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.
||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.||11/24/2015||Free||View In iTunes|
||Explicit224 - Whiplash, on paper and on screen||John and Craig take an in-depth look at two scenes in Damien Chazelle’s WHIPLASH to see how conflicts were structured — and what changed from script to shooting.||11/17/2015||Free||View In iTunes|
||223 - Confusing, Unlikable and On-The-Nose||John and Craig look at some of the least helpful notes screenwriters receive, and strategies for dealing with them.||11/10/2015||Free||View In iTunes|
||Explicit222 - Live from Austin 2015||Craig and John return to the Austin Film Festival for a supersize live show with guests Nicole Perlman and Steve Zissis.||11/3/2015||Free||View In iTunes|
||221 - Nobody Knows Anything (including what this quote means)||Craig and John get to the bottom of William Goldman’s famous quotation about Hollywood, which is so often misapplied. Then it’s a discussion of zombie cars, wind-tunnels, blockbusters, and the paradox of choice.||10/27/2015||Free||View In iTunes|
||220 - Writers Rooms, Taxes, and Fat Hamlet||John and Craig discuss the trend of hiring multiple writers to work concurrently on tentpole features. Can movies be written like television, and should they?||10/20/2015||Free||View In iTunes|
||Explicit219 - The One Where Aline’s Show Debuts||Aline Brosh McKenna joins us to talk through the launch of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, and what she’s learned since she introduced us to the show nearly a year ago. Brian Lowry of Variety raves that it is “one of the fall’s most promising hours.” We’re||10/13/2015||Free||View In iTunes|
||218 - Features are different||John and Craig look at how writing feature films is fundamentally different than writing television, and how that difference begins at the point of story inception. It’s not just that movies are longer; they’re also built to be unique events, with cha||10/6/2015||Free||View In iTunes|
||217 - Campaign statements and residual statements||John and Craig discuss the WGA election results, and take a look at the issues that dominated the campaigns. What is a paper team? Do screenwriters really retire? And why does it take us so long to get paid?||9/29/2015||Free||View In iTunes|
||216 - Rewrites and Scheduling||Craig and John take an extensive look at best practices when coming in to rewrite an existing script. How do you take the reins when you weren’t the first screenwriter? Whether you’re starting over at page one or executing some surgical fixes, we disc||9/22/2015||Free||View In iTunes|
||Explicit215 - PG13: Blood, Boobs and Bullcrap||John and Craig discuss the PG-13 rating, its effects and what screenwriters have to keep in mind when dealing with it. Then it’s a conversation about healthy and unhealthy relationships between writers and their representatives.||9/15/2015||Free||View In iTunes|
||214 - Clerks and recreation||Craig and John tackle another installment of “How would this be a movie?” with a look at the Kentucky clerk, the French train bros, Uber and Deflategate. Who are the heroes and villains, and would there be enough plot to support the running time?||9/8/2015||Free||View In iTunes|
||213 - NDAs and other acronyms||Craig and John open the mailbag to answer questions on acronyms in dialogue, off-the-air specs and international WGA jurisdiction. Plus we look at the growing trend of non-disclosure agreements on studio projects, and whether the nature of film requires l||9/1/2015||Free||View In iTunes|
||212 - Diary of a First-Time Director||John and Craig sit down with Marielle Heller, the writer and director of the acclaimed feature The Diary of a Teenage Girl, to talk about the journey of getting her movie made, from optioning the novel to the Sundance Labs through production.||8/25/2015||Free||View In iTunes|
||211 - The International Episode||Craig and John look at how movies are translated, including an interview with a guy who does subtitles for a living. Plus, how Pixar and other companies are localizing movies for international audiences, and what happens when China becomes the largest fil||8/18/2015||Free||View In iTunes|
||210 - One-Handed Movie Heroes||John and Craig discuss why movie heroes — unlike those in novels or musicals — generally don’t profess internally conflicting views. In reality, our feelings on a topic are likely shades of gray. On the big screen, characters tend to articulate a si||8/11/2015||Free||View In iTunes|
||209 - How to Not Be a Jerk||Craig and John look at best practices for screenwriters promoting their films, both in traditional media and online. We’re not subtweeting anyone, and neither should you.||8/4/2015||Free||View In iTunes|
||Explicit208 - How descriptive audio works||John and Craig take a deep look at how descriptive audio for the blind works, with clips from Daredevil and an interview with a woman who does it for a living. It’s a fascinating form of writing, with many of the same challenges screenwriters face.||7/28/2015||Free||View In iTunes|
||207 - Why movies have reshoots||Reshoots used to be a sign that something had gone horribly wrong. But not anymore. John and Craig look at the reasons why Hollywood movies often go back for additional photography, and how the writer is involved.||7/21/2015||Free||View In iTunes|
||206 - Everything but the dialogue||John and Craig take a deep dive into scene description, looking at how seven produced screenplays arranged the words on the page. With samples from Aliens, Erin Brockovich, Oceans 11, Unforgiven, Wall-E, Wanted and Whip It, we tackle verbs and metaphors,||7/14/2015||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.