About Scriptnotes

Each week, screenwriters John August and Craig Mazin discuss screenwriting and things that are interesting to screenwriters, everything from the craft to the business to the best ways to actually get yourself writing.

Looking for old episodes?

The most recent 20 episodes are available for free on this site and iTunes. The entire back catalog and occasional special bonus content is available to premium subscribers on the web and through the Scriptnotes App for iOS and Android. Sign up at scriptnotes.net.

Scriptnotes Premium

$1.99/mo for access to the entire back catalog.

The Scriptnotes App

Free on iOS and Android.

  • navigateup
    Go to Episode
    Oct 21, 2014

    Craig and John discuss the 31 superhero movies slated for the next few years. Is it good business or a trainwreck in the making?

  • navigateup
    Go to Episode
    Oct 14, 2014

    John and Craig were delighted to join the Slate Culture Gabfest on stage to talk about the gulf between critics and creators. We have the audio from that, and additional thoughts on the issue.

  • navigateup
    Go to Episode
    Oct 7, 2014

    Craig and John discuss that delusional period in which you’re convinced your script is the best thing ever written — and the inevitable heartbreak when someone tells you it isn’t. (TPS is close cousins to the Oscar Speech in the Shower.)

  • navigateup
    Go to Episode
    Sep 30, 2014

    Craig and John talk with Guardians co-writer Nicole Perlman about the development of this summer’s blockbuster, and her two years as part of Marvel’s in-house writing program. It’s a great look at how movies get started, and the dozens of drafts you didn’t see on the big screen.

  • navigateup
    Go to Episode
    Sep 23, 2014

    Craig loves the 1990 blockbuster Ghost. John? Ditto. Written by Bruce Joel Rubin and directed by Jerry Zucker, Ghost set the template for the modern romantic drama. It was Twilight before Twilight, Titanic before Titanic. It won hearts, weekends and Oscars, including best screenplay.

  • navigateup
    Go to Episode
    Sep 16, 2014

    This week, Craig and John tackle listener questions.

  • navigateup
    Go to Episode
    Sep 9, 2014

    To celebrate the third anniversary of Scriptnotes, John and Craig invite Aline Brosh McKenna and her limitless analogies back to discuss box-office journalism, scene geography, emotional IQ and flipping the script.

  • navigateup
    Go to Episode
    Sep 2, 2014

    John and Craig spend the hour discussing the number one topic whenever screenwriters are done complaining about studio notes: the end of the world, and how to get ready for it.

  • navigateup
    Go to Episode
    Aug 26, 2014

    John and Craig take a look at four new entries in the Three Page Challenge, ranging from galactic drama to medieval comedy. Along the way, they talk about the nature of one-hour teasers, trust, plausibility, and how to properly address religious authorities.

  • navigateup
    Go to Episode
    Aug 19, 2014

    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.

  • navigateup
    Go to Episode
    Aug 12, 2014

    Craig and John discuss the accusations of plagiarism surrounding True Detective — and what plagiarism even means in the context of filmed entertainment. Movies don’t have footnotes, so how should screenwriters give attribution?

  • navigateup
    Go to Episode
    Aug 5, 2014

    John and Craig revisit one of their favorite episodes, in which they sit down with screenwriter-turned-psychotherapist Dennis Palumbo to discuss writer’s block, procrastination, partnerships and more. It’s a can’t-miss episode for aspiring writers and professionals alike.

  • navigateup
    Go to Episode
    Jul 29, 2014

    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?

  • navigateup
    Go to Episode
    Jul 22, 2014

    John and Craig talk structure and escalation. Structure is simply what happens when. Escalation is how things get tougher.

  • navigateup
    Go to Episode
    Jul 15, 2014

    In their first-ever live streaming episode, John and Craig open the mailbag to answer a bunch of listener questions.

  • navigateup
    Go to Episode
    Jul 8, 2014

    Aline Brosh McKenna joins Craig and John to talk about the difficult journey through pages 70-90 of your feature. After that, we talk about procrastination, the Panic Monster and our inner Instant Gratification Monkeys.

  • navigateup
    Go to Episode
    Jul 1, 2014

    John and Craig discuss why most characters are liars, and how that’s actually a good thing. John offers seven suggestions for picking character names that will help your readers. Then we look at a three page challenge that’s been filmed to see what worked on the page versus on screen.

  • navigateup
    Go to Episode
    Jun 24, 2014

    Craig and John take a swing at several of the week’s hyperbolic headlines, from conflict-free comedy to Fitzgerald’s failures to Strong Female Characters with nothing to do. In each case, there’s a valid idea lurking beneath the overstated claim, but it’s important to separate good examples from bad.

  • navigateup
    Go to Episode
    Jun 17, 2014

    John and Craig open the vault to bring you a never-before-heard episode recorded live at the 2013 Austin Film Festival, where we did a Three Page Challenge and met with the writers.

  • navigateup
    Go to Episode
    Jun 10, 2014

    John and Craig talk about what screenwriters can learn from the structure of classical music, then invite journalist Scott Tobias on to discuss how day-and-date video-on-demand releases make it hard to know how indie films are doing, individually and as a group.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Jun 3, 2014

    John and Craig discuss whether screenwriters are better off pursing writing assignments or working on their own material. They also look at the visual comedy of Edgar Wright, and The Shawshank Redemption’s 20th anniversary.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    May 27, 2014

    Writer-Director David Wain joins John and Craig to talk about the long journey to bring They Came Together to the screen (on June 27th), the changing nature of spoofs, and the seminal summer camp film Wet Hot American Summer.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    May 23, 2014

    Craig and John, along with their talented panelists, answer questions from the audience at the May 15, 2014 live show.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    May 20, 2014

    John and Craig are joined by the writers of the some of the biggest superhero movies to talk about why these characters resonate. Andrea Berloff looks for the primal essence of Conan. Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely discuss the challenge of bringing Captain America to a global audience. David Goyer talks about keeping Batman grounded even while Superman flies. Then the whole panel gets busy rebooting randomly-assigned superheroes.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    May 13, 2014

    In a wide-ranging episode, Craig and John look at a 1912 screenwriting book, Levinson’s beef with the WGA, and the Periodic Table of Storytelling.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    May 6, 2014

    Screenwriter Kelly Marcel joins John and Craig to play Fiasco, resulting in a tale of art, murder and sexual blackmail in the Hollywood Hills.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Apr 29, 2014

    Nothing is cut-and-dried this week. John and Craig talk Game of Thrones rape, allegations against director Bryan Singer and the new report showing the same low employment numbers for female writers in film and TV.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Apr 22, 2014

    Craig and John play marriage counsellor between writers and their scripts, looking at both the first spark of attraction and how to rekindle the flame when the fire has gone out.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Apr 15, 2014

    John and Craig visit Ben Blacker’s Nerdist Writers Panel for a special crossover episode, recorded in front of a live audience on April 13, 2014.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Apr 8, 2014

    John and Craig talk with WGA President Chris Keyser about the tentative deal reached between writers and the studios, and why it’s more groundbreaking than it might appear at first glance.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Apr 1, 2014

    Craig delights as John gets @-napped in a Twitter thread about copyright infringement. Then they talk disruption in television, and how it affects writers.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Mar 25, 2014

    John and Craig talk Lab Rats, multi-cam, and what scenes might mean in their imaginary screenplay format. Craig clarifies what “spec writing” is, and when it’s permitted, both legally and ethically.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Mar 18, 2014

    John and Craig discuss how you create a fictional universe for your story, and the limits of how much can fit on the page. From location to language to wardrobe, choosing which details to make explicit is a crucial early decision. Too little detail and the reader doesn’t know how your story is special; too much detail and the story gets lost.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Mar 11, 2014

    John has questions about the questions Craig answered on his Reddit AMA, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg as we answer six great listener questions.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Mar 4, 2014

    John and Craig pay their respects to Harold Ramis with an episode devoted entirely to Groundhog Day.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Feb 25, 2014

    John and Craig look at the implicit contract made between screenwriters and readers — and ultimately, movies and their audience. That’s a natural introduction to our Three Page Challenge and the three new entries we look at this week.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Feb 18, 2014

    Craig and John get in your head to talk procrastination, pageorexia and generalized anxiety. They also move beyond the psychopathology to discuss all the changes in the industry, from cable mergers to lawsuits to disruptive technologies. You’re not as paranoid as you think you are.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Feb 11, 2014

    John and Craig tackle the greatest controversy in screenwriting: how many spaces to put after the period. From there, it’s follow-up on the Final Draft episode, including some behind-the-scene details.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Feb 4, 2014

    The makers of Final Draft pay us a visit to clear up John and Craig’s misconceptions of, well, everything. It’s double the umbrage for your money.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Jan 28, 2014

    In the tradition of the Raiders and Little Mermaid episodes, John and guest host Aline Brosh McKenna discuss and dissect the award-winning, record-setting, paradigm-shifting Frozen. But this time, we have the writer on hand to answer our questions.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Jan 21, 2014

    Carolyn Strauss, executive producer of Game of Thrones, joins John and Craig to discuss female directors and the death of pilot season. In one short hour, they solve all the intractable problems facing the film and television industry. (Not true. Not even remotely.)

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Jan 14, 2014

    John and Craig took a look at Final Draft 9 and the futility of Twitter arguments before launching into three brand-new Three Page Challenges.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Jan 7, 2014

    It’s a week of big egos as Craig and John take a look at when (or whether) filmmakers will be able to pull a Beyoncé and surprise-release a feature film, and what Mrs. Carter’s tussle with Amazon and Target means for the future of retail DVD.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Dec 31, 2013

    John, Craig, and guests take questions from the audience at the Scriptnotes Holiday Spectacular. Topics include TV writing careers, what to do once you have an agent, overcoming gender stereotypes, rewriting Dodgeball, and more.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Dec 24, 2013

    ‘Twas the Holiday Scriptnotes and at our behest, Craig and John were joined by our six favorite guests.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Dec 17, 2013

    John and Craig offer advice for super-rich aspirants about the film and television industry. If you have enough money to do anything, what should you do first? Do you want to make money, or make art? Or do you just want to hang out with famous people? No judgements.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Dec 10, 2013

    Writer/director/actor/comedian Mike Birbiglia joins John and Craig to talk about writing for yourself, and how his one-man shows have translated into his films Sleepwalk With Me and My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend. We talk movies and television, stand-up and screenplays, and the upside of failure.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Dec 3, 2013

    Craig and John talk readers and coverage, centering their discussion on profound_whatever’s infographic charting 300 submissions and the lessons screenwriters can take from it.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Nov 26, 2013

    Aline Brosh McKenna joins John and Craig to discuss watching movies with an open mind and why it’s important to befriend other writers.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Nov 19, 2013

    John and Craig wind back the clock with writer-director Richard Kelly to look at the origins of Donnie Darko, and how a recent film-school grad gets a movie made.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Nov 12, 2013

    John and Craig take an extended look at how sound works in movies, and how screenwriters can take advantage of it on the page.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Nov 5, 2013

    Craig and John love women and jeopardy, but folks, we gotta stop kidnapping girlfriends as plot devices. We discuss ways to avoid this trope.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Oct 29, 2013

    Craig and John head to the Austin Film Festival for another live edition of Scriptnotes. Everything is bigger in Texas, including the crowd for this packed show featuring Looper writer/director Rian Johnson and Saving Mr. Banks screenwriter Kelly Marcel.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Oct 22, 2013

    This week, John and Craig go big to look all things blockbuster. First, Anita Elberse’s new book Blockbuster argues that giant movies are a comparatively safe bet for Hollywood. Meanwhile, Gravity is the movie on everyone’s lips, but will we learn the right lessons, or just try to put more movie stars in space?

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Oct 15, 2013

    Explicit language warning! Even the titles of this week’s Three Page Challenge entries are filthy, so John and Craig let the f-bombs fly.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Oct 8, 2013

    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.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Oct 1, 2013

    John and Craig discuss what it feels like to finish a project — the combination of excitement and relief, joy and sadness — as Craig advises John which project he should write next now that Big Fish is set to open.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Sep 28, 2013

    In this bonus episode, Craig and John and special guest Andrew Lippa answer audience questions after the New York live show, addressing topics ranging from sustaining your passion for a project to dealing with difficult gatekeepers. We had a great crowd with great questions, and Craig especially rose to the challenge.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Sep 24, 2013

    John and Craig welcome their largest live audience yet for a conversation about Kickstarter, movie pilots and musicals. Joined by special guest Andrew Lippa, they talk about the special challenges and opportunities that arise when characters break into song.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Sep 17, 2013

    John and Craig debate the perils and possibilities of bringing iPads into movie theaters. Is Disney’s Little Mermaid iPad app a way to breathe new life into a classic, or a slippery slope towards cinematic ruin? It’s a conversation with plenty of umbrage — but from an unexpected source.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Sep 10, 2013

    John and Craig discuss the difference between character intention and motivation, before segueing to conversations on working with actors and on-set writing.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Sep 3, 2013

    John and Craig reveal their Myers-Briggs secrets as they discuss Kevin Spacey’s comments on the state of television, Eric Garcetti’s plans to address runaway production, and the WGA election.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Aug 27, 2013

    John and Craig tackle three new entries in the Three Page Challenge, ranging from space drama to killer hookers to brassy defense attorneys. Along the way, they find some awkward scene description and a few misused semi-colons.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Aug 20, 2013

    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.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Aug 13, 2013

    John and Craig discuss Damon Lindelof’s interview about how plot stakes have escalated lockstep with budget, perhaps to the point of absurdity.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Aug 6, 2013

    Craig and John take a look at one investor’s campaign against Sony Pictures, and George Clooney’s strong reaction. From there, we examine why studios have multiple labels — TriStar is back! — and how that affects writers.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Aug 2, 2013

    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.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Jul 30, 2013

    John and Craig are joined by Aline Brosh McKenna and Rawson Thurber for the 100th episode of Scriptnotes, recorded live at the Academy Lab in Hollywood. It was a great night with an amazing audience.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Jul 23, 2013

    John and Craig sit down with screenwriter-turned-psychotherapist Dennis Palumbo to discuss writer’s block, procrastination, partnerships and more. It’s a can’t-miss episode for aspiring writers and professionals alike.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Jul 16, 2013

    John and Craig discuss the Apple ebook price-fixing lawsuit and its lessons for Hollywood, before segueing to the new credits system for producers. Then: Have movies gotten too long, and would making them shorter really save money?

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Jul 9, 2013

    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.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Jul 2, 2013

    Live from WGF Craft Day, Craig and John tackle three new Three Page Challenge entries…with the writers on hand!

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Jun 25, 2013

    John and Craig discuss the death of the film industry as foretold by four prominent filmmakers. Is the way we make movies unsustainable? Is the system fundamentally broken, or just changing into something new? And why don’t we make romantic comedies anymore?

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Jun 18, 2013

    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.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Jun 11, 2013

    John and Craig discuss the polarizing potentate of Deadline Hollywood Daily, then segue into what a healthy entertainment journalism ecosystem might look like.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Jun 4, 2013

    Craig and John spend an entire episode discussing and dissecting 1989’s THE LITTLE MERMAID, looking at both its structure and scene work.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    May 28, 2013

    It’s a week of pondering other people’s opinions. First, Craig and John take a look at the Bechdel Test: is it a useful metric for screenwriters, or just meaningless checkbox-ticking?

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    May 21, 2013

    As promised, John and Craig answer a bunch of listener questions on everything except screenwriting, on topics ranging from sex to science to sushi.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    May 14, 2013

    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.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    May 7, 2013

    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.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Apr 30, 2013

    John and Craig discuss when to stop rewriting a project and accept that it’s just not going to become a movie. Then we go bigger to look at when to give up on the dream of being a screenwriter — which starts with a hard look at why people seek out the career in the first place.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Apr 23, 2013

    Craig leads the discussion on how to survive a notes meeting. As screenwriters, our instinct is to defend, deny and debate — but these are almost always the wrong choice. By reframing the discussion about the movie rather than the script, you can often end up at a better place.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Apr 16, 2013

    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.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Apr 9, 2013

    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.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Apr 2, 2013

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

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Mar 26, 2013

    Craig is sick and John is in the middle of tech rehearsals, but nothing will stop them from discussing another batch of Three Page Challenges.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Mar 19, 2013

    Craig and John discuss the big Veronica Mars/Kickstarter news in one of the more contentious podcasts to date. If you like umbrage, this is the show for you.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Mar 12, 2013

    John and Craig talk homesickness and daddy issues before diving into a discussion on what Rhythm and Hues’s bankruptcy means for the film industry — and similar scenarios screenwriters might face down the road.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Mar 5, 2013

    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.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Feb 26, 2013

    Craig and John take a look at the class-action suit over Hollywood’s unpaid interns, then discuss envy and jealousy and other unproductive emotions.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Feb 19, 2013

    John and Craig discuss spec scripts, pitches and how it feels when your movie gets brutal reviews.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Feb 12, 2013

    Aline Brosh McKenna joins John and Craig for a conversation about what writers mean by a “voice,” and how it develops.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Feb 5, 2013

    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.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Jan 29, 2013

    Craig and John discuss a new report that tallies spec script sales for 2012 — with the reminder that selling a spec isn’t necessarily the most important thing for new writers.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Jan 22, 2013

    Craig and John spend the entire episode discussing and dissecting RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, looking at both its structure and scene work.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Jan 15, 2013

    With last week’s news that home video stopped its free-fall and actually grew a little bit in 2012, John and Craig discuss whether studios might ease off on one-step deals and other development austerity measures.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Jan 8, 2013

    John and Craig return from the holidays to look at the WGA nominations, the perennially high costs of movies, scene headers and acceptable fonts for treatments.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Jan 1, 2013

    Craig and John start the year with a look back at three very early episodes not currently on iTunes, discussing outlines, agents and the Good Boy Syndrome.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Dec 25, 2012

    It’s Christmas, so John and Craig are exchanging the gift of answers, tackling listener questions on topics ranging from musical books to punch-up sessions.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Dec 18, 2012

    Craig and John chat with Lindsay Doran, a producer and former studio exec who’s made terrific movies, ranging from Sense and Sensibility to Stranger than Fiction.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Dec 11, 2012

    John and Craig talk about perspective — both within a scene and the overall story. It’s not always obvious to the reader which characters are in the driver’s seat, so it falls on the screenwriter to make that clear.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Dec 4, 2012

    Craig and John look at the logic and fallacies of one-step deals for screenwriters, along with advice on reading screenplays and enjoying Skyfall.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Nov 27, 2012

    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.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Nov 20, 2012

    Screenwriters Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein sit down with John and Craig to talk about writing movies, writing television and writing together.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Nov 13, 2012

    Craig and John dive back into the Three Page Challenge entries, along with an overview of the 500+ contenders that have been submitted.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Nov 6, 2012

    John and Craig discuss the big movie news of the week: Disney buying Lucasfilm, and with it, the rights to Star Wars.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Oct 30, 2012

    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).

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Oct 23, 2012

    Recording live at the Austin Film Festival, John and Craig take a look at The Black List’s pivot to a paid site, and what it means for screenwriters and the industry. Black List creator Franklin Leonard joins us for questions and criticism, as well as screenwriter Aline Brosh McKenna.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Oct 16, 2012

    John and Craig discuss Frankenweenie and Superhero! before cracking open the mailbox to answer listener questions.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Oct 9, 2012

    In the spirit of Looper, Craig and John take a journey back in time, looking at the first scripts they read, the first scripts they wrote, and the common pitfalls of many first screenplays.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Oct 2, 2012

    John and Craig discuss what makes an idea a movie idea, and how those differ from TV ideas, book ideas, and other narrative forms.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Sep 25, 2012

    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.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Sep 18, 2012

    What’s the difference between a reader and a producer? Much more than one high-profile online reader seems to believe. John and Craig discuss what producers do, and how one plausibly gets started.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Sep 11, 2012

    John and Craig tackle eight questions on the profession of screenwriting, ranging from studio execs to sharing credit to pitching via video.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Sep 4, 2012

    John and Craig are all action this week, looking at how screenwriters write those things characters do in a movie.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Aug 28, 2012

    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.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Aug 21, 2012

    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?

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Aug 14, 2012

    Screenwriters are often not the healthiest folk. We do our work at computers, surrounded by snacks, so it’s no surprise many of us get fat. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Aug 9, 2012

    John and Craig talk critics, and how trying to anticipate their reviews can cause paralysis. It’s funny how the screenwriter only seems to get mentioned in negative reviews. Well, not funny, actually. Frustrating. And possibly statistically verifiable, so listen in if you’re looking for a research project.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Jul 31, 2012

    Craig and John look at the results of the WGA screenwriter survey, which found widespread reports of bake-offs, prewriting and other shenanigans.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Jul 24, 2012

    Craig and John tackle a question screenwriters ask themselves at every stage in their careers: of all things I could write, which thing should I write?

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Jul 17, 2012

    Craig and John skip Comic-Con so they can discuss annoying and unproductive habits of development executives, along with advice for working with screenwriters.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Jul 10, 2012

    It’s two parts craft and one part business as Craig and John discuss the alarming earnings report coming out of the WGA, plus a deeper look at setting and POV.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Jul 3, 2012

    John and Craig look at how to write satisfying third acts. That doesn’t necessarily mean a happy ending, but rather one that feels earned.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Jun 26, 2012

    This week, John is a bit under the weather, so Craig takes over moderator duties as they tackle four listener questions.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Jun 19, 2012

    This week’s episode finds Craig and John answering questions about agent etiquette, business cards and those troubling rewrites that unravel everything.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Jun 12, 2012

    On the 41st Scriptnotes, John and Craig discuss screenwriting software, knowing when to start, and the Game of Thrones finale. But before moving on to new business, they update us on two topics of podcasts past.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Jun 5, 2012

    Craig and John talk about Craig’s decision to abandon his once-bustling blog, while John weighs the pros and cons of comments and community.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    May 29, 2012

    Craig and John take a look at the difference between plot and story with some help from the Littlest Pet Shop and Game of Thrones.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    May 22, 2012

    John and Craig open the listener mailbag and sprint through twenty questions in just under an hour.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    May 15, 2012

    Screenwriters can learn story and structure, but the ability to create real, tangible characters is more elusive — and ultimately more important.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    May 8, 2012

    John and Craig open the 36th Scriptnotes with a brief discussion about contracts, and then face writer’s block head on.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    May 1, 2012

    John and Craig discuss the small, currently leaderless world of Walt Disney Studios, along with its challenges and opportunities.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Apr 24, 2012

    Craig and John take a brief look at the misguided Girls backlash and complaints about nepotism in Hollywood, before segueing to a bigger discussion of spec scripts and positioning.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Apr 17, 2012

    Craig and John just have to talk about the double-barrel craziness of the Joe Eszterhas/Mel Gibson spat. How often do you have screenwriters lobbing incendiary accusations at movie stars?

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Apr 10, 2012

    Craig and John answer questions about specificity, television and what to do when your great idea sounds too much like a movie that’s already been made.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Apr 3, 2012

    Craig and John take a look at Toph Eggers’s apology, which segues to a discussion of apologies in general and laugh tracks.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Mar 27, 2012

    Craig and John offer advice on handling revisions once your screenplay moves into production. Get it right, and it should be smooth sailing. Get it wrong, and you have a frustrated crew and a lot of cleanup.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Mar 19, 2012

    Craig and John tackle five listener questions on topics ranging from greedy managers and lazy agents to throwing in the towel.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Mar 13, 2012

    John and Craig turn from the pen to the knife to talk through the whys and hows of cutting pages — both the cosmetic trims and the deep cuts.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Mar 6, 2012

    Celebrating Leap Day, John and Craig play the game of “What If?” Specifically, what if we each were handed the reins of a major Hollywood studio?

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Feb 28, 2012

    This week, Craig and John get all Miss Manners to talk about best practices, bad behavior and throwing writers under the bus.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Feb 21, 2012

    For their 25th podcast, John and Craig tackle listener questions. How does a screenwriter option a novel he wants to adapt? When can a writer say he “wrote” a movie — particularly if there are other credited writers? Finally, should an aspiring writer focus on television or features?

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Feb 14, 2012

    John and Craig reach into the listener mailbag and come up with questions about laying out lyrics, foreign dialogue, overall deals and title trademarks.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Feb 7, 2012

    After last week’s depressing reality-check, Craig and John float back to the lands of joyful possibility with a look at theme, or central dramatic argument, or whatever you choose to call that narrative glue that helps hold a story together.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Jan 31, 2012

    Following up on their conversation about “five figure advice” for newly-employed screenwriters, Craig and John discuss the changes and challenges that come when writers start making six figures — that is, more than $100K per year.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Jan 24, 2012

    Craig and John discuss the screenwriter’s role in casting, then segue to the New York Times profile of producer/executive Lindsay Doran’s approach to story.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Jan 17, 2012

    John and Craig take an in-depth look at how screenwriting credits are determined. In some ways, credit arbitration is a luxury problem — the movie you wrote got made! — but it’s one of the most controversial, contentious and misunderstood parts of a screenwriter’s career.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Jan 10, 2012

    Craig and John take a look the week’s news, including the WGA nominations, Warner’s shift to a 56-day video window, the folly of SOPA and the launch of Bronson Watermarker.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Jan 3, 2012

    Craig and John discuss the year ahead, from resolutions (we don’t have any) to reunions (20th!). Along the way, we discuss archery, piano and left-hand weakness. The bulk of the episode is a discussion of Charlie Kaufman’s BAFTA speech about screenwriting and screenwriters, artistry and artifice.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Dec 20, 2011

    Craig and John explain what producers do — at least, what they’re supposed to do — and discuss the myriad subclasses of producers that litter the opening titles of many movies.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Dec 13, 2011

    Craig and John plug a book by their very first sponsor and discuss elective brain surgery, before tackling an exhaustive but illuminating list of questions from listener Daniel Barkeley.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Dec 6, 2011

    Craig and John look at why the books and seminars purporting to teach screenwriting are generally terrible, trying to reduce the hard work of the craft to a series of formulas and templates.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Nov 29, 2011

    Craig and John take a look at awards-season screeners before going deep into a discussion of how residuals work and why they’re so important to screenwriters. Plus, a visit from Craig’s cleaning lady, who thinks he’s insane.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Nov 22, 2011

    John and Craig tackle reader questions about self distribution, pseudonyms, separated rights, and studios’ feelings about international versus domestic box office.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Nov 16, 2011

    On episode 12 of Scriptnotes, Craig and John discuss musicals, split time lines, split personalities and the human brain.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Nov 8, 2011

    When you read articles claiming every Hollywood movie loses money, an obvious question arises: “Why do they keep making them, then?” In this installment, John and Craig explain how the film industry spends and makes money.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Nov 1, 2011

    Craig and John go through the mailbox to answer listener questions. Can great actors save bad writing? What happens when writing partners split up? Are flashbacks always a bad idea? Should a young British comedy writer move to America?

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Oct 25, 2011

    Craig and John tackle a listener question about the early stages of a screenwriting career: deciding which meetings to take, which projects to pursue, and how not to go broke in the process.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Oct 19, 2011

    John and Craig discuss why screenwriters want to please people — and how it often hurts them and the movie they’re writing — before a lengthy discussion of the pros and cons of going to film school.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Oct 13, 2011

    John and Craig answer a listener’s question about whether (and how) to ditch an ineffective manager, then discuss daily work habits, hardware and software.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Oct 3, 2011

    John and Craig discuss the new fall shows and how little kids become screenwriters, with discussion of D&D, Malcolm Gladwell and daisy-wheel printers.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Sep 26, 2011

    In episode five of Scriptnotes, Craig and I dive deep into the esoterica of the WGA, copyright and separated rights as prelude to a discussion of two ongoing lawsuits: Jessica Bendinger vs. the Bring It On musical and Harlan Ellison vs. In Time.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Sep 16, 2011

    In episode four of Scriptnotes, Craig and I discuss migraines and zombie apocalypse preparations before we segue to the main topic: how screenwriters work with directors, from the first meeting to on-set etiquette to giving notes in post.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Sep 12, 2011

    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.

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Sep 6, 2011

    For our second podcast, Craig Mazin and I decided to tackle the question we’ve both been ducking since we started our blogs: “How do I get an agent and/or manager?”

  • navigateup
    Go to Archive
    Aug 30, 2011

    Today marks the inaugural episode of Scriptnotes, a podcast that Craig Mazin and I are trying out. It’s meant to be a weekly-or-so conversation about items of interest to screenwriters, from getting stuff written to dealing with insane producers.