Archives

News

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.

We’re voting yes. But.

In this special mini-episode, John and Craig talk through the upcoming WGA strike authorization vote — what it actually means, and why they’re both voting yes.

On Neutrality

Lewis Wallace, the only transgender reporter working at public radio’s Marketplace, was fired for this blog post questioning whether journalistic neutrality was a futile ideal: Obviously, I can’t be neutral or centrist in a debate over my own humanity. The idea that I don’t have a right to exist is not an opinion, it is […]

A Refugee Story

In this bonus mini-episode, John talks with Nima Yousefi, the wizard behind Highland and Weekend Read, about his experience as an Iranian refugee, and his fears for the future in light of the travel ban.

This Feeling Will End

In this Scriptnotes Extra, Craig and John discuss the melting dread they experienced this morning and hopefully offer some succor.

I live in Paris now

I’m not here for work, or to escape this nightmare of an election. Rather, this sojourn has been in the planning stages for several years, going all the way to back to a screenwriters trip organized by Film France back in 2009. My daughter is attending sixth grade here. We’ll head back to Los Angeles for seventh.

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.

The Gold Standard

In this special mini-episode, Craig and John tackle the gold standard and why economists think it’s a flat-out terrible idea.