Scriptnotes Podcast

By John August and Craig Mazin

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Category: TV & Film

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 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
Scriptnotes Live(stream) Show April 4th @ 10am
03:08

Join John and Craig for the Scriptnotes Live(stream) Show, featuring special guests: Ryan Reynolds and Phoebe Waller Bridge, this Saturday, April 4th at 10am PT!

We will talk about writing material as actors, breaking the fourth wall, and of course, things that are interesting to screenwriters.

They will also answer questions live (check for the YouTube link at JohnAugust.com) and play games with listeners. Scriptnotes Premium Members — apply to participate in a game show segment at JohnAugust.com/contestant!

Email ask@johnaugust.come with any questions. Thanks and see you soon!

Apr 01, 2020
444 - Clueless
01:04:57

John and Craig analyze the iconic 1995 comedy Clueless.

A contemporary adaptation of Jane Austen’s Emma set in Beverly Hills, Clueless follows protagonist Cher as she tries to do ‘good’ through make-over montages and match-making attempts. We discuss how the movie sets up the characters in the first ten minutes, why Cher’s voiceover works so well, and how Clueless ushered in a new era of teen movies.

In our bonus segment for premium members, John and Craig share their own experiences learning to drive and how they’re preparing to teach their teenage daughters driving.

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

 
Mar 31, 2020
443 - What We're Up To
01:12:35

John and Craig share their tips for working from home, from writing sprints to taking walks.

We also talk about how the recent shutdowns have affected Pay Up Hollywood, support staff, and what we’re doing about it.

Finally, we hear from Scriptnotes guests and friends about how they are managing this challenging time. Longtime listeners, buckle up.

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

Mar 24, 2020
442 - Stop Counting Pages (and Touching Your Face)
51:42

John and Craig debunk the ‘rule’ that one page of screenplay equals one minute of film. They advise screenwriters on what this could mean for the industry and look forward to a future that moves beyond pages.

We also follow up on our discussion of professional readers (00:02:02) and suggestions for giving your friends feedback. Then, a look at how coronavirus (00:33:11) has impacted Los Angeles and how we’re thinking about the situation.

In our bonus segment (00:51:41), John and Craig debate which 1st level D&D spell we would choose to be able to cast in real life.

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

Mar 17, 2020
441 - Readers
53:08

John and Craig talk about readers — both the friends you’d ask to look at your draft and the folks who professionally analyze scripts. They cover unions, state laws, and why companies should value good coverage.

We also follow up on how to credit improv in scripts, share #PayUpHollywood feedback, and explain if/come deals.

Stay tuned for our bonus segment, when John and Craig discuss their personal and general thoughts on baldness.

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

Mar 10, 2020
440 - Beyond Bars
01:17:47

John moderates a panel discussion on the criminal justice system, incarceration and how to write about them. What’s real, what’s myth, and what stories need to be told? Guests include incarceration policy experts Aly Tamboura and Lovisa Stannow, writer Zach Calig of For Life, and documentarian Dan Birman (Me Facing Life).

Then in our bonus segment (01:17:45), John and Craig discuss coronavirus: what we know, what we should be worried about, and whether crystals will help.

Thank you to Hollywood Health & Society for organizing this event!

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

Mar 03, 2020
439 - How to Grow Old as a Writer
01:06:57

John and Craig talk about how to grow old as a writer, specifically how your relationship with your art and craft can evolve with time.

Then we discuss tips for general meetings (00:26:13), and answer listener questions about character quirks and improv.

Finally, in our bonus segment for Premium Members, Craig discusses his acting debut on the new show Mythic Quest (00:55:55).

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

Feb 25, 2020
438 - How to Listen
01:06:57

John and Craig talk dialogue. How characters speak is an optimized version of real speech — but if you optimize too much you risk making your characters feel artificial. We listen to clips of real conversations to pick out patterns and tendencies you can incorporate to help improve written dialogue.

Then we dive into the mailbag for questions on perspective (48:03), submission agreements (51:40), and best practices for non-WGA writers during a strike (55:58).

In our bonus segment for premium subscribers (1:06:56), we get political and discuss the current state of the Democratic primary.

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

Feb 18, 2020
437 - Other Things Screenwriters Write
47:32

John and Craig discuss the other stuff screenwriters write, from beat sheets to scriptments and everything in between. The differences are sometimes subtle, but each can have value — in the right circumstance.

After that, they dip into the mailbag (24:23) for questions on TV bibles, writing while traveling, and using “I” in titles.

Premium subscribers: stick around for a bonus segment (47:31) on the Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator and how its questions may be useful to screenwriters.

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

Feb 11, 2020
436 - Political Movies
01:10:07

John and Craig welcome back Liz Hannah to talk about her upcoming Netflix movie, All the Bright Places, and Hollywood’s often-frustrating reliance on IP. Particularly with non-fiction stories, has Hollywood warped journalistic ambitions?

All of which serves as setup for another round of How Would This Be a Movie? (00:41:54), where we look at the Jeff Bezos phone hack, Carlos Ghosn, and a romantic political showdown.

In our bonus segment for premium members (01:10:06), we discuss what is and is not okay to do with physical books, and situations where we’re willing to trade pixels for print.

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

Feb 04, 2020
435 - The One with Noah Baumbach
01:14:27

John talks with writer-director Noah Baumbach about his film Marriage Story. With script in hand, we discuss his writing process, handling overlapping dialogue, and how to find balance in a two-hander.

We also answer a listener question about LA vs. New York apartments (01:05:16), and the challenge of making boring things interesting.

In our bonus segment for premium members (01:14:26), Craig returns to discuss escape rooms!

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

Jan 28, 2020
434 - Ambition and Anxiety
01:21:36

John and Craig discuss the difference between ambition and anxiety, and how writers can find a balance. We also follow up on agency developments and a new study that shows the live-action Aladdin is good for your health.

Then we host another round of the Three Page Challenge, this time focusing on establishing the setting. Thank you to all of our participants, especially Janelle B. Gatchalian, Alex Beattie, and Linda Yardley.

And for our Premium Members, John and Craig express their views on gift bags, and in particular coffee mugs.

Special thanks to Bo Shim and Jacq Lesko.

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

Jan 21, 2020
433 - The One with Greta Gerwig
01:08:23

John and Greta Gerwig (writer/director of Little Women and Lady Bird) discuss adaptation, ambition and authorship. With the screenplay in front of them, they look at specific scenes in Little Women and explore how its non-linear timeline changed how the movie works.

We also answer listener questions on writing for the page and starting a family as an aspiring writer.

Craig joins us for the post-credits bonus segment when he shares what it was like winning a Golden Globe for Chernobyl.

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

**UPDATE 1-15-2020**This episode was republished due to a production issue. 

Jan 14, 2020
432 - Learning from Movies
56:45

John and Craig discuss what screenwriters can learn from watching movies. They cover techniques for making the most of the movies they watch and the questions you should be asking afterward.

We also share more advice from listeners about moving to LA and lots of answers FOR listeners who’ve written in with questions.

And for Scriptnotes Premium members, we have a bonus segment discussing The Mandalorian.

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

Jan 07, 2020
128 - Frozen with Jennifer Lee
01:27:44

In the tradition of the Raiders and Little Mermaid episodes, John and guest host Aline Brosh McKenna discuss and dissect the award-winning, record-setting, paradigm-shifting Frozen. But this time, we have the writer on hand to answer our questions.

Jennifer Lee not only wrote Frozen, she co-directed it. She talks us through all the twists, turns, and happy surprises on the journey. We go scene-by-scene and song-by-song to look at how it works and how it changed during development.

It’s an episode full of spoilers. But it’s also totally PG, so if your kids want to listen, let ‘em.

Craig will be back next week with an all-new episode and no recollection of what happened.

*This post originally aired on January 28, 2014

Links:

 

You can download the episode here: AAC | mp3.

UPDATE 2-1-14: The transcript of this episode can be found here.

Dec 31, 2019
296 - Television with Damon Lindelof
01:22:19

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.

This episode originally aired on April 18, 2017.

Links:

 

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

UPDATE 4-24-17: The transcript of this episode can be found here.

Dec 24, 2019
431 - Holiday Live Show 2019
01:28:19

John and Craig welcome Kevin Feige (President of Marvel Studios), Lorene Scafaria (Hustlers, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World), and Shoshannah Stern (This Close, Weeds, Jericho), to discuss creating an early aughts period piece, working with co-writers, and making genre movies out of comic books.

We also introduce Scriptnotes Premium and play games on Real vs. Fake Awards Shows and literal movie quotes. Stay tuned for our bonus segment after the credits when we answer audience questions about the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and creative rituals.

Thank you to the Writers Guild Foundation and the LA Film School for hosting us!

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

Dec 17, 2019
430 - From Broadway to Hollywood
01:04:04

John and guest host Aline Brosh McKenna welcome writer/showrunner Tim Federle (High School Musical: The Musical: The Series) to talk about his path from Broadway to Hollywood and how he came to create his first TV show.

Along the way, we discuss TV musicals, LA vs. New York and pitch decks. We also follow up on the #PayUpHollywood survey results with producer Megana Rao and the new Academy screener app. Stick around after the credits for a special bonus segment about online stan culture.

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

Dec 10, 2019
429 - Cleaning up the Leftovers
01:02:34

John and Craig use Thanksgiving break to finally answer some long-gestating listener questions, ranging from writing television with act breaks to keeping your drafts organized. Plus we’ll look at two moves by the US Justice Department and their impact on screenwriters.

In this week’s bonus segment, we do a meme! We’ll compare and reflect on our beliefs at the start and end of the decade.

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

Dec 03, 2019
Extra - Assistants Townhall
01:15:57

John moderates the first Assistants Town Hall with panelists Liz Alper and Jamarah Hayne from #PayUpHollywood, Allison Begalman from Young Entertainment Activists, and employment attorney Jennifer Kramer. The panel examines the current conditions for assistants in Hollywood, the need to determine an accurate livable wage, and next steps for assistants and employers.

We also open the floor to questions from assistants and viewers from the livestream. This recording is an abridged version of the event, if you’re interested in watching the whole thing please click the link below!

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

Dec 03, 2019