Writers on Film


Tony Bill Talks Movie Speak

Season 1, Ep. 68

“Movie Speak won’t guarantee you a job, but having a knowledge of the industry terms will fool everyone into thinking you own the place.” — Steven Spielberg


“Finally a book that celebrates the process—the dynamic web of people, technique, and artistry—underneath every foot of celluloid.” —Jodie Foster


Uncover the secret language of movie-making in a handbook for film buffs and language-lovers, as well as anyone who aspires to break into the business, with hundreds of essential terms, explained. Opening a window into the fascinatingly technical, odd, colorful, and mysterious working language of movies, Oscar-winning producer, actor, and director Tony Bill sheds light on the hugely complex process of making a film, as well as on the hierarchies between the cast and crew and the on-set etiquette of any movie production.


From why the Assistant Director calls “wrap” to the real reason Hollywood stars began wearing sunglasses, Movie Speak offers tricks of the trade learned over decades in Hollywood—to help you crack the code of the movie business.

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Meg Gardiner turns up the HEAT 2

Season 1, Ep. 73
Instant #1 New York Times Bestseller!Michael Mann, four-time-Oscar-nominated writer-director of The Last of the Mohicans, The Insider, Ali, Miami Vice, Collateral, and Heat teams up with Edgar Award–winning author Meg Gardiner to deliver Mann’s first novel, an explosive return to the universe and characters of his classic crime film—with an all-new story unfolding in the years before and after the iconic movie“Heat 2 is now one of my favorite suspense novels. . . . I’m already quoting lines from Heat 2 to my writer friends (shamelessly saying the lines are mine).” – James PattersonOne day after the end of Heat, Chris Shiherlis (Val Kilmer) is holed up in Koreatown, wounded, half delirious, and desperately trying to escape LA. Hunting him is LAPD detective Vincent Hanna (Al Pacino). Hours earlier, Hanna killed Shiherlis’s brother in arms Neil McCauley (De Niro) in a gunfight under the strobe lights at the foot of an LAX runway. Now Hanna’s determined to capture or kill Shiherlis, the last survivor of McCauley’s crew, before he ghosts out of the city.In 1988, seven years earlier, McCauley, Shiherlis, and their highline crew are taking scores on the West Coast, the US-Mexican border, and now in Chicago. Driven, daring, they’re pulling in money and living vivid lives. And Chicago homicide detective Vincent Hanna—a man unreconciled with his history—is following his calling, the pursuit of armed and dangerous men into the dark and wild places, hunting an ultraviolent gang of home invaders.Meanwhile, the fallout from McCauley’s scores and Hanna’s pursuit cause unexpected repercussions in a parallel narrative, driving through the years following Heat.Heat 2 projects its dimensional and richly drawn men and women into whole new worlds—from the inner sanctums of rival crime syndicates in a South American free-trade zone to transnational criminal enterprises in Southeast Asia. The novel brings you intimately into these lives. In Michael Mann’s Heat universe, they will confront new adversaries in lethal circumstances beyond all boundaries.Heat 2 is engrossing, moving, and tragic—a masterpiece of crime fiction with the same extraordinary ambitions, scope, and rich characterizations as the epic film.

David Koenig Shoots Columbo

Season 1, Ep. 72
DavColumbo was arguably the most popular and most unique television mystery series ever—even though, within two minutes of the titles, the audience already knew the murderer’s identity. The show captivated tens of millions of viewers for 69 adventures produced over 35 years. Yet if star Peter Falk had gotten his way, it would have run far longer.Columbo was never formally cancelled, just subtly killed off. Twice. Who was to blame? The temperamental lead who would rather work in movies? The budget-conscious studio, exhausted with the star’s demands? Or was it the meddling television studios, searching for a younger, hipper replacement?Discover the solution in Shooting Columbo: The Lives and Deaths of TV’s Rumpled Detective. Author David Koenig takes you behind the scenes to witness the creation and making of every case, from the pilot Prescription: Murder (and its earlier incarnations on The Chevy Mystery Show and on stage) to the final special, Columbo Likes the Nightlife.You’ll discover the origins of the Lieutenant’s unseen wife, the lethargic Dog, the wrinkled raincoat, the wheezing 1959 Peugeot, and “Just one more thing....” The narrative draws on scores of exclusive interviews with the show’s writers, producers, directors and other creative personnel, as well as previously unpublished studio records, including scripts, memos, production reports, casting sheets, and business diaries. They will transport you to the harried story conferences, the heated confrontations, and take... after take... after take... of filming.The “shooting” of Columbo was filled with backstage intrigue and larger-than-life personalities who, through it all, created unforgettable classic television.