By John August and Craig Mazin
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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.
||199 - Second Draft Doldrums||Craig and John discuss finding your way back to your story – and your enthusiasm – when writing your second draft. Craig has tips and suggestions. John has sympathy and war stories.||5/26/2015||Free||View In iTunes|
||198 - Back to 100||This week, we time-travel back to our first centennial, a live show in Hollywood with special guests Aline Brosh McKenna and Rawson Thurber. We discuss the rise of the “writer-plus,” the importance of early mentors, and the emails that outline the ver||5/19/2015||Free||View In iTunes|
||197 - How do bad movies get made?||Craig and John tackle a single topic: bad movies and how they happen. Having experienced the process first-hand, they report on how bad ideas make it to the screen, and how good ideas go wrong. There’s no single answer, but a range of patterns that end||5/12/2015||Free||View In iTunes|
||196 - The long and short of it||John and Craig dig into the listener mailbag and take questions on TV producer credits, jealousy over other writers’ success, writing tight vs writing long and plenty of other follow up.||5/5/2015||Free||View In iTunes|
||195 - Writing for Hollywood without living there||Canadian screenwriter Ryan Knighton joins John and Craig to discuss how you sustain a career writing for Hollywood studios while living a flight away. Knighton’s first screenplay was the adaptation of his memoir about going blind. He’s since written f||4/28/2015||Free||View In iTunes|
||194 - Poking the bear||This week, Craig and John discuss recent events that seem custom-designed to make Craig furious.||4/21/2015||Free||View In iTunes|
||193 - How writing credits work||Craig and John do a deep-dive into the world of screenwriting credits, explaining the entire process from the Notice of Tentative Writing Credits, to arbitration to review boards. The system can be confusing, but most produced screenwriters will find them||4/14/2015||Free||View In iTunes|
||192 - You can't train a cobra to do that||Craig and John discuss backup plans, camera directions, and becoming so good they can’t ignore you. Plus we answer two listener questions about specificity in scene headers and how to indicate that a script is intended for animation.||4/7/2015||Free||View In iTunes|
||191 - The Deal with Scripped.com||Craig and John talk with the owner of Scripped.com to investigate what happened when the online screenwriting site suddenly went down this week, erasing four years of screenwriters’ work. When things went south, why did he try to distance himself from t||4/4/2015||Free||View In iTunes|
||190 - This Is Working||For the first time ever, John and Craig spend an entire episode on a full-length original screenplay, K.C. Scott’s THIS IS WORKING.||3/31/2015||Free||View In iTunes|
||189 - Uncluttered by Ignorance||John and Craig dig into the overstuffed mail bag to answer listener questions about scenes, stagnation, subtitles and script breakdowns. Plus we reveal the consensus opinions on whether we should have ads, and look at possibilities for the Full Script Cha||3/24/2015||Free||View In iTunes|
||188 - Midseason Finale||Craig and John wrap up many plotlines from previous episodes, with follow-up on Three Page Challenges, diversity numbers, Road Runner and other rules, plus the Gravity lawsuit in light of the Blurred Lines verdict.||3/17/2015||Free||View In iTunes|
||187 - The Coyote Could Stop Any Time||John and Craig take a look at the self-imposed rules behind the Road Runner cartoons, and how limiting one’s choices is different than following dogma.||3/10/2015||Free||View In iTunes|
||186 - The Rules (or, the Paradox of the Outlier)||John and Craig discuss this year's screenplay Oscar winners, including the success of Birdman's outside-the-box approach and Graham Moore's speech.||3/3/2015||Free||View In iTunes|
||Explicit185 - Malcolm Spellman, a Study in Heat||Screenwriter Malcolm Spellman joins Craig and John to talk about his big break, blown opportunities, and getting momentum back. Now part of the smash hit Empire, he talks about the changes and challenges African-American writers face both on the small scr||2/24/2015||Free||View In iTunes|
||184 - Go Set a Spider-Man||From Harper Lee to Sony to the Wheel of Time, it was a big week for studios trying to hold onto intellectual property. John and Craig discuss why those deals take such strange turns, including 1:30 a.m. airings on cable.||2/17/2015||Free||View In iTunes|
||183 - The Deal with the Gravity Lawsuit||John and Craig do a deep dive on Tess Gerritsen’s lawsuit concerning Gravity, using the case as a way to talk about contracts, chain of title, adaptation and corporate ownership. Spoiler: It’s really complicated, but it’s really interesting too.||2/10/2015||Free||View In iTunes|
||182 - The One with Rebel Wilson and Dan Savage||John and Craig discuss exploding scripts and stock scenes. Then in the second half of the show, we welcome two very special guests.||2/3/2015||Free||View In iTunes|
||181 - INT. THE WOODS - NIGHT||John and Craig pick up loose ends, with follow-up on previous episodes about “friends,” conflict, improv, Kindles, and defibrillation.||1/27/2015||Free||View In iTunes|
||180 - Bad Teachers, Good Advice and the Default Male||Aline Brosh McKenna joins John and Craig to discuss the how movies featuring good mentors (Dead Poet’s Society, To Sir with Love) differ from films with bad mentors (Whiplash, The Devil Wears Prada). It’s not just that the teachers are bad guys; rathe||1/20/2015||Free||View In iTunes|
Fear the Emperor
I'm but a loyal serf in John August's rapidly expanding kingdom. In exchange for my monthly bounty of sheep and lamb (and sometimes, my wife), I get blog posts, snarky nerd humor, stellar iOS apps, blockbuster films and now, an informative and entertaining podcast. Where does it stop?!
Craig will grow on you
At first, I found the podcast to be a little annoying. While John tried to make the podcast informative, Craig seemed to be using it as a pulpit to express his personal pet peeves. I've since grown to like Craig a lot and while sometimes his judgment is too quick, he is mostly good-hearted and has a lot to offer. Even his opinions that I disagree with I still find educational. So my suggestion is if you feel put-off a bit at first, stick with it. Craig will grow on you. He is a good-hearted guy though he may not seem like it at first. The podcast has a lot to offer about advice for screenwriters, but the most interesting aspect is learning about how the industry looks to two guys who have been in it since the mid-90s. John August wrote Go, Charlie's Angels, Big Fish, and more. Craig Mazin wrote Senseless, Scary Movie 3/4, and The Hangover 2. So it's at least interesting to hear them talk about their experiences on those projects.
My main criticism is sometimes the show gets a little too craft-oriented and I would advise you as a listener to maybe skip those episodes. While they often disparage prescriptive screenwriting "experts", they tend to offer similar formulaic approaches to screenwriting as they discuss craft. I find that prescriptive approaches to craft limit my inspiration instead of spurring it on. I would avoid those episodes, but listen to everything else. It's definitely the one of the best film-related podcasts.
Short of lucking out and getting a seat at the bar next to two highly successful and chatty screenwriters, its hard to imagine a better way for working or aspiring scribes to spend a half hour. Filled with all kinds of useful information. I actually turn off Howard Stern to listen to this.