What's the difference between a reader and a producer? Much more than one high-profile online analyst seems to believe. John and Craig discuss what producers do, and how one plausibly gets started.
From there, we talk pitching. Beyond the plot points, you need to be able to show why you're dying to write this story, and why you'd pay money to see it.
In follow-up, we talk about visas, HSX, and find out how often the screenwriter is actually mentioned in negative reviews vs. positive reviews.
The first-ever Live Scriptnotes is coming this October in Austin. Follow the link for more details.
And we're opening back up submissions for the Three Page Challenge. Follow the link and follow the rules, please.
All this, and Craig takes umbrage at sweet tea, in the new Scriptnotes!
UPDATE 9-20-12: The transcript of this episode can be found here.
John and Craig tackle eight questions on the profession of screenwriting, ranging from studio execs to sharing credit to pitching via video.
It's a big show. We cover a lot. And then we talk for quite a while about the unique beauty of Zoe Saldana and Bradley Cooper, because that's what real screenwriters talk about.
And there's news! Hangover 3 is in production, Big Fish has announced its Chicago dates, and Frankenweenie comes out October 5.
All this and more in episode 54 of Scriptnotes.
UPDATE 9-14-12: The transcript of this episode can be found here.
John and Craig are all action this week, looking at how screenwriters write those things characters do in a movie.
It's a part of the craft that often goes unnoticed
unlike dialogue, you don't hear the writer's work but smartly-written action pays dividends, helping readers see the movie you want them to make.
We follow-up our discussion with a look at four (!) samples from the Three Page Challenge that focus on action, with ample praise for those that do it well and some suggestions for those who fumble a bit.
Also this week: a short history of (annoyed grunt), better known as d'oh!
If you're listening to the podcast on the site, do us a favor and also leave us a review on iTunes. Great reviews help other listeners find us, and further Craig's singing-to-a-stadium agenda.
UPDATE 9-7-12: The transcript of this episode can be found here.
Craig and John celebrate one year of the podcast by going H.A.M. on the passive voice, the present progressive and other reductive nonsense rules.
While you should feel free to split infinitives, we'd strongly recommend you avoid the 100+ lines of really bad dialogue you'll hear far too often in movies. Thanks to Go Into the Story for compiling these.
After that, it's time for six listener questions, on topics ranging from spec scripts 101, overseas copyright, to following up after a chance meeting.
All this and more on the first anniversary episode of Scriptnotes.
UPDATE 8-30-12: The transcript of this episode can be found here.
John and Craig answer four listener questions, on topics ranging from scene headers to ticket sales. And which is better for an aspiring screenwriter: a low-level job at a major agency, or a steady 9-to-5 job that allows time to write?
Then it's another round of the Three Page Challenge, with three new samples submitted by brave listeners. Our ongoing thanks to everyone who sent in pages. We have plenty
you don't need to send more.
UPDATE 8-24-12: The transcript of this episode can be found here.
Screenwriters are often not the healthiest folk. We do our work at computers, surrounded by snacks, so it's no surprise many of us get fat. But it doesn't have to be that way.
This week in the podcast, we talk about how to not be fat. We're not doctors or nutritionists, but we're relatively healthy members of a cohort that is relatively unhealthy, so our advice might point you in useful directions.
Craig lost a ton of weight on a very low calorie diet, supervised by a doctor, and felt it was the only way to hit his healthy target weight. That was several years ago, and he's kept the pounds off through sensible eating and exercise.
For the last eighteen months, John's been eating a slow-carb diet much like that outlined in The 4-Hour Body. It's been remarkably easy to keep up, with its restrictions offset by one cheat day each week.
In addition to the fat talk, we discuss the upcoming WGA Board elections, sumo wrestlers, head tits, Jaclyn Smith and secret e-smoking.
All this in more in the new Scriptnotes.
UPDATE 8-17-12: The transcript of this episode can be found here.
John and Craig talk critics, and how trying to anticipate their reviews can cause paralysis.
It's funny how the screenwriter only seems to get mentioned in negative reviews. Well, not funny, actually. Frustrating. And possibly statistically verifiable, so listen in if you're looking for a research project.
Also this week: Craig's insomnia, traffic apps, bake-offs done better, and capitalizing on a big star attachment. Plus fun things you can do in the shower!
All this and more in this slightly-delayed Scriptnotes!
UPDATE 8-14-12: The transcript of this episode can be found here.
Craig and John look at the results of the WGA screenwriter survey, which found widespread reports of bake-offs, prewriting and other shenanigans.
If there's any solace to be found, it's that it's not just you. Things are frustrating for the vast majority of screenwriters.
After some follow-up discussion about the low percentage of women screenwriters, we get to the meat of this week's podcast: round two of the Three Page Challenge, in which we look at the first three pages of listener-submitted samples. If you have a chance, read the PDFs ahead of time. You can find them in the links.
Big thanks to Sarah Nerboso, Jesse Grce and Austin Reynolds for inviting us to talk about their work on-air.
Also discussed this week: groin injuries, Japanese documentaries, earworms, and John's feel-free-to-use motto: "Ikea: For Now, It's Fine."
UPDATE 8-2-12: The transcript of this episode can be found here.
Craig and John tackle a question screenwriters ask themselves at every stage in their careers: of all things I could write, which thing should I write?
For working screenwriters, these questions are complicated by rights and money and personalities. But for the aspiring screenwriter, the choice is just as daunting. A screenplay is a huge undertaking, involving months or years of work. Each script carries an opportunity cost: choosing to write this project means not writing something else, or at the very least pushing it further back.
While the variables are different in every case, John and Craig offer some framework for answering the question.
Also this week, John discusses the death of Richard Zanuck, who produced three of his movies. From listener questions, we look at pitch-fests, illegal acts, and shows about your buddies.
And in cool things, Craig talks e-cigarettes while John has mixed opinions on the Nexus 7.
UPDATE 7-26-12: The transcript of this episode can be found here.
Craig and John skip Comic-Con so they can discuss annoying and unproductive habits of development executives, along with advice for working with screenwriters.
The back half of the podcast is devoted to the first-ever three page challenge, in which we critique listeners' samples and offer suggestions. If you have a chance to read the samples before listening to the podcast
they're in the links below you'll get more out of it, but we try to summarize things so that it's useful even without the text.
Let us know what you thought of this experiment (on Twitter @johnaugust and @clmazin) so we'll know whether to do a round two. We received more than 200 entries for the challenge
more than enough, so please don't send any more. If we do another pass, we'll pull from what we have.
Our thanks to everyone who wrote in, and especially to Ajay, J. Nicholas and Bryan for letting us talk about their stuff online.
Also discussed this week: standing desks, music theory, laptop speakers and inflated podcast numbers.
UPDATE 7-19-12: The transcript of this episode can be found here.