John welcomes Derek Haas (Chicago Fire, 3:10 to Yuma, 2 Fast 2 Furious) to talk about writing accurate portrayals of different jobs, and when to sacrifice reality for storytelling. They also share their time-management strategies in honor of those New Year resolutions to get writing done. We also answer listener questions about the necessity of […]
John and Craig have a dialogue about dialogue. They discuss how thinking about memorizing lines can help write them, and how to service quieter characters in a scene. We also answer listener questions about adapting plays for the screen, creating a different experience for your reader than your viewer, and whether to trust sketchily worded […]
John and Craig debate and defend one of the most-maligned elements of screenwriting: Exposition. How do you tell an audience what they need to know without being labeled a hack? We offer tips for getting viewers up to speed without them realizing they’re getting fed exposition. We also follow up on screenplay competitions, the psychology […]
John and Craig consider how much a writer should know before going into a scene, looking at the perks and pitfalls of planning and letting oneself discover. We also discuss taking notes from producers and executives. When should you stand your ground? When should you accommodate? What if it’s an excellent drawing of an elephant […]
John and Craig offer advice to those who suspect their work has been stolen, providing a checklist to help determine if a claim has merit and suggestions for how to best proceed if it does. We also answer listener questions about taxes on agent commission, being a conservative voice in a writers’ room, and using […]
When working of paper edits, I’ve found the fastest solution is to stop scrolling altogether and use the built-in search function.
John and Craig welcome back Aline Brosh McKenna to talk about writing projects outside the familiar constraints of screenwriting. We discuss the surprises and adjustments involved in the creative processes of different media: Aline’s graphic novel Jane, Craig’s HBO miniseries Chernobyl, and John’s original song, “Rise.” We also dig into why screenwriters sometimes need to […]
If I were deposited somewhere on Earth, somewhere in time, how could I figure out where and when I was?
In this very special episode from 2014, 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.
Craig and John look at unforgettable villains, screenwriter billions, and a parallel world with two Nathan Fillions. (The last part is not true.)
John talks with Rachel Bloom and Aline Brosh McKenna, co-creators of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, about how they pitched and wrote their critically-acclaimed show.
Craig and John discuss epic world-building, and the promises and pitfalls for writers attempting to create fictional universes.
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.
Craig and John tackle another installment of “How would this be a movie?” with a look at the Kentucky clerk, the French train bros, Uber and Deflategate. Who are the heroes and villains, and would there be enough plot to support the running time?
John and Craig take a deep look at how descriptive audio for the blind works, with clips from Daredevil and an interview with a woman who does it for a living. It’s a fascinating form of writing, with many of the same challenges screenwriters face.
John and Craig look at three current news stories from a screenwriter’s perspective, discussing how each lends itself to becoming a movie.
Bragging about efficiency plays into the worst stereotypes of California: smug, self-righteous and self-congratulatory. Yet conspicuous underconsumption has actual public benefits. You’re showing what’s possible, and helping to nudge trend lines and public policy in the right direction.
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.
John and Craig offer advice to a director taking the plunge, with guidance on both getting the work done and getting the performances you want. From there, we segue into a discussion of the Perfect Director, the next installment of our Perfect series.
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.
Craig and John discuss the 31 superhero movies slated for the next few years. Is it good business or a trainwreck in the making?
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.
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.
John and Craig discuss the difference between character intention and motivation, before segueing to conversations on working with actors and on-set writing.
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.