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A-List Screenwriting - The Creative Process with top Screenplay Consultant James P. Mercurio

This series is one of the most advanced educations on the screenwriting craft, the business and screenwriting careers. Featuring Screenwriter, Script Consultant and Director Jim Mercurio, one of the country's top screenplay consultants who produced the award-winning feature film Hard Scrambled, starring Kurtwood Smith (That 70's Show) and Richard Edson.

SAVE $20! 2 DVD Set: FCREAT2 $139.90

• Learn specific analysis of theme in the field
• How to add emotional & thematic resonance to your work
• How the intersection of all dramatic elements combines to create meaning
5 Different paradigms to find a Killer Ending
• How to create meaning and emotion by unifying a characters goal and need into one succinct action
• Teaches experienced screenwriters to master their craft
• Ideal for directors, producers and development execs

James P. Mercurio – Filmmaker & Teacher
Ranked as one of the country's top screenplay consultants, Jim Mercurio's clients include Emmy-winning and Oscar-nominated writers. He produced the feature film Hard Scrambled, starring Kurtwood Smith (That 70's Show) and Richard Edson and directed the feature March and Auteur Theory. As a teacher, he has helped thousands of screenwriters and filmmakers and shepherded over 600 short films. He has directed more than 50 hours of Educational Screenwriting programs and contributed to the bonus material for Warner Bros.' Dirty Harry series and the encyclopedia, 100 Years of American Film.

Grade Level: 9 – College & General Interest for Adults / All Audiences

Curriculum Content Areas: Screenwriting

A-List Screenwriting: The "T" Word - Theme with James P. Mercurio

"A must for filling your work with meaning and voice."
– Michael Lent, Author of Origin of the Species & Breakfast with the Sharks

As Hollywood uses the term, "story" is only one element of a great screenplay. Writers who have something to say about the world must learn how film and drama convey theme and ideas. Great writers seem to understand theme intuitively. They are able to achieve thematic clarity without being didactic. This program teaches how to use the tools presented in this program to add emotional and thematic resonance to your work. It shows how the intersection of all dramatic elements combines to create meaning.
Subjects Covered Include:
• Samuel Goldwyn and Western union
• Definition
• Dilemma and Intersection of Possible Meanings
• Subplots, Character Orchestration,
• Dialogue Do's and Don'ts,
• Permutations, Image Systems/Motifs
• Right Brain versus Left Brain
• 7-Point Theme Checklist
• Bringing it all together

76 min.

James P. Mercurio

$ 79.95

A-List Screenwriting: Killer Endings with Jim Mercurio

5 Stars! Highly recommended. A valuable tool for students and writers who want an in-depth look at theme.

"This is an amazing program! Jim Mercurio's Killer Endings will take your screenplay to the next level!"
– Erik Bauer, Publisher of Creative Screenwriting Magazine

Contains the most specific analysis of theme in the field Discussion of contemporary films such as Sideways, Million Dollar Baby and Eight Mile as well as several classics
The climax of your story defines the theme, completes the character arc, creates a peripeteia and is the story's most emotionally charged moment. A great ending absolves a movie of many of its flaws. It can make a bad movie good and a good movie great. This program shows how to create meaning and emotion by unifying a characters goal and need into one succinct action – the Killer Ending. Includes discussion of contemporary films Sideways, Million Dollar Baby and Eight Mile.

Subjects Covered Include:
• The power of endings
• Definitions (Goal and Need, Dilemma, Crisis/Climax/Resolution)
• Five different paradigms to find a killer ending (Dilemma, Projection, Antagonist, Character Arc & Theme)
• Definition of Killer Endings
• Applying it to Beginnings and Middles
• The Writer's Dilema
• Case Study – La Confidential

78 min.

Jim Mercurio

$ 79.95

The Writers Guild Foundation Presents Master Storytellers: Screenwriters On Screenwriting Series

First Light Video is proud to partner with The Writers Guild Foundation in the distribution of their outstanding series, Master Storytellers: Screenwriters On Screenwriting. Professional screen and television writers, as well as aspiring students, have the rare opportunity to learn from master storytellers as they intimately share their creative process, craft virtuosity, and passion for the written word in its marriage to the screen. Three outstanding series have been designed to showcase the writing process from concept to fade-out, with a selection of highly acclaimed writers as recognized by their peers and the most prestigious of Industry awards, including the Oscar™, the Emmy™, the Peabody™, and the Humanitas Prize™.


An insider’s seat at the most creative of Q& A sessions with master storytellers across television and film.


Acclaimed writer-producer (Hill Street Blues, Brooklyn South, NYPD Blue, Deadwood, John from Cincinnati) is interviewed by LA Times television critic Paul Brownfield about his career and creative process.

89 min.

$ 79.95


The writing team responsible for Parenthood, City Slickers, A League of their Own, Fever Pitch, are interviewed about their career and writing process by writer Ed Solomon (Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure; Men in Black; Levity)

90 min.

$ 79.95


The writer-producer of China Beach, ER, The West Wing is interviewed about his career and writing process by Bradley Whitford, with tributes and comments from colleagues Martin Sheen, Elie Attie, Neal Baer, Carol Flint, Lydia Woodward and David Zabel.

90 min.

$ 79.95

SAVE $20! 3 Program Set

$ 219.85


An international conversation among writers imbued with their anecdotes on first breaks, spec scripts, sustaining one’s art in the commerce of Hollywood and how they continue to refine their craft.

Jimmy McGovern

The acclaimed U.K. writer of television series Cracker, The Lakes and The Street, and films Priest and Liam, is interviewed about his career and writing process by television producer Meryl Marshall-Daniels.

56 min.

$ 79.95

Joe Eszterhas

The controversial and outspoken writer of box-office juggernauts such as Basic Instinct, Jagged Edge, Flashdance and the Academy nominated Music Box, is interviewed about his career, his creative process and his opinions on Hollywood by critic and film writer Stephen Farber.

85 min.

$ 79.95

Jessica Bendinger

Writer of Bring it On, First Daughter, Aquamarine, writer-director of Stick It and successful script doctor is interviewed by writer Dana Fox (The Wedding Date) about her career, about being a woman in Hollywood, her approach to writing and in particular about creating believable characters.

106 min.

$ 79.95

Guillermo Arriaga

Acclaimed Mexican novelist and Academy Award nominated screenwriter (Amores Perros, 21 Grams, The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada and Babel) is interviewed about his career, his thoughts on creativity and his approach to writing by critic and writer F.X. Feeney.

86 min.

$ 79.95

Paul Attanasio

A writer equally at home in film (Quiz Show, Donnie Brasco, The Good German) and television (Homicide: Life on the Street; Gideon’s Crossing; House MD) is interviewed about his career and approach to writing by critic and writer F.X. Feeney. “The really good guys are just compulsive rewriters,” says Paul.

94 min.

$ 79.95

Marco Pennette

Television writer and creator of Caroline in the City and Crumbs and executive producer of Ugly Betty is interviewed by writer-producer Chris Brancato (The X-Files, Boomtown, North Shore) about his career, a life in television and his approach to writing.

92 min.

$ 79.95

David McKenna

Screenwriter, sold his spec script American History X to New Line Cinema at the age of 26. He is interviewed by author and critic F.X. Feeney about his career and approach to his work.

76 min.

$ 79.95

SAVE $30. 7 Program Set

$ 529.65


Six in-depth sessions focused on the writing and development process, and the writer’s role in production. Writers and writer-directors share examples from their specific projects and provide “the insider’s primer” on development.

Winnie Holzman & Robin Schiff

Winnie Holzman & Robin Schiff discuss the writing and development of the acclaimed television series My So-Called Life and the film Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion.

121 min.

$ 79.95

Writer-Director: Don Roos

Writer-director Don Roos discusses the writing, development process and making of the original feature film Happy Endings.

108 min.

$ 79.95

Writer-Producer: Marshall Herskovitz

Writer-producer Marshall Herskovitz discusses the creation, writing and making of the television series Once and Again, outlining its journey from half-baked idea to successful series.

125 min.

$ 79.95

Writer-Director: Audrey Wells

Writer-director Audrey Wells discusses the adaptation writing and making of the film Under the Tuscan Sun from Frances Mayes’ best-selling book.

129 min.

$ 79.95

Screenwriter: Susannah Grant

Screenwriter Susannah Grant (Erin Brockovich) discusses the adaptation, development, writing and making of the film In Her Shoes from Jennifer Weiner’s novel.

128 min.

$ 79.95

Screenwriter: Tom Schulman

Academy Award-winning screenwriter Tom Schulman (Dead Poets Society) discusses the development, writing and making of the hugely successful comedy film What About Bob?

80 min.

$ 79.95

SAVE $30. 6 Program Set

$ 449.70


Learn from the best! First presented as part of the Writers Guild Foundation's prestigious Words into Pictures event, each program features top Hollywood motion picture writers discussing specific aspects of the challenging art of writing for the screen and their different approaches to their craft.

SAVE $20 when you buy all four programs as a set

$ 300.00

Writing: Character

With Nick Kazan (Bicentennial Man, Fallen, Reversal of Fortune) & Paul Attanasio (Sum Of All Fears, Donnie Brasco, Quiz Show)

Learn the mystery of character, character dictating plot, character information, biographies, real characters vs. fictional characters, writing a franchise character, rules to break and not to break. Subjects covered include: Who should be your protagonist? Does plot or character come first? How do you find the right characters to suit your needs? How do you get a character to do what you want? How to you get your characters to do what they want?

90 min.

$ 59.95
$ 79.95

Writing: Adaptation

With Phil Alden Robinson (Sneakers, Field Of Dreams) & Robert Nelson Jacobs (The Shipping News, Chocolat) & Eric Roth (Lucky You, Ali, The Horse Whisperer, Forrest Gump, The Postman)

This program teaches highlighting the good parts and trouble spots, research, visualizing and dramatization, non-fiction vs. fiction, the echo effect, online reasearch vs. physical, changing directions, genre material, staying fresh and externalizing characters' thoughts. Subjects covered include: What to include. How to avoid the 200 page screenplay. How faithful should you be to the original? Is it easier to adapt fiction or non-fiction, trash or art? Which books, plays and stories will make good movies. How to rectify problems without alienating a book's fans?

90 min.

$ 59.95
$ 79.95

Writing: Dialogue & Description

With Bruce Joel Rubin (Stuart Little 2, Deep Impact, Jacob's Ladder, Ghost), Ed Solomon (The In-Laws, Charlie's Angels, Men In Black) & Dana Stevens (For Love Of The Game, City Of Angels)

This program teaches text and subtext, conveying emotion of the character and the situation they're in, research, rewriting dialogue, character profiling and specificity of vision. Subjects covered include: Something you write or something you hear. Should it be realistic? How to condense a good scene. Should a movie have one "voice"? Description: minimizing dialogue. Is there magic in description or should it simply be clear? How to persuade benumbed executives to read your description.

90 min.

$ 59.95
$ 79.95

Writing: Narrative & Structure

With Scott Frank (Minority Report, Out of Sight, Get Shorty) & Steven Zaillian (Gangs of New York, Hannibal, Schindler's List)

This program teaches how to get started, the main idea and servicing it, finding a movies spine, sources of inspiration, outlining, characters' relationship with structure, description, research, instinct vs. technique, writing a script vs. selling one. Subjects covered include: How to tell a good story, which stories are worth telling and which aren't, character arcs; real and illusory, finding a movie's spine, the use of myth and theme as organizing concepts.

90 min.

$ 59.95
$ 79.95

The Advanced Screenwriting Series with Linda Seger

You’ve learned the basics – the three-act structure, an understanding of theme, an ability to start creating dimensional characters. Now you want to go deeper, broader & expand your tools for creating great scripts. In this three-part series, script consultant & screenwriting teacher, Dr. Linda Seger, takes you to another step, to further integrate your story, theme & characters. .


If you’ve learned the three act structure, you may be ready to try variations on the basics & simply create scripts that are more focused, with more momentum. What are other ways that the three-act structure can be used? How does a writer learn to juggle the difficult elements in non-traditional structures? This program discusses the three-act structure in scenes and scene sequences. It discusses how to use structure to give you stronger turning points (surprising reveals, twists, turns, scene transitions) and non-traditional structural forms that have created such great films as Pulp Fiction, Crash, Ordinary People, Before the Rain & Sleepless in Seattle.

30 min.

$ 79.95


The Theme or Central Idea of a script deepens the story and connects the audience with the film by conveying the truth about the human condition. What are common themes used in successful films? How do you clarify your theme and convey your theme without getting preachy? This program discusses the identity theme and its many variations, including methods of expressing the theme and how to convey the theme through cinematic images and image systems.

30 min.

$ 79.95


Actors, directors, and producers want to see dimensional characters, capable of winning Academy Awards. They want breadth, depth, focus and direction to their characters, but they also want dimensionality - characters that are original and act-able. This program shows how to deepen characters through layering, creating subtext, how to transform characters & how to use dialogue to further add breadth and depth.

30 min.

$ 79.95

SAVE $20! 3 Program Set

Script consultant & screenwriting teacher, Dr. Linda Seger takes students to the next step, to further integrate the story, theme & characters.

SAVE $20

$ 219.85

Making A Good Script Great Series

Noted Hollywood script consultant, international lecturer and author Dr. Linda Seger, analyzes the elements necessary to make a good script great. Dr. Linda Seger is an international script consultant, seminar leader and public speaker. Her clients include TriStar Pictures, MGM/UA, Turner Network, ABC and CBS. She is author of six books, including the best-selling "Making A Good Script Great" and "Creating Unforgettable Characters."

Making A Good Script Great

With International Lecturer & Author Dr. Linda Seger

"A must have for every writer, beginner or professional." - Barbara Corday, President Columbia Pictures Television. "Ideal for producers, executives and writers." - Renee Valente, Producer 'Love Thy Neighbor.' "An invaluable tool for the working writer." - Richard Walter, UCLA Department of Theater, Film & TV. Features Structuring The Story, Expressing The Theme and Creating Unforgettable Characters.

90 min.

$ 99.00

Making A Good Script Great: Structuring The Story

This program provides an invaluable tool for screenwriters of any age and shows what it takes to make a script both artistic and well crafted and ways to use structure to support your personal vision. If you're writing your first script, this video will help develop your skills for telling a dramatic and compelling story. If you're a veteran screenwriter, this video will articulate the skills you know intuitively and if you're currently stuck on a re-write , this video will help you analyze and solve the problems and get your script back on track. Comes with detailed study guide.

PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS How the craft of screenwriting serves the art of screenwriting. The classic three-act structure: how it works and why it works. How to use structure for the overall script. Dr. Linda Seger is an international script consultant, seminar leader and public speaker. Her clients include TriStar Pictures, MGM/UA, Turner Network, ABC and CBS. She is the author of six books, including the best-selling "Making A Good Script Great" and "Creating Unforgettable Characters."

30 min.

$ 79.95

Making A Good Script Great: Unforgettable Characters

Audiences remember characters - "characters that breathe," " characters that are larger than life" and " characters that are rich, exciting and dimensional." The ability to create memorable characters can make the difference between the success or failure of your project. This program teaches you how to create the character's world to make it "ring true" so that audiences understand and identify with it, create multi-dimensional and realistic characters and create strong character relationships that pull the audience into the action. Comes with detailed study guide.

Teachers Guide

30 min.

$ 79.95

Making A Good Script Great: Expressing The Theme

Ideal for producers, executives and writers, "Exploring the Theme" is a three part program that illustrates the concepts through referring to both classical and contemporary film. Subjects covered include; what is a theme, four ways to find your theme and four ways to communicate your theme. Comes with detailed study guide.

Teachers Guide

30 min.

$ 79.95

Making A Good Script Great Audio Series

A Guide for Writing and Rewriting.

If you're writing your first script, these tapes will help develop your skills for telling a compelling and dramatic story. If you're a veteran screenwriter, these tapes will articulate the skills you know intuitively. And, if you're currently stuck on a rewrite, these tapes will help you analyze and solve the problems and get your script back "on track."

156 min.

$ 79.95

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