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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.

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 Deal with the Gravity Lawsuit

John and Craig do a deep dive on Tess Gerritsen’s lawsuit concerning Gravity, using the case as a way to talk about contracts, chain of title, adaptation and corporate ownership. Spoiler: It’s really complicated, but it’s really interesting too.

The Dirty Show

In a special bonus Scriptnotes, we sit down with writer-actress Rebel Wilson and author-columnist Dan Savage to talk sex, television, swearing, and poop.

Bad Teachers, Good Advice and the Default Male

Aline Brosh McKenna joins John and Craig to discuss the how movies featuring good mentors (Dead Poet’s Society, To Sir with Love) differ from films with bad mentors (Whiplash, The Devil Wears Prada). It’s not just that the teachers are bad guys; rather, the stories are structured completely differently.

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.

Advice to a First-Time Director

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.

Hacks, Transference and Where to Begin

John and Craig talk about where to start a story — how far back should you go? The decision about whether to meet the hero as a child, in their normal rut, or mid-crisis fundamentally changes the narrative, so it’s worth exploring fully.

Mapping and scribbling

As part of their Creative Spark series, The Academy shot a video with me talking about my creative process.

Finishing a script, and the Perfect Studio Executive

What are the odds that fivethirtyeight.com’s statistical analysis of screenplays will make Craig angry? Always bet on umbrage. Fortunately, he just finished a script, so we talk about that, and John’s new gig writing Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (which was the project he described phone-pitching the past few episodes).

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.)

Dressing like a screenwriter

We’ve re-opened the John August Store with new shirts for Scriptnotes and Highland, plus our first ever hoodie.

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 […]

Hiring a UI designer

We’re hiring a full-time UI designer for Quote-Unquote Apps. I have a hunch we’ll find someone amazing.

Secrets and Lies

John and Craig discuss why most characters are liars, and how that’s actually a good thing. John offers seven suggestions for picking character names that will help your readers. Then we look at a three page challenge that’s been filmed to see what worked on the page versus on screen.

Voting for the Three Page Challenge

At the live Scriptnotes show on May 15th, we’ll be conducting a Three Page Challenge with special guest judge Susannah Grant. Tuesday was the deadline for entering. All of the entries are now available for reading, both on Weekend Read and here. Once you’ve had a look, vote for your favorite(s) — you can choose […]

Superhero music

You can’t have a superhero movie without epic theme music. Likewise, we can’t have a Scriptnotes live show about superheroes without a suitably giant arrangement of our piddly five-note jingle.

The Scriptnotes Summer Superhero Spectacular

We’re doing a live episode of Scriptnotes on Thursday, May 15th at the Writers Guild Theater in Beverly Hills. This time, we’re featuring some of the biggest names behind the biggest superhero movies.

The Deal with the Deal

John and Craig talk with WGA President Chris Keyser about the tentative deal reached between writers and the studios, and why it’s more groundbreaking than it might appear at first glance.

How do you define television?

House of Cards creator Beau Willimon wonders if “television” is a good word for describing what we’re seeing in long-form storytelling: If you start thinking, well a TV show is a half-hour to an hour long and it’s in chunks, and a [movie] is an hour to two hours and it has a beginning, middle, […]

Introducing Weekend Read

We have a new app. It’s called Weekend Read. It’s for reading scripts on your iPhone, and it’s free on the App Store right now.

Women and Pilots

Carolyn Strauss, executive producer of Game of Thrones, joins John and Craig to discuss female directors and the death of pilot season. In one short hour, they solve all the intractable problems facing the film and television industry. (Not true. Not even remotely.)

Egoless Screenwriting

It’s a week of big egos as Craig and John take a look at when (or whether) filmmakers will be able to pull a Beyoncé and surprise-release a feature film, and what Mrs. Carter’s tussle with Amazon and Target means for the future of retail DVD.

The Scriptnotes App

Scriptnotes now has an app for iOS and Android. It’s free for both platforms.