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.
Writer Derek Haas (Wanted, 3:10 to Yuma) joins John and Craig to discuss gay slurs, refrigerator logic and his TV show, Chicago Fire.
Craig and John take a look at an old post that found new life this week when it got picked up on Twitter and Reddit. We go beyond the bullet points to look at the process of writing a scene, from asking the basic questions to getting the words on the page.
I quite like Colson Whitehead’s tongue-and-cheek writing advice.
John and Craig open the 36th Scriptnotes with a brief discussion about contracts, and then face writer’s block head on.
This week in the podcast, Craig and I follow up on our earlier comment about kids being the death of screenwriters, then dive into the process of outlining a script, from index cards to whiteboards to spreadsheets. Along the way, we discuss Curious George, Torchwood and V.
Michael Agger looks at scientific studies on writing to find reasons why it’s so damn hard, and slow.
Bruce Sterling publishes a list of Lovecraft’s undeveloped story ideas.
A reader asks whether it’s wrong to skip the outline stage. It’s not.
A reader asks: How you read scripts these days? Do you print, or read it on a device?
Your hands shouldn’t hurt after writing. If they do, you need to check your ergonomics and habits.
You’ll notice big changes if you read the earliest drafts. But the later ones give you a better sense of how words on the page translate to the screen.
When approaching a big rewrite, should you start from the existing script or a blank page?
Before you start writing any screenplay, make a playlist of music that feels like the movie. It’s a fundamental part of my process.
If you’re having a hard time finding a character’s voice, get him talking about something unrelated to the scene at hand.
“Theme” is a word screenwriters use without defining it clearly, but here’s a good way to think about it.
One of the joys of screenwriting is putting childhood terrors into words. But nihilism is not a crowd-pleaser.
In defense of fake tears and the emotional work screenwriters do.
I’m interviewed in a new book about screenwriters’ experiences.
Index cards are a great tool for outlining. Use them wisely.
Useful suggestions for screenwriters working on their first animated feature
MakingOf has part two of my interview up on the site, in which I talk about work habits, writer’s block and 20-minute timers.
Story lessons from Star Trek, from the mouths and minds of the writers.
Do you ever get sick of working with the same script that you are loathe to even look at it anymore? Yes.
Alvin Sargent’s advice: If you have a problem, give it to the character.