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Inneresting

I’m trying something new: a little newsletter called Inneresting. It’s a weekly-ish roundup of stuff I’ve found interesting. There are some bits about writing and language, but the unifying theme is just that I’ve found these things worth pointing out.

Scriptnotes, Ep 367: One Year Later — Transcript

The original post for this episode can be found here. John August: Hey this is John. So, today’s episode has some strong language and a discussion of sexual violence and related topics, so you might want to consider that before listening. Hello and welcome. My name is John August. Craig Mazin: My name is Craig […]

One Year Later

Aline Brosh McKenna joins John and Craig to discuss the progress made in the year following the Weinstein revelations. Have the systems for reporting and preventing sexual harassment improved, or are we still just dealing with hurricanes? We also follow up on The Academy’s decision to nix the Popular Film category, the IATSE agreement, missing […]

How murky rights keep movies in limbo

A listener with experience in home video writes with more information about why some titles aren’t available online.

Tying Things Up

John and Craig cover endings, both for craft and for business. First they articulate the importance of the denouement and the social contract it fulfills with the audience. Then they discuss what happens to a writer’s work after their death. We also follow up on pitching, and introduce a new segment: Change Craig’s Mind. This […]

Craig Hates Dummies

John and Craig are back at it with another installment of How Would This Be a Movie? They consider the story of a competitive mass Tinder date, a retirement home for ventriloquist dummies and the McDonald’s Monopoly heist. We also revisit John’s WGA Corner for updates, follow up on the conflict within IATSE, and get […]

I’m on the App Store

This morning, Apple posted a profile of me and my software company. If you’re on an iPhone or iPad, you can find it on the front page of the App Store.

Relationships

John and Craig discuss the importance and basics of developing relationships in storytelling. Characters are nothing without relationships, like Woody without Buzz, Shrek without Donkey, John without Craig… We then test these ideas about relationships against a fresh set of Three Page Challenges. Links: Arlo Finch covers look different around the world. You can catch […]

Where Movies Come From

John and Craig welcome Liz Hannah (screenwriter of The Post) to explore where movies come from, be it real life, storytelling social media sites, or all-powerful comic book IP. How do these story sources affect the writer’s relationship with the material and with the audience? We also follow up on the meaning of “Jackman Shot” […]

Scriptnotes, Ep 357: This Title is an Example of Exposition — Transcript

The original post for this episode can be found here. John August: Hello and welcome. My name is John August. Craig Mazin: OK. My name is Craig Mazin. John: And this is Episode 357 of Scriptnotes, a podcast about screenwriting and things that are interesting to screenwriters. That’s an example of exposition and this week […]

Not Worth Winning

In light of the dust-up over Coverfly, John and Craig discuss why most screenwriting contests are essentially useless and should be avoided. We then look at destructive fandom and ponder how today’s entitled enthusiasts might have responded to the classics. Plus we answer listener questions about the “gutters” between scenes, whether an employer owns your […]

Full Circle

John and Craig talk about the way that movies tend to bring their stories full circle, and what that means for writers trying to figure out their story beats. They discuss rhyming, bookending and how properly setting up the central thematic question helps make the answer feel meaningful. We also answer listener questions about putting […]

Scriptnotes, Ep 348: All About Family — Transcript

The original post for this episode can be found here. John August: Hello and welcome. My name is John August. Craig Mazin: My name is Craig Mazin. John: And this is Episode 348 of Scriptnotes. Craig: Whoa. John: A podcast about screenwriting and things that are interesting to screenwriters. On today’s program it’s another installment […]

Putting Words on the Page

John and Craig discuss the digital tools of the trade. From outline to first draft to production rewrites, screenwriters find themselves facing different challenges. We talk about what works for each of us. We also speculate on what impact Highland 2’s gender analysis tool will have. Then we answer listener questions about following the “rules” […]

All About Family

John and Craig partake in another installment of How Would This Be a Movie? Which story is destined for the big screen: The millennial mother with her surprise, Youtube-guided childbirth? The couple that has the same fight for decades? The Japanese families-for-hire? We also follow up on the logic of multi-cam formatting, Georgia’s success in […]

Scriptnotes Live in May

Our next live Scriptnotes will be Tuesday, May 22nd at the ArcLight in Hollywood. Tickets are on sale now, with special guests to be announced soon.

Independent Bookstore Day

On Saturday, April 28th, I’ll be at Chevalier’s Books on Larchmont from 3 to 5pm as part of Indie Bookstore Day.

Conflict of Interest

John and Craig examine the myriad conflicts of interest that arise in Hollywood, from self-dealing studios to packaging fees to pilot season. But it’s not just other people with issues. Writers grapple with their own conflicts of interest. We discuss what situations screenwriters might face and how to deal with them ethically. We also answer […]

Changing the Defaults

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 […]

Mostly Terrible People

John and Craig evaluate another set of exceptional news stories for their fitness for the big screen in this week’s How Would This Be a Movie? We consider stories about counterfeit debt collectors, the worst roommate ever (beside’s Craig college roommate), the girl who posed as a grown man online and began exhibiting genuine symptoms […]

Five-Star Podnerships

John and Craig discuss showrunning, remaking existing IP, staffing, and fan behavior with Julie Plec (Vampire Diaries, The Originals), Michael Green (Bladerunner 2049, American Gods, Murder on the Orient Express, Logan), and Justin Marks (Jungle Book, Counterpart). In light of the big Fox/Disney merger, we contemplate which other podcasts we should consider teaming with to […]

All of It Needs to Stop

John and Craig revisit the discussion of sexual harassment in Hollywood, and how to support writers facing it. While the media spotlight is on the predators, it’s the day-to-day bullying and bad behavior that may have a more pernicious effect. Then it’s another round of How Would This Be a Movie, looking at stories in […]

The Post-Weinstein Era

John and Craig welcome Daley Haggar and Dara Resnik to examine the potential impacts of the Harvey Weinstein revelations on Hollywood. What should have been done? And what should happen next to foster a safer, saner and more inclusive industry culture? We also explore gender dynamics in a television writers room, discuss ways to address […]

I’m joining the WGA board

On Monday, I was elected to the board of directors for the Writers Guild of America, West. I’ll be serving a two-year term. Here are some of my plans.

Distracted Boyfriend Is All of Us

John and Craig dive into another round of How Would This Be a Movie, looking at stories (and memes!) from around the world to figure out which ones might lend themselves to big-screen treatment.