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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The End of the Beginning

Scriptnotes: Ep. 333
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John and Craig tackle that tricky stretch of screenplay between crystalizing what the story is going to be and the protagonist actually embarking upon it: the end of Act 1.

We also answer listener questions about writing for new media, why working outside of a WGA contract hurts everyone, what people want when asking for a “writing sample,” and adapting novels without the rights.

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

UPDATE 1-16-18: The transcript of this episode can be found here.


Wait for It

Scriptnotes: Ep. 332
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John and Craig discuss suspense and its function in all genres, from thrillers to romcoms. They examine suspense of the known and of the unknown and the techniques available to construct it.

We also answer listeners questions about registering scripts with the WGA, how to overcome creative paralysis and unconventional sluglines.

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

UPDATE 1-8-18: The transcript of this episode can be found here.


We Had the Same Idea

Scriptnotes: Ep. 331
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John and Craig offer advice to those who suspect their work has been stolen, providing a checklist to help determine if a claim has merit and suggestions for how to best proceed if it does.

We also answer listener questions about taxes on agent commission, being a conservative voice in a writers’ room, and using real celebrities as characters.

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

UPDATE 1-2-18: The transcript of this episode can be found here


A Cop’s Cop Show

Scriptnotes: Ep. 330
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John and Craig give notes on a pilot script by our Homecoming Live Show Winner, Andrew Thalheimer. The Harrows is an hour-long police drama that centers on the relationship between a straight-laced new recruit and his street-wise father after they are assigned to be each other’s partner.

In talking through The Harrows, we discuss the limits of suspension of disbelief, the importance of the central relationship, and the need to set up your series early.

Huge thank you to Andrew, who has courageously put his script in our crosshairs. You can find this first draft and the subsequent rewrite below.

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

UPDATE 12-26-17: The transcript of this episode can be found here


Five-Star Podnerships

Scriptnotes: Ep. 329
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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 preserve our market share and bottom line. We also take a look at some questionable five-star reviews.

Recorded with a live audience at LA Film School as a benefit for the Writers Guild Foundation. Huge thanks to everyone who came and supported the show.

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

UPDATE 12-18-17: The transcript of this episode can be found here


Pitching Television, or Being a Passionate Widget

Scriptnotes: Ep. 328
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John and Craig share their insight into pitching for television. How is it different that pitching features? How do express your passion for the project? How do you avoid being a Willy Loman pitching to a Willy Loman? (Sometimes you don’t.)

We also follow-up on the conversation about sexual harassment, with a focus on how men, bosses, and unions can work to make a safer, more comfortable workplace for everyone.

Reminder that the Scriptnotes Holiday Live Show is this Thursday in Hollywood. Ticket link below.

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

UPDATE 12-13-17: The transcript of this episode can be found here