Keystroke Medium

Ep 5.24 - LIVE! with Derek Kolstad

July 2, 2020

Josh, Scott, and Chuck sit down with JOHN WICK creator Derek Kolstad to talk about his writing process, inspiration, and how he truly feels about dogs in film.


[00:00] Opening remarks

[05:15] Weekly update—Tase Me, Please Edition

Chuck: Plugging away Jack Dark #2, more Family Time™, multiple family medical emergencies.

Scott: LIEUTENANT MOON. Learning to be a Lieutenant. Editing a lot of books. Resistance Day is up for pre-order. Dog issues.

Derek: Writing a LOT of scripts in quarantine. Lots of irons in the fire waiting for the green light for production. Doing spec writing to keep pen to page. Stumbling across lines that are iconic.

[09:40] Main Event: LIVE! With Derek Kolstad

-Writing and timing and being a fifteen year overnight success.

-Loving writing and constantly writing even if it’s spec.

-What books/movies gave you the inspiration for John Wick?

-A lot of action and noir films growing up.

-Whether the dog was a powerful enough motivation for the character and finding meaning behind that.

-Working with Marvel Studios in tv series writing

-Best Idea Wins

-Making that difficult transition between the second act and the third.

Die Hard, Die Hard 2, and Die Hard With a Vengeance

The Raid

-Growing up in the era of the best/worst action movies of the ‘80s (Dollman?)

The Matrix

-How many shells are in that shotgun in The Tombstone?

-‘Great script, but not as good as the original’

-Immediate Stakes vs. Big Threats

-A buttload of will wins.

-John Wick came from not enjoying a bunch of revenge movies.

Three Days of the Condor

The Ronin

-Why is Boba Fett and Bossk interesting in Star Wars?

-Difficulty of writing John Wick Chapter 2 by stripping away the fat and ideas and preconceptions.

-Simplicity requires precision.

-A drawer full of orphans.

-Lance Reddick should kick someone’s ass (his comedic timing is great in Corporate)

-Original title for John Wick was Scorn

Better Call Saul

-Delivering the work and the look of an action hero.

-Subverting expectation can happen even in action movies.



Bourne Identity

Raiders of the Lost Ark

-Care about the character, care about the movie

Breaking Bad Finale

-James Bond is a sociopath, but he’s surrounded by a team that keeps him focused.

Fast and the Furious


First Blood

-Lean and mean vs. Fatty buffet

Ex. Tom Clancy’s Sum of All Fears [link]

The Professional

-Comic books are hard because you need to be a director AND a writer.

Ex. Tom Clancy’s Clear and Present Danger [link]

[1:04:57] Closing remarks

Coffee and Concepts

Writer’s Journey



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