Scriptnotes Podcast

By John August and Craig Mazin

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Category: TV & Film

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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
413 - Ready to Write
56:15

John and Craig tackle the question, “How do you know when you’re ready to write a given script?” They propose a list of details a writer should know before diving in, and look at why starting too soon can be a recipe for failure. (So can waiting too long.)

We also discuss the WGA’s “refusal to negotiate” myth and answer questions about rewrites vs polishes, and whether writing a bad script could put you on a Do Not Hire list.

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here

Aug 13, 2019
412 - Writing About Mental Health and Addiction
01:24:42

John moderates Breaking the Stigma, a panel on addiction and mental health with guests Gemma Baker (creator of CBS’s Mom), Dr. Corey Waller (specialist in pain, addiction and emergency medicine), Dr. Holly Daniels (specialist in eating disorders and mental health issues), and journalist Zachary Siegel.

We discuss how addiction and mental health issues are portrayed in film and TV, more authentic ways of telling these stories, and how writers and creators can take care of their own mental health.

Special thanks to our incredible panelists, plus Kate Folb, Marty Kaplan, and the entire team at Hollywood Health and Society!

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here

Aug 06, 2019
411 - Setting it Up with Katie Silberman
01:02:42

John and Craig welcome screenwriter Katie Silberman (Set It Up, Isn’t It Romantic and Booksmart) to discuss writing a two-hander, practicing dialogue, and how she got her start in Hollywood.

We also follow up on ‘liked, not love’ and answer listener questions on character development.

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

Jul 30, 2019
Wikipedia Movies
59:10

ohn and Craig host a new round of How Would This Be a Movie. Instead of three stories in the news, this time they tackle three articles from Wikipedia to look at what you get using just those facts versus using a more detailed article.

We also answer listener questions about real-life subjects, showing your work and applying the Mazin method to television.

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

Jul 23, 2019
409 - I Know You Are, But What Am I?
01:16:11

John and Craig discuss whether and how heroes can understand themselves. Is self-awareness an intrinsic aspect of a character, or something they achieve over the course of the story? Both heroes and villains are often wrestling with their identity. We look at why it’s more difficult (and sometimes more rewarding) to explore these issues in screenwriting than prose fiction.

Then it’s time for another round of the Three Page Challenge, followed by listener questions about meddling actors and producers.

Thanks to everyone who submitted to the Three Page Challenge, especially our participants: Edith Rodriguez, Carolyn Getches, Hilary C. Gish, and Christine Hoang!

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

Jul 16, 2019
408 - Rolling Dice
01:08:26

John and Craig tackle eight topics ranging from WGA negotiations to overlapping dialogue, to John’s new agency.

We also follow up on Better Sex, Chernobyl, and Craig’s solo episode.

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

Jul 09, 2019
407 - Understanding Your Feature Contract
01:12:43

John and Craig are joined by attorney Ken Richman and Laurie Espinosa of the WGA West for a detailed discussion of screenwriting contracts. They look at what to expect, where you can negotiate, and what to watch out for.

Follow along with the example contract on the episode page or here.

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

 
Jul 02, 2019
406 - Better Sex with Rachel Bloom
55:51

John and Craig welcome back longtime friend of the podcast Rachel Bloom (co-creator and star of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend) to discuss how sex and sexuality are portrayed on both the big and small screen. They cover ways to approach sensitive topics in a writers room and the moments we still haven’t seen on screen.

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

Jun 25, 2019
405 - Live at the Ace Hotel
01:10:39

John and Craig host comedy titans Melissa McCarthy (Bridesmaids, The Heat, Spy), Ben Falcone (The Boss, Tammy), Kourtney Kang (Fresh Off the Boat), Rob McElhenney (Always Sunny in Philadelphia), and Alec Berg (Barry, Silicon Valley) onstage to discuss writing jokes, what they look for in a writing partner, and the heartbreak of movie endings.

We also record our first ever Scriptnotes commercial and introduce a new game called ‘Bot or Not.’

Recorded live from the Ace Hotel in Los Angeles. Thanks to Hollywood Heart for organizing this event and to a great audience!

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

Jun 18, 2019
404 - The One with Charlie Brooker
01:22:46

John talks with Charlie Brooker (creator, writer, and executive producer of Black Mirror) about his groundbreaking series and the opportunities and challenges of writing an anthology.

We also touch on the nature of reality, the difficulty of reflecting culture while you influence it, and experimental storytelling.

Our live show is in two days on June 13th, buy your tickets now!

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

Jun 11, 2019
403 - How to Write a Movie
44:24

In a Scriptnotes first, Craig hosts a solo episode presenting his general theory on screenwriting. He covers the central dramatic argument, the ‘why’ behind plot points, and of course, provides some umbrage on common script diagrams.

Good luck, and go torture your heroes!

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

Jun 04, 2019
402 - How Do You Like Your Stakes?
01:00:38

John and Craig discuss stakes, how to create them and what that means for your character. They also talk a little about Aladdin, the Game of Thrones ending, and of course, the agency stuff.

Don’t forget to join us for our live show in Los Angeles on June 13th with special guests including Alec Berg (Barry, Silicon Valley), Rob McElhenney (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia) and Kourtney Kang (Fresh Off the Boat). Tickets are going fast!

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

May 28, 2019
401 - You Got Verve
01:08:05

John and Craig introduce a new segment: The Scriptnotes Pitch Session! They listen to five listeners’ 90-second pitches and share their feedback on substance and style.

We also discuss the implications of Verve signing the WGA agreement and get special insight on an important creative decision in Chernobyl.

Join us for our live show in Los Angeles on June 13th with special guests including Alec Berg (Barry, Silicon Valley) and Rob McElhenney (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia). Tickets are going fast!

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

May 21, 2019
400 - Movies They Don't Make Anymore
01:14:09

John and Craig welcome back writer/director Chris McQuarrie (Valkyrie, Jack Reacher, the last two Mission: Impossibles) to celebrate the 400th episode with a new round of ‘This Kind of Movie.’

Given our success saving the romantic comedy, we focus on other movie genres that aren’t getting made anymore and discuss how to bring them back. From sports comedies to erotic thrillers, we examine the classics of each genre and find ways to approach making these films today.

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

May 14, 2019
399 - Notes on Notes
01:01:01

John and Craig talk to an audience of development executives about the experience of getting notes as a writer. They cover why these conversations kick in our fight or flight responses, how to frame notes through story, and ways to motivate writers towards a creative vision.

We take questions from the audience and discuss ‘the bad pitch,’ likable characters, and how to stay friends with a writer after a breakup.

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

May 07, 2019
398 - The Curated Craft Compendium
55:14

John and Craig present a special clip show with craft-focused segments hand-picked by Aline Brosh Mckenna.

We’ll start by asking ‘Where to Begin?’ in Episode 174 and explore how to enter a story. Then we’ll discuss establishing setting and perspective in episode 45. Finally we’ll take a look at voice and the four rules to creating authentic dialogue.

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

Apr 30, 2019
397 - The Sound Episode
01:08:57

John and Craig welcome back Andrea Berloff (World Trade Center, Straight Outta Compton) to talk all things sound: how it works on the page, on the stage, and in the mixing room. Andrea shares her experience working with sound for her upcoming directing debut, The Kitchen.

We also follow up on WGA developments and deep dive Craig’s feelings on matzah.

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

Apr 23, 2019
396 - Big Numbers
43:25

John and Craig talk big numbers, from the latest developments in the WGA/agency situation, to the announcement of Disney+ and the final installment of the Star Wars non-ology.

We also answer listener questions about writers who aren’t in the guild and how to spend your time writing.

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

Apr 16, 2019
395 - All in this Together
54:08

John and Craig explore the challenge of creating a movie with a group of heroes and multiple points of view. They’ll discuss options for structuring competing storylines, when to check back in with characters, and managing personal versus group stakes.

We also answer listener questions on a bunch of topics including things Craig tweets!

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

 
Apr 09, 2019
394 - Broken but Sympathetic
01:03:39

John and Craig welcome back Can You Ever Forgive Me? director Marielle Heller to discuss the challenge of creating a hero the audience can root for while also establishing that the character must change.

We also answer questions from listeners about conflicting notes, meet-and-greets, and true-life stories.

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

Apr 02, 2019