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Scriptnotes: Ep. 258
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John and Craig take a look at three new entries in the Three Page Challenge, with scripts tackling kidnapping, dystopia and parkour hackers. We look at both how the writing works on the page, and what the writers seem to be trying to say.

We also answer listener questions about the increased visibility of characters with disabilities on screen, and the differences between the two WGAs.

Links:

You can download the episode here.

UPDATE 7-18-16: The transcript of this episode can be found here


Running the length of Malawi

Malawi MapIn 2007, Ryan Reynolds and I visited Malawi, a land-locked country in southern Africa, where we helped out with a group that runs day centers for thousands of orphans.

Since then, I’ve kept up with the organization, helping to build a secondary school and medical clinic.

Marathoner Brendan Rendall is currently running the length of the country to raise money to build a new wing for the secondary school, which is bursting at the seams. The block will include two science labs, an art room and a general classroom.

Brendan is running 650 miles. That’s 25 marathons back-to-back.

You can follow his progress on this map1 and see photos from the run on Facebook with the hashtag #runmalawi.

The school and related programs are run by Friends of Mulanje Orphans, which is one of the best charities I’ve ever enountered. Over the years, it has supported a generation of kids who are now helping run the program.

I’d urge you check out their great work and donate to Brendan’s campaign.

  1. If you zoom in on the map, you can find Mulanje south-east of Blantyre.

Flaws are features

Scriptnotes: Ep. 257
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Craig and John look at unforgettable villains, screenwriter billions, and a parallel world with two Nathan Fillions. (The last part is not true.)

We also dig into more about magical dad transformation comedies and why there isn’t a female equivalent.

Links:

You can download the episode here.

UPDATE 7-8-16: The transcript of this episode can be found here.


Aaron Sorkin vs. Aristotle

Scriptnotes: Ep. 256
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John and Craig consider a new master class in screenwriting taught by Aaron Sorkin, and a very old Greek word (anagnorisis) championed by Aristotle. Both are useful!

Then it’s a look at what we mean by “originality,” including a very useful litmus test provided by Lindsay Doran.

Reminder that the 250-epsiode Scriptnotes USB drives are now available. Find the link below.

Links:

You can download the episode here.

UPDATE 7-1-16: The transcript of this episode can be found here.


New and Old Hollywood

Scriptnotes: Ep. 255
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With credits ranging from Captain Phillips to The Hunger Games, plus several stints in WGA contract negotiations, Billy Ray knows as much as any screenwriter about the realities of working writers and the turmoil in the industry. He joins us to talk about his new Amazon pilot, The Last Tycoon, which charts the behind-the-scenes drama at a 1930s Hollywood studio.

From there, we look at how much people get paid for a $200 million movie, the wild success of Warcraft in China, and how great television is doing financially.

The 250-episode Scriptnotes USB drives are back in the store, so be sure to grab one before they sell out.

Links:

You can download the episode here.

UPDATE 6-25-16: The transcript of this episode can be found here.


The One with the Kates

Scriptnotes: Ep. 254
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John and Craig welcome Kate McLennan and Kate McCartney, the Australian creator/stars of The Katering Show (a previous One Cool Thing).

We discuss the process and economics of making a web series, signing with a US agency, and trying to figure out what comes next.

Thanks to our Scriptnotes fans on both sides of the world for making this meet-up happen.

Links:

You can download the episode here.

UPDATE 6-20-16: The transcript of this episode can be found here.