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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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Aug 14, 2018

John and Craig pack this business-centric episode with big picture conversations about guild negotiations, changes to the Oscars, the Disney/Fox merger, the Paramount Consent Decree, and the tragedy that is being unable to stream The Flamingo Kid.

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

 

Aug 13, 2018

In this extra mini-episode, John and Craig discuss John’s abortion article.

We’ll be back with a normal episode on Tuesday.

Links:

 

Aug 7, 2018

John sits down with writer/actor Mindy Kaling (The Office, The Mindy Project, Champions) to talk about her origin story, her big break as Ben Affleck, what it’s like to simultaneously showrun and star in a sitcom, and the nature of half-hour comedies.

We also answer a listener question about point of view and its relationship with genre and medium.

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

Jul 31, 2018

John welcomes Susanna Fogel and David Iserson to talk about making their new movie, The Spy Who Dumped Me. They discuss the transition from TV and indie film to blockbuster, the collaboration involved in crafting a comic action sequence, and the fun of production overseas.

Susanna and David explain the advantages of spec scripts (this was one), and what it’s like writing with a partner.

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

 

Jul 24, 2018

John and Craig discuss the importance and basics of developing relationships in storytelling. Characters are nothing without relationships, like Woody without Buzz, Shrek without Donkey, John without Craig...

We then test these ideas about relationships against a fresh set of Three Page Challenges.

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

 

Jul 17, 2018

John and Craig welcome Liz Hannah (screenwriter of The Post) to explore where movies come from, be it real life, storytelling social media sites, or all-powerful comic book IP. How do these story sources affect the writer’s relationship with the material and with the audience?

We also follow up on the meaning of “Jackman Shot” and answer listener questions about using accents to indicate foreign language, where low-budget holiday movies fit into a blossoming writing career and the responsibilities of adapting the work of someone with a questionable moral legacy.

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

 

Jul 10, 2018

John and Craig discuss the power of point of view in scripts and how the choice of which characters have storytelling power changes how we experience a movie. Point of view has a meaningful role in creating mystery, expanding scale, elevating characters, and energizing a story.

We also answer listener questions about “Jackman shots,” renaming a character in the middle of a story, and supporting a child who writes.


Links:


* Scriptnotes Digital Seasons are now available!
* Margin Call uses the ”plain English” trope a little differently.
* Justin Dise walks through the basic shot types in a blog post for B&H.
* Bubble, a podcast by Jordan Morris
* Alleys, an immersive escape mobile game
* The Scriptnotes Listeners’ Guide!
* The USB drives!
* John August on Twitter
* Craig Mazin on Twitter
* John on Instagram
* Find past episodes
* Outro by Luke Davis (send us yours!)

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

 

Jul 3, 2018

John and Craig debate and defend one of the most-maligned elements of screenwriting: Exposition. How do you tell an audience what they need to know without being labeled a hack? We offer tips for getting viewers up to speed without them realizing they’re getting fed exposition.

We also follow up on screenplay competitions, the psychology of toxic fandom, fridging as a trope, and the market for lesbian love stories.


Links:


* Michael Arndt’s thoughts on Endings (and Beginnings)
* Midnight blue typewriter Scriptnotes t-shirts are back on Cotton Bureau for a limited time!
* “Fridging” is the trope of violence against women motivating a male protagonist’s plot.
* These seven lesbian movies are coming out in 2018.
* This exposition scene in Aliens does it right.
* American Animals, written and directed by Bart Layton
* Isoland 2: Ashes of Time for iOS and Android
* The Scriptnotes Listeners’ Guide!
* The USB drives!
* John August on Twitter
* Craig Mazin on Twitter
* John on Instagram
* Find past episodes
* Outro by Timothy Vajda (send us yours!)

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

 

Jun 26, 2018

 

John welcomes Linda Woolverton (Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, Homeward Bound) to talk about her experience writing animated features, from the parallel processes of writing and production to her paltry paycheck for Beauty and the Beast. They consider the blurring lines between live-action and hyperrealistic CGI, as well as the history of animation writers’ exclusion from the WGA.

We also answer listener questions about whether there is such a thing as a bad character want and how to manage story days within a screenplay, which prompts exploration of wardrobe changes, thinking in terms of color rather than time and Linda’s penchant for naked characters.


Links:


* Thanks for joining us, Linda Woolverton!
* Adjusted for inflation, Beauty and the Beast ranks #133 in domestic grosses, above Toy Story, Iron Man, and other huge films.
* In Episode 317: First Day on the Job, we talked about the history of why animation writers are not represented by the WGA.
* In Episode 92: The Little Mermaid, we did a deep dive on the animated film that changed the game.
* Shanghai Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean ride is amazing. This POV video of the ride is definitely a spoiler.
* Climate Central is an independent organization of leading scientists and journalists researching and reporting the facts about our changing climate and its impact on the public. It helps localize reports of the effects of climate change.
* The Scriptnotes Listeners’ Guide!
* The USB drives!
* John August on Twitter
* Craig Mazin on Twitter
* John on Instagram
* Find past episodes
* Outro by Matthew Chilelli (send us yours!)

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

 

Jun 19, 2018

In light of the dust-up over Coverfly, John and Craig discuss why most screenwriting contests are essentially useless and should be avoided.

We then look at destructive fandom and ponder how today’s entitled enthusiasts might have responded to the classics.

Plus we answer listener questions about the “gutters” between scenes, whether an employer owns your idea, what the business of big talent-led production companies looks like, and how to maintain momentum after your first sale.


Links:

* Coverfly’s response to accusations in a now-deleted blog post. Here’s a conversation on the Screenwriting Reddit page about it.
* In 2015’s Episode 191: The Deal with Scripped.com, we invited John Rhodes from ScreenCraft and Guy Goldstein from WriterDuet to investigate a data management crisis with Scripped.com.
* Toxic Fandom Is Killing ‘Star Wars’ by Marc Bernardin for the Hollywood Reporter
* Apple has made a deal with the WGA
* Evan in Philadephia recommends Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art for a great explanation of “gutters.”
* JJ Abrams’ Bad Robot is an example of a big production company led by a creative.
* The worst sex in the world is anglerfish sex, and now there’s finally video by Avi Selk for the Washington Post. This video’s upsetting animation shows what the process would look like for humans.
* Bethesda’s Starfield has been announced
* The Scriptnotes Listeners’ Guide!
* The USB drives!
* John August on Twitter
* Craig Mazin on Twitter
* John on Instagram
* Find past episodes
* Outro by Jeff Mooney (send us yours!)

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

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