Scriptnotes Podcast

Screenwriters John August and Craig Mazin discuss screenwriting and related topics in the film and television industry, everything from getting stuff written to the vagaries of copyright and work-for-hire law.

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Getting Stuff Written

Scriptnotes: Ep. 321
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John welcomes Grant Faulkner, Executive Director of NaNoWriMo and author of Pep Talks for Writers, to discuss the writing process and how to get out of your own way creatively.

We explore the ubiquity of the Other Syndrome and the perils of envy. We also look at pen names, “throw-away writing,” and the advantages of being a beginner.

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.


Should You Give Up?

Scriptnotes: Ep. 320
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John and Craig attempt to answer the question that many aspiring screenwriters dare not ask aloud: when — if ever — is the right time to give up on the dream of becoming a working screenwriter?

Relatedly, is it okay to omit “aspiring” when describing oneself as a screenwriter? How do you ask friends for career help without burning bridges? Is that criminal record a problem?

We also address listener questions about why the Paramount Decree isn’t an issue for streaming services, plus working with auteurs, and formatting car chases.

Thanks for sending us examples of Exposition News!

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

UPDATE 10-16-17: The transcript of this episode can be found here.


Diary of a First-Time Director

Scriptnotes: Ep. 212
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John and Craig sit down with Marielle Heller, the writer and director of the acclaimed feature The Diary of a Teenage Girl, to talk about the journey of getting her movie made, from optioning the novel to the Sundance Labs through production.

We discuss sex scenes and ’70s wallpaper, anamorphic lenses and leaving subplots on the cutting room floor. Plus there’s a lot of MacGruber.

This episode originally aired August 25, 2015.

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

UPDATE 10-13-17: The transcript of this episode can be found here.


Movies Dodged a Bullet

Scriptnotes: Ep. 319
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John and Craig speculate about why the film industry fared better in the transition to digital while the music industry struggled.

We also follow up on the WGA elections, hearing John’s priorities as a new board member. Lured back into the intrigue of MoviePass, we discuss new information on this business model.

Then it’s another installment of the Three Page Challenge, in which we discuss listener-submitted pages of their screenplays.

Finally, we answer the most provocative of listener-questions: how do you name your files?

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

UPDATE 10-2-17: The transcript of this episode can be found here


Writing Other Things

Scriptnotes: Ep. 318
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John and Craig welcome back Aline Brosh McKenna to talk about writing projects outside the familiar constraints of screenwriting.

We discuss the surprises and adjustments involved in the creative processes of different media: Aline’s graphic novel Jane, Craig’s HBO miniseries Chernobyl, and John’s original song, “Rise.” We also dig into why screenwriters sometimes need to be amateurs again.

Then we answer listener questions about making fair deals as someone in a different country, and how best to read one’s script before rewriting.

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

UPDATE 9-26-17: The transcript of this episode can be found here


First Day on the Job

Scriptnotes: Ep. 317
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Craig and John debut a new segment: This Kind of Scene, looking at how different movies handle similar situations. The Hudsucker Proxy, The Devil Wears Prada, Hidden Figures and Training Day all need to introduce their heroes to their new workplaces. We examine how those scenes work, both on the page and on screen.

We then discuss what it means to write for an international market, and determine what a “therapy piece” is and how to avoid writing one.

We also follow up on our discussion from episode 310 on the WGA deal and explore why animation writers aren’t included in the WGA.

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

UPDATE 9-18-17: The transcript of this episode can be found here.