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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Writers Rooms, Taxes, and Fat Hamlet

Scriptnotes: Ep. 220

John and Craig discuss the trend of hiring multiple writers to work concurrently on tentpole features. Can movies be written like television, and should they?

Then it’s a look at tax bills that LA-based writers may find themselves facing, and why you shouldn’t be afraid of a portly Hamlet.

Also this week, a strange French plagiarism case, and John considers writing a book in November.

Reminder that John is interviewing Drew Goddard for a special Writers Guild Foundation event on October 28th. Tickets available through the link below.

Links:

You can download the episode here: AAC | mp3.

UPDATE 10-22-15: The transcript of this episode can be found here.


The One Where Aline’s Show Debuts

Scriptnotes: Ep. 219

Aline Brosh McKenna joins us to talk through the launch of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, and what she’s learned since she introduced us to the show nearly a year ago. Brian Lowry of Variety raves that it is “one of the fall’s most promising hours.” We’re not surprised at all.

Then it’s a look at three pages from writer-director Scott Frank’s THE LOOKOUT, examining how a two-character dialogue scene works both on paper and on the screen.

Also this week: Indian screenwriters go on strike, Craig goes to Canters, and a French train hero gets stabbed in the second act.

If you got your new Scriptnotes shirt, show the world with the hashtag #scriptnotes or #scripnotesT.

Links:

You can download the episode here: AAC | mp3.

UPDATE 10-16-15: The transcript of this episode can be found here.


Features are different

Scriptnotes: Ep. 218

John and Craig look at how writing feature films is fundamentally different than writing television, and how that difference begins at the point of story inception. It’s not just that movies are longer; they’re also built to be unique events, with characters embarking on once-in-a-lifetime journeys. We discuss how to decide whether an idea is better suited for features or series, and lessons learned from properties that have existed in both worlds.

Then it’s another Three Page Challenge, with entries taking us from dark cellars to the edge of the galaxy.

Links:

You can download the episode here: AAC | mp3.

UPDATE 10-8-15: The transcript of this episode can be found here.


Campaign statements and residual statements

Scriptnotes: Ep. 217

John and Craig discuss the WGA election results, and take a look at the issues that dominated the campaigns. What is a paper team? Do screenwriters really retire? And why does it take us so long to get paid?

We also dive into the mailbag and take questions on visiting Los Angeles, backend and residuals, and what an unrepped writer should do if there is interest in her project.

T-shirts are being folded and packaged this week, and should be in the mail by the time next episode airs. Keep a lookout in your mailbox, and be sure to pack them for Austin.

Links:

You can download the episode here: AAC | mp3.

UPDATE 10-2-15: The transcript of this episode can be found here.


Rewrites and Scheduling

Scriptnotes: Ep. 216

Craig and John take an extensive look at best practices when coming in to rewrite an existing script. How do you take the reins when you weren’t the first screenwriter? Whether you’re starting over at page one or executing some surgical fixes, we discuss the psychology and reality of being the subsequent writer.

Then it’s a look at how film schedules work. The translation from screenplay to shooting schedule can be brutal, but a smart writer (or writer-director) can help the budgeting team make clever choices to make the best film. We offer pointers to help navigate compromises inherent in trying to go from page to plan to production.

Scriptnotes t-shirts are being printed this week. Thanks to everyone who pre-ordered a shirt. We’ll have them out the door beginning the second week in October, in time for the Austin Film Festival.

Links:

You can download the episode here: AAC | mp3.

UPDATE 9-25-15: The transcript of this episode can be found here.


PG13: Blood, Boobs and Bullcrap

Scriptnotes: Ep. 215

John and Craig discuss the PG-13 rating, its effects and what screenwriters have to keep in mind when dealing with it. Then it’s a conversation about healthy and unhealthy relationships between writers and their representatives.

Also: are your odds greater of being a professional screenwriter or a professional football player? We have a lot of numbers, but no clear answer. The question points out interesting differences when it comes to pursuing one’s dream.

Links:

You can download the episode here: AAC | mp3.

UPDATE 9-21-15: The transcript of this episode can be found here.