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 […]

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 […]

Best Popular Screenwriting Podcast

John and Craig pack this business-centric episode with big picture conversations about guild negotiations, changes to the Oscars, the Disney/Fox merger, the Paramount Consent Decree, and the tragedy that is being unable to stream The Flamingo Kid. Links: Scriptnotes is now on Spotify! The Austin Film Festival is coming up on October 25th! Changes are […]

Not Worth Winning

In light of the dust-up over Coverfly, John and Craig discuss why most screenwriting contests are essentially useless and should be avoided. We then look at destructive fandom and ponder how today’s entitled enthusiasts might have responded to the classics. Plus we answer listener questions about the “gutters” between scenes, whether an employer owns your […]

Bad Behavior

John and Craig discuss the hot new trend of firing jerks from successful TV shows. Why is it happening now like never before? Is there an important distinction between being “difficult” and being a jerk? We also follow up on listener suggestions for outlining tools, and answer questions about the landscape of feature comedy, the […]

We’re Back, Baby

John and Craig reunite to answer our backlog of listener questions. We follow up on what it means to utilize white space on a page, the conventions of musical numbers, the value of a victory lap, and what the hypothetical destruction of Los Angeles would mean for the industry. We also answer listener questions on […]

The End of the Beginning

John and Craig tackle that tricky stretch of screenplay between crystalizing what the story is going to be and the protagonist actually embarking upon it: the end of Act 1. We also answer listener questions about writing for new media, why working outside of a WGA contract hurts everyone, what people want when asking for […]

Tuesday Reviewsday: Pillars of Eternity

After a rocky start, I’ve found myself digging this surprisingly grim (and PG-13) RPG of soul harvesting and dead gods.

Young Billionaire’s Guide to Hollywood

John and Craig offer advice for super-rich aspirants about the film and television industry. If you have enough money to do anything, what should you do first? Do you want to make money, or make art? Or do you just want to hang out with famous people? No judgements.

Punching the Hawk: Karateka 2.0

Almost three years ago, Jordan Mechner and I set out to make a new version of his amazing 1984 videogame Karateka. It shipped today.

We’re all Disney princesses now

John and Craig discuss the big movie news of the week: Disney buying Lucasfilm, and with it, the rights to Star Wars.

Escape from Age of Monsters

My compatriots at Massive Joe have just released their second game, Escape from Age of Monsters. The game plays like Tiny Wings, but with monsters and hell gloves and a great soundtrack by The Binges. It continues the franchise elements set up by the original game, featuring some top-notch animation by Jeff Matsuda.

Two views of videogame writing

Jordan Mechner has a pair of articles looking at videogame writers.

Screenwriting gurus and so-called experts

Craig and John look at why the books and seminars purporting to teach screenwriting are generally terrible, trying to reduce the hard work of the craft to a series of formulas and templates.

Undervalued simplicity, and WGA coverage for videogames

John and Craig tackle reader questions about self distribution, pseudonyms, separated rights, and studios’ feelings about international versus domestic box office.

Getting a job in videogames

Game designer Adam ‘Atomic’ Saltsman looks at the differences between big-budget and little video games, and how to start working in each.

Making the original Prince of Persia

Video from GDC, with Jordan Mechner talking about his original version of Prince of Persia.

Netflix streaming to PlayStation 3

Starting next month, you can watch instantly through Netflix on your PS3.

The Nines on Amazon VOD

The Nines is now available through Amazon’s video-on-demand, with options for download or streaming within the browser window. It’s very straightforward, and I’m always happy for another outlet. But it costs $14.99. That’s simply too much. Amazon sells the physical DVD with all the special features for the same price, at considerably more cost to […]


The combination of family travel, lingering illness and Fallout 3 has kept me away from the blog this week, but I should be back to a normal schedule beginning Sunday. There’s actual news, including my next writing project and an update (post-mortem?) on Shazam!. Plus, I really want to write something about this misguided memo […]

Prince of Projects

Friend and occasional writing partner Jordan Mechner has been tinkering on a website for a few months, and is now ready to invite the world in. He has a lot to share about 20 years in the videogame industry, and the transition from designer to screenwriter. Basically, my plan is to blog, post sketches, and […]

Things We Think About Games

On storytelling in games.

If film studios developed videogames

Why is Puzzle Farter so gassy?

Grand Theft Auto

I offer this an explanation and apology for why there will be few blog posts in the coming weeks. Fewer hours spent with friends and family. And an increased number of times I reach for my weapon rather than discussing matters calmly. GTA IV comes out next week. Here’s the thing: I’ve never even played […]

Seven Things I Learned from World of Warcraft

Those who’ve seen my movie, The Nines, can infer that I had a bit of a World of Warcraft problem back in the day. “The day” being a period of about four months in which most of my waking hours were spent either playing the game or wanting to. The luxury and danger of being […]