John August Scripts Collection: Screenplays Download

Below are all the screenplays written by John August available online. If you find any of his missing screenplays please leave the link in the comment section.

When you are done reading take a listen to Apple’s #1 Screenwriting Podcast The Bulletproof Screenwriting Podcast, with guest like Oscar Winner Eric Roth, James V. HartDavid ChaseJohn AugustOliver Stone and more.


(NOTE: For educational and research purposes only).

 

Frankenweenie (2012)

Screenplay by John August – Read the screenplay!

The Nines (2007)

Screenplay by John August – Read the screenplay!

Corpse Bride (2005)

Screenplay by John August, Caroline Thompson, and Pamela Pettler – Read the screenplay!

Big Fish (2004)

Screenplay by John August – Read the screenplay!

Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle (2000)

Screenplay by John August and Ed Solomon – Read the screenplay!

Go (1999)

Screenplay by John August – Read the screenplay!

BPS 049: Hollywood Screenwriting with Screenwriter John August

Today on the show we have Hollywood screenwriter, director, producer, podcaster and novelist John August. He is known for writing the hit Hollywood films Go, Charlie’s Angels, Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle, Big Fish, Charlie, and the Chocolate Factory and Frankenweenie, the Disney live-action adaptation of Aladdin and the novel Arlo Finch in the Valley of Fire. Here are some of the trailers of his work.

He hosts the popular screenwriting podcast Scriptnotes with Craig Mazin, maintains an eponymous screenwriting blog and develops screenwriter-targeted software called Highland 2.5 through his company, Quote-Unquote Apps.

Enjoy my conversation with John August.

Right-click here to download the MP3

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Alex Ferrari 2:56
I'd like to welcome the show John August the legendary John August. Thank you so much for being on the show, sir.

John August 4:45
Nice to be here Alex.

Alex Ferrari 4:47
You are as they say an OG in the podcasting space. Without question, when did you actually start your podcast?

John August 4:55
Oh, we're on episode 405. We just recorded that last night. So it's six years seven years, a long, long time.

Alex Ferrari 5:02
And what made you start podcasting? When like nobody was podcasting?

John August 5:05
You know, I started a blog when nobody was blogging to I've just always, you know, I always look to see, sir what the next thing is. It's interesting to me and I see people doing the thing, and I want to do it. And so I started to listen to a bunch of tech podcasts. And I was getting really tired to sort of have the grind of the monologue of doing a blog for screenwriting. And so I tried to prank Mason, who was doing blog like it. And so like, let's just have it be a conversation. So we started a weekly conversation that script notes, and it's gone really well.

Alex Ferrari 5:37
It's been going ever since very strong. So now I wanted to ask you, how did you first get into the business?

John August 5:44
I started I went through film school, I went through USC for film school, and graduated from that I'd written a script that people liked. It was not a movie of everything it made it sort of got me started meeting around town. first project I got hired to write on was an adaptation of how do we Fried Worms, a kids book, upper Ron Howard's company, and I just kept working. And firstly, they got made was go, that was back in 99. So 20 years ago, and just kept going.

Alex Ferrari 6:13
That was a very complex script. If I remember a complex movie, there was so many story plots, jumping back and forth. And remember when that came out was, it was definitely a 90s movies such as Doug Liman 90s film without question, how did you interweave so many plots and like matching them all together and stuff at the end, like,

John August 6:31
Go started, it started as a short script for short film, which is just the first section of it. And then I had all of the characters in there, I knew what they were doing the rest of that night. And rather than try to fill out the whole story from within, I just make it longer. I just restarted the story twice, and could sort of follow the same night from moving characters perspectives, you see how they overlap. And luckily, you know, Pulp Fiction has come out a year before that. And so people had an understanding, like, Okay, that's a real thing you're allowed to do in movies. And it was, you know, God bless that. But let us do some very specific things. Because so often, you see movies that are struggling, because, you know, the audience wants the next thing to happen. But the story needs something else to happen. And this could be very tight, because the storylines would stick very close together.

Alex Ferrari 7:17
Now, how many screenplays did you have written when you sold your first one because I always tell people don't just have one. Don't write don't sell, sell your first screenplay generally.

John August 7:26
Um, you know, I hadn't sold a written script until, which was pretty far into it. So I'd written four things before I had one that sold. But two of those things I'd written I'd been paid to write, they were adaptations of existing books. So I was very lucky, it started very quickly for me. But your general advice, I think is correct is that you don't put everything in. Don't assume that the one thing you're working on right now is the thing that's going to break through for you, because you just don't know and you're still learning your craft, you can't anticipate all these things are going to happen. That said, you know, write the movie you wish you could see, because that's the movie that you're going to actually stick by and finish and really be able to, you know, stay home on Friday nights to work on.

Alex Ferrari 8:12
And you came up in the 90s so the the screenwriting marketplace was a little bit different back then the

John August 8:20
There were there were truly were spec sales there would be like, you know, a million dollar spec sale for, you know, an original script. And that is basically gone away. And so that was different it was it was a boom time there clearly were things that were happening there. The same way that there's a boom time right now for television. It's just it's shifted a lot.

Alex Ferrari 8:38
Yeah, cuz because back then, I mean, you would get these Joe Osterhaus Shane Black deals that would just like to $3 million form it was like a lottery almost. And and someone like Astra house, he I think he made more money on movies that never got made

John August 8:52
that but I mean, that's always been true of screenwriting, though, is that, you know, there are a lot of screenwriters who get hired a lot, and they work a lot. But you know, most movies are developed don't get made. And so that is a frustration of screenwriting is that even me like I've had a pretty good track record, but most of the things I've written have not been made. And that's a real frustration.

Alex Ferrari 9:14
And you've actually been hot. And these are things that you hired to do the entire day. So it's,

John August 9:18
like 12 produce credits, but I have at least 30 scripts that I've written for pay, and most of them are just kind of frozen in 12 Point courier just because, you know, either the underlying rights or just whatever didn't come together the right way to make those movies. Yeah, it

Alex Ferrari 9:33
is a frustrating part of the whole the whole game and, and there's multiple reasons for that. It could be rites or something like that, or just studio changes.

John August 9:43
Obviously, you never found the right director or there was a competing project that was too similar. Lots of reasons why things don't happen.

Alex Ferrari 9:50
Now, you've collaborated with the legendary Tim Burton on multiple occasions. What is the collaboration process like with Tim Burton,

John August 9:58
right. It's all right. Between a screenwriter and director is different every time and sometimes it's a really close bond. And I'm there every moment. So like for go, I was there for every frame we shot. And I was in the editing room a lot, I was there for the whole thing with Tim, it's not that I'm with Tim, I'm very much like a department, head of my department, his story. And so I'm the person who's coming up with the script, delivering the script. And then I largely go away, I'll be there through pre production through table read, I'm there to help for anything that needs help. But like during production, I have no function in it. I'll see early cuts, I can give notes on that I can give feedback. But it's that's just not how we work. He treats. You know, all his partner heads really, really well. And so calling out wood, you know, sees his vision delivers costumes that will suit what he needs to do is similar tog refers to the same thing. But I'm, I'm a different department head for timber movies

Alex Ferrari 10:50
do you actually do like when you're actually collaborating with him with stores? Do you just he's just like, here's this, here's the book, give me something, it doesn't give you notes, because back and forth.

John August 11:01
It's more the former CIO, which is unlike most directors, but it's really just, this is the overall vision, give me something that matches the vision. So try the chocolate factory is a good example that he had signed on to direct it. It was really starting from zero on a script. And we could talk he could say, like, I want everything from the book and as much else as you need to make sense. And I could approach them from my whole memory of how much I love that book, and sort of what was special to me about that book, and then write it really anticipating the things that he would love. And so, you know, Walker's father being a dentist, and the orthotic headgear, and like just the moments, I knew that Tim Burton could not have the park. But there were probably less than an hour's conversation during the whole process of just like this, like, what would be a remaking it is very clear that like, you know, I'm writing a script and Tim's making a movie and it'll it'll work.

Alex Ferrari 12:01
And and that's a very unique scenario. Never normally directors are really up all inside your business, as they say,

John August 12:07
Yeah, normally, you're really sort of grappling over every scene in every every beat. And that's not Tim's basic way of doing things. He's, you know, I think I've really learned from him is that he prepares meticulously, and so he has big notebooks of how he's going to do every scene. And he's sketching, and he's painting, he's figuring out what it is. But he's figuring out how to make the movie inside his head. And he doesn't. He doesn't necessarily need to work with me as a writer in terms of doing that. He's trusting me to sort of like, provide the words and he's provide. Yeah. All the other things it takes to make a movie.

Alex Ferrari 12:46
I mean, you wrote one of my favorite timber movies ever big fish, which I think it was, it was such a brilliant, brilliant movie and, and very timber money, but not in the same sense is that makes sense?

John August 12:57
It does well, and that was a script that I'd written before Tim and sign on. So I just read it. I read a book that I loved very much, I convinced the studio to buying the book. And I wrote it without any directors on board and producers on board has wrote the movie I wish I could see. Originally, Steven Spielberg had signed on to directed he was on for about a year and never really happened. And then when he dropped off, Tim signed on. And so we didn't have a lot of conversation about, you know, the story, the movie or sort of what individual things meant to him. He said he wanted to direct that script is the only things I changed once Tim's on board were really for budget and schedule things just like things that were in the script that just we just couldn't make. And so then we discuss how we were going to do that, but it wasn't a, you know, you think there's gonna be these, you know, 12 hour sections where I'm really just mull over everything. And that's just not Tim's way.

Alex Ferrari 13:48
Now, you, you you have a recent film that just hit the theaters, a small little film called Aladdin,

John August 13:55
small indie project, that's

Alex Ferrari 13:56
an all indie project by startup. And, you know, I, when I first heard they were, well, of course, this is remaking everything they have in their, in their arsenal or in their backlog. But when I heard about a lot, I'm like, wow, that's a really unique challenge, because the original is so engrained in our head and specifically that Robin Williams performance. How did you tackle that remake? Like, how did you go into that process? Knowing that there's this honestly, this shadow? I'm sure Will Smith had the same problem, the shadow that Robin Williams was casting on the project, at least from my point of view?

John August 14:31
Yeah, I approached it from so you have to rewind the clock. A lot in sort of come into a universe once before and it's like, oh, no, I'm not gonna touch that. And then this you did the Cinderella remake, which I thought was fantastic. And what I love so much about the Cinderella remake is it took the same story. Basically, it just gave the characters human motivations rather than cartoon motivations, that they really had to do things that flesh and blood people would do not animated characters would do. And it didn't it Those reasons had to be different. And so as I approach the story from that perspective, I was looking at, well, Jasmine, so Jasmine has a character. You just can't bring that animated character through a live action movie because she will seem so helpless and weak and frustrating to watch. And so, you know, the idea that Jasmine is trying to learn how to rule this kingdom is interesting. That's a fundamental shift I could make from the very first pitch the dynamic between genie and Aladdin, I really saw them more as as bros as like, as house like you've never had a friend like me. And so what is it, it was more sort of a have a Seth Rogen a kind of dudes hanging out kind of vibe between them rather than the Robert Williams cocaine uncle kind of thing. And when we, from the early pitches, like that's really the vibe I was going for. And so I knew that whoever was playing the genie, it wasn't real at that point. But it was, was hopefully going to be will or somebody like well could didn't have to play in the same lane, they could do his own thing that there wouldn't be that assumption that you have to have the same kind of manic energy at every point, it could be a different thing. So that, you know, the characters were going through much the same story, but the reasons for how they were doing it were working a lot differently. Jafar is another good example is that he can't be as moustache totally hidden, he needs to be seen as a viable sort of physical threat and not just, you know, obviously to learn from the first moment he shows up.

Alex Ferrari 16:32
Right, exactly. And that's what makes a good protect what makes a good antagonist, generally speaking, is not the, the twirling mustaches has been, shouldn't really be what they write anymore. Now, Charlie's Angels, which was a monster hit when it came out. The first one for people was when people that weren't around then Charlie's Angels, a very big deal when it came out. And that was, that was your first kind of like, Blockbuster monster hit right out of the gate.

John August 17:01
Yeah, it was the first one that I had sort of really come on board, you know that at the start and sort of helped build from build up from the bottom. And that was, again, an example of, you know, taking all the things I loved about the original and recognizing, okay, so how do we do this as a movie? How does the things I love about this as a series? How do we do this in two hours? What are the audience expectations of how a story like this wants to tell itself into into hours, probably, that big fish are rival each other for the most difficult things I've written because in Charlie's Angels, you have three protagonists, each of who needs their own plot lines, his own personal plot lines, you have a villain, you have a twist, you have all the sort of normal action, Movie Action, Comedy things that need to happen. So every scene has to do a lot of work to service very many things. And so making that all work together in the puzzle pieces fit was really tough. But we approached it, mostly from a sense of, what do you want this mu to feel like? And so I really wanted to get that sense of being incredibly proud of the girls for sort of what they've done, which don't think about an action movie, but these women are really, really good at what they do. But they're giant dorks when they're off the job. And so that's what makes them feel human and relatable is that they are, you know, they're goofy and flawed in ways that you can sort of key into they're not perfect.

Alex Ferrari 18:21
Yeah, like, you don't want to have a beer with Rambo, like generally okay.

John August 18:24
No, no, I mean, and comedies are never about cool people. comedies are about dorks and so we had to find a way that they could be great at their job but also be dorks you know, off the job.

Alex Ferrari 18:35
Now, what was it like you know, being kind of like the belle of the of the ball after Charlie's Angels hits in town, because anytime there's a big hit the screenwriter and the director, they they kind of get twirled around for a while while you're hot. While the spotlights on you. What's that experience? Like? What was that experience? Like? Cuz I know a lot of people listening would love to know.

John August 18:54
Well, I mean, it's nice to be offered projects where you don't have to chase everything. Whereas sometimes it's just a little calm, say, like, Hey, would you want to do this thing? That's great. You also really are constrained by time. Like, there's only so many things you can do the only the only things you can say yes to and the more things you say yes to you're really saying no to other things. And it was tough to balance what people wanted me to do for them. And those opportunities I was getting versus the things I wanted to do for myself and finding you know, what was actually good, you know, provide value to me creative satisfaction to me. And it didn't always make the right choices. I ended up like, you know, taking projects that seems cool, but sometimes never happened. And so there's some gaps in my resume where I was working a lot just those movies didn't happen and a lot of my job as a screenwriter ends up being kind of like a stock picker. I have to pick the movies that that I want to do but that I also think will get made because it doesn't do me a lot of good if I got paid to write a movie that never became a movie.

Alex Ferrari 19:53
Yeah, I know a lot of high end you know, big time screenwriters that have one maybe one credit to them, and they're like, but they're working for 10 months oh, yeah, it happens all the time. Now, you also said at the beginning, you said that you kind of start off fast for you. What was the first break? Like? What was that first thing that happened? Because even in the 90s, it was still hard to break in without question.

John August 20:14
No. And I think this is, you know, a pattern I've noticed, you know, among my friends, but also, I've had a whole slew of assistants who've grown up to be, you know, big writers. And there becomes a moment at which something you've written is getting passed around without you're actively trying to get it passed around where someone reads. And so the passage seems like, Oh, should we this is really good. And that happened for me with the script, I wrote in film school that Romana tragedy called here and now, and I read it now, I don't think it's especially good. But the writing edit is good. You can read and say, like, oh, I don't necessarily want to make this movie. But like, the writer is actually probably pretty good and are worth meeting that got passed around a bunch. And just, you know, it started with friends at my level. So just, you know, people I was in class with people who were assistants, other places, would pass it around, their bosses would read it. And eventually, it sort of got some buzz to it. And that was what enabled me to get into a producer who said he wanted to think about auditioning, and I said, that's fantastic. But I really need an agent can help me find an agent, and that producer helped me find my first agent. And sort of get me more of those meetings, you end up doing sort of this water bottle tour of Los Angeles, where you just meet, you know, you know, producer and studio executives, and just talk about stuff.

Alex Ferrari 21:32
Now, um, what are some of the biggest mistakes you see in screen in screen that screenwriters make when they first are starting out?

John August 21:40
There's this focus on make ability, marketability, chasing what's currently popular, and that's never going to work. Because first off, everyone can sort of feel that you're not your heart's not really into that movie. That like, just because that Western opened big that there's not a whole run on westerns, it goes back to that kind of lottery ticket mentality. And that, like, there was a time where scripts would sounds like, you know, suddenly, you're a millionaire. Because that script sold for a bunch. That's not the time we're living in, really, you need to be writing scripts that you deeply believe in. It's a, it's a movie that you would pay $15 to see opening weekend because it means that much. So if that's a giant blockbuster, or the tiny art film, right, that movie you wish you could see, because that's the thing people will read and say, Oh, he or she really, you know, I really see something special. And I really see a connection to this, I want to meet this writer, because mostly, you're gonna make your living as a screenwriter, by being hired to do stuff.

Alex Ferrari 22:41
Now, what do you want to do? I love to hear your opinion on this, you know, the studio system has changed so dramatically since the 90s, or in the 80s, where a movie like go could get made. But in today's world, the studio would never even think of making a film like go or an independent film, not independent film, but just like a little bit. Go was

John August 22:59
basically independent film is an independent film that like got bought out right before we started shooting. So it really was in India.

Alex Ferrari 23:05
But But like, you know, the studios aren't taking many risks anymore. It's all these big blockbuster, everything's temple. What do you feel about that, as far as you know, just for the creativity of, of unique stories, unique voices? In those stories? What do you think? No.

John August 23:22
There are still places that are making those things. So it's not Disney, it's not Columbia, but there's still the annapurnas, the 824, I think we still have a really vibrant indie film community. And so those movies are happening, and it's still getting seen, I think the biggest shift that we're seeing is that more of those movies are ending up on Netflix, on Amazon, on Apple on places that aren't, you know, that orange, you know, going into a big giant movie theater and seeing it there. I love the big screen movie experience, I still want to keep making those movies, but I have to be realistic that there's certain kinds of movies for which most people are expecting to see it, you know, through a streaming service. And maybe we should just acknowledge expectation and make those things for those markets. Because that's where you're going to see, like, always be my maybe worked really well for Netflix. And that's everyone could watch it and be part of cultural conversation, because it was so successful there on Netflix, if it had come out and done the traditional, you know, platform in New York, Los Angeles and have to expand from that. I don't know if it would have worked. So I think that's just where we're at right now.

Alex Ferrari 24:30
What do you think of the whole streaming service phenomenon? The Netflix effect as they say like it is it is literally lifted this little small company completely changed the way Hollywood does business.

John August 24:40
Yeah. I mean, for certain kinds of projects, you know, they are a huge dominant player. And, you know, as someone who's writing things you always want more buyers, you always want more places where things can go that's that's just the reality. So it's it's amazing to have them there as another big studio but The downsides are, you know, it used to be you'd make a movie and it would exist out there in the world. And you could always find it or there was a DVD that there was just a sense that like there was a movie with a physical thing. And now that it's just bits on a streaming service, and you just don't know what's going to happen to it, it's great that everyone in the world can see your movie. But in some ways, there's so much there that it's very hard to sort of point somebody to your movie and get them watching it. And it's hard. Honestly, the, the aftermarket for a movie is so much smaller. Now, just because it is showing up on streaming services. There's no, there's residuals, but they're not the same kind of residuals that writers got used to.

Alex Ferrari 25:41
Now, what is your approach to structure? And how and how do you structure your scripts in general, like do you outline,

John August 25:49
I'm not a big outliner. But I have a very good sense generally, when I'm starting writing of what the important beats are, and most importantly, where I'm headed. So it's like a road trip, like, I obviously know where you're starting, but you got to have a really good sense of like, where you want to end up, and you can take some different routes to get there. But you have to have a good sense of like, okay, this is getting me towards where I want to be. So I'm, you know, it was New York, Los Angeles, I could go by the Grand Canyon, or I could go by Mount Rushmore, I have to make some choices, but I will get to that place where I'm going. So I have a good sense of the big, you know, pitstops along the way, as I'm, as I'm getting there, I'm not a huge believer in, you know, page 30, page 60, page 19, or these are the big moments, we have to hit. All movies, begin, all movies have a middle point, they have an end, just naturally, everything has a beginning and an end. But I don't believe in sort of its tricks, you know, ideas of like, you know, that a three act structure has to hit exactly these moments.

Alex Ferrari 26:47
Do like, there's a lot of these rules that you hear about, like, you know, make sure there's not a lot of action. Like you need to have a lot of whitespace on the script and proper formatting. And, of course, that's part of the process. But how truly important like, if you have, if you have one typo on your script, are you is your thing going to get thrown out? Oh, not at all. Yeah, that's, that's stuff that they tell people. And I always felt like, Look, if it, if you threw Pulp Fiction down, you know, if you're a typo or two, they're gonna let you go.

John August 27:17
Here's a, here's what I think is true about that, though, is that the commitment to read a script is a pretty severe commitment, you're asking for an hour or two hours of somebody's time, and really, their focus and attention. And so you have to make them believe it's really gonna be worth their time to finish the script. And so if you're giving them any excuse to put it down, then you've shot yourself in the foot. So that's why, you know, you know, check them one last check for typos. One last check for like, Is this really the best way through this scene? Did I mess up these characters names? Like, is it, those last things are those last looks are very important, because, you know, it could be somebody only look, so you want to make sure that all that stuff is done, right? In terms of what it looks like on the page? You know, I make Highlands, which is a really good screening app, and most of them can do the basic formatting stuff. For us. That's not an issue. But you're still gonna have to make choices about you know, how dense you want your page, like, how do you make it inviting for someone to get all the way through that page and flip it and go to the next one. And I'm a person who doesn't like big law, he texts of chunk a big chunky blocks of text, because I just know sometimes as a reader, I'll start skimming, and you just don't want people to start skimming on you.

Alex Ferrari 28:30
So the so tighter the better is always as they say,

John August 28:34
Yeah, I mean, you don't, don't put more than you need, but you are the only person who can know what you really need.

Alex Ferrari 28:40
Now, what advice do you have for building interesting characters? Because I think there's, you know, there's character, there's character driven movies and plot driven movies. Would you agree on that? To a certain extent,

John August 28:53
to some extent, there's certain certainly movies where the unique character conflicts are not what makes you buy a ticket for a movie? It's

Alex Ferrari 29:02
like, like, like Indiana Jones James Bond, basically. Yeah. But

John August 29:05
the I mean, Indiana Jones without Indiana Jones himself in Syracuse unique thing wouldn't work.

Alex Ferrari 29:10
Right. Right. in another way, the plot wouldn't move if you threw another character there. It has absolutely. It's an India and same thing with James Bond, you kind of maybe do Bourne Identity. Kind of, but

John August 29:20
I mean, I mean, even in his blankness Jason Bourne is a fascinating character, because you're leaning into C because you don't know who he doesn't know he is, and you don't know who he is. But you're fascinated to find out so you're on the journey with him.

Alex Ferrari 29:32
So what advice do what do you have advice you have for building interesting characters?

John August 29:37
Well, I think it's tailoring the right character for the world and the story you want to tell. So basically, you have to have a sense of what is the point of the story that I'm telling, like what is, you know, be it sort of more of a plot engine or be it a world you're building? You know, figure out what that central question is that thing that the movie is grappling with and figure out who is the most interesting person to be driving the story to be carried through the story, you know, who is either best prepared for it or at least prepared to go into this story. So, Indiana Jones, he's uniquely well qualified to be in a story. But Groundhog Day Bill Murray is uniquely disqualified to be in that movie. That's what makes it so fascinating. You could do that same plot mechanic with nearly any other person on earth. But this grumpy weatherman is a really great fit for the story you're trying to tell.

Alex Ferrari 30:30
We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show. And was it ever a movie like Groundhog's Day prior to Groundhog Day that did that?

John August 30:46
There were movies that? Yeah, there are movies that every time there appeared time? Yeah, that was not first thing. So I mean, Rossmann goes back to the same moment three times. So yeah, but yeah, I guess it's not quite as timely, quite the same way. But sure, that idea is not new to Groundhog Day as well. But that's an important thing to stress is like, there are no ideas that are groundbreaking, the new it's execution that matters. And it was the execution of that, you know, that time loop thing which could have been in any Twilight Zone. But the comedic bands with a very specific character with a very specific moral lesson has to learn. That's what makes Groundhog Day Groundhog Day.

Alex Ferrari 31:23
Is there any film that you can think of in recent history, or even in your lifetime that you saw, like, wow, that is completely original, that is completely do I've never seen or heard anything like that?

John August 31:35
I don't, I don't like the final movie nearly as much as the script. But Natural Born Killers for me was as a script, some of that was, it was just so inventive with form. And it doesn't all translate into the final movie. But it was the first script I remember reading where I finished just off the back of page one and started reading again, because, like, it would just suddenly become a sitcom kind of for no reason. But it would be it would just, it would just change its form. And it seemed to be aware that it was that we were in a time of, you know, post post modernism, just like the boundaries between media forums were eroding. And so tanginess original script for that I thought was so groundbreaking and original, that I

Alex Ferrari 32:16
loved it. I would love to see that version produced. Like if

John August 32:20
he actually got to be, it'd be amazing. It'd be fantastic. And I'm

Alex Ferrari 32:23
a fan of the of the movie I never I've read, I saw the movie first before I read the script. But then when I read the script, I'm like, Oh, this it's completely different. Completely different situation.

John August 32:32
It was, it was remarkable.

Alex Ferrari 32:34
When you when like, who is like one of your favorite like your favorite screenwriters like who do you look at and go, man?

John August 32:40
Well, everyone in my generation who started writing when we did, I mean, we all look up to James Cameron for his ability to write action on the page. And so you know, many of us are still kind of consciously or subconsciously AP and sort of what he's able to do because it was Mentalist, but fantastic. And you really get a sense of being present in that moment for the action that's happening. Nora Ephron her ability to sort of just illuminate characters from within. And so and just and just have a really good sense of like, how the ball passes back and forth, James L. Brooks, again, a great example of a writer who can, you know, make people feel grounded and real in their place in the world. But he's also telling you a story. He's, uh, he's, he's constructing universal, it's gonna force them as the characters to make choices. So I mean, just to pick three off the top of my head, those are three that would go back to

Alex Ferrari 33:33
now we touched upon this a little earlier to today, but the protagonist, the arguably the antagonist, that the villains have, there is a problem there's a disease of bad villains out in cinema. What do you what advice would you have for to create a really good villain? And can you give an example of two or three like insanely good villains you like? Well, that's the depth that those villains had, you know?

John August 33:57
Oh, let's think about it. So obviously, the best villains don't understand that they're villains they every villain is a hero. And so sure, that's villains think that they are doing what needs to be done and they have they have very good reasons for why they're doing it. Whether the moral reasons or other reasons. Some villains I've especially loved till this woman's character in my play warned and I don't like when I'm messing up the title of the George Clooney movie.

Alex Ferrari 34:24
Yes, yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. No, he's talking about Yeah. Yeah,

John August 34:27
I'm playing my clip. She's fantastic in that she is. She's weak in really fascinating ways. I love that she's, you know, she's ballsy and tough but she's also vulnerable in ways that you don't often see villains. And so I thought it was a brilliant characterization there. Tony Gilroy I think if I'm not mistaken to the screen are there others other villains I love. I mean, one of my favorite movies of all time is aliens and the alien queen you don't think of it as being a character that but its motivations are so clean and pure. And that's a movie that's all constructed around sort of the horror of motherhood, it's Ripley, as Ripley as replete. She wasn't expecting surrogate mother to news. And you know, the alien queen as the evil version of that mother are just, they're brilliantly balanced between the two of them. And so I think in the movies that I love, you see that? Oh, that is exactly the right villain or antagonist to challenge this specific hero or protagonist in the story.

Alex Ferrari 35:31
So like America, a mirror image, like a mirror image of like, so I always use Batman and the Joker like they literally polar opposites, and they're perfect for each other. Yeah.

John August 35:42
I mean, the Joker is a fantastic villain in all Sabrina carnations, it's whether it's a he's a force of pure chaos, or a force of just a just twisted love. There's there's lots of ways to play a joker, but I think it's easy, you know, iconic for all those reasons. I do a series of books called our love Finch. So they're middle grade fictions, or Harry Potter age fiction. And it's been fascinating like trying to find the right villain for that because the central character is a 12 year old boy who's like, nervous about things. He's he's a big planner. He's he's sort of, you know, always a little bit leery of the world outside there. And finding the right villain opposite him has been fascinating. So I needed to find a character through who was. Arlo ended up creating his own villain. And so quite accidentally, like he was trying to do the right thing, but ended up sort of creating this madman who end up coming back after him. And so when characters and when antagonists and protagonists have that causal bond between the two of them, I think that's especially meaningful, Superman has that with Lex Luthor, because you know, Superman, absolutely no, got absolutely hurt Lex Luthor as a kid. Those things are great. In big fish, the protagonist antagonist relationship is between the Father and the Son. And so the, they're each other's villain, and each other's hero and time. And that's a fun way to look at it, as well.

Alex Ferrari 37:07
Now, as far as the protagonists, what makes a good like, what makes you want to jump on board with that protagonist and go on that journey, because there's also some weak weak motivations. And so many so many screenplays and also movies that I see just like, Man, I don't care about that guy. Like I don't, I don't want to go on this journey. I don't care about this person. Or it's just so flimsy. The reasoning, there's just kind of like, someone just threw something in there just to get it to the next step. what's your what's your opinion? What's

John August 37:37
my motivation, you're talking about motivation, you're really just a synonym for want. And like, all characters want things but the protagonist of the movie, we want what the protagonist wants. And if we don't want what the protagonist wants, then we don't care, we will follow that person in the movie. So it's establishing really early on what it is that the central character wants, needs and fears. So we understand why we're going on this journey with the character. And for movies, it's really like, is this a journey that we're willing to spend about two hours with this character and see them go from this point, to that point, it could be a big transformation. That's what makes movies so different than TV shows that movies are about a one time experience. It's the characters profoundly change versus a TV show. They're not that change a lot by the end of the episode. So you're, you're looking for, like, who is the right character, who can change who can protagonist over the course of two hours to get to a really meaningful, emotional place that they couldn't have gotten to earlier on? And that's, you know, it's looking that along the way for how do you, you know, put choices in front of the character, this character so that we see why he or she is doing what they're doing, and can never go back to the places that they were before.

Alex Ferrari 38:53
I wanted to touch on something and I think you're uniquely qualified to answer this, because a lot of a lot of not only filmmakers, screenwriters as well, they, and I was I was guilty of this as well, early on in my career, that you're trying to kind of hack your way into Hollywood, you're trying to hack your way into getting an agent or getting in through the back door or using this technique or this, this this little secret that you heard someone say once, can you kind of just debunk that and understand like, you know, you do need quality, but there is Right place, right time, right product, you know, without without question.

John August 39:29
Yeah. I mean, you need, you need to be a good writer. And you can work on becoming a good writer, and you can work on being on getting lucky by making sure that your stuff is out there where people can find it, because no one's going to stumble across your script if they have no way to find your script. So a lot of the questions I've been getting, it's like, oh, I want to send with the scriptwriter somebody but I'm worried about if it gets stolen or something like getting past those fears is the first thing you have to do because you want anybody under the sun who wants to read your script. to read your script, because you never know, who is the person to spark for in the right way that will, they'll start the ball rolling to the next thing. I wasn't a big part of any writers groups, but I know a lot of people who are working right now who, you know, sort on the early levels, who have found it, the accountability of being in a writers group and having every week to show up with like, this is the new thing I wrote this thing I did. He's great. And then as some people develop some traction, it's a way to sort of get your stuff out there into the world. So especially if you're in Los Angeles, joining a group of good writers whose opinions you like and trust, who you can really contribute to, to that group, is probably a good idea as well.

Alex Ferrari 40:43
Do you have any advice for people trying to just, you know, play the Hollywood Game, if it's lack of a better word is there I mean, is there any,

John August 40:52
I mean, there's always there's always been a Hollywood Game, the rules change some degree, but like, you can spend all your time just playing that game, and you'll never get anything made. And that's, that's the issue. And so, I mean, it is important, I mean, there's, there's a social aspect to what we do, and that you have to be able to, you think like, oh, I'm a really, if you're a good writer, then it shouldn't matter that I can't sort of like, pitch in a room. But now you got to build pitch in a room, it's like, it's part of the sport that you're, you're you're playing, you've got to learn how to be able to sort of like function at a cocktail party, and you know, and make that chitchat stuff, because that will be an important function of it all. And understanding and with social skills, as you're starting to work on stuff, understanding the notes you're getting, and sort of the what's behind the notes, and how to sort of figure out what you actually need to do versus what you should ignore that those are all important skills, and they're hard to cultivate until you actually are just doing them. And you're going to be stressed out of time. So that's just the reality.

Alex Ferrari 41:55
Now, how do you deal with notes? Because I mean, you you working at the highest levels in Hollywood, and you're dealing with, you know, a lot of studios and suited executives and directors and lack of a better term egos, as well actor's wants and needs. So how do you deal with notes coming in from you at all, at all angles?

John August 42:13
You know, it's that balance of being humble, and sort of like, understanding that, like, this is a collaborative thing that you're trying to do. And so you're going to have to be able to, you may have your one perfect vision for how this is supposed to be, but like that one revision is useless if they can't make that perfect vision if they can't see the movie that's in your head. So it's hearing what they're saying. Processing in ways that make sense to you trying to echoed back and do the things that make sense. So you can come to a consensus about the same kind of movie you're trying to make. It's tough. And I would say that one of the I know, it's a crisis, but one of the real challenges facing screenwriting right now is that it's still kind of playing by the way, it's always played where there's, this is conservatism. There's this, play it safe aspect, there's this, you know, here, fear, yeah. And there's much less fear in television, there's much less fear and sort of like the, the good television being made. And the writers are just being able to make the choice.

Alex Ferrari 43:14
They why is that because the budgets are are massive, as well.

John August 43:17
But they are, I think this is a recognition that that ultimately, there's gonna be differences of opinions, but the writer who's responsible for that whole series, you gotta gotta listen to what she's saying, and that she may actually know what she's talking about. I'm not saying it's perfect, and like network TV is still a drag. But the folks I know who are working in television now are finding. Even when they get noted, they're getting noted to like, let's make this smarter rather than let's sand off the rough edges.

Alex Ferrari 43:51
Now, you talked about pitching earlier, do you have any tips on pitching because pitching is a completely different skill set? To walk it

John August 43:58
is it takes, it takes a lot of practice. I mean, the spirit for a pitch though, is you have to think about imagine you just saw a movie you absolutely loved and you had to convince your best friend to go see that movie. And so you wouldn't pitch every beat of it. You would pitch the the world the principal characters, what it's about, you'd get us into it and but then you would sort of shorthand some things along the way. And most importantly, you really share your enthusiasm for it. That's not just you're not just going through a list of bullet points that it really feels like you are selling the movie, not just telling the movie.

Alex Ferrari 44:33
Now what what is your daily writing routine? Like?

John August 44:37
So I'm here in my office. I am usually out here by 9am. I'm here nine to six, but I I'm 20 feet away from my house so I can I can wander back in. I know the feeling. Yeah, so I can I can go in and out pretty freely. I try to get three hours of writing done a day. And so I usually do this as sprints and so people who follow me on Twitter And see, like I'm saying about to start right sprint who wants to join me, I usually started sprint at the top of the hour. So like, at 10am, I'm starting this. And that means for 60 minutes, I'm doing nothing but writing. And in Highland two, we have a little timer function. So it, it starts and it's counting my words I do within that hour so and then when the hour is up, then I can step away. But like during that hour, I'm not googling things, I'm just focusing on getting words on paper, or deep, deep work deep writing. Yeah, I'm really, really writing. And then if I do three of those a day, I'm getting enough done that things will get finished. For a book, I'm hitting at least 1000 words a day for a script, that's three to five, maybe seven pages, you'll finish if you if you get that much done.

Alex Ferrari 45:46
And there is kind of like a disease of distractions that we have to deal with as just human beings in general. But as writers as creatives, it's so brutal, because you have little things you have little notifications, all that stuff, the concept of deep work. I don't know if you read that book, deep work, which is it's amazing book about just what you can get done if you actually just Yes, sir. Yeah, you know, any tips on how to deal with that? You know, what do you do you block everything out?

John August 46:14
Yeah, I used to this app called freedom, which like blocks connection. And that's great. If it works, I've found just, you know, actually starting the timer, and just like saying 60 minutes is enough for me, like, it'll keep me on task. But everyone's different. So recognizing that what works for somebody else may not be the right solution for you. But there probably is a solution for you. And this is, this is my version of it. The other thing I will say is that I've never been one to write in sequence. And so I will write whatever scene appeals to me to write that day. And so just I let myself freely hop around. Because when you're making a movie, when you're editing a movie, you're going to be doing that naturally anyway. So just don't give your self the excuse of like, I don't really know how to do this next scene, they're like, Well, then don't do that scene, do the other scene that you need, that you actually have the energy to do. Because there's times where I feel like writing a big action sequences, there's times where I just want to have, you know, some happy battery dialogue, which means some characters, recognizing what you want, right? That day is an important part of it.

Alex Ferrari 47:12
And how do you get through writer's block? Or do you have you ever suffered through writer's block?

John August 47:15
I've had very little of that sort of classic image of like, the writer of the typewriter and pulling it out and probably enough, like, the montage of the the paper balls, and a lot of that. I do have procrastination, I have this self doubt. Like, is this even the right idea? Is this even worth it? deadlines can help? No, taking a step back and really looking at why I want to write a project can help. No, this is not a thing I've I particularly do. But I know friends who at the start of a project will write themselves a letter saying like, this is why I'm so excited to write this thing. They'll seal it up and like set up there. And so then whenever they need that they can rip over the envelopes like, Oh, that's right, this is the thing that I've done, that there's a why I've started doing this. One thing I try to do the starter project is make a playlist in iTunes of these are all the songs that remind me of this movie. So the songs that could be in the movie, but at least feel like it. And so I can get myself emotionally back in that space of like, Oh, that's right, this is what the movie feels like. So in those times where it's hard to get started, I can at least get my brain moving in the right direction.

Alex Ferrari 48:28
Did Did you ever feel even early on or even later on in your career? That imposter syndrome that self doubt that you had to had to break through? What did you do to break through that because I know so many artists, if not every single artists ever has dealt with that at one point in their career.

John August 48:46
But it's a byproduct of something that's very necessary to do, which is fake it till you make it like fake like you know what you're doing until you actually are doing the job. And then everyone's like, Oh, you're doing the job. But, but the imposter syndrome, he says the natural sort of, you know, progressively on what Wait, I was faking it now aren't bullies actually know what I'm doing? And at certain point, you're right. It's like, I do know what I'm doing. I actually do, you know, I have the answers to these questions. It never entirely goes away. And I think there's something actually lovely about imposter syndrome is that as I've moved into new areas, and so as I did my first Broadway musical, as I started writing software, as I started writing songs, in podcasting, I didn't always exactly know what I was doing. And it's kind of great to be a beginner because it gives you an excuse to be, you know, to make mistakes. And, you know, also reminds me of like, what it's like to be young. So I think part of the reason why even having done this for 20 plus years, I still have a good connection, just sort of like what it's like to start because I I'm always starting new kinds of things. I'm always, you know, being new in a place and I know how exciting but how disorienting that can be,

Alex Ferrari 50:01
it is terrifying to start something new sometimes, especially as you get older, as you get older, you become less fearless. I mean, when you were young, you would do things that you were. We did stupid things this Be honest.

John August 50:11
Yeah. And and I have to acknowledge that, like, I had the privilege of like, I started making a good living pretty early on so and so that I didn't, I wasn't risking everything at every moment to try new things like, I could always kind of fall back on what I've done before. And so not always going to have that. But typically people who are just starting out, like if you're in your early 20s, you just moved to Los Angeles, you're kind of used to living on Robin. So like, you can, you can take some bigger risks in your 20s. And you should.

Alex Ferrari 50:40
Now, I wanted to ask you really quickly about subtext because it's something that's also another virus that goes throughout screenplays, writing on the nose, and so on any insights you have on how you write subtext?

John August 50:53
No, I don't think if you're thinking about writing subtext, you're probably doing it wrong. So like subtext should be just, it's all the unspoken things that are happening between two characters, or the feeling that you're trying to communicate without actually saying those words. If you're worried that writing is too on the nose, that people are sort of speaking their subtext, maybe you're right, but maybe you're also just being too hard on yourself, maybe just, I'd say, take a break, listen to how some actual people talk in the world around you and realize that subtext is always happening, or there's always some shading being given on anything's that people are saying in the real world. Movie dialog is a slightly optimized version of real speech. It's sort of no think about it. It's like a movie dialogue is what people would say they had an extra 10 or 15 seconds between the ball being hit packs, like they just hit it back a little bit better than they otherwise normally would. Right. And we forgive him that it's when they things feel so crafted, then it becomes kind of arch and either it's great. And you're Aaron Sorkin, or it feels really rainforest. So it really said, a genre expectation.

Alex Ferrari 52:03
Now, let's talk about Highland for a little bit, you have this amazing piece of software called Highland, which is a screenwriting piece, screenwriting software, and now you have a new version coming out. So can you tell everybody about the software, and what the new things are in 2.5?

John August 52:18
So Highland originally came about? Because this is a situation I'm sure you've encountered to where you get a PDF of a script, and you need to edit something like edit a PDF. Yes. And so back in the day, we'd have to retype it. So the original Highland was just an app to meltdown, a PDF. So you can take a PDF and make it an editable document again. And so we had that. And it's like, you know what, this is raw text, I wish I could just stay in this raw text and not have to deal with all the bullshit of final draft. Because final draft was a genius program, when all we had was Microsoft Word, but had to write scripts in Word. And so like the power drops seems just like a godsend. But all of the metaphors of Final Draft are very 1990s. And that you have I mean, it kind of still looks like it's in the 90s. But like that, you have to tell Final Draft, what every single element on a page is like, Oh, this is a character name. This is a parenthetical. This is dialogue, this must be a transition, that you'd have to just keep it in that dumb Tab key or the reformat thing to tell us like, No, this is what I'm trying to do. And so when I started working with that raw text, it's like, well, this is actually just so much better. If I could just go back from this raw text, and then get a nice looking, you know, PDF at the end of it, I'd be delighted. And so we made the app to do that. So it's just, you're just typing it like you would type an email, but it understands what you're doing. So it understands that like, oh, that uppercase word that has another line below it. That must be a character name and some dialogue. There's parentheses, I bet that's a parenthetical. That line ends in to colon, I bet that's a transition. And this our computers are smart if we can figure out what this stuff is. And so the app began as a way to do screen reading and that really plain text way. And then we just, I added in the things as a writer that I wanted most in an app. And so things like as a screenwriter, you're always there's little bits of text that you don't have a place for but you don't want to lose them. So you're cutting them, I would make a scratch file and paste it over to the scratch file and save it to that thing again. In Hyland, you just drag it over to the side, there's a little thing called a bin it just sits in your bin. So it's more like editing, you know, video where it's like, you've been up all your little clips, and you're just like bringing stuff back in. I just want to take those metaphors ran through the the big thing we did with Highland 2.5 was adding in revision mode. Because as a screenwriter, you're often working, you know, as you're going through one draft the next draft, you want to put those little stars in the margins to show like what's changed. And if you ever done that in final draft or any of those other apps, it's incredibly complicated. You're just like, you know, it looks like you're landing in space shuttle when you try to turn on that mode. And as like, it should not have to be that way. So in, in Highland 2.5 is it's a little easy to flip a switch and tell what color you want to be like it just does it and so we hit All the complexity behind under the hood. So it's just really simple. And you just start typing. And he's like, Oh, as long as the switch is flipped, everything I type now is going to be blue. And there's going to be stars in the margins,

Alex Ferrari 55:11
you would think that would be already there. It's just so simple.

John August 55:15
Yes. But no, no, another app was doing it that way. And even like track changes in a word, if you ever had to do that, Oh, my God, it's complicated, you can mess up a document so badly. So we just wanted it to be simple and simple in a way that people would actually use it. And so that's what we were able to do with this

Alex Ferrari 55:32
very cool. And then in you started Highland in general, just because he was like, I just can't take this away,

John August 55:37
I want a better thing. I'm going to be in an app for you know, eight hours a day, it should be a beautiful app that I'm really comfortable in. So I'm, you know, my company makes it but I'm also the principal beta tester for it. Because every day I'm launching a new build that has some small things fixed or changed. I'm seeing like, what if it did this? What if it did that, and it can't crash, because I'm writing all this stuff in it. So it has to be rock solid, so that I can use it every day. So it's a unique challenge for my designer for my coder. But, you know, I want the app that works best for me and happens to work best for most of the people I end up showing it to,

Alex Ferrari 56:14
and how long has it been around.

John August 56:16
So how you came out last year, almost a year ago. And we had small revisions, but this 2.5 releases a big release a big set of changes for shorter for everyone, I should say that one of the fundamental things we did differently in Highland versus other apps is in word in a final draft, there's that sense of like, what you see is what you get. So like, you're always typing in sort of final form of things. In Highland, you're working in editor and the preview, and you sort of see what what it's like, it's like a renders out sort of what the final version is. And it's just, it ends up being a much faster workflow, you're not fiddling with little bits of things, because you're just focused on the words, not the formatting around it. Very cool.

Alex Ferrari 56:58
I'm gonna ask you a few questions. I asked all of my guests, please. What advice would you give a screenwriter wanting to break into the business today?

John August 57:08
I'm gonna restate that I said earlier in the podcast is that focus on writing that thing you wish existed in the world. And so it really for any artist, but like, so for a screenwriter, write the script, the movie, wish you could see. And that's the one you'll finish. That's the one you'll keep fighting for. That's the one you're doing and be enthusiastic. And then enthusiasm will really be seen in the work itself. So just last night, I was talking to a guy he's like, I really want to do this big mythology project. But I'm worried there's going to be a market for my God. That's, that's ridiculous. You really want to make this right, this movie. So you should write this movie like, Oh, why? Why are you standing? If you're talking to me, like go off and write that movie. So people, I think, have this sense of needing to ask permission and don't ask permission, just write the thing you want to write. The best thing about writing is it's free. Like, you don't have to have a crew, you don't have to camera, you talk to anything just like just just do

Alex Ferrari 58:02
a copy of Highland, a copy of Highland and

John August 58:05
free it's free download on a Mac App Store. There's really nothing in your way.

Alex Ferrari 58:10
Now, can you tell me what book had the biggest impact on your life or career?

John August 58:14
Which book let's see, well, Charlie, the Chocolate Factory, which I read in third grade, we had this assignment where we had to learn how to write proper letters where it's like, do your person's name and date in the corners, a couple paragraphs and sincerely. And I wrote my letter to Roald Dahl who wrote Charlie chocolate factory we said all the way over to England. And he sent me a postcard back. It was like a foreign postcard with that said you're drawn. It was the first time that I realized like, oh, authors are actual real people. And I'll be thinking like, maybe I could be an author and so so I wouldn't say like, I love the book. I'm not saying it's like, the single greatest piece of literature but like, my connection to it really did start me on the journey.

Alex Ferrari 58:57
Now what was that like when you got the call, or you got the final approval to to redo the job, you know, to write

John August 59:04
it was amazing. When I sat down with him that first time to talk through it, I brought my card because I still have a postcard for rolls or something back. So it felt like, you know, it felt very movie like that, like, No, this circle had been completed.

Alex Ferrari 59:18
Yes, the circle of life, if you will. Now, what is the lesson that took you the longest to learn whether in the film business or in life,

John August 59:27
I would say that I had a lot of things that for years, I said, like, Oh, these are my bad habits. And I started to just recognize that they're just my habits. It's just like, it's how I work. It's how my brain works. And so I procrastinate I you know, make some things harder for myself that necessarily need to, but that's just, that's just who I am. It's just just just my habits and when I stopped looking at them through a negative lens, just like that's how I that's how I do it. Things got better.

Alex Ferrari 59:57
Now, what did you learn from your biggest failure?

John August 1:00:03
I'm trying to think what my biggest failure would be. I, oh, no, I would say I learned a little more humility in sense of, you know that, in wanting to control everything and wanting to sort of have dominion over like a whole whole project and sort of getting to work a certain way. There are always gonna be things I couldn't control. And that, you know, you can't control how people react to a thing, and you can't control how stuff works. And so all of you can try to make, all you can try to do is make sure the daily process of working on the thing is meaningful to you. Because that doesn't mean it's always gonna be a joy or be happy, but that you feel like, okay, this is this is worth my time that I'm putting into it. Because also you don't know that you're gonna have anything at the end of it other than the time you put into it.

Alex Ferrari 1:01:02
And what is the biggest fear you had to overcome when writing your first screenplay?

John August 1:01:10
Weirdly, like kind of the format. Because the screenplay format is just really weird. We first started looking at it, it looks, it looks sort of arcane. So I kept worried I have to make some fundamental mistake, which would make my thing unfilmable. And I didn't really quite get over it until we were in production on go. And I was like, oh, yeah, that scene I write, I wrote, We just shot it, and it's done. It's fine. So like that, the translation of these words on paper, and that's seeing that's down in the camera, that it could really happen. So it was that fear that like, it's sort of an imposter syndrome to like, they're gonna find out that I really don't know what I'm doing.

Alex Ferrari 1:01:49
And three of your favorite films of all time.

John August 1:01:53
So I think we talk about some of that. So aliens is right out there. So good. I mean, just, I mean, alien, the movie is fantastic.

Alex Ferrari 1:02:00
But to make a sequell, to a masterpiece, like Alien.

John August 1:02:04
Yeah. And, and, again, that's a case of recognizing what the source material is, but also what you want to say, and you know, what unique thing you have to bring to a piece of material. So it's not a remake, but it's, you know, every sequel has to ask that answer the question like, why are we doing this again? And it answered it really, really well. Clueless. I mean, Hercules movies, just amazing. It's so smartly done. And it's, you know, it's a remake of a sort of adaptation of AMA. And so it had really good bones underneath it, but it was just so amazing and specific. And then talented, Mr. Ripley, just because it's a movie that like, I can't believe God made in the studio system. Yeah, cuz expensive. And it's weird, and it's dark. And it's love it. I just love it to death. So those are three of my favorites.

Alex Ferrari 1:02:53
And where can people find you and the work your podcasts, all that kind of.

John August 1:02:58
So I have a website. It's just John adams.com. On Twitter. I'm at John August, Instagram match on August script notes, you can find through jobs.com, or we're on iTunes or wherever you get podcasts.

Alex Ferrari 1:03:10
John, it has been an absolute pleasure talking to you.

John August 1:03:12
Absolutely a pleasure for me too

Alex Ferrari 1:03:14
Thank you so much for dropping some good knowledge bombs on the tribe today. So thank you again.

John August 1:03:18
Thank you.

Alex Ferrari 1:03:20
Again, I want to thank John for being on the show and just being so honest and straightforward about his process and his stories about the business. Thank you again, John, so much. If you want to get links to his software, links to his podcast, and anything else John's doing, please head over to the show notes at indiefilmhustle.com/331. And if you're listening to the bulletproof screenwriting podcast, those show notes are at indiefilmhustle.com/bps049. Thank you again for listening guys. And just have a great weekend and I cannot wait for next week to come for you guys to see what I have been cooking. So the anticipation is just in there. I can't wait to release this to everyone. So it's coming. It's coming. Winter is coming. Thank you guys again, so much. As always, keep that hustle going. keep that dream alive. And I'll talk to you soon.


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