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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Feel the Nerd Burn

Scriptnotes: Ep. 227

Craig and John discuss three new entries in the Three Page Challenge, looking at how simple mistakes and confusing word choices can hurt the read.

Also this week, a follow up on functional revenge, a brand-new version of Highland, and Craig gets big laughs on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah.

Links:

You can download the episode here: AAC | mp3.

UPDATE 12-11-15: The transcript of this episode can be found here.


The Batman in the High Castle

Scriptnotes: Ep. 226

Craig and John discuss epic world-building, and the promises and pitfalls for writers attempting to create fictional universes.

From Gotham to Hogwarts, Middle Earth to Narnia, world-building is at the heart of some of our biggest movies and series, but are we creating settings for our stories, or stories for our settings? We also discuss the differences between portals, lived in worlds and just-beneath-our-noses.

Also this week: whether a screenwriter is better off with a poorly-reviewed hit or a well-reviewed flop.

Links:

You can download the episode here: AAC | mp3.

UPDATE 12-3-15: The transcript of this episode can be found here.


Only haters hate rom-coms

Scriptnotes: Ep. 225

John and Craig talk romantic comedies with screenwriter Tess Morris, whose film Man Up is unapologetically part of the genre.

We discuss what distinguishes rom-coms from other comedies, and why they get singled out for disdain and death-of articles.

Also this week: Amazon Storywriter, overused dicks, and follow-up on Whiplash.

Links:

You can download the episode here: AAC | mp3.

UPDATE 11-27-15: The transcript of this episode can be found here.


Whiplash, on paper and on screen

Scriptnotes: Ep. 224

John and Craig take an in-depth look at two scenes in Damien Chazelle’s WHIPLASH to see how conflicts were structured — and what changed from script to shooting.

In follow-up, we discuss the myth vs. reality of Zola, and what we mean by a character having agency.

We’re having a live holiday show in Los Angeles! It’s December 9th in Hollywood, with special guests Riki Lindhome, Natasha Leggero and Malcolm Spellman. Tickets will sell out, so be sure to click the links below.

Links:

You can download the episode here: AAC | mp3.

UPDATE 11-20-15: The transcript of this episode can be found here.


Confusing, Unlikable and On-The-Nose

Scriptnotes: Ep. 223

John and Craig look at some of the least helpful notes screenwriters receive, and strategies for dealing with them.

Then it’s a look at novelists who adapt their own books into screenplays, and the pros and cons involved.

In the premium feed over at scriptnotes.net, you’ll find two bonus episodes: the live Three Page Challenge from Austin 2015, and my interview with The Martian screenwriter Drew Goddard for the Writers Guild Foundation.

Links:

You can download the episode here: AAC | mp3.

UPDATE 11-13-15: The transcript of this episode can be found here.


Live from Austin 2015

Scriptnotes: Ep. 222

Craig and John return to the Austin Film Festival for a supersize live show with guests Nicole Perlman and Steve Zissis.

We talk with Nicole about what’s changed in her life after the breakout success of Guardians of the Galaxy, and how she juggles multiple projects.

Steve Zissis tells us how he transitioned from waiter to co-creator of HBO’s Togetherness, and the unusual origin of the show.

Then all four of us play How Would This Be a Movie, looking at #Zola’s adventure, the runaway blimp and the lonely death of George Bell.

Plus audience questions!

Our thanks to the Austin Film Festival for hosting us, and our terrific audience.

You can download the episode here: AAC | mp3.

UPDATE 11-6-15: The transcript of this episode can be found here.