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Scriptnotes Podcast

Author: 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.
27 Episodes
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Join John and Craig for the Scriptnotes Live(stream) Show, featuring special guests: Ryan Reynolds and Phoebe Waller Bridge, this Saturday, April 4th at 10am PT! We will talk about writing material as actors, breaking the fourth wall, and of course, things that are interesting to screenwriters. They will also answer questions live (check for the YouTube link at JohnAugust.com) and play games with listeners. Scriptnotes Premium Members — apply to participate in a game show segment at JohnAugust.com/contestant! Email ask@johnaugust.come with any questions. Thanks and see you soon!
444 - Clueless

444 - Clueless

2020-03-3101:04:571

John and Craig analyze the iconic 1995 comedy Clueless. A contemporary adaptation of Jane Austen’s Emma set in Beverly Hills, Clueless follows protagonist Cher as she tries to do ‘good’ through make-over montages and match-making attempts. We discuss how the movie sets up the characters in the first ten minutes, why Cher’s voiceover works so well, and how Clueless ushered in a new era of teen movies. In our bonus segment for premium members, John and Craig share their own experiences learning to drive and how they’re preparing to teach their teenage daughters driving. Links: Clueless Clueless Script Sign up for Scriptnotes Premium here. John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Outro by Ryan Dunn (send us yours!) Scriptnotes is produced by Megana Rao and edited by Matthew Chilelli. Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.  
443 - What We're Up To

443 - What We're Up To

2020-03-2401:12:351

John and Craig share their tips for working from home, from writing sprints to taking walks. We also talk about how the recent shutdowns have affected Pay Up Hollywood, support staff, and what we’re doing about it. Finally, we hear from Scriptnotes guests and friends about how they are managing this challenging time. Longtime listeners, buckle up. Links: Huge thanks to all of our special guests for sharing! Follow them here: Emily Zulauf on Twitter, Mike Birbiglia on Instagram, Megana Rao on Twitter, BJ Novak on Twitter, Chris Nee on Twitter, Charlie Brooker on Twitter, David Iserson on Twitter, Susana Fogel on Twitter, Damon Lindelof on IMDb, David Wain on Twitter, Mari Heller on Instagram, Rawson Thurber on Twitter, Liz Hannah on Twitter, Malcolm Spellman on IMDb, Alison McDonald on IMDb, Ryan Knighton on Twitter, Ricki Lindhome on Twitter, Chris Keyser on Twitter, Lulu Wang on Twitter, and don’t forget to congratulate Matthew Chilelli on Twitter! Donate to the Scriptnotes and PayUpHollywood fundraiser to #SupportOurSupportStaff For LA based Support Staff apply for COVID-19 Relief Fund Dead Pilot Society and Online Codenames Two books by Matt Parker: Things to Make and Do in the Fourth Dimension and Humble Pi Sign up for Scriptnotes Premium here. John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Outro by Ryan Dunn (send us yours!) Scriptnotes is produced by Megana Rao and edited by Matthew Chilelli. Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.
John and Craig debunk the ‘rule’ that one page of screenplay equals one minute of film. They advise screenwriters on what this could mean for the industry and look forward to a future that moves beyond pages. We also follow up on our discussion of professional readers (00:02:02) and suggestions for giving your friends feedback. Then, a look at how coronavirus (00:33:11) has impacted Los Angeles and how we’re thinking about the situation. In our bonus segment (00:51:41), John and Craig debate which 1st level D&D spell we would choose to be able to cast in real life. Links: Scriptnotes Episode 441 – Readers How Accurate is the One Page per Minute Rule? Stephen Follows’s analysis on Is the One Page Per Minute Rule Correct? Try Highland 2 for free! Download Weekend Read to access your own or read our library of scripts today! Hollywood and Coronavirus Scriptnotes Episode 99: Psychotherapy for Screenwriters with captions on Youtube! Center for Health Security Updates Sign up for Scriptnotes Premium here. John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Outro by Jim Bond and James Llonch (send us yours!) Scriptnotes is produced by Megana Rao and edited by Matthew Chilelli. Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.
441 - Readers

441 - Readers

2020-03-1053:08

John and Craig talk about readers — both the friends you’d ask to look at your draft and the folks who professionally analyze scripts. They cover unions, state laws, and why companies should value good coverage. We also follow up on how to credit improv in scripts, share #PayUpHollywood feedback, and explain if/come deals. Stay tuned for our bonus segment, when John and Craig discuss their personal and general thoughts on baldness. Links: Craig to write ‘The Last of Us’ series Learn more on taking generals in Scriptnotes, Ep 439 Assistants, past or present, please write into ask@johnaugust.com with tips employers should consider and advice for assistants starting out! John’s coverage for Natural Born Killers and Sex in the Nineties How Story Analysts from Hollywood’s Golden Age Helped Build Movies, and a Lasting Labor Movement by Holly Sklar AB 5 in LA Times From listener, Anna Marie Cruz, Ten Things Secret Hitler Taught Me About Being A Liberal Veritas by Glitch Games Sign up for Scriptnotes Premium here. John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Outro by Jim Bond and James Llonch (send us yours!) Scriptnotes is produced by Megana Rao and edited by Matthew Chilelli. Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.
440 - Beyond Bars

440 - Beyond Bars

2020-03-0301:17:47

John moderates a panel discussion on the criminal justice system, incarceration and how to write about them. What’s real, what’s myth, and what stories need to be told? Guests include incarceration policy experts Aly Tamboura and Lovisa Stannow, writer Zach Calig of For Life, and documentarian Dan Birman (Me Facing Life). Then in our bonus segment (01:17:45), John and Craig discuss coronavirus: what we know, what we should be worried about, and whether crystals will help. Thank you to Hollywood Health & Society for organizing this event! Links: Beyond Bars: Changing the Narrative on Criminal Justice Watch the full panel here Aly Tamboura from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative Lovisa Stannow executive director at Just Detention International Zach Calig writer on For Life Dan Birman documentary producer, watch Me Facing Life on Netflix April 30th! What Happens After You’re Released from Prison? Scriptnotes, Episode 324 How Would This Be a Movie? On the Line: The Female Inmates Who Battle California’s Deadly Wildfires by Matt Toder for NBC News. Coronavirus Updates Sign up for Scriptnotes Premium here. John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Outro by Seth Podowitz (send us yours!) Scriptnotes is produced by Megana Rao and edited by Matthew Chilelli. Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.
John and Craig talk about how to grow old as a writer, specifically how your relationship with your art and craft can evolve with time. Then we discuss tips for general meetings (00:26:13), and answer listener questions about character quirks and improv. Finally, in our bonus segment for Premium Members, Craig discusses his acting debut on the new show Mythic Quest (00:55:55). Links: Tuesday Feb 25th, John hosts Q&A with showrunner Sam Esmail to talk about Mr. Robot, Homecoming and other things. Click here for tickets. Wednesday Feb 26th, Join John at Beyond Bars, a panel on potrayals of criminal justice on screen. Get your ticket here Stuff Matters by Mark Miodownik DoNotPay Watch Craig on Mythic Quest! Sign up for Scriptnotes Premium here. John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Outro by Matthew Chilelli (send us yours!) Scriptnotes is produced by Megana Rao and edited by Matthew Chilelli. Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.
438 - How to Listen

438 - How to Listen

2020-02-1801:06:572

John and Craig talk dialogue. How characters speak is an optimized version of real speech — but if you optimize too much you risk making your characters feel artificial. We listen to clips of real conversations to pick out patterns and tendencies you can incorporate to help improve written dialogue. Then we dive into the mailbag for questions on perspective (48:03), submission agreements (51:40), and best practices for non-WGA writers during a strike (55:58). In our bonus segment for premium subscribers (1:06:56), we get political and discuss the current state of the Democratic primary. Victory for both partnered Irish election opponents we discussed in episode 436 Scriptnotes, episode 241, in which John predicts Parasite Assistants’ Advice to Showrunners Mythic Quest on Apple TV+ California Penal Code 632 and the legality of eavesdropping Scriptnotes, episode 433 with Greta Gerwig Appalachian English from Mountain Talk The Austin History Center’s accounts from visitors and an interview with architect Tom Hatch Ben Platt on Las Culturistas with Matt Rogers and Bowen Yang Fck Work But Ima Go, episode 404 Key & Peele’s OK (uncensored) Scriptnotes, episode 45, in which we discuss perspective Adhesion contracts Travel Time Mark Kelly is running for Senate in Arizona John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Outro by James Llonch (send us yours!) Scriptnotes is produced by Megana Rao and edited by Matthew Chilelli. Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.
John and Craig discuss the other stuff screenwriters write, from beat sheets to scriptments and everything in between. The differences are sometimes subtle, but each can have value — in the right circumstance. After that, they dip into the mailbag (24:23) for questions on TV bibles, writing while traveling, and using “I” in titles. Premium subscribers: stick around for a bonus segment (47:31) on the Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator and how its questions may be useful to screenwriters. John will be part of the Beyond Bars: Changing the Narrative on Criminal Justice panel on February 26th Contact brand@johnaugust.com for information on Highland 2 for students and educators Outlines and treatments on screenwriting.io, and some examples in the johnaugust.com library Scriptnotes, episodes 436, 434, and 432 Reddit’s r/imsorryjon Scott Silver on IMDb and Wikipedia The Myers–Briggs Type Indicator on Wikipedia and an online test The Big Five personality traits John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Outro by James Llonch (send us yours!) Scriptnotes is produced by Megana Rao and edited by Matthew Chilelli. Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.
436 - Political Movies

436 - Political Movies

2020-02-0401:10:07

John and Craig welcome back Liz Hannah to talk about her upcoming Netflix movie, All the Bright Places, and Hollywood’s often-frustrating reliance on IP. Particularly with non-fiction stories, has Hollywood warped journalistic ambitions? All of which serves as setup for another round of How Would This Be a Movie? (00:41:54), where we look at the Jeff Bezos phone hack, Carlos Ghosn, and a romantic political showdown. In our bonus segment for premium members (01:10:06), we discuss what is and is not okay to do with physical books, and situations where we’re willing to trade pixels for print. Links: Liz Hannah on Twitter and IMDb, and Scriptnotes episodes 242 and 359 The 2020 WGA Award nominees and winners Arlo Finch in the Kingdom of Shadows will be having a Launch Event: February 9, 2pm at Chevalier’s on Larchmont Scriptnotes, Episode 434 in which we discuss Knives Out MoviePass parent Helios and Matheson files for Chapter 7 and stock falls to zero, on MarketWatch All the Bright Places comes to Netflix on February 28 They Made a Movie Out of It by James Pogue John Gruber on the Jeff Bezos phone hack The New York Times on Carlos Ghosn’s escape and the Hollywood connection ‘Like a bad romcom’: couple run against each other in Irish election from The Guardian Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion by Jia Tolentino Superieur Electrolytes Star Battle puzzles Wit’s End on Amazon John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Outro by Lachlan Marks (send us yours!) Scriptnotes is produced by Megana Rao and edited by Matthew Chilelli. Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.
John talks with writer-director Noah Baumbach about his film Marriage Story. With script in hand, we discuss his writing process, handling overlapping dialogue, and how to find balance in a two-hander. We also answer a listener question about LA vs. New York apartments (01:05:16), and the challenge of making boring things interesting. In our bonus segment for premium members (01:14:26), Craig returns to discuss escape rooms! Links: Read the script for Marriage Story here or watch Marriage Story APA Signed with WGA, congrats APA! Megan McDonnell, former Scriptnotes Producer, to write Captain Marvel Sequel. Congrats! David Byrne’s American Utopia Noah Baumbach John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Outro by Alex Winder (send us yours!) Scriptnotes is produced by Megana Rao and edited by Matthew Chilelli. Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.
434 - Ambition and Anxiety

434 - Ambition and Anxiety

2020-01-2101:21:363

John and Craig discuss the difference between ambition and anxiety, and how writers can find a balance. We also follow up on agency developments and a new study that shows the live-action Aladdin is good for your health. Then we host another round of the Three Page Challenge, this time focusing on establishing the setting. Thank you to all of our participants, especially Janelle B. Gatchalian, Alex Beattie, and Linda Yardley. And for our Premium Members, John and Craig express their views on gift bags, and in particular coffee mugs. Special thanks to Bo Shim and Jacq Lesko. Links: Sign up for premium here Arlo Finch in the Kingdom of Shadows Launch Event: February 9, 2pm at Chevalier’s on Larchmont Gersh Signs Agency Agreement Aladdin Will Save Your Life Download Highland 2 here, professors and students interested in the free student edition, email brand@johnaugust.com Download Weekend Read to read Academy Award nominated scripts Knives Out by Rian Johnson Bruja by Janelle B. Gatchalian Night of Game by Alex Beattie Upward Mobility by Linda Minella Yardley (Story by Carol Gold Lande and Linda Minella Yardley) House of Da Vinci How America Uses its Land Sweetgreen Composting John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Outro by Jemma Moran (send us yours!) Scriptnotes is produced by Megana Rao and edited by Matthew Chilelli Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.
John and Greta Gerwig (writer/director of Little Women and Lady Bird) discuss adaptation, ambition and authorship. With the screenplay in front of them, they look at specific scenes in Little Women and explore how its non-linear timeline changed how the movie works. We also answer listener questions on writing for the page and starting a family as an aspiring writer. Craig joins us for the post-credits bonus segment when he shares what it was like winning a Golden Globe for Chernobyl. Links: Follow along with the Little Women script in Weekend Read Little Women Script NYT Article with John and Megana Hollywood Assistants Are Fed Up by Rachel Abrams Sign up for Scriptnotes Premium here New York in Color Jigsaw Puzzle Behave by Robert Sapolsky Greta Gerwig John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Outro by Jemma Moran (send us yours!) Scriptnotes is produced by Megana Rao and edited by Matthew Chilelli. Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here. **UPDATE 1-15-2020**This episode was republished due to a production issue. 
John and Craig discuss what screenwriters can learn from watching movies. They cover techniques for making the most of the movies they watch and the questions you should be asking afterward. We also share more advice from listeners about moving to LA and lots of answers FOR listeners who’ve written in with questions. And for Scriptnotes Premium members, we have a bonus segment discussing The Mandalorian. Links: Southern California Counseling Center How I Created A Deepfake of Mark Zuckerberg and Star Trek’s Data by Timothy Lee for Ars Technica Vertiflex Superion John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Outro by Adam Locke Norton (send us yours!) Scriptnotes is produced by Megana Rao and edited by Matthew Chilelli. Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.
In the tradition of the Raiders and Little Mermaid episodes, John and guest host Aline Brosh McKenna discuss and dissect the award-winning, record-setting, paradigm-shifting Frozen. But this time, we have the writer on hand to answer our questions. Jennifer Lee not only wrote Frozen, she co-directed it. She talks us through all the twists, turns, and happy surprises on the journey. We go scene-by-scene and song-by-song to look at how it works and how it changed during development. It’s an episode full of spoilers. But it’s also totally PG, so if your kids want to listen, let ‘em. Craig will be back next week with an all-new episode and no recollection of what happened. *This post originally aired on January 28, 2014 Links: Aline Brosh McKenna on episodes 60, 76, 100, 101, 119, 123 and 124 Jennifer Lee on IMDb and Wikipedia Frozen The Frozen final shooting draft Let it Go in 25 languages Our episodes on Raiders of the Lost Ark and Little Mermaid Outro by Scriptnotes listener Matthew Chilelli   You can download the episode here: AAC | mp3. UPDATE 2-1-14: The transcript of this episode can be found here.
John sits down with Damon Lindelof (Lost, The Leftovers) for a bonus-length discussion of all things TV. We focus on getting that first job, breaking story, and how writing rooms work. We also answer listener questions ranging from knowing when to let a pilot script die, to crediting original ideas. Finally, we talk about the notion of Idea Debt, and how to say goodbye to projects you’ll never complete. This episode originally aired on April 18, 2017. Links: Damon Lindelof The Leftovers: Final Season Trailer Jessica Abel on Idea Debt How I Got Out of Idea Debt by John Sexton Occupied City Girl John Hodgman’s Only Child 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. UPDATE 4-24-17: The transcript of this episode can be found here.
John and Craig welcome Kevin Feige (President of Marvel Studios), Lorene Scafaria (Hustlers, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World), and Shoshannah Stern (This Close, Weeds, Jericho), to discuss creating an early aughts period piece, working with co-writers, and making genre movies out of comic books. We also introduce Scriptnotes Premium and play games on Real vs. Fake Awards Shows and literal movie quotes. Stay tuned for our bonus segment after the credits when we answer audience questions about the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and creative rituals. Thank you to the Writers Guild Foundation and the LA Film School for hosting us! Links: Sign up for Scriptnotes Premium Thank you to our incredible guests: Kevin Feige, Lorene Scafaria, and Shoshannah Stern, for joining us! And thanks to Robbie Sutton and Elizabeth Green for interpreting the show. Scriptnotes, Ep 44: Endings for Beginnings Twitter Block Chain Extension AI Dungeon Bathtubs Over Broadway Soundtrack FDA Approves Transparent Surgical Masks Dolly Parton’s America Podcast Kevin Feige on Twitter Lorene Scafaria on Twitter Shoshannah Stern on Twitter John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Outro and Intro by Matthew Chilelli (send us yours!) Scriptnotes is produced by Megana Rao and edited by Matthew Chilelli Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.
John and guest host Aline Brosh McKenna welcome writer/showrunner Tim Federle (High School Musical: The Musical: The Series) to talk about his path from Broadway to Hollywood and how he came to create his first TV show. Along the way, we discuss TV musicals, LA vs. New York and pitch decks. We also follow up on the #PayUpHollywood survey results with producer Megana Rao and the new Academy screener app. Stick around after the credits for a special bonus segment about online stan culture. Links: #PayUpHollywood Releases Survey of 1,500 Entertainment Industry Assistants’ Pay, Working Conditions How Tracking My Excuses Helped Me Stop Making Them by Leigh Stein Cleansing Conditioners: R+Co Analog and Bella Spirit A is for Audra John August on Twitter Aline Brosh McKenna on Twitter Tim Federle on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Outro by Matthew Chilelli (send us yours!) Scriptnotes is produced by Megana Rao and edited by Matthew Chilelli Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.
John and Craig use Thanksgiving break to finally answer some long-gestating listener questions, ranging from writing television with act breaks to keeping your drafts organized. Plus we’ll look at two moves by the US Justice Department and their impact on screenwriters. In this week’s bonus segment, we do a meme! We’ll compare and reflect on our beliefs at the start and end of the decade. Links: Scriptnotes Holiday Live Show Assistant Townhall Extra Episode Assistant Townhall Full Livestream Justice Department on WGA ATA negotiations Justice Department Moves to End Paramount Decree Scriptnotes T-shirts now featuring all past designs! Writer Emergency Pack Alphabirds John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Outro by Jemma Moran (send us yours!) Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.
Extra - Assistants Townhall

Extra - Assistants Townhall

2019-12-0301:15:57

John moderates the first Assistants Town Hall with panelists Liz Alper and Jamarah Hayne from #PayUpHollywood, Allison Begalman from Young Entertainment Activists, and employment attorney Jennifer Kramer. The panel examines the current conditions for assistants in Hollywood, the need to determine an accurate livable wage, and next steps for assistants and employers. We also open the floor to questions from assistants and viewers from the livestream. This recording is an abridged version of the event, if you’re interested in watching the whole thing please click the link below! Links: Assistant Townhall Livestream thank you to CNT productions and everyone who helped make this event more accessible! Rent Burdened in LA #PayUpHollywood explained: Industry assistants are speaking out about their wages Thank you to Young Entertainment Activists, CNT Productions, and #PayUpHollwood John August on Twitter Liz Alper on Twitter Allison Begalman on Twitter Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.
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Comments (16)

Alessandro Giannini

What's with this archive? I can't hear it, 'cause it's broken!

Jan 28th
Reply

Michael Anthony

Doesn't work

Jan 22nd
Reply

Lionel Kékéndi

This was insightful!

Jan 17th
Reply

Charles Cooper

This one doesn't play for me on CastBox

Jan 8th
Reply (1)

Matthew Broughton

This one is not working.

Jan 8th
Reply (1)

lcstld

Good episode.

Oct 2nd
Reply

Bobo Momo

lol, greetings from your Ukrainian subscriber!

Sep 24th
Reply

Nathan Densley

just found the channel. starting at the beginning on Castbox and see what I can learn

Jul 24th
Reply

Ignacio Torres

It's funny that they talk about "voice twins" and how they could give scripts to fakes because this doesn't sound like Charlie Brooker to me.

Jun 25th
Reply

apricotic

none of your podcasts are loading for me on castbox :( even when downloaded...

May 29th
Reply (1)

Secret lover

When i encourtered this woman I was fascinated by her voice and personality traits: laughter caught my attention-- her being alive and intelligence. We talked here and there but never met in person perhaps just a glance. I just feel bad and sorry because I tried to hide how I feel about her and don't intend to develop more feelings. I get intimidated by her approach sometimes and often make excuses to throw her off. I mean, there is no excuses for a bad behavior so I do apologise for making you feel that way. I am nothing compared to you and im unaware of things in my surroundings so in case you have not notice. There has been a lack of communication and therefore being judged too soon is difficult. I know you would forgive me if I say I deeply care.

Oct 7th
Reply

D.j. Zelczak

Writing excuses

Aug 22nd
Reply

The Craigpocalypse

gd

Feb 22nd
Reply
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