Spalding Gray, depression, and the Big Fish connection

Writing for The New Yorker, Oliver Sacks recounts his interactions with monologist Spalding Gray, and how his death was connected with Big Fish.

Shipping 8,000 Kickstarter rewards in one minute

Last week, we shipped out 8,000 Writer Emergency Packs to our Kickstarter backers. The bulk of the packing happened in three days, so I set up a time-lapse camera to document the process.

The Tentpoles of 2019

Craig and John discuss the 31 superhero movies slated for the next few years. Is it good business or a trainwreck in the making?

The ruins of Spectre

Kelly Kazek looks at what became of Spectre, the magical little town in Big Fish.

Writing the music before shooting the film

Alex Wurman, who composed the music for my film The Nines, has the soundtrack up on SoundCloud. The composer often comes on board the project while it’s in post, but for The Nines, I needed Alex to write the main theme of the movie before we’d shot a frame.

Writing an album in two weeks

In an interview with Billboard, producer Patrick Leonard talks about writing “Like a Prayer” with Madonna. Their process is a great example of actually making things.

Old Projects

Maybe I’m hyper-aware because yesterday was the 15th anniversary of Go, but I’m encountering sorts of references to past projects this week.

Source code on screen

Finally, a Tumblr documenting and discussing all those scrolling shots of code on computer screens in movies and television. I love when directors and production designers take the time to get this right. And look! Here’s some vintage Prince of Persia.

Comparing a scene as written and as shot

Using a scene from my 2003 pilot “Alaska,” I thought it would be interesting to compare the written scene to what it looked like in the final version.

Frankenweenie and autism

Antonia Lidder recounts her experience with Frankenweenie, and its impact on her son diagnosed with autism: In spring 2012, when he had a vocabulary of approximately 15 words, Gabriel clearly said ‘Sparky’. We were excited that he’d said a word and was undoubtedly trying to communicate with us, yet we had no idea what ‘sparky’ […]

Lessons from God

Over the weekend, I revamped my YouTube channel and uploaded a bunch of videos, including my 1998 short film God, starring a young Melissa McCarthy.

Puppet person needed

For an upcoming project, I’m looking to hire a puppet designer. Since I’ve often had great luck finding talented folk among my readership, I thought I’d put out the call. You might be the right person, or know the right person.

Big Fish, Jimmy Buffet, and seeing shows on a budget

The producers have agreed to restore my SCRIPT discount code for Big Fish on Broadway, but only through December 22nd — and they might pull the offer at any time.

The challenge of filming inside a theater

The new 30-second spot for Big Fish features a lot of footage from the show. Filming it was much more complicated than I would have guessed, so I thought a rundown of the process would be interesting for both film and theater folk.

What’s Next

John and Craig discuss what it feels like to finish a project — the combination of excitement and relief, joy and sadness — as Craig advises John which project he should write next now that Big Fish is set to open.

Scriptnotes Live from New York

John and Craig welcome their largest live audience yet for a conversation about Kickstarter, movie pilots and musicals. Joined by special guest Andrew Lippa, they talk about the special challenges and opportunities that arise when characters break into song.

Big-screen dramas on stage

USA Today’s Elysa Gardner interviewed me and Andrew Lippa about Big Fish and the influx of movie-based dramas on Broadway this season: “The musicals that have been very successful with audiences over time are generally the ones that traffic in big emotions,” notes Lippa, whose credits as a composer and lyricist range from Broadway’s The […]

Big Fish on Broadway, iteration and why I’d love to see you in September

With the Broadway edition of Big Fish imminent, a discussion of iteration and the value of feedback.

Big Fish box office opens

The box office at the Neil Simon Theatre in New York City opened this morning, selling tickets for the Broadway incarnation of Big Fish. First performance is September 5th. Official opening is October 6th. Tickets are also available online of course, but Ticketmaster charges a fee and doesn’t even have ice cream coming at 1pm. […]

Previz for screenwriters

Generally, screenwriters should focus on words rather than pictures. But in certain cases, images really help.

Apocalypse Now That Wasn’t So Bad

Like a good Onion article, Heather Havrilesky’s “Five Super-Easy Tips For Dealing with the Apocalypse!” pushes beyond the initial joke to an even darker truth.

Shotgun marriages and terrible roommates

Andrew Lippa and I did an interview for Big Fish about our collaboration. We recorded it in the lobby of the Oriental Theater while the show was playing, so in the background you can hear Kate Baldwin singing “I Don’t Need a Roof” from the second act.

Mason and Finley

The 22-year old twins at the center of my 1999 TV show D.C. were named Mason and Finley. Rare names at the time, but increasingly common.

Big Fish Rush

Big Fish starts previews in Chicago tomorrow, April 2nd. Eep. A bunch of readers asked about rush tickets, so I asked our general manager, who asked Broadway in Chicago, who consulted the great oracle of all things ticket-related. Here’s the official word: $25 Student/Senior/Military/Industry Rush Tickets A limited number of rush tickets will be available […]

Tech Starts, Time Stops

We’ve started tech rehearsal for Big Fish in Chicago, and has an exclusive first listen at a song from our show: Time Stops.