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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Heroes, Villains and Two-Handers

Scriptnotes: Ep. 243
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With John and Craig both on spring break, it’s a clip show this week. We discuss why movie heroes are rarely ambivalent, why villains are so appealing, and why movies with two primary characters require careful attention.

We’re trying to make plans for the future of the show, and could use your help! Please take a minute to answer our three-question poll to let us know how you’d like to hear both new and old episodes.

(Link to the poll below.)

Links:

You can download the episode here: AAC | mp3.


No More Milk Money

Scriptnotes: Ep. 242
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Craig and John welcome back Aline Brosh McKenna to discuss what she learned going from writing features to show-running Crazy Ex-Girlfriend — and what’s waiting for her back in movie-land. The three of us came into the business at the height of the spec market, but everything is different now.

We also look at why some movies become classics, while others don’t hold up. Plus, a television show’s responsibility to its fans, and the frustrating death of a gay character on CW’s The 100.

Links:

You can download the episode here: AAC | mp3.

UPDATE 3-26-16: The transcript of this episode can be found here.


Fan Fiction and Ghost Taxis

Scriptnotes: Ep. 241
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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.

Links:

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
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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.

Links:

You can download the episode here: AAC | mp3.

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


What is good writing?

Scriptnotes: Ep. 239
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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.

Links:

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
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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.

Links:

You can download the episode here: AAC | mp3.

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