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Follow Up

You can’t train a cobra to do that

Craig and John discuss backup plans, camera directions, and becoming so good they can’t ignore you. Plus we answer two listener questions about specificity in scene headers and how to indicate that a script is intended for animation.

This Is Working

For the first time ever, John and Craig spend an entire episode on a full-length original screenplay, K.C. Scott’s THIS IS WORKING.

K.C. Scott’s “This Is Working”

On Tuesday’s episode of Scriptnotes, we’ll be looking at K.C. Scott’s original screenplay “This Is Working,” a former Three Page Challenge entry. Listeners can download the script now so they can read it over the weekend.

Midseason Finale

Craig and John wrap up many plotlines from previous episodes, with follow-up on Three Page Challenges, diversity numbers, Road Runner and other rules, plus the Gravity lawsuit in light of the Blurred Lines verdict.

Hardy Boys, in outline form

It’s fascinating to look at something so old yet so familiar. Most modern televison writing goes through an outline stage, at which point the studio and network signs off on the story — or sends it back with notes.

The Rules (or, the Paradox of the Outlier)

John and Craig discuss this year’s screenplay Oscar winners, including the success of Birdman’s outside-the-box approach and Graham Moore’s speech.

Go Set a Spider-Man

From Harper Lee to Sony to the Wheel of Time, it was a big week for studios trying to hold onto intellectual property. John and Craig discuss why those deals take such strange turns, including 1:30 a.m. airings on cable.

The One with Rebel Wilson and Dan Savage

John and Craig discuss exploding scripts and stock scenes. Then in the second half of the show, we welcome two very special guests.

INT. THE WOODS – NIGHT

John and Craig pick up loose ends, with follow-up on previous episodes about “friends,” conflict, improv, Kindles, and defibrillation.

Screenplays on the Kindle, 2015 edition

A screenwriter friend just emailed me to ask how she could get one of her scripts to look good on the Kindle. You can’t. It’s the wrong tool for the job.

Doing, not thinking

John and Craig start the new year by discussing Chuck Palahniuk’s advice to avoid thinking verbs. Then it’s a new round of the Three Page Challenge.

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.