W. H. A. Coldwell presents
The 21st Rewrite
In-Depth Screenwriting Podcast for the 21st Century! For an easy-to-browse watch list of all the films we've covered:
May 10, 2021
Oscars 2021: The Father, Promising Young Woman and all of the Screenwriting Nominees
It's the 21st Rewrite's annual breakdown of the screenplays that the Academy considers the best of the year, and what a strange and difficult year it has been! William is joined by some great guests, Adam Azulay (Apple TV+), Ralph Leonard (UnHerd) and Eposi Litumbe (Mayflower) to talk to you all about ‘Promising Young Woman’, ‘The Father’ and the other nominees for the two screenwriting categories. *** Which was your favourite screenplay of the last year, did it make the list? Join the community on Syncify: Instagram: @the21strewrite. Website contact page:
April 19, 2021
How to write a 'single location' screenplay - Locke (2013)
Why is writing a single location screenplay a good idea for new writers? How does 'Locke' illustrate how this can be done? This is another solo writing analysis and writing workshop. The intro includes tips on how to beat writer's block! Today's main topic is a screenplay breakdown of Steven Knight's 'Locke', exploring its themes, its structure and is concluded with William's theory on single location screenplays - they need to be four dimensional. Follow up and 'What to do next' assignment. Bonus: Hear the inspiration for Tom Hardy's accent in the film! *** Want to comment, get news and join episode discussions? Join the community on Syncify: Instagram: @21st_rewrite. Website contact page:
March 22, 2021
A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001) - Screenplay by Steven Spielberg
For the first time on the podcast, this is a solo episode, which is a brave experiment for a podcast that has, until now, been purely conversational! This week's screenplay topic is Steven Spielberg's 'A.I. Artificial Intelligence', a project that was largely developed by Stanley Kubrick until it was finally passed on to Spielberg and finally put into production shortly after Kubrick passed away. By testing out the solo podcast format, William tries to cover two major concepts for you: firstly, why does the act structure feel slightly different in 'A.I.', and secondly, how do the mythological underpinnings of the legend of Pinocchio inform, shape and find themselves reinvented in the story of David, the robotic child. Did you enjoy the solo podcast format? If you would like to send your thoughts or feedback on this episode, you can contact William at
March 8, 2021
Ad Astra (2019) with Zosha Millman - Screenplay by James Gray and Ethan Gross
This week Zosha Millman, senior editor at Bright Wall/Dark Room, makes a guest appearance to discuss the recent, and largely overlooked, science-fiction film 'Ad Astra'. We talk about the the major differences between the earlier version of the screenplay and the final film, the power of pacing and when to use silence, and the parent-child relationship that is the heart of the story. Want to comment, get news and join episode discussions? Follow our instagram @21st_rewrite. Letterboxd film reviews @whacoldwell. For more information on the show and to contact us check out our homepage.
February 23, 2021
How to write great chracters! The Rider(2017) with Kira-Anne Pelican - Screenplay by Chloé Zhao
You may have been told your characters are too 'flat', not 'rounded' or 'believable' - that's an important note, but how do you actually go about fixing that? Kira-Anne Pelican, the author of 'The Science of Writing Characters', has written extensively about this very question. Using the latest research from the major branches of psychology to explain how to make a character interesting, we combine this in typical '21st Rewrite style' to look at a screenplay through this lens, focusing this week on Chloé Zhao's majestic film 'The Rider'. For a limited time, until the end of March, you can get 10% off Kira-Anne's book 'The Science of Writing Characters' by buying from Bloomsbury with the code 21REWRITE. This applies to all versions: ebook and paperback. (Contact me on the 21st Rewrite website if you have any trouble getting the discount) Want to comment, get news and join episode discussions? Follow our instagram @21st_rewrite. Letterboxd film reviews @whacoldwell. For more information on the show and to contact us check out our homepage.
February 9, 2021
What's the best way to adapt a novel for the screen? The Sense of an Ending (2017) with Alistair Owen - Screenplay by Nick Payne
This week we're talking about adaptation again, in the context of how to bring a first-person, ruminating narrative about memory and loss into the detached and visual realm of film. Alistair Owen, who has published various books on screenwriting, calls in from England to talk about this interesting adaptation of Julian Barnes' novel 'The Sense of an Ending' which was directed by Ritesh Batra and written by Nick Payne. We use examples from the film to discuss the whether there is such as thing a 'unadaptable', how to show internal change in a character's actions, and how film as a narrative engine perhaps demands more in the way of story and character development than literary fiction. If you enjoy this episode, you can purchase and enjoy Alistair's book 'The Art of Screen Adaptation' from his website. Want to comment, get news and join episode discussions? Follow our instagram @21st_rewrite. Letterboxd film reviews @whacoldwell. For more information on the show and to contact us check out our homepage.
December 16, 2020
The Young Woman (2020) with Edward Drake - Screenplay by Edward Drake
This year’s Austin Film Festival may have been held virtually, but the screenwriting competition was a strong as ever and brought our attention to some great writers. Edward Drake, whose latest project ‘The Young Woman’ won the Dramatic Screenplay category, calls in to talk to William about how he first heard about the true story the script is based on, his approach to writing and filmmaking, and he thoughts on getting things made following all of the necessary adaptations the film industry has had to implement due to the pandemic. Want to comment, get news and join episode discussions? Follow our instagram @21st_rewrite. Letterboxd film reviews @whacoldwell. For more information on the show and to contact us check out our homepage.
November 23, 2020
Beats (2019) with Kieran Hurley - Screenplay by Kieran Hurley
Kieran Hurley calls in this week to discuss his first film, 'Beats', which was released to a good deal of acclaim in 2019. It's a fun and often hilarious story of two teenagers in Scotland in the mid-nineties figuring out who they are and what they want to be, all set to the backdrop of the then-popular rave subculture. Learn how Kieran adapted his original stage performance into a screenplay with director Brian Welsh, and listen to his thoughts on regional representation in British cinema, his personal approach to writing and what he learnt over the course of the journey from stage to screen. You can purchase and enjoy the original version of Beats from Oberon Modern plays. Want to comment, get news and join episode discussions? Follow our instagram @21st_rewrite. Letterboxd film reviews @whacoldwell. For more information on the show and to contact us check out our homepage.
November 10, 2020
Alpha (2018) with Christine Schreyer and Dan Wiedenhaupt - Screenplay by Dan Wiedenhaupt
We have a history, language and screenwriting conversation like no other for you this week, as Dr. Christine Schreyer and writer Dan Wiedenhaupt talk about their work on the 2018 film ‘Alpha’. Dan is the screenwriter who wrote the script for the film’s director Albert Hughes, and he shares his experiences researching and writing a story set in the distant past. Christine has now worked on creating languages for three films, and she explains about how she got involved in this work, her background in anthropology and the joys of creating languages. If you are interested in world-building and imaginative storytelling, you’ll certainly gain a lot of insights as they share their expertise.
October 26, 2020
There Will Be Blood (2007) with Ralph Leonard - Screenplay by Paul Thomas Anderson
This week, William is joined by writer Ralph Leonard to discuss one of his favourite films, Paul Thomas Anderson's magnificent 'There Will Be Blood'. They start the conversation by talking about the history of California and Upton Sinclair's novel 'Oil' which served as the inspiration for the screenplay - then they discuss their interpretations of the film, the Biblical and Marxist concepts in the story and the fascinating character of Daniel Plainview. You can read Ralph's essays on Unherd.com or follow him on Twitter @buffsoldier_96. Want to comment, get news and join episode discussions? Follow our instagram @21st_rewrite. Letterboxd film reviews @whacoldwell. For more information on the show and to contact us check out our homepage.