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
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
385 - Rules and Plans
58:04

John and Craig discuss when and how to break screenplay orthodoxy, from experimental formatting to narrative misdirects. They also examine why it’s important that your characters create, communicate, and break plans.

We also address follow up from our Raiders of the Lost Ark deep dive, and respond to questions about shared and international writing credits.

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

 

Jan 29, 2019
384 - Plot Holes
57:15

John and Craig dive into plot holes: why they happen, how to fix them, why not to fix them, and how to turn them into opportunities.

We also respond to listener questions on outlining, servicing many storylines, and what screenwriting challenges go under-appreciated.

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

 

Jan 22, 2019
383 - Splitting the Party
01:07:43

John and Craig talk about the trope of “Never split the party,” and why, as a writer, you often want and need to divide up your characters to better explore relationships, propel the story forward, give actors something to do, and simply fit everyone in the frame.

We also follow up on screenwriting scams, sequences, websites, and liking things that others don’t.

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

Jan 15, 2019
382 - Professional Realism
59:59

John welcomes Derek Haas (Chicago Fire, 3:10 to Yuma, 2 Fast 2 Furious) to talk about writing accurate portrayals of different jobs, and when to sacrifice reality for storytelling. They also share their time-management strategies in honor of those New Year resolutions to get writing done.

We also answer listener questions about the necessity of entertainment lawyers, how to keep your energy high pitch after pitch, Story By credits, and how to stay alive after that first staff writing job ends.

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

 

Jan 08, 2019
381 - Becoming a Professional Screenwriter
01:07:13

John welcomes Tess Morris, Christina Hodson, Nicole Perlman, and Jason Fuchs to discuss their paths to becoming a professional screenwriter. They track the progression from glass bead day jobs to navigating general meetings to planning inconsistent finances to actually calling oneself a writer and even getting paid.

We also answer audience questions about career longevity and leaving writing behind.

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

 

Jan 01, 2019
380 - Double Ampersand
28:40

John sits down with Fran Walsh, Peter Jackson and Philippa Boyens to discuss their new film Mortal Engines, and their approach to writing as a team, worldbuilding, and rewriting through production, because one does not simply walk into Mordor.

We also answer audience questions about the difference between ideas for television and movies, and working through dialogue out loud.

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

 

Dec 25, 2018
379 - Holiday Live Show 2018
01:15:57

John and Craig welcome Pamela Ribon (Ralph Breaks the Internet, Smurfs: The Lost Village), Phil Lord and Chris Miller (Into the Spiderverse, The Lego Movie), Zoanne Clack (Grey’s Anatomy) and Cherry Chevapravatdumrong (Family Guy, The Orville) to discuss writing animated features, breaking into television, and how to disappoint your parents.

We also rescue another genre, the big-screen holiday comedy, by playing a game about movies of Christmas past. Then we answer audience questions about useful notes and being the only woman in the room.

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 18, 2018
378 - The Worst of the Worst
53:57

John and Craig examine why and how writers need to make bad things happen to their characters, and the ways in which hero suffering differs between features and television.

We also answer listener questions about WGA jurisdiction, becoming a signatory, timing a script for television, and why all scripts aren’t available online.

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

 

Dec 11, 2018