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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: February, 2012
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Feb 28, 2012

This week, Craig and John get all Miss Manners to talk about best practices, bad behavior and throwing writers under the bus.

Short advice: Be charitable, be cool, be nice.

Note that we recorded this episode before the Oscars at which Jim Rash, Nat Faxon and Alexander Payne received the award for Best Adapted Screenplay.  After that acceptance speech, one could imagine a follow-up conversation, but we'll probably just be done with it.

Have been both the re-writer and the guy being rewritten, we also discuss how to best handle these awkward situations. (Pick up the phone and call the other writer, for starters.)

We finish up by answering a listener question:  How soon is too soon to follow-up with a producer who is reading your draft?

All this, plus discussion of Robin Quivers, Aline Brosh McKenna and a rumored Scriptnotes drinking game.

LINKS:

UPDATE 2-29-12: The transcript of this episode can be found here.

Feb 21, 2012

For their 25th podcast, John and Craig tackle listener questions.

How does a screenwriter option a novel he wants to adapt? John has optioned two novels one through a studio, and one on his own while Craig recently optioned his first. In each of these cases, we found the psychological aspects to be just as important as the legal ones.

When can a writer say he "wrote" a movie particularly if there are other credited writers? John and Craig disagree a bit here, with John trying to draw the distinction between "worked on" and "wrote."

Finally, should an aspiring writer focus on television or features? The answer from two feature writers may surprise you. Or not: television is pretty damn good these day.

Links:

UPDATE 2-22-12: The transcript of this episode can be found here.

Feb 14, 2012

John and Craig open up the listener mailbag to answer questions about formatting lyrics, foreign dialogue and title trademarks. We also dive in to discuss overall deals, which are common in television but quite rare among feature writers.

Also this week: The launch of the plain text screenwriting format Fountain, and John's love for the all-singing, all-dancing, Superbowl-sized NBC network promo.

There's also brief discussion of some sporting event that happened two Sundays ago.

Links:

UPDATE 2-16-12: The transcript of this episode can be found here.

Feb 7, 2012

After last week's depressing reality-check, Craig and John float back to the lands of joyful possibility with a look at theme, or central dramatic argument, or whatever you choose to call that narrative glue that helps hold a story together.

Theme, like structure, is one of those screenwriting terms that entrances newcomers and annoys veterans. Or at least it annoys John.

Generally, when you're talking about theme, you're trying to answer the question, "What is the story really about?" Your plot might concern a spy and stolen nuclear missiles, but the intellectual/emotional heart of the story is whether any man be trusted. Or whether all good acts are selfish. Or if men and women can be friends. (Nora Ephron's Bourne Identity.)

Also discussed: John's love for OmniFocus + Siri, braindead tasks, and cancer but only briefly, because this will be a happy show, god help us.

Links:

UPDATE 2-9-12: The transcript of this episode can be found here.

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