Podcast of the Week: SCRIPTNOTES
Lurking beneath the myriad genres and subjects of the podcasting medium, there are essentially only two types of podcasts: those you listen to out of enjoyment (LAST PODCAST ON THE LEFT), and those you listen to out of obligation (sorry, THIS AMERICAN LIFE). For this young screenwriter, SCRIPTNOTES is the perfect unicorn podcast that fits both molds.
Robotic overlord and master of segues John August (BIG FISH) teams up with bitingly sarcastic and umbrage-fueled Craig Mazin (IDENTITY THIEF) to tackle “screenwriting and things that are interesting to screenwriters.”
SCRIPTNOTES delivers essentially what you’d expect from a screenwriting podcast: esoteric discussions about character movement, in-depth criticism of Final Draft, and infinite iterations of the the “How do I break into the business?” conversation. What sets it apart from other industry-type podcasts is its dedication to lifting up screenwriters. John August and Craig Mazin fill the role of the mentor/film professor for their listening audience, many of whom never had the opportunity to attend film school or even live in Los Angeles. They steer listeners away from fraudulent services and competitions, provide notes on three-page sections of listeners’ submitted scripts, and—on the rare occasion they can’t provide perspective on a certain issue— they bring on expert members of the “Scriptnotes family” to discuss. It would be so easy for John and Craig to start the “Scriptnotes Screenwriting Competition” and charge listeners a $50 submission fee. The fact that they don’t—that they don’t produce the podcast for any kind of profit—sets them apart as a rare find in “The Business.”
As someone fortunate enough to have attended film school, I can attest that the value of Scriptnotes extends beyond simple discussions of screenwriting craft. For a perfect taste of just what a great resource SCRIPTNOTES can be, I’d point prospective listeners to Episode 99: Psychotherapy for Screenwriters. The “writers block” question rears its ugly head nearly as often as the “breaking in” question, and this episode provides the best insight I’ve ever heard. I’m not going to promise that this episode will magically end your stint of writer’s block, but I will say that’s what it did for me and for many other listeners who wrote in to the show.
I know it’s annoying to hear your film professors and annoyingly productive screenwriter friends tell you that you have to listen to SCRIPTNOTES, but in this case, they’re absolutely right. It’s an invaluable resource for up-and-coming screenwriters from two established pros that truly care about their listeners.