Austin 2017 Three Page Challenge

John and Craig review four Three-Page Challenge entries with the help of Daniela Garcia-Brcek (Literary Manager at Circle of Confusion) and Cullen Conly (Literary Agent at ICM). We then invite the writers up to discuss the notes. It’s not just craft, though. Our special guests give us a behind-the-scenes look at the realities of representation. […]

Getting Stuff Written

John welcomes Grant Faulkner, Executive Director of NaNoWriMo and author of Pep Talks for Writers, to discuss the writing process and how to get out of your own way creatively. We explore the ubiquity of the Other Syndrome and the perils of envy. We also look at pen names, “throw-away writing,” and the advantages of […]

Tuesday Reviewsday

One of my goals for 2016 is to be better about writing reviews for the products I love. Every Tuesday I’ll be leaving reviews on the applicable store.

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.

Mistakes development executives make

Craig and John skip Comic-Con so they can discuss annoying and unproductive habits of development executives, along with advice for working with screenwriters.

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.

Highland and the Kindle are friends

Ben Godar uses Highland to read screenplays on his Kindle by converting PDFs.

Script-a-scene contest

Jessica Bendinger (Bring It On, Stick It) is hosting a competition centered around her new novel, inviting readers to adapt a bit from it into a scene.

Challenge results

We’ve got a winner and a slew of honorable mentions in the Superheroic Scene Challenge.

Superheroic scene challenge

This time, the goal is to write an action scene/sequence suitable for a summer blockbuster — or to subvert this intention so ingeniously that we can’t help but be impressed.

Scene challenge ahead

A heads-up that a new Scene Challenge will be coming early next week. In anticipation of Comic-Con, this one will be focused on superheroic action.

Insomnia 2008

I’m going to be one of the judges for the 2008 Insomnia Film Festival, an Apple-sponsored competition for U.S. high school and college students. Entrants get 24 hours to write, produce, edit, score and deliver a three-minute short film incorporating specific elements they only announce on the day. The competition begins at 9:00 a.m. on […]

A fork, a phobia, a friggin’ lot of entries

I have a head cold today, so it ended up being a better day for reading than writing. And ’twas lucky, because more than 110 entries came in for the most recent scene challenge. I’m happy to report that most were quite solid — significantly better than last time, though that was probably because the […]

A fork, a phobia and a photograph

Now that Scrippets are up and working, it’s time for the fourth-ever Scene Challenge. For the first one, Masturbating to Star Trek, you had to write an entire scene. For the second one, Make Your Introduction, you had to introduce one character. The third time involved derivatives, and frankly wasn’t that spectacular. So this time, […]

Scene Challenge coming

With Scrippets now in place, we’re well set up for a new Scene Challenge. But I didn’t want to launch one late on a Friday, when many people may not be checking in to the site. So look for a new one on Monday morning. (You’ll get at least 36 hours of turnaround.) This time, […]

Scene challenge winners

Y’know, I think we learned something today: Derivatives were maybe not the best choice for the third-ever scene challenge. I deliberately picked something tough because in real life, screenwriters are often faced with challenging topics to explain. For example, last night I spoke with Ron Bass about the Einstein project he’s working on. Quick: Show […]

Judging begins

I’ve closed comments on the Derivative Challenge to begin judging the 84 entries. Should have a winner this afternoon.

A somewhat derivative challenge

Following up on my article about How to Explain Quantum Mechanics, I think it’s high time for the third-ever Scene Challenge. For the first one, Masturbating to Star Trek, you had to write an entire scene. For the second one, Make Your Introduction, you had to introduce one character. This time, it’s both simpler and […]

Trailer competition update

Thanks to many readers, I think there’s a pretty clear game plan emerging for how to do The Nines Trailer Challenge. Several people have offered specific help, both advice and hosting. Bless you. Your email addresses have been duly noted for future follow-up. Here are the questions I asked, and the answers I got. 1. […]

Calling on the hive mind

One advantage of having a brilliant and devoted readership like mine is that I can occasionally reverse the Q&A process and appeal for your insight. Here’s the situation… At Sundance, I talked about my plan-slash-pipe-dream of releasing the underlying footage of The Nines simultaneously to its DVD release. Essentially, you could load it into your […]

Blood stains and clown pants

I had a hunch there would be a lot of entries to the second Scene Challenge, but by the hammer of Thor, I never expected 162. It’s taken hours to go through them, winnowing it down from a list of 25 to ten to the winner. There were so many solid entries that I found […]

Make your introduction

Scene Challenge! Give me your best dry-cleaner intro.

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 […]

Masturbating to Star Trek

Scene Challenge! The first (and dirtiest) ever!