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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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.


Sexy But Doesn’t Know It

Scriptnotes: Ep. 237

John and Craig look at how to introduce characters in a screenplay — and how to avoid being mocked by a Twitter feed for it. We go back through previous Three Page Challenges and several of the screenplays nominated for awards this year to examine trends and techniques.

We also discuss writing two projects at once, and offer follow-up on previous topics including screenwriting software, top-100 lists and our favorite Australians we’ve never met.

Links:

You can download the episode here: AAC | mp3.

UPDATE 2-19-16: The transcript of this episode can be found here.


Franchises and Final Draft

Scriptnotes: Ep. 236

John and Craig examine why almost all of the top-grossing movies are part of a franchise — and the chicken-or-egg question at the heart of it. You don’t get Minions without Despicable Me.

We also look at the sale of Final Draft to an accounting software company and speculate wildly about the fate of the company and the state of screenwriting apps.

Plus: follow-up on Zola, sleep paralysis and dead scripts.

In the premium feed at Scriptnotes.net, you’ll find audio from John’s live panel with the WGA nominees, including Matt Charman, Drew Goddard, Jonathan Herman and Andrea Berloff, John McNamara, Phyllis Nagy, Charles Randolph and Adam McKay, Josh Singer & Tom McCarthy, and Aaron Sorkin.

Links:

You can download the episode here: AAC | mp3.

UPDATE 2-14-16: The transcript of this episode can be found here.


The one with Jason Bateman and the Game of Thrones guys

Scriptnotes: Ep. 235

With a live audience in downtown Los Angeles, Craig and John welcome actor/director Jason Bateman to discuss what he looks for when considering a script, and how to best work with a writer on a script.

David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, co-creators and showrunners of Game of Thrones, join us to reveal the challenges of writing the show so far in advance, working through arguments, and Craig’s secret backstory on the pilot.

Screenwriter John Gatins tells us his history with Hollywood Heart, the charity organizing the event. Our thanks to them, our sponsors and everyone who came. The night raised thousands of dollars to help disadvantaged kids across the country experience summer arts camp.

You can find more info about Hollywood Heart in the links below.

Links:

You can download the episode here: AAC | mp3.

UPDATE 2-4-16: The transcript of this episode can be found here.


The Script Graveyard

Scriptnotes: Ep. 234

Where do screenplays go when they die? John and Craig take a look at their movies that never were, looking for patterns among dozens of their unproduced works. What can screenwriters learn from the dead, and is it ever worth trying to resurrect these flatliners?

We also have lots of follow-up on finding a place to write, and news of an old-man-robbers movie already underway.

Yesterday’s live show will be released as an upcoming episode.

Links:

You can download the episode here: AAC | mp3.

UPDATE 1-28-16: The transcript of this episode can be found here.