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Scriptnotes Live in LA

Craig and I will be doing two live shows in LA this summer: June 29th and July 25. They’re vastly different, but both should be cool.

Unless they pay you, the answer is no

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.

One-step deals, and how to read a script

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

WGA Election results

Eight members were elected to the WGAW’s Board of Directors: Chip Johannessen, Katherine Fugate, Michael Oates Palmer, John Aboud, Scott Alexander, David A. Goodman, Marjorie David, Kathy Kiernan.

Some voting suggestions for the WGA board

By now, WGA members should have received their ballots for the 2012 election. This year, I’m a little more connected the process than usual, because I served on the nominating committee, helping to choose the 15 candidates running for the eight open seats on the board.

How to Not Be Fat

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.

Craig dreams of sushi

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

Setting, perspective and terrible numbers

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.

20 Questions with John and Craig

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

Anatomy of a script

Robin Schiff and Winnie Holzman’s great discussion series “Anatomy of a Script” is starting up again in March, and highly recommended for film and TV writers wanting to learn more about the craft.

How credit arbitration works

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.

How residuals get divided between writers

If two writers share a credit slot (like screenplay), that portion of residuals is split squarely between them.

How residuals work

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.

Undervalued simplicity, and WGA coverage for videogames

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

WGA, copyright and musicals

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.

Pitching a take, and the WGA elections

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.

WGA Elections, 2011 Edition

WGA members should have received ballots this week for the 2011 election. You’ll see my name listed on several endorsements for candidates I think are terrific, but I also want to give a more general overview of the issues and personalities involved.

Anatomy of a script series

Every year, the Writers Guild Foundation holds a series of discussions with film and television writers focusing on one of their past or current projects. This year, I’ll be a guest, talking about Big Fish.

Getting paid late

A screenwriter colleague recently vented her frustration with always getting paid late for her studio jobs. I didn’t have any particularly good advice for her — what she describes is hardly unique. In fact, the situation is so much the norm that I asked if she would write up a post about her experiences, since I’ve never really discussed it on the blog.

Election results announced

The votes have been counted in the WGAw Board election.

WGA election time again

WGAw members should now have received ballots for the Board election. It’s an important vote, because this Board will be setting the agenda for the next round of negotiations.

Credits referendum overwhelmingly approved

The three uncontroversial proposals for amending the TV and screen credits process passed by a large margin.

Producers, managers and deals

How much should a first-time writer expect to make on a sale?

WGA credits proposals on the ballot

If you’re a WGAw member, you probably got a ballot in the mail over the weekend. There are three proposals, all amendments dealing with credit determination.

WGAw screenwriter survey

WGAw screenwriters should have received an email yesterday about an online survey the Guild is conducting. Please find the email — it might get stuck in your spam filter — and click the link.