By Joe Dzikiewicz
It’s been amazing to watch the emergence of Podcasts on every imaginable subject. And screenwriting is no exception. Here’s a few of my favorites about screenwriting and what I like about them.
1. Scriptnotes “Scriptnotes is a podcast about screenwriting and things that are interesting to screenwriters.” This is one of the fundamental podcasts on screenwriting, having published well over 500 episodes. It’s hosted by accomplished screenwriters John August and Craig Mazin, with frequent writer guests. It’s full of things about the craft of screenwriting from the perspective of a couple of guys who are well paid to write movies and TV shows. But you also get a lot of info about what it’s like to be a professional screenwriter, including discussions on what’s going on with the Writer’s Guild of America – both John and Craig have been on WGA board members. As special bonus, August runs a number of the best web resources for screenwriters: if you’ve ever googled some obscure screenwriting formatting question, you may have found your answer on his https://screenwriting.io.
2. The Screenwriting Life If you attended Meg LeFauve’s WIFV zoom talk last year, you know about her deeply-personal, almost-therapeutic approach to screenwriting, where the point is to dig deep into your personal lava and put it on the page. The Screenwriting Life is a podcast that she does with fellow writer Lorien McKenna where they talk about the craft and life of screenwriting. This is very much in the Scriptnotes model, with two screenwriters talking about screenwriting life and craft, complete with the occasional guest. But LeFauve and McKenna have a more emotionally intimate approach than August and Mazin, which some will find more appealing.
3. The Q&A with Jeff Goldsmith Each episode of the Q&A includes an interview with a screenwriter about a movie or TV show that they wrote, with movies ranging from the latest Marvel blockbuster to arthouse films to Oscar nominees. Usually this is for recent films, but there have been episodes that go back to past classics. It gets deep into both the screenplay and the writer’s process. I don’t listen to every episode, but when they do something that I’ve seen, I find the insights invaluable. And don’t miss the annual Oscar episode where Goldsmith interviews a panel of writers from that year’s screenwriting nominees .
4. The Team Deakins Podcast Okay, I’m cheating here. The Team Deakins podcast is not primarily about screenwriting, though it does occasionally have a guest screenwriter. But this has become my #1 favorite podcast about filmmaking, so it’s making my list. Team Deakins consists of Oscar-winning cinematographer Roger Deakins and his wife and partner James Deakins. Each episode includes them interviewing and talking with someone who works in the movie business, someone who is occasionally a screenwriter. And here’s the thing about being an A-list filmmakers, as Deakins is: you can get other A-listers to come on your podcast, people like Sam Mendes and Frances McDormand. And your interviews with them often end up being interesting conversations between people who have worked together (as Deakins has with both of those people). But that’s not all: the podcast often has guests with filmmaking jobs that don’t get much attention, people like sound designers, location managers, props managers, and script supervisors. These guests describe in detail what those jobs involve and how they broke into them. I firmly believe this podcast should be in the curriculum for all film schools as it shows just how many filmmaking jobs there are and gives a flavor for each.
5. Storylanes Now I’m really cheating: Storylanes is my own podcast. I started it back in 2020 with the goal of doing deep-dive analyses of screenplays. For each episode, I watched a movie, read its screenplay, and analyzed the story structure. I even produced a chart of the major plot points and how they stacked up against some standard screenwriting methods (3-act structure, Save the Cat, Hero’s Journey). And I looked for screenwriting lessons in the screenplays. I did fifteen screenplays ranging from DIE HARD to LITTLE WOMEN before I ran out of steam. (It’s a lot of work to produce a podcast, so when I got deep into producing my own indie, I ran out of time to make a podcast: I discuss some of that process in later episodes.) I learned a huge amount from this exercise and did my best to share that knowledge in the podcast.
So that’s some of my favorite screenwriting podcasts. Do you have any favorites you’d like to share?