The original post for this episode can be found here.
John August: Now is the time of the podcast where we will open up for some questions.
Craig Mazin: Great.
John: Good questions out in the audience. We have two microphones. And so we will probably ping pong back and forth between them. We will do as many questions as we have time for.
Craig: How much time do we have?
John: Like 15 minutes.
John: We’re actually a little bit long, but we’re going to keep going. So, line up there if you have a question for us. If you have a question for the people who came up here and spoke before, we will get them up here to answer your question.
So, first gentleman at the microphone?
(Audience Member) John: Hi, I’m John.
John: Hi, how are you?
(Audience Member) John: And I just wanted to say thank you. I want to say thank you for showing up every week and we’ll continue to show up every week. And I made you guys some presents.
John: Aw, presents! Aw, we like presents. Bring them done.
Craig: Aw. Thank you. My dog…oh wow, cool, hold on. These are cool. Look.
John: Ooh, they’re t-shirts and what do they say? They say Scriptnotes in black.
Craig: No, no, the Jon Bon Jovi of Screenwriting Podcasts. Thank you.
John: Very well done.
Craig: Thank you.
John: In Gotham no less. Thank you very much for these.
Craig: That is awesome. And true. Thank you. That’s… — God, that’s so nice. Thank you.
John: And to the right.
Art: Yes, hi. My name is Art. I just moved to LA last Friday.
John: He moved from Virginia if I remember correctly.
Art: Yes. That’s right. I moved from Virginia. I’ve got a place to live sorted out. I’ve got a regular income sorted out. So, if you were in this position what would you spend the next year doing?
Craig: What? No. No, no, no, no, no. You’re going to spend the next year doing what you’re going to do, right? I already did that. You know, I did my version of that. I worked. I got whatever job I could and I worked really hard. That’s what you’re going to do and you’re going to write in the evening, but everyone’s thing is different.
John: Yeah. But he’s saying like what can he aim for. I think that’s —
John: Aim high. Aim high and modest at the same time. Obviously some stability in your life is a great thing, so some sort of job that keeps you in rent is fantastic. You need to keep writing. You need to find other people who write. You need to find other people who make movies. And you need to help them with their writing and help them make their movies because you need to form a social network of people who are doing exactly what you’re trying to do.
So, events like this is a way to start. Classes are a way to start. Whatever is a way to start. Take some improv classes. Whatever, just so that you get to meet more people who are in your cohort of people trying to rise up and go through.
Craig: That’s a better answer.
Craig: Better answer.
John: Yeah. It is.
Craig: It happens.
John: There’s Bon Jovi and then there’s the other people in the band.
Craig: Tico Torres.
But you need to do the things you need to do to pay your rent and then just never forget that you’re actually here to become a writer, to be making films, and to always sort of wake up every morning thinking like how am I getting closer to doing this thing.
And if you wake up ten days in a row and you’ve done nothing, that should be a sign that you need to be doing something new. Welcome to Los Angeles.
Craig: Welcome to Los Angeles.
John: Over here.
Male Audience Member: First off, thanks for being awesome.
John: Oh, thank you.
Male Audience Member: And thanks to Aline Brosh McKenna for all the booze.
John: Aline. Woo!
Craig: Aline. She didn’t stick around.
Male Audience Member: To kind of piggyback off that last question, I feel like I’ve gotten to a point now in my circle friends, bless you, the work that we’ve done, it’s like we write every day. You know, we’re starting to get some traction. You’re starting to get some representation. Things haven’t really happened for you in a big way yet, but you’re starting to get the wheat from the chaff. But having said that, the notes that I’m starting to get and a lot of my friends are starting to kind of give, it’s almost you know enough to be dangerous.
Male Audience Member: And at what point do you kind of stop taking notes, or do you stop taking notes and do you kind of just rely on what you’ve learned and your kind of own instincts.
Craig: You’re singling out something very important. What a good way you put it: You know enough to be dangerous.
So, there is something that happens when you get writers together who have gotten to a particular place but maybe haven’t gone all the way through the process of production. When you truly, when the scales from your eyes really for the first time. When you see your work produced and on screen and you go through that machine.
But you’re not there, so you have some information, you have some knowledge, and sometimes all the cross notes do is just deaden and flatten everything down. Sometimes the crabs are just pulling each other down into the barrel. And sometimes the people giving you notes just aren’t that good. Right?
So, this never goes away. It’s just that fancier and more expensive people give you these notes. And what you have to do is just be honest. Just be honest. That means honestly say that was thought-provoking. It doesn’t matter that you are — a hobo gave me a note, but it was thought-provoking. Nor does it matter that you’re the president of a studio. “Your note is dumb.” Now, you don’t say that.
John: You don’t say that.
Craig: Not like that. But just honestly accept everything, evaluate it honestly, and you cannot go wrong. Above all, if somebody is going after the thing that is the beating heart of what you’re doing, the reason you’re doing it, the passion, they’re not bad people, they’re just not right for this. Don’t listen to them because they’re just not — there are people that don’t like movies you like, right? That may be what’s going on there.
So, just be honest.
Male Audience Member: Cool. Awesome.
John: Thank you. I agree with what Craig said.
Male Audience Member: Great. Thank you.
John: Thanks. To you, sir.
Brad: Hi. I’m Brad. Big fan.
I was wondering, as a writer you want to write good dialogue, but this is action night and there’s always sometimes a chance to express something through dialogue or through action, so as a good writer you want to make good dialogue. As a screenwriter you know that it’s a visual medium and action goes a long way. What’s going through your head when you’re deciding whether to express something in dialogue or in action?
John: The breakdown between action and dialogue is every word counts that someone’s character says. And so if there’s a moment that can only be expressed by saying something, you’re going to say something. But generally I always try to do the pass where I sort of turn off the volume in my head and just like read the script as if no one is allowed to talk. Imagine that you’re watching it on a plane and you didn’t buy the headphones. And would you be able to follow what’s happening there?
You want to make sure that the movie makes fundamental sense visually. And then you get the bonus of like sound adds to it all. And that there’s a reason why these characters are talking and what they’re saying is actually fascinating.
The best screenplays you read, both the action and the dialogue are fantastic. And they’re complementing each other and they’re not in a way commenting on each other. They’re sort of happening at the same time in a way that’s mutually fantastic.
When you come to situations where characters are talking about the things you just saw, that’s a dangerous situation.
Craig: Yeah. It’s a really good question. Sometimes the answer is in character. There are characters that are verbal and that need to say things. And there are characters that aren’t and need to do things and are parsimonious with their words. And you have to know that, obviously.
But, in a general sense, it’s like music. So, everything is an instrument in the band of your screenplay and sometimes you just want that guitar there and sometimes you don’t. And the truth is you have to feel it. Every writer is different. Every writer has a different fingerprint.
I have no idea how many words are in Kill Bill that are dialogue, but a lot, right? Until suddenly there’s none. Right? And then it’s just so quiet. And then there’s a lot again. So, Tarantino has his own fingerprint that changes from moment to moment but then as a whole you get, right?
Every writer has their fingerprint. You just have to kind of write to find yours. And then you will, or you won’t.
John: He will. Come on, Craig.
John: It’s a hopeful night.
Craig: You know.
John: Thank you very much.
Brad: Thank you.
George: Hi, my name is George. I wanted to thank you guys for inspiring me to quit. [laughs] No, I’m sincere about that. You may have very well salvaged a life.
I just had so much invested. I left a career as a psychologist from Berkeley. Went to USC film school. Did well in the Nicholls. Landed a few jobs. Even had a film produced. And that may sound like humble bragging except for it’s been ten years of just struggle. And I’m about to turn 43. The only thing substantial in my life is my pug.
John: Pugs are great dogs. So, you’re doing well.
George: Pugs are great dogs. But, you know, sometimes you just need permission to let go —
George: From professionals you trust.
George: And inspired by the Dennis Palumbo episode, I’m going back to school to get my degree in clinical psychology.
Craig: Great. Good for you. Good. That’s fantastic.
Craig: Good for you.
George: So, I don’t have a question. I just felt really compelled to thank you guys.
Craig: Well, thank you.
John: Thank you for sharing that too. That’s really, really good.
Craig: You know, I have to say that that needs to happen more often. That what I loved about that was that you had no shame attached to it. Everybody attaches this shame to wanting to do something and fail or wanting to do something and not achieve that thing. In fact, even just the idea of fail, right?
But it’s not shameful at all. There’s all sorts of things I’ve tried to do and I just haven’t been able to do them. And that’s okay. It’s perfectly fine. Just think of all the incredible things you’re going to do.
When I was in college I really wanted to get into the Nassoons which was the a cappella singing group. And I got called back. It was like really close and it was down to me and a guy and then they took the other guy. And I was so bummed out. And I saw one of the guys that was in the Nassoons like a week later and I was like, hey. And he goes, “Hey man.” I go, “I’m just so bummed about that.” And he’s like, “It’s not the be-all/end-all man.”
And I hear that dudes voice in my head all the time. Nothing is the be-all/end-all. Nothing is. It’s just movies. You know? It’s just movies. It’s fine. Good for you.
John: Yay! Sir, a question?
Male Audience Member: I want to say thank you just for having the podcast every week, to hear you guys talk about it, screenwriting, it’s like an education free and I love the free-99 price of it every week. It’s just great.
I actually had a question for David if that’s okay?
Craig: Yeah! Where is Goyer?
John: David Goyer, come over here.
David Goyer: Yes sir. Hi, thank you for coming out tonight.
Male Audience Member: I had a question about act structure for writing because I know you guys are working on Constantine for NBC coming up. And I’ve heard some writers say that some TV shows are going from four acts to five, or in some cases even more to get more commercials in. And I want to know if that affects the way you’re writing story at all. If you’re having even more acts into it, or if it’s not an issue for you at all?
And if you could tell me how many acts are in Constantine.
John: He’s working on a spec. He just wants to make sure it actually matches your show.
David: So, you’re referring obviously to television. Currently I think the NBC shows and most of the network shows, they say they’re five acts with a teaser.
John: Yeah. That’s six.
David: Which is six.
Craig: Six acts.
David: And it sucks. I mean, because you’ve got 43 minutes and change to tell a story and divide it by six, so that’s roughly seven minutes. I don’t know, I didn’t do very well in math, but I think it is.
The thing that’s hard with that, and one of the reasons why I have a show on Starz where we don’t have commercial breaks and that’s a lot nicer. I think commercial breaks can be interesting to a degree but the six-act structure is really rough because you’re having to create this sort of artificial climax every seven minutes. And it just means like you barely have time to get into anything.
David: And sometimes you want scenes to just play. And you feel this sort of forced compulsion, too, because you want to make sure that they tune in after the commercial break, so you want to create — something crazy has to happen at the end of every act.
So, it’s rough. It’s a struggle. And I remember years and years ago it used to be there were four acts, and then it went to five. And five was kind of doable. And it used to be that you had 48 minutes instead. But six acts is really, really hard. And I mean I don’t want a lot of network television largely because of that because I feel like it puts a forced rhythm into the storytelling.
Craig: Oh, so we’re all looking forward to Constantine. This sounds really —
John: It sounds like a great show, David. You’re doing a really nice job. So thank you for that.
David: I think we’ve done a decent job. It’s a struggle. It’s hard. It’s a lot harder to write, I think, a network show than it is a premium cable show. On my Da Vinci, we don’t have acts. We don’t break anything into acts.
Craig: You just do the story as you wish.
John: All right.
Craig: All right. Thank you.
John: Thank you, David Goyer.
Craig: Well done.
John: Thank you for the question. We have time for like four questions. So, if you are standing there and we did not get to your question, say I was the person who was in line and you’re going to email us. You’re going to email us your question and Craig and I promise to answer it on the podcast.
John: Is that fair? We promise.
John: So, I see there’s like five more people who we may not get to your questions, but if you want to email us you can and we will answer them. But we’re going to answer — did we say four?
Craig: Whatever you say, buddy.
John: We’re going to answer four questions and we’re going to start here.
Paul: My name is Paul. I just wanted to talk about there are these moments in film and in scripts that I sort of identify as a loving enthusiasm, that I greet these moment like a wondrous occasion because it’s just so — it moves me. Andy Dufresne in Shawshank Redemption when he gets the beers to his coworkers, he doesn’t drink one and he says, “I gave up drinking.” That makes me want to put a fist through a wall because I love that choice and I love the humanity and I love that moment.
And then, John, you have a line, and forgive me if I butcher it, but there’s a line in Big Fish where Albert Finney’s voiceover says, “When you fall in love, time stops.” And that’s true. And that’s another moment where I want to break everything around me because I’m like, “Ah!” Because that is not presentational. That line is not presentational.
Craig: This is where you get to the question.
Paul: I apologize.
— That line is not presentational but it’s personal, it’s like someone talking at a bedside. So, I ask you guys — can you tell us what is a moment in your writing where you’ve had to stop and you feel genuine pride and emotion at something you created solely? And how do you break through with something that maybe personal and ambiguous and amazing to you, but the rest of the world might not see it that way?
John: Yeah. The experience of writing something, occasionally you will have those moments of like, “Oh my god, that was so good,” and you’re like, “Where did that come from?” And the very best writing I’ve ever felt I’ve done, it just sort of felt like it was always in there and I just sort of scraped everything away and it’s like oh my god underneath all the terrible writing there was actually a really good thing there. And who wrote that? That was really good.
Every once and awhile you do surprise yourself. And there are moments in like a couple of my movies where I feel that thing. There’s some moments in Frankenweenie where just how you talk about the loss of your dog, and sort of like they live in a place in your heart and they’re always there. There are those moments that are really fundamentally true to you that you sort of, “Well that’s the movie. That’s the expression of that idea.”
But it doesn’t always happen. I think sometimes we mythologize those few great moments and we sort of ignore everything else that makes good writing. Craig?
Craig: That’s exactly right. You want to avoid that stereotype of the writer that has this kind of epiphany. Writing is rarely about epiphany. I wish it were more about epiphany. I’ve had some moments like that. I liked writing a moment for Melissa McCarthy where we talks, where she kind of reveals the truth about herself. I really liked writing the scene where Jason Bateman gives her her birth certificate and she learns her name.
I really loved that. I felt something when I wrote that. You know, are other people going to feel it? I don’t give a shit. I felt it. You know what I mean? And at that point I’m like, “Well, either they are or they’re not.” But the one thing they can’t take away is that I did, you know, that I felt something with that.
But, feeling things in those moments isn’t the Holy Grail. So much of it is about the nuts and bolts of crafting something that other people can deliver. Remember, you can feel it, you can put it on the page, but it’s paper. They’re going to have to put up lights, other humans that are much better looking than us are going to have to say the lines. People are going to tell them where to go. Editors are going to edit it. And then the music, you know.
So, I don’t aim for those things. But if they happen they happen. I don’t over celebrate them I guess I would say.
John: Great. Well thank you.
Craig: Thank you.
John: Over here.
Male Audience Member: Hey there. Actually to Craig the question, but with having the panel here I thought it was really appropriate. As a game writer, they talk about transmedia and stuff like that. And with all the properties we have here, they usually want to make a game of it — Conan, Avengers, or Batman. But what I’d like to know is this gap that we have and it was appropriate that rebooting an IP. In games they do that often. You’ll have Batman but then you’ll have Batman the game. The writers don’t talk. We’re the redheaded stepchild of the industry.
Male Audience Member: And I say that only because I get older and my hair goes from blond to ginger, so I feel like I’m allowed to say the redheaded stepchild. But how do we bridge that gap? Where does the guild come in and say, “Okay, we’ve got these writers that do the film and we’ve got these writers that do the game.” How do we bridge that gap and truly make it transmedia? And it goes to Craig because we talked about this just before we started.
Craig: Yeah. Well, there’s two questions there. I mean, one is why aren’t screenwriters of movies talking to the videogame writers that are based on the movies that they’re writing. And the answer is they should be. I don’t know why. I mean, other than to say that the machinery of Hollywood is often inefficient or backwards. I mean, I don’t know — Marvel for instance, it seems like that’s a company that would get it, that would understand that in a world where —
John: In a world…
Craig: In a world where Modern Warfare can sell more in a day than any movie, that you would want to coordinate those efforts because gaming is vital.
Male Audience Member: Yeah. I mean, I sit in a room and I won’t have David there or anyone else. I’ll have —
Craig: Well, we can get David over there for you.
Male Audience Member: I talked to David about that, but apparently he’s really busy.
Craig: Yeah. He’s got six acts to hit. [laughs]
Male Audience Member: Six acts and a new baby, too. But, you know, you’ll sit in a room and there’s like 24-year-old marketing people there. And then you have the guy from Mario Bros. who is there, you know.
Craig: Well, here’s what happens. The videogames get pushed off into merchandising, you know, which is kind of — it’s a ghettoization of what should not be the case. Videogame tie-ins, right, can sometimes be viewed as merchandising. But, look, that’s ultimately up to the people that are paying for it. They either get it or they don’t.
I mean, I would love — I don’t write movies, or I haven’t written movies that would connect to videogames, although, now I’ve written a movie that could be a videogame. I would love to be involved and that would be awesome, you know. The other question though is about the Writers Guild. And as we discussed, I would love to see writers of video games represented by the Writers Guild. A couple of problems. One, most of the companies are international. Our jurisdiction doesn’t cover international work.
But there are some that are local. So, the one I always keep picking on is Bethesda which makes Fallout and Elder Scrolls. And they’re so written. Those games are so evidently written. And I feel like the guild should just go and try and get those writers organized and get them some sort of basic protections. But they don’t.
Male Audience Member: So how do you guys feel? I feel the same way —
Craig: You don’t know how this feels?
Male Audience Member: What I do feel is working on IP that makes $1.5 billion and I get five free games —
Craig: Yeah, exactly.
John: Yeah, that’s what we want. We want a piece of that.
Craig: I mean, it’s crazy. And just…ARGH.
John: Yeah. Leave Craig with his umbrage. But thank you very much. Basically we agree. We are not going to fix this tonight. We need the people who write for videogames, who write for movies to take the initiative to get these things happening, either on a guild level or an individual level to get representation. That’s going to happen.
Male Audience Member: David, I’ll be waiting for you outside so we can talk.
Craig: All right man.
Hunter: Hey there. Hunter. Long time, second time, I guess. So, this was designed for your whole panel but we’re running late, so if anybody wants to. It used to be back in the day sequels were kind of a redheaded stepchild where they’d happen and they were sort of cash-ins and considered inferior. But today —
John: Stuart Friedel is so sad. Both of our Stuarts are like, “Why?”
Hunter: But today, I love weird old sequels, Exorcist II. But today there —
Craig: You like The Exorcist II?
Hunter: I saw it with no idea what the hell it was recently. It’s fascinating to look at.
Craig: Wow. It is kind of fascinating.
Hunter: Not good, but interesting.
But anyway, today their plan from beforehand is, like have sequels just actually gotten better and has that changed the way that one writes an original? And how does that interact with movies coming up like the new subgenre of either Lego Movie or the Magic Kingdom.
Craig: I’m not answering a movie about the quality of sequels. That’s for fucking sure. We better ask somebody else. What about the Captain America guys?
John: Captain America guys. Captain America, come up here. Talk to us about sequels.
Craig: Captains of America guys.
John: So, when you guys were working on the first Captain America did you have to consider at all the idea of like, well, what would the sequel be?
Stephen McFeely: Yes. Yes. Certainly if you know the movies at all, the Winter Soldier is a character that’s in the first movie. And so we had to sort of retcon and recreate an opportunity for him to come back because the comics — the way we were changing the story didn’t allow that. Cap and Bucky both sort of die at the same time and it didn’t give you an end of act two, you know, depressing moment.
But we didn’t assume it. You know, Cap was one of the least successful Marvel movies, so it was not an automatic green light. But you certainly plan for the possibility as long as it doesn’t screw up the movie you’re making at the moment.
John: Yeah. And that’s what I would stress. So, the movies that I’ve done that have sequels, like the first Charlie’s Angels. As we were shooting it, it was a nightmare to get the first movie made. But at the same time we were thinking like, well, if there is another movie what is that movie like? And it’s a chance to think about like as if — what would the second episode of this amazing TV show be? It wasn’t making a good episode at all; it was a terrible movie we made as a sequel. But we can think about what the ideal second episode was and to some degree that’s what —
Stephen: And we’ve tried to do that at the end of the second movie, if anybody has seen it. There’s sort of just a button where they go, “Right, what are we going to do? We’re going to do that next.” And then we’re trying to pay that off.
My hope is that —
Christopher Markus: There’s no third movie.
Craig: What happened at the end?
John: He’s just handing you a microphone.
Craig: Does he do that a lot where he just loses the will to live at the end of a sentence?
Christopher: He’s gone now.
John: Well, we have one last question and it comes from a man in his suit. Thank you for wearing a suit, by the way.
Craig: Man in suit. Man in suit.
Brian: I actually want to ask if Christopher and Stephen and also David could stay a sec. David, could you join us, too? Thanks.
John: Wow. We got direction from the audience. This is going to be good. There’s a lot of high expectation here.
Brian: I said please.
My name is Brian. Craig and John —
Christopher: This is nice.
Brian: Thanks. Craig and John, thanks. This is my first time actually seeing you guys live and everything. I saw — I was at the Austin Film Festival and I saw the panel there so thank you.
I think it’s kind of ironic that I was like the last one because I was in the military for ten years. I was in Iraq. I was in Afghanistan. I was —
Craig: Thank you for your service.
Brian: And I really did do the thing, I was in infantry the whole time, whatever. Actually it’s been nice the last couple years as Hollywood has expanded beyond compare of how welcoming — you know, they have veterans initiatives at all the studios, all the networks. They have a veterans’ representative for jobs and stuff. And it helps with those of us that move out here ourselves.
Craig: And you know the Writers Guild Foundation has a program as well that we’re supporting tonight?
Brian: Right. I was going to —
Craig: Oh, did I fuck it up?
Brian: No, no.
Brian: No, I was going to say like every time I’ve met somebody I always say thank you because all those proceeds go. They actually just had it like two weeks ago.
Craig: The Foundation supports, basically working with veterans to help kind of get them going in their careers as screenwriters.
Brian: So, I just want to say thanks to start. Also, I wanted to give Andrea a thank you for, you know, she wrote World Trade Center, of course, which is a very distinctive movie. I mean, obviously 9/11 is why I went overseas and everything else. So, all I was going to say was I have a very unique background. I actually moved out here for music originally. Somehow I got whored into working reality television, so I survived working around Kardashians and Housewives and all that stuff.
Craig: Was that better or worse than Iraq?
Brian: I’ll be professional and hold back. Since I’m wearing a suit I guess. I don’t know.
Craig: Got it.
Brian: But, no, just about a year ago I really made a shift and I knew I wanted to produce and write but it was more — scripted is really where I knew I needed to be and so I took a step back, started coming to all of these events, took writing classes, all of that.
Just a two-part thing. I know David mentioned something about Constantine. I was going to say congratulations on the pickup, too. And then to you guys also on Marvel’s Agent Carter, of course, too. The question is TV versus film. You get more time to develop the world — I’ve heard, some of the things I’ve learned so far. You get to develop the world more in TV versus in film where it’s more of a character snapshot, or, you know, a specific situation or an event or something. How are you able to do that in television for the two shows that you guys have coming up? That’s one question.
John: Are you guys involved in Agent Carter? I didn’t know you were.
Stephen: We wrote the pilot.
John: Oh, well congratulations on that. I had no idea. I should probably read those trades. So, is this your first television experience?
Christopher: We wrote a pilot that didn’t go, well, it didn’t get filmed. And we’ve watched a lot of television.
John: Oh, that’s good. Yeah, watching television is really a crucial first step.
Christopher: Yeah, it’s been very helpful.
John: So tell us, are you excited about this opportunity to — are you staying with the show?
Christopher: We’re supervisory —
John: Oh, that’s really awkward that I just asked that question.
Christopher: Well, because it conflicts with the writing of Cap 3. So, eventually —
John: Eventually you’ll leave.
Christopher: Yeah, eventually we’re just not going to be able to do both of them. But, it’s only eight episodes.
John: David Goyer manages to do everything at once, so just do whatever he’s doing.
Christopher: Well, David Goyer is not human.
John: Yeah. David Goyer, here, take a microphone. David, talk to use about writing television versus writing film because you’ve done a lot of both. So, what should he be thinking about in terms of writing worlds in those two media?
David: Well, I mean, I think with the advent of basic cable and then DVRs, it just seems like more and more television these days is shifting into serialized storytelling or semi-serialized storytelling, and so in that case it really is becoming much more of a novelistic approach.
I know that when we broke the first season of Da Vinci it was eight episodes and we just said, okay, it’s an eight-hour movie. And Constantine is like a semi-serialized show. And so that aspect of it is pretty cool because you have time to do the slow burn and you have time to really watch a character grow and change. That’s one of the things that’s exciting for me about a great television show. You can see a good guy become a bad guy and vice versa.
And you can also get a second bit of the apple. And a character can surprise you and you can revisit it. And on the Da Vinci show we had a character that wasn’t a series regular that became one because we were excited by what he was doing.
So, on one hand that’s awesome. But then on the other hand it’s like sometimes it’s nice to be able to just say I’m going to tell this finite story. And like if you’re doing a TV show sometimes you have to — it’s like doing 40 sequels. And you have to keep topping yourself, and topping yourself, to a certain extent. And so there’s that pressure, too.
When we were going to the second season of Da Vinci, we were a little freaked out because we felt like we’d written a really great movie and now we have to write an even better movie. And so sort of each season it gets harder and harder. So, there are pros and cons.
John: Generally on the podcast we recommend people vigorously try to do both. And would that be your advice? If you’re starting out as a writer you should do both.
David: Totally. Well, these days, I mean, there used to be this sort of blood/brain barrier between feature writers and TV writers. And now people are bopping back and forth. I think it’s awesome. It’s just a different kind of writing. It’s like going from being a soloist to playing in a jazz combo, or something like that.
John: Guys, thank you very much. Thank you very much.
Craig: Thank you.
John: Thank you for your question.
- The Writers Guild Foundation
- Scriptnotes, Episode 144: The Summer Superhero Spectacular
- Andrea Berloff on IMDb, and Deadline’s Conan announcement
- Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely on IMDb, and their interview on LA Times Hero Complex
- David Goyer on IMDb, and his BAFTA Screenwriters Lecture
- Susannah Grant on IMDb, and a feature on her from Salon
- Scriptnotes, Episode 99: Psychotherapy for Screenwriters
- Outro by Scriptnotes listener Wilson Kelly (send us yours!)