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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: 2012
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Oct 16, 2012

John and Craig discuss Frankenweenie and Superhero! before cracking open the mailbox to answer listener questions: What advice would they give to their younger selves? Is a spec with a similar high-concept premise doomed? Should Australian screenwriters use U.S. spelling conventions?

Then, a discussion of what constitutes a plot hole and to what degree screenwriters are to blame.

After that, two new Three Page Challenge entries. We've received more than 500 of these, which is crazy.

All this and what to name an Amanda Peet character in this week's Scriptnotes. Next week, join us for the the first-ever Scriptnotes Live podcast from the Austin Film Festival.

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UPDATE 10-19-12: The transcript of this episode can be found here.

Oct 9, 2012

In the spirit of Looper, Craig and John take a journey back in time, looking at the first scripts they read, the first scripts they wrote, and the common pitfalls of many first screenplays.

Not only that: they share and critique the first three pages from the very first scripts they wrote.

Does John's romantic tragedy from 1994 show potential? Would Craig keep reading his high-concept comedy from 1995? You can be the judge, because both samples are linked below.

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UPDATE 10-11-12: The transcript of this episode can be found here.

Oct 2, 2012

John and Craig discuss what makes an idea a movie idea, and how those differ from TV ideas, book ideas, and other narrative forms.

Some properties like Charlie's Angels work in more than one medium. We take a few hypothetical projects and explain how they might work as movies.

The conversation then turns to press junkets. Fresh off John's Frankenweenie rounds, we reveal just how the sausage is made when it comes to doing publicity for a movie.

The episode ends with a discussion about David Denby's article from The New Republic, in which he asks the eponymous question: Has Hollywood murdered the movies?

All this, plus Two Cool Things on the 57th episode of Scriptnotes.

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UPDATE 10-4-12: The transcript of this episode can be found here.

Sep 25, 2012

John and Craig talk about the new show John sold to ABC, which leads to a conversation about the differences between studios and networks, and how writers end up having relationships with both.

We answer a listener question about what writers mean by a "weekly."

The bulk of the podcast centers on four samples from the Three Page Challenge, covering a range of genres from heist movies to fantasy to broad comedy. You can find all four entries in the links, so read along with us.

As always, our thanks to these brave writers who've shared their work. If you want to send in your own entry, there are some simple rules to follow.

LINKS:

If you're listening to us on the website and like what you hear, why don't you say some nice things about us on iTunes, wouldja?

UPDATE 9-28-12: The transcript of this episode can be found here.

Sep 18, 2012

What's the difference between a reader and a producer? Much more than one high-profile online analyst seems to believe. John and Craig discuss what producers do, and how one plausibly gets started.

From there, we talk pitching. Beyond the plot points, you need to be able to show why you're dying to write this story, and why you'd pay money to see it.

In follow-up, we talk about visas, HSX, and find out how often the screenwriter is actually mentioned in negative reviews vs. positive reviews.

The first-ever Live Scriptnotes is coming this October in Austin. Follow the link for more details.

And we're opening back up submissions for the Three Page Challenge. Follow the link and follow the rules, please.

All this, and Craig takes umbrage at sweet tea, in the new Scriptnotes!

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UPDATE 9-20-12: The transcript of this episode can be found here.

Sep 11, 2012

John and Craig tackle eight questions on the profession of screenwriting, ranging from studio execs to sharing credit to pitching via video.

It's a big show. We cover a lot. And then we talk for quite a while about the unique beauty of Zoe Saldana and Bradley Cooper, because that's what real screenwriters talk about.

And there's news! Hangover 3 is in production, Big Fish has announced its Chicago dates, and Frankenweenie comes out October 5.

All this and more in episode 54 of Scriptnotes.

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UPDATE 9-14-12: The transcript of this episode can be found here.

Sep 4, 2012

John and Craig are all action this week, looking at how screenwriters write those things characters do in a movie.

It's a part of the craft that often goes unnoticed unlike dialogue, you don't hear the writer's work but smartly-written action pays dividends, helping readers see the movie you want them to make.

We follow-up our discussion with a look at four (!) samples from the Three Page Challenge that focus on action, with ample praise for those that do it well and some suggestions for those who fumble a bit.

Also this week: a short history of (annoyed grunt), better known as d'oh!

If you're listening to the podcast on the site, do us a favor and also leave us a review on iTunes. Great reviews help other listeners find us, and further Craig's singing-to-a-stadium agenda.

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UPDATE 9-7-12: The transcript of this episode can be found here.

Aug 28, 2012

Craig and John celebrate one year of the podcast by going H.A.M. on the passive voice, the present progressive and other reductive nonsense rules.

While you should feel free to split infinitives, we'd strongly recommend you avoid the 100+ lines of really bad dialogue you'll hear far too often in movies. Thanks to Go Into the Story for compiling these.

After that, it's time for six listener questions, on topics ranging from spec scripts 101, overseas copyright, to following up after a chance meeting.

All this and more on the first anniversary episode of Scriptnotes.

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UPDATE 8-30-12: The transcript of this episode can be found here.

Aug 21, 2012

John and Craig answer four listener questions, on topics ranging from scene headers to ticket sales. And which is better for an aspiring screenwriter: a low-level job at a major agency, or a steady 9-to-5 job that allows time to write?

Then it's another round of the Three Page Challenge, with three new samples submitted by brave listeners. Our ongoing thanks to everyone who sent in pages. We have plenty you don't need to send more.

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UPDATE 8-24-12: The transcript of this episode can be found here.

Aug 14, 2012

Screenwriters are often not the healthiest folk. We do our work at computers, surrounded by snacks, so it's no surprise many of us get fat. But it doesn't have to be that way.

This week in the podcast, we talk about how to not be fat. We're not doctors or nutritionists, but we're relatively healthy members of a cohort that is relatively unhealthy, so our advice might point you in useful directions.

Craig lost a ton of weight on a very low calorie diet, supervised by a doctor, and felt it was the only way to hit his healthy target weight. That was several years ago, and he's kept the pounds off through sensible eating and exercise.

For the last eighteen months, John's been eating a slow-carb diet much like that outlined in The 4-Hour Body. It's been remarkably easy to keep up, with its restrictions offset by one cheat day each week.

In addition to the fat talk, we discuss the upcoming WGA Board elections, sumo wrestlers, head tits, Jaclyn Smith and secret e-smoking.

All this in more in the new Scriptnotes.

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UPDATE 8-17-12: The transcript of this episode can be found here.

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