She is or has been:

  • An alum of the University of Central Florida film school (home of the "Blair Witch" creators)
  • Winner of the Screenwritersonline "Imagine" contest (IN THE SPIRIT)
  • Winner of the Screenwritersonline "Paramount" contest (THE DEVIL WENT DOWN)
  • A Chesterfield semi-finalist (DAUGHTER OF THE DRAGON, PRINCE JOE)
  • Second-Rounder, Austin Film Festival Screenwriting Competition (NO PLACE LIKE HOME - 2002, DAUGHTER OF THE DRAGON,  I DREAM OF GIANNI and THE DEVIL WENT DOWN - 2006)
  • Top 10%, Nicholl Fellowship in Screenwriting (PRINCE JOE)
  • A reader (judge) for the Austin Film Festival Screenwriting Competition & for the American Screenwriter's Association
  • A screenwriting instructor

    She has taken classes or studied with:
    • Robert McKee (author of "Story")
    • Christopher Vogler (author of "The Writer's Journey")
    • Linda Seger (author of "Making a Good Script Great")
    • Lew Hunter, UCLA  (author of "Screenwriting 434") - completed two-week intensive seminar 
    • Richard Walter, UCLA (author of "The Whole Picture")
    • Linda Voorhees, UCLA , completed two-week intensive seminar 
    • Billy Mernit, UCLA ("Writing the Romantic Comedy")
    • Peter Exline, USC, UCLA, completed Screenplay Analysis UCLA class
    • Susan Kouguell ("The Savvy Screenwriter") - completed four months of online classes
    • Tasca Shadix, graduate of UT-Michener program, completed her Advanced Screenwriting college class
    • Sheila Gallien, for seven years the official screenplay consultant for Austin Film Festival, author of "So Your Mama Loves It, but is It Ready for the Big Time?" and former assistant to A-list scribe William Broyles - completed intensive one-on-one consultations over several years.
    Texas Screenwriter
    have keyboard, will travel

    Although she has a day job as a divorce attorney, and is a nationally-published author featured on TODAY, GOOD MORNING AMERICA and in THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, Johnette Duff pursues her passion for film and screenwriting at every opportunity.  She has recently added "filmmaker" to her list of achievements and was been named "Best Local Filmmaker" by the Houston Press last September.

    Her first feature, which she wrote and produced,  is UP&DOWN.  Since beginning its journey on the film festival circuit in August, 2010, UP&DOWN has been named:

    Texandance Official Selection (Film and Trailer) as well as Winner, Best Romantic Comedy and Best Actor (Tod Huntington)

    •Naperville International Film Festival Official Selection and Best Film, Best Director and Best Actor Nominee

    * Traildance  Official Selection and Nominee, Best Comedy and Best Actor

    * California Film Awards  Official Selection and Silver Narrative Winner.

    Accolade Competition Winner

    Indiefest Winner

    Los Angeles Cinema Festival Award of Merit

    JamFest Indie Film Festival Official Selection  and Feature Gold

    •Los Angeles Film and Script Festival Film, Honorable Mention

    •NAPTE NexTv Screenplay Competition Quarter-Finalist

    For more on UP&DOWN and to view the trailer, see

    As for her award-winning screenplays, each of her first six original features placed either in the top 10% of the Nicholl competition and/or the Austin Film Festival, was a semi-finalist in the Chesterfield competition or won a Screenwritersonline contest.  She co-wrote a seventh script with South African producer/writer Dylan Ben-Israel; her eighth script is a television pilot spinoff of one of her award-winning scripts and she ghost-wrote a ninth for a businessman who survived two assassination attempts over corporate litigation

    Her most recent screen projects are UP & DOWN (see above) and THE DAY THE MUSIC DIED (the untold story of the Big Bopper, who was killed on February 3, 1959, with Buddy Holly and Ritchie Valens), written with the cooperation of his posthumously-born son.  For more information on that project, see

    She has also completed a musical version of the Big Bopper's story for the stage - CHANTILLY LACE: The Musical.

    Following film school, Ms. Duff continued intensive studies with all the top screenwriting "gurus" and a number of teachers whose expertise actually rivals some with "bigger" names.

    She recently returned to Texas after a fun-filled two years in Los Angeles, where she networked with other screenwriters and industry professionals. She was a frequent volunteer with the Writer's Guild of America, where she was able to learn from such icons as Lawrence Kasdan, Aaron Sorkin, James L. Brooks, Fay Kanin, Ron Shelton, etc.

    Information on some of her completed projects, in reverse chronological order:

    UP & DOWN  (feature) - Set almost entirely in the elevator of a luxury hotel, a struggling actor pushing 30 shepherds party goers and guests at his day job while yearning for the girl of his dreams. (comedy)

    I DREAM OF GIANNI (feature) - When a 14-year-old girl unwittingly unleashes a genie on her first day of high school, she must face the ramifications of her three wishes and learn who and what she really values. (family/comedy)

    HANDYMAN  (co-author with Dylan Ben-Israel, feature) - A newly-minted attorney scoffs when a gypsy tells her she is destined to marry a handyman  - only to reconsider years later as she systematically sabotages her new home in an effort to meet the man of her dreams. (romantic comedy)\

    THE DEVIL WENT DOWN  (feature) - When a young woman awaiting her bar results becomes an unwitting pawn after God discovers Hell has all the attorneys, she must not only choose between her grandmother's legal-aid clinic or a large law firm but also between two men - not knowing her life really does depend on her choices! (romantic comedy)

    IN THE SPIRIT - (feature) - An aspiring sci-fi writer is haunted by the ghosts of a murdered '40s society couple - who suddenly appear on the same night his neighbor, an investigative reporter, is murdered,  The crimes of the past merge with the crimes of the present as he loses his heart to the reporter's shapely young editor, who is determined to solve her reporter's mysterious death. (romantic comedy)

    NO PLACE LIKE HOME - (feature) - After a 15-year-old girl is uprooted from small-town Texas, she must learn to bloom in the rarefied air of Park Avenue with the grandfather she never knew she had. (family)

    DAUGHTER OF THE DRAGON - (feature) - When a vulnerable teenage orphan learns she is the "Daughter of the Dragon" of legend (the lost heir to King Arthur), she must escape the clutches of the new ruler with the help of the court musician and an 11-year-old boy who says he is Merlin to claim her birthright.

    TALISMAN - (one-hour pilot - A modern-day spinoff of DAUGHTER OF THE DRAGON) The current descendant of King Arthur discovers she must pick up the sword of her forebears when her long-lost grandfather appears on her doorstep to hand over Excalibur  - when she really just wants to go to the mall.

    PRINCE JOE (feature) - When young Princess Jolie disguises herself as a prince to surrender to her kingdom's conqueror, she discovers an even greater evil is afoot when the heir to the conqueror's throne is kidnapped and she must save the day. (animated)

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