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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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.


The Conflict Episode

Scriptnotes: Ep. 179
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Craig and John discuss conflict — why it’s bad in real life but essential in screenwriting. We define six forms of conflict common in movies, then look at ways to sustain conflict within a scene and throughout a story.

We also look briefly at Whiplash, both the conflict between its two main characters and the controversy over whether it should be considered an original or an adapted screenplay.

If you can spare the ten seconds it takes, leaving us a rating on iTunes is a great way to help others find Scriptnotes. Thanks!

Links:

You can download the episode here: AAC | mp3.

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


Doing, not thinking

Scriptnotes: Ep. 178

John and Craig start the new year by discussing Chuck Palahniuk’s advice to avoid thinking verbs. Then it’s a new round of the Three Page Challenge.

We also do follow-up on the Sony hack.

Links:

You can download the episode here: AAC | mp3.

UPDATE 1-8-15: The transcript of this episode can be found here.


Cutting Pages and Fixing Holes

Scriptnotes: Ep. 177

It’s a clip show! John and Craig discuss cutting pages from your script, fixing plot holes, and what we’d do if we ran a studio. We’ll be back with all new episodes in 2015, the year of post-outrage rationality.

Links:

You can download the episode here: AAC | mp3.


Advice to a First-Time Director

Scriptnotes: Ep. 176

John and Craig offer advice to a director taking the plunge, with guidance on both getting the work done and getting the performances you want. From there, we segue into a discussion of the Perfect Director, the next installment of our Perfect series.

We also pay a visit to the Logic Police, whose notes are often frustrating but sometimes correct.

But we couldn’t not talk about the messed-up situation with The Interview and North Korea. It’s a terrible precedent, but the mistake is putting the blame on any one studio. Without coordinated group action, it’s only going to get worse.

Links:

You can download the episode here: AAC | mp3.

UPDATE 12-29-14: The transcript of this episode can be found here.


Twelve Days of Scriptnotes

Scriptnotes: Ep. 175

Craig and John welcome special guests Aline Brosh McKenna, Rachel Bloom, B.J. Novak, Jane Espenson and Derek Haas to talk about writing books, movies and especially television.

Aline and Rachel just finished shooting a pilot called Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. We discuss the genesis of the project, and how sexism is just stupid.

B.J. tells us about the joy of reading Inglorious Basterds, and how the key to success is apparently editing your high school newspaper.

Jane and Derek teach us what really goes on in the writers room, from secret lingo to codes of silence.

Plus there are songs!

Recorded with a live audience at LA Film School as a benefit for the Writers Guild Foundation. Huge thanks to everyone who came and supported the show.

Links:

You can download the episode here: AAC | mp3.

UPDATE 12-19-14: The transcript of this episode can be found here.