Have first acts gotten shorter, or does it just feel that way? John and Craig discuss the pressure on screenwriters to “get to it” faster, and why that’s often the wrong goal.
John Hess gives a terrific overview of the history of the screenplay format, and how changes in the film industry changed how the words are arranged on the page.
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.
John and Craig discuss the polarizing potentate of Deadline Hollywood Daily, then segue into what a healthy entertainment journalism ecosystem might look like.
James Harbeck analyzes some of the common annoying sounds in teenage speech, many of which are hard to portray in dialogue.
How you get from one scene to the next can be just as important as the scenes themselves. Craig and John talk techniques and tactics for making those cuts count.
For screenwriters, John McWhorter’s TEDTalk on texting grammar is a useful reminder of the differences between how people talk and how they write. Speech is made up of word clusters with no discrete punctuation. Because speech is almost always dialogue — you’re usually speaking with somebody — it’s structured in a way that allows interruption. […]
John and Craig discuss the odd dislocation writers experience when writing movies in coffeeshops and windowless offices. We’re literally “someplace else” with our characters, but learning how to work in less-than-ideal circumstances is part of the screenwriter’s trade.
Craig and John look at two recent court decisions that could have a big impact on how movies get sold and resold — and how writers get paid. First-Sale Doctrine is one of those intractable issues that involves freedom and control, bits and atoms, creators and consumers.
Aline Brosh McKenna joins John and Craig for a conversation about what writers mean by a “voice,” and how it develops.
Robert Jackson Bennett looks at the benefits and drawback of writing fiction in the present tense.
John and Craig talk about everything that comes after the oft-discussed First Three Pages, speculating on the kinds of issues they’d spot if they were looking at full scripts.
Craig and John ret-con the Austin Film Festival, placing themselves on panels in which they didn’t participate. It’s a chance to give the answers they would have given without the bother of moderators (and other people’s opinions).
John and Craig are all action this week, looking at how screenwriters write those things characters do in a movie.
Craig and John celebrate one year of the podcast by going H.A.M. on the passive voice, the present progressive and reductive nonsense rules.
John and Craig answer four listener questions, on topics ranging from scene headers to ticket sales. And which is better for an aspiring screenwriter: a low-level job at a major agency, or a steady 9-to-5 job that allows time to write?
I quite like Colson Whitehead’s tongue-and-cheek writing advice.
This week’s episode finds Craig and John answering questions about agent etiquette, business cards and those troubling rewrites that unravel everything.
Ongoing TV shows often develop their own esoteric writing styles, which you notice in scene description.
For work this afternoon, I needed to read a screenplay written in the early 1970s. I think it’s the earliest-dated script I’ve read that wasn’t reprinted in a book.
Comparing Archer’s actual script to my transcript-y approximation shows a little bit more about how Adam Reed’s show works.
Archer does a strange thing I haven’t seen in many shows: the final line of a scene often serves as the first line of the next scene.
A new browser extension points out an interesting and esoteric problem in English: “her” functions as both an objective pronounce and a possessive one.
Pronunciation jokes have a tendency to feel cheap and hoary. But when they work, they work — and it’s easy enough to show them on the page.
In a screenplay, you’re not going to write every punch. Rather, you need to get specific about what makes this fight unique to this moment and this movie.