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Scriptnotes Podcast

Screenwriters John August and Craig Mazin discuss screenwriting and related topics in the film and television industry, everything from getting stuff written to the vagaries of copyright and work-for-hire law.
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Now displaying: December, 2011
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Dec 20, 2011

Craig and John explain what producers do at least, what they're supposed to do and discuss the myriad subclasses of producers that litter the opening titles of many movies.

Which is the more impressive credit producer or executive producer? In film, it's the former. In TV, it's the latter. But whatever the title, producers are integral to getting a movie or TV show made.

Craig feels producers can be either anxiety buffers or anxiety conductors. John breaks down four essential roles you find producers filling:

  1. The general. This producer keeps things moving forward and protects the production. She forces you to make decisions.
  2. The diplomat. This producer makes sure crazy people feel respected, even when they're being giant pains-in-the-ass. He talks the actress out of her trailer.
  3. The creative. This producer reminds everyone what kind of movie they're trying to make. She performs quality control for the production.
  4. The bulldozer. This producer will smash down a phone booth to help the director get his shot. (This actually happened.)

Some producers can fill multiple roles (like diplomat-creative), but you'll often find these qualities spread out among several people on a production, regardless of the size.

Who's that fat cat, and how did he afford such a fancy cigar? Find out on episode seventeen of Scriptnotes.

LINKS:

UPDATE 1-4-12: The transcript of this episode can be found here.

Dec 13, 2011

Craig and John plug a book by their very first sponsor and discuss elective brain surgery, before tackling an exhaustive but illuminating list of questions from listener Daniel Barkeley.

They're residual questions about residuals, which seems very meta:

  • Do TV show creators get compensated for every rerun?
  • How do residuals differ from profit participations and foreign levies?
  • And where does new media fall in all of this?

Thirteen conversations about a few things, on episode sixteen of Scriptnotes.

LINKS:

UPDATE 12-15-11: The transcript of this episode can be found here.

Dec 6, 2011

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.

It's a rare podcast in which I sway Craig's opinion whatsoever, but if you listen really carefully, I think he leaves the show just slightly less negative about screenwriting books than he started. It's all about degrees with Craig.

Plus, we get a visit from the LAPD, follow-up on residuals, and a bit more about unionizing videogame writers.

LINKS:

(Note that none of the books listed above are actually recommended. But we talk about them, so it feels fair to provide links.)

UPDATE 12-13-11: The transcript of this episode can be found here.

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