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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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.


Ocean’s 77

Scriptnotes: Ep. 233

Craig and John play “How Would This Be a Movie?” looking at three articles in the news.

A band of pensioners pull off an audacious jewel heist — but is it a Working Title comedy, or something darker? Where does the story begin and end? What’s the MacGuffin?

A researcher investigates sleep paralysis and visions of an Italian witch. Is the movie a straightforward horror thriller, and if so, how do you make the audience care about your hero?

A revenge porn king is confronted by his victims. But would the movie version be an investigation (like Spotlight), or a tale of personal justice (like Taken)?

We also need your suggestions for finding a non-coffeeshop place to write when sharing a studio apartment.

Links:

You can download the episode here: AAC | mp3.

UPDATE 1-22-16: The transcript of this episode can be found here.


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.