John and Craig discuss this year’s screenplay Oscar winners, including the success of Birdman’s outside-the-box approach and Graham Moore’s speech.
John and Craig pick up loose ends, with follow-up on previous episodes about “friends,” conflict, improv, Kindles, and defibrillation.
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.
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?
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.
Has a statistician cracked the code on successful screenplay formulas? John and Craig cast a skeptical eye at a New York Times article on Vinny Bruzzese, who claims to have done exactly that.
Franklin Leonard, creator of The Black List, has announced a new incarnation of his site that allows screenwriters to upload their scripts for review and rating — for a fee.
I don’t read books on how to write screenplays, but Stuart does, so I occasionally ask him to write up his impressions. For this round, he tackled the three Save the Cat! books by Blake Snyder.
A reader forwarded a link to this structural analysis of Big Fish, which attempts to break down my screenplay down into five plot points
The fact is that very few people who write screenwriting how-to books have meaningful writing credits. They make a living selling advice to aspiring screenwriters, either one-on-one or at seminars.
Try replacing the question of what the character wants/needs with, “Why is the character doing what he’s doing?”
Nine second answers to nine burning questions. Ready…go!
Often, the best answer is the simplest: something physical and achievable.
All you need to know about formatting a screenplay, right here (for sale anyway). Second opinions included.
Your money would be better spent elsewhere. Such as Vegas.
A lecture to Trinity University on authorship and authority in the internet age.
Corrections to notes on my Q&A at the WGA.
Stop thinking about structure as something you impose upon your story. It’s an inherent part of it, like the setup to a joke.
It’s the law of delayed consequences: people tend to put off work that doesn’t have immediate gratification.
Is your mentor program a tad shady?
If you really have limitations in a given area — dialogue, plotting, whatever — you need a writing partner, not a self-styled guru.
Workshops often bill themselves as helping writers avoid the painful mistakes, but sometimes what you really need are the painful mistakes.
If you were hired to write a magazine article in French, you wouldn’t think twice about having a native speaker look over your work. That’s what you need.
If you’re looking to strangers for notes, protect yourself and check them out first.