In episode 291 of Scriptnotes, John August and Craig Mazin take on another three-page challenge—something they do every so often, where listeners are invited to send in the first three pages of a script, and get useful critiques back from John and Craig via the show.  Before getting into the main challenge, John and Craig take a minute to go over a lovely article from ScriptShadow (a blogger giving free advice on screenwriting) describing how Manchester by the Sea and Moonlight both had Oscar-unworthy scripts despite the recent wins.  I’m still not sure if hearing about that article was funny or sad.  They also go over the Scriptnotes guide listeners are invited to contribute to, suggesting back episodes for new listeners (and probably soon to be called the “Script-Dex,” which I think is appropriately catchy.)

I’m a new listener, so I’d never hears a Scriptnotes three-page challenge before, and this was very interesting. I know when it comes to submitting a script, the first three pages can be pivotal when someone is sitting at home with a stack of twenty scripts and a limited attention span, but I’d never heard really detailed breakdowns of the first three pages side-by-side of several scripts, by professionals in the screenwriting world, so it was a very educational experience.  I’m also impressed with the bravery of Lambert, Nauert, and Gioulakis (the three writers whose scripts were read) for submitting to Scriptnotes for this, because asking professionals to critique your work on a podcast lots of people are going to hear sounds terrifying—though in the end a terrifically helpful thing.

To finish up the episode, John and Craig go over their one-cool-things, which this week include British film writer Jack Thorne, and a small plastic “Beat The Boss” phone you could apparently sneak into prison, and while I was surprised to see the latter on the one-cool-thing list, I’m going to have to remember that phone exists, because it seems like the kind of thing that comes in handy when you’re writing a crime story and your character needs some way to be able to make a call.