Posts Tagged ‘Chernobyl’

Both the feature film Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood and the HBO/SKY TV program Chernobyl won some Golden Globe awards earlier this week including Best Motion Picture — Musical or Comedy  (OUATIH) and Best Television Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television (Chernobyl).

I was a cheerleader for both of those productions—and won’t confess yet how many times I saw Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood while in was in theaters. (But it was a personal record.)

Here are some links of posts I wrote on both of them:


Once Upon a Time … in Burbank 
The Unofficial ‘Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood’ Film School
Once Upon a Time … How Quentin Tarantino Made the Leap from Unpaid to Paid Screenwriter
Once Upon a Time … in Van Nuys
Once Upon a Time in Modesto 
‘Once Upon a Time … ’ Once Again
Once Upon a Time … in the UK
Once Upon a Time … in Iowa (with Jean Seberg) 
Once Upon a Time … in Florida 
Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood (Soundtrack)
Once Upon a Time … in Utah
Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood —in 1987
Once Upon a Time … in the Harlem of the South
Once Upon a Time … in  Jacksonville 


‘Chernobyl’: Craig Mazin’s Real Life Scary Movie Lands 19 Emmy Nominations 
Emmy-winning Writer Craig Mazin Loses His Umbrage and Finds His Happy Place 

Scott W. Smith 

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“Oh man, this is screwing with my whole reputation.”
Craig Mazin on being an Emmy-winner

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On Sunday, screenwriter Craig Mazin ruined his I’m not into awards-reputation by winning an Emmy for creating the HBO/Sky production Chernobyl . (Hear his acceptance speech for winning Outstanding Writing for a Limited Series, Movie or a Dramatic Special here.).

And then later in the night, as producer, he won another Emmy as the TV program won Outstanding Limited Series. Chernobyl won a total of 10 Oscars including direction, cinematography, sound mixing, sound editing, and production design.

Here’s one scene where all that talent is on display and why the series was able to stand out from a crowded field of creative talent.

Mazin’s trademark umbrage was nowhere to be found on yesterday’s Scriptnotes podcast John August asked him “Craig, what is it like to win an Emmy?”

“It’s pretty cool to know that people voted for you. It’s an election, that part’s cool. And it was really important that we won the big thing (Outstanding Limited Series) because that’s for everybody. I thought that was great. I’m so thrilled that  Johan [Renck] won [for Best Directing] that was amazing for me to see. And winning the writing one was—those are our people. We’re part of this weird religious sect of writers and, as you know, we are disagreeable people. We fight amongst each other, we quibble, we argue, we complain, but we do love each other and we are our people, so to get that from our people was pretty moving. I don’t like to admit any of this. But it was pretty nice. I was happy.”
—Craig Mazin

To read all five of Mazin’s Chernobyl scripts click here. 

Chernobyl joins Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood as my two favorite productions so far this year. Check out my post ‘Chernobyl’: Craig Mazin’s Real Life Scary Movie Lands 19 Emmy Nominations to learn what I was thought was special about Chernobyl.

Mazin is also co-host of Scriptnotes which is an amazing screenwriting resource of over 400 podcasts on ”screenwriting and things interesting to screenwriters”—and where his umbrage is often on full display. To commemorate Mazin’s Emmy wins, here are 10 Mazin-centric posts I’ve written over the years:

Doubling Down on Substance (Mazin interview with  Rian Johnson)
Waiting to Be Great (Mazin interview with Mike Birbiglia )
From Houston to Hollywood (Mazin interview with John Lee Hancock)
Screenwriter Craig Mazin on Thematic Structure—Plus 12 Conflicting Views on Theme
What’s Changed? (Tip #102)
Screenwriting and a 10 Foot Concrete Wall 
Running from Failure (Mazin interview with Alec Berg)
What’s at Stake? (Mazin interview with David Wain) 
The 100th Podcast of Scriptnotes
Wanted: Writers with No Lives Screenwriting is a job where you write and also get punched in the head a lot.”—Craig Mazin

Scott W. Smith








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Note: Over the weekend, I did see Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood for the eighth time (a personal record for seeing any film in theaters) but after writing two months of posts about it I’ll take a break—until the DVD release.

Over the weekend Downton Abbey ended up number one in the U. S. box office ahead of Ad Astra (starring Brad Pitt), Rambo: Last Blood (starring  Sylvester Stallone), and last week’s #1 movie, Stephen King’s It: Chapter Two.  That had to cause 70-year-old Downton Abbey screenwriter Julian Fellowes at least a smile of satisfaction.

Especially when the actor turned writer didn’t really get his screenwriting career off the ground until he was 50.

“I did have periods I remember of thinking who am I trying to kid? Nothing is ever going to happen. I remember lying back in the bath once and just saying ‘Is [a screenwriting career] ever going to happen?’”
Julian Fellowes
The Moment with Brian Koppelman

About a month after he wondered if it was ever going to happen he got the call that changed his life. But that script only got him on the radar and was never made.

“I always say to young writers, actually, you don’t know what role a script [you’ve written] may play in your life. When their writing it they think ‘This is a wonderful script. It will get made. It will change my life.’ But the truth is most producers are looking for a writer to work on an idea they already have. And so you don’t have to dig in. If the scripts gets you the job to write the script they’re looking for, it’s done its work. It’s served it’s term in your life.”
Julian Fellowes

For Fellows that script didn’t get made led him to writing the script for directors Robert Altman’s idea that became the movie Gosford Park  (2001). It was Fellows first feature credit and also earned him an Academy Award.

“I’ve spent so much of my lie with my nose flat up against the glass and suddenly I’m in the shop. That was a wonderful moment actually. . . . And the thing about late success is it’s completely schizophrenic response. A part of you is saying, ‘What me? I can’t believe it,’ and the other half of you says, ‘What took you so long?’ And I had both of those simultaneously raging in my head.”
Julian Fellowes

Fellowes has also won two Emmys as creator of the TV show Downton Abby. He latest show The Gilded Age is currently in pre-production.

P.S. Congrats to Craig Mazin on his Emmy winning Chernobyl success last night. My next post will touch on Mazin and the quotes I’ve pulled from him over the years. After a 22 year career he may have looked at his Emmy an echoed Fellowes’ words, “What took you so long?”

Scott W. Smith

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