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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Malcolm Spellman, a Study in Heat

Scriptnotes: Ep. 185
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Screenwriter Malcolm Spellman joins Craig and John to talk about his big break, blown opportunities, and getting momentum back. Now part of the smash hit Empire, he talks about the changes and challenges African-American writers face both on the small screen and the big screen.

Also this episode, we look at a review that credits the director with the screenwriter’s work and the role trailers play in shaping audience expectation. Plus the Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, the Three Investigators, SNL and literally losing your voice.

Trivia: “A Study in Heat” was the name of the sandwich Malcolm ate after recording this episode.

Links:

You can download the episode here: AAC | mp3.

UPDATE 2-25-15: The transcript of this episode can be found here.


Go Set a Spider-Man

Scriptnotes: Ep. 184
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From Harper Lee to Sony to the Wheel of Time, it was a big week for studios trying to hold onto intellectual property. John and Craig discuss why those deals take such strange turns, including 1:30 a.m. airings on cable.

In follow-up, we look at why the WGA isn’t directly involved in the Gravity lawsuit, and how Rebel Wilson was lucky she never ran afoul of Australia’s classifiers.

A listener writes in with a question about “a film by,” prompting one Craig rant. John returns the umbrage about award season, and how we keep our best filmmakers from actually making their next films.

The 200th episode of Scriptnotes is fast approaching, and we want your suggestions for what we should do. A live show? Something else? Tweet or email your thoughts.

Links:

You can download the episode here: AAC | mp3.

UPDATE 2-19-15: The transcript of this episode can be found here.


The Deal with the Gravity Lawsuit

Scriptnotes: Ep. 183
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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.

Links:

You can download the episode here: AAC | mp3.

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


The One with Rebel Wilson and Dan Savage

Scriptnotes: Ep. 182
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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.

Links:

You can download the episode here: AAC | mp3.

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


INT. THE WOODS – NIGHT

Scriptnotes: Ep. 181
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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.

Links:

You can download the episode here: AAC | mp3.

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


Bad Teachers, Good Advice and the Default Male

Scriptnotes: Ep. 180
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Aline Brosh McKenna joins John and Craig to discuss the how movies featuring good mentors (Dead Poet’s Society, To Sir with Love) differ from films with bad mentors (Whiplash, The Devil Wears Prada). It’s not just that the teachers are bad guys; rather, the stories are structured completely differently.

John asks Craig and Aline about some ethical quandaries he’s been facing, ranging from awards voting to who is a “friend.”

We also discuss the “default male problem,” especially how it relates to comedy and the cleanest version of a joke.

Links:

You can download the episode here: AAC | mp3.

UPDATE 1-23-15: The transcript of this episode can be found here.