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 Magic Word Is In This Episode

Scriptnotes: Ep. 312
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Craig and John tackle a bunch of listener questions, along with follow-up on previous discussions.

Are road trip movies just a series of coincidences? How do you start the second draft? Should you mention screenwriting awards in a query?

Plus: a Redditor insists there is a secret password you have to write within a script for it to be purchased. After 311 episodes, the time has come. We reveal that magic word.

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

UPDATE 8-14-17: The transcript of this episode can be found here.


Scriptnotes Live Homecoming Show

Scriptnotes: Ep. 311
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John and Craig welcome special guests Megan Amram (The Good Place), Tom Schnauz (Better Call Saul) and Matt Selman (The Simpsons) to talk about writing television, from staffing to breaking story to the challenge of short seasons.

Then we try out two new segments: How Could This Be Funny and An Aubry Plaza Type. Do they work? It’s debatable!

There is also a Q&A, which you can find as a bonus episode for subscribers at scriptnotes.net.

Recorded live at the Writers Guild Theater on July 25, 2017. Thanks to the Writers Guild Foundation for hosting us, and a terrific audience.

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

UPDATE 8-7-17: The transcript of this episode can be found here.


What’s in the WGA Deal

Scriptnotes: Ep. 310
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Craig and John talk with Chris Keyser, one of the co-chairs of the WGA Negotiating Committee, to learn what gains were achieved in the most recent deal, and what work lies ahead.

Warning: it’s a super-wonky episode that presumes you’re familiar with the basics outlined in episode 289.

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

UPDATE 8-2-17: The transcript of this episode can be found here.


Logic and Gimmickry

Scriptnotes: Ep. 309
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John and Craig step up to the whiteboard to look at the story logic in our scripts, then examine how tricks and gimmicks can help keep scenes interesting.

We also answer listener questions about paying experts for research help, and whether hiring a writing consultant ever makes sense.

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

UPDATE 7-25-17: The transcript of this episode can be found here.


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.