Sawyer Petrick is a New York professional with experience in hospitality and a media studies and screenwriting degree from The New School. With a strong interest in film and television, Sawyer Petrick enjoys watching acclaimed movies and reading film reviews.
Adapted by Denis Villeneuve, the 2021 version of Frank Herbert’s novel Dune was lauded by critics as a cinematic sci-fi epic with a human dimension. It nearly swept the Oscar technical categories, winning for cinematography, production design, editing, and visual effects.
As reviewed in the New York times, the film by the director of “Arrival” represents a Herculean feat of world-building. He effectively imagines a desert planet far in the future, populated by giant sand worms along with humans engaged in spice mining operations. Villeneuve combines this epic sweep with a “miniaturist’s attention” to intricate detail.
Compared to David Lynch’s earlier Dune, which got bogged down in the complexity of the sci-fi premise, the new version combines exposition with arresting visuals that seamlessly explain the narrative and move it forward. As the Times reviewer describes it, the director does at times struggle with the warring impulses of staying true to Herbert’s source material, while delivering a big-ticket Hollywood product.
Sawyer Petrick is a New York-based writer passionate about the film and television industries. Sawyer Petrick consulted on the feature film script, The Speech, and Episode 1 and 2 of the web series, The Look.
Thanks to OTT(Over The Top) platforms like Netflix, web series have become a popular form of storytelling outside the conventional television model. These are videos, generally in short episodic formats, are released on a video streaming platform.
Web series have come a long way from their first appearance in the late 1990s when New York-based Scott Jaqueline developed the idea. The Spot was the first episodic online story. It ran from 1995 to 1996 and won the Webby Award.
Not long after, the first Bullseye Art was the first online publisher to create animated webisodes such as Pork Chops and Internet the Animated Series. In 1998, the first comedy live-action series, The Stella Shorts, premiered on sites like Heavy.com and Comedynet.com for the first time.
By the mid-2000s, web series had become more popular in the US with numerous independent shows, notably Red Vs. Blue, which amassed over 100 million views, and Sam Has 7 Friends, nominated for a daytime Emmy.
In 2009, the Los Angeles Web Series Festival was established as the first web series festival globally. By 2013, Netflix, the world's leading OTT platform, won 3 Emmys at the 65th primetime Emmy Awards for its series, House of Cards, and changed the landscape forever.
Today, web series have become high-budget endeavors as more growth is recorded in the sector. Statistics disclose that Netflix has penetrated 65 percent of US households, with an average American aged 18-34 spending two hours on the streaming platform. In 2019, Netflix had nearly 150 million subscribers worldwide; today, that figure has risen to more than 200 million.
Screenwriters tell their stories in the form of screenplays. They can follow different types of screenplay structures, regardless of genre or storyline. Some of the most popular screenplay structures include the three-act, real-time, multiple timeline, and Rashomon structures.
When approaching the screenwriting process, screenwriters aim to elicit an emotional response in the audience. To do so, they must structure their screenplays carefully by organizing the different elements of their stories in a specific order.
Any story includes characters, events, and specific target outcomes, which together constitute the plot. The organization of these elements is the screenplay structure.
Different screenplay structures serve different storytelling purposes. The most famous type is the three-act structure. Considered the oldest and most well-established screenplay structure, the three-act screenplay consists of a beginning, middle, and end. Dividing the story into three distinct parts makes it more easily accessible for audiences and facilitates plot pacing.
Most screenplays rely on the three-act structure to set up and progress the events of the story. The first act is an introduction to the main characters and the world they inhabit. In the second act, the characters face a major obstacle or conflict, which they must confront in order to reach their goal. The third and final act depicts the resolution of the story, showing the characters’ success or failure in overcoming their conflict. Films like Star Wars employ the three-act structure to build a captivating and satisfying story.
Some screenwriters choose a different approach to storytelling. Instead of organizing their story in three acts, they build it in a single, uninterrupted stream. This real-time structure does not include flashbacks or time jumps. It represents the story in a continuous manner to drive the action and amplify the tension in every single scene.
A challenging structure to master, the real-time screenplay often generates a suspenseful atmosphere where characters usually face a critical task and need to beat the clock. Sidney Lumet’s 12 Angry Men (1957) and John Badham’s Nick of Time (1995) are classic examples of the real-time screenplay structure. In these films, characters must complete a specific task (issuing a jury verdict and saving a kidnapped daughter, respectively) before time runs out.
In stories with several characters and storylines, screenwriters can implement a multiple timeline structure to effectively tell their stories. This structure combines many linear storylines that are connected through common themes or emotions.
Screenplays that follow a multiple timeline structure can be difficult to write and execute, so screenwriters need to ensure that their mixed storylines are properly paced. Directed by Tom Tykwer, Lana Wachoswki, and Lilly Wachoswki, Cloud Atlas is an excellent example of how a multiple timeline structure can elevate a story’s potential to convey the interconnectedness of numerous characters and their experiences.
Another way to convey the experiences of different characters is the Rashomon structure. Named after Aira Kurosawa’s Rashomon (1950), this type of screenplay structure tells a single story but from the points of view of different characters.
A Rashomon structure allows screenwriters to present multiple perspectives, showcasing how subjective experience creates different sides to any story. A recent example is Ridley Scott’s latest historical drama, The Last Duel (2021). The film presents the audience with three different perspectives of the same course of events, illustrating the characters’ differing perceptions and beliefs.
Many people aspire to become a big-name Hollywood screenwriter, but few take the necessary steps to achieve their goal. Becoming a good screenwriter is the consequence of hard work, luck, talent, and simply never giving up.
The professional world of screenwriting can be challenging, and there is no one-size-fits-all formula for success. However, the good news is that there are several actions you can take to improve your chances of success.
Very few writers have an instinctive understanding of the rhythm of a film script and an innate ability for language from the outset. As a new writer, you should have a fundamental understanding of the subject matter you are attempting to communicate, which requires research.
An excellent place to begin is with a few books on screenwriting to assist you in developing a grasp of the fundamental framework of a film script and how to write its many elements—from developing engaging characters and narrative to developing interesting dialogue and adhering to correct story structure. Screenplays follow a specific pattern and structure that industry professionals anticipate, and it is critical that you are aware of these expectations. Another effective approach is to enroll in a screenwriting class.
Perhaps your most beneficial reference resources are sample scripts, particularly those in the genre you intend to write. For instance, if you plan to write a romantic comedy, collect as many romantic comedy scripts as possible. This may help you understand how a film is translated from a writer's head to the end product: a movie.
The most critical step is to begin writing. Once you have mastered the fundamentals, start writing and avoid overthinking. Settle in front of your computer and start typing.
As a screenwriter, you will rapidly discover that rewriting accounts for approximately 80 percent of the job, if not more. The goal here is to avoid repeatedly rewriting the same scene without ever progressing toward completion. The first drafts of the majority of screenplays are typically pitiful. Fortunately, they improve significantly as a result of rewrites.
To be a serious screenwriter, you must live in the area where the job takes place. Los Angeles is the film industry center in the United States. Additionally, New York City houses numerous production companies, making it an excellent location for screenwriters seeking work on indie films.
Find a mentor to help establish your presence in the industry. Identify someone who will hold you accountable for your writing. There are mentorship programs for prospective screenwriters, such as the Sundance Institute's Writers Mentoring Program, the CBS Writers Mentoring Program, and the NBC Universal Writers on the Verge Program.
Nothing beats real-world experience. Find and take any position in the film industry. Working as an assistant enables you to develop relationships with executives and colleagues. Shonda Rhimes, creator and writer of Grey's Anatomy, believes that an assistantship position is a necessary rite of passage for budding screenwriters.
Create a portfolio. You do not need to be hired to write. Continue building your portfolio so that when someone inquires about your current projects, you can show them a body of work. Additionally, it is critical to write synopses and query letters for each of your projects.
Attend as many networking events as possible to connect with like-minded folks. Through persistent networking, you may ultimately come across someone who will help you get your script in front of the right people.
Filmmaking is a creative process. As complex is making a film is, no special training or certification is required. In fact, some prefer to learn from online video resources instead of taking the traditional college route. In this case, significant discipline will be required if a learner attempts to do it on their own.
However, to be a professional filmmaker, most will need extensive training and practical experience. Using the example of an artist, it's rare for painters to produce their best work immediately upon picking up a brush. Before creating their finest work, they often have served as apprentices for established artists, got extensive instruction, and practiced for years. This is also true for the majority of filmmakers, both actors and directors. Many of them attend a film school instead of a formal apprenticeship program.
Arguably, performers and filmmakers like Quentin Tarantino, Steven Spielberg, James Cameron, and Clint Eastwood found success without going to college. However, numerous well-known filmmakers like Martin Scorsese, Spike Lee, George Lucas, and Kathryn Bigelow, graduated from prestigious film schools. While going to film school is a personal choice, a college program helps the aspiring filmmaker to learn from the right people in the right environment.
One of the benefits of attending film school is that there are vast resources available. These are not limited to high-end camera gear and advanced recording studios. They include government grants, financial aid scholarships, and assistance from professionals with real-world filmmaking or film business expertise. Undoubtedly, self-taught learners don't have access to these things.
Also, filmmaking is a collaborative process. Acting and directing are both creative endeavors, but they differ from painting and writing in that they often include a team of people working together to complete a task. Depending on the film school, students may have plenty of possibilities to meet and collaborate with people in the film industry.
By going to school, aspiring filmmakers learn more about the industry's history and get to know the films and performers that helped define it. Many outstanding performers and filmmakers have studied and gained insight from those who came before them.
School may also help performers develop confidence, and provide a great platform to apply their skills. Actors frequently have small behaviors they are unaware of that find their way into a performance. Others overuse pauses or other mannerisms, or they have stock go-to approaches for different characters. Acting teachers can help students break out of these habits while helping them hone their craft.
Film school also often entails relocating to a filmmaking center. Centers have a concentration of skilled talent and resources. Since filmmaking is a highly collaborative art form, the majority of working filmmakers reside in industry hubs, where employment and contacts abound.
Going to film school can also temporarily relieve a learner of their insecurities. A person's desire to become a filmmaker will be acknowledged and fostered in ways that the outside world cannot do. Many students come to perceive themselves as filmmakers as they progress through film school.
Film school also comes with freedom. Most film schools require students to develop screenplays or collaborate with writers, cast and direct their films, and see those projects through to completion. They may never have the opportunity to work with so many diverse colleagues outside of film school, or make the numerous errors that are part of the process. Failure, uncertainty, and struggle cost more in the real world. However, no matter how painful, failure is always the best teacher. Film school is a place to learn from failure and use what is learned to the benefit of future projects.
A graduate of The New School, Sawyer Petrick earned a degree in film before pursuing a career as a New York-based film and television professional. Outside his professional pursuits, Sawyer Petrick enjoys playing guitar, reading, and rooting for the New York Giants of the National Football League (NFL).
In a recent news release, New York Giants officials announced that they have re-signed special teams standout Nate Ebner to the 53-man roster. The 32-year-old Ebner previously signed with the Giants in 2020 and served as one of the team's captains during his first year on the squad. He went into free agency status while pursuing a spot on the United States National Rugby Team, but wasn't able to compete due to an undisclosed ailment.
Over nine seasons in the NFL, Ebner has played in 143 NFL games, including 16 postseason outings. He has chalked up 67 solo tackles alongside 36 assists. Prior to joining the Giants, the 6-foot, 215-pound Ebner played for eight seasons with the New England Patriots and appeared in four Super Bowls.
Sawyer Petrick is a New York City, New York-based screenwriter who most recently worked at Whole Picture Films, where he wrote for a web series and was consulted for the feature film The Speech. He graduated from The New School with a bachelor's degree in film in 2018. Outside of his professional pursuits, Sawyer Petrick is an avid fan of the National Football League's (NFL) New York Giants.
The NFL began counting down the top 100 players in the league for the 2021 season on August 15, and a pair of Giants players cracked the first quarter of the list as defensive end Leonard Williams and cornerback James Bradberry ranked 84th and 74th overall, respectively. An alumnus of the University of Southern California, Williams was drafted by the New York Jets in 2015 and was traded to the Giants in 2019. He had a career-best 11.5 quarterback sacks through 16 games last season.
Bradberry, meanwhile, is a former second-round pick of the Carolina Panthers. In his first season with the Giants in 2020, the Arkansas State alumnus recorded 54 tackles, three interceptions, and two forced fumbles. He also had a career-best 18 defended passes and made the Pro Bowl for the first time in his career. Both Williams and Bradberry made the NFL's Top 100 list for the first time this year.
Having earned a bachelor's degree in film from The New School, Sawyer Petrick is a New York City, New York-based screenwriter who wrote an episode of the web series The Look and was consulted during the writing of the script for the feature film The Speech. Beyond his professional pursuits, Sawyer Petrick is an avid fan of the National Football League's (NFL) New York Giants.
The 2021 NFL Draft is scheduled to begin April 29, and the Giants hold the 11th overall selection. Below is a look at three players the Giants could draft with that pick:
ESPN analyst Mel Kiper Jr. has the Giants selecting Kyle Pitts in his mock draft. The 6-foot-6 tight end recorded 12 touchdowns and averaged an impressive 17.9 yards per reception in 2020. He would be a great complement to Evan Engram.
NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah, meanwhile, believes the Giants could select Alabama wide receiver Jaylen Waddle. Quarterback Daniel Jones needs more weapons on offense and Waddle could be one of the solutions. Through three seasons at Alabama, he accumulated 1,999 receiving yards and 17 touchdowns.
The Giants could also select Waddle's teammate DeVonta Smith. While there are questions about his ability to succeed against larger defensive backs in the NFL, Smith is a skilled route runner who became only the fourth wide receiver to win the Heisman Trophy in 2020. Both the Bleacher Report and NFL.com writer Chad Reuter have the Giants selecting Smith in their mock drafts.