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
422 - Assistants Aren’t Paid Nearly Enough
01:07:04

John and Craig tackle the issue of assistant pay in Hollywood. Last week they called for assistants to share how much they were getting paid and the impact of those wages. They received a record number of responses highlighting the inequities in the industry. Using these emails, they take a look at the biggest issues with current pay and the challenges ahead.

We also discuss videogame writing, spec features, and thesauri.

Thank you to all of the Hollywood assistants who wrote in for this episode!

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here

Oct 15, 2019
421 - Follow Upisode
59:58
Oct 08, 2019
420 - The One with Seth Rogen
56:03

John and Craig welcome writer/actor/producer/director Seth Rogen (Superbad, Knocked Up, Good Boys) to the podcast. They discuss Seth’s writing process, evolving with a creative partner, and the cinematic origins of 420.

Seth then joins them for another edition of How Would This Be a Movie? looking at stories ranging from corruption, cattle mutilation, and geriatric thieves.

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here

Oct 01, 2019
Extra - What's it like to win an Emmy?
23:25

John and Craig discuss Craig’s experience winning two Emmys this week.

Sep 24, 2019
419 - Professionalism
01:01:24

John and Craig discuss topics ranging from the Emmys to elections, professionalism to patronage, along with the state of #MeToo. We also answer listener questions on credits and ask for your thoughts on potential changes to our premium subscriptions.

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here

Sep 24, 2019
418 - The One with David Koepp
01:05:24

John and Craig welcome legendary screenwriter David Koepp (Jurassic Park, Death Becomes Her, Carlito’s Way, Mission: Impossible, Spider-Man and Panic Room) to talk about adaptations, embargoes, books and the modern blockbuster, which David has had an outsized role in shaping.

We also cover exposition in science fiction and how action writing has evolved over the last twenty years.

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

Sep 17, 2019
417 - Idea Management
01:10:03

John and Craig welcome back Aline Brosh McKenna to tackle the issue of idea management. What do you do with all those half-formed ideas and how do you decide which ones to pursue? They share best practices and their approach to middle-of-the-night inspiration.

We’ll also discuss how screenwriters quotes are determined and answer some listener questions.

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

Sep 10, 2019
416 - Fantasy Worldbuilding
01:03:02

John and Craig welcome Alison Luhrs, a senior narrative designer at Wizards of the Coast to talk about fantasy world-building as a profession. It is a great conversation about what is probably a lot of listeners’ dream job.

We also follow up on the WGA elections, John’s decision to cast a blind actress, and the universality of ice-cream truck wars.

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here

Sep 03, 2019
415 - The Veep Episode
54:36

John and Craig welcome Julia Louis-Dreyfus and David Mandel, two of the executive producers of HBO’s award-winning comedy series Veep. They discuss the writing process from blue-sky brainstorming to the final edit, how the show has evolved over the seasons, and striking the right tone during an unpredictable political climate.

We also take a look at why unlikeable characters are important for conflict and what we can take away from the ending of Seinfeld.

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here

Aug 27, 2019
414 - Mushroom Powder
01:03:52

John and Craig host How Would This Be a Movie with four stories in the news covering ice-cream truck wars, female rangers, con-artists, and deadly in-laws, imagining how they could become feature films.

We also answer listener questions about narrators, personal crises, and song titles.

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here

Aug 20, 2019
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