Posts Tagged ‘John August’


Au Revoir John August, My AFF Hi Bye Friend. – 28. July, 2016

I was devastated to learn that John August is moving to France.



Yes, I know that his moving will have little effect on the Scriptnotes podcast but John August was my secret “hi bye” friend.

John has no idea who I am but at every Austin Film Festival I would run into him at least once and I’d say, “morning, John” or “afternoon, John” or “hi, John!”

And every time he’d say the exact same thing…

John, “(a slightly longer than expected pause) Hello.”


This has been a staple of my AFF experience since I first attended but now, with John in France, I’m worried that he won’t be at this year’s Austin Film Festival. I will have no “hi bye” friend this year.


(that’s an homage to last year’s deluge)


Posted in Off-Topic

John August Steals My Thoughts – 11. February, 2016

February 8, John August posts about the thesis of a script.

January 28, I post about the thesis of a script.

Only logical conclusion, John August stole my thoughts. THIEF!

Also, I’m as sick as a dog, on about 7 different decongestants and, subsequently, can now see through time.


But being so feverish that I’m hallucinating should in no way destroy the credibility of my initial claim.

Yeah, no, not at all.

I’m cool. We’re cool. John is cool. Jury is still out on Craig.

Jury is back. Craig is cool.


Someone, please send soup.

Posted in Writing

AFF 2015 Day 3 – 31. October, 2015

So yesterday Austin experienced a once in a century deluge. I spent the entire day — 3 panels, 1 roundtable, lunch and one BBQ supper — soaking wet. I mean like-a-dog-caught-in-a-downpour wet.


But today is a new (not as rainy) day. Here’s what I’m thinking of attending.

9a, Pros and (Comic) Cons – Shane Black (Iron Man 3), Christos Gage (Daredevil) and Nicole Perlman (Guardians of the Galaxy) dissect the art of successfully adapting comics into film/television — and then my nerd heart explodes.

10:45a, Based on a Short Story: Sleepy Hollow – the guys behind the film and television show do a compare and contrast. Could be damn interesting.


10:45a, The Three Page ChallengeJohn, Craig and Kelly Marcel put a handful of writers through the wringer, live and in person.

12:30p, Dual Protagonists – Do I spend another session with John as he explores two-handers…


12:30p, Structurally Sound – Do I spend another session with Craig as he takes a new angle on structure?

2:45p, Breaking In? Check! Now What? – You gotta plan for what happens after you jam your foot in the door and trip over the (un)welcome mat.

4:30p, Die Hard vs. Lethal Weapon – That panel title alone makes my little geek heart scream out in joy.

11p, Heart of Film Conference Costume Party – So I don’t have a costume. Anyone want to help me put one together at the last minute?

So, are these the panels you’re looking for?


Happy Halloween, y’all!

Posted in Festivals

AFF 2015 Day 2 – 30. October, 2015

What’s up! You enjoying your AFF? I had Torchy’s so I’m excellent!


Here’s what I’ll be checking out today.

9a, Dystopian World’s – I write a lot of apocalypse fiction so this would be a good panel for me.


9a, Hybrid Writers: Diversifying Your Portfolio – I do write television, features and comics, plus I sometimes direct, so maybe I should attend this one instead.


9a, No Business Like Show Business – It never hurts to know a little more about the business, right?

10:45a, Roundtable: The Art, Craft and Business of TelevisionYo, been trying to meet ya.

12:45p, Toy Story 3: Mistakes Made, Lessons Learned – Am I gonna cry all over again?

1:30p, Finding Representation: The Writer/Rep Relationship – It’s a business about relationships, right?


1:30p, The Creative Carer: Practical Tip for Starting Out – Dreamers gotta be practical, no?

3:15p, Scriptnotes, Live! – Party time with John & Craig!

4:45p, Film Texas BBQ Supper – No description needed.

11p, Filmmakers Happy Hour – It runs two hours, not one, so I’m very happy about that.

And on a complete tangent, apparently I’m rebooting The A-Team with an all female cast and I just locked in Pamela Ribon for B.A. Baracus. I think Pamela wants Jenny Lumet to play Hannibal or Face but I’d like to add Nicole Perlman to that line up. Who would you cast?


Posted in Festivals

Austin Film Festival 2014 – 6. November, 2014

Holy conference, Batman! The Austin Film Festival ought to come with a warning. “AFF may cause a feeling of elation, a boost to self confidence and general buzzing about. The inevitable crash can be eased by emailing everyone you met, enjoying good brisket and starting your next script IMMEDIATELY!”

Yeah, it was that good.

While this was only my second year attending (I placed in the second round with my spec of The Americans), it was so unbelievably productive that I’m already planning next year’s trip, as well as the next show I’ll spec.

If there’s one thing that makes the Austin Film Fest worthwhile, it’s the people. The panels are great — trust me, I’m gonna tell you all about them in a minute — but the people are the reason to go. Last year my buddy Ted told me that I could do more networking in 5 days at AFF than I could in one year in LA. He was 100% right. And don’t go expecting the guest of honor (this year I believe it was Mad Men creator Matt Weiner) to buy your script but go to meet your peers. These are the people that’ll come up with you. These are the future staffers that might actually staff you. At the very least, they’ll read your script and give you notes (a big “thank you” to all of last year’s attendees that have read my work and given me notes).

One thing that made this year better than the last (and last year was great) was that my goals were clearly defined. This year I wanted to meet a potential mentor and I wanted to get into a strong writers group. While I haven’t sealed the deal for either of those yet, I do feel that I’ve made great progress. Stayed tuned.

As for the panels, they rocked. Instead of giving you the blow by blow, let me bullet point the panels I attended and share one nugget of wisdom from each.

And I haven’t’ even talked about the parties, BBQ or all the wonderful people I met but I have to get cracking on what I’ll be submitting next year.

Want one more piece of advice? Do yourself a favor. Write something, place and attend (regardless if you place or not). It’ll do wonders for your career, your self-esteem and your networking skills.

And to wrap up with what I borrowed from Ben Blacker (met him at last year’s AFF), here’s what I read/watched over this trip.

I’m still trying to finish The Strain. They should hire me for season two.


Started Masters of Sex. So good.


Loved the art on Down. Set. Fight! Gotta find a way to work with this guy.


Started Daniel Way‘s Deadpool run. Really wanted to dig in after his Let’s Talk Comics interview.


Mind the Gap. What a great idea. Who’s developing this?


Injustice: Gods Among Us is fucking awesome. Everyone needs to read it.


Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami. Loved the middle, didn’t love the beginning and I’d like to rewrite the end.

Illustration by Clifford Harper/

… did I mention that AFF gave my confidence a real boost?

John August Hawking OTMM – 24. March, 2010

If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you know I have a feature film I hope to finish this year. In our day and age, making a film has never been easier (The Believer tells you how to make a $15k feature).

No, the trick these days is getting it seen. If your film doesn’t have bankable stars, a high concept or fall into one of the genre barrios (basically horror or sex thriller) then forget about getting picked up by one of the mini-majors. No, these days you’ll have to distribute it yourself.

Which brings me to John August and the film ONE TOO MANY MORNINGS. This flicked premiered at the Sundance NEXT section for micro-budget films (a few of which had stars) and then the filmmakers did something unique–they released the film via download and DVD the day after their Sundance premiere. Soon John August was blogging about the flick and he even hosted a screening and moderated the Q&A at The Egyptian last week.

So why write about this now? One, I’m curious about the fate of this film. If this works for them I have greater confidence in adopting this model for my film. Two, thanks to John August, the HD download of this film is available for $2 until this Friday. I bought this film because John seems so jazzed about it and you should too. Christ, that’s less than a latte at Starbucks.

And now I sound like I’m preaching so I’m out of here.

To iPad or Hackintosh – 3. February, 2010

Like every tech lover out there, the big question is “do I get an iPad?” Maybe you’ll let John August test it for you, maybe you’ll wait until Stu Maschwitz develops this Magic Bullet interface.

Me, I’m not sure. I’d love to have a smaller, lighter version of my laptop, something less crucial to my work which is easier to transport; my life is on my laptop. I’d also love to be able to haul my media with me, have something where I could upload photos, take my writing with me (so I’d need some version of Final Draft and MarsEdit) and surf the web without worrying about leaving personal information on a public computer.

All that said, the iPad is almost there. I wish the OS were more robust and it cost about $200-300 less. So, what other options do I have? Why not a Hackintosh?

I could buy a cheap Dell and hack some OS X onto that sucker. It’s not a bad option but then I can’t upgrade and I’m always circling catastrophic disaster without a life vest because neither Apple nor Dell would be willing to offer me any kind of customer support.

So, what do you think? Should I look into an iPad or a Hackintosh?

Posted in Off-Topic

Hybrid Distribution Sucks! – 23. September, 2009

There, I said it.


Because I got into filmmaking to make films, not to market/distribute/sell films but that’s the new game and you gotta play to win so sign me up.

If you’re confused, here’s what you need to know: no one is buying indie films. If they are, they’re giving you a 1-10% advance based on your budget for all your rights for 25 years. In short, they’re trying to f**k you.

Here’s what you do.

  1. Read this Peter Broderick article. Once you’ve done that, read this John August summary.
  2. Pre-order this book by Jon Reiss. I took a 5 week class with him this past summer through Film Independent and, as I’m in the process of editing an independent feature film and developing a multi-medium project, it was incredibly useful.
  3. Subscribe to the Ted Hope blog.
  4. Go make something awesome.

And now for the interactive portion of this post. Two questions:

  1. What are you working on?
  2. What are you doing to ensure your success?

You Will Read My F**king Script! – 11. September, 2009

Everyone is buzzing about this Village Voice article. Why? I think it’s because in the age of Reality TV Celebutantes sex tapes we love watching idiots make asses of themselves but let’s save that for later.

First, let me say that “I get it.” When I recently turned in my TERMINATOR: THE SARAH CONNON CHRONICLES TV spec for contests, I suffered over every sentence, every word. Not only did I employ all of John August’s tips but I also read it from last page to first and I reread the first ten pages ten times more than the rest of the script. If I go back and find I dropped an apostrophe from a contraction, I want to commit seppuku in the shower.

But that’s not everyone’s policy. Terrible writing chocked full of grammar and spelling mistakes isn’t just for the amateur either. I once worked for a small indie film production company run by a titan in the field and they asked me to clean up a certain filmmaker’s script before it went out. This writer/director, who shall go unnamed but I will say that he won Sundance, became an overnight success, still makes films and now also stars in big Hollywood productions, handed in a script that looked like it was typed up by a retarded orangutan. I, who am not an expert in grammar, could spot the syntactical carnage miles from the page… but I digress.

I get why this guy doesn’t want to read your script. No one wants to hear the truth. I know. The older I get the more honest I get and the more folk look hurt when I give them said honesty but in this industry you gotta develop thick skin. There’s a reason that all the filmmakers that make it are jerks.

But does this guy have to be such a douche? Maybe. But do I want to hear him rant about it? Let me say this: yes, that guy was a dick for cornering you but you are a dick for writing this article. Hey, I’m sorry if your diamond slippers are too tight. Might I help you slide them off with a chainsaw?

That’s what I thought.

Posted in Writing

Packing Check List – 10. September, 2009

As I’m traveling a lot over the next few weeks, I thought I’d share a useful tip I picked up from John August.

Every time I travel, I use a Packing List. This way I know what to pack instead of running around like a headless chicken the night before.  Yes, I know a few of you will mock me for having a list but I also know a few of you will use it on your next trip.

Enjoy and look for lots of pics from Portland.

Posted in Off-Topic