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
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
428 - Assistant Writers
01:14:00

John and Craig talk about best practices for assistants who write and how to properly credit support staff.

We also touch on the state of WGA negotiations on both the studio and agency front, as well as a look ahead to the AMPTP deal. In our bonus segment, we’ll make our final ruling on cats.

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

Nov 26, 2019
427 - The New One with Mike Birbiglia
01:11:10

John and Craig welcome back writer/comedian Mike Birbiglia (Sleepwalk with Me, My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend) to discuss his one-man show “The New One.” When writing about yourself, how much has to be true? What responsibilities do you have to friends and loved ones?

Then it’s a new round of the Three Page Challenge, where we look at the first three pages in listeners’ scripts. We also address Akiva Schaffer’s concerns on movie screeners and try our first-ever bonus segment after the credits.

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

Nov 19, 2019
426 - Chance Favors the Prepared with Lulu Wang
57:31

John and Craig welcome writer-director Lulu Wang (The Farewell) to discuss not explaining things and the recipe for creating your own luck.

We also answer listener questions on reactive protagonists, finding friends in LA, and Chris McQuarrie’s Twitter thread.

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

Nov 12, 2019
425 - Tough Love vs. Self Care
58:12

John and Craig discuss when writers should practice tough love vs. self-care. Inspired by Chuck Wendig’s blog post, they examine how real-world issues impact writers’ ability to get work done — but how they can also be used as an excuse for procrastination and laziness. They offer a checklist for helping decide whether it’s time to be harder or easier on yourself.

We also follow up on the Austin Film Festival, fan backlash, and show-runner tips for championing assistant pay, especially during the holiday season.

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

Nov 05, 2019
424 - Austin Film Festival 2019
01:06:50

Craig hosts Scriptnotes Live at The Austin Film Festival with guests Ayanna Floyd (The Chi, Empire), Liz Hannah (The Post, Mind Hunter), Nichelle Tramble (Truth Be Told, The Good Wife), Malcolm Spellman (The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Empire), David Mandel (Veep, Curb Your Enthusiasm), David Benioff and D.B. Weiss (Game of Thrones). They discuss the power of television, writing for the binge model, and the value of telling stories you want to watch.

We also play a Craig and David Kwong puzzle on movie quotes and host a round of How Do You Follow THAT Up?

Huge thank you to all of our guests!

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

Oct 29, 2019
423 - Minimum Viable Movie
01:02:01

John and Craig discuss how to figure out if a given idea can work as a movie. What are the minimum requirements for story and vision a writer should consider before starting on a screenplay?

We also invite Megana Rao and Bo Shim to follow up on our discussion of low assistant pay. Plus follow up from the WGA and video game industry awards, and a look ahead to the Austin Film Festival.

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here

 
Oct 22, 2019
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