Internationalizing Bronson

Bronson Watermarker PDF is our first effort at internationalizing an app. The process was mostly smooth, but not without some surprises.

From Greenlight back to page one

Today’s First Person demonstrates an important point: you can’t pick the single moment at which you’ve “made it.”

Advice for Canadian criminals

Could a Canadian screenwriter with a criminal record sell specs in Hollywood?

La historia es gratis

Story is free, now in Spanish.

Startups and slippery facts

Since I was name-checked twice this interview from the top-ranked Wharton School of Business, I feel some responsibility to point out a few fallacies and follies.


A handy and scary glossary to terms from the Mexican drug war.

Subtitled success stories

Somewhat remarkably, the top two movies in America have subtitles. Lots and lots of subtitles.

Spanish or Mandarin

At the gym yesterday, we were discussing which language would be the best foreign language for a native English speaker to learn. Specifically, can you make a compelling case for any language other than Spanish or Mandarin?

Simple English Wikipedia

A parallel set of articles written in a subset of English is remarkable cool.

Are glossaries a good idea?

Generally, no. Try to make terms understandable in context.

Let the right subtitles in

Changing the subtitles for Let The Right One pissed off a lot of fans.

Aliens abroad

In a precautionary move to ward off pirates, Paramount supplied only dubbed prints of “Monsters vs. Aliens” to Russian and Ukrainian theaters.


It’s time for the studios to meet the demands of the international audience and avoid piracy at the same time.

Going to France

Along with nine other WGA writers, I’ll be headed to France in November to get a backstage tour of Paris and Marseille, in the hopes of finding cinematically interesting people and places. It’s all sponsored by Film France in the hopes of getting more big Hollywood movies shooting there. It’s a clever idea, one I […]

From Russia with Questions

What are the pitfalls for a foreigner trying to break into Hollywood?

Back from Venice

I’m back from the Venice Film Festival, where The Nines had its international premiere. The movie screened three times, but the main public debut was 2:30 p.m. on Monday. At lunch that day, both the sales agent and the publicist separately pulled me aside to say, “So, John, you should know that if the audience […]

Summer Reruns

Over the next two weeks, you’ll notice a bit of deja vu at this site: old articles suddenly popping up on the front page, with new dates and old comments. It’s not a technical glitch. I’m putting the site into reruns while I’m out of the country and off the grid. I’m going to Africa […]

La escritura profesional y el auge de los amateurs

My first experience with being translated.