In preparation for our live show with screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan, we’re re-running this episode from the Scriptnotes archive.
Craig and John spend the entire episode discussing and dissecting RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, looking at both its structure and scene work.
This amazing and iconic 1981 film established so much of what we expect of out movie heroes and set pieces – but a lot of what it does would have a hard time getting through modern studio development. Five-minute exposition scenes! Nazi monkeys! Helpless heroes at the climax!
And yet it works so well. There are great lessons to be learned for screenwriters in every genre.
Doc McStuffins creator Chris Nee joins Craig and John to answer listener questions that have nothing to do with screenwriting.
On the romance side: How do you break up with someone? Should you follow a boyfriend to Boston? Is it better to love or be loved?
On the life side: What lessons did it take until our 40s to learn?
John and Craig welcome special guests Malcolm Spellman, Natasha Leggero, Riki Lindhome and Alan Yang to the third annual Scriptnotes Holiday show, recorded live on December 9th, 2015 in Hollywood.
Malcolm Spellman is a producer on EMPIRE, and one of our most popular Scriptnotes guests ever. He also set a new record for swearing.
Riki Lindhome and Natasha Leggero are the co-creators and stars of ANOTHER PERIOD on Comedy Central. We discuss pitching their show off a presentation video, and the challenge of producing a show with a huge cast of very busy comedy stars.
Alan Yang is the co-creator (with Aziz Ansari) of MASTER OF NONE on Netflix. We discuss how the show came to be, and the challenge of being “the (blank) guy” on a writing staff.
Huge thanks to our amazing audience, and the Writers Guild Foundation for organizing the event.
Our next live show is January 25, with special guests Lawrence Kasdan (screenwriter of RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK and STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS) and actor-writer-director Jason Bateman. The night is a benefit for Hollywood Heart. (Link below.)
After a screening of Straight Outta Compton, John talks with the filmmakers about the journey from real life to the big screen. On the panel, you’ll hear from producers Ice Cube and Scott Bernstein, director F. Gary Gray, screenwriters Andrea Berloff and Jonathan Herman, and actors O’Shea Jackson Jr. and Corey Hawkins.
Craig and John discuss three new entries in the Three Page Challenge, looking at how simple mistakes and confusing word choices can hurt the read.
Also this week, a follow up on functional revenge, a brand-new version of Highland, and Craig gets big laughs on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah.
Craig and John discuss epic world-building, and the promises and pitfalls for writers attempting to create fictional universes.
From Gotham to Hogwarts, Middle Earth to Narnia, world-building is at the heart of some of our biggest movies and series, but are we creating settings for our stories, or stories for our settings? We also discuss the differences between portals, lived in worlds and just-beneath-our-noses.
Also this week: whether a screenwriter is better off with a poorly-reviewed hit or a well-reviewed flop.
John and Craig talk romantic comedies with screenwriter Tess Morris, whose film Man Up is unapologetically part of the genre.
We discuss what distinguishes rom-coms from other comedies, and why they get singled out for disdain and death-of articles.
Also this week: Amazon Storywriter, overused dicks, and follow-up on Whiplash.
John and Craig take an in-depth look at two scenes in Damien Chazelle’s WHIPLASH to see how conflicts were structured – and what changed from script to shooting.
In follow-up, we discuss the myth vs. reality of Zola, and what we mean by a character having agency.
We’re having a live holiday show in Los Angeles! It’s December 9th in Hollywood, with special guests Riki Lindhome, Natasha Leggero and Malcolm Spellman. Tickets will sell out, so be sure to click the links below.
John and Craig look at some of the least helpful notes screenwriters receive, and strategies for dealing with them.
Then it’s a look at novelists who adapt their own books into screenplays, and the pros and cons involved.
In the premium feed over at scriptnotes.net, you’ll find two bonus episodes: the live Three Page Challenge from Austin 2015, and my interview with The Martian screenwriter Drew Goddard for the Writers Guild Foundation.
John interviews screenwriter and director Drew Goddard for a Writers Guild Foundation event.
The first part covers Drew’s early history in Los Alamos, and how bleeding for Olympia Dukakis helped get him ready to work on Buffy and Lost. We talk about working harder, making connections, and saying yes.
We then discuss Cloverfield and Cabin in the Woods, and how he transitioned from TV to features.
Finally it’s time for Daredevil, Sinister Six and The Martian – the timing of which forced him to make some hard choices.
Audio comes courtesy the WGF. The recording is rough in places, particularly at the start. But there’s enough really good stuff here that it’s worth pushing through the tough spots.
My thanks to Drew, the WGF and the audience for a great night.