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June 18, 2019
405 - Live at the Ace Hotel
John and Craig host comedy titans Melissa McCarthy (Bridesmaids, The Heat, Spy), Ben Falcone (The Boss, Tammy), Kourtney Kang (Fresh Off the Boat), Rob McElhenney (Always Sunny in Philadelphia), and Alec Berg (Barry, Silicon Valley) onstage to discuss writing jokes, what they look for in a writing partner, and the heartbreak of movie endings. We also record our first ever Scriptnotes commercial and introduce a new game called ‘Bot or Not.’ Recorded live from the Ace Hotel in Los Angeles. Thanks to Hollywood Heart for organizing this event and to a great audience! Links: Thanks for joining us Melissa McCarthy, Ben Falcone, Kourtney Kang, Rob McElhenney, and Alec Berg! Learn more about Hollywood Heart. Donate here! Buy special edition ‘Camp Scriptnotes’ T-shirts to benefit Hollywood Heart here! John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter Melissa McCarthy on Twitter Ben Falcone on Twitter Kourtney Kang on Twitter Rob McElhenney on Twitter Alec Berg on Twitter John on Instagram Outro by Rajesh Naroth (answer to the trivia question: who holds the record for most listener outros) (send us yours!) Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.
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70 min
June 11, 2019
404 - The One with Charlie Brooker
John talks with Charlie Brooker (creator, writer, and executive producer of Black Mirror) about his groundbreaking series and the opportunities and challenges of writing an anthology. We also touch on the nature of reality, the difficulty of reflecting culture while you influence it, and experimental storytelling. Our live show is in two days on June 13th, buy your tickets now! Links: Scriptnotes LIVE this Thursday, June 13th at the Ace Hotel with Melissa McCarthy, Ben Falcone, Alec Berg, Rob McElhenney, and Kourtney Kang, buy your tickets here! Black Mirror La Cabina Russian Doll Money Heist Matthew Zalkind John’s Voice Twin Baba is You Order your Scriptnotes 400 shirts, sweatshirts, and tanks (Light) and (Dark)! John August on Twitter Charlie Brooker on Twitter John on Instagram Outro by Mackey Landy (send us yours!) Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.
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82 min
June 4, 2019
403 - How to Write a Movie
In a Scriptnotes first, Craig hosts a solo episode presenting his general theory on screenwriting. He covers the central dramatic argument, the ‘why’ behind plot points, and of course, provides some umbrage on common script diagrams. Good luck, and go torture your heroes! Links: Scriptnotes LIVE on June 13th at the Ace Hotel with Melissa McCarthy, Ben Falcone, Alec Berg, Rob McElhenney, and Kourtney Kang, buy your tickets here! Aristotle’s Poetics José Fernández Lava, Pixar Short Finding Nemo Order your Scriptnotes 400 shirts, sweatshirts, and tanks (Light) and (Dark)! John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Outro by Matthew Chilelli (send us yours!) Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.
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44 min
May 28, 2019
402 - How Do You Like Your Stakes?
John and Craig discuss stakes, how to create them and what that means for your character. They also talk a little about Aladdin, the Game of Thrones ending, and of course, the agency stuff. Don’t forget to join us for our live show in Los Angeles on June 13th with special guests including Alec Berg (Barry, Silicon Valley), Rob McElhenney (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia) and Kourtney Kang (Fresh Off the Boat). Tickets are going fast! Links: Scriptnotes LIVE Buy your tickets here! Order your Scriptnotes 400 shirts, sweatshirts, and tanks (Light) and (Dark)! Aladdin Trailer in theaters now! How to Invent Everything by Ryan North PANDA Magazine by Foggy Brume Find past episodes here, Scriptnotes Digital Seasons are also now available! John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Outro by Matthew Chilelli (send us yours!) Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.
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60 min
May 21, 2019
401 - You Got Verve
John and Craig introduce a new segment: The Scriptnotes Pitch Session! They listen to five listeners’ 90-second pitches and share their feedback on substance and style. We also discuss the implications of Verve signing the WGA agreement and get special insight on an important creative decision in Chernobyl. Join us for our live show in Los Angeles on June 13th with special guests including Alec Berg (Barry, Silicon Valley) and Rob McElhenney (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia). Tickets are going fast! Links: Scriptnotes LIVE on June 13th at the Ace Hotel with Alec Berg, Rob McElhenney, buy your tickets here! Order your Scriptnotes 400 shirts, sweatshirts, and tanks (Light) and (Dark)! WGA Start Button Video John August and Michele Mulroney discussing Issues Affecting Screenwriters Verve Signs WGA’s Code of Conduct, Citing ‘Meaningful Dialogue’ With Clients WGA-Verve Code of Conduct Agreement Pitch Session selections: Karen Welsh You’re What?!, Hayley Grgurich Uncertain Texas, Jake Arky How to Make a Man, Guy Patton Sinnerweb, Laura Beck Hardcore Vegans Blueprint: The Evolutionary Origins of a Good Society by Nikolas Christakis Donate to Chernobyl Children International Watch Chernobyl on HBO and listen to The Chernobyl Podcast with Craig and Peter Sagal Find past episodes here, Scriptnotes Digital Seasons are also now available! Thank you to everyone who submitted to the pitch session! If you’d like to be considered in the next Pitch Session, submit your entry here. John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Outro by Jonathan Mann (send us yours!) Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.
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68 min
May 14, 2019
400 - Movies They Don't Make Anymore
John and Craig welcome back writer/director Chris McQuarrie (Valkyrie, Jack Reacher, the last two Mission: Impossibles) to celebrate the 400th episode with a new round of ‘This Kind of Movie.’ Given our success saving the romantic comedy, we focus on other movie genres that aren’t getting made anymore and discuss how to bring them back. From sports comedies to erotic thrillers, we examine the classics of each genre and find ways to approach making these films today. Links: Order your Scriptnotes 400 shirts, sweatshirts, and tanks (Light) and (Dark)! Join us for Scriptnotes LIVE on June 13th at the Ace Hotel to benefit Hollywood Heart. Buy your tickets here! Watch Chernobyl on HBO The Chernobyl Podcast with Craig and Peter Sagal Scriptnotes episode 300, From Writer to Writer-Director with Chris McQuarrie LectroFan High Fidelity White Noise Sound Machine One Clue Crossword eBags and AViiQ Portable Laptop Stand Find past episodes and Scriptnotes Digital Seasons are also now available! Check out the Scriptnotes Episode Guide Submit to the Pitch Session here! Chris McQuarrie on Twitter John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Outro by Rajesh Naroath (send us yours!) Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.
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74 min
May 7, 2019
399 - Notes on Notes
John and Craig talk to an audience of development executives about the experience of getting notes as a writer. They cover why these conversations kick in our fight or flight responses, how to frame notes through story, and ways to motivate writers towards a creative vision. We take questions from the audience and discuss ‘the bad pitch,’ likable characters, and how to stay friends with a writer after a breakup. Links: Episode 99, Psychotheraphy for Screenwriters Episode 394, Broken but Sympathetic with Mari Heller Now accepting recommendations for updating the Listener’s Guide Submit to the Pitch Session here Watch Chernobyl May 6th and listen to The Chernobyl Podcast with Craig and Peter Sagal John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Outro by Mackey Landry (send us yours!) Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.
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61 min
April 30, 2019
398 - The Curated Craft Compendium
John and Craig present a special clip show with craft-focused segments hand-picked by Aline Brosh Mckenna. We’ll start by asking ‘Where to Begin?’ in Episode 174 and explore how to enter a story. Then we’ll discuss establishing setting and perspective in episode 45. Finally we’ll take a look at voice and the four rules to creating authentic dialogue. Links: Scriptnotes, Ep 174 Hacks, Transference, and Where to Begin Scriptnotes, Ep 45 Setting, Perspective, and Terrible Numbers Scriptnotes, 37 Let’s Talk About Dialogue Find more episodes from the vault. Scriptnotes Digital Seasons are also now available! Check out the Scriptnotes Episode Guide, now also accepting recommendations for updating the Listener’s Guide. Submit to the Pitch Session here! Watch Chernobyl May 6th and listen to The Chernobyl Podcast with Craig and Peter Sagal John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Outro by Luke Davis (send us yours!) Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.
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55 min
April 23, 2019
397 - The Sound Episode
John and Craig welcome back Andrea Berloff (World Trade Center, Straight Outta Compton) to talk all things sound: how it works on the page, on the stage, and in the mixing room. Andrea shares her experience working with sound for her upcoming directing debut, The Kitchen. We also follow up on WGA developments and deep dive Craig’s feelings on matzah. Links: WGA Lawsuit #WGAMix led by screenwriter Daniel Zucker Mad Max Fury Road Clip Can You Ever Forgive Me? Clip The story of the “Nerds” musical article by Seth Abramovitch Headspace’s Meditation for Sleep Accepting recommendations for updating the Listener’s Guide Submit to the Pitch Session here John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Find past episodes Scriptnotes Digital Seasons are also now available! Outro by Thomas Johnstone (send us yours!) Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.
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68 min
April 16, 2019
396 - Big Numbers
John and Craig talk big numbers, from the latest developments in the WGA/agency situation, to the announcement of Disney+ and the final installment of the Star Wars non-ology. We also answer listener questions about writers who aren’t in the guild and how to spend your time writing. Links: Timelapse of the Entire Universe by John Boswell Disney+ News The Rise of Skywalker teaser What It’s Like to Grow Up With More Money Than You’ll Ever Spend Anita May Rosenstein Campus of Los Angeles LGBT Center The Lab Rat Escape Room Accepting recommendations for updating the Listener’s Guide Submit to the Pitch Session here John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Find past episodes Scriptnotes Digital Seasons are also now available! Outro by Lou Stone Borenstein (send us yours!) Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.
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43 min
April 9, 2019
395 - All in this Together
John and Craig explore the challenge of creating a movie with a group of heroes and multiple points of view. They’ll discuss options for structuring competing storylines, when to check back in with characters, and managing personal versus group stakes. We also answer listener questions on a bunch of topics including things Craig tweets! Links: Accepting recommendations for updating the Listener’s Guide Arlo Finch Book Tour – Meet and Greet at The Briar Patch in Bangor, Maine on Thursday, April 11 at 5pm Rachel Wenitsky’s “The Hot Character Who Everyone Thinks Had It Easy Finally Reveals Their Painful Backstory” For cramped New York, an expanding dining scene in the LA Times Submit to the Pitch Session here John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Find past episodes Scriptnotes Digital Seasons are also now available! Outro by David Jon Banks (send us yours!) Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.  
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54 min
April 2, 2019
394 - Broken but Sympathetic
John and Craig welcome back Can You Ever Forgive Me? director Marielle Heller to discuss the challenge of creating a hero the audience can root for while also establishing that the character must change. We also answer questions from listeners about conflicting notes, meet-and-greets, and true-life stories. WGA Video Explaining ATA Negotiations Can You Ever Forgive Me? A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood Scriptnotes 212, Diary of a First Time Director with Mari Heller Schlage Locks American Crossword Password Tournament Online–let us know if you unseat Craig! What the Constitution Means to Me by Heidi Schreck We’re hiring a coder! If you’re interested please send an email to assistant@johnaugust.com Submit entries for The Scriptnotes Pitch Session here. John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Find past episodes Scriptnotes Digital Seasons are also now available! Outro by James Llonch and Jim Bond (send us yours!) Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.
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63 min
March 26, 2019
393 - Twenty Questions About the Agency Agreement
John welcomes WGA negotiation committee members Chris Keyser and Angelina Burnett to answer listener questions on what’s happening and what to expect. They offer insight into the history of the issues and new tools the Guild is rolling out for staffing season. We also follow up on the Disney/Fox 2000 merger, why we won’t be saying ‘baby writers’ anymore, and upcoming meeting dates for the WGA. Links: The Disney – Fox Merger Upcoming WGA Meetings and Voting Info Ask a Native New Yorker by Jake Dobkin Patriot on Amazon Money Heist on Netflix My Brilliant Friend on HBO We’re hiring a coder! If you’re interested please send an email to assistant@johnaugust.com You can now order Arlo Finch in the Lake of the Moon Submit entries for The Scriptnotes Pitch Session here. T-shirts are available here! We’ve got new designs, including Colored Revisions, Karateka, and Highland2. John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Find past episodes Scriptnotes Digital Seasons are also now available! Outro by Chuck Eyler (send us yours!) Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.
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45 min
March 19, 2019
392 - The Final Moment
John and Craig examine the final moment in movies, what they do and why they change so often. We also take on vaccines, corruption, and extreme weather in another installment of ‘How Would This be a Movie’ and follow up on important upcoming meetings for the WGA. Links: Aladdin in theaters May 24th! Chernobyl first episode on HBO May 6th. Unvaccinated Boy Got Tetanus, and Ohio Teen Defies Parents and Gets Vaccine. Trump Grounds Boeing 737 Planes Extreme Avalanches in Colorado and Bomb Cyclone Storm Humblewood Campaign Setting for DND kickstarter Why Humans started saying “f” and “v” New Highland 2 videos and tutorials We’re hiring a coder! If you’re interested please send an email to assistant@johnaugust.com You can now order Arlo Finch in the Lake of the Moon Submit entries for The Scriptnotes Pitch Session here. T-shirts are available here! We’ve got new designs, including Colored Revisions, Karateka, and Highland2. John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Find past episodes Scriptnotes Digital Seasons are also now available!  Outro by James Llonch and Jim Bond (send us yours!)   Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.
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62 min
March 12, 2019
391 - When It's All Said and Done
John and Craig welcome back Aline Brosh McKenna to talk about what she learned producing four seasons of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. Aline shares the importance of trusting your gut, building school spirit, and empowering the voices around you. We’ll also talk about Emma Thompson, agency-affiliated producers, and more. Links: Emma Thompson’s open letter to Skydance. Episode 175 Transcript A Very English Scandal Birdcage 2 Instagram #jackwawa New Highland 2 videos and tutorials We’re hiring a coder! If you’re interested please send an email to assistant@johnaugust.com You can now order Arlo Finch in the Lake of the Moon Submit entries for The Scriptnotes Pitch Session here. T-shirts are available here! We’ve got new designs, including Colored Revisions, Karateka, and Highland2. John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter Aline Brosh McKennaon Twitter John on Instagram Find past episodes Scriptnotes Digital Seasons are also now available! Outro by Victor Krause (send us yours!)
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57 min
March 5, 2019
390 - Getting Staffed
John and Craig proudly welcome back former Scriptnotes producer Megan McDonnell to tell her journey from film student to getting staffed on her first television show. We then review a batch of Three Page Challenge submissions, covering how to keep your audience engaged, build tension, and earn interesting characters. Plus, follow up on the WGA and recent Bones ruling. Thank you to our Three Page Challenge participants, and special thanks to Megan McDonnell for all of your work on Scriptnotes! Links: The Bones Decision The Peter Stark Program Three Pages by Christopher Cramer Three Pages by David Koutsouridis Three Pages by Carrie Wong and Herman Ming Megan’s Desk Setup Light Up Phone Charger Russian doll starring Natasha Lyonne Submit to the Three Page Challenge here Submit to the Pitch Session here T-shirts are available here! We’ve got new designs, including Colored Revisions, Karateka, and Highland2. John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Find past episodes Scriptnotes Digital Seasons are also now available! Outro The Stuart Special by James Llonch & Jim Bond (send us yours!) Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.
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68 min
February 26, 2019
389 - The Future of the Industry
John and Craig invite back Chris Keyser, co-chair of the WGA’s 2019 Agency Agreement negotiating committee, to discuss the issues. Specifically, they look at the difference between “packaging” and “packaging fees,” and the impact of agencies acting as writers’ employers. John then welcomes Michelle Satter to introduce Co//ab, the new online community from Sundance. Michelle shares how they’ve made Sundance digitally accessible and what she looks for in applicants to its prestigious labs. Links: WGA Agency Agreement 2019 WGA President David A. Goodman Speech Agency Campaign FAQ’s Co//ab at Sundance Acapella App for iOS Inkubator Less by Andrew Sean Greer Chris Keyser on Twitter Michelle Satter on Twitter John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Find past episodes Scriptnotes Digital Seasons are also now available! Submit entries for The Scriptnotes Pitch Session here. You can now order Arlo Finch in the Lake of the Moon T-shirts are available here! We’ve got new designs, including Colored Revisions, Karateka, and Highland2. Outro is Epic Jingle by XLNYC (send us yours!) Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.
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72 min
February 19, 2019
388 - The Clown Stays in the Picture
John welcomes Matt Selman, executive producer of The Simpsons, for a deep dive look at the three-year process of developing a single episode from initial idea to the finished product. We discuss the role of the writers room, the table read, producer notes, animatics, and the impact computer animation has had on The Simpsons workflow. Set in the 90’s, “The Clown Stays in the Picture” spoofs high concept comedies, artist narcissism, creative insecurity, and the magic of movie-making. Links: The Simpsons, Season 30, Episode 40:The Clown Stays in the Picture Duly Noted, the official Scriptnotes Aftershow hosted by Matt Selman. The Defender Shield John’s One Cool Thing You can now order Arlo Finch in the Lake of the Moon Submit entries for The Scriptnotes Pitch Session here. T-shirts are available here! We’ve got new designs, including Colored Revisions, Karateka, and Highland2. John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Matt Selman on Twitter Find past episodes Scriptnotes Digital Seasons are also now available! Outro by Matthew Chilelli (send us yours!) Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.
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62 min
February 12, 2019
Scriptnotes, 387: Seattle Live Show 2019
John and Craig head north to host Scriptnotes Live in Seattle. They welcome Emily Zulauf to discuss the process of pitching projects at Pixar, creating stories with heart out of pure misery, and when to admit you “don’t have it” and start over. We also hold our own Open Writing Assignment and play a game with the audience to create two new movie pitches. Then we answer questions about theme and why you should move to LA. Thank you to the Northwest Screenwriters Guild and TheFilmSchool for hosting us! Links: Thank you, Northwest Screenwriters Guild and TheFilmSchool for making this event happen! And thank you to our incredible guest: Emily Zulauf! Scriptnotes, 225: Only haters hate rom-coms with Tess Morris Michael Arndt on Endings Amy Poehler as Joy in INSIDE OUT The Man In the High Castle Exit The Game Bad Blood by John Carreyrou T-shirts are available here! We’ve got new designs, including Colored Revisions, Karateka, and Highland2. John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter Emily Zulauf on Twitter John on Instagram Find past episodes Scriptnotes Digital Seasons are also now available! Outro “Jazz Waltz” by Matthew Chilelli (send us yours!) Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.
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75 min
February 7, 2019
Extra: The Agency Agreement
John and Craig offer a special reminder to guild members to attend one of the upcoming WGA Agency Agreement meetings. Links: Scriptnotes, 347: Conflict of Interest RSVP for a meeting WGA Agency Agreement Meeting: Saturday, February 9 at 10:30 am at Writer’s Guild Theatre in Beverly Hills WGA Agency Agreement Meeting: Wednesday, February 13 at 7:30 pm at Sheraton Universal by Universal Studios WGA East NYC Meeting: Tuesday, February 12 John August on Twitter Craig Mazin on Twitter John on Instagram Find past episodes Scriptnotes Digital Seasons are also now available! Outro by Matthew Chilelli (send us yours!). Email us at ask@johnaugust.com You can download the episode here.
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1 min
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