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 Coyote Could Stop Any Time

Scriptnotes: Ep. 187
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John and Craig take a look at the self-imposed rules behind the Road Runner cartoons, and how limiting one’s choices is different than following dogma.

Then it’s time for three new entrants in the Three Page Challenge, each presenting a range of issues to discuss.

Also this week, the dismal diversity numbers that don’t need exaggerative charts and how even produced screenwriters often live with precarious finances.

Links:

You can download the episode here: AAC | mp3.

UPDATE 3-13-15: The transcript of this episode can be found here.


The Rules (or, the Paradox of the Outlier)

Scriptnotes: Ep. 186
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John and Craig discuss this year’s screenplay Oscar winners, including the success of Birdman’s outside-the-box approach and Graham Moore’s speech.

Craig asked Reddit’s r/screenwriting sub to collect a list of the so-called rules budding screenwriters are told to follow. From the rules of the page to the rules of the industry, John and Craig look at these commonly-cited rules one-by-one, discussing which ones have merit and which ones are better ignored.

All this, plus follow-up on Tess Gerritsen’s Gravity lawsuit.

Also, John has a new app in the App Store called Assembler. Find out more in the links below.

Links:

You can download the episode here: AAC | mp3.

UPDATE 3-10-15: The transcript of this episode can be found here.


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.