Curious about breaking into Hollywood as a screenwriter? Or how to best co-author a novel? How about crafting a sound story architecture to free yourself from writer’s block? We talk about it all and much more with Alfred Gough and Miles Millar!
Alfred and Miles are screenwriters and showrunners who’ve worked extensively in film and television. This iconic duo is known for creating the TV series Smallville and their latest show, Into the Badlands, on AMC Network and The Shannara Chronicles. They’ve also worked on films like Spider-Man 2, I Am Number Four, Lethal Weapon 4, and many more. More recently, Alfred and Miles have paired up to co-write their first novel, Double Exposure, which was released last month.
In our conversation, we talk about how Alfred and Miles came together as a writing pair and sold their first screenplay. They share what they’ve learned about navigating the film and screenwriting world and how they landed their agent. We dive deep into the importance of learning how to take criticism and surrounding yourself with a network of honest people you trust. We get a sneak peek into their co-authoring writing process and learn character building tips that will help you elevate your genre.
Books and resources:
Peter Pan written by J. M. Barrie
The Hardy Boys series by Franklin W. Dixon
Nancy Drew series by Carolyn Keene
Planet Of The Apes directed by Franklin Schaffner
Ace Ventura: Pet Detective directed by Tom Shadyac
Star Wars created by George Lucas
Indiana Jones directed by Steven Spielberg
Back To The Future directed by Robert Zemeckis
The Terminator directed by James Cameron
Batman directed by Tim Burton and co-written by Sam Hamm
Sleepless In Seattle directed by Nora Ephron and based on a story by Jeff Arch
Screenplay: The Foundations of Screenwriting by Syd Field
Making A Good Script Great by Linda Seger
The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
The Third Man by Graham Greene
North by Northwest directed by Alfred Hitchcock
U2 – Achtung Baby: Classic Album Under Review directed by Anton Corbijn, Ritchie Smyth, Stephane Sednaoui, and Mark Pellington
On Writing by Stephen King
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Check out these highlights:
- How Alfred and Miles fell in love with storytelling through movies and television that led them to novel writing (4:00)
- How they took action and kick-started their screenwriting career together (6:15)
- They tell the story of how they sold their first screenplay “Mango” (10:15)
- What it means to write on spec in the film world and how it compares to the publishing world (15:30)
- Why networking plays a crucial role in getting agented (18:00)
- The importance of being open to feedback and surrounding yourself with honest critique partners you trust (20:05)
- Actionable steps Alfred and Miles take to continue strengthening their writing craft (22:50)
- A snapshot of “Double Exposure” and the inspiration behind the story (25:00)
- Alfred and Miles share their co-authoring experience and process while writing their novel (31:00)
- How to establish a sound story architecture that can help free you from writer’s block and elevate your genre (36:25)
- Why it’s important to celebrate the small victories in your writing process (47:57)
“Once you have that superstructure, it allows you to be more creative.”
“We start with character, and then we start creating a story around that character.”
“What you know is your story architecture is sound so that it works and then it gives you the freedom to play within that structure and you’re not trying to solve, what I like to call, math problems while you’re writing.”
“I want to be sucked into a novel within the first three pages and then be taken to a different place and really be surprised by the story. Obviously delighted by the writing, but surprised by the story and wrapped up in the character.”
“Anything can be fixed; you just need to know what the problem is.”
“Writing is rewriting.”
Say “Hi” to Alfred Gough & Miles Millar:
Learn more about “Double Exposure“
David Toland, a decorated Korean War veteran, has done all he can to leave a life of combat behind. Now Director of Preservation for the Library of Congress’s National Film Archive, Toland has made it his mission to preserve what he loves most: the Golden Age of American cinema, moving pictures full of romance, adventure and American Dream writ large. That is, until CIA Agent Lana Welles drops in unannounced with a film canister, smuggled over the Berlin Wall at great cost, that may prove WWII never really ended – it just went underground.
David reluctantly agrees to serve his country one last time and help recover the film for Lana and the CIA. But it seems not everyone is as eager as David to leave the past behind. David and Lana’s discovery awakens shadowy forces who will do anything to keep David and Lana’s findings a secret. In search of the truth, David and Lana find themselves pursued across the globe in a cat and mouse game with enormous, world-altering consequences.
Learn more about Alfred Gough & Miles Millar
Alfred Gough and Miles Millar are screenwriters and showrunners. They have worked extensively in film and television but are best known for creating the iconic series, Smallville. The duo’s latest hit, Into the Badlands, is in its third season on the AMC Network. DOUBLE EXPOSURE (March 26, 2019; Hachette/Grand Central) is their first novel. You can visit them online at http://millargoughink.com/