December 2, 2014

Disciplined Daydreaming: Inspiring Screenwriting Advice from John August

Screenwriter John August (Big Fish, Corpse Bride, Frankenweenie) is in the business not only of writing screenplays, but of helping out struggling writers by sharing his wisdom through resources like his Scriptnotes podcast, which, if you haven't gotten into that, get into that immediately, his new Writer Emergency Pack, which was recently fully funded on Kickstarter, as well as his blog.

This time, August gives you a tour inside his creative process in this video for Academy Originals. He explains how he crafts a story, his method for organizing ideas, his approach to taking what's in his head and putting on the page (or whiteboard)  -- he even shows you his weird keyboard, which is -- truly weird.

When you're planning a road trip, you gotta kind of know where you want to end up. You have to know where you're gonna start and where you're gonna end up -- and then you can take really fascinating ways to get there.

There are a bunch of great tidbits from the video, but one thing that we should all marinate in and try to make real in our creative lives is that we need to keep writing. It's a piece of advice said so often that it's quickly becoming to screenwriters what Hallmark cards are to lovers. The tender sentiment gets lost in our cynical literary world so easily, but if we can see the application, it won't just become a heap of sappy, saccharine trifles to us. It's not enough to hear, "I love you." We must also be met with a big sloppy kiss (please, not sloppy). It's not enough to hear, "Keep writing." We must also be shown how to keep going.

Resources like this video, as well as others from August and many other screenwriters and creatives out there will certainly show you the way to San Jose, guys -- or back to Hollywood -- or whichever place means success to you. (Dionne doesn't make it super clear, but I'll venture a guess and say Hollywood.)

Your Comment

8 Comments

That keyboard is insane

December 2, 2014 at 4:38PM

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Emerson Shaw
Student
653

Yup! Though I hope to never ruin my wrists to the point of having to use a vertical keyboard

December 3, 2014 at 2:00AM

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Abhishek Martins
Jack of all trades
81

I need to get a whiteboard. And an office.

December 2, 2014 at 5:33PM

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Brendan Plake
Freelancer
18

I agree, just write! The biggest downfall is to over think and stop writing.

December 3, 2014 at 12:27AM

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Nima Tajbakhsh
Writer/Director
180

some fantastic ideas, and a very cool keyboard.

December 3, 2014 at 11:17PM

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Alex Keerma
Writer & Director
105

If only someone could imagine a desk of card to help writer! :) (I can't wait to get mine Mr John August)

December 4, 2014 at 3:20PM, Edited December 4, 3:20PM

3
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Am much as I loved Charlies' Angels 2, I have to wonder why August is preying on young screenwriters to make his living. Apps? Decks of cards? Really?

December 4, 2014 at 8:09PM

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dave
136

If you're not familiar with John August's Scriptnotes podcast, I highly recommend it.

December 4, 2014 at 10:36PM, Edited December 4, 10:36PM

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Madara
writer/director
189