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Don’t search with your eyes

When working of paper edits, I’ve found the fastest solution is to stop scrolling altogether and use the built-in search function.

How Arlo Finch got his name

I have a very hard time writing a character if I don’t love the name. So I obsess over picking the right one. I’ll spend hours staring in the middle distance, trying out various combinations until something clicks.

Dennis Lehane on novels vs. screenplays

This quote from Dennis Lehane on the difference between writing books and movies is spot-on, but worth a few clarifications.

The two kinds of title pages

Books have two title pages. Like most things that seem oddly wasteful at first glance, there’s a good reason for it.

I live in Paris now

I’m not here for work, or to escape this nightmare of an election. Rather, this sojourn has been in the planning stages for several years, going all the way to back to a screenwriters trip organized by Film France back in 2009. My daughter is attending sixth grade here. We’ll head back to Los Angeles for seventh.

I wrote a book.

Arlo Finch in the Valley of Fire will be the first book in a new series from Roaring Brook Press, an imprint of Macmillan. It comes out in 2018.

Three Days to One Hit Kill

Next week we’re consolidating our One Hit Kill inventory, which means counting, boxing and shipping games from four different warehouses. So through Friday, we’re selling One Hit Kill at 50% off on Amazon.

Outlines and Treatments

John and Craig look at the non-screenplay things screenwriters end up writing, most notably outlines and treatments. We discuss some of the ones we’ve written (with examples), and offer advice on writing your own.

The Script Graveyard

Where do screenplays go when they die? John and Craig take a look at their movies that never were, looking for patterns among dozens of their unproduced works. What can screenwriters learn from the dead, and is it ever worth trying to resurrect these flatliners?

Changing heroes mid-stream

As an animated film moves from screenplay to storyboards to scratch reels, you see the story coming to life — and the problems front-and-center.

Tuesday Reviewsday

One of my goals for 2016 is to be better about writing reviews for the products I love. Every Tuesday I’ll be leaving reviews on the applicable store.

The road to becoming a professional artist

Noah Bradley, who illustrated several of the weapon cards for One Hit Kill, has a great post up about his journey to becoming a full-time professional artist.

Really Short Stories

Daniel Wallace, who wrote the novel Big Fish, sent me the syllabus for the college writing class he’s teaching, including a first-week requirement of a 100-word short story.

The Automatic Gate

As a screenwriter, I’m always looking for ticking clocks to increase the tension in a story. One my favorite sub-tropes is the Automatic Gate.

How and why we made the One Hit Kill app

Because OHK is designed to grow and change — both with our own expansion packs and user-created variants — we wanted to be able to quickly update and “officialize” rules to reflect the state of the game.

One Hit Kill is now on Kickstarter

Minutes ago, we launched the Kickstarter for One Hit Kill, our new card game of ridiculously overpowered weapons and monsters and cuddly rabbits.

The long and short of it

John and Craig dig into the listener mailbag and take questions on TV producer credits, jealousy over other writers’ success, writing tight vs writing long and plenty of other follow up.

Check out the game we’re making

One Hit Kill is a game full of ridiculously overpowered weapons, drawn from science fiction, myth and popular culture. You can check out some of these weapons and other cards at our prelaunch website

Spalding Gray, depression, and the Big Fish connection

Writing for The New Yorker, Oliver Sacks recounts his interactions with monologist Spalding Gray, and how his death was connected with Big Fish.

Shipping 8,000 Kickstarter rewards in one minute

Last week, we shipped out 8,000 Writer Emergency Packs to our Kickstarter backers. The bulk of the packing happened in three days, so I set up a time-lapse camera to document the process.

The Tentpoles of 2019

Craig and John discuss the 31 superhero movies slated for the next few years. Is it good business or a trainwreck in the making?

The ruins of Spectre

Kelly Kazek looks at what became of Spectre, the magical little town in Big Fish.

Writing the music before shooting the film

Alex Wurman, who composed the music for my film The Nines, has the soundtrack up on SoundCloud. The composer often comes on board the project while it’s in post, but for The Nines, I needed Alex to write the main theme of the movie before we’d shot a frame.

Writing an album in two weeks

In an interview with Billboard, producer Patrick Leonard talks about writing “Like a Prayer” with Madonna. Their process is a great example of actually making things.

Old Projects

Maybe I’m hyper-aware because yesterday was the 15th anniversary of Go, but I’m encountering sorts of references to past projects this week.