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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.
71 Episodes
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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. 
432 - Learning from Movies

432 - Learning from Movies

2020-01-0700:56:45

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.
428 - Assistant Writers

428 - Assistant Writers

2019-11-2601:14:00

John and Craig talk about best practices for assistants who write and how to properly credit support staff. We also touch on the state of WGA negotiations on both the studio and agency front, as well as a look ahead to the AMPTP deal. In our bonus segment, we’ll make our final ruling on cats. Links: Buy tickets for our Live Show Thursday, December 12th with Kevin Feige, Lorene Scafaria, Shoshannah Stern, and Josh Feldman! Professionalism in the Age of the Influencer, read the full text of John’s speech Watch the Assistant Townhall Learn more about Agency Affiliates Solar Mirror Breakthrough Archimedes’ Mirror John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Outro by Matthew Chilelli (send us yours!) Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.
John and Craig welcome back writer/comedian Mike Birbiglia (Sleepwalk with Me, My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend) to discuss his one-man show “The New One.” When writing about yourself, how much has to be true? What responsibilities do you have to friends and loved ones? Then it’s a new round of the Three Page Challenge, where we look at the first three pages in listeners’ scripts. We also address Akiva Schaffer’s concerns on movie screeners and try our first-ever bonus segment after the credits. Links: Three Page Challenge – F.T.S. by Danielle Motley Three Page Challenge – Dunked by John Bickerstaff Buy tickets to our live show with guests Kevin Feige, Lorene Scafaria, Shoshannah Stern, and Josh Feldman on December 12th at the LA Film School here. Join us or livestream the Assistant Townhall this Sunday, November 24th Spleeter open source music separation library Brains Sweep Themselves Clean Of Toxins During Sleep by Jon Hamilton Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams by Matthew Walker Support local! Books are Magic Mike Birbiglia on Twitter John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Outro by Matthew Chilelli (send us yours!) Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.
John and Craig welcome writer-director Lulu Wang (The Farewell) to discuss not explaining things and the recipe for creating your own luck. We also answer listener questions on reactive protagonists, finding friends in LA, and Chris McQuarrie’s Twitter thread. Links: The Farewell Chris McQuarrie Twitter Thread A Lot Of Old Sitcoms Don’t Hold Up. “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” Does. by Jennifer Keishin Armstrong God Warrior Remains a Beloved Meme, But Marguerite Perrin Isn’t Afraid of Dark-Sided Stuff Anymore by Justin Klein Three Women by Lisa Taddeo Lulu Wang on Twitter John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Outro by James Llonch & Jim Bond (send us yours!) Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.
John and Craig discuss when writers should practice tough love vs. self-care. Inspired by Chuck Wendig’s blog post, they examine how real-world issues impact writers’ ability to get work done — but how they can also be used as an excuse for procrastination and laziness. They offer a checklist for helping decide whether it’s time to be harder or easier on yourself. We also follow up on the Austin Film Festival, fan backlash, and show-runner tips for championing assistant pay, especially during the holiday season. Links: The Official Watchmen Podcast with Craig Mazin Susannah Grant on Creative Decisions behind Unbelievable Release Michael Greene Holiday Bonus Twitter Thread Tough Love vs. Self Care:Sharp Rock, Soft Pillow: The Balance Of Self-Care And Tough Love Chuck Wendig: Terrible Minds One Page Dungeon by watabou Superhero Therapy John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Outro by Matthew Chilelli (send us yours!) Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.
Craig hosts Scriptnotes Live at The Austin Film Festival with guests Ayanna Floyd (The Chi, Empire), Liz Hannah (The Post, Mind Hunter), Nichelle Tramble (Truth Be Told, The Good Wife), Malcolm Spellman (The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Empire), David Mandel (Veep, Curb Your Enthusiasm), David Benioff and D.B. Weiss (Game of Thrones). They discuss the power of television, writing for the binge model, and the value of telling stories you want to watch. We also play a Craig and David Kwong puzzle on movie quotes and host a round of How Do You Follow THAT Up? Huge thank you to all of our guests! Links: Ayanna Floyd on Twitter and IMDB Liz Hannah on Twitter and IMDB Nichelle Tramble Spellman on IMDB Malcolm Spellman on IMDB David Mandel on Twitter and IMDB David Benioff on IMDB D.B. Weiss on IMDB John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Outro by Matthew Chilelli (send us yours!) Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.
423 - Minimum Viable Movie

423 - Minimum Viable Movie

2019-10-2201:02:01

John and Craig discuss how to figure out if a given idea can work as a movie. What are the minimum requirements for story and vision a writer should consider before starting on a screenplay? We also invite Megana Rao and Bo Shim to follow up on our discussion of low assistant pay. Plus follow up from the WGA and video game industry awards, and a look ahead to the Austin Film Festival. Links: Austin Film Festival Schedule Taylor Swift Tiny Desk Concert on NPR What Is the Time Signature of the Ominous Electronic Score of The Terminator? by Seth Stevenson John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Outro by Tyler Adams (send us yours!) Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here  
John and Craig tackle the issue of assistant pay in Hollywood. Last week they called for assistants to share how much they were getting paid and the impact of those wages. They received a record number of responses highlighting the inequities in the industry. Using these emails, they take a look at the biggest issues with current pay and the challenges ahead. We also discuss videogame writing, spec features, and thesauri. Thank you to all of the Hollywood assistants who wrote in for this episode! Links: Hollywood’s Grueling Hours & Drowsy-Driving Problem: Crew Members Speak Out Despite Threat To Careers WGA Will No Longer Award Video Game Writing John’s Post on Assistant Pay Untitled Goose Game Queer Qrosswords John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Outro by Naomi Randall (send us yours!) Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here
421 - Follow Upisode

421 - Follow Upisode

2019-10-0800:59:58

John and Craig follow up on things they’ve discussed in the previous 420 episodes, so you might want to listen to those first. We check in on getting an agent, copyright law, the future of the industry, post-2016 election reflections, assistant pay, and much more. Links: Scriptnotes, Ep 5, Copyright and Work for Hire Real-Life ‘Terminator’: Major Studios Face Sweeping Loss of Iconic ‘80s Film Franchise Rights by Eriq Gardner Copyright Section 203 Friday 13th Screenwriter Wins Rights Battle by Eriq Gardner Scriptnotes, Ep 2, How to get an agent and/or manager Scriptnotes, Ep 389, The Future of the Industry How Ari Emanuel’s Outsize IPO Dreams Were Dashed by Kim Masters Why Endeavor’s IPO U-Turn Was a Surprisingly Brilliant Move by Lawrence Meyers WeWork: At What Point Does Malfeasance Become Fraud by Scott Galloway Scriptnotes, Ep 42, Verbs are what’s happening Extra, This Feeling Will End Ep 335, Introducing Launch Launch Podcast Scriptnotes Ep 419, Professionalism Scriptnotes Ep 403, How to Write A Movie Scriptnotes Ep 420, The One with Seth Rogen LA Report Broken Lights and Crosswalk Buttons Escape Room Apps by Goro Sato John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Outro by Jim Bond (send us yours!) Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here
John and Craig welcome writer/actor/producer/director Seth Rogen (Superbad, Knocked Up, Good Boys) to the podcast. They discuss Seth’s writing process, evolving with a creative partner, and the cinematic origins of 420. Seth then joins them for another edition of How Would This Be a Movie? looking at stories ranging from corruption, cattle mutilation, and geriatric thieves. Links: 420 origins according to Wikipedia ‘Someone’s Gotta Tell the Freakin’ Truth’: Jerry Falwell’s Aides Break Their Silence by Brandon Ambrosino Mysterious Oregon Cattle Killings, Mutilations Alarm Ranchers by Diana Kruzman An 82-year-old Man Slipped Past Doormen in Upscale Buildings for Years and Stole $400k in Jewelry, Police Say by Madeline Holcombe and Joshua Girsky How to Tighten Up Your Game at Work When You’re Depressed by Captain Awkward Saucey: Alcohol Delivery App Hilarity for Charity National Expungement Week, Seth’s PSA John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter Seth Rogen on Twitter John on Instagram Outro by Rajesh Naroth (send us yours!) Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here
John and Craig discuss Craig’s experience winning two Emmys this week.
419 - Professionalism

419 - Professionalism

2019-09-2401:01:32

John and Craig discuss topics ranging from the Emmys to elections, professionalism to patronage, along with the state of #MeToo. We also answer listener questions on credits and ask for your thoughts on potential changes to our premium subscriptions. Links: The Emmy Award Winners Congrats Craig! WGA Election Results She Said: Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story That Helped Ignite a Movement by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey Why I Quit the Writer’s Room by Walter Mosley Professional Writing and the Rise of the Amateur John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Outro by Jon Spurney (send us yours!) Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here
John and Craig welcome legendary screenwriter David Koepp (Jurassic Park, Death Becomes Her, Carlito’s Way, Mission: Impossible, Spider-Man and Panic Room) to talk about adaptations, embargoes, books and the modern blockbuster, which David has had an outsized role in shaping. We also cover exposition in science fiction and how action writing has evolved over the last twenty years. Links: David Koepp Alex Billington on embargoes. Cold Storage by David Koepp Spark Email App Freedom App The Intelligence Trap: Why Smart People Make Dumb Mistakes Essentialism John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter David Koepp on Instagram John on Instagram Outro by Matthew Chilelli (send us yours!) Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.
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Comments (14)

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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