Don’t Think Twice

Craig and guest host Mike Birbiglia discuss Mike’s new film, Don’t Think Twice, a comedy about life as an improv performer. The two explore the current state of independent film and the challenges facing aspiring filmmakers.

Anthrax, Amnesia and Atomic Veterans

John and Craig implore screenwriters to think twice before using the phrase “begs the question.” We know it’s a losing battle, but if we learned anything from 300, sometimes those are still worth having.

I wrote a book.

Arlo Finch in the Valley of Fire will be the first book in a new series from Roaring Brook Press, an imprint of Macmillan. It comes out in 2018.

The Exit Interview

In the season finale of Scriptnotes, John and Craig reveal big changes to the podcast.

To Kill a Mockingbird

To Kill a Mockingbird is usually studied for its themes and cultural issues, but I’d urge you to read it — or re-read it — just for the writing.

Back to 100

This week, we time-travel back to our first centennial, a live show in Hollywood with special guests Aline Brosh McKenna and Rawson Thurber. We discuss the rise of the “writer-plus,” the importance of early mentors, and the emails that outline the very origin of Scriptnotes.

Live To Write Another Day, A Survival Guide for Screenwriters and Creative Storytellers

Dean Orion certainly has something worthwhile to say about writing. I’d read his blog if he had one. But his new eBook, Live to Write Another Day, is a lesson in the pitfalls of self-publishing and writing without and editor. He doesn’t know where the book is best, and brushes over points that deserve whole chapters, or makes chapters out of what should be entire books.

Tales from Development Hell

I don’t read many books about screenwriting, but my assistant Stuart Friedel does. From time to time I ask him to write up his impressions. Several readers had written to ask about David Hughes’s Tales from Development Hell, so I asked Stuart to look at it during a break from reading Three Page Challenge entries. […]

Getting rid of books

Now that I finally have room for all the books I’ve collected, I find I don’t really want them anymore.

In which Stuart reads the Save the Cat! books and tells you what he thought

I don’t read books on how to write screenplays, but Stuart does, so I occasionally ask him to write up his impressions. For this round, he tackled the three Save the Cat! books by Blake Snyder.

Optioning a novel, and the golden age of television

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?

How to write Groundhog Day

I’ve only just started reading Danny Rubin’s How to Write Groundhog Day, but it’s promising enough that I think many screenwriters will want to take a look at it this weekend.

Spelunking the Kindle market, cont’d.

Amazon’s new KDP Select program allows self-publishers to run free-book promotions. I’m running an experiment to see what that means for one of my older titles, Snake People.

Screenwriting gurus and so-called experts

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.

Why France exhausts me

At the end of any day in which I’ve had to keep up in French, I’m zombie-tired. Research Daniel Kahneman has the explanation.

The Screenwriter’s Bible

With its thorough coverage of basic tenets, some of which are so painfully obvious that giving them attention can do more harm than good, David Trottier’s The Screenwriter’s Bible stays true to its namesake. It is a solid, comprehensive resource for any screenwriter’s bookshelf, but it’s a lot to take in at once.

The Writer’s Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers

Christopher Vogler’s The Writer’s Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers provides a universally applicable way of thinking about story without trapping the author into calling it the only way of thinking. It manages to be all encompassing without being suffocating.

The 101 Habits of Highly Successful Screenwriters

Karl Iglesias’s 101 Habits of Highly Successful Screenwriters feels like a broad but basic WGA panel, where successful screenwriters share advice, mostly in the form of useful but familiar cliches.

Writing Movies for Fun and Profit

As you would expect from two members of The State, Thomas Lennon & Robert Ben Garant’s Writing Movies for Fun and Profit is very entertaining. It is also full of useful information for both budding and veteran screenwriters.


If you like 30 Rock and books, you’ll enjoy Tina Fey’s Bossypants.

The Variant and Snake People

If you got a Kindle or iPad for Christmas, I have two short stories you may want to check out. Each works as a nice palate-cleanser from too much holiday cheer.

Readers as customers

Ken Auletta looks at how writers and publishers are trying to figure out their roles in the age of Kindles and iPads.

The Variant, free this weekend

On Monday, I’ll be publishing a brand new short story. In the meantime, I want to offer up The Variant for anyone who might have missed it.

Free ebooks correlated with increased print-book sales

In books and in movies, increased sampling usually generates more sales than it costs.

How much should ebooks cost?

Adding up the publisher’s expenses shows there is plenty of room for flexibility in pricing.