Screenwriter Mark Mallouk on Black Mass

In addition to today’s normal Scriptnotes episode, premium subscribers can find a half-hour interview I did with Black Mass screenwriter Mark Mallouk.

We discuss the film’s long journey from book to screen, including how the sudden reappearance of Whitey Bulger in 2011 changed both the script and the production. This Q&A was recorded following the WGA screening on September 26, 2015. Thanks to Mike from the Writers Guild Theater for providing the audio.

Scriptnotes is free every Tuesday. Bonus episodes like this one are part of the $2/month premium feed, which also gives you access to all of the back catalog. I’m trying to get in the habit of pulling out the audio recorder when talking with writers, so look for more of these bonus interviews as we head into awards season.

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Once subscribed, you can access episodes through the app, available for both iOS and Android.

Campaign statements and residual statements

Scriptnotes: Ep. 217

John and Craig discuss the WGA election results, and take a look at the issues that dominated the campaigns. What is a paper team? Do screenwriters really retire? And why does it take us so long to get paid?

We also dive into the mailbag and take questions on visiting Los Angeles, backend and residuals, and what an unrepped writer should do if there is interest in her project.

T-shirts are being folded and packaged this week, and should be in the mail by the time next episode airs. Keep a lookout in your mailbox, and be sure to pack them for Austin.


You can download the episode here: AAC | mp3.

UPDATE 10-2-15: The transcript of this episode can be found here.

Rewrites and Scheduling

Scriptnotes: Ep. 216

Craig and John take an extensive look at best practices when coming in to rewrite an existing script. How do you take the reins when you weren’t the first screenwriter? Whether you’re starting over at page one or executing some surgical fixes, we discuss the psychology and reality of being the subsequent writer.

Then it’s a look at how film schedules work. The translation from screenplay to shooting schedule can be brutal, but a smart writer (or writer-director) can help the budgeting team make clever choices to make the best film. We offer pointers to help navigate compromises inherent in trying to go from page to plan to production.

Scriptnotes t-shirts are being printed this week. Thanks to everyone who pre-ordered a shirt. We’ll have them out the door beginning the second week in October, in time for the Austin Film Festival.


You can download the episode here: AAC | mp3.

UPDATE 9-25-15: The transcript of this episode can be found here.

Scriptnotes t-shirts, pie chart edition

Tomorrow is the last day to order Scriptnotes t-shirts. We only place the order once, so if you miss out, well, you missed out.

This year, we’re offering three designs. The classic t-shirt features the typewriter icon on vintage purple, while the Three Act Structure shirt designed by Taino Soba is printed on blue. Both shirts have proved very popular, with the split nearly 50/50.

pie chart

The third design this year is Camp Scriptnotes. This ringer shirt comes in both green and navy blue. Blue is outselling green almost 2:1.

pie chart green vs blue

All of our shirts are printed in Los Angeles, and folded by us at our offices. We’ll begin shipping them in two weeks, in plenty of time for the Austin Film Festival.

Thanks to everyone who bought one and helped support the podcast, both financially and sartorially. If you haven’t gotten yours yet, take a peek in the store today.

PG13: Blood, Boobs and Bullcrap

Scriptnotes: Ep. 215

John and Craig discuss the PG-13 rating, its effects and what screenwriters have to keep in mind when dealing with it. Then it’s a conversation about healthy and unhealthy relationships between writers and their representatives.

Also: are your odds greater of being a professional screenwriter or a professional football player? We have a lot of numbers, but no clear answer. The question points out interesting differences when it comes to pursuing one’s dream.


You can download the episode here: AAC | mp3.

UPDATE 9-21-15: The transcript of this episode can be found here.

2015 Scriptnotes shirts now available for pre-order

Every podcast needs a t-shirt. Here at Scriptnotes, we take our t-shirts very seriously.

Many podcasts farm out the job to a big t-shirt fulfillment site. And that’s fine. But it’s not the Scriptnotes way.

We sell our shirts only through our store. Right here. Ninety-five percent of our shirts are sold in the pre-order. We print a few extras in case of lost shipments — but only in the most common sizes.

We print each shirt design only once. If you own the 2013 shirt in Umbrage Orange, congratulations. No one else will ever be able to buy one, because we’ll never print them again.

We print locally at the same shop we’ve used for years. Our designers consult with them frequently to make sure every line is crisp.

We inspect and hand-fold every shirt. That might sound like a hard job, but our t-shirts are so soft that folding them is like strumming a cloud.

We bag and label every order ourselves on the same table where we recorded many of our best episodes, including the live 200th show, the one with Malcolm Spellman, and even the notorious Final Draft episode.

Suffice to say we’re proud of our t-shirts. The 2015 editions are the best shirts we’ve ever made.

They’re available for pre-order through Thursday, September 17th. If you miss out, there’s a good chance you’ll never be able to get one.

The new shirts come in three designs.

Classic Scriptnotes

We always offer a variation on our typewriter logo. Last year’s Tour Shirt pushed it to the extreme, with the machine on fire.

For this year’s logo shirt, we went back to the classic icon, keeping the halftone effect while simplifying the background. A simple circle frames the typewriter.

purple logo detail

This year’s Classic shirt comes in vintage purple. Neither matchy-matchy nor wildly contrasting, it’s easy to pair with almost anything. You may not own any purple shirts. Wearing this, you’ll wonder why you haven’t been wearing purple all along.

purple logo shirt

The Classic shirt is printed on our favorite Next-Level tri-blend, the same one we used for the Tour shirt. As always, it’s available in women’s and unisex sizing.

Three-Act Structure

For the first time, we invited listeners to design their dream Scripnotes shirt. Taino Soba rose the challenge with an idea we call Three Act Structure.


t-shirt detail

Like the Classic shirt, Three Act Structure is printed on our favorite tri-blend. It’s available in women’s and unisex sizing.

Camp Scriptnotes

In-house artist Dustin Bocks mixed up a strong cocktail of sunscreen, bug juice and nostalgia to design our Camp Scriptnotes shirt.


We loved the design so much that we’re offering it in two colors: navy and green.

navy shirt

green shirt

These ringer shirts are available in unisex sizes. The navy shirt is available down to size XXS for smaller campers.

Check out all of our shirts in the Store, and be sure to pre-order by Thursday, September 17th. All shirts will ship in mid-October, in time for the Austin Film Festival.

Since the beginning, Scriptnotes has been listener-supported. We don’t have ads; we have t-shirts. Buying and wearing these shirts is a way of showing your appreciation. (And looking damn good.)