Scriptnotes Podcast

Scriptnotes Podcast

By John August and Craig Mazin

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.

Episodes

430 - From Broadway to Hollywood

John and guest host Aline Brosh McKenna welcome writer/showrunner Tim Federle (High School Musical: The Musical: The Series) to talk about his path from Broadway to Hollywood and how he came to create his first TV show. Along the way, we discuss TV musicals, LA vs. New York and pitch decks. We also follow up on the #PayUpHollywood survey results with producer Megana Rao and the new Academy screener app. Stick around after the credits for a special bonus segment about online stan culture. Links: #PayUpHollywood Releases Survey of 1,500 Entertainment Industry Assistants’ Pay, Working Conditions How Tracking My Excuses Helped Me Stop Making Them by Leigh Stein Cleansing Conditioners: R+Co Analog and Bella Spirit A is for Audra John August on Twitter Aline Brosh McKenna on Twitter Tim Federle on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Outro by Matthew Chilelli (send us yours!) Scriptnotes is produced by Megana Rao and edited by Matthew Chilelli Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.
10/12/19·1h 4m

429 - Cleaning up the Leftovers

John and Craig use Thanksgiving break to finally answer some long-gestating listener questions, ranging from writing television with act breaks to keeping your drafts organized. Plus we’ll look at two moves by the US Justice Department and their impact on screenwriters. In this week’s bonus segment, we do a meme! We’ll compare and reflect on our beliefs at the start and end of the decade. Links: Scriptnotes Holiday Live Show Assistant Townhall Extra Episode Assistant Townhall Full Livestream Justice Department on WGA ATA negotiations Justice Department Moves to End Paramount Decree Scriptnotes T-shirts now featuring all past designs! Writer Emergency Pack Alphabirds John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Outro by Jemma Moran (send us yours!) Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.
03/12/19·1h 2m

Extra - Assistants Townhall

John moderates the first Assistants Town Hall with panelists Liz Alper and Jamarah Hayne from #PayUpHollywood, Allison Begalman from Young Entertainment Activists, and employment attorney Jennifer Kramer. The panel examines the current conditions for assistants in Hollywood, the need to determine an accurate livable wage, and next steps for assistants and employers. We also open the floor to questions from assistants and viewers from the livestream. This recording is an abridged version of the event, if you’re interested in watching the whole thing please click the link below! Links: Assistant Townhall Livestream thank you to CNT productions and everyone who helped make this event more accessible! Rent Burdened in LA #PayUpHollywood explained: Industry assistants are speaking out about their wages Thank you to Young Entertainment Activists, CNT Productions, and #PayUpHollwood John August on Twitter Liz Alper on Twitter Allison Begalman on Twitter Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.
03/12/19·1h 15m

428 - Assistant Writers

John and Craig talk about best practices for assistants who write and how to properly credit support staff. We also touch on the state of WGA negotiations on both the studio and agency front, as well as a look ahead to the AMPTP deal. In our bonus segment, we’ll make our final ruling on cats. Links: Buy tickets for our Live Show Thursday, December 12th with Kevin Feige, Lorene Scafaria, Shoshannah Stern, and Josh Feldman! Professionalism in the Age of the Influencer, read the full text of John’s speech Watch the Assistant Townhall Learn more about Agency Affiliates Solar Mirror Breakthrough Archimedes’ Mirror John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Outro by Matthew Chilelli (send us yours!) Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.
26/11/19·1h 14m

427 - The New One with Mike Birbiglia

John and Craig welcome back writer/comedian Mike Birbiglia (Sleepwalk with Me, My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend) to discuss his one-man show “The New One.” When writing about yourself, how much has to be true? What responsibilities do you have to friends and loved ones? Then it’s a new round of the Three Page Challenge, where we look at the first three pages in listeners’ scripts. We also address Akiva Schaffer’s concerns on movie screeners and try our first-ever bonus segment after the credits. Links: Three Page Challenge – F.T.S. by Danielle Motley Three Page Challenge – Dunked by John Bickerstaff Buy tickets to our live show with guests Kevin Feige, Lorene Scafaria, Shoshannah Stern, and Josh Feldman on December 12th at the LA Film School here. Join us or livestream the Assistant Townhall this Sunday, November 24th Spleeter open source music separation library Brains Sweep Themselves Clean Of Toxins During Sleep by Jon Hamilton Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams by Matthew Walker Support local! Books are Magic Mike Birbiglia on Twitter John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Outro by Matthew Chilelli (send us yours!) Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.
19/11/19·1h 11m

426 - Chance Favors the Prepared with Lulu Wang

John and Craig welcome writer-director Lulu Wang (The Farewell) to discuss not explaining things and the recipe for creating your own luck. We also answer listener questions on reactive protagonists, finding friends in LA, and Chris McQuarrie’s Twitter thread. Links: The Farewell Chris McQuarrie Twitter Thread A Lot Of Old Sitcoms Don’t Hold Up. “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” Does. by Jennifer Keishin Armstrong God Warrior Remains a Beloved Meme, But Marguerite Perrin Isn’t Afraid of Dark-Sided Stuff Anymore by Justin Klein Three Women by Lisa Taddeo Lulu Wang on Twitter John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Outro by James Llonch & Jim Bond (send us yours!) Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.
12/11/19·57m 31s

425 - Tough Love vs. Self Care

John and Craig discuss when writers should practice tough love vs. self-care. Inspired by Chuck Wendig’s blog post, they examine how real-world issues impact writers’ ability to get work done — but how they can also be used as an excuse for procrastination and laziness. They offer a checklist for helping decide whether it’s time to be harder or easier on yourself. We also follow up on the Austin Film Festival, fan backlash, and show-runner tips for championing assistant pay, especially during the holiday season. Links: The Official Watchmen Podcast with Craig Mazin Susannah Grant on Creative Decisions behind Unbelievable Release Michael Greene Holiday Bonus Twitter Thread Tough Love vs. Self Care:Sharp Rock, Soft Pillow: The Balance Of Self-Care And Tough Love Chuck Wendig: Terrible Minds One Page Dungeon by watabou Superhero Therapy John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Outro by Matthew Chilelli (send us yours!) Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.
05/11/19·58m 12s

424 - Austin Film Festival 2019

Craig hosts Scriptnotes Live at The Austin Film Festival with guests Ayanna Floyd (The Chi, Empire), Liz Hannah (The Post, Mind Hunter), Nichelle Tramble (Truth Be Told, The Good Wife), Malcolm Spellman (The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Empire), David Mandel (Veep, Curb Your Enthusiasm), David Benioff and D.B. Weiss (Game of Thrones). They discuss the power of television, writing for the binge model, and the value of telling stories you want to watch. We also play a Craig and David Kwong puzzle on movie quotes and host a round of How Do You Follow THAT Up? Huge thank you to all of our guests! Links: Ayanna Floyd on Twitter and IMDB Liz Hannah on Twitter and IMDB Nichelle Tramble Spellman on IMDB Malcolm Spellman on IMDB David Mandel on Twitter and IMDB David Benioff on IMDB D.B. Weiss on IMDB John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Outro by Matthew Chilelli (send us yours!) Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.
29/10/19·1h 6m

423 - Minimum Viable Movie

John and Craig discuss how to figure out if a given idea can work as a movie. What are the minimum requirements for story and vision a writer should consider before starting on a screenplay? We also invite Megana Rao and Bo Shim to follow up on our discussion of low assistant pay. Plus follow up from the WGA and video game industry awards, and a look ahead to the Austin Film Festival. Links: Austin Film Festival Schedule Taylor Swift Tiny Desk Concert on NPR What Is the Time Signature of the Ominous Electronic Score of The Terminator? by Seth Stevenson John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Outro by Tyler Adams (send us yours!) Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here  
22/10/19·1h 2m

422 - Assistants Aren’t Paid Nearly Enough

John and Craig tackle the issue of assistant pay in Hollywood. Last week they called for assistants to share how much they were getting paid and the impact of those wages. They received a record number of responses highlighting the inequities in the industry. Using these emails, they take a look at the biggest issues with current pay and the challenges ahead. We also discuss videogame writing, spec features, and thesauri. Thank you to all of the Hollywood assistants who wrote in for this episode! Links: Hollywood’s Grueling Hours & Drowsy-Driving Problem: Crew Members Speak Out Despite Threat To Careers WGA Will No Longer Award Video Game Writing John’s Post on Assistant Pay Untitled Goose Game Queer Qrosswords John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Outro by Naomi Randall (send us yours!) Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here
15/10/19·1h 7m

421 - Follow Upisode

John and Craig follow up on things they’ve discussed in the previous 420 episodes, so you might want to listen to those first. We check in on getting an agent, copyright law, the future of the industry, post-2016 election reflections, assistant pay, and much more. Links: Scriptnotes, Ep 5, Copyright and Work for Hire Real-Life ‘Terminator’: Major Studios Face Sweeping Loss of Iconic ‘80s Film Franchise Rights by Eriq Gardner Copyright Section 203 Friday 13th Screenwriter Wins Rights Battle by Eriq Gardner Scriptnotes, Ep 2, How to get an agent and/or manager Scriptnotes, Ep 389, The Future of the Industry How Ari Emanuel’s Outsize IPO Dreams Were Dashed by Kim Masters Why Endeavor’s IPO U-Turn Was a Surprisingly Brilliant Move by Lawrence Meyers WeWork: At What Point Does Malfeasance Become Fraud by Scott Galloway Scriptnotes, Ep 42, Verbs are what’s happening Extra, This Feeling Will End Ep 335, Introducing Launch Launch Podcast Scriptnotes Ep 419, Professionalism Scriptnotes Ep 403, How to Write A Movie Scriptnotes Ep 420, The One with Seth Rogen LA Report Broken Lights and Crosswalk Buttons Escape Room Apps by Goro Sato John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Outro by Jim Bond (send us yours!) Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here
08/10/19·59m 58s

420 - The One with Seth Rogen

John and Craig welcome writer/actor/producer/director Seth Rogen (Superbad, Knocked Up, Good Boys) to the podcast. They discuss Seth’s writing process, evolving with a creative partner, and the cinematic origins of 420. Seth then joins them for another edition of How Would This Be a Movie? looking at stories ranging from corruption, cattle mutilation, and geriatric thieves. Links: 420 origins according to Wikipedia ‘Someone’s Gotta Tell the Freakin’ Truth’: Jerry Falwell’s Aides Break Their Silence by Brandon Ambrosino Mysterious Oregon Cattle Killings, Mutilations Alarm Ranchers by Diana Kruzman An 82-year-old Man Slipped Past Doormen in Upscale Buildings for Years and Stole $400k in Jewelry, Police Say by Madeline Holcombe and Joshua Girsky How to Tighten Up Your Game at Work When You’re Depressed by Captain Awkward Saucey: Alcohol Delivery App Hilarity for Charity National Expungement Week, Seth’s PSA John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter Seth Rogen on Twitter John on Instagram Outro by Rajesh Naroth (send us yours!) Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here
01/10/19·56m 3s

Extra - What's it like to win an Emmy?

John and Craig discuss Craig’s experience winning two Emmys this week.
24/09/19·23m 25s

419 - Professionalism

John and Craig discuss topics ranging from the Emmys to elections, professionalism to patronage, along with the state of #MeToo. We also answer listener questions on credits and ask for your thoughts on potential changes to our premium subscriptions. Links: The Emmy Award Winners Congrats Craig! WGA Election Results She Said: Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story That Helped Ignite a Movement by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey Why I Quit the Writer’s Room by Walter Mosley Professional Writing and the Rise of the Amateur John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Outro by Jon Spurney (send us yours!) Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here
24/09/19·1h 1m

418 - The One with David Koepp

John and Craig welcome legendary screenwriter David Koepp (Jurassic Park, Death Becomes Her, Carlito’s Way, Mission: Impossible, Spider-Man and Panic Room) to talk about adaptations, embargoes, books and the modern blockbuster, which David has had an outsized role in shaping. We also cover exposition in science fiction and how action writing has evolved over the last twenty years. Links: David Koepp Alex Billington on embargoes. Cold Storage by David Koepp Spark Email App Freedom App The Intelligence Trap: Why Smart People Make Dumb Mistakes Essentialism John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter David Koepp on Instagram John on Instagram Outro by Matthew Chilelli (send us yours!) Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.
17/09/19·1h 5m

417 - Idea Management

John and Craig welcome back Aline Brosh McKenna to tackle the issue of idea management. What do you do with all those half-formed ideas and how do you decide which ones to pursue? They share best practices and their approach to middle-of-the-night inspiration. We’ll also discuss how screenwriters quotes are determined and answer some listener questions. Links: For anyone experiencing issues with the app, please try signing up for premium using this link! Email ask@johnaugust.com with any questions. The Shadows Casting Call John is looking for a 15-year-old blind actress for the lead role — please help by sharing this link with anyone who might be a good fit! Dungeon World Crazy, Rich Asians Pay Disparity Searching for Bobby Fischer After Dark My Sweet Reg Ex Crossword Puzzle Sooth Massage App Assassin’s Creed John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter Aline Brosh McKenna on Twitter John on Instagram Outro by Victor Krause (send us yours!) Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.
10/09/19·1h 10m

416 - Fantasy Worldbuilding

John and Craig welcome Alison Luhrs, a senior narrative designer at Wizards of the Coast to talk about fantasy world-building as a profession. It is a great conversation about what is probably a lot of listeners’ dream job. We also follow up on the WGA elections, John’s decision to cast a blind actress, and the universality of ice-cream truck wars. Links: The Shadows Casting Call John is looking for a 15-year-old blind actress for the lead role — please help by sharing this link with anyone who might be a good fit! The Hollywood Disability Inclusion Toolkit: The RespectAbility Guide to Inclusion in the Entertainment Industry Scriptnotes, Ep 315: Big Screens, Big Money NaNoWriMo classroom kit Comfort and Joy 99 Problems by Ross Killeen The Black Mambas documentary Wizards of the Coast Twine Because Internet: Understanding the New Rules of Language by Gretchen McCulloch Alison Luhrs on Twitter or here for game related questions John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Outro by Rajesh Naroth (send us yours!) Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here
03/09/19·1h 3m

415 - The Veep Episode

John and Craig welcome Julia Louis-Dreyfus and David Mandel, two of the executive producers of HBO’s award-winning comedy series Veep. They discuss the writing process from blue-sky brainstorming to the final edit, how the show has evolved over the seasons, and striking the right tone during an unpredictable political climate. We also take a look at why unlikeable characters are important for conflict and what we can take away from the ending of Seinfeld. Links: Veep Julia Louis-Dreyfus David Mandel John August on Twitter The Shadows Casting Call John is looking for a 15 year old blind actress for the lead role — please help by sharing this link with anyone who might be a good fit! Craig Mazin on Twitter Julia Louis-Dreyfus on Twitter David Mandel on Twitter John on Instagram Julia Louis-Dreyfus on Instagram Outro by Matthew Chilelli (send us yours!) Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here
27/08/19·54m 36s

414 - Mushroom Powder

John and Craig host How Would This Be a Movie with four stories in the news covering ice-cream truck wars, female rangers, con-artists, and deadly in-laws, imagining how they could become feature films. We also answer listener questions about narrators, personal crises, and song titles. Links: The Shadows Casting Call John is looking for a 15 year old blind actress for the lead role — please help by sharing this link with anyone who might be a good fit! Bonus Episode, Chernobyl Podcast Scriptnotes Ep 50, How to Not Be Fat Decoder Ring: Ice-Cream Truck Wars by Willa Paskin The Pushcart War Akashinga Women Rangers Fight Poaching in Zimbabwe Phundundu Wildlife Area by Lindsay M. Smith The Most Gullible Man in Cambridge by Kera Bolonik My In-Laws Are Careless About My Deadly Food Allergy by Heather Havrilesky Game to Grow, support on Kickstarter here! National Puzzler’s League John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Outro by Med Dyer (send us yours!) Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here
20/08/19·1h 3m

413 - Ready to Write

John and Craig tackle the question, “How do you know when you’re ready to write a given script?” They propose a list of details a writer should know before diving in, and look at why starting too soon can be a recipe for failure. (So can waiting too long.) We also discuss the WGA’s “refusal to negotiate” myth and answer questions about rewrites vs polishes, and whether writing a bad script could put you on a Do Not Hire list. Links: Myth of No Negotiation Deadline’s “Exclusive” on John’s Blogpost John Milton, Paradise Lost Monsters Creatures: A Young Adventurer’s Guide by Jim Zub Oreo Thins John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Outro by Michael Karman (send us yours!) Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here
13/08/19·56m 15s

412 - Writing About Mental Health and Addiction

John moderates Breaking the Stigma, a panel on addiction and mental health with guests Gemma Baker (creator of CBS’s Mom), Dr. Corey Waller (specialist in pain, addiction and emergency medicine), Dr. Holly Daniels (specialist in eating disorders and mental health issues), and journalist Zachary Siegel. We discuss how addiction and mental health issues are portrayed in film and TV, more authentic ways of telling these stories, and how writers and creators can take care of their own mental health. Special thanks to our incredible panelists, plus Kate Folb, Marty Kaplan, and the entire team at Hollywood Health and Society! Links: Hollywood Health and Society 6 Balloons with Dave Franco Motivational Interviewing Narcan Follow Corey Waller on Twitter here. Follow Holly Daniels on Twitter here. Follow Zachary Siegel on Twitter here. Follow his project Changing the Narrative on Twitter here or using #ChangingtheNarrative. John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Outro by Matthew Chilelli (send us yours!) Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here
06/08/19·1h 24m

411 - Setting it Up with Katie Silberman

John and Craig welcome screenwriter Katie Silberman (Set It Up, Isn’t It Romantic and Booksmart) to discuss writing a two-hander, practicing dialogue, and how she got her start in Hollywood. We also follow up on ‘liked, not love’ and answer listener questions on character development. Links: We’re hosting a panel on Addiction & Mental Health organized by Hollywood, Health & Society Wed, July 31, 2019, 6:30 PM – 9:30 PM PDT. Watch the Facebook livestream starting at 7:15pm PDT. WGA West Unveils Officer Board Candidates Wednesday, Aug. 28 Candidates Night at the Writers Guild Theater Member meetings August 7th, 8th and 10th Booksmart Reunion Olivia Wilde Katie Silberman New Project Universal Pictures The Alamo Drafthouse Downtown LA Lupetti Pizzeria and In Sheep’s Clothing Hi-Fi Record Bar and Cafew Katie Silberman on Twitter John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Outro by Mackey Landy (send us yours!) Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.
30/07/19·1h 2m

Wikipedia Movies

ohn and Craig host a new round of How Would This Be a Movie. Instead of three stories in the news, this time they tackle three articles from Wikipedia to look at what you get using just those facts versus using a more detailed article. We also answer listener questions about real-life subjects, showing your work and applying the Mazin method to television. Links: Addiction & Mental Health Panel organized by Hollywood, Health & Society Wed, July 31, 2019. Follow along with the live-stream here at 7:15pm PDT. Pinboard for bookmarks Wikipedia 8chan Destroyer of Worlds by Nicky Woolf Multiverse, Mirror Universe on Wikipedia Scientists are searching for a mirror universe. It could be sitting right in front of you. by Corey S. Powell Lisa Ben on Wikipedia The First Lesbian Magazine by Erica Davies Breezelblockhead on Instagram by Sam Marshall Eric Berlin’s Puzzle Snacks John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Outro by Alex Winder (send us yours!) Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.
23/07/19·59m 10s

409 - I Know You Are, But What Am I?

John and Craig discuss whether and how heroes can understand themselves. Is self-awareness an intrinsic aspect of a character, or something they achieve over the course of the story? Both heroes and villains are often wrestling with their identity. We look at why it’s more difficult (and sometimes more rewarding) to explore these issues in screenwriting than prose fiction. Then it’s time for another round of the Three Page Challenge, followed by listener questions about meddling actors and producers. Thanks to everyone who submitted to the Three Page Challenge, especially our participants: Edith Rodriguez, Carolyn Getches, Hilary C. Gish, and Christine Hoang! Links: John and Craig’s panel on Addiction & Mental Health organized by Hollywood, Health & Society Wed, July 31, 2019, 6:30 PM – 9:30 PM PDT at SAG. Limited tickets, email: hhs@usc.edu Research Methods for Writers with Chernobyl’s Craig Mazin Wednesday, July 17, 2019 @ 7:00 PM Trumpcast Is Trump a Disease? A Medical Perspective Edith Rodriguez, The Days Ahead Carolyn Getches & Hilary C. Gish Formerly Fat Housewife Christine Hoang Fly Girl Bo Burnham’s Eighth Grade Script ‘Versing’ Verse as a Verb Screen Cleaner John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Outro by Mackey Landy (send us yours!) Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.
16/07/19·1h 16m

408 - Rolling Dice

John and Craig tackle eight topics ranging from WGA negotiations to overlapping dialogue, to John’s new agency. We also follow up on Better Sex, Chernobyl, and Craig’s solo episode. Scriptnotes Episode 406, Better Sex with Rachel Bloom Verve Talent and Literary Agency and John’s Tweets. Find Chernobyl scripts here! Watch Chernobyl, listen to the podcast here. WGA Financials Dots, Dashes, and Parentheticals Scriptnotes Episode 403, How to Write a Movie Aladdin Rodecaster Pro Sound Board Russian Doll John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Outro by the Arbitrary Jukebox Experiment (send us yours!) Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.
09/07/19·1h 8m

407 - Understanding Your Feature Contract

John and Craig are joined by attorney Ken Richman and Laurie Espinosa of the WGA West for a detailed discussion of screenwriting contracts. They look at what to expect, where you can negotiate, and what to watch out for. Follow along with the example contract on the episode page or here. Links: Example Contract Try the newest release of Highland 2.5. Order your Scriptnotes 400 shirts, sweatshirts, and tanks (Light) and (Dark)! John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Outro by Alex Winder (send us yours!) Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.  
02/07/19·1h 12m

406 - Better Sex with Rachel Bloom

John and Craig welcome back longtime friend of the podcast Rachel Bloom (co-creator and star of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend) to discuss how sex and sexuality are portrayed on both the big and small screen. They cover ways to approach sensitive topics in a writers room and the moments we still haven’t seen on screen. Links: Rachel Bloom’s Realistic Sex Interview Sex Education TV Series Moan: Anonymous Essays on Female Orgasm with foreword by Rachel Bloom How to Draw a Horse Dig it! on the App Store Hello from the Magic Tavern A Very Fatal Murder Rachel on Tour John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter Rachel Bloom on Twitter John on Instagram Outro by Jim Bond and James Llonch (Send us yours!) Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.
25/06/19·55m 51s

405 - Live at the Ace Hotel

John and Craig host comedy titans Melissa McCarthy (Bridesmaids, The Heat, Spy), Ben Falcone (The Boss, Tammy), Kourtney Kang (Fresh Off the Boat), Rob McElhenney (Always Sunny in Philadelphia), and Alec Berg (Barry, Silicon Valley) onstage to discuss writing jokes, what they look for in a writing partner, and the heartbreak of movie endings. We also record our first ever Scriptnotes commercial and introduce a new game called ‘Bot or Not.’ Recorded live from the Ace Hotel in Los Angeles. Thanks to Hollywood Heart for organizing this event and to a great audience! Links: Thanks for joining us Melissa McCarthy, Ben Falcone, Kourtney Kang, Rob McElhenney, and Alec Berg! Learn more about Hollywood Heart. Donate here! Buy special edition ‘Camp Scriptnotes’ T-shirts to benefit Hollywood Heart here! John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter Melissa McCarthy on Twitter Ben Falcone on Twitter Kourtney Kang on Twitter Rob McElhenney on Twitter Alec Berg on Twitter John on Instagram Outro by Rajesh Naroth (answer to the trivia question: who holds the record for most listener outros) (send us yours!) Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.
18/06/19·1h 10m

404 - The One with Charlie Brooker

John talks with Charlie Brooker (creator, writer, and executive producer of Black Mirror) about his groundbreaking series and the opportunities and challenges of writing an anthology. We also touch on the nature of reality, the difficulty of reflecting culture while you influence it, and experimental storytelling. Our live show is in two days on June 13th, buy your tickets now! Links: Scriptnotes LIVE this Thursday, June 13th at the Ace Hotel with Melissa McCarthy, Ben Falcone, Alec Berg, Rob McElhenney, and Kourtney Kang, buy your tickets here! Black Mirror La Cabina Russian Doll Money Heist Matthew Zalkind John’s Voice Twin Baba is You Order your Scriptnotes 400 shirts, sweatshirts, and tanks (Light) and (Dark)! John August on Twitter Charlie Brooker on Twitter John on Instagram Outro by Mackey Landy (send us yours!) Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.
11/06/19·1h 22m

403 - How to Write a Movie

In a Scriptnotes first, Craig hosts a solo episode presenting his general theory on screenwriting. He covers the central dramatic argument, the ‘why’ behind plot points, and of course, provides some umbrage on common script diagrams. Good luck, and go torture your heroes! Links: Scriptnotes LIVE on June 13th at the Ace Hotel with Melissa McCarthy, Ben Falcone, Alec Berg, Rob McElhenney, and Kourtney Kang, buy your tickets here! Aristotle’s Poetics José Fernández Lava, Pixar Short Finding Nemo Order your Scriptnotes 400 shirts, sweatshirts, and tanks (Light) and (Dark)! John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Outro by Matthew Chilelli (send us yours!) Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.
04/06/19·44m 24s

402 - How Do You Like Your Stakes?

John and Craig discuss stakes, how to create them and what that means for your character. They also talk a little about Aladdin, the Game of Thrones ending, and of course, the agency stuff. Don’t forget to join us for our live show in Los Angeles on June 13th with special guests including Alec Berg (Barry, Silicon Valley), Rob McElhenney (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia) and Kourtney Kang (Fresh Off the Boat). Tickets are going fast! Links: Scriptnotes LIVE Buy your tickets here! Order your Scriptnotes 400 shirts, sweatshirts, and tanks (Light) and (Dark)! Aladdin Trailer in theaters now! How to Invent Everything by Ryan North PANDA Magazine by Foggy Brume Find past episodes here, Scriptnotes Digital Seasons are also now available! John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Outro by Matthew Chilelli (send us yours!) Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.
28/05/19·1h

401 - You Got Verve

John and Craig introduce a new segment: The Scriptnotes Pitch Session! They listen to five listeners’ 90-second pitches and share their feedback on substance and style. We also discuss the implications of Verve signing the WGA agreement and get special insight on an important creative decision in Chernobyl. Join us for our live show in Los Angeles on June 13th with special guests including Alec Berg (Barry, Silicon Valley) and Rob McElhenney (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia). Tickets are going fast! Links: Scriptnotes LIVE on June 13th at the Ace Hotel with Alec Berg, Rob McElhenney, buy your tickets here! Order your Scriptnotes 400 shirts, sweatshirts, and tanks (Light) and (Dark)! WGA Start Button Video John August and Michele Mulroney discussing Issues Affecting Screenwriters Verve Signs WGA’s Code of Conduct, Citing ‘Meaningful Dialogue’ With Clients WGA-Verve Code of Conduct Agreement Pitch Session selections: Karen Welsh You’re What?!, Hayley Grgurich Uncertain Texas, Jake Arky How to Make a Man, Guy Patton Sinnerweb, Laura Beck Hardcore Vegans Blueprint: The Evolutionary Origins of a Good Society by Nikolas Christakis Donate to Chernobyl Children International Watch Chernobyl on HBO and listen to The Chernobyl Podcast with Craig and Peter Sagal Find past episodes here, Scriptnotes Digital Seasons are also now available! Thank you to everyone who submitted to the pitch session! If you’d like to be considered in the next Pitch Session, submit your entry here. John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Outro by Jonathan Mann (send us yours!) Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.
21/05/19·1h 8m

400 - Movies They Don't Make Anymore

John and Craig welcome back writer/director Chris McQuarrie (Valkyrie, Jack Reacher, the last two Mission: Impossibles) to celebrate the 400th episode with a new round of ‘This Kind of Movie.’ Given our success saving the romantic comedy, we focus on other movie genres that aren’t getting made anymore and discuss how to bring them back. From sports comedies to erotic thrillers, we examine the classics of each genre and find ways to approach making these films today. Links: Order your Scriptnotes 400 shirts, sweatshirts, and tanks (Light) and (Dark)! Join us for Scriptnotes LIVE on June 13th at the Ace Hotel to benefit Hollywood Heart. Buy your tickets here! Watch Chernobyl on HBO The Chernobyl Podcast with Craig and Peter Sagal Scriptnotes episode 300, From Writer to Writer-Director with Chris McQuarrie LectroFan High Fidelity White Noise Sound Machine One Clue Crossword eBags and AViiQ Portable Laptop Stand Find past episodes and Scriptnotes Digital Seasons are also now available! Check out the Scriptnotes Episode Guide Submit to the Pitch Session here! Chris McQuarrie on Twitter John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Outro by Rajesh Naroath (send us yours!) Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.
14/05/19·1h 14m

399 - Notes on Notes

John and Craig talk to an audience of development executives about the experience of getting notes as a writer. They cover why these conversations kick in our fight or flight responses, how to frame notes through story, and ways to motivate writers towards a creative vision. We take questions from the audience and discuss ‘the bad pitch,’ likable characters, and how to stay friends with a writer after a breakup. Links: Episode 99, Psychotheraphy for Screenwriters Episode 394, Broken but Sympathetic with Mari Heller Now accepting recommendations for updating the Listener’s Guide Submit to the Pitch Session here Watch Chernobyl May 6th and listen to The Chernobyl Podcast with Craig and Peter Sagal John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Outro by Mackey Landry (send us yours!) Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.
07/05/19·1h 1m

398 - The Curated Craft Compendium

John and Craig present a special clip show with craft-focused segments hand-picked by Aline Brosh Mckenna. We’ll start by asking ‘Where to Begin?’ in Episode 174 and explore how to enter a story. Then we’ll discuss establishing setting and perspective in episode 45. Finally we’ll take a look at voice and the four rules to creating authentic dialogue. Links: Scriptnotes, Ep 174 Hacks, Transference, and Where to Begin Scriptnotes, Ep 45 Setting, Perspective, and Terrible Numbers Scriptnotes, 37 Let’s Talk About Dialogue Find more episodes from the vault. Scriptnotes Digital Seasons are also now available! Check out the Scriptnotes Episode Guide, now also accepting recommendations for updating the Listener’s Guide. Submit to the Pitch Session here! Watch Chernobyl May 6th and listen to The Chernobyl Podcast with Craig and Peter Sagal John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Outro by Luke Davis (send us yours!) Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.
30/04/19·55m 14s

397 - The Sound Episode

John and Craig welcome back Andrea Berloff (World Trade Center, Straight Outta Compton) to talk all things sound: how it works on the page, on the stage, and in the mixing room. Andrea shares her experience working with sound for her upcoming directing debut, The Kitchen. We also follow up on WGA developments and deep dive Craig’s feelings on matzah. Links: WGA Lawsuit #WGAMix led by screenwriter Daniel Zucker Mad Max Fury Road Clip Can You Ever Forgive Me? Clip The story of the “Nerds” musical article by Seth Abramovitch Headspace’s Meditation for Sleep Accepting recommendations for updating the Listener’s Guide Submit to the Pitch Session here John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Find past episodes Scriptnotes Digital Seasons are also now available! Outro by Thomas Johnstone (send us yours!) Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.
23/04/19·1h 8m

396 - Big Numbers

John and Craig talk big numbers, from the latest developments in the WGA/agency situation, to the announcement of Disney+ and the final installment of the Star Wars non-ology. We also answer listener questions about writers who aren’t in the guild and how to spend your time writing. Links: Timelapse of the Entire Universe by John Boswell Disney+ News The Rise of Skywalker teaser What It’s Like to Grow Up With More Money Than You’ll Ever Spend Anita May Rosenstein Campus of Los Angeles LGBT Center The Lab Rat Escape Room Accepting recommendations for updating the Listener’s Guide Submit to the Pitch Session here John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Find past episodes Scriptnotes Digital Seasons are also now available! Outro by Lou Stone Borenstein (send us yours!) Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.
16/04/19·43m 25s

395 - All in this Together

John and Craig explore the challenge of creating a movie with a group of heroes and multiple points of view. They’ll discuss options for structuring competing storylines, when to check back in with characters, and managing personal versus group stakes. We also answer listener questions on a bunch of topics including things Craig tweets! Links: Accepting recommendations for updating the Listener’s Guide Arlo Finch Book Tour – Meet and Greet at The Briar Patch in Bangor, Maine on Thursday, April 11 at 5pm Rachel Wenitsky’s “The Hot Character Who Everyone Thinks Had It Easy Finally Reveals Their Painful Backstory” For cramped New York, an expanding dining scene in the LA Times Submit to the Pitch Session here John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Find past episodes Scriptnotes Digital Seasons are also now available! Outro by David Jon Banks (send us yours!) Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.  
09/04/19·54m 8s

394 - Broken but Sympathetic

John and Craig welcome back Can You Ever Forgive Me? director Marielle Heller to discuss the challenge of creating a hero the audience can root for while also establishing that the character must change. We also answer questions from listeners about conflicting notes, meet-and-greets, and true-life stories. WGA Video Explaining ATA Negotiations Can You Ever Forgive Me? A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood Scriptnotes 212, Diary of a First Time Director with Mari Heller Schlage Locks American Crossword Password Tournament Online–let us know if you unseat Craig! What the Constitution Means to Me by Heidi Schreck We’re hiring a coder! If you’re interested please send an email to assistant@johnaugust.com Submit entries for The Scriptnotes Pitch Session here. John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Find past episodes Scriptnotes Digital Seasons are also now available! Outro by James Llonch and Jim Bond (send us yours!) Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.
02/04/19·1h 3m

393 - Twenty Questions About the Agency Agreement

John welcomes WGA negotiation committee members Chris Keyser and Angelina Burnett to answer listener questions on what’s happening and what to expect. They offer insight into the history of the issues and new tools the Guild is rolling out for staffing season. We also follow up on the Disney/Fox 2000 merger, why we won’t be saying ‘baby writers’ anymore, and upcoming meeting dates for the WGA. Links: The Disney – Fox Merger Upcoming WGA Meetings and Voting Info Ask a Native New Yorker by Jake Dobkin Patriot on Amazon Money Heist on Netflix My Brilliant Friend on HBO We’re hiring a coder! If you’re interested please send an email to assistant@johnaugust.com You can now order Arlo Finch in the Lake of the Moon Submit entries for The Scriptnotes Pitch Session here. T-shirts are available here! We’ve got new designs, including Colored Revisions, Karateka, and Highland2. John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Find past episodes Scriptnotes Digital Seasons are also now available! Outro by Chuck Eyler (send us yours!) Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.
26/03/19·45m 43s

392 - The Final Moment

John and Craig examine the final moment in movies, what they do and why they change so often. We also take on vaccines, corruption, and extreme weather in another installment of ‘How Would This be a Movie’ and follow up on important upcoming meetings for the WGA. Links: Aladdin in theaters May 24th! Chernobyl first episode on HBO May 6th. Unvaccinated Boy Got Tetanus, and Ohio Teen Defies Parents and Gets Vaccine. Trump Grounds Boeing 737 Planes Extreme Avalanches in Colorado and Bomb Cyclone Storm Humblewood Campaign Setting for DND kickstarter Why Humans started saying “f” and “v” New Highland 2 videos and tutorials We’re hiring a coder! If you’re interested please send an email to assistant@johnaugust.com You can now order Arlo Finch in the Lake of the Moon Submit entries for The Scriptnotes Pitch Session here. T-shirts are available here! We’ve got new designs, including Colored Revisions, Karateka, and Highland2. John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Find past episodes Scriptnotes Digital Seasons are also now available!  Outro by James Llonch and Jim Bond (send us yours!)   Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.
19/03/19·1h 2m

391 - When It's All Said and Done

John and Craig welcome back Aline Brosh McKenna to talk about what she learned producing four seasons of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. Aline shares the importance of trusting your gut, building school spirit, and empowering the voices around you. We’ll also talk about Emma Thompson, agency-affiliated producers, and more. Links: Emma Thompson’s open letter to Skydance. Episode 175 Transcript A Very English Scandal Birdcage 2 Instagram #jackwawa New Highland 2 videos and tutorials We’re hiring a coder! If you’re interested please send an email to assistant@johnaugust.com You can now order Arlo Finch in the Lake of the Moon Submit entries for The Scriptnotes Pitch Session here. T-shirts are available here! We’ve got new designs, including Colored Revisions, Karateka, and Highland2. John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter Aline Brosh McKennaon Twitter John on Instagram Find past episodes Scriptnotes Digital Seasons are also now available! Outro by Victor Krause (send us yours!)
12/03/19·57m 0s

390 - Getting Staffed

John and Craig proudly welcome back former Scriptnotes producer Megan McDonnell to tell her journey from film student to getting staffed on her first television show. We then review a batch of Three Page Challenge submissions, covering how to keep your audience engaged, build tension, and earn interesting characters. Plus, follow up on the WGA and recent Bones ruling. Thank you to our Three Page Challenge participants, and special thanks to Megan McDonnell for all of your work on Scriptnotes! Links: The Bones Decision The Peter Stark Program Three Pages by Christopher Cramer Three Pages by David Koutsouridis Three Pages by Carrie Wong and Herman Ming Megan’s Desk Setup Light Up Phone Charger Russian doll starring Natasha Lyonne Submit to the Three Page Challenge here Submit to the Pitch Session here T-shirts are available here! We’ve got new designs, including Colored Revisions, Karateka, and Highland2. John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Find past episodes Scriptnotes Digital Seasons are also now available! Outro The Stuart Special by James Llonch & Jim Bond (send us yours!) Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.
05/03/19·1h 8m

389 - The Future of the Industry

John and Craig invite back Chris Keyser, co-chair of the WGA’s 2019 Agency Agreement negotiating committee, to discuss the issues. Specifically, they look at the difference between “packaging” and “packaging fees,” and the impact of agencies acting as writers’ employers. John then welcomes Michelle Satter to introduce Co//ab, the new online community from Sundance. Michelle shares how they’ve made Sundance digitally accessible and what she looks for in applicants to its prestigious labs. Links: WGA Agency Agreement 2019 WGA President David A. Goodman Speech Agency Campaign FAQ’s Co//ab at Sundance Acapella App for iOS Inkubator Less by Andrew Sean Greer Chris Keyser on Twitter Michelle Satter on Twitter John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Find past episodes Scriptnotes Digital Seasons are also now available! Submit entries for The Scriptnotes Pitch Session here. You can now order Arlo Finch in the Lake of the Moon T-shirts are available here! We’ve got new designs, including Colored Revisions, Karateka, and Highland2. Outro is Epic Jingle by XLNYC (send us yours!) Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.
26/02/19·1h 12m

388 - The Clown Stays in the Picture

John welcomes Matt Selman, executive producer of The Simpsons, for a deep dive look at the three-year process of developing a single episode from initial idea to the finished product. We discuss the role of the writers room, the table read, producer notes, animatics, and the impact computer animation has had on The Simpsons workflow. Set in the 90’s, “The Clown Stays in the Picture” spoofs high concept comedies, artist narcissism, creative insecurity, and the magic of movie-making. Links: The Simpsons, Season 30, Episode 40:The Clown Stays in the Picture Duly Noted, the official Scriptnotes Aftershow hosted by Matt Selman. The Defender Shield John’s One Cool Thing You can now order Arlo Finch in the Lake of the Moon Submit entries for The Scriptnotes Pitch Session here. T-shirts are available here! We’ve got new designs, including Colored Revisions, Karateka, and Highland2. John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Matt Selman on Twitter Find past episodes Scriptnotes Digital Seasons are also now available! Outro by Matthew Chilelli (send us yours!) Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.
19/02/19·1h 2m

Scriptnotes, 387: Seattle Live Show 2019

John and Craig head north to host Scriptnotes Live in Seattle. They welcome Emily Zulauf to discuss the process of pitching projects at Pixar, creating stories with heart out of pure misery, and when to admit you “don’t have it” and start over. We also hold our own Open Writing Assignment and play a game with the audience to create two new movie pitches. Then we answer questions about theme and why you should move to LA. Thank you to the Northwest Screenwriters Guild and TheFilmSchool for hosting us! Links: Thank you, Northwest Screenwriters Guild and TheFilmSchool for making this event happen! And thank you to our incredible guest: Emily Zulauf! Scriptnotes, 225: Only haters hate rom-coms with Tess Morris Michael Arndt on Endings Amy Poehler as Joy in INSIDE OUT The Man In the High Castle Exit The Game Bad Blood by John Carreyrou T-shirts are available here! We’ve got new designs, including Colored Revisions, Karateka, and Highland2. John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter Emily Zulauf on Twitter John on Instagram Find past episodes Scriptnotes Digital Seasons are also now available! Outro “Jazz Waltz” by Matthew Chilelli (send us yours!) Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.
12/02/19·1h 15m

Extra: The Agency Agreement

John and Craig offer a special reminder to guild members to attend one of the upcoming WGA Agency Agreement meetings. Links: Scriptnotes, 347: Conflict of Interest RSVP for a meeting WGA Agency Agreement Meeting: Saturday, February 9 at 10:30 am at Writer’s Guild Theatre in Beverly Hills WGA Agency Agreement Meeting: Wednesday, February 13 at 7:30 pm at Sheraton Universal by Universal Studios WGA East NYC Meeting: Tuesday, February 12 John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Find past episodes Scriptnotes Digital Seasons are also now available! Outro by Matthew Chilelli (send us yours!). Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.
07/02/19·1m 43s

386 - The Princess Bride

John and Craig host a live show at the WGA Theatre with a deep dive look at The Princess Bride. They discuss how the “abridged” structure brings us only the best parts of the story and what this means for the characters and world: less exposition and more time for the fire swamp, R.O.U.S., and the pit of despair. From the frame story to the myth of the Dread Pirate Roberts, The Princess Bride shaped decades of screenwriters but would be inconceivable to produce today. William Goldman’s 1973 cult classic delighted audiences with a fresh take on fairy tale tropes, and also managed to convince viewers that storytelling is ultimately an act of love. Links: The Seattle Live Show is on February 6th! You can now preorder Arlo Finch in the Lake of the Moon or come to the launch event on February 9th. Submit entries for The Scriptnotes Pitch Session here. The Princess Bride: S. Morgenstern’s Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure novel The Princess Bride Trailer The Dread Pirate Roberts The Bechdel Test T-shirts are available here! We’ve got new designs, including Colored Revisions, Karateka, and Highland2. John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Find past episodes Scriptnotes Digital Seasons are also now available! Outro by Cole Parzenn (send us yours!) Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.
05/02/19·56m 49s

385 - Rules and Plans

John and Craig discuss when and how to break screenplay orthodoxy, from experimental formatting to narrative misdirects. They also examine why it’s important that your characters create, communicate, and break plans. We also address follow up from our Raiders of the Lost Ark deep dive, and respond to questions about shared and international writing credits. Links: The Seattle Live Show is on February 6th! You can now preorder Arlo Finch in the Lake of the Moon or come to the launch event on February 9th. Submit entries for The Scriptnotes Pitch Session here. Bear spray is not stronger than pepper spray Domain Name Pricing Game D&D Beyond T-shirts are available here! We’ve got new designs, including Colored Revisions, Karateka, and Highland2. John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Find past episodes Scriptnotes Digital Seasons are also now available! Outro by James Llonch and Jim Bond (send us yours!) Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.  
29/01/19·58m 4s

384 - Plot Holes

John and Craig dive into plot holes: why they happen, how to fix them, why not to fix them, and how to turn them into opportunities. We also respond to listener questions on outlining, servicing many storylines, and what screenwriting challenges go under-appreciated. Links: Join us for the WGA’s Princess Bride screening on January 27th. The Seattle Live Show is on February 6th! You can now preorder Arlo Finch in the Lake of the Moon or come to the launch event on February 9th. Scriptnotes, Ep 383: Splitting the Party Scriptnotes, Ep 3: Kids, cards, whiteboards and outlines Plot Holes on Wikipedia and TV Tropes. You can find examples at Movie Plot Holes The perils of coincidence Measure App on iPhone Install These Apps on your New Mac by Nick Douglas for Lifehacker T-shirts are available here! We’ve got new designs, including Colored Revisions, Karateka, and Highland2. John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Find past episodes Scriptnotes Digital Seasons are also now available! Outro by James Llonch and Jim Bond (send us yours!) Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.  
22/01/19·57m 15s

383 - Splitting the Party

John and Craig talk about the trope of “Never split the party,” and why, as a writer, you often want and need to divide up your characters to better explore relationships, propel the story forward, give actors something to do, and simply fit everyone in the frame. We also follow up on screenwriting scams, sequences, websites, and liking things that others don’t. Links: Join us for the WGA’s Princess Bride screening on January 27th. You can catch John on Studio 360. “Let’s Split Up the Gang” and “Never Split the Party” are topical TV tropes. Watch Patton Oswalt when he’s not being utilized in a big scene. Scriptnotes, Ep 381: Double Ampersand with Fran Walsh, Peter Jackson and Philippa Boyens Big Fish sequence outline Sarah Silverman recording Slaughter Race, music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Phil Johnston and Tom MacDougall TripIt This Is Your Brain On Pot You can now preorder the next Arlo Finch T-shirts are available here! We’ve got new designs, including Colored Revisions, Karateka, and Highland2. John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Find past episodes Scriptnotes Digital Seasons are also now available! Outro by Matthew Chilelli (send us yours!) Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.
15/01/19·1h 7m

382 - Professional Realism

John welcomes Derek Haas (Chicago Fire, 3:10 to Yuma, 2 Fast 2 Furious) to talk about writing accurate portrayals of different jobs, and when to sacrifice reality for storytelling. They also share their time-management strategies in honor of those New Year resolutions to get writing done. We also answer listener questions about the necessity of entertainment lawyers, how to keep your energy high pitch after pitch, Story By credits, and how to stay alive after that first staff writing job ends. Links: Thank you, Derek Haas! Join us for the WGA’s Princess Bride screening on January 27th. Seating opens up to non-WGA members 15 minutes before showtime. How Hollywood Gets the Publishing Industry Wrong by Sloane Crosley, author of I Was Told There’d Be Cake, for The New York Times Is Grover swearing in this video? This is Christian DiCanio’s blog post about it. David Kwong’s The Enigmatist Holding down the spacebar on a text so you can move the cursor more accurately on an iPhone. T-shirts are available here! We’ve got new designs, including Colored Revisions, Karateka, and Highland2. John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter Derek Haas on Twitter John on Instagram Find past episodes Scriptnotes Digital Seasons are also now available! Outro by James Llonch and Jim Bond (send us yours!) Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.  
08/01/19·59m 59s

381 - Becoming a Professional Screenwriter

John welcomes Tess Morris, Christina Hodson, Nicole Perlman, and Jason Fuchs to discuss their paths to becoming a professional screenwriter. They track the progression from glass bead day jobs to navigating general meetings to planning inconsistent finances to actually calling oneself a writer and even getting paid. We also answer audience questions about career longevity and leaving writing behind. Links: Thank you, Tess Morris, Christina Hodson, Nicole Perlman, and Jason Fuchs! T-shirts are available here! We’ve got new designs, including Colored Revisions, Karateka, and Highland2. John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter Tess Morris on Twitter Nicole Perlman on Twitter Jason Fuchs on Twitter John on Instagram Find past episodes Scriptnotes Digital Seasons are also now available! Outro by Matthew Chilelli (send us yours!) Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.  
01/01/19·1h 7m

380 - Double Ampersand

John sits down with Fran Walsh, Peter Jackson and Philippa Boyens to discuss their new film Mortal Engines, and their approach to writing as a team, worldbuilding, and rewriting through production, because one does not simply walk into Mordor. We also answer audience questions about the difference between ideas for television and movies, and working through dialogue out loud. Links: Thanks to Fran Walsh, Peter Jackson and Philippa Boyens! Mortal Engines is in theaters now. Mortal Engines is based on the book series by Philip Reeve. T-shirts are available here! We’ve got new designs, including Colored Revisions, Karateka, and Highland2. John August on Twitter John on Instagram Find past episodes Scriptnotes Digital Seasons are also now available! Outro by Matt Davis (send us yours!) Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.  
25/12/18·28m 40s

379 - Holiday Live Show 2018

John and Craig welcome Pamela Ribon (Ralph Breaks the Internet, Smurfs: The Lost Village), Phil Lord and Chris Miller (Into the Spiderverse, The Lego Movie), Zoanne Clack (Grey’s Anatomy) and Cherry Chevapravatdumrong (Family Guy, The Orville) to discuss writing animated features, breaking into television, and how to disappoint your parents. We also rescue another genre, the big-screen holiday comedy, by playing a game about movies of Christmas past. Then we answer audience questions about useful notes and being the only woman in the room. Thank you to the Writers Guild Foundation and the LA Film School for hosting us! Links: Thank you, Writers Guild Foundation for making this event happen! And thank you to our incredible guests: Pamela Ribon, Phil Lord and Chris Miller, Zoanne Clack and Cherry Chevapravatdumrong! Featured movies in our Santa Claus Is Bumming Me Down game are Four Christmases, Jingle All The Way, Deck the Halls, Fred Claus, Jack Frost, Surviving Christmas and The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause. T-shirts are available here! We’ve got new designs, including Colored Revisions, Karateka, and Highland2. John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter Pamela Ribon on Twitter Phil Lord on Twitter Chris Miller on Twitter Zoanne Clack on Twitter Cherry Chevapravatdumrong on Twitter John on Instagram Find past episodes Scriptnotes Digital Seasons are also now available! Outro by Fred Tepper (send us yours!) Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.
18/12/18·1h 15m

378 - The Worst of the Worst

John and Craig examine why and how writers need to make bad things happen to their characters, and the ways in which hero suffering differs between features and television. We also answer listener questions about WGA jurisdiction, becoming a signatory, timing a script for television, and why all scripts aren’t available online. Links: Tickets are on sale for the Holiday Live Show! The Team America: World Police puke scene, with some bad language The opening of Finding Nemo Aslan’s sacrifice in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe Can We Stop Suicides? by Moises Velasquez-Manoff for the New York Times The environment in Red Dead Redemption 2 T-shirts are available here! We’ve got new designs, including Colored Revisions, Karateka, and Highland2. John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Find past episodes Scriptnotes Digital Seasons are also now available! Outro by Michael O'Konis (send us yours!) Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.  
11/12/18·53m 57s

377 - The Second Draft

John is joined by Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi (The Invitation, Ride Along, the upcoming Destroyer) to talk about the second draft, offering some practical tips for the first big rewrite. We also answer listener questions about getting scripts to actors, how to label characters with job titles, and the cooler way to describe a montage. We’re also still trying to make “re-quel” happen. Links: Tickets are on sale for the Holiday Live Show! Thanks for joining us, Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi. Episode 244: The Invitation, and Requels Commercial actors can get paid for excessive auditioning Destroyer is in US theaters December 25, 2018 @PitchingNinja Backwards Beekeepers, and having a 6 foot charging cable Great News, created by Tracey Wigfield T-shirts are available here! We’ve got new designs, including Colored Revisions, Karateka, and Highland2. John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter Phil Hay on Twitter Matt Manfredi on Twitter John on Instagram Find past episodes Scriptnotes Digital Seasons are also now available! Outro by Luke Davis (send us yours!) Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.  
04/12/18·50m 38s

73 - Raiders of the Lost Ark

Craig and John spend the entire episode discussing and dissecting Raiders of the Lost Ark, looking at both its structure and scene work. This amazing and iconic 1981 film established so much of what we expect of out movie heroes and set pieces -- but a lot of what it does would have a hard time getting through modern studio development. Five-minute exposition scenes! Nazi monkeys! Helpless heroes at the climax! And yet it works so well. There are great lessons to be learned for screenwriters in every genre. This episode originally aired on January 22, 2013. Links: Tickets are on sale for the Holiday Live Show! The Scriptnotes Listeners’ Guide Raiders of the Lost Ark on Wikipedia, on IMDb, iTunes and Amazon George Lucas, Steven Spielberg and Larry Kasdan’s Raiders story conference transcripts “Apple for teacher? Why’d he do that?” thread on theraider.net (via @sethgs) T-shirts are available here! We’ve got new designs, including Colored Revisions, Karateka, and Highland2. John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Find past episodes Scriptnotes Digital Seasons are also now available! Outro this week is A British Tar from the HMS Pinafore by Gilbert and Sullivan, performed by John Rhys-Davies (send us yours!) Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here. UPDATE 1-25-13: The transcript of this episode can be found here.  
27/11/18·1h 13m

376 - Commencement

John and Craig discuss commencement, the official moment to start writing. It can be easy to get pressured into free producer rewrites, starting to write before a deal is done and other pitfalls of blurry boundaries, so the WGA is introducing the Start Button, designed to help writers define their timeline and let the Guild be the bad guy. We also answer listener questions about procedural television, binge-watching, and crossing the line in dark comedy. Links: Signed Arlo Finch bookplates are available with a copy of your receipt. Tickets for the Scriptnotes Holiday Live Show are on sale now. Scriptnotes, Ep 296: Television with Damon Lindelof Start Button for WGA members Dungeons and Dragons Art and Arcana box set or just the book This Chemical Is So Hot It Destroys Nerve Endings -- In a Good Way by Matt Simon for Wired T-shirts are available here! We’ve got new designs, including Colored Revisions, Karateka, and Highland2. John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Find past episodes Scriptnotes Digital Seasons are also now available! Outro by Andrew Burns (send us yours!) Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.  
20/11/18·58m 25s

375 - Austin 2018 Three Page Challenge

John and Craig review three Three-Page Challenge entries with the help of Lindsay Doran (producer of Stranger Than Fiction, Sense and Sensibility, Nanny McPhee, Dead Again) and Jewerl Ross (manager and founder of Silent R Management). They then invite the writers up to discuss the notes, including the importance of geography, setting up relationships, and the danger in feeding kittens to sharks. We also answer listener questions about “emotional math,“ breaking rules, the evolution of screenwriting and trying to be clever, but failing. Thanks to the Austin Film Festival for hosting us and to our brave participants! Links: Tickets are on sale for the Holiday Live Show! Thank you for joining us, Lindsay Doran and Jewerl Ross! Lindsay Doran’s Ted Talk is also great. The Three Pages On Writing Well by William Zinsser T-shirts are available here! We’ve got new designs, including Colored Revisions, Karateka, and Highland2. John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Find past episodes Scriptnotes Digital Seasons are also now available! Outro by Matthew Chilelli (send us yours!) Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.  
13/11/18·1h 10m

374 - Real-World Villains

John and Craig investigate actual villains in this installment of How Would This Be a Movie? From the eerily prescient writer of “How to Murder Your Husband” to the dark comedy of Jacob Wohl, sometimes reality provides the character — now you just need an actual story. We also look at the craft behind writing for ensemble, plus follow-up on the end of FilmStruck, “No Writing Left Behind,” specifying character race in scripts and the hopeful resurgence of family-friendly Christmas movies. Links: FilmStruck is Shutting Down Aaron Sauerland’s tweet about writing for ensembles Novelist Who Penned ‘How To Murder Your Husband’ Essay Charged With Husband’s Murder by Laurel Wamsley for NPR Never Go Full Trump: The Lena Epstein Story by Josh Marshal for TPM The Humiliating Crash and Burn of Pro-Trump Media Star Jacob Wohl Is the Best Political Story of the Season by Dustin Rowles for Pajiba ‘Nicole From Last Night’: University Of Calgary Student Mass Emails 247 Nicoles by Maija Kappler for Huffington Post Meet the gallant all-black American female battalion that served in Europe during World War II by Elizabeth Ofosuah Johnson for Face 2 Face Africa. Mary McLeod Bethune 6 Tips for Getting Your Solo Play to Broadway by Mike Birbiglia Decrypto T-shirts are available here! We’ve got new designs, including Colored Revisions, Karateka, and Highland2. John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Find past episodes Scriptnotes Digital Seasons are also now available! Outro by Matthew Chilelli (send us yours!) Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.  
06/11/18·59m 20s

373 - Austin Live Show 2018

John and Craig invite Wendy Calhoun (Station 19, Empire), Phil Hay (The Invitation, Ride Along), Nicole Perlman (Guardians of the Galaxy, Captain Marvel), and Jason Fuchs (Wonder Woman, Ice Age: Continental Drift) to join them onstage for a discussion about the death of the writing middle class, why we get bored during a film or episode of television, and the consequences of handing over unpaid writing. We also play a game called “Why is Craig So Mad?” Recorded live from the Driskill Ballroom at the 2018 Austin Film Festival. Thanks to the Austin Film Festival for hosting us, and to a great audience! Links: Thanks for joining us, Wendy Calhoun, Phil Hay, Nicole Perlman, and Jason Fuchs! And thank you, Beto, for the message! Check out the video from the audience. The Death of Hollywood’s Middle Class by Nicole Laporte for Fast Company This tweet by Nicola Prigg Keep an eye on Weekend Read for screenplays this awards season. T-shirts are available here! We’ve got new designs, including Colored Revisions, Karateka, and Highland2. The USB drives! Wendy Calhoun on Twitter Phil Hay on Twitter Nicole Perlman on Twitter Jason Fuchs on Twitter John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Find past episodes Scriptnotes Digital Seasons are also now available! Outro by Matthew Chilelli (send us yours!) Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.  
30/10/18·1h 16m

372 - No Writing Left Behind

John and Craig discuss the dangers of leave-behinds. The “writing before the writing” is an important part of the craft, but giving it away for free is bad for everyone. We also answer a listener question about character wants versus needs, and why that distinction has become such a guru staple. Links: Hope to see you this weekend at the Austin Film Festival! You can also catch John at the Texas Book Festival and the Boulder Book Store Event No Writing Left Behind The Confidence Gap by Claire Shipman, Katty Kay and JillEllyn Riley for The New York Times Youtube TV T-shirts are available here! We’ve got new designs, including Colored Revisions, Karateka, and Highland2. The USB drives! John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Find past episodes Scriptnotes Digital Seasons are also now available! Outro by Luke Brown (send us yours!) Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.
23/10/18·52m 58s

225 - Only Haters Hate Rom-Coms

John and Craig talk romantic comedies with screenwriter Tess Morris, whose film Man Up is unapologetically part of the genre. We discuss what distinguishes rom-coms from other comedies, and why they get singled out for disdain and death-of articles. Also this week: Amazon Storywriter, overused dicks, and follow-up on Whiplash. This episode originally aired on November 24, 2015. Links: Amazon Storywriter and Fountain Scriptnotes, 224: Whiplash, on paper and on screen Tess Morris on IMDb and Twitter, and Man Up on Wikipedia and Rotten Tomatoes Why Are Romantic Comedies So Bad? by Christopher Orr CinemaBlend’s 30 Best Romantic Comedies Of All-Time The New Yorker on Nick Bostrom Wait But Why on The Fermi Paradox Fallout 4, and on Amazon The Vista Theatre T-shirts are available here! We’ve got new designs, including Colored Revisions, Karateka, and Highland2. The USB drives! John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Find past episodes Scriptnotes Digital Seasons are also now available! Outro by Jon Spurney (send us yours!) Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.
16/10/18·1h 3m

371 - Writing Memorable Dialogue

John and Craig have a dialogue about dialogue. They discuss how thinking about memorizing lines can help write them, and how to service quieter characters in a scene. We also answer listener questions about adapting plays for the screen, creating a different experience for your reader than your viewer, and whether to trust sketchily worded release forms. Links: The Arlo Finch series trailer is live! Chunking How Shrek 2 has been redubbed for the UK market by Leslie Felperin for The Independent You Might be the Killer, written by Brett Simmons and Thomas P. Vitale and directed by Simmons, born from this Twitter thread between Chuck Wendig and Sam Sykes. Evercast allows Craig to be in the Chernobyl edit from home T-shirts are available here! We’ve got new designs, including Colored Revisions, Karateka, and Highland2. The USB drives! John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Find past episodes Scriptnotes Digital Seasons are also now available! Outro by Matthew Chilelli (send us yours!). Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.  
09/10/18·56m 52s

370 - Two Things at the Same Time

John and Craig look into simultaneity and how to visually articulate two things happening at once with the temporally-limited medium of written word. We also explore how simultaneity can ramp up tension, fracture narrative and play with expectations. Then we apply what we’ve discussed to three new entries in the Three Page Challenge. Links: Become a premium subscriber in time for our bonus Q&A episode. Submit your questions here. T-shirts are available here! We’ve got new designs, including Colored Revisions, Karateka, and Highland2. Three Pages by Angelique Gross Three Pages by Yohannes Ashenafi Three Pages by J. Gordon Mark Rober’s video, “How to Beat Any Escape Room” iOS 12’s password handoff feature Inneresting, a new John August newsletter. You can subscribe here. The USB drives! John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Find past episodes Scriptnotes Digital Seasons are also now available! Outro by Rajesh Naroth (send us yours!). Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.  
02/10/18·1h 6m

369 - What Is a Movie, Anyway?

John and Craig welcome Franklin Leonard to weigh in on the current definition of “movie.” In the age of streaming, this distinction is not only important for audiences and awards, but has a meaningful effect on how writers are paid. We also take umbrage with Awards Season as a Hollywood fixture, and follow up on a five year-old prediction about iPads in movie theaters. Links: Scriptnotes, Episode 108: Are two screens better than one? addresses the fear of iPads in theaters Become a premium subscriber in time for our bonus Q&A episode. Submit your questions here. Show Us Your Room and the Instagram hashtag Rusty Lake’s new game, Paradox, with video of actual people Roma, written and directed by Alfonso Cuarón Inneresting, a new John August newsletter. You can subscribe here. T-shirts are available here! We’ve got new designs, including Colored Revisions, Karateka, and Highland2. The USB drives! Franklin Leonard on Twitter John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Find past episodes Scriptnotes Digital Seasons are also now available! Outro by Matthew Chilleli (send us yours!). Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.  
25/09/18·41m 21s

368 - Advice for a New Staff Writer

John welcomes Alison McDonald (American Dad!, Nurse Jackie, the remake of Roots) and Ryan Knighton (In the Dark) to talk through the basics of the TV writers room, covering how they got in, how much to talk, how to make a living, what to wear and what’s for lunch. In follow up, we look at disappearing digital purchases and the further fallout from Les Moonves. We have new Scriptnotes T-shirts available -- Colored Revisions! Thanks to Alison, Ryan now knows about magenta. Links: T-shirts are available here! We’ve got new designs, including Colored Revisions, Karateka, and Highland2. Anders G Da Silva’s tweet about missing movies from his iTunes library ‘Designing Women’ Creator Goes Public With Les Moonves War: Not All Harassment Is Sexual, a guest column by Linda Bloodworth Thomason for the Hollywood Reporter Succession on HBO Be My Eyes app Improv classes for TV writers The USB drives! Ryan Knighton on Twitter Alison McDonald on Twitter John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Find past episodes Scriptnotes Digital Seasons are also now available! Outro by Rajesh Naroth (send us yours!). Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.  
18/09/18·1h 1m

367 - One Year Later

Aline Brosh McKenna joins John and Craig to discuss the progress made in the year following the Weinstein revelations. Have the systems for reporting and preventing sexual harassment improved, or are we still just dealing with hurricanes? We also follow up on The Academy’s decision to nix the Popular Film category, the IATSE agreement, missing movies, and Craig’s distaste for ventriloquism. And Final Draft teaches us that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Links: The Academy decided against adding the Popular Film Category this year. Site supporting the IATSE Basic Agreement A listener let us know when he saw a familiar looking typewriter, but Final Draft apologized. Matt followed up with insight on how murky rights keep movies in limbo. Even Shari Lewis and Lamb Chop, 12-year old Darcy Lynne on America’s Got Talent and Avenue Q can’t change Craig’s mind about ventriloquism. An iPad stand Awards Are Stupid, Jerry Seinfeld’s acceptance speech for his HBO Comedian Award The USB drives! Aline Brosh McKenna on Twitter John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Find past episodes Scriptnotes Digital Seasons are also now available! Outro by Luke Davis (send us yours!). Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.  
11/09/18·59m 21s

Extra: WGA Elections 2018

John and Craig discuss their choices for WGA Board Elections and misinformation about proposed revisions to the Screen Credits Manual. Links: WGA East Elections Jonathan Fernandez Patti Carr Patric Verrone Betsy Thomas Travis Donnelly Dante W. Harper Eric Heisserer Deric Hughes David Slack Ashley Gable Spiro Skentzos VJ Boyd Deborah Amelon WGA Sets Referendum On Proposed Changes To Its Screen Credits Manual – Update The USB drives! John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Find past episodes Scriptnotes Digital Seasons are also now available! Outro by Matthew Chilelli (send us yours!). Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.  
06/09/18·28m 20s

366 - Tying Things Up

John and Craig cover endings, both for craft and for business. First they articulate the importance of the denouement and the social contract it fulfills with the audience. Then they discuss what happens to a writer’s work after their death. We also follow up on pitching, and introduce a new segment: Change Craig’s Mind. This week: Ventriloquists! Links: You can listen to John & Craig on another podcast: Jordan, Jesse, Go! You can check out our episode with Mindy Kaling, or our episode with Susanna Fogel and David Iserson for some context in this week’s follow-up. John’s attempt at “Changing Craig’s Mind” about ventriloquism: Nina Conti Edward Albee’s estate has special rules about casting for Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf. Erin Gibson: Throwing Shade podcast, Gay of Thrones, and her new book, Feminasty: The Complicated Woman’s Guide to Surviving the Patriarchy Without Drinking Herself to Death. Phoebe Waller-Bridge: Killing Eve, Fleabag, and she’s the robot, L3-37, in Solo The Witcher 3: Blood And Wine DLC The USB drives! John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Find past episodes Scriptnotes Digital Seasons are also now available! Outro by Rajesh Naroth (send us yours!). And thank you, Luke Davis, for Craig’s musical intro! Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.  
04/09/18·1h

365 - Craig Hates Dummies

John and Craig are back at it with another installment of How Would This Be a Movie? They consider the story of a competitive mass Tinder date, a retirement home for ventriloquist dummies and the McDonald’s Monopoly heist. We also revisit John’s WGA Corner for updates, follow up on the conflict within IATSE, and get a great sense of Craig’s passionate beef with ventriloquism. Links: Studios Back In Antitrust Spotlight As AMC Chain Loses Key Court Ruling by Dominic Patten for Deadline Class Struggle in Hollywood, 1930-1950: Moguls, Stars, Reds, and Trade Unionists by Gerald Horne @bvdhai’s Twitter thread about the mass Tinder date Woman dupes dozens of dudes into weirdest Tinder date ever and Tinder hottie dupes dozens of dopes, but it’s all a marketing stunt by Ruth Brown for the NY Post ‘Tinder Trap’ model claims she’s the victim after duping guys by Tamar Lapin and Ruth Brown Monterey Jack’s Twitter thread about Vent Haven Vent Haven’s official website How an Ex-Cop Rigged McDonald’s Monopoly Game and Stole Millions Jeff Maysh for the Daily Beast Behind Hollywood’s A-List Bidding War for a McDonald’s Monopoly Article by Chris Lee for Vulture In a Town of 11 People, Mysterious Disappearance Turns Neighbor Against Neighbor by Jacqueline Williams for the New York Times McGill music student awarded $350,000 after girlfriend stalls career by René Bruemmer for the Montreal Gazette US judge orders 30-year-old man to move out of his parents’ house Flat track roller derby, like Angel City Derby 7 Billion Humans The USB drives! John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Find past episodes Scriptnotes Digital Seasons are also now available! Outro by Timothy Vajda (send us yours!) Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.  
28/08/18·1h 6m

364 - Netflix Killed the Video Store

John welcomes Kate Hagen to talk about missing movies and the role that video stores play in archiving film history, preserving access to all movies and creating a sense of community. They discuss some of the barriers to films getting digital distribution, from limited music licenses to struggles with chain-of-title when companies fail. We also discuss what it is to be a script reader, write coverage and clash with a boss’ taste. And we follow up on Moviepass and its legacy. Links: Thanks for joining us, Kate Hagen! In Search of the Last Great Video Store by Kate Hagen The Black List Netflix’s DVD service Fresh Horses was one of those missing movies. The Fall of MoviePass and its reverse stock split Kate recommends Ladies & Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains, Mikey and Nicky and FilmStruck to watch classic movies. My Life as a Goddess by Guy Branum Tees-En-Scène sells shirts that highlight and support female writer/directors. The USB drives! John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter Kate Hagen on Twitter John on Instagram Find past episodes Scriptnotes Digital Seasons are also now available! Outro by Luke Davis (send us yours!) Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.
21/08/18·50m 50s

363 - Best Popular Screenwriting Podcast

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: Scriptnotes is now on Spotify! The Austin Film Festival is coming up on October 25th! Changes are coming to the Oscars, including a new category for “Outstanding Achievement in Popular Film.” IATSE is not backing its Editors Guild in asking for a reasonable turnaround and pension support. The Department of Justice will review the Paramount Consent Decree. In Search of the Last Great Video Store by Kate Hagen for the Black List blog. Add to this form if you find a movie that isn’t streamable. Antihero game for iOS. Mark Halpin’s puzzles for The Nation The USB drives! John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Find past episodes Scriptnotes Digital Seasons are also now available! Outro by Luke Davis (send us yours!) Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.  
14/08/18·58m 49s

Extra: My Abortion Story

In this extra mini-episode, John and Craig discuss John’s abortion article. We’ll be back with a normal episode on Tuesday. Links: My Abortion Story blog post  
13/08/18·9m 0s

362 - The One with Mindy Kaling

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: Thanks to Mindy Kaling for joining us! Champions is available to watch on NBC.com. You can watch a recording of her play, Matt and Ben, written and performed by Mindy and Brenda Withers. It premiered at the Fringe Festival in New York. Keep an eye out for Four Weddings and a Funeral. The End of the Fucking World and Godless on Netflix The Visitors by Ragnar Kjartansson at The Broad The USB drives! Mindy Kaling on Twitter John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Find past episodes Scriptnotes Digital Seasons are also now available! Outro by Timothy Vajda (send us yours!) Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.
07/08/18·1h 10m

361 - From Indie to Action Comedy

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: Thanks to Susanna Fogel and David Iserson for joining us! The Spy Who Dumped Me is in theaters now. David’s much-anticipated premiere suit Banvard’s Folly by Paul Collins American Kingpin by Nick Bilton Natalie Walker’s Twitter Auditions Also, as promised in episode 357, this is Craig’s fancy corkboard! The USB drives! David Iserson on Twitter Susanna Fogel on Twitter John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Find past episodes Scriptnotes Digital Seasons are also now available! Outro by Rajesh Naroth (send us yours!) Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.  
31/07/18·1h 1m

360 - Relationships

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: Arlo Finch covers look different around the world. You can catch John at the San Diego Festival of Books on August 25, at the Orange Public Library Comic-Con on September 22, at the Texas Book Festival on October 25th, or in Frankfurt, Oslo, Stockholm and Copenhagen in early October. The Austin Film Festival is also coming up on October 25th. In a musical, the relationship can be with the audience, like in Shrek: The Musical’s “Big Bright Beautiful World” or Fiddler on the Roof’s “If I Were a Rich Man” -- as opposed to the movie version. Three pages by Jonathan Brown Three pages by Paul Acampora & Erin Dionne Three pages by Mathieu Ghekiere You can submit for the three page challenge here. Images of America Book Series Larchmont by Patricia Lombard African-Americans in Los Angeles by Karin L. Stanford Lindsay Doran’s Ted Talk - Saving the World vs. Kissing the Girl The Scriptnotes Listeners’ Guide! The USB drives! John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Find past episodes Scriptnotes Digital Seasons are also now available! Outro by Michael O’Konis (send us yours!) Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.  
24/07/18·1h 2m

359 - Where Movies Come From

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: Thanks for joining us, Liz Hannah! Liz’s film, The Post, was a Best Picture nominee. Fred Jackman, cinematographer/writer/director/special effects hero, is the apparent namesake of the Jackman shot. How Wattpad is Rewriting the Rules of Hollywood, by Chris Lee writing for Vulture Hunting the Con Queen of Hollywood: Who’s the “Crazy Evil Genius” Behind a Global Racket?, by Scott Johnson writing for the Hollywood Reporter Comic Book Shake-Up: DMG Entertainment Acquires Valiant , by Borys Kit for The Hollywood Reporter Valkyrie, Schindler’s List and The Death of Stalin are examples of how one can handle the indication of foreign language. Who We Are and How We Got Here: Ancient DNA and the New Science of the Human Past by David Reich GamePigeon Overlooked by the New York Times adds obituaries for remarkable people that were overlooked in their time, like Bette Nesmith Graham who invented liquid paper. The Scriptnotes Listeners’ Guide! The USB drives! John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter Liz Hannah on Twitter John on Instagram Find past episodes Scriptnotes Digital Seasons are also now available! Outro by Larry Douziech (send us yours!) Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.  
17/07/18·1h 9m

358 - Point of View

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.  
10/07/18·51m 58s

357 - This Title is an Example of Exposition

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.  
03/07/18·59m 33s

356 - Writing Animated Features

  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.  
26/06/18·47m 45s

355 - Not Worth Winning

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.
19/06/18·58m 1s

354 - Upgrade

Craig welcomes Leigh Whannell, writer of the Saw and Insidious franchises, to discuss low-budget filmmaking, sequels on sequels, the horror landscape and his new movie, Upgrade. We also answer listener questions about sharing an agent with your writing partner and the ethics of hiring someone to punch up your own script. Links: * Thanks for joining us Leigh Whannell! * Leigh wrote Saw, Insidious, and, most recently, Upgrade, (here’s the fairly violent trailer). * I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara * Matthew Lillard’s company, Beadle & Grimm’s Pandemonium Warehouse, is releasing a luxury Dungeons and Dragons campaign called Platinum Edition Dungeons & Dragons: Waterdeep: Dragon Heist, which is available to pre-order. * The Scriptnotes Listeners’ Guide! * The USB drives! * John August on Twitter * Craig Mazin on Twitter * Leigh Whannell 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.  
12/06/18·1h 7m

353 - Bad Behavior

John and Craig discuss the hot new trend of firing jerks from successful TV shows. Why is it happening now like never before? Is there an important distinction between being “difficult” and being a jerk? We also follow up on listener suggestions for outlining tools, and answer questions about the landscape of feature comedy, the art of biopic postscripts, shopping agreements, and the etiquette around replacing another writer. Links: * A series is in development based on Elif Batuman’s New Yorker article about rental families. * Some listener-recommended outliners include Workflowy, Gingko, Cloud Outliner, OmniOutliner from Omni Group, Pages, Causality, and good old index cards. * Some recently fired examples include Roseanne Barr, Jeffrey Tambor, Clayne Crawford, and Bryan Singer * A question of etiquette regarding replacing another writer * No Thanks!, a game by Thorsten Gimmler * Faraway 3, a puzzle game for iOS * The Scriptnotes Listeners’ Guide! * The USB drives! * John August on Twitter * Craig Mazin on Twitter * John on Instagram * Find past episodes * Outro by Jon Spurney (send us yours!) Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.  
05/06/18·59m 9s

352 - Infinite Westworld

John and Craig welcome Lisa Joy & Jonah Nolan (Westworld) and Stephen McFeely & Christopher Markus (Avengers: Infinity War) to our annual live show benefitting Hollywood Heart. We discuss worldbuilding, the challenges and delights of serialized storytelling, and the extreme measures taken to keep secrets. We also answer audience questions on villains as protagonists, music supervision, and research as procrastination. Recorded May 22, 2018 at the ArcLight in Hollywood Links: * Thanks to the ArcLight, Hollywood HEART, and everyone who came out for this Live Show! * Lisa Joy and Jonah Nolan are on the second season of Westworld on HBO. * Stephen McFeely & Christopher Markus’s Avengers: Infinity War is in theaters now. * The Scriptnotes Listeners’ Guide! * The USB drives! * John August on Twitter * Craig Mazin on Twitter * John on Instagram * Find past episodes * Outro by Matthew Chilleli (send us yours!) Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.
29/05/18·1h 12m

351 - Full Circle

John and Craig talk about the way that movies tend to bring their stories full circle, and what that means for writers trying to figure out their story beats. They discuss rhyming, bookending and how properly setting up the central thematic question helps make the answer feel meaningful. We also answer listener questions about putting one’s work on YouTube, annotating scripts, and arbitration. Links: * Our next live Scriptnotes with Jonah Nolan & Lisa Joy (Westworld) and Stephen McFeely & Christopher Markus (Avengers: Infinity War) is TONIGHT, Tuesday, May 22nd at the ArcLight in Hollywood. Proceeds benefit Hollywood HEART, which runs special programs and summer camps for at-risk youth. * John’s statement on one theater’s choice to cancel their performance of Big Fish over the inclusion of same-sex parents. * Highland 2 is officially out! This is the New York Times article about our Gender Analysis feature. * Names on the Globe by George R. Stewart discusses the pronunciation of L.A. * One space between each sentence, they said. Science just proved them wrong. is a Washington Post article by Avi Selk about whether to put one space or two after a period. * According to Craig, Fun Home is a good example of a moving bookending. * The Sandman comics by Neil Gaiman * Dan Harmon’s Story Circle * 21 Things to Know Before Losing Your Gay Virginity by Alexander Cheves * Moodnotes is an app that tracks your mood * The Scriptnotes Listeners’ Guide! * The USB drives! * John August on Twitter * Craig Mazin on Twitter * John on Instagram * Find past episodes * Outro by Olufemi Sowemimo (send us yours!) Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.  
22/05/18·56m 15s

350 - Limerence

John and co-host John Gatins sit down with Aline Brosh McKenna and Rachel Bloom to discuss the experience of writing the third season of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, from breaking story in hot tubs to adjusting genital-related dances in compliance with Broadcast Standards and Practices. With spoilers aplenty, we discuss the challenges of a TV protagonist’s Act 2 “rocky shoals,” the nuance of exploring mental illness with comedy, the process of writing surprising musical numbers, and the opportunities of turning the rom-com genre on its head. Recorded live on May 9th. Links: * Our next live Scriptnotes with Jonah Nolan & Lisa Joy (Westworld) and Stephen McFeely & Christopher Markus (Avengers: Infinity War) will be Tuesday, May 22nd at the ArcLight in Hollywood. Tickets are on sale now -- proceeds benefit Hollywood HEART, which runs special programs and summer camps for at-risk youth. * Some Crazy Ex-Girlfriend context may be helpful for this episode. You can watch it here! Otherwise, here’s the Wikipedia entry. * The Scriptnotes Listeners’ Guide! * The USB drives! * John August on Twitter * Craig Mazin on Twitter * John on Instagram * Find past episodes * Outro from Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Season 3 (send us yours!) Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.
15/05/18·58m 39s

349 - Putting Words on the Page

John and Craig discuss the digital tools of the trade. From outline to first draft to production rewrites, screenwriters find themselves facing different challenges. We talk about what works for each of us. We also speculate on what impact Highland 2’s gender analysis tool will have. Then we answer listener questions about following the “rules” of formatting, from creative scene headers to “hey reader” notes and tips for introducing characters who play important roles later in the script. Links: * Our next live Scriptnotes with Jonah Nolan & Lisa Joy (Westworld) and Stephen McFeely & Christopher Markus (Avengers: Infinity War) will be Tuesday, May 22nd at the ArcLight in Hollywood. Tickets are on sale now -- proceeds benefit Hollywood HEART, which runs special programs and summer camps for at-risk youth. * Frank Oz, in case you’re curious * Look how fast Highland 2 loads War and Peace compared to other programs! * Scriptnotes, Ep 125: The One with the Guys from Final Draft * Welcome to Southern California includes a 1953 pronunciation of “Los Angeles” * Less by Andrew Sean Greer * The Scriptnotes Listeners’ Guide! * The USB drives! * John August on Twitter * Craig Mazin on Twitter * John on Instagram * Find past episodes * Outro by Larry Douziech (send us yours!) Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.
08/05/18·57m 27s

This Feeling Will End

In this Scriptnotes Extra, Craig and John discuss the melting dread they experienced this morning and hopefully offer some succor. You can download the episode here.  
10/11/16·15m 15s
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