BGBS 008: Marc Hyman and Zak Penn | Writing Hollywood Blockbuster Movies by Osmosis

BGBS 008: Marc Hyman and Zak Penn | Writing Hollywood Blockbuster Movies by Osmosis

00:00 / 01:06:34


Do you like movies? Have you seen Osmosis Jones, The Avengers, Antz, or Ready Player One? Well, today’s guests, Marc Hyman and Zak Penn, are not only well-known Hollywood screenwriters, but friends who have shaped my life and of course my view on story. So, I’m glad you’re listening as we stroll down Memory Lane to share their backstory about stories they write that resonate with millions of people.

You’ll Learn…

  • Becoming writers at a young age and their first breaks in the movie business
  • Write something different or offbeat; if it doesn’t get made, it’s far from a failure, but often the key to a career
  • How Hollywood and movies have changed; now watched on small screens and mostly limited to superheroes, so it’s difficult to be a feature film screenwriter
  • Hunger for Story: People like watching well-told stories
  • Differences between watching a movie in a theater with a community vs. a small screen that offers instant access and intimate setting
  • Most common mistakes made with storytelling include not having a full story; the ending is the most important part
  • Why are there bad movies? It’s hard to make things good due to collaboration
  • Animated movies are usually better than live action movies because of the way they’re made – workshopped
  • Rhythm of a story and storyboarding identifies what works and what doesn’t
  • Backstory is a reflection of story; it may reveal character/story development by making up a character’s actions, motivation, psychological baggage, and flaws
  • Some of the best movies ever made use backstory to keep you on your toes and add complexity to the story and characters
  • Have gratitude, help others and effect them in a positive way, and remind yourself that you have nothing to complain about
  • Failure early in your career can help you to learn what’s good and to look back on it fondly
  • Whenever you make something good, it comes back to you


Osmosis Jones

Dr. Dolittle 2

Meet the Fockers

The Perfect Score

How To Train Your Dragon

Madagascar 3

The Last Action Hero

X-Men 2

X-Men: The Last Stand

The Incredible Hulk

The Avengers



Toy Story

Ready Player One

Rock Star

Out for Justice

Pee-wee’s Big Adventure

Big Top Pee-wee

Death Wish

Die Hard

Being John Malkovich

Strictly Ballroom

Get Out

American Sniper

Crazy Rich Asians

Jack Ryan

Clear and Present Danger

Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

Wonder Wheel



Reign of Fire




Reservoir Dogs

The Hateful Eight

Citizen Kane

The Iron Giant


“Writing something that’s offbeat and doesn’t get made, it’s far from a failure. It’s often the key to a career.”- Zak Penn

“Hunger for Story: People like watching stories. They just like a good story well told.” – Zak Penn

“Backstory is the motivation of character because we live in a world where Hollywood believes that it’s nurture.” – Marc Hyman

“Whenever you make something good, it does come back to you.” – Zak Penn




up next:

BGBS 007: Brian Smith | UGG | Living Joyously As a Tadpole

BGBS 008: Marc Hyman and Zak Penn | Writing Hollywood Blockbuster Movies by Osmosis     00:00 / 01:06:34   1X   Download file | Play in new window | Duration: 01:06:34  What do goosebumps, surfing, Pink Floyd, and sheep have to do with building a billion-dollar brand? Well, for UGG boots, just about everything!

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