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.
||Clean384 - 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.||1/22/2019||Free||View in iTunes|
||Clean383 - 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 everyon||1/15/2019||Free||View in iTunes|
||Clean382 - 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 Y||1/8/2019||Free||View in iTunes|
||Explicit381 - 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 fina||1/1/2019||Free||View in iTunes|
||Clean380 - 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.||12/25/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||Explicit379 - 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 disc||12/18/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||Clean378 - 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.||12/11/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||Clean377 - 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.||12/4/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||Clean73 - 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.||11/27/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||Clean376 - 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||11/20/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||Explicit375 - 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 t||11/13/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||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|
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.