What Is a Movie, Anyway?

John and Craig welcome Franklin Leonard to weigh in on the current definition of “movie.” In the age of streaming, this distinction is not only important for audiences and awards, but has a meaningful effect on how writers are paid. We also take umbrage with Awards Season as a Hollywood fixture, and follow up on […]

Live To Write Another Day, A Survival Guide for Screenwriters and Creative Storytellers

Dean Orion certainly has something worthwhile to say about writing. I’d read his blog if he had one. But his new eBook, Live to Write Another Day, is a lesson in the pitfalls of self-publishing and writing without and editor. He doesn’t know where the book is best, and brushes over points that deserve whole chapters, or makes chapters out of what should be entire books.

Tales from Development Hell

I don’t read many books about screenwriting, but my assistant Stuart Friedel does. From time to time I ask him to write up his impressions. Several readers had written to ask about David Hughes’s Tales from Development Hell, so I asked Stuart to look at it during a break from reading Three Page Challenge entries. […]

Learning from the Three Page Challenge

Every few weeks, Craig and I look at three or four entries to the Three Page Challenge for the podcast. But my assistant, Stuart Friedel, has read more than 500. So I asked him to write up a post discussing the patterns, problems and common themes among what he’s read.

In which Stuart reads the Save the Cat! books and tells you what he thought

I don’t read books on how to write screenplays, but Stuart does, so I occasionally ask him to write up his impressions. For this round, he tackled the three Save the Cat! books by Blake Snyder.

The Screenwriter’s Bible

With its thorough coverage of basic tenets, some of which are so painfully obvious that giving them attention can do more harm than good, David Trottier’s The Screenwriter’s Bible stays true to its namesake. It is a solid, comprehensive resource for any screenwriter’s bookshelf, but it’s a lot to take in at once.

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.

The Writer’s Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers

Christopher Vogler’s The Writer’s Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers provides a universally applicable way of thinking about story without trapping the author into calling it the only way of thinking. It manages to be all encompassing without being suffocating.

The 101 Habits of Highly Successful Screenwriters

Karl Iglesias’s 101 Habits of Highly Successful Screenwriters feels like a broad but basic WGA panel, where successful screenwriters share advice, mostly in the form of useful but familiar cliches.

Writing Movies for Fun and Profit

As you would expect from two members of The State, Thomas Lennon & Robert Ben Garant’s Writing Movies for Fun and Profit is very entertaining. It is also full of useful information for both budding and veteran screenwriters.