Jeff Goldsmith and The Los Angeles Film School hosted our 7th Annual Screenwriters Panel last night, featuring eight of this year’s Oscar-Nominated screenwriters.

Panelists John Ridley (12 Years a Slave), David. O Russell and Eric Warren Singer (American Hustle), Billy Ray(Captain Phillips), Craig Borten and Melisa Wallack (Dallas Buyers Club), Spike Jonze (Her), Bob Nelson (Nebraska), Jeff Pope (Philomena) and Terence Winter (The Wolf of Wall Street) answered Goldsmith’s questions about the beginging of their careers, their biggest proffesional challenges, and, of course, their recent creative tirumphs.

Ridley, whose film 12 Years A Slave arguably takes on the most distressing subject matter of all the scripts nominated, made it clear to Los Angeles Film School students, staff and faculty in attendence that his intention was never to tell a morbid or hopeless story: “My goal with this film was to show not the horror of what this man endured,” he said, “but to show that out of horrible things, beautiful things can occur.”

Meanwhile, Captain Phillips‘ screenwriter Billy Rae offered sage advice to all the aspiring filmmakers in the audience: “I’ve had the worst day of my career 500 or 600 times…and I did not give up,” he said, reflecting on some of his hardest times as a storyteller, “That would be my advice to you: expect the bad days, and conquer them.”

A full podcast of the night is available for free on iTunes, and a full recap of the event can be seen on The Hollywood Reporter.