John and Craig welcome Liz Hannah (screenwriter of The Post) to explore where movies come from, be it real life, storytelling social media sites, or all-powerful comic book IP. How do these story sources affect the writer’s relationship with the material and with the audience? We also follow up on the meaning of “Jackman Shot” […]
Screenwriter Michael Arndt (Little Miss Sunshine, Toy Story 3) has been thinking a lot about endings. His video offers great insights and practical advice.
John welcomes Linda Woolverton (Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, Homeward Bound) to talk about her experience writing animated features, from the parallel processes of writing and production to her paltry paycheck for Beauty and the Beast. They consider the blurring lines between live-action and hyperrealistic CGI, as well as the history of animation […]
Craig welcomes Leigh Whannell, writer of the Saw and Insidious franchises, to discuss low-budget filmmaking, sequels on sequels, the horror landscape and his new movie, Upgrade. We also answer listener questions about sharing an agent with your writing partner and the ethics of hiring someone to punch up your own script. Links: Thanks for joining […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
There’s not much to learn from “we have to stop the evil genius before he blows up the world.” But drama, both in the real world and in fiction, comes from interaction with characters who are theoretically on our side.
I don’t have reason to write many of jokes. Most of the projects I work on are either dramas or premise-funny rather than punchline-funny. But I always admire well-crafted jokes. They’re tiny works of magic.
Craig and John play “How Would This Be a Movie?” looking at three articles in the news.
John and Craig talk romantic comedies with screenwriter Tess Morris, whose film Man Up is unapologetically part of the genre.
Like Devin Faraci, one death in Jurassic World stuck out for me, because it didn’t feel deserved. But was does “deserved” really mean?
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.
Craig, John, and Aline record the 200th episode of Scriptnotes live with a worldwide audience listening in — and chiming in — as they discuss TV showrunning and whether quality really counts at the box office.
Linda Holmes examines what we mean when talk about Cinderella.
As longtime readers know, I love me a supercut. This one by Roman Holiday explores the trope of characters sitting up in bed after a nightmare.
John and Craig look at the nature of fluke hits, everything from #alexfromtarget to huge spec sales. Is luck just luck, or is it about how often you play the game? Where does talent fit in?
Craig and John discuss the 31 superhero movies slated for the next few years. Is it good business or a trainwreck in the making?
Craig loves the 1990 blockbuster Ghost. John? Ditto. Written by Bruce Joel Rubin and directed by Jerry Zucker, Ghost set the template for the modern romantic drama. It was Twilight before Twilight, Titanic before Titanic. It won hearts, weekends and Oscars, including best screenplay.
Chloe Angyal has a great look back at My Best Friend’s Wedding, which in many ways subverts rom-com tropes.
Gregory Maguire, author of the novel Wicked, takes a look at screenwriter Noel Langley’s early draft of the script for The Wizard of Oz.
John and Craig look at the implicit contract made between screenwriters and readers — and ultimately, movies and their audience. That’s a natural introduction to our Three Page Challenge and the three new entries we look at this week.
In this special bonus episode, John and Craig answer listener questions from the 100th episode with help from guests Rawson Thurber and Aline Brosh McKenna.
It’s a week of pondering other people’s opinions. First, Craig and John take a look at the Bechdel Test: is it a useful metric for screenwriters, or just meaningless checkbox-ticking?
To some degree it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy: if you make most of your blockbusters PG-13, most blockbusters will be PG-13.