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.
Craig and John take a swing at several of the week’s hyperbolic headlines, from conflict-free comedy to Fitzgerald’s failures to Strong Female Characters with nothing to do. In each case, there’s a valid idea lurking beneath the overstated claim, but it’s important to separate good examples from bad.
We then answer a stack of listener questions, ranging from slow contracts to strange emails to friendly options.
John and Craig open the vault to bring you a never-before-heard episode recorded live at the 2013 Austin Film Festival, where we did a Three Page Challenge and met with the writers.
We’ve kept this episode banked for months just in case we can’t record a new episode. But we didn’t want to wait any longer.
We’ll be back with a normal episode next week.
John and Craig talk about what screenwriters can learn from the structure of classical music, then invite journalist Scott Tobias on to discuss how day-and-date video-on-demand releases make it hard to know how indie films are doing, individually and as a group.
We also talk about the future of the Three Page Challenge, Reboots vs. Remakes, and how everyone in Hollywood is just a little bit off.
John and Craig discuss whether screenwriters are better off pursing writing assignments or working on their own material. They also look at the visual comedy of Edgar Wright, and The Shawshank Redemption’s 20th anniversary.
Writer-Director David Wain joins John and Craig to talk about the long journey to bring They Came Together to the screen (on June 27th), the changing nature of spoofs, and the seminal summer camp film Wet Hot American Summer.
We also touch on the origins of the three act structure, getting started right out of film school, and the odd financing of Legends of Oz.
Craig and John, along with their talented panelists, answer questions from the audience at the May 15, 2014 live show.
One listener references Episode 99, Psychotherapy for Screenwriters, which remains one of our favorites.
You listen to it and the whole back catalog by subscribing at Scriptnotes.net for just $1.99/month. Subscribing gives you access to all episodes through our apps for iOS and Android.
Once again, our thanks to the Writers Guild Foundation for organizing this event.
John and Craig are joined by the writers of the some of the biggest superhero movies to talk about why these characters resonate. Andrea Berloff looks for the primal essence of Conan. Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely discuss the challenge of bringing Captain America to a global audience. David Goyer talks about keeping Batman grounded even while Superman flies. Then the whole panel gets busy rebooting randomly-assigned superheroes.
Then it’s time for the Three Page Challenge, with special guest judge Susannah Grant joining us to look at three entrants with scripts ranging from singers to zombies to yes, superheroes.
This episode was produced as a benefit for the Writers Guild Foundation, whose programs support writer education.
In a wide-ranging episode, Craig and John look at a 1912 screenwriting book, Levinson's beef with the WGA, and the Periodic Table of Storytelling.
We also answer listener questions about keeping secrets from readers, firing managers, and what happens to a Broadway show after Broadway. Plus, more follow-up on old One Cool Things.
There are still (maybe?) tickets for the live show on the 15th. See the links for details.
Screenwriter Kelly Marcel joins John and Craig to play Fiasco, resulting in a tale of art, murder and sexual blackmail in the Hollywood Hills.
This extended, unlike-all-before-it episode will probably be polarizing, but it was a chance to explore story in ways that you can't do in abstract. In Fiasco, plot really does come out of character choices.
This episode is filthy. If this were a cable drama, it would be TV-MA DSLV. If that makes you more or less likely to listen, trust your gut. (There's no nudity. It's radio.)
Our thanks to Kelly Marcel for hosting. Next week, we'll return with a more conventional episode.