Last night, I had the pleasure of hosting a Q&A with Alfonso Cuarón for Film Independent. I looked at it as an opportunity to get all my questions answered from a longtime talent crush. In particular, I wanted to know about Cuarón’s lengthy, technically-sophisticated shots.
The makers of Final Draft pay us a visit to clear up John and Craig’s misconceptions of, well, everything. It’s double the umbrage for your money.
In the tradition of the Raiders and Little Mermaid episodes, John and guest host Aline Brosh McKenna discuss and dissect the award-winning, record-setting, paradigm-shifting Frozen. But this time, we have the writer on hand to answer our questions.
Carolyn Strauss, executive producer of Game of Thrones, joins John and Craig to discuss female directors and the death of pilot season. In one short hour, they solve all the intractable problems facing the film and television industry. (Not true. Not even remotely.)
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.
John and Craig wind back the clock with writer-director Richard Kelly to look at the origins of Donnie Darko, and how a recent film-school grad gets a movie made.
Saturday Night Live’s Alex Buono details how they shot one of my favorite bits this year, the Wes Anderson-ian parody trailer for “The Midnight Coterie of Sinister Intruders.”
Craig and John head to the Austin Film Festival for another live edition of Scriptnotes. Everything is bigger in Texas, including the crowd for this packed show featuring Looper writer/director Rian Johnson and Saving Mr. Banks screenwriter Kelly Marcel.
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.
A listener makes the case that modern screenwriting style has changed how scenes themselves work.
Jake Malooley tracks down writer-director Paul Brickman, who more or less vanished after Risky Business.
John and Craig are joined by Aline Brosh McKenna and Rawson Thurber for the 100th episode of Scriptnotes, recorded live at the Academy Lab in Hollywood. It was a great night with an amazing audience.
John and Craig discuss the polarizing potentate of Deadline Hollywood Daily, then segue into what a healthy entertainment journalism ecosystem might look like.
How you get from one scene to the next can be just as important as the scenes themselves. Craig and John talk techniques and tactics for making those cuts count.
When I criticized Rob Ager’s analysis of spatial impossibilities in The Shining, I didn’t realize the extent of wild theories about Kubrick’s film.
In episode four of Scriptnotes, Craig and I discuss migraines and zombie apocalypse preparations before we segue to the main topic: how screenwriters work with directors, from the first meeting to on-set etiquette to giving notes in post.
The genius fallacy at work: Since Kubrick was a perfectionist, anything that seems like an error in Kubrick’s work must not be an error, but must instead be a deliberate choice.
No Meaner Place has a lengthy conversation with Howard Rodman about August, his original screenplay that become the Josh Hartnett tech-startup indie from last year.
There is no grand tradition of a “director’s pass.” When it happens, it’s because some directors (1) believe they can write and (2) believe they can fix the perceived problems in the script. They may say they want to “make it their own.” But underlying that is the fact that there’s something about the script that bugs them, and you haven’t been willing or able to address it.
As a general rule, don’t waste your time building a proxy career. But if your goal is to direct big action movies, a killer reel may make commercial and music videos worthwhile.
When you make something that you yourself use, that’s called dogfooding, a contraction of “eating your own dogfood.” That’s developer-speak, but it’s something screenwriters would do well to appropriate.
Most screenwriters are broke at some point. Better it happens at the start of your career than the end.
I’ve not written Alice in Wonderland three times. It’s a recurring motif, dating back to 1995 and the very start of my career.
Tonight and next Wednesday, I’ll be hosting the Director’s Close Up panels for Film Independent. Tonight’s director is Jason Reitman, joined by cinematographer Eric Steelberg, editor Dana E. Glauberman and composer Rolfe Kent. We’ll be talking about Up In The Air, Juno and Thank You For Smoking.
Film is a hundred different skills and disciplines, and no one person is going to be great at all of them.