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.
||Clean374 - 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||11/6/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||Explicit373 - 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||10/30/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||Clean372 - 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||10/23/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||Explicit225 - 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.||10/16/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||Clean371 - 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 di||10/9/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||Clean370 - 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. T||10/2/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||Clean369 - 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 u||9/25/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||Clean368 - 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||9/18/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||Explicit367 - 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?||9/11/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanExtra: WGA Elections 2018||John and Craig discuss their choices for WGA Board Elections and misinformation about proposed revisions to the Screen Credits Manual.||9/6/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||Clean366 - 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||9/4/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||Clean365 - 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 WG||8/28/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||Clean364 - 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 distributi||8/21/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||Clean363 - 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.||8/14/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanExtra: My Abortion Story||In this extra mini-episode, John and Craig discuss John’s abortion article.||8/13/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||Explicit362 - 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.||8/7/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||Clean361 - 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||7/31/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||Clean360 - 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 relationship||7/24/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||Clean359 - 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 mater||7/17/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||Clean358 - 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||7/10/2018||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.