The Deal with the Gravity Lawsuit

Scriptnotes: Ep. 183

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.

Both novelists and screenwriters will find a lot to discuss.

We also talk about editing while writing, and when it’s worth it to cut now versus later.


You can download the episode here: AAC | mp3.

UPDATE 2-17-15: The transcript of this episode can be found here.

The Dirty Show

We try to keep the Scriptnotes podcast relatively PG, something you could safely listen to in the car with your kids. But some topics and some guests need a wider range of vocabulary to suit the subject, which is why Craig and I have long talked about doing a dirty episode.

That time has come.

In this very-NSFW bonus episode, we sit down with writer-actress Rebel Wilson and author-columnist Dan Savage to talk sex, television, swearing, and poop.

Rebel and Dan were on our normal show this week as well, but the contents of the dirty show are all new and all filthy. It’s 68 minutes of stuff you won’t hear anywhere else.

This special episode is available only on the premium feed, which you can find at The premium feed is $1.99 per month, and includes access to the entire back catalog and occasional bonus episodes like this one.1 It’s how we pay for editing, hosting, and transcripts of every episode.

Huge thanks to our 1,000+ premium subscribers, and to Dan and Rebel for joining us.

  1. If you’re using the newly-redesigned Scriptnotes app, you can listen to any episode in the app.

The One with Rebel Wilson and Dan Savage

Scriptnotes: Ep. 182

John and Craig discuss exploding scripts and stock scenes. Then in the second half of the show, we welcome two very special guests.

Actress, writer and comedian Rebel Wilson joins us to talk about writing for television and Tall Poppy Syndrome.

Author and sex advice columnist Dan Savage tells us what he’d like to see Hollywood do better when in comes to sex on screen.

Both segments are out-takes from the much longer and much filthier Dirty Show available only on the premium feed. Our thanks to the 1,000 subscribers who made it possible, and to Rebel and Dan for joining us to talk about fish baskets, berets, anal sex and The Blue Lagoon.


You can download the episode here: AAC | mp3.

UPDATE 2-6-15: The transcript of this episode can be found here.


Scriptnotes: Ep. 181

John and Craig pick up loose ends, with follow-up on previous episodes about “friends,” conflict, improv, Kindles, and defibrillation.

Then it’s that Peter Bart episode, which is enough to cause a heart attack.

Finally, we get to some listener questions about referring to collective characters, INT/EXT, deaf assistants and ellipses.

Next week, we hope to have two episodes: a normal one and the NSFW dirty show for the premium feed.


You can download the episode here: AAC | mp3.

UPDATE 1-29-15: The transcript of this episode can be found here.

How color timing works

Daryn Okada offers a great look at how a cinematographer approaches color-timing a feature in this latest video from The Academy:

It’s important to remember that when you see the dull, flat “before” footage, it’s not a mistake. These films aren’t saved in color timing, the way fashion models are transformed by Photoshop. Rather, modern DPs plan for color timing from the start, making choices both in prep and shot-by-shot to get the best possible image.

Weekend Read 1.5 now in beta, adds iPad and iCloud support

weekend read iconWeekend Read, our app for reading screenplays on the iPhone, will be adding two much-requested features in the next major update:

  • iPad support, including the iPad mini
  • iCloud syncing between your devices

The new features in Weekend Read require iOS 8.

If you’d like to join the beta, you can sign up here:

* indicates required

This truly is a beta; things will break. The good news is that the stable version of Weekend Read is always on the App Store, so it’s simple to delete the beta and reinstall something solid.

We’ll be adding a few new testers each week, so we likely won’t get to everyone. But we definitely need a variety of users who can test the new version out in the wild, because a lot has changed under the hood.

What’s new

Weekend Read 1.5 adds support for the iPad, both in portrait and landscape orientations. iPad support has been a long time coming, but was never urgent. Reading screenplay PDFs on the iPad isn’t bad even with current apps like GoodReader and PDFPro.

Weekend Read’s big advantage is that the app actually understands how screenplays work, so we can resize text, highlight characters, and offer Dark Mode. Even on the iPad, moving to a larger font size really helps reduce eye strain.


Weekend Read 1.5 is also much faster rendering screenplays, particularly on newer iPhones and iPads. You’ll rarely see the progress bar.

The bigger change — the one that’s been by far the most work for Nima Yousefi — is the addition of iCloud features.

Here’s what’s now possible:

  • If you add a screenplay on your iPhone, it automatically shows up on your iPad. (And vice-versa.)
  • You can organize scripts into folders.
  • You can import entire folders at once from the For Your Consideration lists. So it’s now one tap to install all of the 2014 Awards scripts, for example.
  • If you’re on a Mac with OS 10.10 Yosemite, you can drag screenplays into the iCloud Drive > Weekend Read folder. Super handy.

I should stress that all of the above bullet points are goals, not guarantees. Part of the reason we’re extending this beta beyond our friends and family is that there are a lot of edge cases in which things get wonky. If we can’t make a given feature work reliably, we’ll ship without it.

The work ahead

Weekend Read, and the beta, are free.

When we release the new version, we plan to have all the new features available for folks who’ve unlocked the app via in-app purchase. So to get more users ready, we’ve dropped the upgrade price for the next two weeks from $10 to $5. If you’ve been waiting for a sale, this is it.

If you haven’t tried Weekend Read, you can find it on the App Store. We have 27 of the 2014 award contender scripts available to read, including nine of the Academy Award-nominated screenplays. We also have Scriptnotes transcripts going all the way back to first episode.