Su-City Pictures East, LLC

Screenplay & Film Consulting By Susan Kouguell

Month: October 2014

My article: Women in the Director’s Chair


Left to right: Jenna Ricker, Leah Meyerhoff, Thelma Adams, Courteney Cox, Debra Granik

Left to right: Jenna Ricker, Leah Meyerhoff, Thelma Adams, Courteney Cox, Debra Granik

Film critic Thelma Adams moderated a provocative discussion with filmmakers Courteney Cox (feature directorial debut “Just Before I Go,” Friends actress, actress/producer/director Cougar Town), Debra Granik (Academy Award nominated director/co-writer “Winter’s Bone” nominated for four Oscars, “Down to the Bone” Best Director at 2004 Sundance Film Festival), Leah Meyerhoff (“I Believe in Unicorns” her debut feature premiered at SXSW 2014, previous award-winning short films have screened in over 200 film festivals), and Jenna Ricker (wrote, directed and produced her first feature film, “Ben’s Plan” awarded Best Drama at the AOF Festival, Distinguished Debut at the London Independent Festival, and honored with the Mira Nair Award for Rising Female Filmmaker).

To read more:


Susan’s THE SCRIPT LAB: The Choices Your Characters Make: The Consequences in ‘Force Majeure’

The Choices Your Characters Make: The Consequences in ‘Force Majeure’

Regardless of the genre you are working in, your main characters must make key choices that will propel the narrative forward and shape your plot.

Force Majeure (written and directed by Ruben Ostlund), the official entry for the foreign language Oscar from Sweden, centers on a picture-perfect family; a handsome young couple and their two young children on a ski vacation in the French Alps. When the father makes a choice to abandon his family as an avalanche approaches, the consequences of this choice propels the narrative forward. This choice is further examined by the themes of male gender stereotypes; specifically shame and expectations of men.

In the chapter entitled ‘Your Unforgettable Characters Come Alive’ in my book Savvy Characters Sell Screenplays! I write:

Characters must be complex, fully defined, multifaceted, and distinct. Readers must understand who your characters are, their motivations, behaviors, needs and goals, and feel empathy for them.




The chances of selling a screenplay are a zillion to one.  Maybe a billion to one? A million to one?  Or — if you’re lucky, the math is in your favor and the chances are less than that.  But yes, the odds are staggering.

The biggest and most important tip I can share with you is this — do not submit your screenplay unless it is absolutely brilliant.  Seriously if your script is not the absolute best it can be then your script will be rejected. Your screenplay is your calling card; it is your audition piece to gain entry into the film business. If you’re having doubts about the strength of your screenplay then it’s not ready to be submitted. Seek professional feedback from a screenplay consultant or industry professional. Keep in mind that if you ask a friend or family member, this person might not have the tools to determine a script’s strengths and weaknesses — and might not tell you the truth because — they don’t want to alienate you! The competition to get a script read by a film industry executive, let alone, having it be considered for production or even sold – are indeed staggering. Keep the odds in your favor.

Now that I’ve gotten the negative, depressing statistics out of the way, let’s look at the positive news. If you think outside of the proverbial box, you increase your chances of selling your screenplay.