I’ve been answering online questions about screenwriting since June 2000, when IMDb asked me to be a columnist for their brand-new Ask a Filmmaker section. Those early questions and answers were short and basic — but evergreen, covering topics like copyright, film school and getting an agent.
Frustrated by IMDb’s weekly-column format, I set up this website (johnaugust.com) in 2003 with the goal of answering these questions more fully and forever. If you look through the posts from the early years, they’re almost entirely Q&As. Over time, I’ve added features like Answer Finder to make sorting through the 1500+ posts more manageable.
While I still answer reader questions, it’s not this site’s primary focus anymore.
I’ve gotten bloggier, with more here’s-what-I-think posts and Kottke-style link-to articles. I’m also featuring more solicited series like First Person and Workspace. Plus the podcast.
It’s a long way from where I started, and that’s a good thing.
But I still think there’s a need for high-quality answers to basic screenwriting questions. That’s why I’ve asked Stuart and Ryan to build a new site we’re launching today: Screenwriting.io.
Screenwriting.io is simply questions and answers about screenwriting:
These are questions so basic they would feel awkward on johnaugust.com.
My mandate to Ryan and Stuart was straightforward: each page should be The Answer. If answering one question raises new questions, new pages should answer those questions.
While we’re not quite going for Simple English, the language on Screenwriting.io is deliberately unsophisticated. If a sixth-grader in Boston or Belgium or Barbados wants to write a report about screenwriting, she will find the site approachable.
I’ll be supervising the content at Screenwriting.io, but it’s really Ryan and Stuart’s domain.
The new site has been in beta for several weeks. A big thank you to the readers who’ve volunteered to check it out. We will stay in beta for the next month or two while we roll out to the wider world. In the meantime, check it out and leave some feedback.
I’ll continue to answer questions both on johnaugust.com and on the podcast, but will focus on more difficult topics that don’t have one clear answer — the “what should I do?” questions rather than the whats and whys and hows.