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Each week, screenwriters John August and Craig Mazin discuss screenwriting and things that are interesting to screenwriters, everything from the craft to the business to the best ways to actually get yourself writing.

Each week, screenwriters John August and Craig Mazin discuss screenwriting and things that are interesting to screenwriters, everything from the craft to the business to the best ways to actually get yourself writing.
More Information

Location:

Los Angeles, CA

Description:

Each week, screenwriters John August and Craig Mazin discuss screenwriting and things that are interesting to screenwriters, everything from the craft to the business to the best ways to actually get yourself writing.

Twitter:

@johnaugust

Language:

English


Episodes

346 - Changing the Defaults

4/17/2018
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John sits down with screenwriter Christina Hodson to discuss race, gender, and representation in Hollywood, and how screenwriters can help correct the status quo with the one thing they can control: the words on the page. We tackle the nuances of designating race for open-ethnicity characters, the assumption of whiteness, the pros and cons of feature writers rooms and the promise of inclusion riders. We also answer a listener question about why some movies are timeless and some feel dated...

Duration:01:03:00

345 - Love, Aptaker & Berger

4/10/2018
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John and Craig welcome Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger, the writing team that showruns This Is Us and just made history with Love, Simon. We discuss their experience of breaking into the industry, writing with a partner, running a hit show, adapting YA novels for the screen, and the broccoli/marinara/pudding meals that got them here. Links: * Thanks for joining us, Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger! * Love, Simon is in theaters now! Isaac and Elizabeth also run This Is Us on NBC. *...

Duration:01:05:44

344 - Comedy Geometry

4/3/2018
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Craig welcomes Alec Berg, executive producer of two current HBO comedies (Barry and Silicon Valley), to discuss balancing productivity and creative energy, “comedy geometry,” and identifying as a craftsman rather than an artist. We also answer listener questions about committing to a genre, the necessity of act breaks, and how much writers actually get to keep of their paycheck. Links: * Thanks for joining us, Alec Berg! Check out his credits. * Barry is now on HBO! * Silicon Valley...

Duration:00:54:05

343 - The One with the Indie Producer

3/27/2018
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John welcomes independent producer Keith Calder to discuss what a producer actually does, how financing and distribution strategies have changed with streaming, and how to approach film festivals as a filmmaker. We also answer a listener question about which career path to take after being laid-off: climb the Hollywood ladder or bootstrap and just make films. Links: * Thanks for joining us, Keith Calder! You can check out his website and wikipedia page. * Blindspotting comes out this...

Duration:01:00:24

342 - Getting Paid for It

3/20/2018
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John and Craig delve into the business of screenwriting from money to managers to medical plans. We answer listener questions about collecting unemployment, registering as a corporation, firing a rep, quitting your day job and handling the anxiety that comes with such an uncertain career path. Links: * Alto’s Odyssey * An ambiguously threatening advertisement for British pork from 1984 * Champions on NBC, created by Charlie Grandy and Mindy Kaling, directed by Michael Spiller * The...

Duration:01:09:29

341 - Knowing vs. Discovering

3/13/2018
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John and Craig consider how much a writer should know before going into a scene, looking at the perks and pitfalls of planning and letting oneself discover. We also discuss taking notes from producers and executives. When should you stand your ground? When should you accommodate? What if it’s an excellent drawing of an elephant that’s been eaten by a snake? Links: * The Little Prince’s elephant inside a snake, not a hat. * Alto’s Odyssey * Everybody Wants to Be Famous by...

Duration:01:05:08

340 - What's the Plan, Anyway?

3/6/2018
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John and Craig speculate what Luke Skywalker’s plan might have been in the opening of Return of the Jedi. They consider heroes’ plans generally, the allowance we grant as an audience for opening sequences and the foul taste of “logic ketchup.” We then engage in a long-awaited Three Page Challenge, focusing on scripts that play with point of view. Links: * We Dare You To Explain Luke’s Plan To Rescue Han In ‘Return of the Jedi’ by Mike Ryan for Uproxx * Three Pages by Jay Emcee *...

Duration:01:07:33

339 - Mostly Terrible People

2/27/2018
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John and Craig evaluate another set of exceptional news stories for their fitness for the big screen in this week’s How Would This Be a Movie? We consider stories about counterfeit debt collectors, the worst roommate ever (beside’s Craig college roommate), the girl who posed as a grown man online and began exhibiting genuine symptoms of toxic masculinity, a family that fights to preserve their daughter after she’s been declared brain dead, and a cruise ship that descends into...

Duration:01:21:25

338 - We're Back, Baby

2/20/2018
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John and Craig reunite to answer our backlog of listener questions. We follow up on what it means to utilize white space on a page, the conventions of musical numbers, the value of a victory lap, and what the hypothetical destruction of Los Angeles would mean for the industry. We also answer listener questions on the rules of awards voting, what to consider when writing a proof-of-concept short for a feature, and what to do when a deadline approaches and the script just isn’t...

Duration:01:06:45

337 - The One with Stephen Schiff

2/13/2018
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John is joined by The Americans’ executive producer Stephen Schiff at a live Scriptnotes taping in New York! They discuss grounding an outrageous premise in character, suspension of disbelief, premium act breaks, and writing for a foreign language. We also answer audience questions about New York writers rooms, expert consultants, expecting comparisons, first drafts, and how to write a period piece when history is full of spoilers. Links: * Stephen Schiff currently works on The...

Duration:00:49:07

65 - The Next 117 Pages

2/6/2018
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John and Craig talk about everything that comes after the oft-discussed First Three Pages, speculating on the kinds of issues they’d spot if they were looking at full scripts. They also answer listener questions on topics ranging from proper spacing protocol to novelists rewriting their screenplay adaptations. This episode originally aired on November 27, 2012. LINKS: * Scriptnotes T-shirts are available for one more week, including some old favorite styles, like Gold Standard and...

Duration:01:04:54

336 - Call Me by Your Name

1/30/2018
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John and Aline welcome Peter Spears, producer of Call Me by Your Name, to discuss how the film came to be, from optioning the novel through its long development and multiple roadblocks. Through the lens of Call Me by Your Name, we discuss the difficulties of preproduction for an indie film, the process of securing book rights, the opportunities that adaptation presents, and what this movie means in the Hollywood landscape. Links: * Thanks to Peter Spears for joining us! * Read the...

Duration:01:02:03

335 - Introducing Launch

1/23/2018
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John and Craig introduce Launch, John’s new podcast about making a book. Over the course of six episodes, the series tracks the process of writing and shipping a novel, from idea to printing. The first two episodes are available today, with new episodes coming each Tuesday. Not to worry — Scriptnotes isn’t going anywhere. We’ll have new episodes on Tuesdays as well. Subscribe to Launch today: http://wondery.fm/launch Links: * Subscribe to Launch at http://wondery.fm/launch or wherever...

Duration:00:36:33

334 - Worst Case Scenarios

1/16/2018
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John and Craig ponder worst case scenarios that might usher the end of screenwriting as we know it. What are the odds that screenwriters lose work because an economic crash keeps movies from getting made? That screenwriting gets outsourced? That human screenwriters are replaced by AI? That film as a medium gets replaced? That the WGA falls apart? We also answer listener questions about communicating with actors and waiting on optioned IP to get produced. Links: * Wonder, adapted from RJ...

Duration:01:10:53

333 - The End of the Beginning

1/9/2018
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John and Craig tackle that tricky stretch of screenplay between crystalizing what the story is going to be and the protagonist actually embarking upon it: the end of Act 1. We also answer listener questions about writing for new media, why working outside of a WGA contract hurts everyone, what people want when asking for a “writing sample,” and adapting novels without the rights. Links: * Bathe in my Milk and the NY Post article about it. * The Apple Pencil works pretty well! You can...

Duration:01:11:20

332 - Wait for It

1/2/2018
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John and Craig discuss suspense and its function in all genres, from thrillers to romcoms. They examine suspense of the known and of the unknown and the techniques available to construct it. We also answer listeners questions about registering scripts with the WGA, how to overcome creative paralysis and unconventional sluglines. Links: * The WGA’s page regarding sexual harassment * The Wedding Planner, Die Hard, Three’s Company, Man Up, and the old ketchup commercials are great...

Duration:01:12:09

331 - We Had the Same Idea

12/26/2017
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John and Craig offer advice to those who suspect their work has been stolen, providing a checklist to help determine if a claim has merit and suggestions for how to best proceed if it does. We also answer listener questions about taxes on agent commission, being a conservative voice in a writers’ room, and using real celebrities as characters. Links: * Firelight, the How Could This Be A Movie that is, indeed, a movie * Amazon’s deal for The Lord of the Rings TV rights * Amanda Hess’...

Duration:01:17:17

330 - A Cop's Cop Show

12/19/2017
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John and Craig give notes on a pilot script by our Homecoming Live Show Winner, Andrew Thalheimer. The Harrows is an hour-long police drama that centers on the relationship between a straight-laced new recruit and his street-wise father after they are assigned to be each other’s partner. In talking through The Harrows, we discuss the limits of suspension of disbelief, the importance of the central relationship, and the need to set up your series early. Huge thank you to Andrew, who has...

Duration:00:53:01

329 - Five-Star Podnerships

12/12/2017
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John and Craig discuss showrunning, remaking existing IP, staffing, and fan behavior with Julie Plec (Vampire Diaries, The Originals), Michael Green (Bladerunner 2049, American Gods, Murder on the Orient Express, Logan), and Justin Marks (Jungle Book, Counterpart). In light of the big Fox/Disney merger, we contemplate which other podcasts we should consider teaming with to preserve our market share and bottom line. We also take a look at some questionable five star reviews. Recorded with...

Duration:01:23:36

328 - Pitching Television, or Being a Passionate Widget

12/5/2017
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John and Craig share their insight into pitching for television. How is it different that pitching features? How do express your passion for the project? How do you avoid being a Willy Loman pitching to a Willy Loman? (Sometimes you don’t.) We also follow-up on the conversation about sexual harassment, with a focus on how men, bosses, and unions can work to make a safer, more comfortable workplace for everyone. Reminder that the Scriptnotes Holiday Live Show is this Thursday in...

Duration:01:05:24

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