Austin Live Show 2018

John and Craig invite Wendy Calhoun (Station 19, Empire), Phil Hay (The Invitation, Ride Along), Nicole Perlman (Guardians of the Galaxy, Captain Marvel), and Jason Fuchs (Wonder Woman, Ice Age: Continental Drift) to join them onstage for a discussion about the death of the writing middle class, why we get bored during a film or […]

What Is a Movie, Anyway?

John and Craig welcome Franklin Leonard to weigh in on the current definition of “movie.” In the age of streaming, this distinction is not only important for audiences and awards, but has a meaningful effect on how writers are paid. We also take umbrage with Awards Season as a Hollywood fixture, and follow up on […]

We’re Back, Baby

John and Craig reunite to answer our backlog of listener questions. We follow up on what it means to utilize white space on a page, the conventions of musical numbers, the value of a victory lap, and what the hypothetical destruction of Los Angeles would mean for the industry. We also answer listener questions on […]

Logic and Gimmickry

John and Craig step up to the whiteboard to look at the story logic in our scripts, then examine how tricks and gimmicks can help keep scenes interesting.

Torrenting the Oscars 2016

Every year, Andy Baio tracks online leaks of Oscar-nominated films, looking for trends.

Ocean’s 77

Craig and John play “How Would This Be a Movie?” looking at three articles in the news.

Room, Spotlight and The Big Short

With Craig out of town, John invites Aline Brosh McKenna and Rawson Marshall Thurber over to discuss three of the best-picture contenders and their unusual scripts. None of them have classic protagonist-antagonist setups, and all three upend expectations of narrative structure. We talk about both how they work and why they work.

Weekend Read, for your consideration

Weekend Read, our app for reading screenplays on the iPhone, now features scripts from 21 of this year’s award contenders.

What it’s like to nominate movies

This morning, the Oscar nominations came out. Like every year, I was excited to see some of my favorite films nominated. Like every year, I was disappointed by which films — and which filmmakers — got overlooked. So I thought I’d look at the mental process of nominating movies.

Unprecedented, just like last year

Over at Tom the Dancing Bug, Ruben Bolling looks at how journalists have a faulty memory when it comes to past award seasons.

56 Days Later

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.

Redbox’s arbitrary winners

Redbox, the DVD rental kiosk company, sent out a press release with a list of their most-rented titles for 2011. The winners are not who you’d expect.

Missed opportunities and second chances

Melissa Rossi won a Student Academy Award for her university thesis film. That success prompted her to move to Los Angeles to begin a career as a writer/director. But she wasn’t ready.

It’s all a bunch of piles

As an add-on to my earlier post, The Wrap has a detailed article about how nomination votes are tallied.

How nominations work

This is my first year as an Academy member, and my first year voting for award. Since it’s all new to me, I thought I’d walk readers through the process.

Nicholl screenwriting competition begins

The Nicholl Fellowship has a strong track record and good follow-up.

Show your work

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

Official badasses

MTV released its final list of top-ten badasses, which included contributions by me and a lot of other folks. Dirty Harry – “Dirty Harry” Ellen Ripley – “Alien/Aliens” John McClane – “Die Hard” Mad Max – “Mad Max” Walker – “Point Blank” Sarah Connor – “Terminator” Pike Bishop – “The Wild Bunch” Khan Noonien Singh […]

Oscar grouchiness

Patrick Goldstein’s article about Hollywood’s Oscar obsession is worth a read: The Oscars have become a circular firing squad, touted and debated by a small coterie of Oscar publicists, bloggers, marketers, agents, producers and antsy studio executives–all talking to themselves. The public has grown bored with the whole charade. They’d rather be watching “American Idol,” […]

Saturn Award nomination

Matt Venne emailed me this morning to point out something I would have otherwise missed: The Nines just got a Saturn Award nomination for its DVD. It’s a cliché to say, “It’s an honor just to be nominated,” but really, it is. And surprising, too. The Nines isn’t an obvious choice at all. The Saturn […]

And I barely know who she is now

At the Grammy Awards last night, my friend Jen pointed to presenter Miley Ray Cyrus and said, “You know she was in Big Fish, right?” I insisted that was impossible, and immediately tried to pull up IMDb on my iPhone in order to prove her wrong. But the network inside Staples Center was massively overwhelmed, […]

Life is now worth living

In a bold choice that shocked, well, me, The Morning News gave this very site one of its 2007 Editors’ Awards for Online Excellence, which is pretty cool considering it’s a damn screenwriting blog. The other award-winners are more deserving quite interesting, and worth a click-through. I’m particularly enamored by Mindy Kaling’s awesome Things I’ve […]

Blingons and despair

Measured by the number of entries, the first-ever John August Scene Challenge was a surprising success. In terms of quality, well, there was a disappointing sameness that I’m going to blame on the limited nature of the assignment. Many entries were just a slightly-better version of the existing scene. While a lot of rewriting is […]

Best editors

In this morning’s Oscar nominations, I was delighted (but not surprised) to see Doug Crise and Stephen Mirrione nominated for Babel. Stephen Mirrione cut Go, and Doug Crise followed up his work on Babel with a little movie called The Nines. Huge congrats to both of them.

The Queen on a silver platter

The 2007 Oscar screeners.