John and Craig look at the trend towards hiring two writers to work on separate drafts of the same project. Is it better to have writers in parallel than serially? Or does it end up with studios ordering off a Chinese menu: this scene, that character, that other set piece?
Both Craig and John just started new first drafts, so we talk about the difference between the Map and the Territory, and how outlines can’t always anticipate the discoveries made while writing.
Finally, we answer a bunch of listener questions ranging from the Peter Stark Program to loving your day job.
John and Craig talk structure and escalation. Structure is simply what happens when. Escalation is how things get tougher.
In features, characters are usually going on a journey that can only happen once, so you need to make sure that the events in your story are constantly challenging your heroes in new ways so they can continue to grow.
In television, you’re often telling stories in which the character themselves don’t change much, yet the sequence of events within the episode (and in the season) needs to feel like it’s pushing forward.
Along the way, we discuss Intro to Journalism’s Five W’s, and what people mean when they say a two-hander.
John and Craig are headed back to the Austin Film Festival again this year for a live show and other special events. Use the code SCRIPTNOTES to get $25 off our Conference and Producers Badges.
In their first-ever live streaming episode, John and Craig open the mailbag to answer a bunch of listener questions.
All this, plus the Fermi Paradox in this episode of Scriptnotes.
Aline Brosh McKenna joins Craig and John to talk about the difficult journey through pages 70-90 of your feature. After that, we talk about procrastination, the Panic Monster and our inner Instant Gratification Monkeys.
Screenwriting books always talk about structure, but never about tone, which is much more important for distinguishing great writing. So we spend some time looking at what tone feels like on the page.
Finally, we talk mentors. Aline has specific suggestions for young women.
John and Craig discuss why most characters are liars, and how that’s actually a good thing. John offers seven suggestions for picking character names that will help your readers. Then we look at a three page challenge that’s been filmed to see what worked on the page versus on screen.
In follow-up, we discuss the Aereo decision and our mutual love of Slate’s Culture Gabfest.
Finally, we answer a reader question about the proper protocol for checking in after a meeting.