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
    • 4.8 • 308 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.

    511 - Framing the Episode

    511 - Framing the Episode

    John and Craig zoom out to analyze how the cultural context affects the perception of a movie, and the choices writers have to make.
    We look at vaccine mandates for productions and answer listener questions about cheesy writing, zombie references, and diversity fellowships.
    Finally in our bonus segment for premium members, we discuss the Black Widow lawsuit and what it means for writers financially.
    Links:
    Kerri Strug Shouldn’t Have Been Forced to Do That Vault Amanda Knox’s twitter thread and Medium article Mandatory Vaccinations On Productions An Option Under Return-To-Work Protocols Disney to Mandate COVID-19 Vaccinations for All U.S. Staffers Netflix To Require Covid Vaccinations For Actors & Other “Zone A” Personnel On Its U.S. Productions Little Island by Barry Diller Scarlett Johansson’s ‘Black Widow’ Lawsuit Is Game-Changing, But May Be Legally Weak by Eriq Gardner Scarlett Johansson Sues Disney Over ‘Black Widow’ Streaming Release on WSJ Escape Ops on Calgary 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 Caden Brown (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.

    • 52 min
    510 - Craft Compendium

    510 - Craft Compendium

    John and Craig curate a collection of craft topics: character wants and needs, point of view, and letting your heroes drive scenes. From internal struggles to the external obstacles, they share how to design a story that best serves a character’s journey.
    We wrap up our clip show with a discussion on what we are still learning about craft. Defensive writing, the demons of perfectionism–John and Craig also face these obstacles and share advice on overcoming them.
    Finally in our bonus segment for premium members, John and Craig discuss how they deal with ‘want versus need’ in real life.
    Links:
    Episode 279, What Do They Want? Episode 358, Point of View Episode 307, Teaching Your Heroes to Drive For more on character wants check out John’s blogposts: Rethinking Motivation and What Does He Want. Creatures before Dinosaurs: Dunkleosteus and the Carolina Butcher Fort Macleod Get our new 10th Anniversary T-Shirts Gift a Scriptnotes Subscription or treat yourself to a premium subscription! John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Outro by William Brink (send us yours!) Scriptnotes is produced by Megana Rao (with segments by Godwin Jabangwe and Megan McDonnell!) and edited by Matthew Chilelli. Email us at ask@johnaugust.com
    You can download the episode here.

    • 1 hr 25 min
    509 - Foreshadowing

    509 - Foreshadowing

    John and Craig hint at the best ways to tease expectations in their discussion of foreshadowing. They take a look at popular examples, the difference between foreshadow and symbolism, and techniques for executing it well.
    We answer listener questions on bad premieres, bad bosses, and good home theatre set-ups. We also double-down on on our pro-spoiler platform, using scientific research to explain how spoilers benefit audiences.
    Finally in our bonus segment for premium members, we analyze the death of the DVD commentary and Craig’s role in its reincarnation.
    Links:
    Calgary Stampede Get our new 10th Anniversary T-Shirts USC’s Peter Stark Producing Program Taps Ed Saxon & Nina Yang Bongiovi For New Leadership Roles Story Spoilers Don’t Spoil Stories Spoiler alert: spoilers make you enjoy stories more Jurassic Park Foreshadow Scene Tapping Into the Brain to Help a Paralyzed Man Speak for the NYT by Pam Belluck Chicken Police Game Get a Scriptnotes T-shirt! Gift a Scriptnotes Subscription or treat yourself to a premium subscription! John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Outro by Michael Karman (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.

     

    • 58 min
    508 - Creating a TV Comedy

    508 - Creating a TV Comedy

    John welcomes writer/producer/creator Jen Statsky to discuss getting started writing comedy, from late night to The Onion to The Good Place. Then it’s a deep dive on the Hacks pilot, looking at how jokes change from the page to the edit.
    We follow up on the best way to get fired, the WGA pilot guide, and answer listener questions on working in comedy.
    Finally in our bonus segment for premium members, John and Jen take a look at artistry and ownership through the latest development in the Cat Person saga.
    Links:
    WGA Pilot Guide Hacks on HBO check out the pilot script here. Jen Statsky on Twitter You Are Bi Enough by Zachary Zane for NYT Caffeine Free Diet Cola syrup by SodaStream I Hate Suzie on HBO Max 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 Peter Hoopes (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 24 min
    507 - Preproduction

    507 - Preproduction

    John and Craig discuss preproduction, with Craig sharing how he’s prepping for an entire season of television. From costumes to casting, we look at the showrunner’s decisions beyond just the words in the script.
    Then it’s another round of How Would This Be A Movie, with further analysis on why certain movies get made.
    Finally in our bonus segment for premium members, John and Craig debate what information belongs on a time traveller’s cheat sheet.
    Links:
    Zola Movie discussed in our HWTBAM segment on Episode 222. The Criminals Thought the Devices Were Secure. But the Seller Was the F.B.I. 1,000-Word Job Listing for a “Household Manager/Cook/Nanny and follow up An Interview With the Woman Who Wrote the Viral 1,000-Word Job Listing for a “Household Manager/Cook/Nanny from Ruth Graham on Slate. Couple breaks up after being handcuffed together for 123 days Must I really indulge my ‘psychic’ sister-in-law? Decoder Ring: The Tootsie Shot Gift a Scriptnotes Subscription or treat yourself to a premium subscription! John August on Twitter Liz Hannah on Twitter John on Instagram Outro by Michael Karman (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.

    • 53 min
    506 - Good News, Bad News

    506 - Good News, Bad News

    John welcomes back Liz Hannah (The Post, The Long Shot, All the Bright Places) to explore the bad side of good news. They discuss the challenges of celebrating accomplishments in a mercurial industry, and follow up with a discussion on how to handle being fired.
    We also answer listener questions on becoming successful before your friends, multiple timelines, spoilers, and weigh in on the IATSE negotiations.
    Finally, in our bonus segment for premium members we talk about our pets. We cover pocket pets and why ultimately dogs are a screenwriter’s best friend.
    Links:
    Join John at 5pm, Tuesday the June 29th, for the Ad Council summit about vaccine storylines in scripted entertainment IATSE Negotiations Zola Movie Sleep with Me Film Army of the Dead Pitch Meeting Battle for the Soul by Edward-Isaac Dovere Yearbook by Seth Rogan Get a Scriptnotes T-shirt! Gift a Scriptnotes Subscription or treat yourself to a premium subscription! John August on Twitter Liz Hannah 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.

    • 55 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
308 Ratings

308 Ratings

tezmabob ,

Regarding ep. 501 on “You’ll never walk alone”

Hi Guys,
As a mancunian I thought you ought to know that the song “You’ll never walk alone” was originally sung by fans of Manchester United until Liverpool fans caught onto it and it became more associated with the Scousers than the Mancs

harrygb95 ,

Amazing

This show is amazing for anyone looking to move into screenwriting.

richquick ,

Breathtakingly brilliant

You’re a writer from a small town, stuck in the ordinary world. You’re about to go on an epic journey and slay the Hollywood dragon.

John and Craig are your spirit guides. They’re not going to fight your battles, but they’ll tell you everything you need to complete your journey.

The reason they’re so good? They’ve been on this journey themselves. They’re both experienced top level screenwriters. Not failed writers who’ve wound up teaching or writing books on screenplays.

Listen to their advice, young Hobbit / Skywalker / Screenwriter. And may your journey be long and interesting.

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