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
477 - Counting Clowns
01:07:03

John and Craig host another round of the Three Page Challenge. This week they cover how to use voice over, build suspense, and write alter egos for the screen.

In follow up, we look at the day-and-date release of Wonder Woman 1984, updates in the WGA agency negotiations and of course the newly announced Uno game show.

Finally, in our bonus segment for premium members we discuss autobiographies and what we’d include in our own.

Thank you to all our Three Page Challenge participants!

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

Nov 24, 2020
476 - The Other Senses
01:00:24

John and Craig welcome back writer-director Scott Frank (Out of Sight, Minority Report, Godless) to discuss his new series The Queen’s Gambit and writing scenes that use senses beyond just sight and sound.

We also answer listener questions on Voice Over narration and researching versus writing for a period piece.

Finally, in our bonus segment for premium members we discuss Thanksgiving and a few things we’re grateful for this year.

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

Nov 17, 2020
475 - The One with Eric Roth
01:21:41

John welcomes legendary screenwriter Eric Roth (Forrest Gump, A Star is Born, Dune) to discuss his writing practice and how he gets in the head of his characters.

We answer audience questions on how to trust your voice and approach adaptations.

Finally, in our bonus segment for premium members John and Craig discuss election night and the days after. Like we did after the 2016 election, we’re including the bonus segment on the main feed this week. (Note: This was recorded on Friday before the final states were called.)

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

Nov 10, 2020
474 - The Calm One
50:20

John and Craig explore quiet scenes of reflection and why these calm moments between big set pieces are so meaningful to characters and viewers.

We also help a writer figure out how to pitch to his agent and answer listener questions.

Finally, in our bonus segment for premium members, we talk about dogs.

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

 

Nov 03, 2020
473 - I Regret My Quibi Tattoo
01:04:16

John and Craig reflect on Quibi, the short-lived short-form video company that announced its end. They talk about what happened and prognosticate wildly about the future of the entertainment industry.

We also consider movie ideas to replace the Slinky movie and answer lots of listener questions.

Finally, in our bonus segment for premium members, we discuss scary movies.

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

Oct 27, 2020
472 - Emotional States
59:45

Craig and John get emotional. They look at characters’ inner emotional states–why they matter and how to approach them as writers.

We also examine the state of feature residuals and answer a listener question about how long you should wait before turning in your work.

Finally, in our bonus segment for premium members, we’ll talk Jeopardy! Our friend Kevin Walsh is the current champion, and we hope not to jinx him by discussing it.

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

Oct 20, 2020
179 - The Conflict Episode, Rebroadcast
01:08:30

Craig and John discuss conflict — why it’s bad in real life but essential in screenwriting. We define six forms of conflict common in movies, then look at ways to sustain conflict within a scene and throughout a story.

We also look briefly at Whiplash, both the conflict between its two main characters and the controversy over whether it should be considered an original or an adapted screenplay.

And in an all-new bonus segment for premium members, we discuss our relationships with the teachers in our lives.

This episode originally aired on January 13, 2015 here.

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

Oct 13, 2020
471 - Sing What You Can’t Say
01:03:41

John and Craig welcome back Rachel Bloom (co-creator and star of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend) to talk about songwriting–both the creative process and the business of writing songs for film and television.

We also discuss a new report about sexual harassment in Hollywood and ageism in the industry.

Finally, in our bonus segment for premium members, John and Rachel talk about revivals.

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

Oct 06, 2020
470 - Dual Dialogue
58:11

John and Craig examine what happens when characters talk over each other, and the best ways for writers to think about these moments and portray them on the page.

We also follow up on delayed movies, mergers, and assistant pay.

Finally, in our bonus segment for premium members, we discuss Halloween (the holiday, not the movie).

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

 
Sep 29, 2020
469 - Loglines are for Other People
01:04:01

John and Craig tackle loglines: what they are, how people write them, and why screenwriters shouldn’t worry all that much about them.

We also discuss updates on the WGA agency deal and listener questions on lawyers, options, and ASL.

Finally, in our bonus segment for premium members, we discuss gaming consoles.

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

Sep 22, 2020
468 - Should You Pitch or Spec That?
01:10:24

John welcomes back screenwriter Ryan Knighton (In the Dark) to discuss taking out a project as a pitch versus just writing it as a spec.

Then we hear from listeners about the ideas they’re considering pitching vs speccing and offer our advice. We also look at the Academy’s new requirements for Best Picture, and whether they’ll have an impact on inclusion in Hollywood.

Finally, in our bonus segment for premium members, Ryan explains his plans to train for the open adaptive surfing games.

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

Sep 15, 2020
467 - Another Word for Euphemism
01:01:12

John and Craig talk about the words we use when referring to people or groups of people — and why those words keep changing. Nic Novicki of the Easterseals Disability Film Challenge joins us to discuss writing inclusive storylines and characters.

We also discuss single-use characters, WGA elections, and follow up on listener questions.

In our bonus segment for premium members, we tackle the question: “If the standards for breaking into the screenwriting industry are so high, why are so many BAD movies made?”

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

Sep 08, 2020
466 - Questions! Or You've Got Moxie
01:04:10

John and Craig tackle their overflowing mailbag to answer some long-delayed listener questions on subtext, divorce, set decoration, and more!

We also follow up on news about management companies and how this affects writers.

Finally, in our bonus segment for premium members, we’ll talk about headshots and our experiences getting our photos taken.

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

Sep 01, 2020
399 - Notes on Notes
01:03:32

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.

In our bonus segment for premium members, we talk about tips for getting notes, particularly on zoom.

Links:

 

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

Aug 25, 2020
465 - The Lackeys Know What They're Doing
36:07

John and Craig skip heroes and villains to examine the villain’s accomplices and how to write them more believably.

We also answer listener questions, parcel out some umbrage, and discuss updates between the agencies and the WGA.

Finally, in our bonus segment for premium members, we talk tips for travel during the pandemic.

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

Aug 18, 2020
464 - Creating a Visual Language
01:09:57

John talks with writer-director Lorene Scafaria and costume designer Mitchell Travers about their collaboration on Hustlers, and how to think visually about story.

We discuss locations, production design, cinematography, and choreography with a major focus on pre-production.

And in our bonus topic for premium members, John catches up with Mitchell seven months after our initial conversation.

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

Aug 11, 2020
463 - Writing Action
01:18:29

John and Craig talk action! It’s an all-craft episode about how words on the page become high-adrenaline events on the screen.

We also follow up on WGA news and agency lay-offs.

In our bonus segment for premium members we try to discuss the Emmys but mostly talk about teenage girls’ obsession with Criminal Minds.

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

Aug 04, 2020
462 - Development Heck
01:06:05

John and Craig discuss the special purgatory that projects can get lost in and how to navigate your way out.

We also follow up on Assistant Pay, the 2020 WGA report, and Craig’s writing process for television.

Finally, in our bonus segment for premium members we discuss wine!

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

Jul 28, 2020
461 - The Right Manganese for the Job
01:11:37

John and Craig bring another round of How Would This Be A Movie, with a mix of stories from history and the headlines. In this episode we discuss an unexpected guest at a funeral, a lost Russian submarine and a social influencer murder plot.

We also look at the latest WGA developments, including the new agency agreement with UTA and the vote on the studio agreement. Then, we answer listener questions on an UNO movie, editing while writing and how to write a high-profit movie.

In our bonus segment for premium members, we discuss how 2020 would be a movie.

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

Jul 21, 2020
461 - Adapting with Justin Simien
01:09:08

John and Craig welcome writer/director Justin Simien (Dear White People, Bad Hair) to talk adapting movies to television, the value of film school and the birth of independent cinema.

We follow up on the WGA/AMPTP deal and answer a listener question on writing stories about problematic historical figures.

Finally, in our bonus segment for premium members we discuss the Hamilton musical on Disney+.

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

Jul 14, 2020
459 - International Television
01:00:31

John and Aline Brosh-McKenna co-host a special panel with writers Anna Winger (Unorthodox, Deutschland 83), and Tony McNamara (The Great, The Favourite) for the French television festival Serie Series.

We cover writing coming of age stories, how to choose the best format for a story, and writing with act breaks. We also discuss the production challenges and opportunities of working internationally and how to find a common language on set.

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

Jul 07, 2020