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.

View in iTunes

Fan Fiction and Ghost Taxis

Scriptnotes: Ep. 241

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

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

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

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.