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Random Advice

Tying Things Up

John and Craig cover endings, both for craft and for business. First they articulate the importance of the denouement and the social contract it fulfills with the audience. Then they discuss what happens to a writer’s work after their death. We also follow up on pitching, and introduce a new segment: Change Craig’s Mind. This […]

Michael Arndt on Endings

Screenwriter Michael Arndt (Little Miss Sunshine, Toy Story 3) has been thinking a lot about endings. His video offers great insights and practical advice.

Getting Paid for It

John and Craig delve into the business of screenwriting from money to managers to medical plans. We answer listener questions about collecting unemployment, registering as a corporation, firing a rep, quitting your day job and handling the anxiety that comes with such an uncertain career path. Links: Alto’s Odyssey An ambiguously threatening advertisement for British […]

We Had the Same Idea

John and Craig offer advice to those who suspect their work has been stolen, providing a checklist to help determine if a claim has merit and suggestions for how to best proceed if it does. We also answer listener questions about taxes on agent commission, being a conservative voice in a writers’ room, and using […]

Five-Star Podnerships

John and Craig discuss showrunning, remaking existing IP, staffing, and fan behavior with Julie Plec (Vampire Diaries, The Originals), Michael Green (Bladerunner 2049, American Gods, Murder on the Orient Express, Logan), and Justin Marks (Jungle Book, Counterpart). In light of the big Fox/Disney merger, we contemplate which other podcasts we should consider teaming with to […]

The Post-Weinstein Era

John and Craig welcome Daley Haggar and Dara Resnik to examine the potential impacts of the Harvey Weinstein revelations on Hollywood. What should have been done? And what should happen next to foster a safer, saner and more inclusive industry culture? We also explore gender dynamics in a television writers room, discuss ways to address […]

Should You Give Up?

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 […]

We’re voting yes. But.

In this special mini-episode, John and Craig talk through the upcoming WGA strike authorization vote — what it actually means, and why they’re both voting yes.

A Refugee Story

In this bonus mini-episode, John talks with Nima Yousefi, the wizard behind Highland and Weekend Read, about his experience as an Iranian refugee, and his fears for the future in light of the travel ban.

You should run for office

From state legislatures to school boards, every one of the 519,682 elected offices in the United States affects people’s daily lives. You should run for one of them.

Some Questions for Paul Ryan as He Tries to Sleep

I think you’re a potentially great character but you seem stuck in a story where you’re neither hero nor villain.

This Feeling Will End

In this Scriptnotes Extra, Craig and John discuss the melting dread they experienced this morning and hopefully offer some succor.

Do all the good you can

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 […]

The Gold Standard

In this special mini-episode, Craig and John tackle the gold standard and why economists think it’s a flat-out terrible idea.

Fun with Numbers

Craig and John discuss the impact of Star Wars knocking down all the records, both for the industry and big-screen sci-fi.

Random Advice 2015

Doc McStuffins creator Chris Nee joins Craig and John to answer listener questions that have nothing to do with screenwriting.

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.

How to Get Staffed on a TV show

Gina Ippolito writes about how she got staffed on her first TV show.

Saving water and power

Bragging about efficiency plays into the worst stereotypes of California: smug, self-righteous and self-congratulatory. Yet conspicuous underconsumption has actual public benefits. You’re showing what’s possible, and helping to nudge trend lines and public policy in the right direction.

Strategic Sexual Hook-ups for “It Follows” Situations

You’re going to want to pass on the curse. The smart play is to pick someone who won’t die right away.

Bad Teachers, Good Advice and the Default Male

Aline Brosh McKenna joins John and Craig to discuss the how movies featuring good mentors (Dead Poet’s Society, To Sir with Love) differ from films with bad mentors (Whiplash, The Devil Wears Prada). It’s not just that the teachers are bad guys; rather, the stories are structured completely differently.

A Screenwriter’s Guide to the End of the World

John and Craig spend the hour discussing the number one topic whenever screenwriters are done complaining about studio notes: the end of the world, and how to get ready for it.

The Grimm side of marriage

Grimm’s fairy tales offer uniformly terrible marriage advice.

Let me give you some advice

Craig and John go back to basics with an all advice episode, looking at the Dear J.J. recommendations for Star Wars, Tony Gilroy’s advice to screenwriters and whatever’s up with Max Landis.

50 Random Questions

As promised, John and Craig answer a bunch of listener questions on everything except screenwriting, on topics ranging from sex to science to sushi.