John and Craig look at the new fall shows and how little kids become screenwriters, with discussion of D&D, Malcolm Gladwell and daisy-wheel printers.
For this installment, I wanted to focus on how people become screenwriters. Not "how to"
there are countless terrible books on that. Rather, what is it that calls people to such an atypical career, one that you can't necessarily practice as a child or learn all at once in college?
UPDATE 10-11-11: The transcript of this episode can be found here.
In episode five of Scriptnotes, Craig and I dive deep into the esoterica of the WGA, copyright and separated rights as prelude to a discussion of two ongoing lawsuits: Jessica Bendinger vs. the Bring It On musical and Harlan Ellison vs. In Time.
Most installments of the podcast are very back-and-forth, but this is a case where Craig simply knows a lot more than I do, and can explain it better, so I shut up and let Professor Mazin do the talking.
The truth is, most screenwriters never need to worry about the vagaries of copyright and labor law that make our professions possible
the same way cinematographers don't need to know the exact chemical formulations of developing baths, and gaffers don't worry about the overall power grid for Southern California.
But it's still good to be aware of the issues affecting your part of the industry, because small disruptions can ultimately have big consequences. In particular, I'm worried that a string of copyright-infringement cases could lead to situations analogous to the patent warfare happening in technology.
UPDATE 9-28-11: The transcript of this episode can be found here.
In episode four of Scriptnotes, Craig and I discuss migraines, kidney stones and zombie apocalypse preparations before we segue to the main topic: how screenwriters work with directors, from the first meeting to on-set etiquette to giving notes in post.
Screenwriters and directors often come at a project from different directions. The writer is trying to explain the movie he's already written; the director is trying to explore the movie he's planning to make.
By understanding what a director wants and needs, you stand the best chance of getting your movie on screen in a way that satisfies both of you.
UPDATE 9-24-11: The transcript of this episode can be found here.
This week, Craig and I follow up on our earlier comment about kids being the death of screenwriters, then dive into the process of outlining a script, from index cards to whiteboards to spreadsheets.
Along the way, we discuss Curious George, Torchwood and V.
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UPDATE 9-21-11: The transcript of this episode can be found here.
For our second podcast, Craig Mazin and I decided to tackle the question we've both been ducking since we started our blogs: "How do I get an agent and/or manager?"
It's an intractable question because while most working screenwriters have representation, no two of them got it the same way. If you ask a panel of writers, you'll hear a series of anecdotes, but you won't get a better sense of what next steps you should take.
Craig compares it to losing your virginity, which seems fair. I opted to flip the question to ask, "How do I get the right agent or manager to notice me?"
We won't typically devote an entire episode to one issue, but this one seemed to require it.
In related podcast news:
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UPDATE 9-7-11: The transcript of this episode can be found here.
Today marks the inaugural episode of Scriptnotes, a podcast that Craig Mazin and I are trying out. It's meant to be a weekly-or-so conversation about items of interest to screenwriters, from getting stuff written to dealing with insane producers.
Topics in episode one:
Down the road, we plan to have the podcast up in the usual places (like iTunes), so you can subscribe and get episodes automatically delivered. I'll post details when they're available.
UPDATE 9-4-11: The transcript of this episode can be found here.