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 • 2.1K 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.

    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
    180 - Rebroadcast: Bad Teachers, Good Advice and the Default Male

    180 - Rebroadcast: Bad Teachers, Good Advice and the Default Male

    In this rebroadcast, Aline Brosh McKenna joins John and Craig to discuss how movies featuring good mentors (Dead Poet’s Society, To Sir with Love) differ from films with bad mentors (Whiplash, The Devil Wears Prada). It’s not just that the teachers are bad guys; rather, the stories are structured completely differently.
    We also discuss the “default male problem,” especially how it relates to comedy and the cleanest version of a joke. John asks Craig and Aline about some ethical quandaries he’s been facing, ranging from awards voting to who is a “friend.”
    And in our bonus segment for premium members, John and Craig have a dialogue on dialogue. They discuss the process of developing the Scriptnotes book and the differences between how we speak/write/write speech.
    Links:
    Sign up for updates and sample chapters on the Scriptnotes Book here! Aline Brosh McKenna on episodes 60, 76, 100, 101, 119, 123, 124 152, 161, and 175 Raphael Bob-Waksberg Breaks Down Comedy’s “Default Male” Problem Writers on Writing: Simon Kinberg available in season four. Read the Whiplash screenplay on Weekend Read Evernote Scannable The Comeback on HBO Jason Hall in WGAw’s Written By Ryan Reynolds is now on Twitter Get a Scriptnotes T-shirt! Gift a Scriptnotes Subscription or treat yourself to a premium subscription! John August on Twitter Aline Brosh Mckenna on Twitter John on Instagram Outro by Rajesh Naroth (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

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
2.1K Ratings

2.1K Ratings

J_Beckham ,

Better than any school 2x

If you are interested in screenwriting or just like movies, this is a must listen

A--Ros ,

So helpful!

This is the best podcast for screenwriting from people that do it very well! Super helpful & interesting!

autumn joy ,

An Excellent Resource!

I’ve been listening to this podcast for about 5 years now and it continues to be consistently informative and enriching! John and Craig collaborate very well, it never feels like they are just rambling or talking to be heard— whatever is expressed feels worthwhile. It’s wonderful how they combine the craft elements of writing with the business. I’m also a fan of how accessible they are as human beings. They are both accomplished and seasoned writers, yet they continue to join the listener on the path to learning. They don’t shy away from sharing about their own trials and errors. Most of all, they are truly advocates for the writer. They care about those breaking in and the journey that follows. There are a lot of screenwriting podcasts out there, but this is the only one that I personally feel regards the writers journey with earnest and empathy.

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