Scriptnotes Podcast

Screenwriters John August and Craig Mazin discuss screenwriting and related topics in the film and television industry, everything from getting stuff written to the vagaries of copyright and work-for-hire law.

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A Screenwriter’s Guide to the End of the World

Scriptnotes: Ep. 160
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John and Craig spend the hour discussing the number one topic whenever screenwriters are done complaining about studio notes: the end of the world, and how to get ready for it.

From zombies to asteroids to plagues, we make so many movies and TV shows about the extinction of the human race. But why? What is it about the Death of Everything that is so appealing to writers, and how should we approach the genre when beginning on a new story? This is an episode about that.

We’re considering making new Scriptnotes t-shirts, but only if listeners really want them. Click over to johnaugust.com and vote.

Links:

You can download the episode here: AAC | mp3.


The Mystery of the Disappearing Articles

Scriptnotes: Ep. 159
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John and Craig take a look at four new entries in the Three Page Challenge, ranging from galactic drama to medieval comedy. Along the way, they talk about the nature of one-hour teasers, trust, plausibility, and how to properly address religious authorities.

Screenwriting is often described as a compressed form of writing, but one can take it too far. “The” and “a” are often useless articles — but you notice when they’re gone, as we did in one of the entries.

Links:

You can download the episode here: AAC | mp3.

UPDATE 8-28-14: The transcript of this episode can be found here.


Putting a price on it

Scriptnotes: Ep. 158
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From Amazon to animation, there’s drama this week about prices for books and movies and even internships. John and Craig take a look at what happens when companies wrestle over how much things cost, and the effect it has on people trying to make a living as writers.

We recorded this episode with a live audience listening in online. It went well enough that we’ll try to do it occasionally.

Craig won’t be able to make to this year’s Austin Film Festival, but never fear: Kelly Marcel will take his place at the live Scriptnotes show.

Links:

You can download the episode here: AAC | mp3.

UPDATE 8-22-14: The transcript of this episode can be found here.


Threshers, Mergers and the Top Two Boxes

Scriptnotes: Ep. 157
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Craig and John discuss the accusations of plagiarism surrounding True Detective — and what plagiarism even means in the context of filmed entertainment. Movies don’t have footnotes, so how should screenwriters give attribution?

Next it’s time for a look at the major Hollywood studios, and what would happen if any of them were to merge, like Fox and Warners seemed poised to do. Following that, we take a look at the test screening process.

Finally, John wants to talk about the Canadian “about,” which isn’t “aboot,” and is a lot more complicated than you’d think.

Links:

You can download the episode here: AAC | mp3.

UPDATE 8-15-14: The transcript of this episode can be found here.


Summer Re-run: Psychotherapy for Screenwriters

Scriptnotes: Ep. 156
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John and Craig revisit one of their favorite episodes, in which they sit down with screenwriter-turned-psychotherapist Dennis Palumbo to discuss writer’s block, procrastination, partnerships and more. It’s a can’t-miss episode for aspiring writers and professionals alike.

LINKS:

You can download the episode here: AAC | mp3.

The transcript of the original episode can be found here.


Two Writers, One Script

Scriptnotes: Ep. 155
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John and Craig look at the trend towards hiring two writers to work on separate drafts of the same project. Is it better to have writers in parallel than serially? Or does it end up with studios ordering off a Chinese menu: this scene, that character, that other set piece?

Both Craig and John just started new first drafts, so we talk about the difference between the Map and the Territory, and how outlines can’t always anticipate the discoveries made while writing.

Finally, we answer a bunch of listener questions ranging from the Peter Stark Program to loving your day job.

Links:

You can download the episode here: AAC | mp3.

UPDATE 8-4-14: The transcript of this episode can be found here.