The Addams Family

Scriptnotes: Ep. 301
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Craig and John look at The Addams Family — not just the 1991 film and its sequel, but the property itself to see what lessons we can learn when adapting for the big screen.

We also answer listener questions on what makes a scene work and writing pilots based on existing IP.

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.


From Writer to Writer-Director

Scriptnotes: Ep. 300
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Chris McQuarrie (THE USUAL SUSPECTS, VALKYRIE) joins us to talk through how he went from writing giant movies to directing them.

We talk about the pitfalls directors face as they move from indie features to tentpoles, and the advice he gives them. Chris is currently, and conveniently, in Paris directing the next Mission: Impossible.

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

UPDATE 5-22-17: The transcript of this episode can be found here.


The two kinds of title pages

This past week, I found myself proofreading the typeset version of my book. That’s when I made an amazing discovery that many readers probably already realize:

Books have two title pages.

The first title page has only the title of the book. The second title page has the title plus the author’s name, along with the publisher’s logo.

Like most things that seem oddly wasteful at first glance, there’s actually a good reason for the two pages. I dig into the history and terminology over at the Arlo Finch blog:

And now I’m kind of obsessed, grabbing every book on the shelf to check. It’s that classic case of once you notice something, it’s ubiquitous—at least in American hardcover novels.

I’ll be doing a follow-up post looking at the information on the back of the title page, from publisher data to ISBN.


Lying builds character

Chris Csont looks how a little deception makes heroes feel more genuine:

As the audience, we have an important advantage over the other people in a character’s world: We can see a character when they think nobody’s watching.

When we see the contradiction between a character’s presented self and their internal self, it helps to make a fictional person feel dimensional and real. We relate to that feeling of having a part of yourself cordoned off from the rest of the world, and we also recognize the discomfort of having that barrier breached.

It’s a great piece with lots of examples.


It’s Always Sunny in Star Wars

Scriptnotes: Ep. 299
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Craig and guest host Dana Fox welcome Rob McElhenney (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia) and Rian Johnson (Looper, Star Wars: The Last Jedi) to the live show at the Arclight. The four discuss breaking into Hollywood, handling rejection and sticking to your vision as a writer/director.

We also answer audience questions on motivation and holding onto hope.

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

UPDATE 5-22-17: The transcript of this episode can be found here.


How Characters Move

Scriptnotes: Ep. 298
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Craig and John take on a new round of Three Page Challenges. There’s a fat “Elvis,” a bounty hunter White Rabbit, and a guy locked in the trunk of a speeding Mustang.

We also look at how characters move, and how screenwriters can use character movement to their benefit.

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

UPDATE 5-15-17: The transcript of this episode can be found here.