Features are different

Scriptnotes: Ep. 218

John and Craig look at how writing feature films is fundamentally different than writing television, and how that difference begins at the point of story inception. It’s not just that movies are longer; they’re also built to be unique events, with characters embarking on once-in-a-lifetime journeys. We discuss how to decide whether an idea is better suited for features or series, and lessons learned from properties that have existed in both worlds.

Then it’s another Three Page Challenge, with entries taking us from dark cellars to the edge of the galaxy.


You can download the episode here: AAC | mp3.

UPDATE 10-8-15: The transcript of this episode can be found here.

Screenwriter Mark Mallouk on Black Mass

In addition to today’s normal Scriptnotes episode, premium subscribers can find a half-hour interview I did with Black Mass screenwriter Mark Mallouk.

We discuss the film’s long journey from book to screen, including how the sudden reappearance of Whitey Bulger in 2011 changed both the script and the production. This Q&A was recorded following the WGA screening on September 26, 2015. Thanks to Mike from the Writers Guild Theater for providing the audio.

Scriptnotes is free every Tuesday. Bonus episodes like this one are part of the $2/month premium feed, which also gives you access to all of the back catalog. I’m trying to get in the habit of pulling out the audio recorder when talking with writers, so look for more of these bonus interviews as we head into awards season.

If you want to subscribe to the premium feed, visit scriptnotes.net.

Once subscribed, you can access episodes through the app, available for both iOS and Android.

Campaign statements and residual statements

Scriptnotes: Ep. 217

John and Craig discuss the WGA election results, and take a look at the issues that dominated the campaigns. What is a paper team? Do screenwriters really retire? And why does it take us so long to get paid?

We also dive into the mailbag and take questions on visiting Los Angeles, backend and residuals, and what an unrepped writer should do if there is interest in her project.

T-shirts are being folded and packaged this week, and should be in the mail by the time next episode airs. Keep a lookout in your mailbox, and be sure to pack them for Austin.


You can download the episode here: AAC | mp3.

UPDATE 10-2-15: The transcript of this episode can be found here.

Rewrites and Scheduling

Scriptnotes: Ep. 216

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.

Then it’s a look at how film schedules work. The translation from screenplay to shooting schedule can be brutal, but a smart writer (or writer-director) can help the budgeting team make clever choices to make the best film. We offer pointers to help navigate compromises inherent in trying to go from page to plan to production.

Scriptnotes t-shirts are being printed this week. Thanks to everyone who pre-ordered a shirt. We’ll have them out the door beginning the second week in October, in time for the Austin Film Festival.


You can download the episode here: AAC | mp3.

UPDATE 9-25-15: The transcript of this episode can be found here.

Scriptnotes t-shirts, pie chart edition

Tomorrow is the last day to order Scriptnotes t-shirts. We only place the order once, so if you miss out, well, you missed out.

This year, we’re offering three designs. The classic t-shirt features the typewriter icon on vintage purple, while the Three Act Structure shirt designed by Taino Soba is printed on blue. Both shirts have proved very popular, with the split nearly 50/50.

pie chart

The third design this year is Camp Scriptnotes. This ringer shirt comes in both green and navy blue. Blue is outselling green almost 2:1.

pie chart green vs blue

All of our shirts are printed in Los Angeles, and folded by us at our offices. We’ll begin shipping them in two weeks, in plenty of time for the Austin Film Festival.

Thanks to everyone who bought one and helped support the podcast, both financially and sartorially. If you haven’t gotten yours yet, take a peek in the store today.

PG13: Blood, Boobs and Bullcrap

Scriptnotes: Ep. 215

John and Craig discuss the PG-13 rating, its effects and what screenwriters have to keep in mind when dealing with it. Then it’s a conversation about healthy and unhealthy relationships between writers and their representatives.

Also: are your odds greater of being a professional screenwriter or a professional football player? We have a lot of numbers, but no clear answer. The question points out interesting differences when it comes to pursuing one’s dream.


You can download the episode here: AAC | mp3.

UPDATE 9-21-15: The transcript of this episode can be found here.