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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The Worst of the Worst

Scriptnotes: Ep. 378
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John and Craig examine why and how writers need to make bad things happen to their characters, and the ways in which hero suffering differs between features and television.

We also answer listener questions about WGA jurisdiction, becoming a signatory, timing a script for television, and why all scripts aren’t available online.

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.


The Second Draft

Scriptnotes: Ep. 377
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John is joined by Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi (The Invitation, Ride Along, the upcoming Destroyer) to talk about the second draft, offering some practical tips for the first big rewrite.

We also answer listener questions about getting scripts to actors, how to label characters with job titles, and the cooler way to describe a montage. We’re also still trying to make “re-quel” happen.

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

UPDATE 12-11-18: The transcript of this episode can be found here.


Raiders of the Lost Ark

Scriptnotes: Ep. 73
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Craig and John spend the entire episode discussing and dissecting Raiders of the Lost Ark, looking at both its structure and scene work.

This amazing and iconic 1981 film established so much of what we expect of out movie heroes and set pieces — but a lot of what it does would have a hard time getting through modern studio development. Five-minute exposition scenes! Nazi monkeys! Helpless heroes at the climax!

And yet it works so well. There are great lessons to be learned for screenwriters in every genre.

This episode originally aired on January 22, 2013.

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

UPDATE 1-25-13: The transcript of this episode can be found here.


Commencement

Scriptnotes: Ep. 376
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John and Craig discuss commencement, the official moment to start writing. It can be easy to get pressured into free producer rewrites, starting to write before a deal is done and other pitfalls of blurry boundaries, so the WGA is introducing the Start Button, designed to help writers define their timeline and let the Guild be the bad guy.

We also answer listener questions about procedural television, binge-watching, and crossing the line in dark comedy.

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

UPDATE 11-28-18: The transcript of this episode can be found here.


Austin 2018 Three Page Challenge

Scriptnotes: Ep. 375
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John and Craig review three new Three Page Challenge entries with the help of Lindsay Doran (producer of Stranger Than Fiction, Sense and Sensibility, Nanny McPhee, Dead Again) and Jewerl Ross (manager and founder of Silent R Management). They then invite the writers up to discuss the notes, including the importance of geography, setting up relationships, and the danger in feeding kittens to sharks.

We also answer listener questions about “emotional math,” breaking rules, the evolution of screenwriting and trying to be clever, but failing.

Thanks to the Austin Film Festival for hosting us and to our brave participants!

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

UPDATE 11-28-18: The transcript of this episode can be found here.


Real-World Villains

Scriptnotes: Ep. 374
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John and Craig investigate actual villains in this installment of How Would This Be a Movie? From the eerily prescient writer of “How to Murder Your Husband” to the dark comedy of Jacob Wohl, sometimes reality provides the character — now you just need an actual story.

We also look at the craft behind writing for ensemble, plus follow-up on the end of FilmStruck, “No Writing Left Behind,” specifying character race in scripts and the hopeful resurgence of family-friendly Christmas movies.

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

UPDATE 11-14-18: The transcript of this episode can be found here.