Chekhov’s Ladder

Scriptnotes: Ep. 308
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Craig and John discuss the concept of affordances — player expectations for what videogame characters can do — and how writers can apply these principles to their film and TV scripts.

Teaching the audience to know what is and isn’t possible can be hard to do artfully, but often makes all the difference.

Also this week: reducing sexism in screenplays, plus answers to listener questions about writers on set and giving feedback on friends’ terrible scripts.

Tickets for the July 25th live show are on sale, GET YOURS!

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

UPDATE 7-18-17: The transcript of this episode can be found here.


Teaching Your Heroes to Drive

Scriptnotes: Ep. 307
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John and Craig explore how story develops from a synthesis of character and plot, and why writers need to continually shift their frames of reference between “inside” and “outside” the experience of their heroes.

We also tackle the idea of “you can’t teach funny” and what to do when you share a famous person’s name.

The Scriptnotes Listeners’ Guide is out, and fantastic, and free! Plus we now have 300-episode USB drives in the store. Links below.

Plus, don’t miss our live show in Hollywood on July 25.

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

UPDATE 7-10-17: The transcript of this episode can be found here.


DRAMA!

Scriptnotes: Ep. 306
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Craig and John take a look at what happens when the drama is behind the camera, and the difference between what’s reported and what’s really going on. We also offer some advice on what one should do, should they find themselves caught up in the crazy.

Finally, we answer a listener question on writing for specific actors and the challenges/opportunities this presents.

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

UPDATE 7-10-17: The transcript of this episode can be found here.


Forever Young and Stupid

Scriptnotes: Ep. 305
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Craig and John take on a new Three Page Challenge, looking at three listener scenes to see if they follow the exacting rules set by Screenwriters University. (Ahem.)

We also answer listener questions on vintage screenplays, maturity, Smash Brothers and writing with a budget in mind.

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

UPDATE 7-10-17: The transcript of this episode can be found here.


A last look at The Leftovers

Showrunner Damon Lindelof joined me for episode 206 to talk through the process of writing The Leftovers. Here’s how he described breaking an episode:

For the “blue-sky phase,” once we land on something that we like, you just write a sentence. Like, “Baby doll made in Tijuana.” And the last one is “Kevin throws baby out window.” It’s literally just those sentences.

After two days, you look and you have about 20 of those sentences up on the board. Then you’re ready to go into the next phase, which I think is what I would call the story-breaking phase, where you just go scene-by-scene and you start to pitch specific dialogue, character dynamics, etc.

Writing for Vulture, Boris Kachka takes an in-depth look at how the final episode was written, shot and edited. It’s a great look at the process from blank whiteboard to final cut. Highly recommended for anyone interested in making television.


Location Is Where It’s At

Scriptnotes: Ep. 304
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Craig and John look at how screenwriters describe locations, and how these choices impact production and the final product. Plus, we discuss how podcasts have become a new source of IP for adaptations.

Finally, we address how to deal with the note to make your characters “more likeable.”

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

UPDATE 6-25-17: The transcript of this episode can be found here.