To celebrate the third anniversary of Scriptnotes, John and Craig invite Aline Brosh McKenna and her limitless analogies back to discuss box-office journalism, scene geography, emotional IQ and flipping the script.
It’s a jam-packed episode. In fact, there was so much we cut part of it out as a bonus Overtime show that will show up for premium subscribers later this week. In it, we make predictions, re-invent Spanx, and detail our love of D&D. If you want to sign up for the premium edition of Scriptnotes, head over to scriptnotes.net.
If we hit 1000 premium subscribers, we promise to do an NC-17 show that you should definitely not play in the car with your kids.
Tickets are available now for the Slate Culture Gabfest Live on October 8th. John and Craig will be guests, and it should be swell. Links below.
John and Craig spend the hour discussing the number one topic whenever screenwriters are done complaining about studio notes: the end of the world, and how to get ready for it.
From zombies to asteroids to plagues, we make so many movies and TV shows about the extinction of the human race. But why? What is it about the Death of Everything that is so appealing to writers, and how should we approach the genre when beginning on a new story? This is an episode about that.
We’re considering making new Scriptnotes t-shirts, but only if listeners really want them. Click over to johnaugust.com and vote.
John and Craig take a look at four new entries in the Three Page Challenge, ranging from galactic drama to medieval comedy. Along the way, they talk about the nature of one-hour teasers, trust, plausibility, and how to properly address religious authorities.
Screenwriting is often described as a compressed form of writing, but one can take it too far. “The” and “a” are often useless articles
but you notice when they’re gone, as we did in one of the entries.
From Amazon to animation, there’s drama this week about prices for books and movies and even internships. John and Craig take a look at what happens when companies wrestle over how much things cost, and the effect it has on people trying to make a living as writers.
We recorded this episode with a live audience listening in online. It went well enough that we’ll try to do it occasionally.
Craig won’t be able to make to this year’s Austin Film Festival, but never fear: Kelly Marcel will take his place at the live Scriptnotes show.
Craig and John discuss the accusations of plagiarism surrounding True Detective - and what plagiarism even means in the context of filmed entertainment. Movies don’t have footnotes, so how should screenwriters give attribution?
Next it’s time for a look at the major Hollywood studios, and what would happen if any of them were to merge, like Fox and Warners seemed poised to do. Following that, we take a look at the test screening process.
Finally, John wants to talk about the Canadian “about,” which isn’t “aboot,” and is a lot more complicated than you’d think.
John and Craig revisit one of their favorite episodes, in which they sit down with screenwriter-turned-psychotherapist Dennis Palumbo to discuss writer’s block, procrastination, partnerships and more. It’s a can’t-miss episode for aspiring writers and professionals alike.
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.