Intrinsic Motivation
John August
by Drew Marquardt
2d ago
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 ..read more
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Scriptnotes, Episode 633: Reviving a Dormant Project, Transcript
John August
by Drew Marquardt
6d ago
The original post for this episode can be found here. John August: Hey, this is John. Heads up that today’s episode has just a little bit of swearing in it. Hello and welcome. My name is John August, and this is Episode 633 of Scriptnotes, a podcast about screenwriting and things that are interesting to screenwriters. Any screenwriter who’s been working for a few years likely has projects that have stalled out or otherwise gone dormant. Today on the show, what happens when you revive one of those projects and actually get it made 20 years later. We’ll talk with a writer who’s done just that. J ..read more
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Lawyer Scenes
John August
by Drew Marquardt
1w ago
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 ..read more
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Love and Money
John August
by Drew Marquardt
2w ago
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 b ..read more
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Scriptnotes, Episode 632: Mystery and Suspense, Transcript
John August
by Drew Marquardt
2w ago
The original post for this episode can be found here. John August: Hello and welcome. My name is John August, and this is Episode 632 of Scriptnotes, a podcast about screenwriting and things that are interesting to screenwriters. Today’s episode is about mystery and suspense. It’s also a best of episode. To explain why we’re airing material from the vaults, I need to tell you a little story. So sit back, get comfortable. Now, longtime listeners will recognize that in no fewer than three episodes of Scriptnotes, we have urged our listeners to get their flu shots. In fact, in the opening moments ..read more
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Scriptnotes, Episode 631: Adapting for Television, Transcript
John August
by Drew Marquardt
2w ago
The transcript for this episode can be found here. John August: Hey, this is John. Today’s episode has a few F-bombs, just in the One Cool Thing section. So if you’re listening with your kids in the car, you can skip just that section. Hello and welcome. My name is John August, and you’re listening to Episode 631 of Scriptnotes, a podcast about screenwriting and things that are interesting to screenwriters. Now, there’s a long history of bringing TV shows to the big screen. For example, my own Charlie’s Angels movies. But today on the show, what happens when you go the other way and bring a bi ..read more
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Movies We Haven’t Seen
John August
by John
2w ago
I’ve seen 54 out of the 100 films on AFI’s list of all-time greatest American films. Of the ones I’ve missed, there are a few I do genuinely want to see. But will my life or career be negatively impacted if I never see Intolerance (1916)? I doubt it. In episode 637 of Scriptnotes, Craig and I discuss which movies screenwriters “should” see. That is, of all the movies out there, which ones are most likely to come up in meetings, or be relevant to projects we’re writing in the 2020s? Inevitably, one’s viewing is going to be greatly affected by when you were born. Craig and I were both born in th ..read more
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Whispering Loudly
John August
by Drew Marquardt
3w ago
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 t ..read more
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Is This Person Going to Ruin Everything?
John August
by Drew Marquardt
1M ago
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: St ..read more
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Scriptnotes, Episode 630: The One with Celine Song, Transcript
John August
by Drew Marquardt
1M ago
The original post for this episode can be found here. John August: Hello and welcome. My name is John August, and this is Episode 630 of Scriptnotes, a podcast about screenwriting and things that are interesting to screenwriters. Today on the show, we welcome Celine Song, a playwright, screenwriter, and director, whose movie Past Lives is Oscar-nominated for Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay. We will talk about that movie, but also getting staffed on a TV show, raising financing, making your first feature in two different countries. But before that, staffing on a TV show, deciding betw ..read more
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