The April Hotsheet


It's easy to lose track of everything going on in the industry, but staying on top of trends is vital in this ever-changing landscape.

So each month CineStory will bring you the latest news and articles from the world of screenwriting, filmmaking and new media. Here are our top picks from the last month:

And watch below for an excerpt from the AMC pilot, MALKOVICH'S MAIL, about the query letters and approaches that John Malkovich's production company receives from screenwriters around the country.
Malkovich's Mail - PART 1
Malkovich's Mail - PART 1

Podcast Ep 106: The Hyphenate Question


From writer-directors to writer-producers, many writers make their mark by wearing two hats. What kinds of opportunities does the hyphenate open up? Does having a reel, short film or webseries that you directed or produced add value to your career?

In this informal room from the 2012 Retreat, Seth Jaret, CEO of Content Engine, and Josh, a literary manager, speak to this question and the implications of the changing mediaverse for writers trying to succeed in today's Hollywood.

And if you enjoy this podcast, check out Seth's Hollywood Drive & Talk series more great advice on navigating the business:

Drive & Talk

One Week Left to Launch Your Career with the CineStory Screenwriting Awards and Fellowship

Don't miss out on your chance to be the next CineStory Fellow or to attend the 2013 CineStory Writers Retreat. Enter the CineStory Screenwriting Awards today!

Late deadline: February 15th, 11:59pm
Entry fee: $65

SPECIAL OFFER: 2 entries for $90

If you've already entered one script, pay the difference and enter a second at this discounted rate. Just email us for instructions:

Grand Prize includes $5000 cash, free admission to the Retreat and a 12-month fellowship program.

Here's what 2011 and 2012 Retreat attendee Ken Pearson has to say about why any writer should attend.

2012 CineStory Retreat - Writer Ken Pearson
2012 CineStory Retreat - Writer Ken Pearson

Enter here:

CineStory's Campaign for a New Website

2012 CineStory Campaign for a New Website from CineStory on Vimeo.


 For over 17 years, CineStory, a U.S. 501(c)(3) nonprofit, has been dedicated to nurturing original voices in screenwriting. Alumni have penned films such as IRON MAN, CHILDREN OF MEN, BALLAST, KING OF CALIFORNIA, DARK MATTER and PHOEBE IN WONDERLAND.

In 2013, CineStory seeks to launch a new website to provide tools for aspiring and emerging screenwriters wherever they may be. 

Acting as a trusted source of information, the new CineStory website will bring this artistic community free podcasts, webinars, forums and articles about the craft and business of screenwriting.

Curated from existing resources as well as drawing on CineStory’s stable of incredible mentors, all of whom are working Hollywood professionals, the site will offer in-depth advice and analysis on all things screenwriting that blends real world expertise with a love of the craft in its purest form.

If you love great films, consider supporting great screenwriters with a tax deductible donation that includes all kinds of perks!



One 60-min Skype/phone meeting with Academy Award nominated writer Mark Fergus (CHILDREN OF MEN, IRON MAN, COWBOYS AND ALIENS) plus one 60-min meeting with literary agent and founder of THE CALLAMARO AGENCY  Lisa Callamaro.


Redbelt Package #1

REDBELT book signed by David Mamet,

REDBELT T-shirt, Prop slate from 'Perimeter Mark', Prop director's chair canvas from 'Perimeter Mark'  


Redbelt Package #2

REDBELT DVD, REDBELT baseball cap,  

REDBELT hoodie, Prop 'Instructor's Award' wall plaque  



The Unit Package

THE UNIT Seasons 1-3 DVDs, 

THE UNIT cap, Episode #404 script signed by David Mamet



General Package

SPEED THE PLOW T-shirt, SPEED THE PLOW Money clip, SPEED THE PLOW Key chain, REDBELT Fleece, THE UNIT water bottle  





Celeste Wolfe on her CINESTORY FELLOWSHIP – 2011 was a good year!

“Congratulations you have won the 2011 Cinestory Fellowship!”  When I read those words, I was floored and more than excited for my adventure with Cinestory.  I had been looking for a mentorship that would help me grow and mature as a screenwriter.  I found it with Pam Pierce, Cléa Frost, Willie Hagan, Lisanne Sartor, Jason Brown, Meg LeFauvre, Lisa Callamaro and David Baird.  They have been my guiding lights of inspiration as successful and working professionals within the film and television industry.

The drive up to Idyllwild was the first time I had joined a writers’ retreat and seriously put myself, and my work, out to the world. I have to admit, I was frightened of the notes process; but Sharon Bordas, Jonathan Fernandez and Susan Cartsonis were kind and helped me weather a process that I found scary and intimidating. Up until this point, I had basically paid for notes from various people and contests. This was the first time I was to sit with a professional, in person, who I didn’t know or hire to give me notes on a project. The process was still hard, but I learned where I had to grow as a professional in terms of unhooking from my work as an extension of my personhood and to look at a “finished” script as a product and not as a proclamation of who I was.

I was blessed to be mentored by Meg and Lisa who helped me suss out my identity as an artist, and budding writer, in my own right. They were invaluable to me as I grew emotionally in my process, identifying who I was, personally, as a screenwriter. Both Lisa and Meg were steeped in wisdom and lent me their ego strength, and their maturity, to see a model of what I could become.

I had the really huge bonus of being mentored by David Baird, who is a literary manager, and knew TV – the primary area and active arena in which I am working to break-in. David’s guidance and mentoring was a treasure above and beyond all my expectations. I was thrilled to discover that he had a relationship with a professional writer I knew… who then became a closer friend.

I can’t recommend Cinestory enough. Everyone with this program are authentic and caring professionals, showing a side of the industry most don’t get to see. Bookmark this site, join up on a retreat. You won’t be sorry!

Many thanks to our retreat sponsor!

As we prepare to head up the mountain for the annual CineStory Writers' Retreat, we are very grateful to Langtry Estate & Vineyards for their support of the 2012 Retreat. Established over 100 years ago, Langtry wines rank among the top medal winning wineries at professional wine competitions each and every year.

Thanks to Langtry for their generous donation! How lucky we are.

Meet the 2012 CineStory Fellow: Lukas Hassel

LUKAS HASSELBorn and raised in Denmark, Lukas Hassel left family and friends behind at the tender age of 19 to study acting at Trinity College’s Samuel Beckett Theatre School in Dublin, Ireland. Some seven years later, ambitions, opportunity, and a desire to experience New York drove him across the Atlantic Ocean in 1996. He still happily resides in Manhattan.

There’s tennis, the love of the outdoors, step-aerobics, cooking and hosting dinner/game nights for close friends, traveling, and family fun.

And then there’s writing and acting...

As a screenwriter, Lukas’s action script Fury was a semifinalist in the PAGE awards; his light comedy script Girls on the Run won “Best Screenplay” in the Carolina Film Festival and became a finalist at CineStory 2009; and his post-apocalyptic script Galápagos won “Best Screenplay” at WilliFest New York 2011. He directed his own short film script Dinner with Peter, which screened at festivals like Smogdance, Williamstown Film Festival, and Boston International Film Festival. He also just wrapped filming his new sci-fi short film, Into the Dark, which he hopes to have ready for festivals later this year.

As an actor, Lukas has worked in theater: A Midsummer Night’s Dream directed by Joe Dowling, Dracula, Othello, Private Lives, Woman of No Importance, Orfeo ed Euridice, The Ritz on Broadway under Joe Montello’s direction, and many more. In film, Lukas has been in Borstal Boy, the Sundance winning short Man About Town, and recently the feature film In Montauk, directed by Kim Cummings, for which his performance garnered a nomination for “Best Male Lead” in the 2012 Washington DC Film Festival. He just wrapped On the Day God Slept under the direction of Jeremiah Kipp, as well as The 9th Floor directed by Shaun Rana. TV work includes the reality show Soapstar, a lead role in Denmark’s top rated show Anna Pihl, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, The Beautiful Life (TBL), and The Onion News. He has also breathed life into the beloved character of Mr. Milk, the spokesperson for milk in Scandinavia (“Mr. Melk,” check it out on YouTube…seriously, it’s fun).

Lukas’s latest feature script and first drama, Le Mécano, is the culmination of his writing journey thus far.

And the winners are...

After another lively discussion at the finals judging dinner, we are delighted to announce the winners of this year's CineStory Screenwriting Awards. 


Grand Prize Winner and the 2012 CineStory Fellow  

LE MECANO, Lukas Hassel, New York, NY


Second Place Winner

THE YARROW KING, Brad Kane, Mill Valley, CA   


Third Place Winner

THE LONG SHORT DROP, Georgia Lin Sundling, Los Angeles, CA  


Congratulations to these three writers and to all the finalists for their outstanding scripts! And many thanks to our wonderful group of finals judges for all their hard work.