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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
John and Craig dive into another round of How Would This Be a Movie, looking at stories (and memes!) from around the world to figure out which ones might lend themselves to big-screen treatment.
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.
John and Craig offer a 101 on how movies make money at theaters, and why a 1948 Supreme Court case changed everything.
Craig and John take a deep dive into 1992’s Unforgiven, looking at how the David Webb Peoples script works on the page and on the screen.
John and Craig look at four films from the past and discuss how we could make them today.
Craig and John tackle a bunch of listener questions, along with follow-up on previous discussions.
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.
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.
This quote from Dennis Lehane on the difference between writing books and movies is spot-on, but worth a few clarifications.
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.
Boris Kachka takes an in-depth look at how the final episode of The Leftovers was written, shot and edited.
A writing team finds their work held hostage by a friend who brought them the concept.
When we see characters lying, we know more about what matters to them.
Amanda Peet has a terrific piece in the NY Times about why she doesn’t read reviews, and how strange it feels when rest of the world knows something you don’t.
“Hold my beer” is getting clammy, but it’s worth exploring why it works as a Twitter joke.
I think you’re a potentially great character but you seem stuck in a story where you’re neither hero nor villain.
John Quaintance recently tweeted photos of two whiteboards listing phrases banned in the Workaholics writers’ room. His tweet has been widely shared, and is a mitzvah to all writers. These phrases are all clams — jokes that aren’t funny anymore and therefore need to die. When you include them in a script, you’re evoking the […]
In a recent episode of Scriptnotes, we shared stories from screenwriters who managed to build careers while living outside of Los Angeles, New York or London. Here are additional tales from writers who got their start without moving to the big city first.
In this very special episode from 2014, Craig and John welcome special guests Aline Brosh McKenna, Rachel Bloom, B.J. Novak, Jane Espenson and Derek Haas to talk about writing books, movies and especially television.
One of the positive things I took from this election was a quote Hillary Clinton used from her Methodist upbringing: Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you […]