» Posts Tagged ‘johnaugust’

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TypewriterA screenplay is made up of a lot of different pieces: acts, sequences, scenes, etc. Think of them as multi-sized blocks that you must stack, tear down, rearrange, and throw away until what you have before you looks something like a story. But before you can enjoy the tedious task of formation, you have to create these pieces, or blocks, from scratch. To help with this, screenwriter and frequent Tim Burton collaborator, John August (Big Fish, Corpse Bride), whose blog you should be reading religiously, released a handy infographic/PDF of his popular post “How to Write a Scene” that gives screenwriters an easy checklist of 11 bullet points that helps guide them through the process. More »

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Weekend Read iPhone script reader app Quote-UnquoteHave you ever tried to read a screenplay on your iPhone? It’s awful. You struggle with pinch and zoom in a vain attempt to read the stupid thing. The iPhone just isn’t meant to read screenplays. Or is it? Thanks to Weekend Read, a new iPhone app from Quote-Unquote Apps, screenplays now actually look good on your iPhone. In fact, the next time you’re stuck in line or riding the subway to work, you may actually want to read a screenplay on your iPhone with Weekend Read. And it’s free. More »

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Frozen screenplay Jennifer Lee ScriptNotes v2As a father with two young kids, I see almost every single animated movie that hits theatres. Thankfully, I skipped out on The Smurfs 2. So when I saw Frozen with my kids on Saturday afternoon of opening weekend in a packed theatre, I was thoroughly in awe. Somehow, Disney had managed to publicize a movie for months and never reveal it was a musical. It’s a really good musical, too, taking story risks not typically seen in Disney animated films. Now as screenwriters, we get an excellent opportunity to hear writer and co-director Jennifer Lee break down the entire creative process and screenplay of Frozen on the latest episode of ScriptNotes. More »

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Convert Screenplay PDF to Final Draft with HighlandDo you have an old screenplay that you really want to rewrite in the latest version of Final Draft, but you only have a PDF copy buried in a folder on your hard drive? Or have you ever been rewriting one of your screenplays on Final Draft when your hard drive dies and you discover the only other copy of your script is a PDF you emailed a friend to read? All you can think about is the time and misery of retyping that PDF back into Final Draft. Unless you have Highland, which will convert that screenplay PDF into a Final Draft document, saving you time. And misery. More »

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Scriptnotes 100 episodes USB flash drive - mediumThe one thing that has helped my screenwriting the most over the past two years — with the exception of actually writing — has to be the Scriptnotes podcast with screenwriters John August and Craig Mazin. The wealth of knowledge from August and Mazin not only on the craft of screenwriting, but also on their own experiences as screenwriters navigating an ever-changing business has been invaluable. Scriptnotes is a weekly master class in screenwriting, and it’s free. If you happened to have just tuned in, or even joined the audience around Episode 50 and never had a chance to hear the early episodes, now is your chance to get the first 100 episodes on a USB flash drive for only $20. But hurry, because you have to order by Aug. 16. Hit the jump to find out how. More »

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green_headshot_300Scriptnotes, the podcast from screenwriters John August and Craig Mazin that we’ve featured on nofilmschool a number of times (and also happens to be one of the most popular podcasts about that topic), is running a challenge for listeners to submit three pages of their original work, to be read and critiqued on an upcoming podcast. Click below for more details and learn how to enter! More »

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scriptnotesWhen we initially put together our stories for our screenplays, we typically think about all of our major story beats, jotting them down on notecards or writing bulletpoints in outlines. Everything looks great on our whiteboards or corkboards or cinema displays and we’re ready to dive into the screenplay itself. We come to the end of our first scene and realize something is missing. Transitions are the glue that holds our screenplays together, the peanut butter between our scene-size crackers, the chewed-up gum in our MacGyver writing contraptions (alright, I’m trying too hard here). Without transitions, we’re left with a bunch of scenes and no cohesive story. On a recent episode of the Scriptnotes podcast, John August and Craig Mazin offer the following five tips on screenplay transitions to help you keep the reader and the viewer engaged in your story. More »

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Fonts are sexy. Okay, maybe not, but they are a major element of print and web design. Heck, you’re looking at one right now. Fonts impact how we perceive information. I bet Koo is pouring over hundreds of fonts at this very moment trying to pick the right ones for the website redesign (I vote for Mistral). For screenwriters, however, we’re essentially stuck with one and only one font: Courier. More specifically, for those of us using Final Draft, we’re stuck with Courier Final Draft. Courier is boring. It’s bland. It’s standard. Until recently, there was nothing you or I could do about it. Thanks to John August, Alan Dague-Greene and Ryan Nelson of Quote-Unquote Apps, however, now we have Courier Prime, a better Courier font designed specifically for screenplays. Even better, it’s free. More »

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Last week, The Black List announced a new paid service for aspiring screenwriters to get their scripts in front of industry professionals. The idea of putting together a database of undiscovered screenplays that professional readers rate and industry professionals can search sounds pretty good. Add to this the fact that algorithms promote scripts to industry professionals based on their preferences à la Netflix or Amazon makes it sound even better. Knowing that over 1,100 industry professionals using the database have been vetted (chosen from over 5,000 applicants) and range from agency assistants to studio presidents may convince several aspiring screenwriters to submit their scripts post haste. The idea of paying for access to these industry professionals, however, may stop several aspiring screenwriters in their tracks – is this just another scheme to make money off the thousands of wannabe screenwriters with no industry access? Thankfully, John August and Craig Mazin put The Black List founder Franklin Leonard in the hot seat during their live podcast recording at the Austin Film Festival last week to find out. More »

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As screenwriters, we need to tell good stories, and to tell good stories, we need to great endings. Duh. What fascinates me about this axiom, though, is how much time screenwriters, myself included, worry about the opening of a script to hook a reader and how little time we may spend crafting a great ending to satisfy the reader. Screenwriters John August and Craig Mazin tackle this very subject on their latest episode of Scriptnotes and how writers should handle the endings of their screenplays. More »

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Ever need to send out copies of your screenplay to several people at once, but want each of them to know that your screenplay is for their eyes only? Maybe you’re having a staged reading of a work-in-progress, but don’t want to current draft to drift beyond the confines of the reading. Or maybe you’re an assistant at a production company who needs to share a script with talent and other producers, but who also needs to keep it under wraps. Earlier this year, John August and his team at Quote-Unquote Apps, Nima Yousefi and Ryan Nelson, launched Bronson Watermarker at the Mac App Store to do just that and more. Check out this video for more details about Bronson Watermarker: More »

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Back in February, John August announced a new Mac app called Highland, a conversion utility allowing screenwriters to move between FDX, PDF and Fountain files. After a few months of private beta testing with his app co-developers Nima Yousefi (code) and Ryan Nelson (graphics), August has announced a public beta of Highland, which takes Highland beyond screenplay conversion and into screenplay editing. More »

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As screenwriters, we spend a lot of time writing, re-writing, and obsessing over dialogue.  Let’s face it — the audience won’t read the amazing writing of our action sequences, but they will certainly hear our pithy dialogue.  But do each of our characters have a unique voice? Thanks to the ongoing generosity of John August and Craig Mazin, their most recent Scriptnotes podcast provides five tests to see whether a character’s voice is working.  See the five tests from the podcast below and my personal take on each: More »

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What are the highs and lows of being a screenwriter?  What kind of misconceptions do people have about screenwriting?  How do you find your voice in an assignment or get through writer’s block?  Academy screenwriters offer their views on these questions and more in this interesting six part video-series at the Academy of Motion Pictures and Sciences website.  With screenwriters like John August (Big Fish, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory), Lawrence Kasdan (Raiders of the Lost Ark, Body Heat), and Marc Norman (Shakespeare in Love) sharing their thoughts, there’s lots of great food for thought: More »

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Hot on the heels of Fountain, a screenwriting tool that could become a standard, John August has announced “Highland,” a Mac app that takes the headaches out of screenwriting file types. Though it’s still in beta, Highland could become the go-to app for converting between Fountain, Final Draft, and PDF. I’ll let John explain in this walk-through video: More »

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Writing a script on the go has been hit-or-miss. Final Draft still does not have a dedicated screenwriting application on any mobile device (though a reader exists). If you’ve been looking for an easy way to write a script on your phone or tablet and quickly take it to your desktop – and vice versa – then John August and Stu Maschwitz may have created just what you’re looking for with the introduction of Fountain: More »

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Hollywood’s accounting practices are so infamously convoluted that you could write a book on them. Two, in fact: author Edward Jay Epstein has written two books on the topic, The Big Picture: Money and Power in Hollywood and The Hollywood Economist: The Hidden Financial Reality Behind the Movies. I read his first book, but by this point my memory’s a bit hazy, so listening to the latest episode of the Script Notes podcast by screenwriters John August and Craig Mazin was a great refresher on the topic of where the money goes in Hollywood. More »

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Screenwriter John August, whose blog is already a treasure trove of valuable information for screenwriters, has launched a new site compiled from his Q&As over the years. Whereas his blog is just that — a blog, arranged in reverse chronological order — the new site, Screenwriting.io, is designed to do one thing: automated Q&A. In John’s words, “there’s a need for high-quality answers to basic screenwriting questions.” The site is currently in beta and is looking for feedback, so go try it out and let ‘em know what you think!

Link: Screenwriting.io

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Screenwriter and blogger extraordinaire John August has released a very handy app for screenwriters (and script readers) called FDX Reader. In my limited experience I’ve found that the iPad is the perfect form factor for reading scripts in PDF format, but to date it hasn’t been able to read industry-standard Final Draft files. FDX reader solves that, and apparently works great with my file-synching utility of choice, Dropbox. Here’s a video of the app in action: More »

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If you’re a screenwriter and you don’t live in LA, odds are you’ll be making a trip — or many trips — to LA in order to take meetings. 26-year old screenwriter Bradley Jackson (@BradleyJackson) has written a great guest post on John August’s blog about how to make the most of such a trip. Speaking from personal experience, when I was in LA with the project 3rd Rail, we had eleven meetings in three days: we had our pitch, we had a borrowed car, we had a primitive phone-based GPS, we had a full docket of meetings all around town, and we didn’t have a clue as to how to pitch or what to expect. Bradley’s post includes a lot of useful advice for screenwriters who might find themselves in a similar situation, and I wish his post existed before I went. Here’s one of his tips (a short film he wrote and directed is also embedded below). More »