Archives

How-To

Twelve Days of Scriptnotes

Craig and John welcome special guests Aline Brosh McKenna, Rachel Bloom, B.J. Novak, Jane Espenson and Derek Haas to talk about writing books, movies and especially television.

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?

Photoplays and archetypes

In a wide-ranging episode, Craig and John look at a 1912 screenwriting book, Levinson’s beef with the WGA, and the Periodic Table of Storytelling.

How to convert a PDF to Final Draft

Screenwriters often find themselves with PDF of a screenplay when they actually need a Final Draft (.fdx) file that they can edit. Here are three ways to convert from PDF to fdx, ranging from painful to sublime.

Talking to actors

John and Craig discuss the difference between character intention and motivation, before segueing to conversations on working with actors and on-set writing.

Rigorous, structured daydreaming

Craig and John take a look at an old post that found new life this week when it got picked up on Twitter and Reddit. We go beyond the bullet points to look at the process of writing a scene, from asking the basic questions to getting the words on the page.

Best of Outlines, Agents and Good Boy Syndrome

Craig and John start the year with a look back at three very early episodes not currently on iTunes, discussing outlines, agents and the Good Boy Syndrome.

How to cut pages

John and Craig turn from the pen to the knife to talk through the whys and hows of cutting pages — both the cosmetic trims and the deep cuts.

Raising movie funds on Kickstarter

Matt reports from a special Sundance session in which Kickstarter co-founder Yancey Strickler talks about how indie filmmakers can best use the site.

Writing off the page

If you’re having a hard time finding a character’s voice, get him talking about something unrelated to the scene at hand.

Merlin Mann on getting creative stuff done

Helpful audioclip from productivity guy Merlin Mann.

Writing better scene openings

A scriptcast on how to begin a scene for more impact.

Video from Rancho Mirage Q&A

Synthian Sharp taped my Q&A in Rancho Mirage, and has it available on Vimeo.

Writing better action

A new screencast (scriptcast?) on writing action beats.

Writing better scene description

A YouTube lesson on making more-readable scene description.

Money 101 for screenwriters

Read this before you cash that first check.

How to handle a phone meeting

A play by play of how it should go down.

How to cut pages

Just as important, what NOT to do when trying to cut length. Don’t cheat.

How not to choose a movie title

I’ve written about the importance of a good title before. A great script with a crappy title faces an uphill battle. That’s why I always make sure I have a title I like before I type “FADE IN,” even if I later change my mind.1 So yes, I’d pay for a great title. Today’s LA […]

How to Meet

Moment by moment; what to expect and how to behave in meetings.

How to explain quantum mechanics

Answering the tricky questions elegantly, so your audience can remain focussed on the story.

Title page trouble with Final Draft .pdfs

Reader Josh C wrote in with one solution to a problem that’s been frustrating me for months. When you want to save a script as a .pdf, Final Draft won’t always include the title page. It’s frustratingly inconsistent. The obvious workaround is to save the title page as a separate file, which is what I’ve […]

The perils of coincidence

The big villain in Spider-Man 3 was a plague of coincidence. Here’s how they could have avoided it.

How to introduce a character

One of the most difficult and important lessons to learn. Here’s some great examples and helpful guidance.

TV in movies

Some rules to using TV for exposition in screenplays.