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Scriptnotes Podcast

Screenwriters John August and Craig Mazin discuss screenwriting and related topics in the film and television industry, everything from getting stuff written to the vagaries of copyright and work-for-hire law.
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Now displaying: 2015
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Nov 5, 2015

Kelly Marcel joins John and Craig to look at three new Three Page Challenge entries. After discussing what we thought, we invite the writers up to tell us more about theirs scripts and answer our questions.

 

Thanks to the Austin Film Festival for inviting to do this session again, and to all the writers who submitted pages.

 

Links:

 

Nov 3, 2015

Craig and John return to the Austin Film Festival for a supersize live show with guests Nicole Perlman and Steve Zissis.

 

We talk with Nicole about what’s changed in her life after the breakout success of Guardians of the Galaxy, and how she juggles multiple projects.

 

Steve Zissis tells us how he transitioned from waiter to co-creator of HBO’s Togetherness, and the unusual origin of the show.

 

Then all four of us play How Would This Be a Movie, looking at #Zola’s adventure, the runaway blimp and the lonely death of George Bell.

 

Plus audience questions!

 

Our thanks to the Austin Film Festival for hosting us, and our terrific audience.

 

 

You can download the episode here: AAC | mp3.

Oct 27, 2015

Craig and John get to the bottom of William Goldman’s famous quotation about Hollywood, which is so often misapplied. Then it’s a discussion of zombie cars, wind-tunnels, blockbusters, and the paradox of choice.

 

Finally, we look at the intersection of luck and talent behind a screenwriter’s career, and why struggle isn’t a useful yardstick for much of anything.

 

Links:

 

 

You can download the episode here: AAC | mp3.

Oct 20, 2015

John and Craig discuss the trend of hiring multiple writers to work concurrently on tentpole features. Can movies be written like television, and should they?

 

Then it’s a look at tax bills that LA-based writers may find themselves facing, and why you shouldn’t be afraid of a portly Hamlet.

 

Also this week, a strange French plagiarism case, and John considers writing a book in November.

 

Reminder that John is interviewing Drew Goddard for a special Writers Guild Foundation event on October 28th. Tickets available through the link below.

 

Links:

 

 

You can download the episode here: AAC | mp3.

Oct 13, 2015

Aline Brosh McKenna joins us to talk through the launch of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, and what she’s learned since she introduced us to the show nearly a year ago. Brian Lowry of Variety raves that it is “one of the fall’s most promising hours.” We’re not surprised at all.

 

Then it’s a look at three pages from writer-director Scott Frank’s THE LOOKOUT, examining how a two-character dialogue scene works both on paper and on the screen.

 

Also this week: Indian screenwriters go on strike, Craig goes to Canters, and a French train hero gets stabbed in the second act.

 

If you got your new Scriptnotes shirt, show the world with the hashtag #scriptnotes or #scripnotesT.

 

Links:

 

 

You can download the episode here: AAC | mp3.

Oct 6, 2015

John and Craig look at how writing feature films is fundamentally different than writing television, and how that difference begins at the point of story inception. It’s not just that movies are longer; they’re also built to be unique events, with characters embarking on once-in-a-lifetime journeys. We discuss how to decide whether an idea is better suited for features or series, and lessons learned from properties that have existed in both worlds.

 

Then it’s another Three Page Challenge, with entries taking us from dark cellars to the edge of the galaxy.

 

Links:

 

 

You can download the episode here: AAC | mp3.

Sep 29, 2015

John and Craig discuss the WGA election results, and take a look at the issues that dominated the campaigns. What is a paper team? Do screenwriters really retire? And why does it take us so long to get paid?

 

We also dive into the mailbag and take questions on visiting Los Angeles, backend and residuals, and what an unrepped writer should do if there is interest in her project.

 

T-shirts are being folded and packaged this week, and should be in the mail by the time next episode airs. Keep a lookout in your mailbox, and be sure to pack them for Austin.

 

Links:

 

 

You can download the episode here: AAC | mp3.

Sep 28, 2015

In this bonus episode for Scriptnotes premium subscribers, John sits down with BLACK MASS screenwriter Mark Mallouk to discuss the film’s long journey from book to screen, including how the sudden reappearance of Whitey Bulger in 2011 changed both the script and the production.

 

This Q&A was recorded following the WGA screening on September 26, 2015. Thanks to Mike from the Writers Guild Theater for providing the audio

Sep 22, 2015

Craig and John take an extensive look at best practices when coming in to rewrite an existing script. How do you take the reins when you weren’t the first screenwriter? Whether you’re starting over at page one or executing some surgical fixes, we discuss the psychology and reality of being the subsequent writer.

Then it’s a look at how film schedules work. The translation from screenplay to shooting schedule can be brutal, but a smart writer (or writer-director) can help the budgeting team make clever choices to make the best film. We offer pointers to help navigate compromises inherent in trying to go from page to plan to production.

Scriptnotes t-shirts are being printed this week. Thanks to everyone who pre-ordered a shirt. We’ll have them out the door beginning the second week in October, in time for the Austin Film Festival.

Links:

You can download the episode here: AAC | mp3.

Sep 15, 2015

John and Craig discuss the PG–13 rating, its effects and what screenwriters have to keep in mind when dealing with it. Then it’s a conversation about healthy and unhealthy relationships between writers and their representatives.

 

Also: are your odds greater of being a professional screenwriter or a professional football player? We have a lot of numbers, but no clear answer. The question points out interesting differences when it comes to pursuing one’s dream.

 

Links:

 

 

You can download the episode here: AAC | mp3.

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