Archives

QandA

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.

Netflix, Nikita, and the sense of an ending

Merrill Barr explains why Nikita’s final six-episode season is mostly for Netflix: The old model was simple: start a show, make 100 episodes, sell-off the syndication rights, continue producing episodes until it’s no longer cost-effective and cancel the series. That was it. In that model, endings mean nothing; they’re just convenient wrap-ups to a story […]

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.

Q&A from the Holiday Spectacular

John, Craig, and guests take questions from the audience at the Scriptnotes Holiday Spectacular. Topics include TV writing careers, what to do once you have an agent, overcoming gender stereotypes, rewriting Dodgeball, and more.

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.

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.

My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend’s Screenwriter

Writer/director/actor/comedian Mike Birbiglia joins John and Craig to talk about writing for yourself, and how his one-man shows have translated into his films Sleepwalk With Me and My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend. We talk movies and television, stand-up and screenplays, and the upside of failure.

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.

Time Travel with Richard Kelly

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.

Making The Midnight Coterie of Sinister Intruders

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.”

How to convert a PDF to Final Draft

Screenwriters often find themselves with PDF of a screenplay when they actually need a Final Draft (.fdx) file that they can edit. Here are three ways to convert from PDF to fdx, ranging from painful to sublime.

Not Just Dialogue

John and Craig take an extended look at how sound works in movies, and how screenwriters can take advantage of it on the page.

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.

Solitude and getting stuff written

Guinevere Turner doesn’t want to talk to you, not when she’s writing.

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?

Not Safe for Children

Explicit language warning! Even the titles of this week’s Three Page Challenge entries are filthy, so John and Craig let the f-bombs fly.

Let me give you some advice

Craig and John go back to basics with an all advice episode, looking at the Dear J.J. recommendations for Star Wars, Tony Gilroy’s advice to screenwriters and whatever’s up with Max Landis.

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.

How screenwriting style changed movies

A listener makes the case that modern screenwriting style has changed how scenes themselves work.

Putting your pain second

In this bonus episode, Craig and John and special guest Andrew Lippa answer audience questions after the New York live show, addressing topics ranging from sustaining your passion for a project to dealing with difficult gatekeepers. We had a great crowd with great questions, and Craig especially rose to the challenge.

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.

Two ENTJs walk into a bar (and fix it)

John and Craig reveal their Myers-Briggs secrets as they discuss Kevin Spacey’s comments on the state of television, Eric Garcetti’s plans to address runaway production, and the WGA election.