Archives

Follow Up

The Perfect Reader

Craig and John discuss the qualities of the perfect reader, whether it’s a studio professional or your screenwriting buddy. What should a reader look for, and how should she communicate her thoughts?

Lotteries, lightning strikes and twist endings

John and Craig look at the nature of fluke hits, everything from #alexfromtarget to huge spec sales. Is luck just luck, or is it about how often you play the game? Where does talent fit in?

Development Emergencies

Vineet Dewan, who was nice enough to co-star in the Kickstarter video for Writer Emergency Pack, decided to film his own version pitched at development executives.

Writer Emergency Pack, and the secret history thereof

After four years of discussion, three complete do-overs and two print runs, we finally launched Writer Emergency Pack. It’s a deck full of useful ideas to help get your story unstuck.

Descending Into Darkness

Craig and John shake off their Halloween candy hangovers by taking a look at three new Three Page Challenges, full of post-apocalyptic portals and strange signals.

The Tentpoles of 2019

Craig and John discuss the 31 superhero movies slated for the next few years. Is it good business or a trainwreck in the making?

Critics, Characters and Business Affairs

John and Craig were delighted to join the Slate Culture Gabfest on stage to talk about the gulf between critics and creators. We have the audio from that, and additional thoughts on the issue.

Toxic Perfection Syndrome

Craig and John discuss that delusional period in which you’re convinced your script is the best thing ever written — and the inevitable heartbreak when someone tells you it isn’t. (TPS is close cousins to the Oscar Speech in the Shower.)

On Being Somebody

Over the last eight years, I’ve become more famous within a subset of people. Because of Scriptnotes, my voice is actually recognized as often as my face. Because of Twitter, I end up interacting with strangers much more often. And because of both outlets, people who recognize me know a lot more about me — at least, a version of me who hosts a popular podcast about screenwriting.

Luck, sequels and bus money

This week, Craig and John tackle listener questions.

Should we make more Scriptnotes t-shirts?

We have very few Scriptnotes t-shirts left in the store. We’re considering printing a new batch, but we’re not sure which color listeners would actually want. The first round of shirts came in Umbrage Orange and Rational Blue. The second batch came in only Basic Blacklist. For the new t-shirts, we’re considering revisiting one of […]

A Screenwriter’s Guide to the End of the World

John and Craig spend the hour discussing the number one topic whenever screenwriters are done complaining about studio notes: the end of the world, and how to get ready for it.

The Mystery of the Disappearing Articles

John and Craig take a look at four new entries in the Three Page Challenge, ranging from galactic drama to medieval comedy. Along the way, they talk about the nature of one-hour teasers, trust, plausibility, and how to properly address religious authorities.

Putting a price on it

From Amazon to animation, there’s drama this week about prices for books and movies and even internships. John and Craig take a look at what happens when companies wrestle over how much things cost, and the effect it has on people trying to make a living as writers.

Texting in film and television

Craig and I may have taken umbrage at his video about comedy directors who aren’t Edgar Wright, but Tony Zhou’s newest video looking at how filmmakers handle texting and the internet on-screen is all good. Zhou’s underlying point is that we still haven’t settled on conventions for showing texting or the internet. And that’s good! […]

One-Star Amazon Reviews

I’ve been following the Twitter feed @AmznMovieRevws, which curates some of the most inane movie reviews on Amazon, particularly the one-star variety. I was inspired to look up some for my own films.

Summer Re-run: Psychotherapy for Screenwriters

John and Craig revisit one of their favorite episodes, in which they sit down with screenwriter-turned-psychotherapist Dennis Palumbo to discuss writer’s block, procrastination, partnerships and more. It’s a can’t-miss episode for aspiring writers and professionals alike.

Two Writers, One Script

John and Craig look at the trend towards hiring two writers to work on separate drafts of the same project. Is it better to have writers working in parallel than serially? Or does it end up with studios ordering off a Chinese menu: this scene, that character, that other set piece?

Puppet update

I spent several months meeting with puppet specialists only to discover the project I’m making is better without puppets.

Yes, screenwriting is actually writing

Craig and John take a swing at several of the week’s hyperbolic headlines, from conflict-free comedy to Fitzgerald’s failures to Strong Female Characters with nothing to do. In each case, there’s a valid idea lurking beneath the overstated claim, but it’s important to separate good examples from bad.

How to Write a Scene, now in handy two-page form

I’ve reformatted my 2007 post on How to Write a Scene into something you can print or pass out to a class.

From Debussy to VOD

John and Craig talk about what screenwriters can learn from the structure of classical music, then invite journalist Scott Tobias on to discuss how day-and-date video-on-demand releases make it hard to know how indie films are doing, individually and as a group.

Wet Hot American Podcast

Writer-Director David Wain joins John and Craig to talk about the long journey to bring They Came Together to the screen (on June 27th), the changing nature of spoofs, and the seminal summer camp film Wet Hot American Summer.

Green Umbrage, or That Escalated Quickly

Craig Mazin wrote in to respond to criticism of his remarks in last week’s Scriptnotes.

Checking batches of PDFs

Automator can easily assemble the PDF metadata I want.