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
    • 5.0 • 1 Rating

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.

    639 - Intrinsic Motivation

    639 - Intrinsic Motivation

    John and Craig can’t help but look at intrinsic motivations — those specific internal drives that guide characters behavior. They discuss how to structure and expose that internal drive, the importance of an innate irritability, how it can stop your characters from becoming flat, and rewarding that intrinsic motivation with choice.
    But first, we follow up on AI training, blueprints and “important” movies. We also weigh in on a high-school senior’s college dilemma and answer a listener question on writing with your trailer in mind.
    In our bonus segment for premium members, John and Craig parse out their reasons for why humans may – or may not – ever leave the solar system.
    Links:
    My Pal Foot Foot by The Shaggs Braid by Jonathan Blow Connections from the New York Times Q: Who Found a Way to Crack the U.K.’s Premier Quiz Show? by David Segal for The New York Times On what motivates us: a detailed review of intrinsic v. extrinsic motivation by Laurel S. Morris, Mora M. Grehl, Sarah B. Rutter, Marishka Mehta, and Margaret L. Westwater Why are there so many illegal weed stores in New York City? by PJ Vogt Shōgun on FX Get a Scriptnotes T-shirt! Check out the Inneresting Newsletter Gift a Scriptnotes Subscription or treat yourself to a premium subscription! Craig Mazin on Threads and Instagram John August on Threads, Instagram and Twitter John on Mastodon Outro by Ben Singer (send us yours!) Scriptnotes is produced by Drew Marquardt and edited by Matthew Chilelli. Email us at ask@johnaugust.com
    You can download the episode here.

    • 1 hr 5 min
    638 - Lawyer Scenes

    638 - Lawyer Scenes

    John and Craig lawyer up with criminal defense attorney Ken White (aka Popehat) to look at legal scenes in movies and TV, and separate the tropes from the truth.
    How do lawyers actually prepare a case? Will they meet a client in jail? Do they need to gather evidence themselves? And what happens when they go to trial? What are the rules for examining witnesses? How often do people represent themselves in court? And do judges really bang their gavel like that?
    In our bonus segment for premium members, John and Craig invite Ken to imagine traveling somewhere worse than prison — the beach.
    Links:
    Ken White on BlueSky, Facebook and Threads Serious Trouble podcast The Popehat Report by Ken White Hello, My Name Is Stephen Glass, and I’m Sorry by Hanna Rosin for The New Republic LibreOffice Sovereign Citizens Getting Owned The Rest is History podcast Get a Scriptnotes T-shirt! Check out the Inneresting Newsletter Gift a Scriptnotes Subscription or treat yourself to a premium subscription! Craig Mazin on Threads and Instagram John August on Threads, Instagram and Twitter John on Mastodon Outro by Lou Stone Borenstein (send us yours!) Scriptnotes is produced by Drew Marquardt and edited by Matthew Chilelli. Email us at ask@johnaugust.com
    You can download the episode here.

    • 1 hr 10 min
    637 - Love and Money

    637 - Love and Money

    John and Craig look at four unbelievable stories in the news and ask, How Would This Be a Movie? Stories include a finance journalist who was scammed out of her savings, men who offer dating bounties, a franken-sheep made of cloned animal parts, and how standardized tests changed one woman’s life.
    We also reveal which modern classics we’ve never seen (We meant to! We’re sorry!) to decide which – if any – we need to watch. But first, we follow up on D&D for kids, ESL, AI in reality TV, and Tiffany problems before answering listener questions on formats and recommending your spouse.
    In our bonus segment for premium members, John and Craig look at new guidelines for AI and how they might affect our future.
    Links:
    Weekend Read 2 “Creep” post by @davo_arid on Twitter Full list of movies we haven’t seen The Day I Put $50,000 in a Shoe Box and Handed It to a Stranger by Charlotte Cowles for The Cut Wanted: True Love. Reward: $100,000 by Angela Chen for the NYT Montana Man Pleads Guilty to Creating Massive Franken-Sheep With Cloned Animal Parts by Matt Novak for Gizmodo How the SAT Changed My Life by Emi Nietfeld for the NYT D.C. – What It Is Fighting Fantasy books LA Hero Workshop Sodalitas OSR’s Oz and Neverland Questlings Color My Quest WyrdScouts The Excellents and Nancy Druid Hero Kids TTRPGkids Hide’n’Treat and Snuffle Mat Jaina Grey’s reviews for WIRED Get a Scriptnotes T-shirt! Check out the Inneresting Newsletter Gift a Scriptnotes Subscription or treat yourself to a premium subscription! Craig Mazin on Threads and Instagram John August on Threads, Instagram and Twitter John on Mastodon Outro by Tim Brown (send us yours!) Scriptnotes is produced by Drew Marquardt and edited by Matthew Chilelli. Email us at ask@johnaugust.com
    You can download the episode here.

    • 1 hr 14 min
    636 - Whispering Loudly

    636 - Whispering Loudly

    John welcomes back Pamela Ribon (Nimona, My Year of Dicks) to quietly ask: what’s with all the whispering in movies these days? They discuss trends and techniques in voice and volume, picking the right moment to whisper, and the value of voices across decibel levels.
    We also revisit Pamela’s work on Moana to look at what you can learn from reading early drafts, ponder the threat of TikTok and YouTube, follow-up on vetting potential co-workers, and answer a listener question on writing animation.
    In our bonus segment for premium members, Pam shares all her star-studded stories from sitting in the 5th row at this year’s Oscars.
    Links:
    Pamela Ribon on Instagram Listen to Sassy My Year of Dicks Nimona on Netflix Hire Survivors Hollywood Dune: Part Two Clip ‘Fundie Baby Voice’ Seems To Be Everywhere Now. Here’s What You Should Know by Caroline Bologna for Huffpost In a World – Smoothie Natural Born Killers 1990 Draft Natural Born Killers 1993 Draft Lin-Manuel Miranda on ‘I Want’ Songs, Going Method for ‘Moana’ and Fearing David Bowie More (Outtake) from Moana How Far I’ll Go from Moana How Bad Can It Get for Hollywood? by Mark Harris for NYT This Sitcom Got WEIRD When Nobody Watched It by David Friedman Researching An Old Sitcom With AI by David Friedman Coucou French classes Get a Scriptnotes T-shirt! Check out the Inneresting Newsletter Gift a Scriptnotes Subscription or treat yourself to a premium subscription! Craig Mazin on Threads and Instagram John August on Threads, Instagram and Twitter John on Mastodon Outro by Vincent DeVito (send us yours!) Scriptnotes is produced by Drew Marquardt with help from Chris Csont, and edited by Matthew Chilelli. Email us at ask@johnaugust.com
    You can download the episode here.

    • 1 hr 8 min
    635 - Is This Person Going to Ruin Everything?

    635 - Is This Person Going to Ruin Everything?

    John and Craig wring their hands and ask, how do you make sure the person you’re hiring isn’t a monster? They look at best practices for vetting colleagues, sussing out problematic people, and managing your own emotions when you’re the person with power.
    We also discuss writing for non-native English speakers, using three examples to illustrate the importance of syntax, musicality and authenticity. But first, we answer listener questions on giving notes and kids playing D&D.
    In our bonus segment for premium members, we spill the kool-aid on our fears and fascinations with cults.
    Links:
    Strands from the New York Times Anatomy of a Fall – Clip Past Lives by Celine Song Irma Vep – Clip Is This Hollywood’s #MeanToo Moment? by David Mack for Slate How to play Dungeons and Dragons for kids RuPaul Doesn’t See How That’s Any of Your Business by Ronan Farrow for The New Yorker Recursion – Glitch Games Get a Scriptnotes T-shirt! Check out the Inneresting Newsletter Gift a Scriptnotes Subscription or treat yourself to a premium subscription! Craig Mazin on Threads and Instagram John August on Threads, Instagram and Twitter John on Mastodon Outro by Eric Pearson (send us yours!) Scriptnotes is produced by Drew Marquardt and edited by Matthew Chilelli. Email us at ask@johnaugust.com
    You can download the episode here.

    • 1 hr 9 min
    634 - What If? Hollywood Edition

    634 - What If? Hollywood Edition

    John and Craig explore the counterfactuals of Hollywood history — the relatively small moments that, if the coin toss had gone the other way, would have massive ramifications on the world as we know it.
    What if Edison was allowed to keep his monopoly on motion pictures? What does our industry look like without the Paramount Consent Decree? What if George Lucas died in his car accident? Would superhero movies have dominated our culture if Iron Man had bombed? What studios would have gone down if Titanic had sunk? And what if Netflix had stayed with its DVD-only model?
    In our bonus segment for premium members, John and Craig talk capitalism and solve its problems once and for all.
    Links:
    What If? by Robert Cowley Thomas Edison: The Unintentional Founder of Hollywood by Garrett O’Brien for the Saturday Evening Post United States v. Paramount Pictures, Inc. on Wikipedia George Lucas: The Car Wreck That Changed His Life and Led Him to ‘Star Wars’ by Tim Ott for Biography When ‘Titanic’ Was Expected to Be a Huge Flop by Jake Rossen for Mental Floss ‘John Carter’ Changed Hollywood, but Not in the Way Disney Hoped by Richard Newby for THR Financial Interest and Syndication Rules Post-Quantum Cryptography S’more! S’more! His artisanal marshmallows were the greatest. Then he tried to scale them. by Adam Rogers Get a Scriptnotes T-shirt! Check out the Inneresting Newsletter Gift a Scriptnotes Subscription or treat yourself to a premium subscription! Craig Mazin on Threads and Instagram John August on Threads, Instagram and Twitter John on Mastodon Outro by Zach Lo (send us yours!) Scriptnotes is produced by Drew Marquardt and edited by Matthew Chilelli. Email us at ask@johnaugust.com
    You can download the episode here.

     

    • 1 hr 7 min

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