There are four main reasons for screenwriters to listen to industry podcasts. First, you can learn about the craft of screenwriting. Second, you can learn about the business of screenwriting. Third, you can learn about the culture of screenwriting. And finally, you can become motivated to write.
I listen to industry podcasts every week for precisely these reasons — when I’m driving, when I’m walking my dog, and when I’m doing chores around the house. They get my head in the game and they help prepare me for my career as a professional screenwriter.
Here are 4 podcasts that are absolutely excellent that are well worth checking out.
Scriptnotes is a podcast about screenwriting and things that are interesting to screenwriters. Hosted by John August (Go, Aladdin, Big Fish) and Craig Mazin (Chernobyl, The Last of Us), it is a weekly digest that covers everything from industry and union news, the craft of screenwriting, answering listener questions, debunking screenwriting myths, deep-dives into films like Raiders of the Lost Ark, and — a fan favorite and audience participation segment — breaking down the first three pages of listeners’ drafts.
John and Craig know the industry — both film and television — and share their wisdom with sincerity, humor, and just the right amount of umbridge.
TV’s Top 5
Hosted by The Hollywood Reporter’s Lesley Goldberg (West Coast TV editor) and Daniel Fienberg (chief TV critic), TV’s Top 5 is an excellent listen for anyone who wants to stay sharp on television news. Each episode covers five segments that offer a deep-dive analysis of industry headlines and a critical look at current and upcoming shows. They also feature an in-depth interview with showrunners and up-and-coming professionals.
Knowing the industry and becoming familiar with the professionals within it is part of the business of being a screenwriter. Any writer who wants to work in television must learn that being a good writer just isn’t good enough because you’re competing with good writers who also know story trends, hiring seasons, production schedules, studio acquisitions, and more.
Children of Tendu
Children of Tendu is a legendary must-listen for emerging screenwriters. While probably no longer in production, it contains a treasure trove of knowledge about the hosts’ hard-earned experiences and missteps with “practical, straight-shooting advice on breaking into television and staying there!”
From Javier Grillo-Marxuach (Emmy Award-winning writer/producer on Lost and creator of The Middleman) and Jose Molina (writer/producer on Sleepy Hollow, Firefly, Castle, Law & Order: SVU), two industry pros you definitely want to know about if only because they seem like genuinely great people who care about other writers, Children of Tendu feels like sitting down for a drink with guys who have worked on your favorite projects as they teach you how to follow in their footsteps.
3rd & Fairfax
Most screenwriters hope to join the Writers Guild of America, so it makes sense that you check out the WGA-West’s podcast 3rd & Fairfax. With news and information about the WGAw and interviews with screenwriters from the best films, series, and new media content out there, you’ll learn how the pros work, get inspired, and get hired. If you’ve got a favorite writer, they’ve probably been on this podcast. Enjoy.
Being a successful screenwriter isn’t just about being good at screenwriting. You’ve got to know the business if you want to be hired. Listening to podcasts is a free and easy way to educate yourself about and immerse yourself in the industry. Hopefully, it will also give you a little burst of motivation to get your butt in the chair and write those pages — or maybe get really bold and head out to a networking event. See you there!
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Shannon Corbeil is a writer, actor, and filmmaker in Los Angeles with recent appearances on SEAL Team and The Rookie. An Air Force veteran, her articles have been published in Business Insider, We Are The Mighty, and Military.com. She has written and produced hundreds of digital videos with millions of views. You can read more about her on her website or come play on Instagram and Twitter!