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Television

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.

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.”

Solitude and getting stuff written

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

Ender’s Game, one-hours and alt-jokes

John and Craig discuss the impact of author Orson Scott Card’s personal toxicity on Ender’s Game, and what it means for that movie and how it will this affect studio decisions moving forward.

101: Q&A from the live show

In this special bonus episode, John and Craig answer listener questions from the 100th episode with help from guests Rawson Thurber and Aline Brosh McKenna.

10 Questions, 10 Answers

John and Craig tackle the bursting mailbag, answering listener questions on topics ranging from the variable length of the TV season to underachieving agents to embarrassing IMDb credits.

Mason and Finley

The 22-year old twins at the center of my 1999 TV show D.C. were named Mason and Finley. Rare names at the time, but increasingly common.

Ugly children and cigarettes

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.

A city born of fire

Writer Derek Haas (Wanted, 3:10 to Yuma) joins John and Craig to discuss gay slurs, refrigerator logic and his TV show, Chicago Fire.

Villains

John and Craig give heroes the week off and talk bad guys. Not every movie needs a villain, but if you have one, he better be good.

Sprints, marathons and migrations

This week, I’ve been working on a feature, a TV pilot and the stage musical of Big Fish. It’s gotten me thinking about the nature of different forms of dramatic writing.

Workspace: Leo Chu & Eric S. Garcia

TV writing team Leo Chu & Eric S. Garcia discuss their workspace and work habits.

Workspace: Cherry Chevapravatdumrong

Family Guy writer (and YA novelist) Cherry Chevapravatdumrong discuss her workspace and work habits.

Gorilla City and the Kingdom of Toads

John and Craig talk about the new show John sold to ABC, which leads to a conversation about the differences between studios and networks, and how writers end up having relationships with both.

Chosen, or Hey I’m Doing a TV Show!

Josh Friedman and I just set up a new show called Chosen, produced by 20th Television for ABC. I’ll write the pilot, and if the show goes to series, Josh will run it.

Writing big movies for little screens

Stephen Harrigan reflects on his career writing TV movies of the week.

Leaning into the weirdness

I admire the way Happy Endings has morphed from another sorta-like-Friends show to its own weird beast. I wouldn’t want to be friends with any of these narcissistic self-defeating chatterboxes, but I like them together.

Spending a year on Ringer

Jay Faeber writes in with an update on his earlier First Person post, this time detailing his first year on the writing staff of Ringer.

Understanding house styles

Ongoing TV shows often develop their own esoteric writing styles, which you notice in scene description.

Why you can’t get HBO Go by itself

Pricing issues are the main reason HBO doesn’t offer HBO Go as a stand-alone service.

Getting more women writing TV

Jane Espenson wants more women TV writers, but not for “a female point of view.”

What does a reality producer do?

Matthew Watts, a producer on both The First 48 and Swamp People, discusses three kinds of producers in reality television.

The downside of TV’s golden age

Ryan McGee argues that the success of HBO’s drama series has come at the cost of individual episodes.

In defense of Liz Lemon

Linda Holmes worries that 30 Rock has infantilized Liz Lemon. I disagree.

What it’s like when your show gets cancelled

Lauren Bagby offers an office PA’s perspective how it feels when your show gets cancelled.