The Gold Standard

In this special mini-episode, Craig and John tackle the gold standard and why economists think it’s a flat-out terrible idea.

No one cares about manufacturing costs

Amazon just wants to sell books. They truly don’t care how much they cost to make, and neither should we.

On error messages

Brent Simmons has straightforward advice on error messages: They should be of the form “Can’t x because of y.” A similar form is this: “Noun can’t x because y.” (As in “‘’ can’t be opened because it is from an unidentified developer.”) Badly-written dialog boxes make me lose faith in an app very quickly. Here’s […]

Final Draft, software and people

Final Draft reports abusive calls and emails that may have stemmed from Craig’s recent tirade on Scriptnotes. This is not okay at all.

Let’s make Katy Perry’s ‘Roar’ better

Katy Perry’s “Roar” is a very successful song with a lyric couplet that drives me crazy.

Winning marriage in Washington State

Four states will be voting on marriage equality this November, and for a change, I think it’s worth winning this round. Washington is where I’m putting my money.

Phil Coulson and the failure of IMDb

If you click over to my IMDb profile, you’ll see two new projects: “Phil Coulson: Agent of Shield” and “Coulson’s Day Off.” I’m listed under the writer section, having contributed characters. Only I didn’t. At all.

The scorpion and the frog

There’s nothing wrong with the parable of the scorpion and the frog. But as screenwriters, let’s stop having characters actually recite it. It’s been done before. A lot. So now it feels like a hacky and desperate way to make villains seem cool by rationalizing their actions.

Smug ignorance

When you stir stupid and lazy together, they form a toxic compound called Smug Ignorance. It’s non-partisan and always fatal. The symptoms are phrases like, “I don’t know much about computers, but…” or “Look, no one knows if climate change is real.”

No trombones

We need to stop teaching kids to play the trombone. And the oboe. And the French horn. With the best of intentions, we’ve taught kids to be helpless cogs in a symphonic machine. Worse, we’ve created a system that pretty much guarantees most adults won’t be able to make music by themselves.

Hipster terrorism

Megan Amram shines a spotlight on one of my frustrations with this crop of post-collegiates, a kind of defensive detachment.

Stay away from this girl

Wait, how did I not know the Manic Pixie Dream Girl existed as a trope?

Two App Stores is one too many

We got an email this morning from a guy — let’s call him Bob — who wanted to check out FDX Reader, but couldn’t find it in the App Store. That’s because he was looking in the wrong App Store. And it’s not his fault, really.

Fucking pilots, cont’d

Broadcast networks basically want their own cable-quality shows, so they consciously (or subconsciously) gravitate towards writing they perceive as edgy, even though a lot of what attracted them will have to be excised.

Fucking pilots

I’m reading more network pilot scripts this year than in years past, so I can’t say whether this is a new trend or just something I was unaware of: What’s with all the swearing?

Denialism, and Toy Story 3

Can a review be wrong? Not just contrary to popular opinion, but genuinely untrue?

Hulu is not dead to me

I have little sympathy for users outraged that Hulu is going to start charging.

The wall of newspaper clippings

Gary Whitta wrote in with his proposed moratorium: the wall of expository newspaper clippings.

Please take your finger out of your ear

Really, wireless radio devices don’t need to be touched to work.

Why do the machines need humans?

In The Matrix, why do the machines need humans? “As batteries” is a pretty lame answer.

Show your work, pt. 2

Nearly every browser lets you “View Source,” showing how the page was constructed…up to a point.

Show your work

Screenwriting continues to be the most transparent and opaque part of moviemaking.

Like banging a chainsaw against a tree

As a guy who runs a blog about the nuts and bolts of screenwriting, I sometimes get frustrated by aspirants who only want to dip their toes in, or believe they should be able to have a thriving film career in Duluth. The don’t want to commit fully to the form or the craft. A […]

‘Wherefore’ does not mean where

A pet peeve and a losing battle with popular meaning.

iMovie 09: Almost certainly maddening

Among the products Apple announced today is iMovie 09, an update to their entry-level video editor that I currently find completely unusable. They have demo videos up showing some of the new features, which range from very helpful (stabilization) to fairly gimmicky (the animated maps). What’s most clear, however, is that they’re sticking with the […]