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
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
393 - Twenty Questions About the Agency Agreement
45:43

John welcomes WGA negotiation committee members Chris Keyser and Angelina Burnett to answer listener questions on what’s happening and what to expect. They offer insight into the history of the issues and new tools the Guild is rolling out for staffing season.

We also follow up on the Disney/Fox 2000 merger, why we won’t be saying ‘baby writers’ anymore, and upcoming meeting dates for the WGA.

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

Mar 26, 2019
392 - The Final Moment
01:02:15

John and Craig examine the final moment in movies, what they do and why they change so often.

We also take on vaccines, corruption, and extreme weather in another installment of ‘How Would This be a Movie’ and follow up on important upcoming meetings for the WGA.

Links:

 

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

Mar 19, 2019
391 - When It's All Said and Done
57:00

John and Craig welcome back Aline Brosh McKenna to talk about what she learned producing four seasons of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. Aline shares the importance of trusting your gut, building school spirit, and empowering the voices around you.

We’ll also talk about Emma Thompson, agency-affiliated producers, and more.

Links:

Mar 12, 2019
390 - Getting Staffed
01:08:26

John and Craig proudly welcome back former Scriptnotes producer Megan McDonnell to tell her journey from film student to getting staffed on her first television show.

We then review a batch of Three Page Challenge submissions, covering how to keep your audience engaged, build tension, and earn interesting characters. Plus, follow up on the WGA and recent Bones ruling.

Thank you to our Three Page Challenge participants, and special thanks to Megan McDonnell for all of your work on Scriptnotes!

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

Mar 05, 2019
389 - The Future of the Industry
01:12:02

John and Craig invite back Chris Keyser, co-chair of the WGA’s 2019 Agency Agreement negotiating committee, to discuss the issues. Specifically, they look at the difference between “packaging” and “packaging fees,” and the impact of agencies acting as writers’ employers.

John then welcomes Michelle Satter to introduce Co//ab, the new online community from Sundance. Michelle shares how they’ve made Sundance digitally accessible and what she looks for in applicants to its prestigious labs.

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

Feb 26, 2019
388 - The Clown Stays in the Picture
01:02:53

John welcomes Matt Selman, executive producer of The Simpsons, for a deep dive look at the three-year process of developing a single episode from initial idea to the finished product. We discuss the role of the writers room, the table read, producer notes, animatics, and the impact computer animation has had on The Simpsons workflow.

Set in the 90’s, “The Clown Stays in the Picture” spoofs high concept comedies, artist narcissism, creative insecurity, and the magic of movie-making.

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

Feb 19, 2019
Scriptnotes, 387: Seattle Live Show 2019
01:15:45

John and Craig head north to host Scriptnotes Live in Seattle. They welcome Emily Zulauf to discuss the process of pitching projects at Pixar, creating stories with heart out of pure misery, and when to admit you “don’t have it” and start over.

We also hold our own Open Writing Assignment and play a game with the audience to create two new movie pitches. Then we answer questions about theme and why you should move to LA.

Thank you to the Northwest Screenwriters Guild and TheFilmSchool for hosting us!

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

Feb 12, 2019
Extra: The Agency Agreement
01:43

John and Craig offer a special reminder to guild members to attend one of the upcoming WGA Agency Agreement meetings.

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

Feb 07, 2019
386 - The Princess Bride
56:49

John and Craig host a live show at the WGA Theatre with a deep dive look at The Princess Bride. They discuss how the “abridged” structure brings us only the best parts of the story and what this means for the characters and world: less exposition and more time for the fire swamp, R.O.U.S., and the pit of despair. From the frame story to the myth of the Dread Pirate Roberts, The Princess Bride shaped decades of screenwriters but would be inconceivable to produce today.

William Goldman’s 1973 cult classic delighted audiences with a fresh take on fairy tale tropes, and also managed to convince viewers that storytelling is ultimately an act of love.

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

Feb 05, 2019