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.
||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|
||205 - The One with Alec Berg||Craig sits down with Silicon Valley writer/director Alec Berg to talk about set ups and payoffs, editing comedy and how writing teams get screwed.||7/7/2015||Free||View In iTunes|
||204 - No one makes those movies anymore||Craig and John look at why certain genres of movies — mid-budget thrillers, adult dramas and romantic comedies — aren’t getting made, and whether there’s any way to get them back.||6/30/2015||Free||View In iTunes|
||203 - Nobody Eats Four Marshmallows||John and Craig take an in-depth look at turnaround and reversion, and how screenwriters get their scripts back from a studio.||6/23/2015||Free||View In iTunes|
||Explicit202 - Everyman vs. Superman||From Wolverine to The Rock, male action heroes have literally gotten bigger over the last decade. Craig and John look at how that impacts story. Is there hope for the the ordinary man in an extraordinary situation? Will we ever get back to Kurt and Keanu?||6/16/2015||Free||View In iTunes|
||201 - How would this be a movie?||John and Craig look at three current news stories from a screenwriter’s perspective, discussing how each lends itself to becoming a movie.||6/9/2015||Free||View In iTunes|
||200 - The 200th Episode Live Show||Craig, John, and Aline record the 200th episode of Scriptnotes live with a worldwide audience listening in — and chiming in — as they discuss TV showrunning and whether quality really counts at the box office.||6/2/2015||Free||View In iTunes|
||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|
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.