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Film Industry

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.

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?

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.

Selling without selling out

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

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.

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.

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.

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 […]

Full Whedoncé

I wondered if a filmmaker could pull a beyoncé and release a film without any advance notice. I speculated a filmmaker like JJ Abrams or Joss Whedon probably could pull it off. Then a few weeks ago, Whedon seemed to just that with In Your Eyes. But is it really a beyoncé, or a new variation on direct-to-video?

The General Meeting

Hey, come in, come in. Wherever you like. Nice to finally meet you. I’m a big fan. Big fan.

Assembling the billing block

Ben Schott answers all your questions about those uppercase names at the bottom of movie posters.

Draw Your Own Werewolf

Craig delights as John gets @-napped in a Twitter thread about copyright infringement. Then they talk disruption in television, and how it affects writers.

So Many Questions

John has questions about the questions Craig answered on his Reddit AMA, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg as we answer six great listener questions.

Period Space

John and Craig tackle the greatest controversy in screenwriting: how many spaces to put after the period. From there, it’s follow-up on the Final Draft episode, including some behind-the-scene details.

What it’s like to nominate movies

This morning, the Oscar nominations came out. Like every year, I was excited to see some of my favorite films nominated. Like every year, I was disappointed by which films — and which filmmakers — got overlooked. So I thought I’d look at the mental process of nominating movies.

Egoless Screenwriting

It’s a week of big egos as Craig and John take a look at when (or whether) filmmakers will be able to pull a Beyoncé and surprise-release a feature film, and what Mrs. Carter’s tussle with Amazon and Target means for the future of retail DVD.

Scriptnotes Holiday Spectacular

‘Twas the Holiday Scriptnotes and at our behest, Craig and John were joined by our six favorite guests.

Young Billionaire’s Guide to Hollywood

John and Craig offer advice for super-rich aspirants about the film and television industry. If you have enough money to do anything, what should you do first? Do you want to make money, or make art? Or do you just want to hang out with famous people? No judgements.

Let’s talk about coverage

Craig and John talk readers and coverage, centering their discussion on profound_whatever’s infographic charting 300 submissions and the lessons screenwriters can take from it.

Positive Moviegoing

Aline Brosh McKenna joins John and Craig to discuss watching movies with an open mind and why it’s important to befriend other writers.

Damsels in distress

Craig and John love women and jeopardy, but folks, we gotta stop kidnapping girlfriends as plot devices. We discuss ways to avoid this trope.

Scriptnotes: Back to Austin with Rian Johnson and Kelly Marcel

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.

Blockbusters

This week, John and Craig go big to look all things blockbuster. First, Anita Elberse’s new book Blockbuster argues that giant movies are a comparatively safe bet for Hollywood. Meanwhile, Gravity is the movie on everyone’s lips, but will we learn the right lessons, or just try to put more movie stars in space?