Fan Fiction and Ghost Taxis

Scriptnotes: Ep. 241

Craig and John look at three stories in the news for another installment of “How Would This Be a Movie?” From fake scientists to figure skaters, we pitch our takes before some actor’s production company buys the rights.

Speaking of rights, a new lawsuit targets the makers of Creed for stealing the idea. The case will almost certainly get tossed, but it raises a discussion about fan fiction and what constitutes an original work.


You can download the episode here: AAC | mp3.

UPDATE 3-20-16: The transcript of this episode can be found here.

David Mamet and the producer pass

Scriptnotes: Ep. 240

In an episode consisting entirely of answers to listener questions, John and Craig discuss David Mamet, internet trolls, post-credit scenes and English actors attempting American accents.

Plus, who would win in an all-out brawl to the death? The answer will probably not surprise you.


You can download the episode here: AAC | mp3.

UPDATE 3-11-16: The transcript of this episode can be found here.

Tuesday Reviewsday: Pillars of Eternity

Every week, I like to leave reviews for a few things I’ve enjoyed. This week, it’s just one review: Pillars of Eternity. screenshot

I’ve nearly finished this single-player isometric-perspective RPG, which was born from a wildly successful Kickstarter. It’s been out for a year, but I only began playing it in January.

After a rocky start, I’ve found myself digging this surprisingly grim (and PG-13) story of soul harvesting and fallen gods. I like the characters in my party so much that I’m never tempted to swap them out for other classes. The quests are challenging enough to keep me engaged, but never googling the forums for help.

The game runs smoothly on my recent-era iMac, with fans rarely spinning up. In keeping with the fixed-camera POV, a lot of the UI is deliberately old-school, with slots and textures and a lot of clicking. But Pillars has made some smart updates for the times, with an intelligent combat system, flexible (and retrainable) skills, and essentially unlimited inventory. If you play on the easier settings, you can avoid entire aspects of the game like food and potions. If you want more of a challenge, go for the higher difficulty settings and keep your flasks handy.

In the end, I’d recommend Pillars to anyone looking for a classic D&D-style RPG.

I played the version on the Mac App Store, but it’s available through Steam for other platforms.

Bronson Watermarker gets a minor update

Bronson Watermarker, our app for quickly personalizing PDFs, has an update in the Mac App Store. Version 2.0.4 fixes a drawing bug. screenshot I don’t mention the app as much as Highland or Weekend Read, but Bronson has become the go-to app for a lot of productions in Hollywood. If you’ve received a watermarked script in the past few years, there’s a very good chance it was created with Bronson.

Bronson is available in the Mac App Store.

What is good writing?

Scriptnotes: Ep. 239

It’s an all-craft episode as John and Craig discuss what they mean when they say good writing.

Quality isn’t an objective measurement but rather a subjective experience. It’s the relationship between the reader and writer. From vulnerability to voice, consistency to surprise, good writing shares many characteristics with good acting.

We then look at three new entries in the Three Page Challenge, trying to apply what we just discussed.


You can download the episode here: AAC | mp3.

UPDATE 3-3-16: The transcript of this episode can be found here.

The job of writer-producer

Scriptnotes: Ep. 238

Dana Fox joins John and Craig to discuss her role as both screenwriter and producer of How to Be Single. Like Simon Kinberg and Chris Morgan, Dana is one of a handful of feature writers taking responsibility for delivering not just the script, but the finished movie.

We look at how and why she made the transition, and the differences between a feature writer-producer and a TV showrunner. We also discuss the challenges Dana faced in this role, from studio politics to pregnancy, and whether she’d do it again.

Our postponed interview with screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan is now scheduled as part of a WGF/Nicholls event. Details in the link below.


You can download the episode here: AAC | mp3.

UPDATE 2-26-16: The transcript of this episode can be found here.