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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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Jul 10, 2012

It's two parts craft and one part business as Craig and John discuss the alarming earnings report coming out of the WGA, plus a deeper look at setting and POV.

For feature screenwriters, it's hard to find a silver lining in the WGA's report on 2011 earnings. Numbers are down significantly, both in total dollars and the number of writers earning anything at all.

2011 earnings chart

Of course, you don't have to be employed to write a script, so we spend the rest of the show talking about two crucial aspects of screenwriting: choosing effective settings and deciding on POV.

Setting is both a macro and micro decision. Early on, you need to figure out where your movie takes place. Everything about your story will be impacted by the world you choose. Then as you write individual scenes, you look for environments that provide opportunities and challenges for your characters and for the director. Film is a visual medium, so smart screenwriters consider what settings will suit a big screen.

Perspective, or POV, is about figuring out which characters have storytelling power in your movie. Which characters can anchor a scene without the hero? Which characters can do voiceover? The choices you make greatly effect audience expectation, so it's worth thinking about at the very start.

Finally, we talk about the Three Page Challenge. On an upcoming podcast, we'll be critiquing three pages (and only three pages!) from listeners' scripts. If you want to participate, visit johnaugust.com/threepage for details.

LINKS:

UPDATE 7-12-12: The transcript of this episode can be found here.

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