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.
I’ve only just started reading Danny Rubin’s How to Write Groundhog Day, but it’s promising enough that I think many screenwriters will want to take a look at it this weekend.
Theresa Couchman wishes Pixar hadn’t played into princess tropes for their first female-driven movie.
In the spirit of the season, let us say thanks to Wikipedia for this comprehensive list of fictional diseases.
Wait, how did I not know the Manic Pixie Dream Girl existed as a trope?
NY Times has a nice piece on Aline Brosh McKenna, screenwriter of “the BlackBerry 3.”
Superhero movies continue to make money, but the rise of very profitable R-rated comedies is the box office story of the summer.
Bruce Sterling publishes a list of Lovecraft’s undeveloped story ideas.