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The Making of “Hamilton Fish”: Rachel Mason’s Eight-Year Saga

8 months agoArts : Art Fag City

“I do believe that there is cosmic synchronicity that we don’t understand,” Rachel Mason told me on a chilly night in her Long Island City studio. Eight years ago, she began researching an eighty-year-old newspaper story for her new opera “The Lives of Hamilton Fish”– the making of which, alone, is a long story.


8 months agoArts / Writing :

John and Craig pick up loose ends, with follow-up on previous episodes about “friends,” conflict, improv, Kindles, and defibrillation.

How to Create a Sustainable Writing Income [Interview with Danny Iny]

8 months agoArts / Writing : Write to Done

Creating a sustainable writing income is a struggle. I’m sure you know that! But maybe it’s important to look at some less-obvious applications of your writing skills. Check out what Danny Iny has to say about this in the following interview. Show More Summary

Bad Teachers, Good Advice and the Default Male

8 months agoArts / Writing :

Aline Brosh McKenna joins John and Craig to discuss the how movies featuring good mentors (Dead Poet’s Society, To Sir with Love) differ from films with bad mentors (Whiplash, The Devil Wears Prada). It’s not just that the teachers are bad guys; rather, the stories are structured completely differently.

The Conflict Episode

9 months agoArts / Writing :

Craig and John discuss conflict -- why it’s bad in real life but essential in screenwriting. We define six forms of conflict common in movies, then look at ways to sustain conflict within a scene and throughout a story.

Doing, not thinking

9 months agoArts / Writing :

John and Craig start the new year by discussing Chuck Palahniuk's advice to avoid thinking verbs. Then it's a new round of the Three Page Challenge.

Casting Spells over Los Angeles

9 months agoArts : Art21 Blog

Gurus, healers, psychics, and witches are common in Los Angeles—and their worlds often intersect with the world of artists.

Cutting Pages and Fixing Holes

9 months agoArts / Writing :

It’s a clip show! John and Craig discuss cutting pages from your script, fixing plot holes, and what we’d do if we ran a studio. We’ll be back with all new episodes in 2015, the year of post-outrage rationality.

D’OH! …Stupid Caricatures!

Last May at the NCS Reuben Awards Weekend in San Diego, Reubens Master of Ceremonies Tom Gammill put together a great video intro featuring a montage of clips from “The Simpsons” that featured gags about cartoons, comics, cartoonists and MAD Magazine. There were a surprising number of them, including a few cartooning luminaries like Cathy […]

Advice to a First-Time Director

9 months agoArts / Writing :

John and Craig offer advice to a director taking the plunge, with guidance on both getting the work done and getting the performances you want. From there, we segue into a discussion of the Perfect Director, the next installment of our Perfect series.

Twelve Days of Scriptnotes

10 months agoArts / Writing :

Craig and John welcome special guests Aline Brosh McKenna, Rachel Bloom, B.J. Novak, Jane Espenson and Derek Haas to talk about writing books, movies and especially television.

Hacks, Transference and Where to Begin

10 months agoArts / Writing :

John and Craig talk about where to start a story — how far back should you go? The decision about whether to meet the hero as a child, in their normal rut, or mid-crisis fundamentally changes the narrative, so it’s worth exploring fully.

The Perfect Reader

10 months agoArts / Writing :

Craig and John discuss the qualities of the perfect reader, whether it’s a studio professional or your screenwriting buddy. What should a reader look for, and how should she communicate her thoughts?

Franz Kafka’s brother, and the perfect agent

10 months agoArts / Writing :

John and Craig talk about why writers are often reluctant to show their work, and how film journalists love to focus on the director — even when there’s no director in sight.

Finishing a script, and the Perfect Studio Executive

10 months agoArts / Writing :

What are the odds that's statistical analysis of screenplays will make Craig angry? Always bet on umbrage. Fortunately, he just finished a script, so we talk about that, and John’s new gig writing Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (which was the project he described phone-pitching the past few episodes).

Lotteries, lightning strikes and twist endings

11 months agoArts / Writing :

John and Craig look at the nature of fluke hits, everything from #alexfromtarget to huge spec sales. Is luck just luck, or is it about how often you play the game? Where does talent fit in?

Descending Into Darkness

11 months agoArts / Writing :

Craig and John shake off their Halloween candy hangovers by taking a look at three new Three Page Challenges, full of post-apocalyptic portals and strange signals.

Austin Forever

11 months agoArts / Writing :

John and guest host Susannah Grant sit down with Richard Kelly, Cary Fukunaga, Peter Gould, Dan Sterling and Mike Birbiglia to discuss the role of a writer/director, the wonder of television, and the purpose of table reads.

The Tentpoles of 2019

11 months agoArts / Writing :

Craig and John discuss the 31 superhero movies slated for the next few years. Is it good business or a trainwreck in the making?

Critics, Characters and Business Affairs

12 months agoArts / Writing :

John and Craig were delighted to join the Slate Culture Gabfest on stage to talk about the gulf between critics and creators. We have the audio from that, and additional thoughts on the issue.

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