The Tentpoles of 2019

Scriptnotes: Ep. 167

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

How do you move from a vague idea to an actual pitch? We talk about what you say when you’re in the room pitching on a project, and why passion trumps plot in most cases.

We also look at copyright and how the current system is broken for everyone.

Next week will be Craig-less, because we’re recording live at the Austin Film Festival with a bunch of amazing guests.


You can download the episode here: AAC | mp3.

Highland works great with Yosemite

We had quite a few inquiries from Highland’s support page this weekend, including:

Is Highland compatible with Mac OS 10.10 Yosemite? Of all the apps I’m running on my Macs, Highland is probably the most important. I won’t upgrade until you give the all clear signal.

Green light. The version of Highland in the Mac App Store runs fine under Yosemite.

In fact, we’ve been running Highland with the Yosemite betas for months, so the past few builds all run fine. Except for a few small UI changes (such as using the green dot to go full-screen), you won’t notice any significant differences.

We update Highland quite frequently. Version 1.8.2, now in review, addresses bugs that users helped us identify under both old and new OS versions. Highland keeps improving because we have seriously committed users.

If it’s been a while since you’ve looked at Highland, you may have missed out on its new line spacing options. You can now choose Tight, Normal or Loose line spacing in the editor view. This ability to customize the editor for maximum readability is one of the clear advantages to Highland’s just-the-words philosophy.

You can download Highland in the Mac App Store.

Critics, Characters and Business Affairs

Scriptnotes: Ep. 166

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.

Then, how many characters does your movie need? We talk about how to figure out the Goldilocks spot where you have enough characters to make your world feel real, but not so many that they’re tripping over each other.

Finally, business affairs, and how understaffed legal departments create problems for writers and studios.


You can download the episode here: AAC | mp3.

UPDATE 10-20-14: The transcript of this episode can be found here.

Toxic Perfection Syndrome

Scriptnotes: Ep. 165

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.)

Also this week: SF terms and tropes, Adam Sandler’s Netflix deal, and what the WGA should focus on.


You can download the episode here: AAC | mp3.

UPDATE 10-11-14: The transcript of this episode can be found here.

Guardians of the Galaxy’s Nicole Perlman

Scriptnotes: Ep. 164

Craig and John talk with Guardians co-writer Nicole Perlman about the development of this summer’s blockbuster, and her two years as part of Marvel’s in-house writing program. It’s a great look at how movies get started, and the dozens of drafts you didn’t see on the big screen.

Nicole stays with us as we discuss which city would take over if Hollywood fell into the sea, why IMDb credits rarely reflect a writer’s real career, and the worst ideas we were ever pitched by a producer or studio executive.


You can download the episode here: AAC | mp3.

UPDATE 10-3-14: The transcript of this episode can be found here.


Scriptnotes: Ep. 163

Craig loves the 1990 blockbuster Ghost. John? Ditto. Written by Bruce Joel Rubin and directed by Jerry Zucker, Ghost set the template for the modern romantic drama. It was Twilight before Twilight, Titanic before Titanic. It won hearts, weekends and Oscars, including best screenplay.

We tackle Ghost scene-by-scene, imagining all the terrible notes that must have come up in development, and how fixing some of the film’s shortcomings would have created new problems. Ghost isn’t perfect, but it’s remarkably good — and worth taking a closer look.


You can download the episode here: AAC | mp3.

UPDATE 9-25-14: The transcript of this episode can be found here.