Scriptnotes Podcast

Scriptnotes Podcast

Denmark

Screenwriters John August and Craig Mazin discuss screenwriting and related topics in the film and television industry, everything from getting stuff written to the vagaries of copyright and work-for-hire law.

Episodes

313 - Well, It Worked in the 80s  

John and Craig look at four films from the past and discuss how we could make them today.

Then we have more listener questions on internships and alternate jokes.

Next week is a deep dive on Unforgiven, so get to watching if you haven’t seen it recently.

Links:

Triskaidekaphobia on Wikipedia Where to watch Unforgiven before next week’s deep dive You Get Me on Netflix Romancing the Stone, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Rain Man and Coming to America on Wikipedia Watch Toad get struck by lightning on YouTube BuzzFeed News Trained A Computer To Search For Hidden Spy Planes. This Is What We Found. The Maze of Games by Mike Selinker The Scriptnotes Listeners’ Guide! The USB drives! John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Find past episodes Outro by Jonathan Mann (send us yours!)

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

312 - The Magic Word Is In This Episode  

Craig and John tackle a bunch of listener questions, along with follow-up on previous discussions.

Are road trip movies just a series of coincidences? How do you start the second draft? Should you mention screenwriting awards in a query?

Plus: a Redditor insists there is a secret password you have to write within a script for it to be purchased. After 311 episodes, the time has come. We reveal that magic word.

Links:

‘Chernobyl’ Miniseries Set By HBO & Sky Carolyn Strauss on Scriptnotes, 127 Big Fish The Musical starring Kelsey Grammer is on its way to London Scriptnotes, 310: What’s in the WGA Deal Scriptnotes, 309: Logic and Gimmickry A Reddit user asks: Is there a secret password for success? Every Three Hours on YouTube Mouth Time with Reductress on iTunes The House of Da Vinci The Scriptnotes Listeners’ Guide! The USB drives! John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Find past episodes Outro by Rajesh Naroth (send us yours!)

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

311 - Scriptnotes Live Homecoming Show  

John and Craig welcome special guests Megan Amram (The Good Place), Tom Schnauz (Better Call Saul) and Matt Selman (The Simpsons) to talk about writing television, from staffing to breaking story to the challenge of short seasons.

Then we try out two new segments: How Could This Be Funny and An Aubry Plaza Type. Do they work? It’s debatable!

There is also a Q&A, which you can find as a bonus episode for subscribers at scriptnotes.net.

Recorded live at the Writers Guild Theater on August 25, 2017. Thanks to the Writers Guild Foundation for hosting us, and a terrific audience.

Links:

Megan Amram on Wikipedia, IMDb and Twitter Thomas Schnauz on Wikipedia, IMDb and Twitter Matt Selman on Wikipedia, IMDb and Twitter, and as host of Duly Noted: The Scriptnotes Aftershow Massive Iceberg Breaks Off from Antarctica Donald Trump Jr. Sperm Count Dropping in Western World O.J. Simpson Wins Parole, Claiming He Has Led a ‘Conflict-Free Life’ Thanks to the Writers Guild Foundation for hosting us The Scriptnotes Listeners’ Guide! The USB drives! John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Find past episodes Outro by Rajesh Naroth (send us yours!)

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

310 - What’s in the WGA Deal  

Craig and John talk with Chris Keyser, one of the co-chairs of the WGA Negotiating Committee, to learn what gains were achieved in the most recent deal, and what work lies ahead.

Warning: it’s a super-wonky episode that presumes you’re familiar with the basics outlined in episode 289.

Links:

Scriptnotes, 289: WGA Negotiations 101 Chris Keyser on IMDb, Wikipedia and Twitter, and on episode 138 Poly Bridge The Apple Pencil, PDF Expert and Weekend Read Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz, on Amazon Season 1 of The Last Tycoon “drops” on Amazon Prime July 28th Get your tickets now for the July 25th Scriptnotes Live Homecoming Show The Scriptnotes Listeners’ Guide! The USB drives! John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Find past episodes Outro by Rajesh Naroth (send us yours!)

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

309 - Logic and Gimmickry  

John and Craig step up to the whiteboard to look at the story logic in our scripts, then examine how tricks and gimmicks can help keep scenes interesting.

We also answer listener questions about paying experts for research help, and whether hiring a writing consultant ever makes sense.

Links:

Get your tickets now for the July 25th Scriptnotes Live Homecoming Show, with guests Liz Meriwether, Megan Amram and more! Julie Buxbaum’s What to Say Next on Amazon Fridge logic on TV Tropes John on The perils of coincidence The Fargo TV series makes a religion of coincidence Gimmickry used in Kill Bill with split screens and animation, in (500) Days of Summer with musical numbers and alternate timelines, when talking to the dead in Iron Lady, when Love and Death becomes a silent film, and when flashbacks become childhood in The Hangover 2 Go and The Nines on Amazon Video The LA Metro System Hyperloop One and its successful first test The Scriptnotes Listeners’ Guide! The USB drives! John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Find past episodes Outro by Rajesh Naroth (send us yours!)

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

308 - Chekhov's Ladder  

Craig and John discuss the concept of affordances -- player expectations for what videogame characters can do -- and how writers can apply these principles to their film and TV scripts.

Teaching the audience to know what is and isn’t possible can be hard to do artfully, but often makes all the difference.

Also this week: reducing sexism in screenplays, plus answers to listener questions about writers on set and giving feedback on friends’ terrible scripts.

Tickets for the July 25th live show are on sale, GET YOURS!

Links:

The Scriptnotes Homecoming Show The Scriptnotes Listeners' Guide! The USBs drives! Olivia de Havilland Sues FX Creators of Tupac biopic ‘All Eyez on Me’ sued Defining Environment Language for Video Games Chekov's Gun Hanging a Lantern, or Lampshading How To Reduce Sexism In Screenplays Morty's Screenplay Criticism Domino Toppling Submachine Escape Room Game John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Find past episodes Outro by Rajesh Naroth (send us yours!)

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

307 - Teaching Your Heroes to Drive  

John and Craig explore how story develops from a synthesis of character and plot, and why writers need to continually shift their frames of reference between “inside” and “outside” the experience of their heroes.

We also tackle the idea of “you can’t teach funny” and what to do when you share a famous person’s name.

The Scriptnotes Listeners’ Guide is out, and fantastic, and free! Plus we now have 300-episode USB drives in the store. Links below.

Plus, don’t miss our live show in Hollywood on July 25.

Links:

The Scripnotes Listeners' Guide! The USBs drives! McMansion Hell Zillow Threatens to Sue EFF responds to McMansion Hell lawsuit McMansion Hell wins Yoink Matt Gaffney's Weekly Crossword Contest John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Find past episodes Outro by Rajesh Naroth (send us yours!)

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

 

306 - DRAMA!  

Craig and John take a look at what happens when the drama is behind the camera, and the difference between what's reported and what's really going on. We also offer some advice on what one should do, should they find themselves caught up in the crazy.

Finally, we answer a listener question on writing for specific actors and the challenges/opportunities this presents.

Links:

The Mummy Lord and Miller and Han Solo Joss Whedon on Finishing Justice League Joss Whedon on his unmade Wonder Woman Computational Video Editing for Dialogue-Driven Scenes Clear John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Find past episodes Outro by Sam Brady (send us yours!)

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

 

305 - Forever Young and Stupid  

Craig and John take on a new Three Page Challenge, looking at three listener scenes to see if they follow the exacting rules set by Screenwriters University. (Ahem.)

We also answer listener questions on vintage screenplays, maturity, Smash Brothers and writing with a budget in mind.

Links:

Sony Won’t Release Clean Versions of Films if Directors Disapprove The History of the Screenplay Steve Zissis Three Pages by Wyatt Cain Three Pages by Azhur Saleem Three Pages by Ashley Sanders Sarah Silverman - A Speck of Dust Mark Gatiss John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Find past episodes Outro by Sam Brady (send us yours!)

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

 

304 - Location Is Where It's At  

Craig and John look at how screenwriters describe locations, and how these choices impact production and the final product. Plus, we discuss how podcasts have become a new source of IP for adaptations.

Finally, we address how to deal with the note to make your characters "more likeable."

Links:

Screenwriters University Clean Movie Versions Homecoming Alex, Inc. Paris Circle Map Roman Roads Monument Valley 2 Human Resource Machine John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Find past episodes Outro by Rajesh Naroth (send us yours!)

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

 

303 - 75% of Nothing  

Craig and John answer listener questions about writer agreements, videogame properties, and page one rewrites.

How should a writer decide whether it’s better to keep revising an unmade project, or start on something new? We try to offer guidelines for when to buckle down and when to move on.

Also, John coins a new term that will forever change film studies.

Links:

Scriptnotes Midnight Blue T-Shirt Portal: No Escape (Live Action Short Film by Dan Trachtenberg) This is why you want a writer’s agreement WGA Collaboration Agreement Rebecca Solnit: The Loneliness Of Donald Trump Faraway Puzzle Escape John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Find past episodes Outro by Rajesh Naroth (send us yours!)

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

 

302 - Let's Make Some Oscar Bait  

In a new installment of How Would This Be a Movie, John and Craig take a look at three stories in the news to discuss how to adapt them into award-winning movies.

We also discuss why the studios are allowed to negotiate as one for the WGA contract.

Midnight Blue Scriptnotes shirts are back up at Cotton Bureau for a short time, so don’t miss out. Link below.

Links:

Scriptnotes Midnight Blue T-Shirt The Seed Vault is Fine You May Want to Marry My Husband Scriptnotes, Episode 293: Underground Railroad of Love The Beleaguered Tenants of ‘Kushnerville’ My Family’s Slave The Mystery of the Wasting House-Cats Dear Mr Darcy John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Find past episodes Outro Dear Mr Darcy by Esther Longhurst and Jessica Messenger (send us yours!)

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

 

301 - The Addams Family  

Craig and John look at The Addams Family -- not just the 1991 film and its sequel, but the property itself to see what lessons we can learn when adapting for the big screen.

We also answer listener questions on what makes a scene work and writing pilots based on existing IP.

Links:

Addams Family TV Show Opening The Addams Family Official Trailer Addams Family Values Trailer The Moon And Me Master of None - Season 2 | Official Trailer New Paint Colors Invented by Neural Network John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Find past episodes Outro by Rajesh Naroth (send us yours!)

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

 

300 - From Writer to Writer-Director  

Chris McQuarrie (THE USUAL SUSPECTS, VALKYRIE) joins us to talk through how he went from writing giant movies to directing them.

We talk about the pitfalls directors face as they move from indie features to tentpoles, and the advice he gives them. Chris is currently, and conveniently, in Paris directing the next Mission: Impossible.

Links:

Chris McQuarrie Valkyrie Official Trailer Mission Impossible 5 - Rogue Nation AutoDraw Zip Zap Fidget Cube Chris McQuarrie on Twitter John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Find past episodes Outro by Rajesh Naroth (send us yours!)

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

 

299 - It's Always Sunny in Star Wars  

Craig and guest host Dana Fox welcome Rob McElhenney (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia) and Rian Johnson (Looper, Star Wars: The Last Jedi) to the live show at the Arclight. The four discuss breaking into Hollywood, handling rejection and sticking to your vision as a writer/director.

We also answer audience questions on motivation and holding onto hope.

Links:

Rob McElhenney It's Always Sunny: The Gang Tends Bar Rian Johnson Looper Trailer The Last Jedi Trailer Dana Fox John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Find past episodes Outro by Matthew Chilelli (send us yours!)

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

 

298 - How Characters Move  

Craig and John take on a new round of Three Page Challenges. There’s a fat “Elvis,” a bounty hunter White Rabbit, and a guy locked in the trunk of a speeding Mustang.

We also look at how characters move, and how screenwriters can use character movement to their benefit.

Links:

Three Pages by Ted Wilkes Three Pages by Gerald Decker Three Pages by Phillip Rogers Kent Handmade Moustache Comb A Large-Scale Analysis of Technical Support Scams John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Find past episodes Outro by Andres Cantor (send us yours!)

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

 

297 - Free-Agent Franchises  

Craig and John investigate the future of the 007 franchise, script-reading robots, and the realities of overhauling a movie in the editing room.

We also look at another How Would This Be a Movie idea turning into reality.

The live show at ArcLight is a week away and tickets are almost sold out. Get yours now!

Links:

Scriptnotes, Episode 214: Clerks and Recreation French Train Bros Scriptnotes, Episode 232: Fun with Numbers ScriptBook ScriptBook Sample Coverage The Battle for James Bond Passengers, Rearranged Important, Not Important Stephen King Pop Songs Pinball Arcade: The Addams Family John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Find past episodes Outro by Rajesh Naroth (send us yours!)

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

 

296 - Television with Damon Lindelof  

John sits down with Damon Lindelof (Lost, The Leftovers) for a bonus-length discussion of all things TV.

We focus on getting that first job, breaking story, and how writing rooms work. We also answer listener questions ranging from knowing when to let a pilot script die, to crediting original ideas.

Finally, we talk about the notion of Idea Debt, and how to say goodbye to projects you’ll never complete.

Links:

Damon Lindelof The Leftovers: Final Season Trailer Jessica Abel on Idea Debt How I Got Out of Idea Debt by John Sexton Occupied City Girl John Hodgman's Only Child John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Find past episodes Outro by Rajesh Naroth (send us yours!)

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

 

We’re voting yes. But.  

In this special mini-episode, John and Craig talk through the upcoming WGA strike authorization vote — what it actually means, and why they’re both voting yes.

Voting begins Tuesday in person, and Wednesday online.

We also discuss how strike authorization votes are a strange bit of negotiation theater, which Craig in particular would like to see end.

Links:

Scriptnotes, Episode 289: WGA Negotiations 101 WGA Strike Authorization

You can download the episode here.

 

295 - The Return of Malcolm  

Malcolm Spellman returns to help us answer a bunch of listener questions, including the most important one: what’s Malcolm up to? (Warning! Adult language.)

Along the way, topics include sex on screen, bad managers, and thanking the writer.

Tickets for the live show are now sale! Visit Hollywood Heart to get yours.

Links:

Scriptnotes Live Show Tickets The Hatton Garden Job Patrick Lenton's Dog Story MLB The Show 17 Fantastic Negrito Malcolm Spellman on Twitter John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Find past episodes Outro by Jeff Bayson (send us yours!)

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

 

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