October 2, 2016 by tcawood
Podcasts are a great way to pick up a ton of useful information on screenwriting, scripts and the market for them. Not to mention a terrific tool for filling dead time: driving, commuting and the like. At their best, Podcasts are informative, funny, provocative and quickly become part of your ‘must do’ schedule.
So – without further ado – here are my favorites. In no particular order…except for the first one!
John August (Big Fish, Frankenweenie etc) and Craig Mazin (Hangover 2 & 3, Identity Thie etc) are the real deal. Working Hollywood screenwriters who write for a living… and who pay it forward by putting out a weekly podcast to share their knowledge, opinions and wisdom. Their insights are quite useful, based on their working knowledge and experience of the industry . And they don’t shy away from difficult subjects. There’s now over 200 episodes, so get downloading!
Note: John and Craig are chalk and cheese from a personality point of view, but this dynamic is one of the many things that makes each episode an absolute highlight of my week.
On the Page:
Pilar Alessandra is a professional script consultant in Hollywood. Her weekly show is based around a succession of guests: almost all of whom are screenwriters, but occasionally show runners and producers are added to the mix. The interviews are wide ranging, funny and informative. Pillar definitely knows her stuff and is a real livewire on the show.
BAFTA Screenwriters Lecture Series:
These podcasts consist of records of lectures given by a variety of screenwriters at BAFTA/BFI events. They’re not regular, and tend to come out in a bunch once a year. Currently available are podcasts with Emma Thompson, Richard Curtis, Tony Gilroy, and Charlie Kaufman to name but a few (there’s approx 25 in total).
Curious About Screenwriting Network:
A great service provided by Network ISA. They have regular Tele Seminars with screenwriters, script consultants etc, which are recorded and released as podcasts. Currently there are over 50 that have been made available, and include guests such as John Truby, Robert McKee and David Trottier, and covering subjects like Rewriting (with Pilar Alessandra), Winning the Big Contests and Pitching.
Selling Your Screenplay:
“Starring” Ashley Scott Meyers, who is an aspiring screenwriter with a couple of sales and produced films to date. His podcast interviews other writers and focuses on how they broke in, how they got their films made and what tips and tricks they can share with fellow writers. Ashley is a genre writer with no airs and graces about his own work. It’s a refreshing attitude and the insights from his guests are great, as they focus on selling your screenplay. (Which is information that all of us writers can use!)
Third & Fairfax, The WGA Podcast:
This is a new podcast from the WGA West. Only a couple of episodes so far. It deals with WGA news, has writer and staff interviews and is pretty informative for both WGA members and non-members.
The Black List Table Reads:
This one is a little different… As Franklin Leonard puts it… ‘it’s movies for your ears’. In essence, this podcast takes well written scripts from the Blacklist and have professional actors voice them in a table read type setting. They work extremely well. The scripts they’ve done so far have been excellent and varied.
The UK Script Writers Podcast:
Tim Claque and Danny Stack are working UK writers who provide insights on the UK scene and interview UK based writers, producers and more. Informative and funny for us Brits, there’s almost 50 episodes so far.
As to how to access these resources? Use whatever Podcast app you have on your IOS or Android device, and remember to subscribe so that you get the new episodes as soon as released.
Which is not to say the list ends here. On the contrary – it’s just beginning. There are a bunch of other podcasts that I subscribe to, and find useful to my writing. The best podcasts spark ideas around subjects I like, and act as inspiration generators. My personal ones are Lore, Ted Talks, Mysterious Universe, Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo’s Film Reviews and Paranormal Report. In their own ways, each of these have provided info and snippets that have acted as the genesis for short or feature ideas. Mind you, these are my favorites – catering to my particular interests – so have a look round yourself. See what podcasts exist for your interests and fave genres. Because you never know where inspiration will strike next!
Carry on reading for the next in the series and check out my new book for expanded and updated info – How to sell your screenplay