The One with Lawrence Kasdan

Scriptnotes: Ep. 247
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John and Craig sit down with screenwriting legend Lawrence Kasdan to discuss Star Wars, Raiders, The Bodyguard and how he’s shaped some of the most iconic big-screen stories and characters of our lifetime.

This 90-minute interview comes as part of WGFestival 2016 Craft Day, and features audience questions as well. Our thanks to the Writers Guild Foundation and the Academy for hosting us.

Links:

You can download the episode here.

UPDATE 4-29-16: The transcript of this episode can be found here.


The Gold Standard

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In this special mini-episode, Craig and John tackle the gold standard and why economists think it’s a flat-out terrible idea.

We don’t discuss screenwriting at all, so feel free to skip this one if monetary theory doesn’t interest you.

This episode is mostly to verify that minor changes to our workflow haven’t messed up the Scriptnotes feed. If for some reason this episode doesn’t show up in your regular podcasting app, please let us know at the ask@johnaugust.com account (and re-add it in iTunes).

Next week, we’ll be back with our long-anticipated interview with Lawrence Kasdan.

Links:

You can download the episode here.


The One with the Idiot Teamster

Scriptnotes: Ep. 246
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John and Craig welcome writer-director Lorene Scafaria to talk about her new movie The Meddler and some of the unique challenges faced by female directors.

She joins us as we play a new round of How Would This Be a Movie, tackling global hums, killer grannies and airport conspiracies. We also discuss movies that are often used as shorthand in Hollywood, from Raiders to Die Hard to Midnight Run. (But never The ‘Burbs.)

Next week we’ll be making minor server changes. If for some reason the next episode doesn’t automatically appear in your podcast app next Tuesday, you may need to resubscribe. Sorry, but it will be worth it to listen to special guest Lawrence Kasdan.

Links:

You can download the episode here: AAC | mp3.

UPDATE 4-22-16: The transcript of this episode can be found here.


We’re having a spring cleaning sale

Update: We sold out! Congrats to everyone who bought one of our last shirts.

Whenever we come out with a new Scriptnotes t-shirt, we sell it only by pre-order. We print just the t-shirts we need, then send them out in one big batch.

So we don’t really have “inventory.”

Except we kind of do. In the corner of our office is a set of shelves holding stray t-shirts left over from previous print runs. They exist because we overprint by roughly 10 percent just in case orders get lost or damaged.

Yesterday, we took a count and realized we have more than 50 shirts in random styles and sizes. They’re doing no one any good sitting on a shelf, so we’re having a spring cleaning sale.

Everything in the store is 50% off this week, or until we’re out of shirts.

In addition to the t-shirts, we have 10 remaining Scriptnotes 200-episode USB drives. They’re 50% off.

We also have Writer Emergency Packs. They’re 50% off. (And also 50% off on Amazon.)

At the moment, we don’t have any One Hit Kills on hand, but we’ve marked them 50% off on Amazon, too. If you’ve been curious about our card game of ridiculously overpowered weapons, this is the cheapest you’ll find it.

Finally, we have one wondrous misprint. It’s an Umbrage Orange t-shirt that missed one of the steps during silkscreening, leaving it oddly faint.

I hope to see someone wearing it one day at a live show. Like all our shirts, it’s better in your closet than our shelf.

So stop by the store and take a look.


Why I’m voting no on Amendment 1

This morning, the WGA sent out the link for members to vote on three proposed constitutional amendments.

I’m voting yes on Amendments 2 and 3, which reduce the minimum number of candidates and signatures required for board elections. They’re minor changes. I doubt they will have a big impact either way.

Amendment 1 is the bigger concern. It lengthens the term of officers and board members from two years to three. The more I think about it, the less I like that idea. I’m voting no.

Longer terms are great when you have awesome leadership. Yay stability! But here’s the problem: you don’t always have great leaders.

Sometimes, you have fairly useless people. Sometimes, you have nutjobs steering us down dangerous paths.

So it’s important to give guild members the chance to convey their priorities and vote out the nutjobs when necessary. If we’re only voting on them every three years, that’s hard to do.

Here’s what Craig says on the issue:

No matter what kind of writer you are and no matter what kind of union politics you’d like to see in action, Amendment One does absolutely nothing for you other than limiting your voice and your influence over your union.

The other big problem with longer terms is getting writers to run for office in the first place.

Having served twice on the nominating committee, I’ve had to do a fair amount of arm-twisting to get qualified writers to run for the board. I guarantee longer terms will discourage strong candidates from running. As writers, we don’t know where our lives and careers will take us. Will we be running a show? Directing a movie? Committing to three years of service is too much to ask of a busy, working writer — the exact kind of writer we want on the board.

So I’m voting no on Amendment 1.

Here’s my worry: There’s a good chance this amendment will pass, because most amendments sent to the membership get approved.

After all, it already got the thumbs-up from the board. Some very smart friends of mine voted for it, and I understand their reasons and logic. In fact, if I could guarantee that only those thoughtful and dedicated board members would be serving for three years, I would wholeheartedly support the amendment.

But I can’t, so I won’t.

If you’re a WGA member, I’d urge you to vote no on Amendment 1.


Outlines and Treatments

Scriptnotes: Ep. 245
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John and Craig look at the non-screenplay things screenwriters end up writing, most notably outlines and treatments. We discuss some of the ones we’ve written (with examples), and offer advice on writing your own.

Also, how do you deal with sudden success? And what should a writer-director say when talking to a Very Famous Actress about starring in his movie?

Our live conversation with Lawrence Kasdan is this Saturday! Find out more about the all-day Craft Day featuring many previous (and future) Scriptnotes guests in the links below.

Links:

You can download the episode here: AAC | mp3.

UPDATE 4-14-16: The transcript of this episode can be found here.