Carlo Ricci

Carlo Ricci

Red Bull    Lucasfilm    PIXAR    American Zoetrope    MIRAMAX   HBO  Columbia Pictures    Constantin Film

Spring Into Summer Writing Your Next Project

Do you want to write your next project but haven’t gotten around to it? Or did you get started, and then put it down?

I know how to jumpstart you into writing your next story this summer with skill, confidence and style. I’ll be your story mentor, and I’ve got a 100% success rate supporting fiction and non-fiction writers to get their stories onto the page!

How do we work together? I design a 3-Phase Story Development Program unique to your needs:
    — In Phase 1, we’ll be gathering and organizing the source material;
    — In Phase 2, we’ll do a first draft story outline by defining the archetypal structure, character orchestration and themes;
    — In Phase 3, we’ll finalize the story outline that will keep you inspired and on track to bring your next project to fruition.

Your commitment? We will work one-on-one and I will guide you through eight 60-minute sessions.  Between sessions, I will be shaping and developing your source material — — so you can finally spring into summer writing your next project.

As always, consultations on screenplays and novels available by separate agreement.  Reach out for a complimentary story session so I can learn more about your project at tom@tomschlesinger.com

The Storytelling Workshop at Disney’s Maker Studios

TOM SCHLESINGER – BIO

I was on a pre-med scholarship at the University of Illinois when I first saw Midnight Cowboy, The Godfather, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Star Wars, and Close Encounters of the Third Kind. These transformational films astonished me; they spoke to something deep inside and changed my life. I had found my lifework: to be involved in the magic of storytelling.

So, I switched from pre-med to creative writing, and graduated with a Master’s Degree in Film from UCLA. I optioned my first two screenplays on an amazing early ride, sharing my scripts with Warren Beatty, Steve McQueen and Clint Eastwood. But when the scripts weren’t made into films I went into despair, wound up working as a bellman in a downtown Chicago hotel, and pondered whether film school had been a huge mistake. I confessed to a fellow bellman over a cold beer that while I loved storytelling, I didn’t think I’d ever be able to follow my dream and make movies. He suggested I come with him to a lecture that very night.

The speaker was author Joseph Campbell, featuring his book ‘Hero with a Thousand Faces’, and that night triggered a life-long passion for the power of story to affect positive change in society. I was inspired to create social impact entertainment, and mythologist Jean Houston, a renowned expert on the psychology of creativity, became my mentor. Through studies with Jean, I made the single most important discovery of my storytelling career: that what we’re experiencing emotionally as we’re writing is what the characters are experiencing emotionally – and ultimately what the audience experiences when watching the film. Realizing that writers experience a parallel rite of passage with their characters led me to begin teaching human potential workshops at UCLA, the Esalen Institute, the California Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, and the Academy of Art in Munich.

I started teaching at the National Film School in Munich and began writing, teaching and consulting in Europe, North America and North Africa. My first two collaborations with filmmaker Carolin Link in Germany resulted in nominations for two Academy Awards, with ‘Nowhere in Africa’ winning the Best Foreign Film Oscar in 2003.

I co-wrote a film for Columbia Pictures that had the full studio machine behind it, but was a box office disappointment. I realized it was time to go deeper into my craft and in that exploration, I started my journey into documentary films. I was honored to work with renowned filmmaker Paul Saltzman on “Prom Night in Mississippi” featuring Morgan Freeman, and “The Last White Knight,” featuring Harry Belafonte – and both are still having great social impact, internationally.

So, I’d found my niche: combining narrative strategies with true stories. As if on cue, the next two films I’d be writing were powerful, transformational stories based on true events. ‘Thief River’, the ‘Hoosiers’ of hockey, and ‘Second Line West’, the story of a single mother of four, who saved the lives of a number of troubled souls by guiding them toward spiritual solutions.

As a result of these fortuitous collaborations, I‘ve taught transformational storytelling to over 10,000 industry professionals at Pixar, Lucasfilm, Deluxe Studios and the AFI.

What the Best Female Protagonists Teach us About Life

While co-teaching “The Heroine’s Journey: Writing and Selling the Female-driven Screenplay” with Pamela Gray — who wrote the scripts for “A Walk on the Moon” with Diane Lane, “Music of the Heart” with Meryl Streep and “Conviction” with Hilary Swank — we realized that...

How Storytellers Tell the Most Heartwarming Stories

En route to Sundance, I was thinking about last year’s favorite, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, and how storytellers tell the most heartwarming stories like Little Miss Sunshine, Juno, Billy Elliot, Six Feet Under, and Sense and Sensibility.  What do all of these...

24 Things to Know About Thrillers

Here are 24 things to know about crafting thrillers:   1) Thriller is a combination of crime and horror stories where a detective or an average person acting like detective is victimized and in great danger. (Note: see John Truby on thriller). 2) The stakes for...

What You Need to Know About Human Comedies (or dramedies)

These are the essential elements of human comedies, or “dramedies”:   These family dramas with comic overtones tend to be “feel good” movies that also have depth and meaning. The comedy tends to be less overt as the humor comes from a deep empathy for characters...

Tom has a keen sense of the “big picture.” His insight allowed us to envision structure and effective character arcs in the early stages of development — important assets in creating a great screenplay.

Ashwin Rajan

Producer, Blinding Edge Pictures

Tom has the amazing ability to guide writers to a place of enhanced creativity.

Michael Lehmann

Director, True Blood, The Larry Sanders Show

Tom has a very unique approach to story and I’m extremely grateful to have had his guidance.

Jennifer Arnold

Writer-Director, A Small Act (2011 Emmy Nomination, Sundance Jury Prize nominee)

Attending Tom’s workshop was a creative turning point for me as a documentary filmmaker.

Nimisha Mukerji

Director-Producer, 65 Red Roses

I think I learned more about storytelling from Tom at the workshop than I learned in my last 10 years stumbling through my career.

Scott Gracheff

Director, The Rugby Player

Tom helped me focus on possibilities instead of limitations. His qualities as a guide cannot be valued enough, not to mention that he is a great guy, and tremendous fun to work with!

Reto Caffi

Writer-Director, On the Line (Academy Award Nominee, Best Short Film)

I would HIGHLY recommend Tom to anyone involved in visual storytelling.

Stephen Philipson

Editor, Hannibal, Prom Night in Mississippi

The first thing I did when I began writing was to pick up the phone and call Tom. I can’t think of a more insightful and inspiring “wing man”. He truly guides me to do my best work.

Daniel Stamm

Writer-Director, The Last Exorcist

Tom is a master in working with dichotomies: logic and emotion, brain and heart, body and soul… my characters came alive as we found the optimal structure for my script.

Gustav Deutsch

Writer-Director, Shirley: Visions of Reality

Collaborating with Tom has been absolutely essential for me and, aside from his sheer intellectual input, so much fun!

Doris Doerrie

Writer-Director, Nobody Loves Me, Enlightenment Guaranteed

Tom’s extraordinary guidance on my scripts for “Nowhere in Africa” and “Beyond Silence” enriched my award-winning films immensely.

Caroline Link

Writer-Director, Nowhere in Africa (Academy Award - Best Foreign Film)

Tom is the best: full stop!

Daniel Speck

Best-selling Author, Bella Germania

Tom’s wisdom, inspiration, and deep understanding of character and story continue to guide me on each screenwriting journey.

Pamela Gray

Screenwriter, Conviction, Music of the Heart, A Walk on the Moon

Working with Tom Schlesinger is worth its weight in gold!

Paul Saltzman

Filmmaker, Prom Night in Mississippi, featuring Morgan Freeman