Michael Bronner, a former CBS News/60 Minutes staff producer and writer for magazines like Vanity Fair and Foreign Policy, transitioned to feature film in 2005, collaborating with director Paul Greengrass and producer Lloyd Levin on OSCAR-nominated and BAFTA-winner United 93 and Green Zone (Matt Damon, Khalid Abdalla), and later with Greengrass on Captain Phillips (Tom Hanks, Barkhad Abdi). He was also BAFTA-nominated for writing and producing The Mauritanian (Tahar Rahim, Benedict Cumberbatch, Jodie Foster). Michael Bronner will hold a 1on1 masterclass with 2023's 1st place winner (FEATURE category).
Jessica Sharzer is writer, producer, and director best known for her work on Speak (2004), Nerve (2016), American Horror Story (2011-2015), and the mystery thriller A Simple Favor (2018). Sharzer has been nominated for 3 Primetime Emmys for her work on American Horror Story. Sharzer is working on The Young Elites based on Marie Lu's novel. Jessica Sharzer will hold a 1on1 masterclass with 2023's 1st place winner (TV PILOT category).
2022 Feature Script Winner
Going into my meeting with Bobby Moresco, I had no expectations; that is to say, I literally did not know what to expect. Then, during the hour we talked, my entire philosophy and approach on screenwriting was completely upended and changed—and all for the better. Keep in mind, I have a B.A. in screenwriting, so I kind of felt like I knew what I was doing when writing a script. But Bobby’s insight and advice gave me a new perspective on how I should be writing with a simple phrase: write into the problem. While Hadleyville is a good script, Bobby pointed out areas where I created potential conflict, but didn’t deliver on it, because I wrote around the problem. His direct, frank approach about making characters face their conflicts directly and decisively has already made Hadleyville an even better script. And I should add that his direct and frank approach was a revelation. He didn’t beat around the bush about the script’s weaknesses (which is common in writing groups and feedback from friend and family readers). If something didn’t sit right with him, he pointed it out and stated why it didn’t work. The fact that he cared so much about the script was encouraging, because all of the criticism wasn’t directed at me as a writer, but at the script, because to paraphrase Shakespeare, "the script’s the thing". His focus on making the script as good and powerful as possible was inspiring to no end, and I hope I get another chance to talk with him.
2022 TV Pilot Script Winner
The meeting with Jessica Sharzer was thought-provoking as she questioned every aspect of my script. It pushed me to re-evaluate the narrative choices I made and the reasoning behind them. In the end this useful exercise made me feel that my choices were valid and in line with my vision, but most importantly, it highlighted the need to really own them and be prepared to stand up for them.
what our winning writers say:
2021 Feature Script Winner
Sean Chandler & David Leeper
2021 TV Pilot Script Winners
Paul Haggis, who is a master of story and structure, went through the script page by page with me (at least every page he'd made a note on), as well as discussing the overall shape, goals and direction the script is headed in. This was invaluable, as he had a great balance of letting me know the stuff he loved as well as what he thought could be improved upon. He hashed out with me some brainstorming ideas of how to rework a few specific issues, and seemed truly invested in the story and wanting to give it its due. I now have a lot of work ahead of me to move forward with my next draft, but it will be an informed and goal driven next pass, thanks to the feedback from Mr. Haggis. In short, it was incredibly encouraging and heartening to see a path forward at the end of the session; I didn't feel in the least bit lost or unclear what to do next, which can happen when one gets vague notes.
David and I video chatted with Jessica and were absolutely enlightened by her amazing suggestions and answers to our questions. In all honesty, some of these terms and concepts were a bit foreign to me and learning them really helped solutions fall into place. We learned three things: to define the type of show we want to produce and matching the format of the pilot to those episode types. Then we learned that our main framing device character needed to have a much stronger story. Last but not least, we learned to be economical with the number of characters. Of the many things we learned from Jessica, these three points were invaluable. She is a pro and a wonderful mentor, and David and I appreciate the opportunity provided to us as part of our award from The Golden Script Competition!