20 episodes

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.

Scriptnotes Podcast John August and Craig Mazin

    • TV & Film
    • 4.9 • 155 Ratings

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.

    517 - Smart People Talking About TV

    517 - Smart People Talking About TV

    This week, we revisit some of our favorite conversations with TV writers, including Mindy Kaling (The Mindy Project), Alison McDonald (American Dad!), Ryan Knighton (In the Dark), Aline Brosh McKenna and Rachel Bloom (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend). They share their philosophies and practical advice for writing television.
    We talk about getting staffed, the first day in a writers room, when to speak, development heartbreak, and mapping out a story across seasons. Other important topics include lunch, how to dress, and hot tub brainstorm sessions.
    In our bonus segment for premium members, John and Megana answer listener questions about Scriptnotes production.
    Links:
    Mindy Kaling on IMDb and Twitter Alison McDonald on IMDb and Twitter Ryan Knighton on IMDb and Twitter Aline Brosh McKenna on IMDb and on Twitter Rachel Bloom on IMDb and on Instagram John Gatins on IMDb Scriptnotes, Episode 362: The One with Mindy Kaling Scriptnotes, Episode 368: Advice for a New Staff Writer Scriptnotes, Episode 350: Limerance One Thing You Should Read: Most Hollywood Writers Look Nothing Like America by Hannah Giorgis writing for The Atlantic Get a Scriptnotes T-shirt! Gift a Scriptnotes Subscription or treat yourself to a premium subscription! Craig Mazin on Twitter John August 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.

    • 1 hr 30 min
    516 - 10 Year Anniversary

    516 - 10 Year Anniversary

    Editor and critic Julia Turner puts John and Craig in the hot seat to review the past ten years of Scriptnotes. They cover the original mission, behind scenes fights, notable guests, and their biggest regrets.
    We also predict what we think the next ten years will bring and share a Scriptnotes love story.
    In our bonus segment for premium members, Julia has John and Craig play “How Would This Be A Movie?” with the past decade of Scriptnotes. From casting to romance and rivalry, they outline the Scriptnotes Cinematic Universe.
    Special thanks to Julia Turner for hosting! Listen to her every week on Slate’s Culture Gabfest.
    Links:
    Julia Turner on the LA Times and Slate Culture Gabfest The Matrix Trailer Scriptnotes, Episode 411: Setting it Up with Katie Silberman Empire of Pain by Patrick Radden Keefe The Academy Museum Hawk Deborah Vankin for the LA Times Lego Typewriter, check out John’s finished project! Ketchup Doritos Check out the Scriptnotes Index for our first 500 episodes Get a Scriptnotes T-shirt! Gift a Scriptnotes Subscription or treat yourself to a premium subscription! Julia Turner on Twitter 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.

    • 1 hr 13 min
    515 - Ashley is Back

    515 - Ashley is Back

    John welcomes back writer/performer Ashley Nicole Black (A Black Lady Sketch Show, Ted Lasso, The Amber Ruffin Show) to prove good things come in twos. They dive into her two Emmy nominations, joining a show in its second season, and the opportunities of both writing and acting in a series.
    We follow up on the WGA East elections and ghosting producers. We also answer listener questions on problematic female character intros and writing sports scenes.
    In our bonus segment we take a look at TV’s white guy problem.
    Links:
    The Double-Nominated Emmy Contender Taking Over TV Comedy Industry News: Fran Drescher, Leads SAG-AFTRA, IATSE Contract Negotiation, WGA East Elections New Teeth by Simon Rich on Amazon or Bookshop Gifted short story by Simon Rich Highland 2 Student License A is For Estelle Colored Glass TV’s White Guys are in Crisis by Kathryn Vanarendonk My Abortion Story on John’s blog Ashley Nicole Black on Twitter Get a Scriptnotes T-shirt! Gift a Scriptnotes Subscription or treat yourself to a premium subscription! John August on Twitter John on Instagram Outro by Zach Lo (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.

    • 57 min
    514 - Looking Back and Forward

    514 - Looking Back and Forward

    John and Craig take a look at the WGA East elections, specifically the debate over who the WGA should represent and how to prepare for new trends in digital media.
    We revisit predictions we made about superhero movies and break down logical fallacies in a follow up to our conspiracy discussion. We also answer listener questions about ethical writing assignments, reading lists, and bored executives.
    In our bonus segment for premium members, we talk about how life has gotten better in the past few decades. Craig highlights the technological improvements in diapers and car stereos.
    Links:
    Episode 167, The Tentpoles of 2019 and transcript The Original Superhero Slate from 2013 from Newsarama Episode 512: There is No Conspiracy WGA East Election WGA East Considers Spinning Off Digital News Members Into New Union Amid “Existential Threat” by David Robb Adam Conover WGA East Twitter Thread University of Michigan Study: Evolution now accepted by majority of Americans What Remains of Edith Finch Game Improvements since the 1990s by Gwern Branwen Get a Scriptnotes T-shirt! Gift a Scriptnotes Subscription or treat yourself to a premium subscription! John August on Twitter John on Instagram Outro by Christiaan Mentz (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.

    • 59 min
    513 - Writing for Stars

    513 - Writing for Stars

    John welcomes back writer/producer Kelly Marcel (Venom, Cruella) for an action-packed episode. They break down a scene on the page, and then Kelly walks John through how she adapts and rewrites scenes in real time on set.
    We also discuss writing scripts with a star and why you should always cast your movies before writing them (at least in your mind). We follow up on day-and-date releases, taking a look at this year’s box office and streaming numbers.
    In our bonus segment for premium members, we discuss dealing with visas as an international writer and the struggle of proving “exceptional ability.”
    Links:
    Original Movies Are Becoming Streaming’s Most Popular Content, Led By Disney+ by Kevin Tran for Variety Foreign Writers on Getting a Visa Venom Excerpt Meet the Ipsums Loóna Sleep App Kelly Marcel and on Twitter Get a Scriptnotes T-shirt, check out our special 10th Anniversary Shirts! Gift a Scriptnotes Subscription or treat yourself to a premium subscription! John August 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.

    • 50 min
    512 - There is No Conspiracy

    512 - There is No Conspiracy

    John and Craig host another round of the Three Page Challenge, analyzing a range of listener submissions from scripts set in rural Japan to Manhattan strip clubs. They discuss establishing setting, grounding big characters, and introducing narration.
    We also take a look at the lecture scene: how it can fall flat and tips for making it work. Then we answer a listener question on whether writers have an ethical responsibility to stop writing conspiracy theory stories.
    In our bonus segment for premium members, John invites writer/comedian Sara Schaefer (The Schaefer Shakedown) to discuss her three steps for selling your TV show.
    Links:
    Courtney Kemp’s Deal at Netflix Trey Parker and Matt Stone of South Park Deal Hello Sunshine Sale Frankenweenie Trickster: Night of the Kitsune by Hiroshi Mori Martha by Caroline O'Riordan The Many Lives of Newton Thomas by Sean Frost Collection of TV Scripts Circulous Game Sara Schaefer’s Twitter Clip Schaefer Shakedown Get a Scriptnotes T-shirt! Gift a Scriptnotes Subscription or treat yourself to a premium subscription! John August on Twitter John on Instagram Outro by Andrew Hart (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.

    • 1 hr 7 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
155 Ratings

155 Ratings

Ged M Wood ,

Such a great podcast.

Fascinating, informative and inspiring. Sets a high standard for all other podcasts to aim for.

Paul Zagoridis ,

Fascinating, Informative & Inspiring

Scriptnotes is an education for anybody interested in writing and things interesting to writers. But it is also compelling for its insight into modern Movie, TV and streaming show creation. Plus listener questions are answered regularly. I never miss a new episode

Leviathanovich ,

I really tried

1. The discussions on craft are too short. Expected more from these two experienced writers.
2. The structure of the show is frustrating. You have to listen to listeners’ letters before you get to the topic of the episode.
3. Too much politics. Leave it out, guys.

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