Scriptnotes Podcast

By John August and Craig Mazin

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Category: TV & Film

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Subscribers: 1285
Reviews: 1


 Oct 7, 2019

Description

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.

Episode Date
490 - Secrets and Lies
59:57

John and Craig investigate the cyclical relationship between secrets and lies. They discuss character motivations for lying and how the tension of a secret can hold a story together. To illustrate the discussion, John invites Craig to solve our first-ever How Would This Be a Movie mystery, the Case of the Fatherless Child.

We also talk about the dreaded “why now?” note, the questionable wisdom of “you either have it or you don’t,” and whether we are team PRE-LAP.

Finally in the bonus segment for premium members, we discuss travel and our plans post-pandemic.

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

Mar 02, 2021
489 - Kingdom of Cringe
01:10:53

John and Craig tackle the growing mailbag to answer listener questions on writing uncomfortable scenes, options vs. sales, and portraying internet stories on screen.

We also follow up on screenwriting structure and address what’s missing in text messages on television.

Finally in our bonus segment for premium members, we offer advice on living in small towns versus big cities.

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

Feb 23, 2021
488 - What Actually Happened in the Agency Battle
01:21:18

John and Craig take a look back at the WGA-Agency campaign, revisiting the initial assumptions, what went right, what went wrong, and what lessons were learned. Then they finally decode the encrypted USB drive John handed Craig a year ago.

We also follow up on social media and answer listener questions on cold feet and how screenwriters take vacations.

In our bonus segment for premium members, we offer advice to our 20-year-old selves.

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

Feb 16, 2021
487 - Getting Staffed in 2021
01:08:09

John and Craig debate best practices for writers looking to staff for television rooms–including whether you should be on social media and how to approach a showrunner meeting.

We also take a look at the GameStop story and discuss whether and how this should be a movie. Then Liz Alper and Jamarah Hayner join us to discuss the impact of covid shutdowns on assistants.

Finally in our bonus segment for premium members, we share our awkward dating stories.

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

Feb 09, 2021
486 - Sexy Ghosts of Chula Vista
01:13:00

John and Craig discuss how screenwriters use irony to build tension and texture, and why the term should be freed from its pedantic literary shackles.

Then it’s another round of the Three Page Challenge, where we look at the first three pages of listener-submitted scripts ranging from multidimensional ghost stories to erotic pleasure principles. We also follow up on ethical female characters and why Craig left Twitter.

Finally in our bonus segment for premium members, we discuss money and the return on happiness.

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

Feb 02, 2021
485 - Unions and Guilds
01:08:05

John and Craig explain Hollywood’s guilds and unions. They cover the history, the challenges, and their hopes for the future.

We also look at character alignments and whether it’s helpful for writers to chart out their character’s traits. We follow up on eight sequence structure and mockable IP and Throughout the episode, Craig tries to solve the mystery of John’s sweet fingers.

Finally, in our bonus segment for premium members, we talk about the screenwriting guru turned Qanon leader.

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

Jan 26, 2021
484 - Time Lords
53:48

John and Craig look at how writers manipulate time on macro and micro levels, and the impact of these choices on narrative. We then share our strategies for compressing, twisting, and trimming time in scripts.

We also discuss continuous dialogue, subtext and which kinds of stories are best suited for animation.

Finally in our bonus segment for premium members, we explore which moments in time we’d choose to visit if time travel were an option.

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

Jan 19, 2021
483 - Philosophy for Screenwriters
01:07:08

John and Craig discuss their personal philosophies and how writers can approach philosophical questions in terms of theme (central dramatic question) and character (moral codes and motivation).

Then we cover virtual pitches and listener questions on eight-sequence structure and how to read a script. We also follow up on the agency campaign, failed insurrections, and bad IP.

Finally in our bonus segment for premium members, we revisit our disagreement in episode 481 about whether it’s okay to lie.

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

Jan 12, 2021
482 - Batman and Beowulf
46:07

John and Craig explore Batman’s strange and unique position as a fantasy of American frontier justice and how filmmakers have approached this IP. Then they invite author Maria Dahvana Headley to discuss the original Dark Knight — Beowulf — and why these odd heroes continue to resonate with modern audiences.

We also answer listener questions on using pen names, whether the coolest plot can save a weak character, and John’s Eagle Scout project.

In our bonus segment for premium members, John tells Craig about the Batman trailer he wrote 20 years ago and they discuss what heroes they’d like to write.

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

Jan 05, 2021
481 - Random Advice 2020
01:12:24

John and Craig welcome back writer/producer Nichelle Tramble Spellman (Truth Be Told, The Good Wife) to share wisdom on listener questions that are interesting but unrelated to screenwriting.

We discuss how to know if you’re marrying the right person, open relationships, and how to deal with being the ‘starter’ girlfriend. We also cover jealousy, laughter, the ethics of lying to the Red Cross, and disappointing Secret Santas.

Finally, in our bonus segment for premium members we discuss that Martin Shkreli article and how it would be a movie.

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

Dec 29, 2020
480 - The Wedding Episode
01:03:41

Craig and John talk movie weddings with special guest Aline Brosh McKenna. We look at the tropes, the challenges and the unique opportunities wedding scenes provide.

We also look at the agreement between the WGA and CAA, and answer listener questions about writing the weather and bombing a pitch.

And in our bonus segment for premium members, we discuss our post-vaccination hopes and plans.

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

Dec 22, 2020
479 - On Losing A Parent
56:32

John and Craig talk about losing a parent on screen and in real life, with a look at the emotional journey and some practical advice for navigating the experience.

We also discuss updates to the Warner Bros announcement, tips for managing idea scraps, and answer listener questions about when to discuss paid versus spec writing and slow-to-respond producers.

In our bonus segment for premium subscribers, we talk power, including Craig’s controversial opinions on nuclear energy and the staggering price drops in solar.

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

Dec 15, 2020
11 - How Movie Money Works, Rebroadcast
44:29

John and Craig discuss the trend of studios releasing movies straight to streaming by revisiting an old discussion on movie accounting.

We cover above the line and below the line costs, how distribution fees work, and why all this is important to screenwriters.

Finally, in our newly recorded bonus segment we discuss the 2020 Macs and the future of computing.

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

Dec 08, 2020
478 - The One Hour Drama
58:46

John welcomes writer-producers Dailyn Rodriguez (Queen of the South, Ugly Betty) and Chad Gomez Creasey (NCIS: New Orleans, Castle) to talk about writing network dramas and production during a pandemic.

We answer listener questions on act breaks, politics on tv, and sustainable story engines.

Finally, in our bonus segment for premium members we discuss ‘ambient television’ and our favorite comfort-shows.

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

Dec 01, 2020
477 - Counting Clowns
01:07:03

John and Craig host another round of the Three Page Challenge. This week they cover how to use voice over, build suspense, and write alter egos for the screen.

In follow up, we look at the day-and-date release of Wonder Woman 1984, updates in the WGA agency negotiations and of course the newly announced Uno game show.

Finally, in our bonus segment for premium members we discuss autobiographies and what we’d include in our own.

Thank you to all our Three Page Challenge participants!

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

Nov 24, 2020
476 - The Other Senses
01:00:24

John and Craig welcome back writer-director Scott Frank (Out of Sight, Minority Report, Godless) to discuss his new series The Queen’s Gambit and writing scenes that use senses beyond just sight and sound.

We also answer listener questions on Voice Over narration and researching versus writing for a period piece.

Finally, in our bonus segment for premium members we discuss Thanksgiving and a few things we’re grateful for this year.

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

Nov 17, 2020
475 - The One with Eric Roth
01:21:41

John welcomes legendary screenwriter Eric Roth (Forrest Gump, A Star is Born, Dune) to discuss his writing practice and how he gets in the head of his characters.

We answer audience questions on how to trust your voice and approach adaptations.

Finally, in our bonus segment for premium members John and Craig discuss election night and the days after. Like we did after the 2016 election, we’re including the bonus segment on the main feed this week. (Note: This was recorded on Friday before the final states were called.)

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

Nov 10, 2020
474 - The Calm One
50:20

John and Craig explore quiet scenes of reflection and why these calm moments between big set pieces are so meaningful to characters and viewers.

We also help a writer figure out how to pitch to his agent and answer listener questions.

Finally, in our bonus segment for premium members, we talk about dogs.

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

 

Nov 03, 2020
473 - I Regret My Quibi Tattoo
01:04:16

John and Craig reflect on Quibi, the short-lived short-form video company that announced its end. They talk about what happened and prognosticate wildly about the future of the entertainment industry.

We also consider movie ideas to replace the Slinky movie and answer lots of listener questions.

Finally, in our bonus segment for premium members, we discuss scary movies.

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

Oct 27, 2020
472 - Emotional States
59:45

Craig and John get emotional. They look at characters’ inner emotional states–why they matter and how to approach them as writers.

We also examine the state of feature residuals and answer a listener question about how long you should wait before turning in your work.

Finally, in our bonus segment for premium members, we’ll talk Jeopardy! Our friend Kevin Walsh is the current champion, and we hope not to jinx him by discussing it.

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

Oct 20, 2020
179 - The Conflict Episode, Rebroadcast
01:08:30

Craig and John discuss conflict — why it’s bad in real life but essential in screenwriting. We define six forms of conflict common in movies, then look at ways to sustain conflict within a scene and throughout a story.

We also look briefly at Whiplash, both the conflict between its two main characters and the controversy over whether it should be considered an original or an adapted screenplay.

And in an all-new bonus segment for premium members, we discuss our relationships with the teachers in our lives.

This episode originally aired on January 13, 2015 here.

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

Oct 13, 2020