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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Infinite Westworld

Scriptnotes: Ep. 352
Play

John and Craig welcome Lisa Joy & Jonah Nolan (Westworld) and Stephen McFeely & Christopher Markus (Avengers: Infinity War) to our annual live show benefitting Hollywood Heart.

We discuss worldbuilding, the challenges and delights of serialized storytelling, and the extreme measures taken to keep secrets.

We also answer audience questions on villains as protagonists, music supervision, and research as procrastination.

Recorded May 22, 2018 at the ArcLight in Hollywood

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

UPDATE 6-6-18: The transcript of this episode can be found here.


Full Circle

Scriptnotes: Ep. 351
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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 one’s work on YouTube, annotating scripts, and arbitration.

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

UPDATE 5-30-18: The transcript of this episode can be found here.


Limerence

Scriptnotes: Ep. 350
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John and co-host John Gatins sit down with Aline Brosh McKenna and Rachel Bloom to discuss the experience of writing the third season of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, from breaking story in hot tubs to adjusting genital-related dances in compliance with Broadcast Standards and Practices.

With spoilers aplenty, we discuss the challenges of a TV protagonist’s Act 2 “rocky shoals,” the nuance of exploring mental illness with comedy, the process of writing surprising musical numbers, and the opportunities of turning the rom-com genre on its head.

Recorded live on May 9th.

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

UPDATE 5-23-18: The transcript of this episode can be found here.


Putting Words on the Page

Scriptnotes: Ep. 349
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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” of formatting, from creative scene headers to “hey reader” notes and tips for introducing characters who play important roles later in the script.

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

UPDATE 5-15-18: The transcript of this episode can be found here.


All About Family

Scriptnotes: Ep. 348
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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 diversifying crews through training programs, and effective character descriptions.

Tickets are now on sale for our next Scriptnotes Live Show on Tuesday, May 22nd at the ArcLight in Hollywood, with guests including Lisa Joy and Jonah Nolan of Westworld.

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

UPDATE 5-8-18: The transcript of this episode can be found here.


Conflict of Interest

Scriptnotes: Ep. 347
Play

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 listener questions on multicam formatting and elegantly establishing the time period in a historical piece.

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

UPDATE 5-2-18: The transcript of this episode can be found here.