Changing the Defaults

Scriptnotes: Ep. 346
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John sits down with screenwriter Christina Hodson to discuss race, gender, and representation in Hollywood, and how screenwriters can help correct the status quo with the one thing they can control: the words on the page.

We tackle the nuances of designating race for open-ethnicity characters, the assumption of whiteness, the pros and cons of feature writers rooms and the promise of inclusion riders.

We also answer a listener question about why some movies are timeless and some feel dated as soon as they premiere.

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

UPDATE 4-19-18: The transcript of this episode can be found here.


Love, Aptaker & Berger

Scriptnotes: Ep. 345
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John and Craig welcome Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger, the writing team that showruns This Is Us and just made history with Love, Simon.

We discuss their experience of breaking into the industry, writing with a partner, running a hit show, adapting YA novels for the screen, and the broccoli/marinara/pudding meals that got them here.

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

UPDATE 4-16-18: The transcript of this episode can be found here.


Comedy Geometry

Scriptnotes: Ep. 344
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Craig welcomes Alec Berg, executive producer of two current HBO comedies (Barry and Silicon Valley), to discuss balancing productivity and creative energy, “comedy geometry,” and identifying as a craftsman rather than an artist.

We also answer listener questions about committing to a genre, the necessity of act breaks, and how much writers actually get to keep of their paycheck.

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

UPDATE 4-11-18: The transcript of this episode can be found here.


Introducing AlphaBirds

In addition to making apps like Highland and Weekend Read, my little company makes physical stuff, including Writer Emergency Pack and One Hit Kill.

Today, we’re releasing a new game called AlphaBirds. It’s a word game like Scrabble® or Boggle®, but faster and more fun.1

AlphaBirds is ridiculously simple to learn.

  1. On your turn, draw two cards.
  2. Play one card in front of you, and one in front of any other player.
  3. Make words if you can. Longer words are worth more points.

Yes: there are more rules. But that’s the gist. Most players pick it up in 30 seconds or less.

We’ve been playing AlphaBirds in the office every Friday afternoon for more than a year. It’s the perfect game for lunchtime or beer o’clock. You can carry on a conversation while playing, and don’t have to keep things in your hand. You draw; you play; you’re finished until it’s your turn again. Most games last about 10 minutes.

AlphaBirds isn’t a Kickstarter. It’s available today. It’s $19 + shipping.

For now, AlphaBirds is only available through our own store. If you like word games, I think you’ll dig it.

  1. As a fan of both Scrabble and Boggle, I stand by this statement. AlphaBirds is more fun than either of these games.

The One with the Indie Producer

Scriptnotes: Ep. 343
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John welcomes independent producer Keith Calder to discuss what a producer actually does, how financing and distribution strategies have changed with streaming, and how to approach film festivals as a filmmaker.

We also answer a listener question about which career path to take after being laid-off: climb the Hollywood ladder or bootstrap and just make films.

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

UPDATE 4-2-18: The transcript of this episode can be found here.


Getting Paid for It

Scriptnotes: Ep. 342
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John and Craig delve into the business of screenwriting from money to managers to medical plans.

We answer listener questions about collecting unemployment, registering as a corporation, firing a rep, quitting your day job and handling the anxiety that comes with such an uncertain career path.

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

UPDATE 3-27-18: The transcript of this episode can be found here.