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Scriptnotes Podcast

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.
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Nov 21, 2017

John and Craig review four Three-Page Challenge entries with the help of Daniela Garcia-Brcek (Literary Manager at Circle of Confusion) and Cullen Conly (Literary Agent at ICM). We then invite the writers up to discuss the notes.

It’s not just craft, though. Our special guests give us a behind-the-scenes look at the realities of representation. What do agents and managers look for when they read (or “look at”) scripts? How important is a logline? Who reads queries? Daniela and Cullen tell us the unvarnished truth.

Thanks to the Austin Film Festival for hosting us and to our brave participants!

Links:

* Tickets available for the Holiday Live Show now!
* 2017 Austin Live Three Page Challenge -- you can check out the pages here or on Weekend Read.
* Want to submit a Three Page Challenge?
* The Scriptnotes Listeners’ Guide!
* The USB drives!
* John August on Twitter
* Craig Mazin on Twitter
* John on Instagram
* Find past episodes
* Outro by Matt Davis (send us yours!)

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

 

Nov 14, 2017

Craig and John open the overflowing listener mailbag to tackle questions on everything from montages to life rights to passive heroes. Plus, we have a definitive answer on whether to number minor characters. (Don’t.)

We also finally address a major controversy: Craig’s missing cover of “Killing the Blues” from Episode 109. It exists, and you can listen to it today.

The Scriptnotes 2017 Holiday Live Show will be December 7th in Hollywood. Mark your calendars! Tickets available soon.

Links:

* Team America: World Police’s defense of “Montage”
* NOLO’s Getting Permission: Using & Licensing Copyright-Protected Materials Online & Off, a handy legal guide for rights and rights purchases.
* Cosmo Kramer, from Seinfeld, is based on Kenny Kramer, who sued a writer for defamation
* James Bond and the Berne Convention
* Trademark, Copyright, and a snazzy video on the difference between them from the USPTO.
* The Copyright Term Extension Act, AKA the Sonny Bono Act, AKA the Mickey Mouse Protection Act.
* Charles Dickens’ struggle with piracy in the US is illuminated in Fifty Inventions that Shaped the Modern World by Tim Harford.
* Go’s character, Spider Marine, comes from John’s mishearing the Smashing Pumpkins lyric “despite all my rage.”
* Craig’s cover of “Killing the Blues,” by Rowland Salley.
* The South Park video game, South Park: The Fractured but Whole (a sequel to The Stick of Truth) *all possible trigger warnings apply
* The Adelante Shoe Co. makes shoes for the discerning global citizen.
* Next week’s episode is the 2017 Austin Live Three Page Challenge -- you can check out the pages here or on Weekend Read.
* Matthew Chilelli’s video about his definitely-not-haunted apartment in Japan
* The Scriptnotes Listeners’ Guide!
* The USB drives!
* John August on Twitter
* Craig Mazin on Twitter
* John on Instagram
* Find past episodes
* Outro by Rowland sally, performed by Craig Mazin (send us yours!)

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

Nov 7, 2017

John and Craig revisit the discussion of sexual harassment in Hollywood, and how to support writers facing it. While the media spotlight is on the predators, it’s the day-to-day bullying and bad behavior that may have a more pernicious effect.

Then it’s another round of How Would This Be a Movie, looking at stories in the news to see which ones might be suited for the big screen.

Is it the story of a prison camp for female firefighters? The shockingly unregulated human corpse trade? Or is it perhaps the anti-racist protestors shut down by other students at a super-liberal college?

We also answer listener questions about British English vocabulary and how to lure expert consultants for a project.


Links:

* Last chance for Scriptnotes T-shirts! We’ve got Classic (in light and dark mode), the Umbrage Strikes Back, and Umbrage & Reason.
* Peter Madsen admits to dismembering, but not killing, Kim Wall. This is a follow-up to past How Would This Be a Movie article, Famed Inventor Says He Buried Reporter ‘At Sea’ After His Homemade Sub Sank on NPR
* The 15:17 to Paris, written by Dorothy Blyskyl and directed by Clint Eastwood, is a former How Would This Be a Movie come to life.
* On the Line: The Female Inmates Who Battle California’s Deadly Wildfires by Matt Toder for NBC News.
* Some dead bodies donated to research in US end up in warehouses of horrors by Beth Mole for Ars Technica.
* The Surprising Revolt at the Most Liberal College in the Country by Chris Bodenner for The Atlantic
* An interactive piece by Joel Eastwood and Erik Hinton for the Wall Street Journal looking at the rhymes schemes in Hamilton
* Tens dice game app.
* Big Fish in London!
* The Scriptnotes Listeners’ Guide!
* The USB drives!
* John August on Twitter
* Craig Mazin on Twitter
* John on Instagram
* Find past episodes
* Outro by Rajesh Naroth (send us yours!)

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

 

Oct 31, 2017

 

John and Craig talk with uber-screenwriter Scott Frank (Out of Sight, Get Shorty, Minority Report, Logan) about how his feature script Godless ended up as a miniseries at Netflix.

We then invite more guests up to discuss what movies can learn from the success of TV:

- Guinevere Turner (American Psycho, Go Fish)
- Scott Alexander (Ed Wood, The People v. O.J. Simpson,)
- Tess Morris (Man Up, “You Had Us At Hello” podcast)
- Lindsay Doran (producer of Stranger Than Fiction, Sense and Sensibility)

In our final segment, we’re joined by a new batch of writers to play “The Studio Has Notes.”

- Dana Fox (How to Be Single, Ben and Kate)
- Megan Amram (The Good Place, The Simpsons)
- Oren Uziel (22 Jump Street, Shimmer Lake)
- Jason Fuchs (Wonder Woman, Ice Age: Continental Drift)
- Scott Rosenberg (High Fidelity, Beautiful Girls)

Can our lucky audience member pick out the one fake note among the five real ones? Can you?

Recorded live from the Driskill Ballroom at the 2017 Austin Film Festival.

Thanks to the Austin Film Festival for hosting us, and to a great audience. It’s one of our highlights each year.


Links:

* Scriptnotes T-shirts are here! We’ve got Classic (in light and dark mode), the Umbrage Strikes Back, and Umbrage & Reason.
* Thank you, Austin Film Festival!
* Scott Frank’s IMDB and on twitter. And don’t miss the trailer for Godless, his upcoming miniseries on Netflix.
* Guinevere Turner’s IMDB and on twitter
* Scott Alexander’s IMDB
* Tess Morris’s IMDB and on twitter
* Lindsay Doran’s IMDB
* Dana Fox’s IMDB and on twitter
* Megan Amram’s IMDB and on twitter
* Oren Uziel’s IMDB and on twitter
* Jason Fuchs’s IMDB and on twitter
* Scott Rosenberg’s IMDB
* “The Studio Has Notes” notes
* The Scriptnotes Listeners’ Guide!
* The USB drives!
* John August on Twitter
* Craig Mazin on Twitter
* John on Instagram
* Find past episodes
* Outro by Matthew Chilelli (send us yours!)

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

 

Oct 24, 2017

John and Craig welcome Daley Haggar and Dara Resnik to examine the potential impacts of the Harvey Weinstein revelations on Hollywood.

What should have been done? And what should happen next to foster a safer, saner and more inclusive industry culture?

We also explore gender dynamics in a television writers room, discuss ways to address power imbalances and learn what it means to dial something in on the “Penis Phone.”

Links:

* Scriptnotes T-shirts are here! We’ve got Classic (in light and dark mode), the Umbrage Strikes Back, and Umbrage & Reason.
* We’ll be at the Austin Film Festival for our Live Show and Three Page Challenge.
* If you encounter a late night submission packet that seems iffy, you can email them to contracts@wga.org.
* Daley Haggar’s “Why I’m Snitching on Hollywood Sexism” for Lenny Letter.
* Dara Resnik and Gillian Boher’s “Don’t be so sure Harvey Weinstein is going away for good” for The Washington Post.
* Here is some information about Harvey and Bob Weinstein who founded Miramax and The Weinstein Company, for reference.
* “Harvey Weinstein Paid Off Sexual Harassment Accusers for Decades” by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey for The New York Times, and Harvey Weinstein’s official response.
* “From Aggressive Overtures to Sexual Assault: Harvey Weinstein’s Accusers Tell Their Stories” by Ronan Farrow for The New Yorker.
* “Harvey Weinstein Is Fired After Sexual Harassment Reports” by Megan Twohey for the New York Times.
* "‘Beautiful Girls’ Scribe Scott Rosenberg On A Complicated Legacy With Harvey Weinstein"
* The case of Lyle v. Warner Brothers (aka the Friends lawsuit) and the Supreme Court’s dismissal
* The last Disneyland Half Marathon (at least for a while)!
* The CIA’s twitter account (feat. dogs).
* Rihanna can’t wink.
* And Mariah Carey doesn’t dance.
* The Scriptnotes Listeners’ Guide!
* The USB drives!
* Daley Haggar on Twitter
* Dara Resnik on Twitter
* John August on Twitter
* Craig Mazin on Twitter
* John on Instagram
* Find past episodes
* Outro by Matthew Chilleli (send us yours!)

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

 

Oct 23, 2017

Daley Haggar shares her experience in the writers room. Originally posted on Lenny Letter.


Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download this Scriptnotes Voice here.

Oct 17, 2017

John welcomes Grant Faulkner, Executive Director of NaNoWriMo and author of Pep Talks for Writers, to discuss the writing process and how to get out of your own way creatively.

We explore the ubiquity of the Other Syndrome and the perils of envy. We also look at pen names, “throw-away writing,” and the advantages of being a beginner.

Links:

* Grant Faulkner’s website and Wikipedia entry.
* Pep Talks for Writers by Grant Faulkner is available here.
* You can participate in NaNoWriMo, too!
* I’m Your Man: The Life of Leonard Cohen by Sylvie Simmons
* The Last Invention of Man: How AI might take over the world by Max Tegmark
* The Scriptnotes Listeners’ Guide!
* The USB drives!
* John August on Twitter
* Grant Faulkner on Twitter
* John on Instagram
* Find past episodes
* Outro by Rajesh Naroth (send us yours!)

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

Oct 10, 2017

John and Craig attempt to answer the question that many aspiring screenwriters dare not ask aloud: when -- if ever -- is the right time to give up on the dream of becoming a working screenwriter?

Relatedly, is it okay to omit “aspiring” when describing oneself as a screenwriter? How do you ask friends for career help without burning bridges? Is that criminal record a problem?

We also address listener questions about why the Paramount Decree isn’t an issue for streaming services, plus working with auteurs, and formatting car chases.

Thanks for sending us examples of Exposition News!

Links:

* CPG Grey’s video, channel, and website
* Exposition News on Arrested Development, Community, The Simpsons, and Shaun of the Dead
* The BBC adds Nigerian Pidgin
* Google’s Pixel Buds, or the real-life Babel Fish
* The Scriptnotes Listeners’ Guide!
* The USB drives!
* John August on Twitter
* Craig Mazin on Twitter
* John on Instagram
* Find past episodes
* Outro by Rajesh Naroth (send us yours!)

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

 

Oct 3, 2017

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.

We discuss sex scenes and ’70s wallpaper, anamorphic lenses and leaving subplots on the cutting room floor. Plus there’s a lot of MacGruber.

This episode originally aired August 25, 2015.

Links:

* Scriptnotes and a live Three Page Challenge will be at the 2017 Austin Film Festival
* Submit for the Three Page Challenge
* Marielle Heller on IMDb
* The Diary of a Teenage Girl official site and the trailer
* The Diary of a Teenage Girl, Revised Edition by Phoebe Gloeckner
* Scriptnotes, 121: My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend’s Screenwriter, with Mike Birbiglia
* Sundance Institute Feature Film Program
* Director of Photography Brandon Trost on Wikipedia
* Rotoscoping on Wikipedia
* Mari Heller on NPR’s Fresh Air
* VHS Camcorder
* I’m Sorry I Didn’t Respond to Your Email, My Husband Coughed to Death Two Years Ago by Rachel Ward
* The Wonder Weeks App
* The Scriptnotes Listeners’ Guide!
* The USB drives will be available again in a few days!
* John August on Twitter
* Craig Mazin on Twitter
* John on Instagram
* Find past episodes
* Outro by Jack Mazin (send us yours!)

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

 

Sep 26, 2017

John and Craig speculate about why the film industry fared better in the transition to digital while the music industry struggled.

We also follow up on the WGA elections, hearing John’s priorities as a new board member. Lured back into the intrigue of MoviePass, we discuss new information on this business model.

Then it’s another installment of the Three Page Challenge, in which we discuss listener-submitted pages of their screenplays.

Finally, we answer the most provocative of listener-questions: how do you name your files?

Links:

* WGA Section of johnaugust.com
* I’m Joining the WGA Board
* CEO Mitch Lowe Pulls Back The Curtain On MoviePass And Explains Its Economics from Forbes, by Rob Cain
* Three Pages by Steven Wood
* Three Pages by Elizabeth Boston
* Three Pages by Dan Pavlik
* Submit for the Three Page Challenge
* Austin Film Festival
* Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney
* Meet Cute - Short Film on Indiewire
* The Scriptnotes Listeners’ Guide!
* The USB drives will be available again in a few days!
* John August on Twitter
* Craig Mazin on Twitter
* John on Instagram
* Find past episodes
* Outro by Rajesh Naroth (send us yours!)

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.

 

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