This archived episode of Scriptnotes is available to Scriptnotes Premium subscribers only. Sign up or Log in at

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

➤ When John sets a timer for himself, what is his work/break interval sweet spot? (1:12)

➤ How do you break up with your manager? (2:16)

➤ Are there any tricks for organizing files when writing out of order? (3:42)

➤ Why join the WGA? (5:35)

➤ What “lingo” do Craig and John use in story meetings? (13:48)

➤ Will a writer be held back by English being her second language? (17:33)

➤ Is it better to release a short through festivals or by putting it online in parts? (19:37)

➤ Do John and Craig have tips for juggling multiple writing jobs? (21:17)

➤ What is a safe LA neighborhood with good schools for a writer/father who is making the move? (25:56)

➤ Do Craig and John’s finished movies look like they imagined while they were writing them? (30:23)

➤ Is it a smart idea for a 23-year-old aspiring screenwriter to pick up and move to LA? (34:05)

➤ If a character’s race is not specifically mentioned, why is he or she assumed white? (34:57)

➤ Is it okay to refer to specific actors while pitching? What about in the script itself? (39:12)

➤ How did John and Craig meet and decided to collaborate on Scriptnotes? (41:18)

➤ Are screenwriting contests or studio writers’ programs the right step for a 30-year-old mother of one living in Ohio? (42:34)

➤ Why would anyone would want to become a screenwriter in today’s studio climate? (46:38)

➤ If your spec pilot begs to be a premise pilot, is it better to use a non-pilot episode as your sample? (49:15)

➤ Why does page length change when converting files from Movie Magic to Final Draft? Which page count is correct? (51:29)

➤ If your historical epic has a lot of required backstory, is it okay to meet the protagonist on page 30? (53:41)

➤ Is there shame in running with an idea someone else freely posted online? (55:23)

All this and just slightly more on episode 38 of Scriptnotes.


You can download the episode here: AAC.

UPDATE 5-24-12: The transcript of this episode can be found here.