Psych 101

Risky Business, and the choices you make

Jake Malooley tracks down writer-director Paul Brickman, who more or less vanished after Risky Business.

Psychotherapy for screenwriters

John and Craig sit down with screenwriter-turned-psychotherapist Dennis Palumbo to discuss writer’s block, procrastination, partnerships and more. It’s a can’t-miss episode for aspiring writers and professionals alike.

Sprints, marathons and migrations

This week, I’ve been working on a feature, a TV pilot and the stage musical of Big Fish. It’s gotten me thinking about the nature of different forms of dramatic writing.

Women, screenwriting and confidence

A listener wonders if the lack of female screenwriters stems in part from the social part of the profession, specifically confidence in one’s ability.

Confessions of a trust-fund screenwriter

In response to the discussion Craig and I recently had about the perceptions of nepotism and wealth in the film industry, a listener wrote in to share his experience of being quite literally a trust-fund screenwriter.

Umbrage Farms

Craig and John take a brief look at the misguided Girls backlash and complaints about nepotism in Hollywood, before segueing to a bigger discussion of spec scripts and positioning.

On Procrastination

Burn one minute and twenty-seven seconds with this nice motion graphic by Ryan Perera.

What it’s like when your show gets cancelled

Lauren Bagby offers an office PA’s perspective how it feels when your show gets cancelled.

Unprecedented, just like last year

Over at Tom the Dancing Bug, Ruben Bolling looks at how journalists have a faulty memory when it comes to past award seasons.

Pitching a show

I’d missed this piece from November by Jesse Lasky in which he describes his first experience pitching a TV show.

Resenting your audience

Pivoting of the discussion Craig and I had about Charlie Kaufman’s speech, Josh Barkey outlines a path that may lead screenwriters to resent their audiences.

Workspace: Christine Boylan

Screenwriter and TV scribe Christine Boylan talks through her work habits and tools.

Why France exhausts me

At the end of any day in which I’ve had to keep up in French, I’m zombie-tired. Research Daniel Kahneman has the explanation.

The Good Boy Syndrome, and whether film school is worth it

John and Craig discuss why screenwriters want to please people — and how it often hurts them and the movie they’re writing — before a lengthy discussion of the pros and cons of going to film school.

Writing and decision fatigue

I had a hunch that late in the day wasn’t the best time to introduce a new song for Big Fish. Science agrees.

What a flop feels like

Sean Hood writes up his experience of dealing with a film flop.

Endless producer notes

How do you handle a producer who won’t stop giving notes?

You are the host of your own talk show

I never watched Oprah. But I’m not surprised she had some good parting thoughts.

Write the way you speak

College was the first time I started writing how I speak. Or, more accurately, college was when I stopped trying to write the way I thought I should write.

All fiction is fan fiction

Sure: everyone’s already linked to Austin Kleon’s wonderful post How to Steal Like an Artist (and 9 things nobody taught me). But I can’t know that you’ve read it. And I don’t have better advice for you today, or even this week. So I really recommend you read it, and take some notes.

When to talk about your idea

Lawrence Turman suggests asking random people for their opinions of your concept. Great idea for a producer, but potentially a bad idea for a screenwriter.

All yourselves belong to us

The Time Magazine profile on Mark Zuckerberg offers a concise description of what makes me uneasy about Facebook in its current form: the binary definition of friendship.

Dick jokes for classy producers

While you can intuit a bit about producers’ taste by the films they’ve made, don’t assume producers only get certain genres. And never turn down a chance for a read.

On Dogfooding, and scratching your own itch

When you make something that you yourself use, that’s called dogfooding, a contraction of “eating your own dogfood.” That’s developer-speak, but it’s something screenwriters would do well to appropriate.

The One-Month Manager

What’s a reasonable amount of time to give your manager to read a draft of your script? It sometimes takes this screenwriter’s manager up to a month.