Archives

QandA

What is good writing?

It’s an all-craft episode as John and Craig discuss what they mean when they say good writing. Quality isn’t an objective measurement but rather a subjective experience. It’s the relationship between the reader and writer. From vulnerability to voice, consistency to surprise, good writing shares many characteristics with good acting. We then look at three […]

The job of writer-producer

Dana Fox joins John and Craig to discuss her role as both screenwriter and producer of How to Be Single. Like Simon Kinberg and Chris Morgan, Dana is one of a handful of feature writers taking responsibility for delivering not just the script, but the finished movie. We look at how and why she made […]

To Kill a Mockingbird

To Kill a Mockingbird is usually studied for its themes and cultural issues, but I’d urge you to read it — or re-read it — just for the writing.

Sexy But Doesn’t Know It

John and Craig look at how to introduce characters in a screenplay — and how to avoid being mocked by a Twitter feed for it. We go back through previous Three Page Challenges and several of the screenplays nominated for awards this year to examine trends and techniques.

Franchises and Final Draft

John and Craig examine why almost all of the top-grossing movies are part of a franchise — and the chicken-or-egg question at the heart of it. You don’t get Minions without Despicable Me.

The premise, or what’s the point?

Michael Tabb takes a deep look at defining the premise of your story, but “premise” might not be the best word for what he’s describing.

The one with Jason Bateman and the Game of Thrones guys

With a live audience in downtown Los Angeles, Craig and John welcome actor/director Jason Bateman to discuss what he looks for when considering a script, and how to best work with a writer on a script.

Five jokes, considered

I don’t have reason to write many of jokes. Most of the projects I work on are either dramas or premise-funny rather than punchline-funny. But I always admire well-crafted jokes. They’re tiny works of magic.

It’s franchises all the way down

Over lunch, I wondered aloud how many of the 100 top grossing movies were either sequels or the first film in a franchise.

The rise and fall of Relativity

Anyone who claims to have developed a mathematical system for picking hits is either delusional or willfully deceptive.

Torrenting the Oscars 2016

Every year, Andy Baio tracks online leaks of Oscar-nominated films, looking for trends.

Changing heroes mid-stream

As an animated film moves from screenplay to storyboards to scratch reels, you see the story coming to life — and the problems front-and-center.

Ocean’s 77

Craig and John play “How Would This Be a Movie?” looking at three articles in the news.

What screenwriters mean by IP and YA

We throw these terms around on the podcast without ever defining them.

Fun with Numbers

Craig and John discuss the impact of Star Wars knocking down all the records, both for the industry and big-screen sci-fi.

Room, Spotlight and The Big Short

With Craig out of town, John invites Aline Brosh McKenna and Rawson Marshall Thurber over to discuss three of the best-picture contenders and their unusual scripts. None of them have classic protagonist-antagonist setups, and all three upend expectations of narrative structure. We talk about both how they work and why they work.

Raiders of the Lost Ark

In preparation for our live show with screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan, we’re re-running this episode from the Scriptnotes archive.

Random Advice 2015

Doc McStuffins creator Chris Nee joins Craig and John to answer listener questions that have nothing to do with screenwriting.

Scriptnotes Holiday Show 2015

John and Craig welcome special guests Malcolm Spellman, Natasha Leggero, Riki Lindhome and Alan Yang to the third annual Scriptnotes Holiday show, recorded live on December 9th, 2015 in Hollywood.

Feel the Nerd Burn

Craig and John discuss three new entries in the Three Page Challenge, looking at how simple mistakes and confusing word choices can hurt the read.

The Batman in the High Castle

Craig and John discuss epic world-building, and the promises and pitfalls for writers attempting to create fictional universes.

Only haters hate rom-coms

John and Craig talk romantic comedies with screenwriter Tess Morris, whose film Man Up is unapologetically part of the genre.

Whiplash, on paper and on screen

John and Craig take an in-depth look at two scenes in Damien Chazelle’s WHIPLASH to see how conflicts were structured — and what changed from script to shooting.

Confusing, Unlikable and On-The-Nose

John and Craig look at some of the least helpful notes screenwriters receive, and strategies for dealing with them.

Live from Austin 2015

Craig and John return to the Austin Film Festival for a supersize live show with guests Nicole Perlman and Steve Zissis.