John and Craig look at the nature of fluke hits, everything from #alexfromtarget to huge spec sales. Is luck just luck, or is it about how often you play the game? Where does talent fit in?
We walk through a great breakdown of twist endings by Alec Worley, looking at how expectation both inside and outside of the story shapes the experience.
Then we answer a bunch of listener questions, on topics including using real-life locations, breaking up dialogue, and passing gracefully when you don't like a project.
The Scriptnotes Holiday show is December 11th in Hollywood, featuring guests Aline Brosh McKenna, B.J. Novak, Jane Espenson and Derek Haas. Check the link below for tickets.
Craig and John shake off their Halloween candy hangovers by taking a look at three new Three Page Challenges, full of post-apocalyptic portals and strange signals.
We also discuss writing dark things. Weepy things.
John just launched his first Kickstarter, and we all know how Craig feels about crowdfunding. Will Craig be a backer or bah-humbugger?
In follow-up, we look at the now-announced Marvel superhero slate, and a terrific podcast about pitching.
John and guest host Susannah Grant sit down with Richard Kelly, Cary Fukunaga, Peter Gould, Dan Sterling and Mike Birbiglia to discuss the role of a writer/director, the wonder of television, and the purpose of table reads.
Then it’s questions from the audience: How do you know you’ve found your third act? How does one become confident? Does impostor syndrome ever go away?
This episode was recorded live at St. David’s Episcopal Church as a certified blasphemy-free part of the 2014 Austin Film Festival.
Craig and John discuss the 31 superhero movies slated for the next few years. Is it good business or a trainwreck in the making?
How do you move from a vague idea to an actual pitch? We talk about what you say when you’re in the room pitching on a project, and why passion trumps plot in most cases.
We also look at copyright and how the current system is broken for everyone.
Next week will be Craig-less, because we’re recording live at the Austin Film Festival with a bunch of amazing guests.
John and Craig were delighted to join the Slate Culture Gabfest on stage to talk about the gulf between critics and creators. We have the audio from that, and additional thoughts on the issue.
Then, how many characters does your movie need? We talk about how to figure out the Goldilocks spot where you have enough characters to make your world feel real, but not so many that they’re tripping over each other.
Finally, business affairs, and how understaffed legal departments create problems for writers and studios.
Craig and John discuss that delusional period in which you’re convinced your script is the best thing ever written — and the inevitable heartbreak when someone tells you it isn’t. (TPS is close cousins to the Oscar Speech in the Shower.)
Also this week: SF terms and tropes, Adam Sandler’s Netflix deal, and what the WGA should focus on.
Craig and John talk with Guardians co-writer Nicole Perlman about the development of this summer’s blockbuster, and her two years as part of Marvel’s in-house writing program. It’s a great look at how movies get started, and the dozens of drafts you didn’t see on the big screen.
Nicole stays with us as we discuss which city would take over if Hollywood fell into the sea, why IMDb credits rarely reflect a writer’s real career, and the worst ideas we were ever pitched by a producer or studio executive.
Craig loves the 1990 blockbuster Ghost. John? Ditto. Written by Bruce Joel Rubin and directed by Jerry Zucker, Ghost set the template for the modern romantic drama. It was Twilight before Twilight, Titanic before Titanic. It won hearts, weekends and Oscars, including best screenplay.
We tackle Ghost scene-by-scene, imagining all the terrible notes that must have come up in development, and how fixing some of the film's shortcomings would have created new problems. Ghost isn’t perfect, but it’s remarkably good — and worth taking a closer look.
This week, Craig and John tackle listener questions.
Why do some giant books get crammed into a single movie, while others get split into multiple films? How do you write a movie if you can’t even get your computer fixed? What should a screenwriter do if, after nine years of trying, he still can’t catch a break?
We don’t always have simple answers, but at least we have t-shirts. The new batch is available for pre-order starting today, so don’t wait.
If you’re in Los Angeles, the only chance to see us live this fall is at the Slate Culture Gabfest on October 8th. Check the link for tickets below.
Craig, John and Aline look back at what's new in the last three years, and make predictions about what's to come.
How does Craig feel about his Google Glass? (You can probably guess.) But he really wants his tricorder. John thinks we'll all start wearing VR headsets, and sooner than you think. Aline explains Spanx and why women dress for other women.