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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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Apr 19, 2016

John and Craig welcome writer-director Lorene Scafaria to talk about her new movie The Meddler and some of the unique challenges faced by female directors.

 

She joins us as we play a new round of How Would This Be a Movie, tackling global hums, killer grannies and airport conspiracies. We also discuss movies that are often used as shorthand in Hollywood, from Raiders to Die Hard to Midnight Run. (But never The ‘Burbs.)

 

Next week we’ll be making minor server changes. If for some reason the next episode doesn’t automatically appear in your podcast app next Tuesday, you may need to resubscribe. Sorry, but it will be worth it to listen to special guest Lawrence Kasdan.

 

Links:

 

 

You can download the episode here: AAC | mp3.

Apr 12, 2016

John and Craig look at the non-screenplay things screenwriters end up writing, most notably outlines and treatments. We discuss some of the ones we’ve written (with examples), and offer advice on writing your own.

 

Also, how do you deal with sudden success? And what should a writer-director say when talking to a Very Famous Actress about starring in his movie?

 

Our live conversation with Lawrence Kasdan is this Saturday! Find out more about the all-day Craft Day featuring many previous (and future) Scriptnotes guests in the links below.

 

Links:

 

 

You can download the episode here: AAC | mp3.

Apr 5, 2016

Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi join us to talk about their new movie The Invitation, and what’s it’s like to go from writing tentpole action films (like Clash of the Titans) to comedies (like Ride Along) to chamber-drama thrillers.

 

While we have them with us, we talk about the new term “requel” — which is not quite a reboot, not quite a sequel. Is it really a new sub-genre or just a helpful way of explaining things to studio execs?

 

Also, thanks to everyone who helped us out by answering our three-question poll. We have a better sense of who is using the premium feed, and how we can offer alternatives for listeners.

 

Links:

 

 

You can download the episode here: AAC | mp3.

Mar 29, 2016

With John and Craig both on spring break, it’s a clip show this week. We discuss why movie heroes are rarely ambivalent, why villains are so appealing, and why movies with two primary characters require careful attention.

 

We’re trying to make plans for the future of the show, and could use your help! Please take a minute to answer our three-question poll to let us know how you’d like to hear both new and old episodes.

 

(Link to the poll below.)

 

Links:

 

 

You can download the episode here: AAC | mp3.

Mar 22, 2016

Craig and John welcome back Aline Brosh McKenna to discuss what she learned going from writing features to show-running Crazy Ex-Girlfriend – and what’s waiting for her back in movie-land. The three of us came into the business at the height of the spec market, but everything is different now.

 

We also look at why some movies become classics, while others don’t hold up. Plus, a television show’s responsibility to its fans, and the frustrating death of a gay character on CW’s The 100.

 

Links:

 

 

You can download the episode here: AAC | mp3.

Mar 15, 2016

Craig and John look at three stories in the news for another installment of “How Would This Be a Movie?” From fake scientists to figure skaters, we pitch our takes before some actor’s production company buys the rights.

 

Speaking of rights, a new lawsuit targets the makers of Creed for stealing the idea. The case will almost certainly get tossed, but it raises a discussion about fan fiction and what constitutes an original work.

 

Links:

 

 

You can download the episode here: AAC | mp3.

Mar 10, 2016

On February 20th, John sat down with the writers of How to Be Single – Abby Kohn, Marc Silverstein and Dana Fox – to talk about the process of writing the movie, and the film’s long journey to the screen.

 

Thank you to the WGA for hosting the event and providing the audio.

Mar 8, 2016

In an episode consisting entirely of answers to listener questions, John and Craig discuss David Mamet, internet trolls, post-credit scenes and English actors attempting American accents.

 

Plus, who would win in an all-out brawl to the death? The answer will probably not surprise you.

 

Links:

 

 

You can download the episode here: AAC | mp3.

Mar 1, 2016

It’s an all-craft episode as John and Craig discuss what they mean when they say good writing.

 

Quality isn’t an objective measurement but rather a subjective experience. It’s the relationship between the reader and writer. From vulnerability to voice, consistency to surprise, good writing shares many characteristics with good acting.

 

We then look at three new entries in the Three Page Challenge, trying to apply what we just discussed.

 

Links:

 

 

You can download the episode here: AAC | mp3.

Feb 23, 2016

Dana Fox joins John and Craig to discuss her role as both screenwriter and producer of How to Be Single. Like Simon Kinberg and Chris Morgan, Dana is one of a handful of feature writers taking responsibility for delivering not just the script, but the finished movie.

 

We look at how and why she made the transition, and the differences between a feature writer-producer and a TV showrunner. We also discuss the challenges Dana faced in this role, from studio politics to pregnancy, and whether she’d do it again.

 

Our postponed interview with screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan is now scheduled as part of a WGF/Nicholls event. Details in the link below.

 

Links:

 

 

You can download the episode here: AAC | mp3.

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