Friday, June 21, 2013

Screenwriting links, June 21

Getting the Treatment Right [Rocliffe Writing Forum]

How to be Prolific: Guidelines for Getting it Done from Joss Whedon [Fast Co.Create]

Drink Beer for Big Ideas, Coffee to Get Them Done [Life Hacker]

How The Sopranos Changed the Television Industry Forever [Slate]

9 Super-Surprising Screenwriter Credits on Movies [Next Movie]

A Guide to Your Favorite Showrunners' First Shows [Complex]

Matthew Weiner's Creative Solution For Eliminating Doubt [Fast Co. Create]

Q&A: 'True Blood' Showrunner Brian Buckner Spills on Season Six [Rolling Stone]

Thursday, June 20, 2013

5 Awesome podcasts for screenwriters

It took me a long time to get on the podcast bandwagon. How am I supposed to have time for podcasts while I'm also watching every show, reading every screenplay and cultivating Michelle Obama arms? Eventually, I realized that a lot of cool people say a lot of cool things on podcasts, and like Rebel Wilson, you can do your learnin' while hiking up canyons.

If you decide to go deep into the world of podcasts, you'll probably want a podcast manager for your phone. I tried out a couple free ones and hated them, so I invested in BeyondPod and have found it to be super user-friendly and worth the money.

Here are 5 of the best podcasts for TV and film writers:

1. Scriptnotes with John August and Craig Mazin
I'm sure you all already know about this one, but just in case: pro writers John and Craig tackle everything from the writing process and getting notes to the broader world of studio film, independent film, representation and more. They're also planning a live episode in LA July 25 (tickets should go on sale July 1).

2. On Story by the Austin Film Festival 
The On Story Podcast is the companion to Austin Film Festival's television show, On Story. Get an uncensored inside look at the creative process of film making through the eyes of some of the entertainment industry's most prolific writers, directors and producers. The recent episode with Bridesmaids and The Heat director Paul Feig was one of my favorites!

3. Here's the Thing with Alec Baldwin
Alec usually interviews actors, but their points of view about storytelling (and the entertainment industry) are both interesting and useful to writers. Also, Alec is a fearless and intuitive interviewer who delves into what's behind the impressive work of his guests. His podcasts with Girls creator Lena Dunham and The Wire creator David Simon are absolute must-listens.

4. Nerdist Writers Panel with Ben Blacker
Do you like Justified? Homeland? Key & Peele? New Girl? Breaking Bad? Lost? Parks & Rec? Ben Blacker has interviewed the creative minds behind all these shows and more - and since he's a writer too, he asks exactly what you want to know. Episode 85 with The Goldbergs creator Adam F. Goldberg was one of my favorites.

5. Comedy Bang Bang with Scott Aukerman
If you're a comedy writer, don't miss Comedy Bang Bang, which features all sorts of unpredictable conversation, music, improv and games. Recent guests include Paul Scheer, Seth Rogen, Lennon Parham, Jessica St. Clair and Adam Scott.

2014 UPDATE: If you are interested in TV writing, the Children of Tendu podcast by Jose Molina and Javi Grillo-Marxuach is a must-listen!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Screenwriting links: Saturday, June 8

Joss Whedon's Passion Project [The Daily Beast]

Empathy-Free Entertainment [The Atlantic]

'Game of Thrones' Showrunner Questions Network TV Violence (Video) [The Hollywood Reporter]

THR Full Emmy Roundtable: Matthew Weiner, Aaron Sorkin and Other Drama Showrunners Debate Violence in Hollywood and Being Control Freaks [The Hollywood Reporter]

Tips on How to Host a Great Script Reading [Write for Hollywood]

How Does the Killing Off Of Major Characters Change How We Watch a Show? [Indiewire]
"Talking to the Hollywood Reporter last month, AMC Networks CEO Josh Sapan pointed out that this also means the show could theoretically go on forever, as it's less and less about a coherent group of people and more about a shifting gathering of ragtag survivors in the dusk of humanity."  (Spoilers for Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead)

Amazon Studios Launches Free Storyboard Tool [Variety]

Death to Overly Expository Opening Voiceover Narration [Indiewire]

TV Showrunners to Outshine Filmmakers at 2013 Produced By Conference  [The Hollywood Reporter]
"As the power of the showrunner has grown, the job is now more comparable to that of a feature film's director, functioning as the creative force who provides the vision for the project."

How to Fight Pitch Fatigue [Fast Company]

Monday, June 3, 2013

Reading scripts on paper vs. on screen?

Bonnie writes: What's your opinion on paper vs. electronic submissions? I see that the Austin Film Festival allows submissions in paper or electronic form. I still love the feel of a book in my hands, so I don't always read off my Kindle.  It just seems like a different experience. Do you think there's a difference for the readers?  Do you find yourself relating differently to words on paper versus words on screen?

I've blogged a bit about how paper scripts are becoming obsolete for readers. I personally can't justify the expense or eco-unfriendliness of printing out scripts (and it doesn't help that my printer, which I bought because it's supposed to print two sides at once, crunches up paper in endless paper jams). I read almost all scripts on my laptop screen, which does kind of suck, but since I have to write notes (and often synopses) on scripts, it's most convenient for me to read the script while also keeping a Word document open. If I read a script on paper, I'll have to write notes with a pen and then transcribe them later, which seems extra time-consuming.


I do own a Kindle DX, which is perfect for simultaneously reading and browning oneself on a rooftop, but it doesn't allow me to make notes; I can only bookmark pages, which isn't all that helpful when I have to write extensive coverage. If I'm simply reading scripts for pleasure and don't need to write notes, the Kindle DX is great (the DX is larger than the original Kindle, and makes PDF scripts the perfect size for reading), but 95% of my reading is for work. On iPads (and Kindle Fires, probably) you can use apps to annotate documents, but I need to send official typed documents, not drafts with annotations. (Plus, the whole sunlight thing.) I hope to someday get a tablet for watching TV & movies while I'm at the gym, but that's a whole other multitasking conundrum.

I can't really speak to contests like the Austin Film Festival - I would think that they scan all the submissions in to have electronic records, so readers might read them electronically anyway (or, conversely, print out electronic submissions).

Ultimately, the "experience" of reading doesn't really cross my mind...I read hundreds of pages each week and need to write notes quickly!