The original post for this episode can be found here.

John August: Hello and welcome. My name is John August.

Craig Mazin: My name is Craig Mazin.

John: And this is Episode 63 of Scriptnotes, a podcast about screenwriting and things that are interesting to screenwriters.

Now, Craig, I notice a change in your voice. I think you have location sound, is that correct?

Craig: I’ve got location sound. Wherever I go, [laughs], actually I bought a pretty nice headset/mic thingy because you know when we record and we’re talking what we — how we are going to do that, it is part of today’s podcast, but we have nice microphones, relatively nice microphones. But I can’t lug that around really.

So, I got this like headphone/mic combo thing of the sort that people use when they’re playing Modern Warfare and stuff, and it’s gone. Somehow someone in my house, some little person, has ferreted it away, so I’m using the — this is the built in microphone on the MacBook Pro.

John: All right. You’ve used it before and it sounds okay.

Craig: Yeah.

John: We’ll be fine. But we should talk about our normal setup before we get into our actual business of the day, because people have been asking on Twitter, and I feel like every week I’m answering some sort of question about how we actually record this podcast.

So, usually Craig and I are not in the same room. In fact, the very first time we were recording the podcast live in the same room together was at the Austin Film Festival. Usually we are talking via Skype, which is what we’re doing right now. Usually you’re at your office in Pasadena. I’m here at my house in Los Angeles. And we are both talking into the same kind of microphone. I have this Audio Technica AT2020 something.

Craig: Yeah. The 2020. 2020? I don’t know.

John: I think it’s 2020, which is a good podcast microphone. It was recommended by Dan Benjamin, who runs the brilliant 5by5 podcasting network. So, we each have that kind of microphone. We each have good headphones. I have these Sony headphones that are sort of big cans that fit over my ears and they make me look like Princess Leia. And record.

And so the crucial things we learned early on as we were doing this podcast separately is that it’s important that we don’t have audio leakage, so that when we’re trying to put these two tracks together ultimately Craig is not talking — you don’t hear Craig talking on my side and you don’t hear me talking on Craig’s side. So, that’s part of the reason of good microphones and good headsets.

Craig: Yeah. And then the idea is we can hear each other while we talk via Skype, but we’re also simultaneously recording just our side of the conversation on GarageBand. So, we end up with two GarageBand projects, one that just has me talking, one that just has John talking, and then Stuart waves his magic wand and puts them together.

John: And actually figuring out which was the right application to put those together took some time, because originally we were just cutting the two tracks together in GarageBand, which worked, but wasn’t ideal. The best solution we’ve found so far has been the old audio editing app that used to come as part of Final Cut Studio, called Soundtrack Pro. And it’s fine. It doesn’t feel like quite a modern Mac app, but it’s getting the job done.

I think there’s room in this space for a better two-track editor to do what we’re doing, but it’s working fine for us right now.

Craig: So far so good. Eventually it will be awesomeness, with full stereo feel effects, surround, lasers.

John: All that stuff.

Craig: Yeah.

John: And one of the things you actually learn about podcasting is you don’t want a big stereo split between the two sides. Every once in a while you’ll hear a podcast where they left it in a stereo that’s not a happy kind of stereo, so you hear one person talking in one ear, and one person talking in the other ear, if you’re in your car or if you’re wearing headphones. That’s really bad, so don’t do that. You want things mixed together so it’s happening in the center of your head.

Craig: Yeah. That would be annoying. I mean, a little bit — I don’t know if Stuart ever like slightly pans one of us one way and one of us the other way, but full split left and right is just stupid.

John: It’s not good. So, today I thought we would talk about, we’re going to do more of our Three Page Challenges, because that’s a very popular feature on the site. And so we would do some more of those, but before we got into those I wanted to do a little bit of follow up on stuff we talked about on previous weeks.

First off, last week we talked about Star Wars and Disney, and some of the speculation is like well who is going to make these new movies? What filmmakers would be involved? And we have part of that answer this week is that they’ve hired Michael Arndt to do treatments for the first three movies of the new trilogy, which I think is a really terrific idea.

Craig: Yeah, it makes total sense. I guess it wasn’t — I don’t guess, I know — it wasn’t something that I had premeditated. Premeditated is the wrong word. I had not foreseen this. But, once I read it, it made total sense. Michael Arndt, aside from being a really, really good writer, has shown that he can write across a number of genres. He can be both funny and dramatic. And, most importantly, he’s very, very familiar to Disney because he has been working with Pixar not only on Toy Story 3, but on Pete Doctor’s latest movie.

So, he’s part of their family. He’s an excellent writer. He’s got a terrific pedigree. An Oscar award, of course, never hurts. I mean, the fan boy in me would have loved to have seen them give Larry Kasdan a call, but of course, this is the first step of a very long, long journey.

I mean, I’m always rooting for a writer to take the ball and run it from a punt return to end zone. But, who knows what will happy. I mean, Larry sort of was brought in and other people worked on things. And let’s see how it goes.

But, I thought it was a very smart choice. And he’s a great guy.

John: He’s a great guy, too. That’s why I feel no scriptenfreude about his being hired. It’s, like, he’s actually a really good guy. And you and I met him I think for the first time together. Because I remember, so we were putting together this Fox writer’s deal which we got a group of nine writers together and we made this deal at Fox to write original scripts for them.

And Michael Arndt was one of the people who was suggested to us, so we met with him. I think it was at the Grill in Beverly Hills. And so we just sat down with him, and chatted with him, and he was just completely lovely and nice. And at that point he had written Little Miss Sunshine and was still working on Toy Story 3. So, it was kind of a case where, “Well, you’ve written this little tiny indie movie; I don’t know how much, you know, you don’t seem like a big Hollywood writer.”

And then he wrote an absolutely fantastic script for Toy Story 3. So, I feel like he’s a great choice for this.

Craig: Well, obviously you and I both understood that, you know, you buy low, sell high. [laughs]

John: Exactly.

Craig: And, see, we should be running a studio because we knew.

John: Exactly. Although I don’t think he’s written his Fox movie yet.

Craig: Well, neither have I, so there. [laughs]

John: [laughs] Done.

Second thing from a previous show, we talked about Karateka, which is the video game that Jordan Mechner and I did. We launched and we’re on Xbox. And so it was so exciting — this week, I could actually fire up my Xbox and see the game available for purchase and download. So, that’s been a good and weird and fun experience.

I had sent you the trailer for it, which is now up online. Adam Lisagor did an amazing job directing the trailer for our little show. And it was so strange to be spending time six months before release trying to figure out what this teaser trailer would be, but it was tremendously fun. So, I’ll have a link to that in the show notes as well, since it’s now actually out there in the world to see.

One thing that is different about Xbox which I’m discovering is we have an app that we’re releasing through the Mac App Store or the iOS App Store. You get stats — you can check stats every day to see how many people are downloading it and you can become sort of addicted to those stats. And it’s very clear how many you sell each day.

With this, you’re just sort of flying blind. And officially Microsoft gives you quarterly results on how your sales are going, which is not useful or helpful. So we’re trying to pull through faster numbers on that. But we’re ultimately going to be going onto some platforms that have more rigorous reporting, and so Steam, and PS3 and iOS. So, it will be exciting how that sorts out.

Craig: Awesome. Congratulations.

John: Yay! Also, a mutual friend of ours has a very big week as well. Derek Haas, who with Michael Brandt is a writing team, they created the show Chicago Fire which is on NBC which just got its back nine order.

Craig: That’s right. That’s right. Now they get their full season of shirtless men fighting fires.

John: [laughs] So, the show was originally picked up for 13 episodes, which is very common, which you love to be picked up for 13 episodes. And you’re hoping to get that back nine. That back nine brings you to 22 episodes, which is in modern world considered a complete seasons. So, very exciting for them to be having a full season order, but Derek by himself also has a brand new book which is hitting stores right now, and is available on Amazon, called The Right Hand.

Have you read this book yet, Craig?

Craig: I have not read this book.

John: I have not read this book either.

Craig: I read The Silver Bear and the follow up to The Silver Bear, but I haven’t read this one yet.

John: So, this is a new franchise he started that is more CIA/espionage oriented. And apparently it’s pretty good. Publisher’s Weekly said this about it: “This hard edge contemporary spy thriller from Haas covers a lot of ground with a great narrative economy. Forceful cinematic scenes show off the lean grace of Haas’ prose. Cleverly placed plot twists and spy craft details help make this a standout. Readers will hopefully see a lot more of Clay,” the protagonist, the hero.

Craig: A name that’s also Derek’s brother’s name, Clay. By the way, the first time that, what, “grace,” “lean,” what was that? It was “lean graceful prose?”

John: Oh, it said “the lean grace.” It’s the first time he’s ever been described as having “lean grace.”

Craig: As being lean and graceful. But I will say this: Derek is one of the — first of all, one of my best friends in the world. One of the greatest guys in the world. One of the most relentlessly positive, optimistic, good people. I just love — I like watching good things happen to people I love. It’s fun. And he’s had a great week. So, congratulations Derek. We love you.

John: Aw. And my mom actually really likes Derek’s books. Because I’ve had one of Derek’s books, like the hardcover version, just randomly, and I brought it with me to Colorado and I left it there, and so she just read it. And she loved it. And she reads these kinds of books, so she’ll be very excited this is coming out.

So, that’s enough reviews of Derek Haas’ work. Let’s get to some reviews of Three Page Challenges.

Craig: Let’s do it.

John: So, Three Page Challenges for people who are brand new podcast listeners, because there will be some of those, is we have invited our listeners to send us three pages from their scripts, and it doesn’t have to be the first three pages but it almost always is the first three pages. And we will look at them on the show.

And by look at them we mean that Craig and I will read them, but you as the audience are welcome to read them, too. There will be links to all of these Three Page Challenges attached to this podcast, or if you go to and look for this podcast, you can download the PDFs and read along with us and see what the hell we’re talking about.

Craig: Yeah!

John: Before we get started here, we have looked at 19 different installments one the show so far, 19 different samples. But, Stuart — God bless Stuart — Stuart has read 511 of these.

Craig: Good god.

John: So, there have been 511 accepted entries. And by that we mean people who have actually followed the procedure — and there will be link to how you actually can submit these things — they followed the procedure and put the proper header in and gave us just three pages and didn’t throw in extra stuff.

So, 511 submitted. Of that, 78 were submitted by women. And two by teams that are half female. So, it’s 80 out of 511, or approximately 15.7%.

Craig: Wow. It seems like it’s getting worse.

John: No, it’s actually better.

Craig: Oh, it is? Okay, good.

John: So, the second wave increased to 18%, so we did bump up. So, 18% is still not high, but it’s better than it was.

Craig: Remarkable. Okay.

John: Actually the first batch was 12%. The second batch was 18%. So, it increased 6% over the last wave.

Craig: How are we doing with Irishmen? Are we getting enough Irishmen?

John: I don’t know if we can break that out, but Stuart did notice an interesting pattern and I tweeted about it last night. And I got some possible answers, but I want you to tell me what you think is actually happening here.

Of the 511 entries, 119 of the submitted names start with the letter J. So, that’s almost 25%.

Craig: You mean the last name or first?

John: First name. So the Johns, Jacobs, Joshuas, Jeanines, Jennies. So, that’s over 23%, which is much higher than the USA percentage of J first names, which is 11.9%.

So, do you have any theories about why that might happen?

Craig: Well, maybe it’s a generational thing. I mean, I would imagine that most of the people sending these in are aspirational which would put them in their 20’s, and curiously both of my children have names that begin with J, and you have a name that begins with J.

So, maybe it’s generational.

John: It could be generational. I think we would need to look more specifically about, like, most popular names of the ’80s and ’90s. I think demographic, the male/female split may be part of it, too, because I suspect there are more men’s names that start with J. Not enough maybe to tip us in that direction, but maybe.

I would also look at maybe our readership base. It is international; we have a fair number of international people who are submitting. And so maybe there’s a reason why internationally Js are more common.

Craig: It could also be that Stuart is just lying. I mean, we always have to remember that Stuart is in complete control here and he could just be making it up.

John: He could be our Keyser Söze.

Craig: Oh my god. Our Keyser Söze. [laughs]

John: [laughs]

Craig: I’m stupid. I’m stupid. But, you know, we had some interesting pages this week I thought.

John: I agree. I was going to suggest we start with Dammed by Mark Cowling. But if you have one that you wanted to start with that’s fine.

Craig: That’s good. Today I’m on iPad, so I’ve got it.

John: Great. So, let me give you a synopsis of Damned by Mark Cowling. So, we open in Minnesota at midnight where a rust-speckled station wagon smashes through a padlocked gate in front of a church. A man races out of the car; his name is John Cooper. He pounds on the door to the cottage behind the church, waking up Father Sweeney.

He wants to be baptized ASAP and offers a handful of cash. In the church they’re just beginning the baptism when a nice lady named Mrs. Wilkins enters. Only she’s actually some kind of undead screaming monster.

We cut to three months earlier where we meet Kevin Harris, a photographer at a failing pet photography business. As the three pages end he is trying to strike up a conversation with a Goth receptionist.

Craig: Mm-hmm.

John: Mm-hmm.

Craig: Mm-hmmm.

John: Craig, talk to me.

Craig: Well, I don’t know about you, but I struggled just to get through the first bunch of description. And it’s not that the pages were bad, per se, but this first chunk of description is a really good example of something that we’ve talked about before which is not punishing your readers right off the bat with kind of dense overwritten action.

So, the very first line to me kind of is a signifier. This is the very first line: “Barely visible through the heavy falling snow, St. Jerome Church sits some way off the road.” And, you know, we could just say, it says, “EXT. ST. JEROME CHURCH, MINNESOTA – MIDNIGHT. Snow. The church is chained and padlocked.”

But instead we have, “Barely visible through the heavy falling snow, St. Jerome Church sits some way off the road. A chained and padlocked gate blocks the path up to the small building.”

[sighs] Then…

John: Yeah. It’s a little Dungeons & Dragons description.

Craig: Very much. And then, “A rust speckled station-wagon veers violently off the road and smashes through the gate. But this exertion proves too much for the battered old car, which shudders to a halt.” This is just over-written.

John: Yeah.

Craig: Not for a novel, maybe, but for a script I think this sort of thing is over-written.

John: I would agree. I’ll take back Dungeons & Dragons. It is a little bit novely.

Craig: Yes.

John: So Derek could use it in his book, but it’s not good for here. I have a lot of certain nitpicks on ways to make for a better read, but I don’t want to sort of lose, bury the lead. I actually really kind of dug how this started out. I mean, I liked the idea of like waking up the father to get baptized right away. It had mystery. It had drama. It had suspense. You sort of know that the woman coming in is going to be some sort of monster, but that’s kind of okay.

Craig: Yup.

John: And then when we cut to this earlier thing, I get it. A little bit over-written, and like I had some problems with the actual — the scene where we are sort of meeting our guy, because when you meet a guy who’s doing nothing that’s not a very interesting way to meet stuff. But it was specific in a way that I really dug.

And so I thought there was a lot of potential here, which is when I really nitpick and rip apart a lot of stuff it’s because I actually really thought this had a lot of potential. I liked — I had a sense of what kind of movie this was. And this was probably some sort of monster movie that had a sense of humor to it, which I love.

Craig: Yeah. I totally agree. In fact, that’s precisely why I’m calling this out, because then once we got into the church and we got into the dialogue, the writer suddenly showed up. And it was alive. And it was fun. And I like the tone of it. You know, here’s this, and again, too over-written, you know, “Father Sweeney is avuncular.” Don’t use words like avuncular in screenplays.

John: Yeah. I don’t know what avuncular means. I’m a smart person, but I would have to look that up.

Craig: Yeah. Father Sweeney seems like a nice lovely old priest, and this is guy is asking to be baptized, and then immediately Father Sweeney just like falls apart into a stream of F-bombs, which is fun, you know. Like, okay, this is actually an interesting person. They start to do this thing. We hear something outside, which our character obviously knows is not the wind, even though he says it is.

Then this woman comes in. I would recommend, by the way, not saying Mrs. Wilkins, because — so this woman walks in and the distracted priest sees her and says, “Mrs. Wilkins,” which is such a fake screenplay name. And, frankly, if he’s — if this is a small town and he’s a priest he might just call her Alma or something. You know, just so you don’t feel like you’re getting detached and into overly broad stuff.

She goes, she engages in this monstrous thing. And the character of Cooper who is getting baptized just turns to the priest and says, “Maybe you can speed things up a little.” So, there’s like a good — you got the tone. It was snappy and it was fun.

Then unfortunately we get a little broad here because we’re meeting what I presume to be the main character at his job, his business, which is called Yappy Snaps. And it’s a photography, it’s a pet photography studio, which I find to be overly broad. Maybe too broad for something like this when you have monsters, and villains — supernatural villains I should say — and people who react to them kind of in a quirky way. Maybe everything else should sort of be grounded. I don’t know; that’s just generally my feeling. A little picky thing.

“Slumped behind the desk in reception is NATALIE, an overweight goth who has made the very smallest possible concession to what is considered acceptable corporate attire.” Putting aside the fact that that’s a huge mouthful, what is the very smallest possible concession? [laughs] I mean, if you’re going to overwrite, be specific…

John: How do you visualize that?

Craig: Don’t make me guess what that is, because that’s all I can see is what I can see. And you’re right: Meeting a character who isn’t doing anything is a little — I understand the author wants to get across that this is a fairly passive person who is unhappy with his boring life, but then maybe engage in something that is a little more active to show that.

John: Yeah. Sort of starting at the end, with the Yappy Snaps, I don’t know that I even really necessarily need the exterior to get us there, but if we’re going to have that, fine. Once we go inside the studio, I would pan passed our photos of the dogs first, and then get to our guy. Because right now we’re meeting our guy who’s just polishing a lens, and then we’re like looking around at all of the stuff on the walls.

Probably better to sort of set the scene, meet the guy, and then have him do something, rather than just sort of sit there while we look at the scenery around him.

Craig: Exactly. You could also open with him, just looking at him setting up the lights and taking a picture, “Good, good,” and then he crosses over and we reveal that he’s got a little dog with a hat on or something. You know. Yeah.

John: Yeah. So, some more nitpicking stuff. The first sentence here, “…sits some way off the road,” it’s “some ways off the road.”

Craig: Yes.

John: There’s a lot of sort of not careful proofreading here which was a frustration to me.

Craig: Oh yeah…

John: “…and smashes through the gate.” Things like smash, we tend to capitalize. Most screenwriters will tend to capitalize those things because those are big action words, and you like those big action words to let you know that something big is important. Because your reader will read that word even if they don’t kind of read the rest of the sentence. So, it’s a sound effect but it’s also a big thing that happens.

The writer is capitalizing half the character’s name, which just isn’t common.

Craig: Right.

John: So, it’s John Cooper. Capitalize both JOHN and COOPER. Even if you’re going to call him Cooper for the rest of the time, just capitalize John Cooper. It’s weird to sort of only do half of it.

And at the end of this third paragraph, after the semi-colon he capitalizes the next word which is strange.

Craig: Right.

John: “A large amount of dried blood stains the cracked driver’s side window.” A large amount of dried blood sort of stops me. A large amount? It makes me think, like, well what is a large amount of dried blood? I’ve never really stopped to think about that. So, dried blood is all you need. You don’t need a large amount of it.

Craig: I agree. There’s a bunch of things, like for instance he hyphenates station wagon, which shouldn’t be hyphenated, but doesn’t hyphenate rust-speckled, which should be hyphenated. So, there are things like that. I’m not one of these people that freaks out about adverbs. There are writers who say, “Never use adverbs; they’re the devil’s work.” An occasional adverb is fine. But we are buried in them here. And adverbs do tend to slow you down, especially for screenwriting.

John: Now, you and I have both talked about the passive voice before, and defended the passive voice. And there are times where the passive voice is really helpful. I saw two cases where exactly the opposite is true here. In the second scene, “Finally a light is switched on and the door lurches open.”

Craig: Right.

John: No. You don’t need, “is switched on.” “A light switches on. The door lurches open.” Break those into smaller sentences for starters. But the passive is not helping you there.

Page two. “The heavy oak doors are flung open as if made of plywood.” Are flung open? “The heavy oak doors fling open.” “The heavy oak doors blow open as if made of plywood.”

Craig: Yeah.

John: Again, being passive is not helping you here.

Craig: I totally agree. It’s a shame, because there’s interesting things going on. This is a great bit of advice for this writer, Mark. Don’t worry so much about crafting pretty sentences with your action. Just paint the picture for me in an exciting, fun, crisp way.

You know how Dana Carvey, Dana Carvey’s impression of George Bush, Sr. in large part rested on dropping the subjects from a lot of things, which I find also useful when you have a lot going on. You know, “Mrs. Wilkins throws her head back violently. Eyes bloodshot. Skin flaking. Produces an ungodly scream.” You know, just shorten, tighten, punchier to match what you want the scene to be. And these scenes should be tight, punchy, suspenseful, surprising, startling. So, if that’s the tone of the scene, that should be the tone of your description.

John: Yeah, this feels like quick cuts and Dutch angles. And let your sentences indicate that.

Craig: Yup.

John: Cool. Let us go onto our next piece. Who do you want to do next? We can do any one of these. Why don’t you do one that you have the synopsis for?

Craig: Tell me which one I’m doing the synopsis for? [laughs]

John: Either Margarita Night or Photo Op.

Craig: Photo Op. And who wrote that one?

John: Photo Op must be Nick Scott.

Craig: Nick Scott is Photo Op, yes. Yes. Okay, so in Photo Op we begin in an unnamed city somewhere in the Middle East. A photographer, a photojournalist is running down the street. We hear a rumbling behind him. He stops, turns, and then a huge crowd of protesters surges forward chanting in Arabic. He’s taking pictures. His cell phone rings. He ducks out of the way of this sea of humanity and he begins a phone conversation with his editor and boss, Vincent.

And Vincent is basically unimpressed it seems with the pictures that our hero, Caleb, is taking. He’s more interested in the fact that an actress is heading towards where they are. Oh, it’s Northern Algeria we find out. And they have a brief argument about what that means, but he has to go take pictures of this actress.

He runs back into the crowd to take photos and a bomb goes off and there is mayhem.

John: And a lot of gore.

Craig: A lot of gore. A lot of gore and mayhem. Yes.

What did you think?

John: Um, [sighs].

Craig: Mm.

John: I wanted to love this a lot more than I did. So, first I want to talk about the description of our hero because it got to be so Ken-dolly that I… — I’ll read it aloud to people who don’t have it in front of them.

“CALEB MILLER (30s) races around the corner, hauls ass down the middle of the street. Stubborn, experienced, driven by determination. A beard covers his chiseled jaw.” And then later, “A backpack hugs his strong frame.” I just kept feeling like, I didn’t — I just got this visual description of him that made me sort of not relate. It felt very stock to me. I felt like I was looking at a Gerard Butler character, which is not a good first thing for me to be encountering. No offense to Gerard Butler.

I also got a little bit frustrated by, I understand the instinct to, like, “We’re going to pull this editor’s phone call up into the action so it’s like part of it,” but it’s not really part of it. It’s sort of halfway part of it. Like he’s ducked into an alley to have this conversation that I don’t really believe or buy while there’s all this mayhem happening all around him. And then we get back into the bombs and the explosion.

I don’t know where all this is going. I suspect that he is going to meet this actress and they’re going to have some sort of relationship.

Craig: Mm-hmm.

John: But I don’t care about that right at this very moment. If you’re showing me a crowd of people and humanity, my instinct would be to stick with that and get to this phone call in the aftermath of that and not try to interrupt this action with a phone call that is not successful.

Craig: Yeah. You know, Nick Scott, here’s the bad news for you: I completely agree with John in every way. I mean, first of all, I didn’t like, I understood what you were going for with the setup which is this individual running down an empty street. It says, “The street is devoid of life, almost silent if not for a low RUMBLE in the distance.” Then this hero comes running up, stops, turns, and then waits, and then here comes this huge crowd.

That just seems fake to me. And I understand that you were trying to be interesting, frankly far more interesting is to just open, boom, in the middle of it. It’s absolute chaos. There’s this huge protest. And then suddenly we reveal someone is in the middle of it taking photos that doesn’t look like everybody else. And then he’s in the action, because here he almost seems like Superman. How the heck did he get out in front of this crowd? [laughs] Why, frankly?

I mean, the point is to sort of be in the action and take these photos, so it just started a bit fake. Certainly tonally though the first page until Vincent calls is very serious, very dramatic. Nick takes time to sort of call out a few people in the crowd to sort of paint the picture, which I liked, because we’ve talked about that before, so it’s not just an anonymous crowd.

But the conversation with Vincent suddenly becomes very light and kind of ’90s comedy, where the two of them are having almost screwball-esque banter about the value of his work.

John: Let’s read a little bit of this. So, I’ll be Vincent.

Craig: Okay.

John: “Anything happen?”

Craig: “Not yet, but it’s gonna. Still no cops!”

John: “You’ll get the same old shots and file the same old story.”

Craig: “I knew you loved my work! Why the fuck are you calling?”

John: “Because I pay your bills and you pay mine. Got an assignment.”

Craig: “I’m working one.”

John: “Then where are my shots of the village? Or my interview with the militants?

Craig: “They’re coming.”

John: So, it’s that whole same old story — you love my work. I just don’t buy it.

Craig: Yeah. I don’t buy it either.

John: I don’t buy that he’s taking this call and having this conversation right now when his job is happening right outside there.

Craig: I mean, if Vincent is his editor he sent him to Northern Algeria to take photos of a protest. He’s obviously interested in some of it, but on the other hand so disinterested that he’s going to just talk to this guy — first of all, it’s the middle of the night wherever he is. [laughs] But he’s just going to talk to this guy while the actual event is going on.

Here’s a thought, Caleb: Don’t answer your phone! [laughs] You’re in the middle of a near riot with all this stuff going on in an incredibly dangerous part of the world. You’ll talk to your boss later.

I totally agree with you. This scene should be very real. It ends in a very dramatic startling, depressing way that sets a tone for something that’s incredibly real and disturbing. You want to let that happen, see the emotional aftermath of it. I mean, this is the kind of scene where after this is done you find Caleb now at the bar where the ex-pats, or the foreign journalists are, having a drink in the relative safety of their bubble, and he gets a phone call from an editor who is saying, “I’m really sorry, are you okay? Yes. Listen, this is weird, but there’s this woman coming.”

And now we understand in the context of what I just saw how disturbing that kind of frivolity would be for him. But to do it before it? Just the whole thing is just all backwards and messed up.

John: I would agree. And another logic problem that just occurs to me on the second read is right now it is set up that we hear this rumble coming and then he comes in. Like, what could this rumble be? Oh, it’s the crowd of protesters. But the protesters have an Arabic chant, so they would have been chanting before this. So, it’s not there’s a herd of elephants coming. We know it’s a chanting crowd. So, they wouldn’t start chanting right when they came around the corner.

Craig: Yeah.

John: It’s like a false reveal.

Craig: It is. And tonally I am concerned about where this goes, because I agree with you. Once we say that there is this broad, strong, large-framed, square-jawed, daring man who is about to encounter a famous celebrity, we know what’s going to happen, to some extent. And that’s fine. But I’m just worried how that’s going to fit into the tone of severed hands, crying children, blood and bodies.

I’m worried about this one.

John: I’m worried about the tone, too.

Craig: But I think frankly there is, for Nick, I think you just have to kind of be a little less clever and cute here and just tell the story in a more engaging way.

John: I would agree.

Craig: All right.

John: How about I will do Kelli Bowlden now?

Craig: Do it.

John: All right. So, we open with a voice over by Ali who is talking about how the world is overrun with beautiful people with perfect bodies. The voice over continues as we see women around Los Angeles and at the gym where Liz is working out. In an editing room Wendy is eating and watching a bouncing babe on a monitor. At Spirelli Surgery, Mrs. Stern, a woman in her late 40s, is in for a consultation. We finally arrive at Ali who is in her 20s, cute, classy, curvy, who works at a casting agency.

She talks on the phone with her male friend, Alex, who works as the receptionist over at Spirelli Surgery. And that’s what we got in three pages.

Craig: Yeah, well, you know what? I liked it. And this is an example where I don’t get worried about voice over if the voice over is over things that are sort of interesting. And I thought that there was an interesting — we bounced around in an interesting way and the voice over was making an interesting point. And the point, essentially, is about how women are faced with these impossible examples, exemplars, of perfection — physical perfection — and the lengths that they go to for physical perfection.

When we landed on Ali, I sort of went, “oh,” because the thing is when we finally find her she’s eating a chocolate bar, and she’s eating it messily, and she’s dipping it into a jar of Nutella. And I thought, “You know, the tone of the beginning was sort of promising something that was pretty smart. The introduction of Ali feels really broad.”

And I’m not, frankly, a huge… — To me, sort of average girl bemoans hot women while she eats peanut butter and chocolate together, or hazelnut spread and chocolate together, is sort of the distal side of the bro comedy coin. It’s very cliché. So, I was kind of excited in the beginning. I got kind of bummed out there. Then I’m guessing the gay friend shows up, and now I’m really twitching a little bit. You know, if Alex isn’t gay then I’d be happy. But I’m sensing gay friend. [laughs] I don’t know if you were.

John: Yeah.

Craig: So, I’m just worried that we’re going to sort of head into cliché forest here.

John: Yeah. I did not enjoy this as much as you did I would say. So, we’re assuming this is a comedy, correct?

Craig: Oh, for sure.

John: Yeah. Was it remotely funny?

Craig: No, well, and it was trying to be with the Nutella and the chocolate, and that’s when I started getting worried.

John: Yeah. So, here’s the thing: This kind of a voice over…we’ll start by talking about the voice. So, voice over would need to do two things. First off there’s the content of the voice over, and I thought the content was a little bit obvious. She’s making the same point again and again. Like, “They’re everywhere. Staring at us with those ridiculously bright eyes. Judging us for being mere humans with non-airbrushed skin and unevenly lit, naturally colored hair.” Kind of awkward.

“Okay, sure, some women have the discipline to look good. Some just have the metabolism, which is really unfair, and some women have the funds to fake it.” So, it’s a kind of a Sex and the City kind of voice over, but not particularly clever. And my bigger concern with the voice over is that there’s not a voice to it. There’s not a specificity to who this young woman is who’s talking.

It feels like something you could read in any kind of magazine. I didn’t know anything about the character of Ali by the time I met her hearing this voice over.

Compare that to one of my favorite movies of all time which is Clueless. And Clueless has scenes that are kind of like this where it’s just a shot of like, you know, a bunch of high school kids walking, and there’s nothing funny about the shot, but her analysis of what’s happening in that shot is so funny that it’s an amazing thing. Like, you know, “I don’t want to betray my generation, but I don’t get how high school boys dress. It’s like they just pick up, find clothes off the floor and stick them together.” It’s a better written version of what I just said, but it’s very specific to her character.

And there wasn’t anything specific to Ali’s character that we got out of this voice over. And because it was just a boom, boom, boom of scenes, nothing actually could happen. Like it was three pages just to get to two people talking on the phone.

Craig: Yeah, I mean, basically I agree with you. If the kind of intro — which I agree was a little sort of flat and we’ve heard it before — had arrived at a perspective or a point that was interesting to me, then it would have been okay. But where it landed was I’m a chubby girl who dips chocolate bars into Nutella spread while sort of bitchily mocking the hyper thin models that are in the waiting office at this casting thing, which the male receptionist at the plastic surgery place gives me a call and has sort of a very — I’ve seen and heard it before — bitchy chit-chat about their clients.

So, it just didn’t — it sort of had potential. I just feel like we know where this is kind of going to have to go. I mean, so…

John: Let’s take a look at sort of the words on the page. So, on page one a couple things stick out for me. First off, often in scripts you won’t actually put the number on the first page, so that one can go away on the first page.

Right now it’s starting “OVER BLACK: ALI (V.O.) They’re everywhere.”

Then we “FADE IN: EXT. LOS ANGELES — DAY.” I think you get rid of either “OVER BLACK” or “FADE IN.” Because it’s too much. If you’re not giving us an image we know that it’s over black basically.

We fade in on Los Angeles — Los Angeles is such a generic thing to have as your first slug line. Like where we are in Los Angeles? What are we looking at? Because that first sentence description there is, “Perfect women have infested the world. Half shirts show off taut bellies and proportionately impossible breasts.” But what are we actually looking at? Are we looking at pictures of women or actual women? If they’re actual women, capitalize that so I know that we’re looking at, you know, essentially extras.

But, I didn’t even know what I was looking at, so it took me awhile to get even started there. And ultimately in the same paragraph we’re looking at billboards, and benches, and posters, so that lack of specific imagery was hurting me.

When we get to the next scene we’re at a gym, I’m just pointing out, “LIZ, 20s, 2 sizes skinnier than she should be, steps off.” She’s the number 2 rather than the word two. General sort of journalism kind of rules still apply here. Numbers that are less than 11, so up to ten, type them out. Other numbers you can use the numerals as long as it’s not in dialogue, but it feels really weird to have that 2 sitting there.

Craig: Particularly right next to the number of her age.

John: Yeah. On page two she’s trying to do a cut here but it doesn’t really work for me. It’s like we’re in the doctor’s office and “Dr. Spirelli nods, he can do that. A fabricated image of a BEAUTIFUL WOMAN smiles from a BEAUTY MAGAZINE cover.” Ultimately “A blob of CHOCOLATE drops onto the Beautiful Woman’s face.”

Craig: That did not work.

John: And that’s the cut to take us to the next place, but I got really confused, like, why are we eating chocolate in the doctor’s office?

Craig: Correct.

John: It just didn’t really work as a transition that we have right now.

Craig: Yeah. You can’t do that.

John: I really…

Craig: Yup. [laughs] Yeah, you can’t do that. If you want a blob of chocolate dropping onto a beautiful woman’s face then he can do that “INT. CASTING OFFICE — DAY. A fabricated image of a beautiful woman smiles from a beauty magazine cover.”

You’ve got to put the chocolate dropping where the chocolate is dropping.

John: Or if it is truly a montage, and you’re sort of playing it like more of a montage, then we’re going to be able to do that, but you’re going to have those transitions — it can’t be the first time we’re doing that kind of transition, because otherwise we’re going to assume that that magazine is in that office there. And that it’s in Dr. Spirelli’s surgery office.

Craig: Right. And this would be tough to kind of montage out because there’s sort of like…

John: Anything that makes a reader read twice is bad.

Craig: No, it wouldn’t actually, you could do it.

John: How would you do it?

Craig: You could do sort of like, you know, “MONTAGE — VARIOUS.” And then big capital action line — “GYM” and then description “EDITING SUITE,” description, “SURGERY,” description, “OFFICE,” description. But , yeah, it just didn’t — that chocolate thing, absolutely, I was so confused by what was going on there.

John: Yeah, so “A blob of CHOCOLATE drops onto the Beautiful Woman’s face. We are actually at the casting office.” Even that might make it clear to the reader. The reader is not going to have to stop and go back and try to figure out again what happened there.

Craig: Right.

John: I want to point out one nice thing on page two. “She’s more than a montage away from being comfortable wearing a bikini in public.”

Craig: I like that.

John: That’s kind of nice. I like acknowledging sort of the genre, being a montage away from something.

Craig: It made me smile. And it was also a good way of — I understand her weight actually from that.

John: Yeah. On page three there’s an intercut here, which is nothing fancy, but I like that she actually knew how to do it. We’re intercutting between the two people having a phone conversation and the graceful way is just INTERCUT. So, you don’t actually necessarily need to spell out where you’re intercutting between. You just have the word “intercut” and we will get it as long as we’ve had two locations close to each other and you recognize that people are talking on the phone; “intercut” can be your very best friend.

Craig: Yeah, this is one of those areas where there were fewer issues with the specifics and more just that this felt very sort of episode of 90210-ish to me.

John: I would agree. The only other suggestion I have for her is Ali and Alex, two characters with such similar names, is going to get annoying and frustrating at about three more pages. Because when you’re just like looking at someone’s dialogue, if you’re going to have to remember, “Oh which one is the boy, which one is the girl?” I would go for a different name.

Craig: Yeah. I don’t know even know how she can — Kelli, you know, you wrote an entire script where you couldn’t just type A and then have the character. You couldn’t even type AL and have character.

John: Yeah. Smart Type couldn’t even help you.

Craig: We’re trying to help you . [laughs] Also, if Alex does turn out to be quirky gay friend, I just feel, again, just be careful of cliché-ville. Because, again, it just feels like we’ve been done that road.

John: I would agree.

Let’s do the last of our Three Page Challenges today, which is Margarita Night by Steve Marcarelli & Billy Lalor.

Craig: Yes. Otherwise known as Hangover for Moms. [laughs] So, we begin with some 40 year-old women who are in the middle of a debauched night out. They’re at a bar. They’re getting loaded. They’re doing bad karaoke. Smashing windows with lawn jockeys. They’ve lost their pants. It gets uglier and uglier. And then in the morning one of the women, our hero, we suppose, Mel — Melody, goes by Mel — wakes up and she’s woken up by her eight year-old son, Robbie, who is exhorting her to take him early for cello lessons before school.

He is super duper responsible. She is super duper hung over and seemingly witless and does not know even how to make — or tries to make him breakfast, he already made it himself. He made her the coffee. And they go to drive and her car is gone. And she doesn’t know where it is.

The last little bit we see, we’re now actually at a radio station where an overweight, morning time, drive time disc jockey begins chit chat with his sidekick, The Roach, about women being trouble.

John: Yeah.

Craig: Well…?

John: Yeah. [crosstalk] So, there were specific, I know, the writer had a voice and specific jokes. And not everything worked and there’s a lot to improve here, but I felt like I recognized the intention of what these pages were, where this was going. Some of it was a little too familiar, but there were some jokes that I really liked.

One thing I didn’t like: there’s literally an alarm clock slapping moment. No more slapping alarm clocks in movies. Stop that.

Craig: Moratorium.

John: Never needed. So, on the first page, right now, “An alarm clock GOES OFF and the sounds of a crass talk radio show fill the room. Mel MOANS. She SLAPS at the clock.” Robbie, “Mom.” We have Robbie’s description. “Mom, are you driving me to school?”

The first line of the scene should be, “Are you driving me to school,” because he’s already there, and that’s the question, “Are you driving me to school?”

I really liked on page two, “Where are my keys?” Robbie says, “They were in the front door.” I liked that that was just nice and specific. I like that.

The coffee beat gets a little bit cliché, like the kid is a little too perfect for this. He’s too sitcomy, overachieving kid because his mom is a wreck and a mess. But I liked the build on the joke of they get out and like the car is not even there. It’s well handled. I dug it.

Craig: Well, not so much for me. I think that the opening bit was nice and taut. There’s essentially a third of a page that shows a night going out of control, and it would be fun to see. And then when she wakes up in the morning, and the alarm goes off, we understand: she’s hung over. It was all fine.

Where it started to go off — and look, I’m going to talk in a larger way about this idea — but where it went off for me was this kid. Because here’s the deal: we’ve got two pages of an impossible eight year-old. And I’m going to guess that our authors Steve and Billy do not have children, because eight year-olds cannot talk like this, cannot act like this, cannot function like this.

A slightly older kid, a ten year-old, I think, or an 11 year-old, maybe. Maybe you got a shot. Eight year-old simply can’t do that. They’re in second grade and third grade. They’re not capable of this. And I also felt like the writers have missed an opportunity to imply that this is not the first time this has happened, and it’s clearly not on her side of the conversation it’s not the first time.

And in a way on his side, too, it doesn’t — he’s not shocked by this behavior. So, he’s seen it before, so in a way…

John: If he made coffee for her, no.

Craig: It shouldn’t be a surprise. I think maybe he just hands it to her might be more interesting. And sort of like this is the usual deal. You know, if I were rewriting this I would make it that the kid was waking her up and sort of saying, “Here’s your coffee. I basically have done everything. Please just drive me,” because we’ve been through this before.

So, I think shorter. It treaded water and it wasn’t like, I don’t know, I wasn’t laughing during that scene, so it felt like it should just be shorter and more interesting.

John: Agreed.

Craig: And then the car is gone, which is definitely, you know, so we’re kind of drifting towards Hangover area, or I guess closer to like Bad Mom, or Bad Teacher, Bad Mom, Bad Santa, Bad Something.

John: Yeah.

Craig: And that’s really my issue is that I feel like this is a copycat. And it’s a copycat idea. I’m going to read a script called Bad Mom basically. And it’s actually called Margarita Night, which is closer to like Hangover, or there’s a lot of those out there.

I think that these guys have a pretty good grip on the rhythm and flow of how something of this should work, and I like that they’re taking a few chances. Frankly I’d be bigger and more outrageous. I think if you’re going to be outrageous, be outrageous. It felt a little mild, frankly, and a little PG as I read the first three pages.

And I’m not here to say to promote being gross, or sexual, or stupid just for its own sake, but rather just be realer. If this deserves a movie, I want to see a wreck, and I want to really see a wreck. But, I’m just concerned that this is just following the leader and not really blazing its own trail; that it’s kind of behind the curve a little bit.

And I had no idea what’s happening in this little final bit, but that’s fine, that doesn’t matter. I guess my final comment is this: For a movie like this, I want to laugh, and I’m not laughing. I’m sort of smiling, nodding, and going, uh-huh. Eh, that part was not a good reaction.

John: I get that. My hope for this, and the reason why I’m optimistic about it is I feel like there’s a movie that is 9 to 5 pushed into the Bridesmaids world. And I think there’s an opportunity for this to be that kind of movie.

I mean, if you think back to 9 to 5, we got those home life moments, and they were really good, but they were tighter than this. They were tighter and they were shorter.

As this is set up there is Ally and Mel, so it’s not a one-hander, it’s supposed to be a two-hander. We’ll see from both these women’s perspectives. I know we might be intercutting this morning. We might be seeing a little bit more of what’s happening there. I have hope in here.

And it was — I laughed at the keys in the door. I laughed at the car being gone. Well, that’s not actually fair; I didn’t quite laugh at the car being gone, but I was happy that the car was gone.

Craig: I liked that, too. I would also say, when you do this kind of Bad Blank genre, which has become a little mini genre, that you need to kind of embrace it in a big way, because she’s now endangering the welfare of an eight year-old child. And so, man, just make me laugh when she does it. In a weird way, be more outrageous. Be more screwed up. This kid should hold her hair while she pukes. [laughs] Do something that makes me really go, wow. Part of the humor is that this is their lives, that it’s not just — I’m not just waking up with one weird thing where they kid is like, “What’s going on? Where’s the car? Why were the keys in the door? I made you coffee.” But I’m not…

I want this to be part of the deal. And part of that also is changing the age of that kid. Eight years-old is just not going to work for this character.

John: I would agree with you.

Craig, that’s four of these.

Craig: I like this. We blew through them there. And you know what? All of them had something to recommend.

John: I would agree. So, Stuart, thank you for picking these four out of the 511 for us to take a look at today.

Now, Craig, it’s come to that time. Do you have a One Cool Thing this week?

Craig: Uh, did I already do the fat-free peanut butter?

John: You already did the fat-free peanut butter. You know what? I should just remind you when I send you the email as we schedule the time for this, I should just put a little reminder in there. I should have a macro that just says, “Oh, and Craig, don’t forget your One Cool Thing.”

Craig: Yeah. God. What’s yours? Maybe I’ll agree with it.

John: When you were a kid did you forget your permission slip a lot in school?

Craig: Constantly. I constantly forgot my permission slip. Constantly.

John: That’s what this is. So, next time we’ll just pin a little note to you to remind you to do your One Cool Thing.

Craig: I thought your One Cool Thing was going to be, like, a permission slip app.

John: Oh, that would be great. Wouldn’t that be nice?

Craig: So, really, there’s no salvation for me. I’ve forgotten my permission slip again. All right, go ahead. What’s your One Cool Thing?

John: That’s fine. So, the fact that you didn’t do one this week makes mine like sort of extra sort of good little Girl Scout, which I feel sort of is my function in this podcast just to be like the one who does everything ahead of time.

And I’m also the person who is like lecturing people to get their flu shots. So, this is probably even more in that nagging territory. But, for most of my life I was not a flosser. I did not floss my teeth. And that’s just shameful but I just hated to floss my teeth and it was not fun, and I didn’t want to do it. And so I brushed carefully but I wouldn’t floss my teeth.

And so then every time I would go into the hygienist for stuff they’d say, “Oh, do you floss?” So I’d either lie and say, “Yes, I floss,” in the sense that I flossed right before I came here, which was the first time I flossed in maybe three months. Or I would be honest and say that I didn’t and then they would give me a little lecture and a little lesson on how to floss. Well, I know how to do it, I just choose not to do it.

The truth I’ve discovered over the last three years is that it’s actually not about technique or anything else, it’s just that all the flosses I was trying were terrible. And most dental flosses are just terrible. But there’s one that’s actually really good. And I feel like if you actually use this floss people would actually want to floss their teeth because it’s actually delightful.

So, the best floss that exists in my opinion is Reach Gum Care with Fluoride, Soft Woven Mint Floss. It is available at nearly any grocery store or drug store. It’s made by Johnson & Johnson. It comes in a white package. It has pink and black printing on it. And it’s terrific.

So, what’s different about this floss, it is not waxed. It is not thin. It is sort of two bits of string twisted together like a very light yarn. And it slides between your teeth nicely. It tastes really good. It actually gets all that gunk out between your teeth. And it is a delight to use.

So, my recommendation is dental floss.

Craig: Do you know I’ve never had a cavity?

John: That’s fantastic, Craig. You must have like good genetics, really strong teeth.

Craig: No question. Because in fact one of the side effects of never having a cavity is that I’m terrible about flossing. Frankly, I’m terrible about going to the dentist. I just sort of — it becomes one of those things. It’s like super thin people who are just born thin and stay thin just kind of eat what they want and they don’t really care. You know, they just have cake sometimes.

I have never even come close to having a cavity. I don’t have gum disease. I don’t have any. I just genetically got blessed.

John: That’s fantastic. That’s great.

Craig: So, I don’t need your floss, man!

John: I was going to point out that brushing your teeth is for cavities, gum disease is, the thing with flossing generally is that if you don’t floss people’s gums tend to puff up and then recede, and then there’s problems. And then you have to do horribly painful stuff to fix things. So, congratulations on your lucky mouth genes.

Craig: There actually is some benefit to your gums from brushing. I had a dentist once tell me that the most important thing brushing does is actually massage your gums. Because when you massage your gums you help them sort of naturally get some of that puffy infected stuff out. And have you ever done that rubber tip thing?

John: Oh yeah. The massage set?

Craig: She said if I were on a desert island and I had a choice between taking a rubber tip or a toothbrush with me, I would take the rubber tip.

John: I have definitely noticed on watching many seasons of Survivor is that they get really bored out there. But what they’ll tend to always do is like take little pieces of bamboo and pick out their teeth, because it does just make you feel much better and cleaner.

When you’ve got grit on your teeth it’s just never a happy experience.

Craig: Yeah. There are certain foods like seaweed salad and beef jerky.

John: Oh yeah.

Craig: Will always get wedged in between my molars, and I go crazy. And that’s the only time I floss, really, and I hate to say it.

John: What about corn on the cob? Corn on the cob you have to.

Craig: I don’t like corn on the cob. I don’t like corn.

John: That’s fine.

Craig: Yeah, you know what? I don’t like it. And it’s a shame because it’s a weed that grows everywhere. But I don’t like it.

John: It’s a major American specialty. If it weren’t for the Native Americans we would not have corn on the cob.

Craig: How many people do you think we’ve lost just talking about floss and corn? Just out of curiosity, like 100,000?

John: Hmm. I don’t know. There should be some good metrics for that.

Craig: [laughs] Let’s see if we can get down to zero!

John: That would be fantastic. I will say, so, changing topics only slightly here. So, as you know this last week we’ve been studying sort of the metrics of the podcast and sort of how many people are downloading it. And thank you so many people for subscribing to the podcast, and downloading it, and listening to it.

But, podcast metrics are actually very, very frustrating. Because if you are listening to this podcast, you’re listening to it one of several ways. You might be listening to it on the website, and it’s loading up and you’re listening to it just there on the page.

You might be listening to it on your iPhone through the podcast app or through a much better app called Instacast which I’d recommend. I’ll put a link to that as well. But if you’re listening through the podcast app you might be listening in two different ways. You might have downloaded it to your actual iPhone, which basically one big file comes to your iPhone. Or, you might be listening to it sort of live off the server, and you’re like scrubbing your little finger through and listening to stuff.

And where that has thrown us off this last week is something like our numbers got just crazy and Ryan had to spend a lot of time going through and figuring out what it was. It’s like, it’s literally people dragging their fingers through on the little slider in the podcast app crazily jacks up your numbers in ways that are really misleading.

And so the numbers and the log is reported with such a granularity that like literally every time a person does that it shows up as a new person. And so we have to filter those out because otherwise a person who like skips through to eight different places in the podcast counts as eight different people.

Craig: Okay, so then here’s the question: How many people do you think, your best accurate guess? How many people are actually listening to this?

John: Next week I think we’ll know. So, we’re going back through old logs and figuring out sort of when it started, and then sort of figuring out how we could filter it out. And so we’re actually switching to a different stats package, because our files are hosted on Amazon right now, on Amazon S3, which has extensive logs that are challenging to parse.

So, we are sorting that through. I think next week I’ll have an answer for you.

Craig: Hopefully I won’t have to un-sing my song.

John: I think we’re over your 100,000 mark.

Craig: Fantastic.

John: But, here’s the thing: we’re not near that crazy number that I whispered into your ear.

Craig: That was crazy.

John: So, that’s better and good for us all.

Craig: Good.

John: We were concerned about the exponential growth of the podcast. Essentially that we would take over the earth with the podcast. And, rest assured, we’re not.

Craig: [laughs] It was getting a little logarithmic.

John: Yeah. We had a little bit of a hockey stick curve, whatever you call that thing where…

Craig: Not that. Well, great. Maybe we should have Nate Silver look at it.

John: He’s not busy anymore, so we’ll just have him come in there and do it. Nate Silver who, god bless him, I really like that a math nerd sort of won the election. Every time I see him, though, I just want to wash his hair. His hair looks so dirty to me.

Craig: From what I hear, Nate Silver might not mind you washing his hair.

John: I’ve heard that, too. I have not heard any confirmation however.

Craig: I think it’s great. And I, of course I sit here thinking can you imagine the amount of money that has suddenly in the last week been offered to Nate Silver to just, “You know, could you please stop blogging this stuff for free on the New York Times and instead just let us pay you millions of dollars to do this for us?” I mean, this guy must have had so many offers just in the last week.

I mean, he was disturbingly accurate, and I wasn’t surprised because I believe in math, and I believe in statistics. But, boy, boy, man, he was right on.

John: Yeah. Which I like to see. Yeah. A hero or villain.

Craig: Yeah. Finally. Now we can say who the hero of the election is. [laughs] Excellent.

John: So, our standard wrap-ups on the show. If you have questions or comments about things we’ve talked about I am @johnaugust on Twitter. Craig is…

Craig: @clmazin at Twitter.

John: All the notes for this podcast will be up at If you like the show, give us a little rating in iTunes because that helps other people find the show. And thank you so much.

Craig: Enjoy your corn and floss.

John: All right. Thanks man. Bye.

Craig: Bye.