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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Fun with Numbers

Scriptnotes: Ep. 232

Craig and John discuss the impact of Star Wars knocking down all the records, both for the industry and big-screen sci-fi.

We also look at yet another start-up that promises to separate hits from flops, the shocking revelation that critics are humans, and three new WGA proposals. Finally, we look at ways to let an audience know a character’s name.

Note: This is also the long-promised vaginosis episode.

Links:

You can download the episode here: AAC | mp3.

UPDATE 1-14-16: The transcript of this episode can be found here.


Room, Spotlight and The Big Short

Scriptnotes: Ep. 231

With Craig out of town, John invites Aline Brosh McKenna and Rawson Marshall Thurber over to discuss three of the best-picture contenders and their unusual scripts. None of them have classic protagonist-antagonist setups, and all three upend expectations of narrative structure. We talk about both how they work and why they work.

Also this episode, what lessons we learned from 2015.

Craig is back next week for a normal episode in which we’ll discuss Star Wars, Scriptbook, the WGA amendments and character names.

Links:

You can download the episode here: AAC | mp3.

UPDATE 1-12-16: The transcript of this episode can be found here.


Raiders of the Lost Ark

Scriptnotes: Ep. 230

In preparation for our live show with screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan, we’re re-running this episode from the Scriptnotes archive.

Craig and John spend the entire episode discussing and dissecting RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, looking at both its structure and scene work.

This amazing and iconic 1981 film established so much of what we expect of out movie heroes and set pieces — but a lot of what it does would have a hard time getting through modern studio development. Five-minute exposition scenes! Nazi monkeys! Helpless heroes at the climax!

And yet it works so well. There are great lessons to be learned for screenwriters in every genre.

Links:

You can download the episode here: AAC | mp3.


Random Advice 2015

Scriptnotes: Ep. 229

Doc McStuffins creator Chris Nee joins Craig and John to answer listener questions that have nothing to do with screenwriting.

On the romance side: How do you break up with someone? Should you follow a boyfriend to Boston? Is it better to love or be loved?

On the life side: What lessons did it take until our 40s to learn?

Links:

You can download the episode here: AAC | mp3.

UPDATE 12-24-15: The transcript of this episode can be found here.


Scriptnotes Holiday Show 2015

Scriptnotes: Ep. 228

John and Craig welcome special guests Malcolm Spellman, Natasha Leggero, Riki Lindhome and Alan Yang to the third annual Scriptnotes Holiday show, recorded live on December 9th, 2015 in Hollywood.

Malcolm Spellman is a producer on EMPIRE, and one of our most popular Scriptnotes guests ever. He also set a new record for swearing.

Riki Lindhome and Natasha Leggero are the co-creators and stars of ANOTHER PERIOD on Comedy Central. We discuss pitching their show off a presentation video, and the challenge of producing a show with a huge cast of very busy comedy stars.

Alan Yang is the co-creator (with Aziz Ansari) of MASTER OF NONE on Netflix. We discuss how the show came to be, and the challenge of being “the (blank) guy” on a writing staff.

Huge thanks to our amazing audience, and the Writers Guild Foundation for organizing the event.

Our next live show is January 25, with special guests Lawrence Kasdan (screenwriter of RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK and STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS) and actor-writer-director Jason Bateman. The night is a benefit for Hollywood Heart. (Link below.)

Links:

You can download the episode here: AAC | mp3.

UPDATE 12-18-15: The transcript of this episode can be found here.


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.