Program is Open for Applications
*Please do not pay for the mentorship until you receive a formal acceptance notification via email. Payment plans are available for this mentorship program.
Click HERE to Apply Now.
Payment plans are available for this mentorship program.
Any questions about this mentorship? Use the Chat Button (lower left) to talk with us.
This one-on-one program is led by Judith James, a successful mentor to screenwriters for over 35 years, pushing them up the ladder to become part of the film industry. She typically takes on a mentee when they are at their second or third draft of their present script.
Judith has developed and attracted financing and production for films with Disney, HBO, A&E, ABC, NBC, CBS and MGM, including QUIZ SHOW, MR HOLLAND’S OPUS and HAVING OUR SAY, and The Delany Sisters First 100 Years.
Judith James has been my partner and my most trusted critic for--I can honestly say I don't remember for how long. She is smart, reliable and does what she says she will do. She has improved any script I show her by leagues. She thrives on stories that we're told are impossible to tell; I have never heard her raise her voice. She is the producer you don't believe really exists in the movie about a great producer. -Richard Dreyfuss – Actor, Writer, producer, Partner
"Judith James is one the most knowledgeable screenplay analysts I’ve ever worked with, a partner of actor Richard Dreyfuss, and a major film producer (MR. HOLLAND’S OPUS and QUIZ SHOW) who knows the buyers in Hollywood. She’s at her very best in helping to shape stories and scripts already written and get them to the marketplace. I’ve never known anyone better." Rex McGee, screenwriter of Pure Country
Judith first became a multi-award-winning spotter of and producer of new American plays off-Broadway in NYC. In Hollywood, her goal with her producing-partners (Richard Dreyfuss and Camille Cosby at different junctures/years) was to find and work with writers with things to say, who could be important and compelling creative voices. This is the ethos and experience Judith will bring to this mentorship program.
In addition to producing, Judith mentors talented writers who have gotten to, or stalled at, their third draft/third re-write of a good story but not yet delivered. With their talent and determination apparent, Judith uses the instinct and insight from her years in all facets of production to open the writer to understand that their script is becoming a living thing. They birthed it, it's still theirs but now they are separate
The creative relationship between writer and mentor at this stage allows the writer to see it that way, not to push it or the characters where they don’t want to go. The writer needs to learn to collaborate on their script, to take notes, to face the story they have before them with new insight. And then they will begin to trust their own insights even in the face of a rule, disagree with their imposed plot, listen to their characters, or tell them off. (Or tell off the note-givers!) This time spent with a mentor puts a warm-wind at their backs. Enough to have the confidence to shape and work on an amazing script.
THE IDEAL PARTICIPANT
The Ideal Participant for Judith’s one-on-one program is someone that has leapt of their own freewill into never-never-land with format and rules on board, but no idea yet of how they will expose the sheer power or delight hidden in their latest re-write. They instinctually know it can be done.
The ideal student will:
- Acknowledge that going for it is hard. Take a breath.
- Learn to write in visuals. LEARN TO USE VISUALS. It’s a movie.
- Learn to recognize your process when you have felt something about a section.
- Learn that the script begins to have a vote at this re-write and will argue with you.
- Think about your audience. Not to please them but to enlighten them.
The Goal of this mentorship while not a finished screenplay, can be said to guide the writer towards ‘a final draft as joyful or fascinating or disturbing as it can be, one that could cause - as one of her mentees did once - a NYT’s review headline: “Eureka, A writer is born!
HOW IT WORKS
This is not a one-size-fits-all program. The rhythm of the program will be dictated by your correspondence and phone calls with Judith.
You must first submit a script and application.
Upon acceptance into the mentorship program, you will schedule an initial one-on-one call or Zoom session for two hours with Judith to discuss where you are—your process of getting from your idea to this draft. You will begin to dissect this draft together, float new ideas, talk about what you see as difficulties, get some ideas from Judith for you to think about and vice versa!
Then you take time for thinking, trying out things, maybe exchanging outlines or new scenes by email with Judith. When you are ready to discuss what you’ve been thinking or writing you can send new pages and then meet with Judith again by phone or Zoom. In each two hours - you should settle into a workable journey with an understanding of what can happen while you write and how to really plumb what you want to say. You will feel your journey – knowing you want to keep going, stop for a while or slow up. The course, and Judith, will stick by you or wait!
This one-on-one program includes two parts:
In Part I, Judith will read your script and then schedule an initial deep dive session. You’ll walk away with notes, inspiration, and a plan to rewrite sections of your screenplay. Then you will schedule three (3) additional two-hour phone/Zoom work sessions.
Part II is an optional continuation of Part I: you’re finally in a writing rhythm and have established the cadence of your mentorship with Judith. Part II includes four (4) two-hour phone/Zoom works sessions with Judith as you round your script into shape.
In total, your initial deep dive call with Judith and subsequent seven (7) two-hour phone/Zoom work sessions are productive, satisfying, and inspiriting.
There will be time in some or all of the sessions to talk through what you are doing, where you are on your journey. Judith will be answering all your questions and giving you lists to pursue when and if you are ready.
- How to submit to “contests” and what contests - an interesting new opportunity for writers.
- A discussion of how and if to seek readers’ notes (like on Inktip) during or after these sessions, and on what draft. How to evaluate notes.
- How to evaluate agencies, agents.
- How to find an agent or manager that might like your genre.
- How to use the tools on line to understand “Hollywood.”
Judy James understands writers. She understands movies, and she understands the industry. Any writer fortunate enough to work with her has received a priceless gift. Thank you, Judy, for the Broadway Play and the CBS Film "Having Our Say"! -Emily Mann- Writer/Director, multi-BroadwayTony winner, Artistic Director of McCarter Theater 25 years.
Judith James' notes on my screenplay about the poet Edna St. Vincent Millay are superbly insightful and her support for the project through multiple drafts has been unwavering. She's got a bullseye sense of what works on the line level (dialogue) and how all the pieces of a screenplay ought to hold together. That aspect of creative producing is a dying art; Judith James is the real deal. -Charles Lyons- PhD, Journalist and filmmaker
Judy James has an unusual ability to get into the head of a writer and to work alongside him/her as a true collaborator. She never tries to mold the story into her own vision but rather works painstakingly to help the writer achieve theirs. Her clarity, precision and above all else, her genuine respect for the writer, is what sets her apart from anyone else I’ve collaborated with over the past twenty years. -Joe Cacaci- Writer/Director/Showrunner Television, Theater, Film. Teaches Television Writing at NYU Graduate Film School and Columbia; and Undergraduate screenplay writing at Wesleyan.
Judy James is a game-changer if you want to figure out the heart of your storyand make it work. Her insights are priceless to me. There is no-one out there like her. She is truly unique among story/script consultants.” -Anthony Buono, screenwriter
TUITION & PAYMENT
Full Tuition for the one-on-one program is $1,750 for Part I and $1500 for Part II. You can pay the tuition in full or opt for equal monthly payments by selecting Affirm or Shop Pay at checkout. If you decide to create a monthly payment plan using Affirm or Shop Pay, you can do so once you add "Full Tuition" to your cart, enter your contact information, and are on the payment page.
Judith Rutherford Marechal James is a Film, Television and Theatrical producer, whose work has garnered multiple awards and nominations including Obies and Tonies, Oscars and Emmies.
Producing Films and Television:
Dreyfuss/James Productions - co-owner and producer since 1989. With partner, Richard Dreyfuss, she has developed films and tv shows, many of which were produced (the ultimate goal) and some of which are:
PRISONER OF HONOR starring Richard and a list of English Acting Icons and directed by an icon himself Ken Russell
QUIZ SHOW Oscar Nominations (written by Paul Attanasio and directed by Robert Redford)
- HOLLAND’S OPUS Oscar Nominations (starring Dreyfuss and Olivia Dukakis) ,
MAD DOG TIME (Dreyfuss, Jeff Goldblum and Ellen Barkin) and
FUNNY YOU DON’T LOOK 200 (Whoopi Goldberg, John Gielgud, Randy Newman) ABC TV
Consulting producer on many of Richard Dreyfuss’ Studio films
C&J Productions – co-owner and producer since 1996. With partner Camille Cosby produced:
HAVING OUR SAY,The Delany Sisters’ First 100 Years” on Broadway, touring companies (Tony Nominated) and the film for CBS with Diahann Carroll and Ruby Dee.
Developed an NBC a series about Winnie Mandela. Not picked up.
Developed a Broadway musical about Pear Bailey. Pandemic canceled.
She also produced films on HBO, TNT, ABC, CBS.
And THE FOREST: An International feature film produced in the foothills of The Himalayas. Released in Asia. It did not release internationally.
New York theatrical producer of 11 award winning plays.
Received the Margot Jones Award for work with new American Playwrights, presented in the White House by Ladybird Johnson. Among these plays were
Call Me by My Rightful Name by Michael Shurtleff and directed by
Milton Katselas, starring Bobby Duvall, Joan Hackett, Alvin Ailey;
The Days and Nights of Beebee Fenstermaker by Bill Snyder and directed by Ulu Grossbard, starring Rose Gregorio,
In White America by Martin Duberman, directed by Harold Stone and
starring Gloria Foster, Moses Gunn, and Michael O’Sullivan.
Her first television production was the Emmy winning “IN HER OWN WORDS” for KCET, American. Playhouse and the Mark Taper Forum starring Lee Remick and directed by Mark Cullingham .
WOMEN IN FILM – secured and shaped an alliance
with General Motors under which GM supported a myriad of WIF programs and events for 3 years ending 2007. The programs emphasized for the 21 chapters of WIF across the United States were mentoring programs by older experienced women members to bring and support younger women members in their careers.
UCLA FILM Extension, Online – The Art and Finance of Producing Films
SBCC FILM College -How to Produce An Indie
PRESENTLY she is working on a WWI film with writer Ross Vick, and a film about Edna St Vincent Millay by Charlie Lyons, and…
She has just turned over to the producers the script HEROES of BLACK WALL STREET which she developed with writer Fred Williams over the last year and a half (2021). Fred’s exceptional research revealed the real people and the thriving community of the Greenwood Black district of Tulsa, Oklahoma. We get to know them, admire them, follow them until all the businesses, the houses, the two schools, the hospital, library, skating rink and two movie houses, hotels and restaurants they’d built are burned down. The KKK-led Racists of Tulsa used WWI planes and turpentine bombs to burn and to kill 300 of the citizens, running for their lives, a WWI machine gun. This was our country in the 1920’s. We need to know this story.