Archives

QandA

The accidental set-up

Any time you refer to a place — be it “the supermarket,” “school,” or “Boston” — you create a natural expectation that we will visit that place at some point in the story.

Falling back in love with your script

Craig and John play marriage counsellor between writers and their scripts, looking at both the first spark of attraction and how to rekindle the flame when the fire has gone out.

The Crossover Episode

John and Craig visit Ben Blacker’s Nerdist Writers Panel for a special crossover episode, recorded in front of a live audience on April 13, 2014.

The Grimm side of marriage

Grimm’s fairy tales offer uniformly terrible marriage advice.

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.

Assembling the billing block

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

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.

The Deal with the Deal

John and Craig talk with WGA President Chris Keyser about the tentative deal reached between writers and the studios, and why it’s more groundbreaking than it might appear at first glance.

Michael Arndt on setting a story in motion

Michael Arndt explains some of the things he learned while working on the screenplay for Toy Story 3.

Creative Hours

RJ Andrews turned Currey’s data on creative work hours into infographics, because that’s what we do in 2014.

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.

Ghosts Laughing at Jokes

John and Craig talk Lab Rats, multi-cam, and what scenes might mean in their imaginary screenplay format. Craig clarifies what “spec writing” is, and when it’s permitted, both legally and ethically.

Pepperoni, parenthood, and the zone of solitude

For a writer, being jerked out of the process by a ringing phone or car alarm or a question from a well-meaning spouse can be devastating.

World-building

John and Craig discuss how you create a fictional universe for your story, and the limits of how much can fit on the page. From location to language to wardrobe, choosing which details to make explicit is a crucial early decision. Too little detail and the reader doesn’t know how your story is special; too much detail and the story gets lost.

How modern English got that way

David Shariatmadari looks at several of the reasons English has shifted, both in spelling and pronunciation.

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.

Groundhog Day

John and Craig pay their respects to Harold Ramis with an episode devoted entirely to Groundhog Day.

The Contract between Writers and Readers

John and Craig look at the implicit contract made between screenwriters and readers — and ultimately, movies and their audience. That’s a natural introduction to our Three Page Challenge and the three new entries we look at this week.

When you think someone stole your idea

A screenwriter sees a trailer that matches the premise of something he wrote ten years earlier. Was it idea theft, or just a good idea.

Procrastination and Pageorexia

Craig and John get in your head to talk procrastination, pageorexia and generalized anxiety. They also move beyond the psychopathology to discuss all the changes in the industry, from cable mergers to lawsuits to disruptive technologies. You’re not as paranoid as you think you are.

The trap of being good at something

Megan McArdle wonders if procrastination stems largely from a fear of failure.

Long takes and realism

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.

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.

The One with the Guys from Final Draft

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.

Frozen with Jennifer Lee

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.