John and Craig take a look at three new entries in the Three Page Challenge, with scripts tackling kidnapping, dystopia and parkour hackers. We look at both how the writing works on the page, and what the writers seem to be trying to say.
Craig and John look at unforgettable villains, screenwriter billions, and a parallel world with two Nathan Fillions. (The last part is not true.)
John and Craig consider a new master class in screenwriting taught by Aaron Sorkin, and a very old Greek word (anagnorisis) championed by Aristotle. Both are useful!
With credits ranging from Captain Phillips to The Hunger Games, plus several stints in WGA contract negotiations, Billy Ray knows as much as any screenwriter about the realities of working writers and the turmoil in the industry. He joins us to talk about his new Amazon pilot, The Last Tycoon, which charts the behind-the-scenes drama at a 1930s Hollywood studio.
John and Craig welcome Kate McLennan and Kate McCartney, the Australian creator/stars of The Katering Show (a previous One Cool Thing).
Jonathan Groff — the Black-ish writer/producer, not the actor — joins John and Craig to explain the new vocabulary of television and why companies are all about ownership.
It’s a craft episode, with Craig and John discussing allies and allegiances in film and television. Enemies are easy; friends are difficult. We talk through the types relationships characters find themselves in, and strategies for making the most of them.
Remember the live show in Austin, when we promised we’d read one lucky listener’s script and talk about it on the air? This is that episode.
John talks with Rachel Bloom and Aline Brosh McKenna, co-creators of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, about how they pitched and wrote their critically-acclaimed show.
John and Craig discuss open writing assignments, and how to best pitch to producers and studios looking to hire a writer for a specific property. Most of the work happens before you set foot in the room, so proper planning is essential.
John and Craig welcome writer-director Lorene Scafaria to talk about her new movie The Meddler and some of the unique challenges faced by female directors.
John and Craig look at the non-screenplay things screenwriters end up writing, most notably outlines and treatments. We discuss some of the ones we’ve written (with examples), and offer advice on writing your own.
Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi join us to talk about their new movie The Invitation, and what’s it’s like to go from writing tentpole action films (like Clash of the Titans) to comedies (like Ride Along) to chamber-drama thrillers.
Craig and John welcome back Aline Brosh McKenna to discuss what she learned going from writing features to show-running Crazy Ex-Girlfriend — and what’s waiting for her back in movie-land. The three of us came into the business at the height of the spec market, but everything is different now.
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 […]
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: David Mamet’s memo to writers of The Unit Craig’s Twitter […]
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 […]
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 […]
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.
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.
With a live audience in downtown Los Angeles, Craig and John welcome actor/director Jason Bateman to discuss what he looks for when considering a script, and how to best work with a writer on a script.
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?
Craig and John play “How Would This Be a Movie?” looking at three articles in the news.
Craig and John discuss the impact of Star Wars knocking down all the records, both for the industry and big-screen sci-fi.
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.