and outs of what works and what doesn’t work.
But most importantly, I want to guide you on a journey into your own story world, enabling you to get in touch with your unique creative voice, hopefully resulting in 100 or so pages of inspiration that will lift up off the page and into a reader’s imagination.
Who knows? Maybe through hard work, serendipity, and good old-fashioned luck, that screenplay you write will be “The Next Great Script.”