Cirque du Sound

Meet John August

John August is a screenwriter and director, and a guest on the brand-new podcast Cirque du Sound.

Getting to Know Our Guest

Could you please introduce yourself in a few words.

My name is John August. I’m screenwriter who’s also worked on Broadway. Some of my credits include Big Fish, Charlie’s Angels, and Aladdin.

If you had to pick your favorite Cirque du Soleil show, which one would it be?

While O wasn’t my first Cirque show, it was the first one where I remember just going slack-jawed in disbelief. I’ve now been backstage —both below the water and high in the catwalks. It’s astonishing from every perspective.


Getting Started in Screenwriting

Can you tell us a bit about what sparked your interest in writing and what motivated you to pursue screenwriting?

I’ve always written. In college, I was pursuing a journalism degree until I found out that writing for movies was an actual job. I moved to Los Angeles, read hundreds of scripts, and got started.

Once-in-a-lifetime transformative experiences are often part of your movies – did you have one yourself that has shaped your view of the world?

It’s helpful to think of ourselves as heroes undergoing an epic journey, but we should remember the transformation keeps happening. I’ve stayed curious and open, which has led to lots of great opportunities and challenges.


Getting Philosophical

It takes a village to make a movie; how do you navigate creative differences and maintain a cohesive vision when working with directors and producers?

At the start of a project, I try to make a note to myself about what the movie means to me, and why I’m writing it. Through all the ups and downs, that note becomes the touchstone. Anything can and will change, but that initial vision persists.

Writing can be a powerful tool for social change. Do you ever feel a moral obligation to address certain issues through your work, and if so, how did you navigate that process?

As a gay Boy Scout growing up in 1970s Colorado, I was constantly scanning movies and TV for people like me. I feel a responsibility to represent people, settings and ideas that don’t often show up on the big screen.


Parting Words

What do you hope your legacy will be in terms of the emotions and ideas your work has conveyed?

Life can be a struggle, and my movies don’t shy away from showing the hard bits. But I believe the greatest gift you can give someone is hope.


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