From Indie to Action Comedy

John welcomes Susanna Fogel and David Iserson to talk about making their new movie, The Spy Who Dumped Me. They discuss the transition from TV and indie film to blockbuster, the collaboration involved in crafting a comic action sequence, and the fun of production overseas. Susanna and David explain the advantages of spec scripts (this […]

Full Circle

John and Craig talk about the way that movies tend to bring their stories full circle, and what that means for writers trying to figure out their story beats. They discuss rhyming, bookending and how properly setting up the central thematic question helps make the answer feel meaningful. We also answer listener questions about putting […]

Putting Words on the Page

John and Craig discuss the digital tools of the trade. From outline to first draft to production rewrites, screenwriters find themselves facing different challenges. We talk about what works for each of us. We also speculate on what impact Highland 2’s gender analysis tool will have. Then we answer listener questions about following the “rules” […]

Franchises and Final Draft

John and Craig examine why almost all of the top-grossing movies are part of a franchise — and the chicken-or-egg question at the heart of it. You don’t get Minions without Despicable Me.

My writing setup, 2016

In 2011, I wrote a post detailing my writing setup. Over the past five years several things have changed, so I thought I’d give it update.

The One with the Guys from Final Draft

The makers of Final Draft pay us a visit to clear up John and Craig’s misconceptions of, well, everything. It’s double the umbrage for your money.

How to convert a PDF to Final Draft

Screenwriters often find themselves with PDF of a screenplay when they actually need a Final Draft (.fdx) file that they can edit. Here are three ways to convert from PDF to fdx, ranging from painful to sublime.

Save to Dropbox

An upcoming project at Quote-Unquote Apps involves heavy use of Dropbox, so we’ve been experimenting with their developer API. Today, we added “Save to Dropbox” for all the scripts in the Library.

Are two screens better than one?

John and Craig debate the perils and possibilities of bringing iPads into movie theaters. Is Disney’s Little Mermaid iPad app a way to breathe new life into a classic, or a slippery slope towards cinematic ruin? It’s a conversation with plenty of umbrage — but from an unexpected source.

Let’s talk about Nikki Finke

John and Craig discuss the polarizing potentate of Deadline Hollywood Daily, then segue into what a healthy entertainment journalism ecosystem might look like.

The air duct of backstory

John and Craig talk about perspective — both within a scene and the overall story. It’s not always obvious to the reader which characters are in the driver’s seat, so it falls on the screenwriter to make that clear.

One-step deals, and how to read a script

Craig and John look at the logic and fallacies of one-step deals for screenwriters, along with advice on reading screenplays and enjoying Skyfall.

Bronson Watermarker 1.5 adds image support and new styles

Bronson Watermarker 1.5 adds support for photos and images.

Selling apps in bulk

Currently, there’s no way for us to do volume licensing through the Mac App Store. At first glance, that seems to be no big deal, since Mac apps (unlike iOS apps) don’t have to be installed through official channels. But that means we have to figure out our own way to handle serial numbers and updates, and possibly maintain multiple versions of the app.

FDX Reader updated, on sale

FDX Reader, our app for reading Final Draft screenplay files on the iPhone and iPad, has been updated to version 1.1.4, and is on sale for $1.99 through Monday, December 12th.

Help Stuart with AdWords

I have a hunch that some readers may have a lot of experience with AdWords. You might have good advice for Stuart, both in terms of maximizing exposure and minimizing frustration.

Firing a manager, and trying new software

John and Craig answer a listener’s question about whether (and how) to ditch an ineffective manager, then discuss daily work habits, hardware and software.

Final Cut Pro updated

Apple has updated Final Cut Pro X to address some of editors’ biggest concerns (XML, shared media) and now offers a free trial version. It’s worth a download.

FCP 7: Not quite dead yet

Apple has resumed selling the old version of Final Cut Pro. But it ain’t cheap, and there’s no guarantee it will be around long.

Final Cut Pro and Con

Over the past four weeks, Stuart and I have had the opportunity to cut a few projects in the new FCP X and evaluate its strengths and weaknesses. I think the differences in our reactions are largely based on how familiar we were with the old version.

Plot Device, and cheap VFX

Plot Device, a short film directed by Seth Worley (and funded by the Magic Bullet plugin folks) does a good job balancing story and how’d-they-do-that.

iMovie 09 is much better, still maddening

A few weeks ago, I expressed exasperation upon seeing demos of iMovie 09, which seemed to be working hard to fix exactly the wrong problems. Now that I have it installed, I’ve been able to spend a few days playing around with it. And you know what? It’s actually a lot better. Yes, that could […]

Trailer competition, second update

Just so you know, the radio silence around the trailer competition is not for lack of interest or intent. Stuff got very crazy, very quickly, and we had a hard enough time getting the real trailer finished up. (Plus there was other stuff going on.) We have all the clips ready to go, but we’re […]

The Unnecessary General

In Final Draft, what do you use the “General” element for? The manual describes its function negatively, saying only that it’s for whatever doesn’t fit into the other elements. Personally, I haven’t found a use for it yet and was wondering what the pros use it for. — Richard Budd As far as I know, […]

Title page trouble with Final Draft .pdfs

Reader Josh C wrote in with one solution to a problem that’s been frustrating me for months. When you want to save a script as a .pdf, Final Draft won’t always include the title page. It’s frustratingly inconsistent. The obvious workaround is to save the title page as a separate file, which is what I’ve […]