BPS 117: How to Be a Screenwriter in Hollywood with Marshall Herskovitz


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Our guest today is the former president of the producers Guild of America, established producer, writer, and director, Marshall Herskovitz. Much of his production projects have been in partnership with his long-time filmmaking friend, Edward Zwick whose films, he’s produced and written half of. Their decades-long filmmaking partnership was launched as co-creators of the 1987 TV show, ThirtySomething.
Now, Marshall had already written for the TV show, Family, in 1976. So his understanding of TV was pivotal in the success of 30 Something.
Other projects he’s credited for executive producing or creating include Traffic (2000), The Last Samurai (2003), Nashville (TV show 2016), Blood Diamond, and Women Walks Ahead(2017), starring the incomparable, Jessica Chastain.
Marshall show, ThirtySomething, which only ran for four-season was quite successful. Co-created with Zwick, the follows the stories and journeys of seven thirtysomethings living in Philadelphia who struggle with everyday adult angst.
The show's success earned over a dozen Primetime Emmy and Golden Globe awards, and personal honors for Marshall from the Writers Guild and a Directors Guild.
Herskovitz's filmography is pretty adventurous. We discussed as many as we could in this interview and he was totally down for the ride. But if we are to highlight some must-mentions, Traffic will get the spot. Herskovitz co-produced Traffic in 2000 alongside esteem producer, Laura Bickford and directed by Zwick.
The film holds a constant 93% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes and won numerous Oscars BAFTA, Screen Actors Guild, and Golden Globes awards in 2001. It followed through grossing a total of $207.5 million on its $46 million budget
The President appoints a conservative judge to spearhead America's escalating war against drugs, only to discover that his teenage daughter is a crack addict. Two DEA agents protect an informant. A jailed drug baron's wife attempts to carry on the family business.
Another classic of his is the 1999 TV show, Once and Again. A divorced father and a soon-to-be-divorced mother meet and begin a romantic courtship which is always complicated by their respective children and their own life problems.
Marshall was the absolute best and an excellent guest. You have to listen to the episode to hear all those extra deets he shared with us about the attempts at rebooting ThirtySomething and many more.
Enjoy this conversation with Marshall Herskovitz.

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