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 • 2.3K 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.

    647 - Crafting Your Ending

    647 - Crafting Your Ending

    In this compendium episode, John and Craig fast-forward to the third act to talk about endings. How do they work? What makes them great? And how do you fix them when they’re not working?
    They look at how to connect your ending to your characters, crafting a twist that surprises (but doesn’t confuse), the function of the climax, the importance of the denouement, and how to make it all satisfying for your audience.
    In our bonus segment for premium members, John and Drew welcome back Megana Rao to ask: do we still need reunions in the age of social media?
    Links:
    Episode 44 – Endings for beginners Episode 170 – Lotteries, lightning strikes and twist endings Episode 366 – Tying Things Up Episode 392 – The Final Moment Episode 524 – The Home Stretch Too Many Cooks America’s best decade, according to data by Andrew Van Dam for The Washington Post All Fours by Miranda July Callipeg 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 Matthew Chilelli (send us yours!) Segments originally produced by Stuart Friedel, Megan McDonnell and Megana Rao. 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 12 min
    646 - Industry Software

    646 - Industry Software

    John and Craig decode the current state of software in the film and television industry. With dozens of programs needed for every project, they look at why bad and outdated programs continue to have a hold on the industry, why it’s so hard to build something better, and how these programs find financial success in such a small and specialized market.
    Then it’s another round of the Three Page Challenge, where they give their honest feedback on three listener-submitted scripts. They offer insights into quickly establishing information, those scenes that can be written but not filmed, the tricky dynamics of a meet-cute, and why broad comedy demands logic.
    In our bonus segment for premium members, John and Craig explore the exciting possibilities that comes from playing D&D campaigns with no magic and other strict constraints.
    Links:
    Follow along with our Three Page Challenge Selections: PLANET B by Christopher James, THE LONG HAUL by Becca Hurd, and THE RIGHT TO PARTY by Lucas McCutchen Submit your script for our Three Page Challenge! David Zucker’s 15 Rules of Comedy Space Cadet (2024) Movie Magic Scheduling Scenechronize PIX Qtake BOX Frame.io Evercast Scripto Fuzzlecheck Ripley on Netflix Watchmen – “This Extraordinary Being” 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 with help from Jonathan Wigdortz. It is edited by Matthew Chilelli. Email us at ask@johnaugust.com
    You can download the episode here.

    • 1 hr 9 min
    645 - The Third Season

    645 - The Third Season

    John welcomes Meredith Scardino (Girls5eva) and Jen Statsky (Hacks) to discuss the highs and lows of writing the third season of a hit comedy. But how do you push a series forward without violating the premise or retreading familiar terrain? Are the shows still the shows they pitched? How has streaming changed since their shows first went on the air? And how do you plan for your series’ future?
    They also answer listener questions on non-binary characters, past tense emotions in action lines, and how to make the most of a mentorship.
    In our bonus segment for premium members: Two years ago John sent a letter to Jen with his predictions for what would happen in the third season of Hacks. That letter has remained sealed until now. Were John’s predictions correct, close, or way off the mark?
    Links:
    Meredith Scardino on Instagram Jen Statsky on Instagram Girls5eva on Netflix Hacks on Max Chris Fleming Chris Fleming: HELL on Peacock Hannah Einbinder: Everything Must Go on Max Stouchi iPhone Camera Mount 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 Rodger Corser (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.

    • 54 min
    644 - The Power of the Cold Open

    644 - The Power of the Cold Open

    John and Craig explore one of the most powerful and versatile tools in episodic television: the cold open. But how does it work? What kind of scenes does it showcase best? How can it play with point of view, perspective and time? What makes it memorable? And how do you make it work for your story?
    We also discuss new requirements for loan-out corporations, follow up on streaming ads and AI-generated coverage, and answer listener questions on titles, exposition and disabled representation.
    In our bonus segment for premium members, John and Craig check out OpenAI’s flirty new chat capabilities and ask, do they have any love for talking to human-like AI’s?
    Links:
    Scriptnotes hats and drinkware! John jumps out of a plane on Instagram Corporate Transparency Act: An Overview of Impending Reporting Obligations MoviePass, MovieCrash | Official Trailer from HBO The Film Fund and the Reddit thread LOST – Desmond in the Hatch Suwada Nail Clippers Song Exploder – Madonna’s “Hung Up” The Ladder by Hatch Escapes 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 3 min
    Working It Out: Screenwriting Advice You’ll Actually Use

    Working It Out: Screenwriting Advice You’ll Actually Use

    John joins Mike Birbiglia on his podcast Working It Out to share direct, practical screenwriting advice that you’ll actually use, whether you’re an aspiring screenwriter or you want to pursue creative work of any kind.
    They explore John’s screenwriting process, from defining his expression “breaking the back of the script,” through the different forms of conflict and navigating the murky middle of the story. John shares the best writing advice he’s ever received, the screenplays everyone should read, what he appreciates in standup specials and why cool people aren’t funny. They also revisit the gains made on AI as a result of the writers strike.
    Links:
    Mike Birbiglia’s Working It Out Watch this episode of Working It Out on YouTube See Mike Birbiglia Live The Old Man & the Pool on Netflix Scriptnotes, Ep 179: The Conflict Episode Aliens screenplay by James Cameron Sex, lies and videotape screenplay by Steven Soderbergh Miry’s List 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 Working It Out is produced by Mike Birbiglia, Peter Salomone, Joseph Birbiglia and Mabel Lewis. Associate producer: Gary Simons. Consulting producer: Seth Barrish. Video consultant: Graham Willoughby. Special Thanks to Marissa Hurwitz, Josh Upfal, David Raphael, Nina Cwik, J. Hope Stein, and Oona. Music by Jack Antonoff and Bleachers Scriptnotes is produced by Drew Marquardt and edited by Matthew Chilelli. Email us at ask@johnaugust.com
    You can download the episode here.

    • 47 min
    643 - Agents and Managers 101

    643 - Agents and Managers 101

    In this compendium episode, John and Craig demystify the the relationship between writers and the people who represent them, looking at how to acquire, work with and (if necessary) fire your agents and managers.
    How do you get an agent or a manager? What are they looking for in a potential client? What frustrates them? How do you position yourself for success? And what should you be looking for in an agent? How should they treat their clients? What is in their job description? How do you navigate disagreements, and what are best practices for when you have to part ways?
    In our bonus segment for premium members, John discusses how and why he changed his mind and signed with his first-ever manager just a few weeks ago.
    Links:
    Episode 2 – How to get an agent and/or manager Episode 172 – Franz Kafka’s brother, and the perfect agent Episode 7 – Firing a manager, and trying new software How ‘Go,’ the Wildest, Druggiest, Horniest Cult Movie of 1999 Got Made (And Almost Didn’t) by Paul Schrodt for GQ 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 James Llonch (send us yours!) This episode’s segments were originally produced by Stuart Friedel. Scriptnotes is produced by Drew Marquardt and edited by Matthew Chilelli. Email us at ask@johnaugust.com
    You can download the episode here.

    • 57 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
2.3K Ratings

2.3K Ratings

Me Too and the Exactly What ,

INT. HOLLYWOOD - NOW

John & Craig align the planets & the mics to deliver invaluable insight & advice, not just on screenwriting, but on life & the cool things in it.

Grant Caravan ,

Must listen for anyone “innerested” in screenwriting

John and Craig do an excellent job breaking down their craft. I really enjoy the straightforward advice they both give to listener q’s… often from differing perspectives. Screenwriting gold this is!

cbowenii ,

They are actually good at talking and listening to each other. There are a lot of areas I have more interest in than screenwriting, if we’re being honest; but whenever I look for “the Scriptnotes of ____,” I get some lazy nonsense. We need more Scriptnoteses!

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