Archives

QandA

The Mystery of the Disappearing Articles

John and Craig take a look at four new entries in the Three Page Challenge, ranging from galactic drama to medieval comedy. Along the way, they talk about the nature of one-hour teasers, trust, plausibility, and how to properly address religious authorities.

On trust, drama and corporations

The project I’m writing centers on trust. The more I think about the word and the concept of trust, the more complicated it becomes.

Putting a price on it

From Amazon to animation, there’s drama this week about prices for books and movies and even internships. John and Craig take a look at what happens when companies wrestle over how much things cost, and the effect it has on people trying to make a living as writers.

Texting in film and television

Craig and I may have taken umbrage at his video about comedy directors who aren’t Edgar Wright, but Tony Zhou’s newest video looking at how filmmakers handle texting and the internet on-screen is all good. Zhou’s underlying point is that we still haven’t settled on conventions for showing texting or the internet. And that’s good! […]

Threshers, Mergers and the Top Two Boxes

Craig and John discuss the accusations of plagiarism surrounding True Detective — and what plagiarism even means in the context of filmed entertainment. Movies don’t have footnotes, so how should screenwriters give attribution?

Summer Re-run: Psychotherapy for Screenwriters

John and Craig revisit one of their favorite episodes, in which they sit down with screenwriter-turned-psychotherapist Dennis Palumbo to discuss writer’s block, procrastination, partnerships and more. It’s a can’t-miss episode for aspiring writers and professionals alike.

Two Writers, One Script

John and Craig look at the trend towards hiring two writers to work on separate drafts of the same project. Is it better to have writers working in parallel than serially? Or does it end up with studios ordering off a Chinese menu: this scene, that character, that other set piece?

Disney’s corporate synergy, 1957 and today

This graphic from 1957 shows how the various elements of the Walt Disney company fit together. You could make very much the same chart today.

Making Things Better by Making Things Worse

John and Craig talk structure and escalation. Structure is simply what happens when. Escalation is how things get tougher.

Impostor Syndrome, and unknown unknowns

Maybe Impostor Syndrome is a good thing.

Selling without selling out

In their first-ever live streaming episode, John and Craig open the mailbag to answer a bunch of listener questions.

The Rocky Shoals (pages 70-90)

Aline Brosh McKenna joins Craig and John to talk about the difficult journey through pages 70-90 of your feature. After that, we talk about procrastination, the Panic Monster and our inner Instant Gratification Monkeys.

Audio illusions, and the importance of set-up

A reader’s understanding of a given moment is hugely dependent on what you’ve already established. That’s why the first few pages of a script are so important: you’re teaching the reader how to read your script, and what’s important.

Adapting The Wizard of Oz

Gregory Maguire, author of the novel Wicked, takes a look at screenwriter Noel Langley’s early draft of the script for The Wizard of Oz.

Secrets and Lies

John and Craig discuss why most characters are liars, and how that’s actually a good thing. John offers seven suggestions for picking character names that will help your readers. Then we look at a three page challenge that’s been filmed to see what worked on the page versus on screen.

Yes, screenwriting is actually writing

Craig and John take a swing at several of the week’s hyperbolic headlines, from conflict-free comedy to Fitzgerald’s failures to Strong Female Characters with nothing to do. In each case, there’s a valid idea lurking beneath the overstated claim, but it’s important to separate good examples from bad.

How to Write a Scene, now in handy two-page form

I’ve reformatted my 2007 post on How to Write a Scene into something you can print or pass out to a class.

The Long-Lost Austin Three Page Challenge

John and Craig open the vault to bring you a never-before-heard episode recorded live at the 2013 Austin Film Festival, where we did a Three Page Challenge and met with the writers.

Storyboarding your film using Fountain

Storyboard Fountain lets you write and storyboard your film simultaneously.

From Debussy to VOD

John and Craig talk about what screenwriters can learn from the structure of classical music, then invite journalist Scott Tobias on to discuss how day-and-date video-on-demand releases make it hard to know how indie films are doing, individually and as a group.

To Chase or To Spec

John and Craig discuss whether screenwriters are better off pursing writing assignments or working on their own material. They also look at the visual comedy of Edgar Wright, and The Shawshank Redemption’s 20th anniversary.

Wet Hot American Podcast

Writer-Director David Wain joins John and Craig to talk about the long journey to bring They Came Together to the screen (on June 27th), the changing nature of spoofs, and the seminal summer camp film Wet Hot American Summer.

Q&A from the Superhero Spectacular

Craig and John, along with their talented panelists, answer questions from the audience at the May 15, 2014 live show.

Beware of miserable success

I really like Dan Harmon’s advice to young writers in the sidebar to THR’s showrunner feature.

How to Write a Photoplay

Today’s one awesome thing comes from the Internet Archive: Herbert Case Hoagland’s 1912 book How to Write a Photoplay: To write a photoplay requires no skill as a writer, but it does require a “constructionist.” It requires the ability to grasp an idea and graft (please use in the botanical sense) a series of causes […]