Author: Neil Landau

Neil Landau

Neil Landau is the author of 101 Things I Learned in Film School (Grand Central Publishing, 2010). Neil’s numerous TV and movie screenwriting credits include the cult hit "Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead” (1991, and slated for remake by the Mark Gordon Company); the forthcoming 3D animated feature” “Tad Jones” (from El Toro Pictures/Warner Bros., 2012). His new screenplay is being developed for Goldmann Pictures (“300”). Landau is also Executive Producing “The Last Days of Superman” (NOT a superhero movie) for Menshikov Films (2011). His TV credits include the original "Melrose Place" (1997), "The Magnificent Seven" (1998), "Doogie Howser, M.D." (1990), "The Secret World of Alex Mack" (1994), “Twice in a Lifetime” (2001), and MTV's "Undressed” (1999), plus TV pilots for CBS, ABC, Lifetime, and Freemantle. As a Script Consultant, Neil worked for Sony Pictures (2005-2008), and most recently for El Toro Pictures on “Lope” (Warner Bros., 2010) and “Bruc” (Universal, 2010). He served as Vice-President of Scripted Development for Amedia Film Group in Moscow, Russia (2007-08). He currently teaches in the MFA in Screenwriting and Producing Programs at both UCLA School of Film & Television and USC School of Cinematic Arts, and is a faculty advisor in the MFA in Writing Program at Goddard College.


Posts by Neil Landau:

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The Successful Showrunner Checklist


*Remarks quoted are excerpts from the showrunner roundtable discussions sponsored by Variety and Hollywood Reporter (2013). According to my informal showrunner poll, the following are the most essential qualities and skills for the successful management of a scripted, episodic TV series: Staying on time and on budget: According to veteran showrunner, Jeff Melvoin (Early Edition,…

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It’s All in the Family


Defining Character by Familial Role Family dynamics are especially useful when assembling an ensemble cast. It’s not that you’ll need to cover every gender, age, or familial role. But it is helpful to determine how each character might relate to one another in both positive and negative ways. Police detective partners, even if both heterosexual…

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Pitching Guidelines for Original TV Series


Here are my guidelines for preparing and delivering a great pitch for an original series. Every pitch needs to be customized, so these guidelines are not rigid and do not have to be in this precise order. In fact, depending on genre and format, some of these rules may not apply. 1. Your pitch presentation…

Photo by Ewen Roberts

An Interview with Damon Lindelof


David Lindelof Credits Star Trek Into Darkness (feature) (Producer/Writer) 2013 Prometheus (feature) (Executive Producer/Writer) 2012 Cowboys & Aliens (feature) (Writer) 2011 Lost (Executive Producer/Writer/Co-Creator) 2004–2010 Emmy Award Winner (Outstanding Drama Series) 2005 Emmy Nominated (Outstanding Drama Series) 2008–2010 Emmy Nominated (Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series) 2005– 2007, 2009–2010 WGA Award Winner (Dramatic Series) 2006…

Plunge your protagonist into crisis at the end of act one.

Plunge Your Protagonist Into Crisis At The End of Act One


This crisis point will effectively ensnare your protagonist in a literal or figurative “trap” that compels him/her into action – and often quite reluctantly. Think of this active goal as “Plan A” – which needs to be an urgent, challenging quest.  And, the more difficult it is to accomplish this challenge, the better.  Ideally, Plan…

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