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Scriptnotes Podcast

Film

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.

Location:

Los Angeles, CA

Description:

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.

Twitter:

@johnaugust

Language:

English


Episodes

612 - The Wizard of Splash

9/19/2023
John and Craig test out a dreamy thesis: that all fish out of water stories are either The Wizard of Oz or Splash. What are the differences? Are Splash movies funnier? And what are the hidden pitfalls of placing our characters in unfamiliar worlds? We also look at how Rotten Tomatoes works (and how it’s manipulated). But first, we follow up on physical media and lining up in size order before answering a listener question on writing gibberish. In our bonus segment for premium members, Craig shares a personal diagnosis in an effort to help other adults with diabetes. Links: The Decomposition of Rotten TomatoesFrankenweenie script hereWeekend Read 2StarfieldManhattan Bus MapMTAHighland 2 Writer Emergency Pack XLGet a Scriptnotes T-shirt!Check out the Inneresting NewsletterGift a Scriptnotes Subscriptiontreat yourself to a premium subscription!ThreadsInstagramThreadsInstagramTwitterJohn on MastodonOutrosend us yours!Matthew Chilelli Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.

Duration:00:54:58

SC32 - Sidecast: Writers Who Read

9/18/2023
John and Drew talk about one of the best things writers can do to keep their skills sharp during the strike: reading. They discuss where to find scripts, what you can learn from other people’s writing, and what they’ve been working on while pencils are down. Links: Weekend Read 2Scriptslug.com Summary of Negotiations: WGA proposals and AMPTP responses2023 WGA Strike RulesStrike Rules FAQ Picket Schedules and Locationshere at WGAContract2023.orgTwitterInstagramMastodon Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.

Duration:00:09:53

463 - Writing Action (Encore)

9/12/2023
John and Craig talk action! It’s an all-craft episode about how words on the page become high-adrenaline events on the screen. Using a variety of different scripts, we look at how different styles of action sequences can be used to clearly communicate what is meant to happen in a scene and how it’s supposed to feel. In our bonus segment for premium members we try to discuss the Emmys but mostly talk about teenage girls’ obsession with Criminal Minds. Links: Action Scenes PDFScriptnotes Episode 463: Writing ActionEntertainment Community Fund – Emergency Financial Assistance CAA Lays Off Agents and Employees From 2020: WGA East and West members voted to approve the new contract Good SudokuGood Sudoku AppGhosts of TsushimaGet a Scriptnotes T-shirt!Check out the Inneresting NewsletterGift a Scriptnotes Subscriptiontreat yourself to a premium subscription!ThreadsInstagramThreadsInstagramTwitterJohn on MastodonOutrosend us yours!Matthew Chilelli Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.

Duration:01:19:34

SC31 - Sidecast: NYC Picketing

9/8/2023
Live from New York, John talks with writers and actors about the differences between LA and NYC pickets, anxiety, and how joy can be a form of protest. Featuring Christopher Kyle and Wilson Cruz. Big thanks to everyone who talked with us! Links: East & NY Strike ResourcesWriters Guild of America East Summary of Negotiations: WGA proposals and AMPTP responses2023 WGA Strike RulesStrike Rules FAQ Picket Schedules and Locationshere at WGAContract2023.orgTwitterInstagramMastodonCory Reeder Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.

Duration:00:04:46

SC30 - Sidecast: Disability and Visibility on the Picket Line

9/5/2023
Cory Reeder interviews writers and performers at the joint WGA/SAG-AFTRA disability picket at Disney. Big thanks to Cory and everyone he spoke with! Links: WGAw Disabled Writers CommitteeSAG-AFTRA Diversity CommitteesSAG-AFTRA Empowering Performers with Disabilities on Set Summary of Negotiations: WGA proposals and AMPTP responses2023 WGA Strike RulesStrike Rules FAQ Picket Schedules and Locationshere at WGAContract2023.orgTwitterInstagramMastodonCory Reeder Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.

Duration:00:08:20

611 - Basic Instincts

9/5/2023
John and Craig investigate our primal instincts and how they motivate our characters. Often referred to as the four F’s, these are the impulses hardwired into every animal in order to survive. But how do these base impulses guide a character’s behavior? And how can they be harnessed to make sure you don’t overcomplicate your character’s want? We also look at impermanence in our digital world and the ways people are trying to preserve lost media. But first we answer listener questions on comics, digital de-aging, and closed captions. In our bonus segment for premium members, we ask: why are we better swimmers as kids than we are as adults? Links: Can’t Hear the Dialogue in Your Streaming Show? You’re Not Alone No, You Do Not Have a Lizard Brain Inside Your Human BrainPrey DriveScriptnotes, Episode 364 – Netflix Killed the Video Store The Dream Was Universal Access to Knowledge. The Result Was a FiascoBaldur’s Gate 3 Tweet by Chris Miller Hydrostatic Life VestsBritish Airways safety videoHighland 2 Writer Emergency Pack XLGet a Scriptnotes T-shirt!Check out the Inneresting NewsletterGift a Scriptnotes Subscriptiontreat yourself to a premium subscription!ThreadsInstagramThreadsInstagramTwitterJohn on MastodonOutrosend us yours!Matthew Chilelli Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.

Duration:01:00:56

SC29 - Sidecast: Picket Line Q & A

8/30/2023
John answers the most common questions he hears out on the picket line, including the nervous, “Wait, why are you here? Is something wrong?” Links: wgacontract2023.orgIt’s All Relative Summary of Negotiations: WGA proposals and AMPTP responses2023 WGA Strike RulesStrike Rules FAQ Picket Schedules and Locationshere at WGAContract2023.orgTwitterInstagramMastodon Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.

Duration:00:07:37

610 - The Premise

8/29/2023
John and Craig examine the foundation of every story: the premise. What is your story really about? What questions is it trying to answer? How does that differ from your logline? And what should writers do to make sure those things match up? We also follow up on AI copyright, physical media, Esperanto and lingua franca. We then answer listener questions on the usefulness of “Fade in,” what studios actually do, and whether or not to put spec scripts on your website. In our bonus segment for premium members, John and Craig reminisce about the highs and lows of going back to school. Links: AI-Created Art Isn’t Copyrightable, Judge Says in Ruling That Could Give Hollywood Studios PauseThaler v. Perlmutter The Mandalorian, Loki, And WandaVision Are Getting Limited Edition 4K And Blu-Ray ReleasesLingua franca Where Story Begins – PremiseThe premise, or what’s the point? We Need to See More Parents Having Abortions in Film and Television Dungeons & Dragons: Trials of TempusHighland 2 Writer Emergency Pack XLGet a Scriptnotes T-shirt!Check out the Inneresting NewsletterGift a Scriptnotes Subscriptiontreat yourself to a premium subscription!ThreadsInstagramThreadsInstagramTwitterJohn on MastodonOutrosend us yours!Matthew Chilelli Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.

Duration:01:04:45

SC28 - Sidecast: FTC Looks at Mergers

8/22/2023
John and Drew inspect the Federal Trade Commission’s proposed merger guidelines and why they’re important for everybody – not just writers – to read and comment on. Links: FTC and DOJ Seek Comment on Draft Merger GuidelinesPublicly Comment on the FTC Draft Merger GuidelinesWGA Template and Call to ActionFTC proposes new merger guidelines Financial Interest and Syndication (Fin-Syn) Rules Paramount Decree Picket hours and information2023 WGA Strike RulesStrike Rules FAQhere at WGAContract2023.orgTwitterInstagramMastodon Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.

Duration:00:09:20

609 - Dialogue and Character Voice

8/22/2023
John and Craig look at how well-written dialogue is used to give characters a unique voice. Using clips from previous episodes they present a history of dialogue and its evolution, how it informs your actors, and how communicating an idea sometimes comes down to the smallest words our characters say. How can writers use dialogue to make their characters feel distinct and alive? What are tests for character voice? What can memorizing dialogue can teach us about writing it? And how do you keep all your characters active (and your actors happy) in group scenes? In our bonus segment for premium members, John and Craig stay on-topic to look at the pros and cons of dual dialogue. Links: Scriptnotes Episode 37 – Let’s talk about dialogueScriptnotes Episode 286 – Script Doctors, Dialogue and HacksScriptnotes Episode 371 – Writing Memorable DialogueHighland 2 Writer Emergency Pack XLGet a Scriptnotes T-shirt!Check out the Inneresting NewsletterGift a Scriptnotes Subscriptiontreat yourself to a premium subscription!ThreadsInstagramThreadsInstagramTwitterJohn on MastodonOutrosend us yours!Matthew Chilelli Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.

Duration:01:05:33

SC27 - Sidecast: Elections

8/16/2023
With union elections on the horizon, John and Drew present an overview of the voting process and governing structures of the WGA, DGA and SAG-AFTRA. Links: SAG-AFTRA 2023 Elections and Voter GuidesSAG-AFTRA Governance DGA LeadershipWGAw 2023 ElectionsWGAe 2023 Electionshere at WGAContract2023.orgTwitterInstagramMastodon Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.

Duration:00:13:42

608 - Scriptnotes LIVE! at Dynasty Typewriter in LA

8/15/2023
John and Craig welcome guests Quinta Brunson, Rachel Bloom and Natasha Lyonne to join them for a live benefit for Hollywood HEART. Since they cannot discuss the shows they’re currently working on (strike rules!) they instead reflect on the surprising paths of their careers, how acting has influenced them as writers and directors, and how much is learned at every step of production. We’re also joined by AMPTP spokesperson Nancy Sullivan to discuss our concerns with the ongoing strike, what she enjoys about her job, and why she finds it so fulfilling! Big thanks to our live audience, the staff of Dynasty Typewriter, and everyone at Hollywood Heart for putting the event together. Links: HollywoodHEARTIMDbInstagramIMDbInstagramIMDbInstagramThe Girl Who’s Never Been on a Nice DateBuzzFeedRachel Bloom: Death, Let Me Do My ShowGet a Scriptnotes T-shirt!Check out the Inneresting NewsletterGift a Scriptnotes Subscriptiontreat yourself to a premium subscription!ThreadsInstagramThreadsInstagramTwitterJohn on MastodonOutrosend us yours!Matthew Chilelli Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.

Duration:01:05:38

SC26 - Sidecast: 100 Days

8/10/2023
On the 100th day of striking against the AMPTP, John heads to the picket line to speak with writers about what they’ve learned, how they’re feeling, and what has changed. Thanks to everyone who talked to us! Links: 2023 WGA Writer’s Strike GalleryJ. W. Hendricks Summary of Negotiations: WGA proposals and AMPTP responses Updated picket hours and information2023 WGA Strike RulesStrike Rules FAQ Picket Schedules and Locationshere at WGAContract2023.orgTwitterInstagramMastodon Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.

Duration:00:06:01

607 - In the Beginning Was the Word

8/8/2023
John and Craig ponder the nature of words and what gives them meaning. Using new information on how large language models function, they look at the dizzying amount of connections words can create with other words, between humans, and their profound effect on the nature of consciousness. We promise we’re not high. We also follow up on racist characters before answering listener questions on balancing deadlines with an artistic process and our ideal press junket questions. In our bonus segment for premium members, John and Craig reflect on the impact left on them by the art and life of Sinéad O’Conner. Links: Scriptnotes LIVE! at Dynasty Typewriter in Los AngelesHollywoodHEARTWeekend Read 2MacOS Large language models, explained with a minimum of math and jargon Word VectorsDecryptoMatt Gaffney’s Weekly Crossword Contest This Is How You Lose the Time WarSinéad O’Connor – Troy (Live At The Dominion Theatre, 1988)Get a Scriptnotes T-shirt!Check out the Inneresting NewsletterGift a Scriptnotes Subscriptiontreat yourself to a premium subscription!ThreadsInstagramThreadsInstagramTwitterJohn on MastodonOutrosend us yours!Matthew Chilelli Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.

Duration:00:54:02

SC25 - Sidecast: AMPTP Asks for a Meeting

8/2/2023
The AMPTP has reached out to set a meeting with the WGA. What does this mean? How should we feel? And can John find a metaphor for it? Links: WGA Announcements: Discussion with AMPTP about Negotiations Scriptnotes LIVE! At Dynasty TypewriterWriting Is Our Home Summary of Negotiations: WGA proposals and AMPTP responses Updated picket hours and information2023 WGA Strike RulesStrike Rules FAQ Picket Schedules and Locationshere at WGAContract2023.orgTwitterInstagramMastodon Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.

Duration:00:03:55

403 - How to Write a Movie (Encore)

8/1/2023
Craig hosts a solo episode presenting his general theory on screenwriting. He covers the central dramatic argument, the ‘why’ behind plot points, and of course, umbrage on common script diagrams. Good luck, and go torture your heroes! In our bonus segment for premium members, John Gatins (Flight, Real Steel) tells us about his history with HollywoodHEART, the charity behind our Scriptnotes LIVE show. Get your tickets for this year’s show through the link in our show notes! Links: Scriptnotes LIVE! at Dynasty Typewriter in Los AngelesHollywoodHEARTEpisode 403 – How to Write A MovieAristotle’s PoeticsJosé FernándezLava, Pixar ShortFinding NemoGet a Scriptnotes T-shirt!Check out the Inneresting NewsletterGift a Scriptnotes Subscriptiontreat yourself to a premium subscription!Craig MazinJohn AugustJohn on InstagramJohn on MastodonOutrosend us yours!Megana RaoMatthew Chilelli Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.

Duration:00:45:08

SC24 - Sidecast: Risk and Reward

7/26/2023
John has opinions on the AMPTP’s new assertion that the studios are bearing all the risk when it comes to making a movie or a series, and therefore should be receiving all the reward. Links: AMPTP response to SAG-AFTRA ‘Idiots’: Wall Street Analysts Unload on Hollywood Summary of Negotiations: WGA proposals and AMPTP responses Updated picket hours and information2023 WGA Strike RulesStrike Rules FAQ Picket Schedules and Locationshere at WGAContract2023.orgTwitterInstagramMastodon Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.

Duration:00:06:42

606 - Character and Story Fit

7/25/2023
John welcomes back Pamela Ribon (My Year of Dicks, Moana) to talk about how to fit the right characters to your story. We know story comes from characters, but often an idea starts with a world, so how do writers find the right characters to build their story around? We also talk about writing for animation, working in reality TV and the forgotten art of television recapping. We then answer listener questions about choosing a character’s sex and gender, and gauging page count from an outline. And in our bonus segment for premium members, we explore Pamela’s own podcast, Listen to Sassy, about the greatest teen magazine of all time. Links: Pamela RibonIMDbListen To SassyTelevision Without PityGet Real (1999-2000) How to Hire a Pop Star for Your Private PartyThe Secret to Judd Apatow’s Comedy? A Huge Library of Self-Help BooksWhere Should We Begin? with Esther PerelGet a Scriptnotes T-shirt!Check out the Inneresting NewsletterGift a Scriptnotes Subscriptiontreat yourself to a premium subscription!Craig MazinJohn AugustJohn on InstagramJohn on MastodonOutrosend us yours!Matthew Chilelli Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.

Duration:01:08:09

SC23 - Sidecast: Different Guilds, Different Needs

7/18/2023
John and Drew take a look at SAG-AFTRA’s summary of negotiations to see what was asked for, what was offered, and what writers need to know. They also share insights on SAG-AFTRA’s new captain system. Links: SAG-AFTRA Summary of NegotiationsSAG-AFTRA Strike Information Portalkate bond’s thread Summary of Negotiations: WGA proposals and AMPTP responses Updated picket hours and information2023 WGA Strike RulesStrike Rules FAQ Picket Schedules and Locationshere at WGAContract2023.orgTwitterInstagramMastodon Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.

Duration:00:09:46

605 - Medicine and Mayhem

7/18/2023
John and Craig look at four tales of science, medicine and mayhem and ask, how would this be a movie? Stories include a catatonic woman who woke up after 20 years, a white supremacist transformed by MDMA, a drugged crypto lawyer, and an in-depth account of alien biology. But first we have a very special announcement: Scriptnotes LIVE is back! We also follow-up on recent episodes before Drew and Halley look at statements John and Craig made years ago to see if either of them have changed their tune. In our bonus segment for premium members, John and Craig discuss the changes that are coming to the world of Dungeons and Dragons with ONE D&D. Links: Scriptnotes LIVE! at Dynasty Typewriter in Los AngelesHollywoodHEART A catatonic woman awakened after 20 years. Her story may change psychiatry How a dose of MDMA transformed a white supremacist He Went After Crypto Companies. Then Someone Came After Him. Alien biology postAwakeningsLorenzo’s Oil74176238251The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the KingdomIMDbWikipediaIMDbWikipediaGet a Scriptnotes T-shirt!Check out the Inneresting NewsletterGift a Scriptnotes Subscriptiontreat yourself to a premium subscription!Craig MazinJohn AugustJohn on InstagramJohn on MastodonOutrosend us yours!Matthew Chilelli Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.

Duration:00:58:12