Episodes

  • Scriptnotes Voice: Snitching on Sexism

    · 00:09:53 · Scriptnotes Podcast

    Daley Haggar shares her experience in the writers room. Originally posted on Lenny Letter. Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download this Scriptnotes Voice here.

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  • 321 - Getting Stuff Written

    · 00:56:10 · Scriptnotes Podcast

    John welcomes Grant Faulkner, Executive Director of NaNoWriMo and author of Pep Talks for Writers, to discuss the writing process and how to get out of your own way creatively. We explore the ubiquity of the Other Syndrome and the perils of envy. We also look at pen names, “throw-away writing,” and the advantages of being a beginner. Links: * Grant Faulkner’s website and Wikipedia entry. * Pep Talks for Writers by Grant Faulkner is available here. * You can participate in NaNoWriMo, too! * I’m Your Man: The Life of Leonard Cohen by Sylvie Simmons * The Last Invention of Man: How AI might take over the world by Max Tegmark * The Scriptnotes Listeners’ Guide! * The USB drives! * John August on Twitter * Grant Faulkner 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.

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  • 320 - Should You Give Up?

    · 01:02:31 · Scriptnotes Podcast

    John and Craig attempt to answer the question that many aspiring screenwriters dare not ask aloud: when -- if ever -- is the right time to give up on the dream of becoming a working screenwriter? Relatedly, is it okay to omit “aspiring” when describing oneself as a screenwriter? How do you ask friends for career help without burning bridges? Is that criminal record a problem? We also address listener questions about why the Paramount Decree isn’t an issue for streaming services, plus working with auteurs, and formatting car chases. Thanks for sending us examples of Exposition News! Links: * CPG Grey’s video, channel, and website * Exposition News on Arrested Development, Community, The Simpsons, and Shaun of the Dead * The BBC adds Nigerian Pidgin * Google’s Pixel Buds, or the real-life Babel Fish * 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.  

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  • 212 - Diary of a First-Time Director

    · 01:06:08 · Scriptnotes Podcast

    John and Craig sit down with Marielle Heller, the writer and director of the acclaimed feature The Diary of a Teenage Girl, to talk about the journey of getting her movie made, from optioning the novel to the Sundance Labs through production. We discuss sex scenes and ’70s wallpaper, anamorphic lenses and leaving subplots on the cutting room floor. Plus there’s a lot of MacGruber. This episode originally aired August 25, 2015. Links: * Scriptnotes and a live Three Page Challenge will be at the 2017 Austin Film Festival * Submit for the Three Page Challenge * Marielle Heller on IMDb * The Diary of a Teenage Girl official site and the trailer * The Diary of a Teenage Girl, Revised Edition by Phoebe Gloeckner * Scriptnotes, 121: My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend’s Screenwriter, with Mike Birbiglia * Sundance Institute Feature Film Program * Director of Photography Brandon Trost on Wikipedia * Rotoscoping on Wikipedia * Mari Heller on NPR’s Fresh Air * VHS Camcorder * I’m Sorry I Didn’t Respond to Your Email, My Husband Coughed to Death Two Years Ago by Rachel Ward * The Wonder Weeks App * The Scriptnotes Listeners’ Guide! * The USB drives will be available again in a few days! * John August on Twitter * Craig Mazin on Twitter * John on Instagram * Find past episodes * Outro by Jack Mazin (send us yours!) Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.  

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  • 319 - Movies Dodged a Bullet

    · 01:12:03 · Scriptnotes Podcast

    John and Craig speculate about why the film industry fared better in the transition to digital while the music industry struggled. We also follow up on the WGA elections, hearing John’s priorities as a new board member. Lured back into the intrigue of MoviePass, we discuss new information on this business model. Then it’s another installment of the Three Page Challenge, in which we discuss listener-submitted pages of their screenplays. Finally, we answer the most provocative of listener-questions: how do you name your files? Links: * WGA Section of johnaugust.com * I’m Joining the WGA Board * CEO Mitch Lowe Pulls Back The Curtain On MoviePass And Explains Its Economics from Forbes, by Rob Cain * Three Pages by Steven Wood * Three Pages by Elizabeth Boston * Three Pages by Dan Pavlik * Submit for the Three Page Challenge * Austin Film Festival * Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney * Meet Cute - Short Film on Indiewire * The Scriptnotes Listeners’ Guide! * The USB drives will be available again in a few days! * 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.  

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  • 318 - Writing Other Things

    · 01:06:12 · Scriptnotes Podcast

    John and Craig welcome back Aline Brosh McKenna to talk about writing projects outside the familiar constraints of screenwriting. We discuss the surprises and adjustments involved in the creative processes of different media: Aline’s graphic novel Jane, Craig’s HBO miniseries Chernobyl, and John’s original song, “Rise.” We also dig into why screenwriters sometimes need to be amateurs again. Then we answer listener questions about making fair deals as someone in a different country, and how best to read one’s script before rewriting. Links: * Submit to the Three Page Challenge and check the box if you’ll be in Austin for the Austin Film Festival * The new season of Crazy Ex Girlfriend premieres Friday October 13th * John Gatins’ IMDb * Order Aline Brosh McKenna’s new graphic novel, Jane * Ramón K. Pérez’s website, twitter and graphic novel, Jim Henson’s Tale of Sand * “Rise” composer Sam Davis’ website * The Original Melody, John’s Snap Track, and the demo track with vocalist Curt Hansen for “Rise” * Or you can check out this post for more details about “Rise” * Mark Halpin Puzzles * Insecure on HBO * Out on the Wire by Jessica Abel * The Scriptnotes Listeners’ Guide! * The USB drives! * John August on Twitter * Craig Mazin on Twitter * Aline Brosh McKenna on Twitter * John on Instagram * Find past episodes * Outro by John August (lyrics) and Sam Davis (music) (send us yours!) Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.  

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  • 317 - First Day on the Job

    · 01:00:13 · Scriptnotes Podcast

    Craig and John debut a new segment: This Kind of Scene, looking at how different movies handle similar situations. The Hudsucker Proxy, The Devil Wears Prada, Hidden Figures and Training Day all need to introduce their heroes to their new workplaces. We examine how those scenes work, both on the page and on screen. We then discuss what it means to write for an international market, and determine what a “therapy piece” is and how to avoid writing one. We also follow up on our discussion from episode 310 on the WGA deal and explore why animation writers aren’t included in the WGA. Links: The Academy Nicholl Fellowships The Hudsucker Proxy on Wikipedia and the full script. Our scene in The Hudsucker Proxy, and in the script The Devil Wears Prada on Wikipedia, and the full script. Our first scene in The Devil Wears Prada, and in the script Our second scene in The Devil Wears Prada, and in the script Hidden Figures on Wikipedia, and the full script. Our scene from Hidden Figures, and in the script. Training Day on Wikipedia, and the full script. Our scene from Training Day, and in the script. Sword Guys Are a Thing and I’ve Had Sex With All of Them by Hana Michels for The Cut 3,700-Year-Old Babylonian Stone Tablet Gets Translated, Changes History by Collin Gosell for Distractify 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.  

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  • 316 - Distracted Boyfriend Is All of Us

    · 00:55:01 · Scriptnotes Podcast

    John and Craig dive into another round of How Would This Be a Movie, looking at stories (and memes!) from around the world to figure out which ones might lend themselves to big-screen treatment. Will it be the forgotten French spy from World War II? The repentant racist in Arkansas? The fake male founder exposing startup sexism? Or should it be the monthlong meth trip in the Alabama woods? Help us decide. Plus, we follow up on how MoviePass actually works, and why their business model shares so many similarities with early Netflix. Reminders! It’s WGA election season so be sure to cast your ballots. Plus, Big Fish is coming to London in November. You can find links to both below. Links: Cast your ballot in the WGAw Officers and Board of Directors election Get your tickets now for this November and December’s London run of Big Fish: The Musical Gizmodo on Why MoviePass’s Crazy Cheap Subscription Just Might Work Abraham Davis’s story on The Daily and in The New York Times William Grimes on Jeannie Rousseau de Clarens The Distracted Boyfriend Meme in Wired, The Guardian, Vox, Business Insider and the “movie trailer” from Vulture The New York Post on the woman lost in woods who survived on ‘berries and mushrooms’ for a month, and follow up from The Sacramento Bee and The Daily Mail Famed Inventor Says He Buried Reporter ‘At Sea’ After His Homemade Sub Sank on NPR Fast Company on Witchsy’s two female founders and their fake male cofounder The new 7,541-piece Lego Millennium Falcon is the biggest and most expensive set ever The Living New Deal map 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.

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  • 315 - Big Screens, Big Money

    · 01:01:42 · Scriptnotes Podcast

    John and Craig offer a 101 on how movies make money at theaters, and why a 1948 Supreme Court case changed everything. Then we look at two recent disruptions to the standard model: Movie Pass and Soderbergh’s Logan Lucky. We also answer listener questions on waiting periods and creative rights. Links: The WGF 2nd Annual Texas Hold ’Em Tournament is on Friday, October 20th Tuff Turf and The Warriors on Wikipedia USC’s Peter Stark Producing Program United States v. Paramount Pictures, Inc. on Wikipedia The National Association of Theater Owners and CinemaCon (formerly ShoWest) on Wikipedia The Wrap asks, Is MoviePass’ $10 Monthly Subscription Deal Too Good to Be True? With ‘Logan Lucky,’ Soderbergh Hopes to Change Film’s Business Model from The New York Times Party of One by Dave Holmes Hellblade, and on Steam 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.

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  • 314 - Unforgiven

    · 01:11:19 · Scriptnotes Podcast

    Craig and John take a deep dive into 1992’s Unforgiven, looking at how the David Webb Peoples script works on the page and on the screen. In the links below, you’ll find the PDF of the script we’re using. It’s also available in Weekend Read. Links: Where to watch Unforgiven, and on IMDb and Wikipedia The Unforgiven script Weekend Read Past deep dives on The Addams Family, Ghost, Groundhog Day, Frozen, The Little Mermaid and Raiders of the Lost Ark Tuff Turf on Wikipedia 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.  

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  • 313 - Well, It Worked in the 80s

    · 00:59:26 · Scriptnotes Podcast

    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.

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  • 312 - The Magic Word Is In This Episode

    · 00:55:37 · Scriptnotes Podcast

    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.

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  • 311 - Scriptnotes Live Homecoming Show

    · 01:05:53 · Scriptnotes Podcast

    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 July 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.

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  • 310 - What’s in the WGA Deal

    · 01:15:10 · Scriptnotes Podcast

    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.

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  • 309 - Logic and Gimmickry

    · 01:04:06 · Scriptnotes Podcast

    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.

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  • 308 - Chekhov's Ladder

    · 01:14:11 · Scriptnotes Podcast

    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! Addams Family on Netflix 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.

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  • 307 - Teaching Your Heroes to Drive

    · 00:59:54 · Scriptnotes Podcast

    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 Scriptnotes 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.  

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  • 306 - DRAMA!

    · 00:59:32 · Scriptnotes Podcast

    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.  

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  • 305 - Forever Young and Stupid

    · 01:04:03 · Scriptnotes Podcast

    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.  

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  • 304 - Location Is Where It's At

    · 01:00:28 · Scriptnotes Podcast

    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.  

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