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 Scriptnotes, Episode 89, a podcast about screenwriting and things that are interesting to screenwriters.
Craig, we have actual news this week, exciting events that we can talk about finally.
Craig: Yeah. I mean, we’ve really been struggling making stuff up on the fly, but now we can talk about things that are real.
John: Things that are real, including a long-promised and wished and hoped for live event in Los Angeles. Not just one, but two.
John: There will be two live Scriptnotes this summer in Los Angeles. The first of which will be Saturday, June 29th, at 10am, at the Writers Guild Theater in Beverly Hills. It’s part of a larger event that the Writers Guild Foundation is throwing. Tickets are not yet available, but they will be available soon, and there will be a link when those are available.
But, if you are in Los Angeles and would like to come to that you can mark it on your calendar and make sure you don’t have any other plans for 10am on Saturday, June 29th.
Craig: I can’t wait to get a look at our listenership.
Craig: I want to see what they look like. I want to get an eyeful of these people.
John: So, to date we’ve only done one live event and that was in Austin. And that was at the Austin Film Festival. So, it was already the people who we were seeing every day at the Driskill Hotel. So, this is a chance to see our Los Angeles fan base, including people who I do see at like Trader Joe’s, or at the Nobu restaurant. But this is a chance to see them all together to see us on one stage. It’s going to be exciting.
That is the first of two events. The second event will be Sunday, July 28, at the evening, probably a 7:30 show. That’s going to be at the Pickford Center in Hollywood, which is part of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. It’s their big complex on Vine. And we’re going to be having the theater there to celebrate our 100th episode of Scriptnotes.
Craig: Woo! That’s going to be fun.
John: That’s going to be fun, in quotes. So, that’s one where we’ll be actually selling tickets sort of separately. It will be our own thing. And that will be a celebration of 100 episodes of you and I talking at each other over Skype.
Craig: And when we say we’re selling tickets, are we making money off of this?
John: I don’t think we’re making any money off of this.
John: So, I’m sorry, Craig. You won’t be able to raise some money for your electronic cigarette habit.
Craig: Hmmm, maybe we could do a Kickstarter for that. [laughs]
John: That’s what we need to do. But there may be something you could take home with you after the event, and that’s still in discussion. So, the elves are busy working on those things.
John: Yeah. So anyway, those are the two dates for the summer. We can’t sell you a ticket right now, or send you to a link, but you can mark them on your calendars. So, the first is Saturday, June 29th, 10am. The second will be Sunday, July 28th, in the evening, probably a 7pm or 7:30 pm. Those are two chances to come see us and come to a taping of our show.
John: Now, there’s one other chance. If you are in Los Angeles tomorrow night I will be hosting an event at The Academy, which you are all welcome to come. Tickets are $5. This is storytelling in a digital age. It is me hosting a big panel of screenwriters and editors and DPs talking about the challenges and possibilities of making movies in the age of technology that is quickly advancing. So, we will have amazing guests like Mark Boal, and Damon Lindelof, Maryann Brandon, William Goldenberg, Mary Jo Markey, Dylan Tichenor, and also some DPs who I can’t announce yet, but by the time this airs people will know who they are.
So, it should be a really fun time. We’re showing clips. There will be clips from Zero Dark Thirty, from Argo, from Star Trek. There’s an amazing clip from Star Trek which I got to see, which everyone will get to see before the movie even comes out. So, come to that event tomorrow if you would like to.
Craig: And you’re the perfect host for that.
John: Well, thank you. I hope it will be a good, fun time. I love technology. I love making movies. I love talking to people. So, hopefully it will be a good, fun time.
John: But now you’ve jinxed me, and I will just completely stumble and fall.
Craig: There’s no way you could blow it.
John: Thank you. I will find a way to blow it.
Craig: Certainly you’ll enunciate every word and no one will ever turn to somebody in the crowd and say, “What did he just say?”
John: “What did he say? What was that? What did he say?”
There’s a pre-reception for like press and with wine, so I’m having to very carefully moderate my alcohol consumption before I start. Because, one glass of wine I’m better than normal. Two glasses of wine, you don’t want me on stage.
Craig: It’s so funny you mention that, because I brought up before my favorite British comedians, Mitchell and Webb. And they have this amazing — so here’s another link — an amazing sketch whereby we find out that the world is run by this Illuminati group and their entire philosophy is based on the fact that anywhere between one and two glasses of wine makes you a super human.
But if you have less than one glass of wine you’re just a loser. And if you have more than 1.5 glasses of wine you’re an idiot. [laughs] So, you have to have exactly 1.5 glasses. It’s pretty smart.
John: I will confess that there have been times over our 89 episodes that we’ve recorded of the show that we’ve done it late at night, so I’ve already had my one glass of wine at dinner, and it’s just vastly easier with one glass of wine in me.
Craig: I walk around naturally with one glass of wine in me. I don’t drink the wine, it’s just I think I live on a level of one glass of wine.
John: That’s nice. It’s three in the afternoon as we’re recording this, so I have no wine in me. But, if we lived in a different era, if we lived in a Mad Men era, I’d have two martinis in me already. And maybe that would be much, much better.
Craig: That’s right. But you’d be married to a woman.
John: There’s pros and cons. [laughs]
Craig: Exactly. [laughs] Up and downs.
John: I would have the two martinis because I was married to a woman.
Craig: I know, exactly. And then you’d just stare at her, “Ugh.” And she would cry, “Why?”
John: “Why doesn’t he touch me the way I want to be touched?”
Craig: [laughs] Stupid.
John: Today on the agenda we have three things to talk about.
First we want to talk about this $23 million lawsuit filed by two of the writers from G.I Joe.
Second, we’re going to talk about shots that we need to stop putting in movies. So, it’s sort of a corollary to our Cut it Out things, but these are visual things that are in movies that we just need to stop putting in movies.
John: And, finally, a topic that you suggested was transitions. And I think that will be very useful for us to talk through. The craft of transitioning from one scene to the next.
Craig: Great. Big show.
John: Big show. Craig, let’s start by talking about G.I. Joe. So, this was a piece of news that came out this last week, I think. Maybe it will be next week by the time this show airs. Two of the writers from the original G.I. Joe movie, the one that came out — I don’t know — eight years ago? Whenever.
Craig: Well, no, not eight years ago. I think it was like 2009 or something.
John: Well, everything happens…
Craig: 2009. Yeah. 2009.
John: 2009. Because it happened sort of during the strike. It was shot during the strike.
John: It happened during that time. So, David Elliot & Paul Lovett, who are two of the writers credited on that movie, filed a $23 million lawsuit against the makers of the sequel movie, the one that just came out. And it’s interesting for a whole host of reasons. There have been lawsuits filed over movies over people who claim, “Well, I should get credit for writing that movie,” or, “they took my ideas before.”
This is a very unique case in the sense of these aren’t just two guys off the street. These guys wrote the first movie. And they’re arguing here that much of the second movie was work that they actually did and stuff that they had pitched. And raises a whole host of interesting issues, not only for this one lawsuit, but potentially this is the case that you and I have talked about for a long time that could change a bit of how we handle paper in Hollywood.
Craig: Mm-hmm. Yeah. Exactly right. This is the proverbial time bomb that I’ve been going on and on about for a long time. And kind of ironically as part of our little CPSW stuff, our Committee for the Professional Status of Screenwriters, a few of us have gone to studios to talk to the people who run the studios to say, “Look, here are some practices that we think aren’t very good. They’re not productive. They’re hurting writers. We should stop them.”
And you can imagine what they are. Let’s try and have more two-step deals. Let’s try and pay writers on time. Let’s stop asking them to write stuff in order to get jobs. And on that point, I have said repeatedly — including to the folks at Paramount — this is going to blow up in your face. There are divisions of lawyers at these studios who are obsessed with making sure that they own the copyright on every single thing that goes in and out of the gate.
And then you have these other people working there, whether they’re studio executives or producers, who very cavalierly demand that writers write stuff before they get hired and then they don’t get hired. Well, they don’t own that stuff. And if it should happen to turn up in a movie, uh-oh, right?
So, let’s talk a little bit about the details here, because there are some things that I want to be clear about. First of all, it is tempting to side with the writers always the second you hear something like this. But, please always remember that there are other writers on the other side of this issue, namely Reese & Wernick, who wrote — or are credited with writing, and I assume did write — the actual sequel that it is currently being litigated.
I happen to know Rhett & Paul and they’re great guys. And there’s no chance in the world that they would actively rip somebody off. That’s just not possible. So, the question then is, okay, did these guys who wrote stuff down and handed it to the producers in the company, and who then did not get the job, did their material by way of producers repeating things back and so forth sort of contaminate the pool of ideas that were given to Rhett & Paul?
And, again, personally, there’s just no way that Rhett & Paul stole anything.
One thing that is concerning for me about this when you look at David Elliot & Paul Lovett’s case is that the Writers Guild determined that they weren’t participating writers on the project. And that doesn’t bode well for them, because the Writers Guild does take a look at material and say, “Okay, well, this person wasn’t hired, but if they wrote on it they are a participating writer.” And somebody looked at that material over there and said, “We don’t think you wrote on this movie.”
John: So, clarify this for me, because this is something I could not see from the material that I read through. In the pre-arbitration hearing, or was there a pre-arbitration hearing that established that they were not part of this group of writers?
Craig: Yeah, it appears so. Yes. So, what happens is, let’s say you write a script and you’re not hired by a studio. It’s a spec script, or spec material, anything really. You’re not hired. And then you see the script that arises when the credits are being determined and you say, “Oh my god, there’s a whole bunch of stuff that I wrote that’s in this script. And I should be a participating writer. I should be able to get credit on this if I deserve it.”
The Writers Guild will do what they call a participating writer investigation where the material is read by a writer at the Guild, and that writer’s simple determination is, “Yeah, this person’s material actually is evident in the screenplay,” or, “No, this person’s material is not. They shouldn’t be a participating writer.” All you need really is a couple of lines, frankly, that are sort of word for word, or like a very specific kind of scene or moment, or something like that, I would imagine.
I’ve never done one of those myself, but point being these guys were not awarded participating writer status. So, that certainly call their claim into question. We can’t — we don’t know. We don’t know all the details. All we know is what the court is going to decide, or what a settlement determines, and certainly a court doesn’t care what the WGA thinks.
But what does matter ultimately in the end is that the studios have to really now take a very strong look at who is asking for written material, because at this point if they don’t issue a blanket policy that they can’t accept written material from writers trying to get jobs, they’re nuts.
John: Yeah. So, let’s do step away from the details of this specific case, because I don’t know these writers at all and I don’t know the specifics beyond what I read. And so if people are curious about the specifics, there are PDFs up that show not only the lawsuit as it was filed but also attached are the emails that were sent through describing in detail what these writers had pitched. And so that’s one thread to look through if people are curious about that.
But, I do think the general topic of prewriting, which is basically this is stuff that you are writing before you’ve gotten the job, and maybe you’re writing that for yourself, but the minute you hand that over to somebody, you are creating written material that could potentially become part of the movie, and that is hugely troubling for the studio, and for the writers, and for the producers.
And let’s also take a look that this is G.I. Joe. So, this is a preexisting property. When you come into this property, they did not create these characters, so these are preexisting characters. So, they can show that they created the situations in which these characters are doing things, but they didn’t come in from scratch writing brand new characters, which is also a complication in this situation. But, very, very common for the situations where there are a bunch of writers going up for a job.
John: And when people are asking you to come in and pitch a take they are saying, “Okay, we have this material, we have this book, we have this preexisting property. Let’s redo The Addams Family. Well, how would you do the Addams Family?” Well, if you’re going to do The Addams Family you’re going to look at, well, this is The Addams Family. These are who the characters are. And so anything you’re pitching is going to be using those characters in a specific way.
And if you create, you know, you may be writing stuff for yourself, but if you hand over that written material, that’s the problem. And let’s talk about why you would hand over that stuff. Because here’s what happens when I’m in a meeting. They’ll say, “We love that. That was fantastic. Do you have something I could have so I can pitch this to my boss?”
John: That’s invariably sort of how they phrase it, because you are talking to some lower level creative executive who has to then go turn around and pitch your take to his or her boss. And they’ll say, “Can I have something to refer back to?”
And from my earliest jobs I’ve sometimes done that. I’ve given that paper over. And that’s not a good choice for the writer, and it’s certainly not a good choice for the studio.
Craig: Yeah. It’s a mess. And I don’t really know any way around it other than the studio saying, “We’re not doing that anymore.” Because if you were to say, “Well, why don’t we do this: everybody who comes in, you want to give us some material, that’s fine, but we’re going to pay you for it. So, we have a new deal. We’re going to pay you $5,000 for it. Everybody who comes in.”
Well, that’s great for the writers. They get five grand. And great for the studio. They’re covered on all that material. They own it lock, stock, and barrel. But, the problem then is when you get to your credit arbitration you have about 40 guys all with pieces of a story. And the poor guy who actually wrote the movie is like, “What?! Who am I sharing story with? Which one of the guys that didn’t get the job am I sharing story with?”
It gets crazy. The fact is studios cannot per the terms of our collective bargaining agreement insist that there be written material as a condition of employment. They are forbidden to do that. And they do it all the time. So, that has to stop.
And then as far as the writers go, writers can offer that material. I think, frankly, the studio is going to have to say no. “If I want you to pitch this idea to my boss, I’m taking you to my boss and you’re going to pitch it.” Because once it’s written down on paper it exists and they’ve accepted it.
John: So, let me back you up one step. You said that the studio cannot require writers to do this prewriting as a condition of their employment, but they could pay them for exactly what you’re describing. They could pay them for a treatment.
John: So, in television that’s common. And I have to say like television has somewhat solved this problem to some degree. Granted, you’re not bringing in a bunch of people to pitch on one particular project so often, but in television you do get paid for those steps along the way. You get paid for those outlines. You get paid for those things, or at least they’re considered part of your overall employment. So, basically upon giving your pitch, part of your deal is that you’re going to be writing this material and you’re going to be working through these drafts of stuff before you actually get to your script.
And that may just be a way that smart studios may want to proceed is that they’ll hire you to certain steps and then pull triggers to get you to the next step. And that may be a way to cover themselves.
Craig: Well, I’ve always been in favor of that. I believe that’s a great part of the process, and it used to be a formal part of the screenwriting process and it sort of went away.
The major difference between television and film I think in this area is that most television projects are generated by the writer. So, the writer comes in. They say, “Look, here’s the idea. Here’s the world I want to do,” and they say, “Great. Let’s start developing it. Here’s some money, write a treatment, do all these steps.”
In features, so often they’re coming to you and saying, “We have something we want to do. Five, six, seven of you come in and wow us,” whether it’s a sequel, or a book, or a remake. And in those situations they very typically engage in the sweepstakes pitching stuff where a lot of writers are coming in.
And those situations in particular are the most treacherous for the studio to accept written material for. And yet that’s the situation in which they are most likely to accept written material because the writers are all competing with each other and basically racing to the bottom of the barrel in terms of working for nothing.
John: Yes. And it’s very unlikely that if you had seven people come in and pitch their takes, there would be great similarities between those seven takes.
John: Let’s talk Charlie’s Angels, or whatever. If you were coming in to pitch Charlie’s Angels, well, you know there’s going to be three Angels. You know they’re going to have different types. And so you’re going to probably find there’s going to be some overlap of who those types of women are.
There’s going to be a nature of who is the Bosley type character? What is his function? What is the plot of this big movie? And so the movie version of Charlie’s Angels, well, it’s pretty natural that someone is going to try to kill Charlie. That’s kind of an obvious idea because it’s a movie idea.
So, those kinds of things are going to happen a lot. The idea that there’s going to be an old Angel that comes back — which is what we did in the sequel — who is the villain, that’s kind of an obvious idea. And yet, if you were to sort of track through and say like these things are all similar, and this must have influenced this, well, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it influenced. It just means that like that’s the kind of idea you have for the movie version of this property.
Craig: That’s right. And unfortunately the rules of these things are fairly dumb. They very dumbly look at chronology and little else. And the assumption is, okay, if it came first, everybody else looked at it and saw it, and if it’s the same thing then you must have taken it. And that’s just not true. You’re absolutely right. Frankly, so much of our film language is influenced not by writers that precede us on a project but by movies that precede all of us and oftentimes are berths.
So, it was a former Angel that came back. Well, you know, we’ve seen that in other movies. That’s sort of a time tested thing of the former ally coming back now as an enemy to write a wrong. Bond has done that at least, what, three times?
Craig: So, that’s not what makes, frankly, the movie interesting. You know what I mean? And there are movies where the characters, the tone, the action is the fun stuff, and the intricacies of the plotting is not. That’s not the point. And frankly G.I. Joe 2, I’m guessing, is probably in that category.
And how many different ways can you do a sequel based on a cartoon property like that, a toy? You could easily see three or four writers coming up with very similar stories. And then it’s just about the execution, tone, and all the rest.
John: Agreed. You and I have both been part of lawsuits where someone has come in to sue and say like, “Well, I wrote this script first. And this script existed afterwards. And clearly it must have influenced. We can’t prove that you read this script, but clearly this must have influenced it. Because who else could have the idea of doing a script like this?”
And that’s the most maddening kind of thing at all. Who would have the idea of doing a movie about bowling? Well, everyone had the idea. And so my defense in those situations, which I’ve never actually used legally, but I think my sort of emotional defense is that if I can show any other script that existed about bowling before your script, then you have no case. Because therefore you must have stolen that idea from somebody else before.
John: Prior Art as sort of the defense against those kind of copyrights.
Craig: That’s exactly right. But, you know, look, there are crazy people who are crazy. There are narcissistic people who are narcissistic. And self-delusional people. That’s always the case. This is not what’s going on here. I mean, in truth, we are dealing with two professional writers who had a very privileged relationship with the people that they’re suing. And that has to give everyone cause for concern. It certainly gives me cause for concern.
And, listen, if these guys have a case, and they were infringed upon, I wish them nothing but the best of luck in this, you know. I feel bad for Rhett & Paul, because you don’t want this hanging over your head as writers.
I just feel like the larger answer for the studios has to be that they just can’t get involved in this stuff anymore. If their lawyers knew the way that the producing world in general was behaving, they would lose their minds. They would.
John: Yeah. I would agree. I’m sort of on the side of all the writers in the situation. And I’m not rooting for or against anybody. I’m more rooting for the case changing something, because I feel like this is the kind of lawsuit that you and I have been taking about for years. That someone who has — not just some Joe off the street — but someone who actually has a career is going to step up and say, “This is what happened.” And people are going to have to acknowledge the reality behind it.
John: Cool. Let’s move on and talk about, this was a list that I found today, or actually I think Stuart actually found this list and passed it on to me, so thank you, Stuart, for finding it. It’s from a blog called Reverse Shot. And it’s a list of sort of visual clichés.
In a previous podcast you and I did this thing called Cut it Out, which is like things we see way too often in scripts, or just tropes that need to stop being used in screenplays because they’re clammy. They’re just not original anymore.
Craig: Although, literally, I think people called out three that I’ve used recently. [laughs]
John: Which is fine.
Craig: So, I don’t think those count.
John: No, they’re not clammy then.
This was a list of sort of visual equivalents of that. And so it’s things that you see, that wouldn’t necessarily show up in a script, but then you see them in movies and you’re like, “You know what? Let’s stop doing that because we’ve seen that shot way too many times.”
So, I thought we’d take some turns reading through this and discussing some of our favorites.
John: So, I loved the first one on this list which is moving clouds that are sped up.
Craig: Yeah, Koyaanisqatsi time-lapse.
John: Yeah, exactly. So, time-lapse is lovely and great, but we’ve seen those moving clouds a lot. And so maybe we could do something else rather than those moving clouds.
Craig: Yeah. I mean, sometimes when they’re part of something else that’s going on, I’m okay with it. If it’s just the clouds and that standard shot then it is pretty boring.
John: It’s pretty boring.
Craig: Yeah. The next one is we’re in a long shot and a guy is really far away and walking toward the camera and you’re thinking, “Oh, I’m going to have to watch him walk the whole way.” And it turns out, yeah, you are going to have to watch him walk the whole way.
Does that happen? [laughs]
John: It does happen. And it happens a lot over opening credits where we see somebody walking, and walking, and like the credits are just showing up on the screen. And like, oh my god, I’m going to have to watch this person the entire time?
Craig: It’s kind of an indie vibe sort of thing?
John: It’s sort of an indie vibe thing. Sometimes it’s a walk and talk where literally the camera is stationary and it’s a walk and talk towards the camera. And every once and awhile that will work just great. But, man, it just drives me crazy because I start to notice that, wow, we’re just going to stay in this shot for forever.
It has to be a really fascinating moment for me to want to stay in there and not really notice that we’re staying in this moment. A Steadicam can be the same kind of situation. Like, if I notice that you’re Steadicam shot has gone on for two minutes I’m going to just start looking for the cut and I’ll stop paying attention to the scene.
Craig: Unless it’s Goodfellas.
John: Unless it’s Goodfellas. But Goodfellas, it’s just such a good shot that it’s amazing, but how often is it really going to be that shot?
Craig: Are you Martin Scorsese?
John: Yeah. I mean, Joe Wright does it a lot, too. And I got fatigued by Joe Wright doing it.
Craig: All right.
John: Third one. An alienated teen or adolescent girl in the passenger side of a car driving down the highway, window rolled down, her hand swaying in the wind as it zips down a road to who knows where.
John: Yeah. We’ve seen that a lot folks. I mean, if she has something in her hand that she lets go, that’s also a cliché.
Craig: [laughs] Top down. Feeling youthful. Yeah, we’ve seen it.
This one’s pretty great. Overhead shot of protagonist in the rain, arms spread, just letting the downpour come. Yeah. That is really baroque.
John: Yeah. So, Shawshank Redemption is sort of the classic version of that, but like in Shawshank Redemption he just did crawl through a sewer tunnel. So, you give him, like he kind of wants the shower. But we need to stop doing that.
Craig: Yeah. Because people don’t do that.
John: People don’t really do that. People really don’t want to be in the rain overall. In movies they seem to kind of love it, but whenever it’s raining I’m kind of like how fast can I get out of the rain.
Craig: I mean, maybe you like the rain, but then you don’t put your arms out and look up at the sky and go, “Yay!”
John: Yeah, because it’s not comfortable.
Craig: It’s not!
John: Rain hitting your eyes is not good.
Craig: It’s weird. That’s how turkeys drown.
John: Number five. So it’s a side angle, above-boob shower shot of women cleaning themselves after the previous events. So, it could be like a terrible date, or something awful happened, but it’s that sort of frantic scrubbing. Also in the bathroom here, things like shots are into the mirror, people washing their faces and looking up to examine their wet face in the mirror with their mouth open.
Yeah, people looking at themselves in mirrors is happening a little too much in movies overall, but that washing and then looking at yourself in the mirror, that’s just a kind of cliché.
Craig: Yeah, washing and looking at yourself in the mirror, I do feel like I can make a list of 20 movies that do that.
John: Not so good.
Craig: Good point. Next one we have is protagonist on mass transit, looking pensive. Everyone else also looking miserable. And maybe layered with some “melancholic electronica.”
John: Yeah, the point being, so you’re on mass transit. So, you don’t have a car, I guess. But just being miserable on a train is just, well, yeah, people are miserable on trains.
Craig: Don’t you get it man, we’re all alone. Together.
John: That’s what it means. Yeah. We’re all alone together. And everyone has got their headphones on. It’s meant to be a great, big point. No, not so much really. I think if you’re going to put somebody on a train, we should know the reason why they’re on that train. Something should happen that they’re on that train. Because if it’s just them going to work, then it’s just kind of a stock shot of people going to work.
Craig: Yeah. They’re sad on a train.
John: They’re sad on a train.
Next up, this would be a Mexican, or Sicilian, or Indian, or Iranian child running through the streets without a care in the world, smiling and laughing, running right by a mother who hardly notices them, so busy she is hanging laundry.
I do see that a lot. It’s sort of like a third world/happy children/mom is doing laundry.
Craig: Tired mom.
John: Tired mom.
Craig: Happy kids/tired mom. Yeah, I guess that, generally speaking the running, laughing children is annoying to me. [laughs]
Craig: You know, what is that? Is that a game? The run and laugh game? I don’t know that game.
John: Yeah, what are they doing? They’re running and laughing because they can. Maybe they have a stick in their hand and they’re running it across the fence.
Craig: Yeah. Exactly. And laughing. And, yeah, no, no.
Craig: Cut it out.
Guy goes to open a safe, or refrigerator, or something like that and BOOM, all of a sudden we’re shooting from inside out that thing, looking out at them.
Yeah, that’s even cliché for bad commercials.
Craig: You know, the beer ads, you know.
John: It goes back to point of view. It’s like, so why are we inside the refrigerator? Is there a really good reason why we’re inside the refrigerator? I mean, is there an important story point happening in the refrigerator? Or are you just doing it so you can do it? And if you’re just doing it so you can do it, that’s probably not the best choice.
John: Worst choices would be sort of like shooting up from the sink’s point of view, or something. Don’t do that.
Craig: Yeah. Unmotivated camera work. Just, why?
John: Next up. Epiphanies while jogging. So, often it’s like the big tracking shot, the gliding tracking shot. Then we pull up short while they suddenly have a revelation.
Yeah, you know, you can have good ideas while jogging. Things can happen. You can be interrupted from your jogging by something. But, if you suddenly stop short, and often the music will tell you that you had an epiphany. It’s like you’re responding to the score rather than actually to an event that happened.
Craig: It totally agree. There is this very famous moment from Good Times where the dad dies. He dies because John Amos wanted too much money. I think that was the actor’s name, John Amos. So, Norman Lear was like, “Eh, now you’re dead.”
And Esther Rolle, I believe, is the woman who played his wife. And they go through this whole episode where he’s dead, and the funeral and everything, and she’s kind of like keeping it together in this amazing way. And then at the very end she’s alone in her kitchen, she’s just cleaning up. And she just takes a dish and then she suddenly smashes it into the ground. She says, “Damn, damn, damn!” And it’s awesome.
And it’s awesome because she didn’t need to go jogging. There was no music. [laughs] It was absolutely quiet. And for sitcoms to be absolutely quiet it is very eerie. And you suddenly feel like, oh my god, I’m watching a reality show, because nothing is happening at all. They’re wasting broadcast time watching a woman literally clean for 20 seconds.
And there’s nothing wrong with that. And you don’t have to go in the rain, or jogging, or punch a punching bag to suddenly realize something important. “Damn, damn, damn!”
Craig: Oh, yeah. Well, “Damn, damn…” I’ll just keep doing it. So good. That show is so good.
So, in documentaries, stock footage of 1950s appliance ads and educational reels for a goofy, eerie conformism effect. That is super, duper clammy. You know, the whole point is that the ’50s were terrible, and robotic, and nobody was free, and everybody was just a cog in a huge machine, when that’s not at all true; it’s just the style of making those movies of the time.
John: I also have a hunch that a lot of times the reason why we see them in documentaries is those are free to license. And so it’s a simple, easy thing to stick in there. And because we’ve seen them so much in documentaries it becomes sort of default, like, “Oh, we should cut to that.”
Craig: I mean, I think that there’s probably stuff from the ’60s and ’70s you could license as well with like that wah-wah-wah. Like, you know, when we were kids, remember those film strips? And they were always like wonka-wonka with the crazy Wah-wah pedal.
But, I think the point is like, “Ha, ha, ha, stupid ’50s people.” And you know, I’m sorry, they were just in a war. Lay off. There’s nothing wrong… — So, I’m sorry, they all worked in a factory and they all look clean. Oh, whoop-de-do.
John: It’s a terrible thing for that. Related in documentaries is that when you hold on a shot just slightly too long after someone said something ridiculous.
John: You get that. It’s just like leaving tails on something to sort of makes somebody look like an idiot.
Craig: I know. And you know what? It kind of bums me out. I happen to love Penn & Teller’s Bullshit! I don’t know if you ever watched that show on Showtime. It’s really good. They’re so smart. They’re so good. And they do such a great job of being skeptics, and certainly I am one of them.
But one thing they do that bums me out is that. They’re always having people say things, or responding, or saying a line, or responding to a question, and then they just hold on them pointlessly to make them look dumb. And that in and of itself is bullshit.
John: Yeah. Because really the reason why there’s that silence is because you haven’t said the next thing, and you’re creating that space for them to look stupid.
Craig: Right. Like there could be somebody talking on the other side of that, and they’re just listening. But if you take that audio out, then it just looks like they’re dummies that say a line and then suddenly turn off like robots running low on battery.
John: Yeah, it’s not good.
John: This is an obvious cliché, but when something is blowing up behind somebody and they don’t look back or acknowledge it blowing up.
Craig: “Damn, damn, damn!”
John: [laughs] Uh, yeah. It’s been such an acknowledged cliché that to do it now it sort of has to be sort of, you have to do something special with it because we’ve just seen it way too much — the being cool while something is blowing up behind you.
Craig: Yeah. Yeah, that’s ridiculous.
John: That’s ridiculous.
Craig: Old-timey camera flashbulb close-up opening a shot. Often in slow-mo so you can see the scorching filament. And this is, yeah, with that sound that goes, [camera flash sound effect]. Yeah. That should stop.
John: Yeah. And actually that’s a perfect opportunity for us to transition to our third topic today which is about transitions. Because that is an example of a transition.
John: It’s sort of a hacky transition. But, it’s a transition that somebody probably wrote in there. Okay, maybe it was written into the script, or maybe it was a thing that was done on set with the anticipation of like, well, this will be our transition to get us into a new moment. A sudden flash of light that will carry us into a new world.
So, let’s talk about transitions because it’s an important part of screenwriting that we really haven’t touched on so much over our 88 episodes.
Craig: Well, one thing that we should probably say right off the bat is that there are people out there in the screenwriting advice world who spread this nonsense that writers shouldn’t direct on the page. “Don’t tell the director what to do.”
Oh, please! We’re not selling screenplays to directors. Directors aren’t hiring us to write. We’re writing screenplays for people to read so that they can see a movie. And part of our intention when we write screenplays is to show what the movie should look like. The director doesn’t have to do what you say on the page. But, you know what? I find that they tend to appreciate that you’ve written with transitions in mind because it’s really important to them. And, frankly, if you don’t write with transitions in mind, some directors aren’t going to notice and they’re just going to shoot what you wrote and then it won’t connect.
Transitions are a super important part of moving from one scene to the next so you don’t feel like you’re just dragging your feet through a swamp of story, but rather being propelled forward through it.
John: So, let’s clarify some terms. There’s two things we mean when we talk about transitions. And one is literally just the all uppercase on the right hand margin of the page, CUT TO, or TRANSITION TO, or FADE TO, or CROSS-FADE TO. That is the element of transition. That is a physical thing that exists in the syntax of screenwriting.
And we’re only kind of half talking about that. That’s a way of indicating that you are moving to something new. Most modern screenplays don’t use CUT TOs after every scene. That’s a thing that you were sort of originally taught to do. And you can sort of tell first time screenwriters because they will always say CUT TO.
John: In most cases you won’t really use a CUT TO. In personal life, I only use CUT TO if I have to really show that it’s a hard cut from something to another thing, to really show that I’m breaking time and space to go to this next thing.
Usually you won’t do that. Usually what you’ll do is you want a scene to flow into the next scene. And that’s really what I think we should talk about today is how do you get that feeling of we’re in this scene, and now we’re moving into the next scene, and there’s a reason why we left that scene at this moment, or we’re coming into this scene at this moment.
Craig: Yeah. And this is a very kind of nuts and bolts craft thing. There are techniques. I mean, I wrote down a few techniques which I will run through. And you tell me what you think.
Craig: The first and the easiest one is size. A size transition is to go from a very tight shot to a super wide shot, or to go from a very wide shot to a super close shot. Sometimes you can even be in a medium shot where two people are talking, and then the next thing you see is a close-up of a watch, and then we’re into a scene where somebody is checking the time.
So, just using the juxtaposition of size in and of itself helps feel like things are happening and they’re connected.
John: So, let’s talk about what it actually looks like on the page, because you’re not describing every shot in a movie obviously. But, if you were in a dialogue situation where it was two characters talking, and they’d been talking for awhile, the assumption is that you’re going to get into some fairly close coverage there. So, if it’s just about those two people, then if your next shot is described as a giant panorama of something, something, something, that is a big size transition.
Similarly, if you were to cut to the close-up of the watch, or some fine little detailed thing, then we’d say like, okay, that’s a huge size transition. Even if you’re not describing what that shot was on the outside, we have a sense of relative scale there. You don’t have to necessarily draw our attention to it, because we’ll notice that something different has happened.
Craig: It will help your reader see your movie instead of read it. I mean, it’s just real simple things like that.
Another simple one is music or sound. There’s nothing wrong with calling out a piece of music. It doesn’t have to even be a specific song. You may just say, okay, like we’re looking at two cops and they’re in the break room. They’re chitchatting. And then over the sound of hip-hop we are…and now we’re South Central, LA. Rolling down Crenshaw. Just to kind of help the reader understand there’s a connection here.
Similarly, you can use sounds. Two people are talking quietly about what needs to happen, and then the next thing we hear is a siren. And, by the way, you can pre-lap that audio, or you can have it just be a hard cut. But something that jolts us. In a weird way, the funny thing about transitions is they’re almost anti-transitional at times. It’s not about… — Because the point is you want people to understand I’m in a new place at a new time. And if it all just flows together like mush, it’s almost too transitional.
John: Absolutely. There are time where we want that really smooth legato sort of flow from one thing to the next thing. And there are times where you want big, giant, abrupt things, like that cliché flashbulb, to tell us we are at a new place at a new time, and brand new information can be coming your way.
Craig: Exactly. One cool thing you can do, I wouldn’t overdo it, but it’s fun here and there, is what I call misdirect transitions. So, a guy says, “They’ll never see us coming,” and he’s got a gun. And we go to a close-up, bullets going into the gun. Pull back to reveal, interior, it’s another character loading a gun.
Craig: Little tricks, basically.
John: Yeah, and again, that’s a thing where if you did that three times in a movie, you’d be golden. If you did that ten times in a movie, we would want to strangle you.
Craig: Probably. Unless it was just like everything was so clever and it’s kind of like a, I don’t know, like a Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels kind of movie or something.
John: Yeah, I was going to say sort of the Asian action films might do that more often. So, yeah, if that’s your style then it’s going to work, but otherwise it’s going to probably feel too much.
A similar related thing is Archer does these amazing transitions from scene to scene where a character will — they’ll pre-lap the character — they will pull a line of dialogue up above the cut that seems to be about the scene that you’re in, but it’s actually about a completely different moment that’s happening on the other side of the scene.
It’s very clever how they do it. And that’s a way of misdirecting you sort of comedically from what you thought you were talking about to something completely different.
Craig: Right. Exactly. And there is a general kind of, I suppose the most conventional transition is the pre-lapped audio. So, two people say, “Well, that didn’t go very well.” The next shot is a courthouse. And over the courthouse we see, “Everyone please come to order.” It’s the most standard kind of TVish thing. But, it helps you move at least inside and outside in ways that are not so clunky.
Another sort of tricky dialogue method is the question-and-answer transition.
Craig: Or, someone will say, “Someone isn’t telling us the truth.” And the next shot is a woman smiling. [laughs] You know? It’s just little, it doesn’t even have to be a dialogue answer in other words. But just the transition itself is giving us information.
John: That’s very much a TV procedural kind of thing. That’s a thing you would see in Law & Order where the “We need to find a witness who can…” and then the next shot is going to be the witness who can do that.
John: Or like this is the question we need to have answered. So you ask a question on one side of the cut and you come to a possible answer on the other side of the cut.
Craig: Right. Right. “Does anyone know where Luke is?” Cut. A guy on a boat. Drunk. You know?
John: In a very general sense, what you’re trying to do as you end a scene is you’re trying to put the reader’s head, and really the viewer’s head, in a place where they have a certain image in their head. And so when you come to the far side of that cut, that is changed or that is addressed in some meaningful way.
So, thematic cuts are another common way of doing this. A classic is sort of Lawrence of Arabia, the match that transitions to the sunset. That is a fire. There’s fire on both sides of the cut. So, you’re thinking fire, and then you see this giant image of a fiery sun. That is a natural transition.
Sometimes you’ll do that with imagery. Sometimes you’ll do that with a word that matches. Sometimes you’ll do it with a question that needs to be answered on the far side. Those are natural ways to sort of get people across the bridge there.
Craig: Yeah. The ones we’ve gone through here are very rudimentary. And they’re generic because we’re discussing them in generic terms. Find your own and find ones that are meaningful to you and your story. But really do make sure as you’re writing that you’re not just bone-on-bone here. That there is something that helps more us through, little tiny things.
It makes an enormous difference. It really, really does. And, frankly, it puts you in greater control over the movie that will eventually exist.
John: I would agree.
Another thing I would stress is that you probably want to save your powder a bit, and use those big transitional moments for big transitional moments. So, don’t paint a big giant landscape of something if it’s not an important moment that we’re going to, something new. Don’t always give us those big transitions. Some things should be sort of straight simple cuts, where we’re just getting from one thing to the next, so that when we do the bigger thing we as the reader will notice, “Okay, something big and different has changed here.”
When you’re reading through scripts, after awhile, well, the first couple scripts you read, you probably read every word because it’s all a new form to you. But after you’ve read like 30 scripts, you recognize that you stop actually reading the INT/EXT lines basically. They sort of just skip past you. And you can sometimes jump back at them if you’re curious, but you’re really just sort of looking for the flow of things.
And so most times you’re just jumping over that; you don’t really kind of know or care where you are. So, even though we tell people to be very specific in those things and give us those details, a lot of times people aren’t going to read those. They’re just going to read the first line of action that happens after the scene header, if you’re lucky.
So, save those bigger moments for the bigger moments that you really want that reader to stop, and slow down, and pay attention to the fact that we are in a new place, a new time, this is a new section of the movie.
Craig: Well said. Well said.
John: Great. Craig, are you ready for some One Cool Things?
Craig: I have Two Cool Things.
John: I have Six Cool Things.
Craig: I have Twelve Cool Things.
John: It’s going to be an arms race. You go first.
Craig: Okay, well one is fast and one is a little longer, but they’re both sort of linked together by charity and the notion of charity.
The first Cool Thing is that, and I had no idea this was going on, but studios are —
I read this in the LA Times. This was forwarded to me by Todd Amorde at the Writers Guild. Studios are donating their old sets to Habitat for Humanity. And Habitat for Humanity actually, they’re not using the sets to build houses, because sets are not built for people to live in, but what they do is they sell a lot of the stuff that they get to people, and then they collect the money and they use that help build homes for people.
And , in fact, The Hangover Part III sent over a whole big bunch of stuff to them, ten truckloads of stuff, [laughs], to Habitat for Humanity. And there is an interesting — there is a scene that happens in the movie in a cellar basement, and the walls were this kind of cool faux brick, rocky wall kind of stuff. And I remember thinking, “Oh, that looks real.”
John: It’s actually just foam, right? It’s painted foam?
Craig: It’s kind of painted foam. And somebody bought that stuff. [laughs] “Habitat received about 60 sheets of faux brick wall used for a wine cellar set in The Hangover Part III. One customer bought 40 sheets for $25 each to use in a custom-made space.” Now, I may not want to go to that spa, that might be weird, but I think that’s cool. So, well done — Sony, I think, kicked this thing off. But, they’re all doing it now. That’s really, really great.
I never really thought, oh, where did all that stuff go?
The other thing is a repeat of something that we helped promote last year, and that’s Joe Nienalt who is a screenwriter is once again dong the fundraising for the Heart Walk 2013/2014. Last year they raised almost $45,000. And they are looking to do it again.
And they are doing their same campaign. And the way it works — listen up people who say, “No one will read my script. No one is going to read my script!” Well, shut it. Here’s the story:
Daniel Vang is a manager at Benderspink. They are a real, legitimate production management company, unlike some of the people cited in your average Brooks Barnes article. [laughs] Is that his name, Brooks Barnes?
John: Oh yeah.
Craig: Brooks Barnes. Eh. I tried to forget his name.
Anyway, they’re real producers. They’re real managers. Daniel Vang is an actual human being who reads things and is involved in this business. If you donate $25, Daniel will read the first ten pages of your script. If you donate $50, he will read the first 50 pages. If it’s great, he’ll keep going.
If you donate $100, he will read your entire script. $100 and a guy at Hollywood will read your script. Not a guru. An actual guy. And here’s the best part: He doesn’t pocket the money! It goes to charity. It goes to the American Heart Association.
So, we’re going to put the link on John’s website, so you can go there and take advantage of this. And stop whining. “No one will read my script!” Save a life. Do something positive for once!
John: Absolutely. The angry man is yelling at you to do something positive.
Craig: Do it! [laughs] Stupid idiot!
John: [laughs] No, it sounds very good. And so last year a lot of people did take advantage of that, obviously. And I think it’s a great opportunity for people to get their scripts read.
Craig: For sure. Do it.
What about you? What’s your One Cool Thing? Couldn’t be cooler than saving lives, but okay.
John: So, for the last 12 years, 13 years, I’ve had an assistant. And so I’ve had a string of assistants who have all gone on to do really, really well. And I got to thinking about them over this time that I was in Chicago because Stuart — poor Stuart who edits this show, god bless Stuart — was here sort of alone, keeping the home fires burning. And working on his own crafts and projects.
But this summer was actually a very eventual summer for many of my former assistant, so I thought I would actually sort of go back through my last six assistants — my only six assistants — and just sort of track their progress.
Craig: This honestly is an amazing thing.
John: [laughs] So, Stuart is my current assistant. And Stuart keeps all the stuff running here. So, god bless Stuart.
My assistant before him was Matt Byrne. Matt Byrne is working on Scandal now. And when he started working on Scandal it was like, oh, that show, is it going to last? Is it going to work? The ratings were dicey. Now the ratings are really, really good. I think it’s the top drama running right now.
Matt was just — so he’s a staff writer on Scandal. And he was just today in a podcast for Scandal. So, I will put a link to the podcast in which Matt talks about his role in Scandal.
John: It’s been fascinating to watch Matt sort of become a big TV writer, which is fantastic.
Chad Creasey and his wife Dara Creasey, Chad was my assistant before Matt, they are writers on Mistresses which is a show that airs on ABC this summer. It’s very exciting for them.
John: Dana Fox, who is a friend of the show, Dana ran the show Ben and Kate. She has written a gazillion movies. But this last week she got named Hollywood Reporter’s Comedy Class of 2013.
John: For all of her rewriting.
Craig: And she is a member of The Fempire.
John: She is a member of The Fempire.
Craig: She is a Femporer.
John: Yes. With Diablo Cody and the other very talented women who write movies and television shows.
John: Rawson Thurber, who was my assistant before Dana…
Craig: The king of them all.
John: The king of them all. Well, he got engaged which is why I’m so personally happy for him, but he also has a movie coming out this summer called We’re the Millers.
Craig: Wait a second — he got engaged just recently?
Craig: No way. I thought…okay. So, I’m so traditional. I was at his house, I met his — now — his fiancé. I thought, oh, I guessed he’s married. Stupid me. Wasn’t even engaged.
John: No. So, we’re very happy that he got engaged. And we’re very happy he has a movie coming out this summer.
Craig: Yeah. Great guy. Great guy.
John: Great guy. And, so back to my very first assistant who predated Rawson by only like two days, but Sean Smith had a baby.
Craig: Hooray! Congratulations Sean.
John: Sean Smith, who is a television writer, who created the TV show Greek, just had a baby. So, yay!
Craig: Nice. So he made life.
John: He made life. Other people made television shows, but he made life.
Craig: Now, you’ve got to be leaving out one assistant who is like, eh, he’s in his mom’s basement.
John: I’ve had essentially really no dud assistants. The only people who I’m sort of leaving out are people who like filled in for a week at a time, but those are not the real assistant people.
Craig: So, Stuart, I assume, sits there thinking, “Soon it will be my time.”
John: Soon it will be Stuart’s time.
John: It was tough while I was in Chicago because I didn’t have — for the first time I didn’t have an assistant. I didn’t have like a full time person who was my person. So, I ended up drafting in some people from the music department. And there was an observer from the Director’s Choreographers Guild who was there, who ended up sort of de facto becoming my assistant because there were things that I needed someone to do. So, Amber Mak, I thank you very much for that.
But, it was weird sort of just being solo for a time, and having to figure out how to get this thing to print. So, I’m very grateful to be back with an assistant.
Craig: Well, that sounds wonderful. I have assistants — I underutilize them. I tend to do everything myself. Sometimes I forget that there is somebody who can do it.
John: Honestly, the last ten years have been a process of gradually recognizing that certain jobs are better performed by somebody who is not me. And so with an assistant, and then with Ryan Nelson who does all the digital stuff for us. I was recognizing that people have skills that they’re better at.
And when directing a movie I’ve had to definitely step back and recognize that I have an idea of how to light a scene, but I should never be anywhere near a light. I shouldn’t really edit. I sort of know how to edit, but I really shouldn’t edit. These are things that people are going to be better at than I am. And it’s not about humbling, it’s empowering when you realize that someone else can do that job.
Craig: When you’re directing, also, your personal life needs to be attended to. I mean, you suddenly are like a baby.
Craig: Somebody has to put food in your mouth for you.
John: Yeah. Someone has to like literally bring food and say, “Eat this food,” because otherwise you will not eat that food.
Craig: Right. Exactly.
John: It’s a good thing.
So, listeners, if there is anything that we talked about on today’s show that you would like to find a link for, well, you can find links at johnaugust.com/podcast. And so all the previous episodes will be there as well, but on this episode you will see links to things like the Heart Walk. What was the thing called? The Heart Walk?
Craig: Yeah. The Heart Walk.
John: Heart Walk. See things to the podcast that Matt is featured in. You’ll see stuff for this lawsuit.
Craig: And the sketch for between one and two glasses of wine. [laughs]
John: [laughs] Exactly. We’ll have Stuart find that and put that as well.
John: If you like the show, you can subscribe to us in iTunes. That helps other people find us. You can leave us a comment there. I was looking at comments today. People leave really nice comments for us.
Craig: I got to go. I haven’t been back in a long time. I tend to spend my time on the internet just reading the terrible things people say.
Some guy out of nowhere the other day, some guy sends me a tweet. I just love these people. They’re like, “You know what I’m going to do? I’m going to send a guy a tweet telling him he’s not funny. That’ll be fun.”
John: That’ll be good.
Craig: Why don’t I do that? Let me start a fight.
John: Yeah. That will make everyone’s day better if you say that kind of thing.
Oh, well, okay. All right, fine, I guess I’m not funny. But you didn’t make me any funnier. You didn’t make me less funny. I’m as you found me.
What’s wrong with people?
John: I don’t know what’s wrong with people.
Craig: What is the story?
John: So, Craig, I would like to propose — and we haven’t talked about this — so I’m going to propose it here on the air. I would like to propose for next week, perhaps, that if people have a question that’s not about screenwriting, but about like their personal life, or other advice, they send in that question.
John: Because I feel like we talk a lot about sort of screenwriting here, but we have a lot of listeners who are not screenwriting people. And we have a lot of opinions.
Craig: We do. And we’re so wise!
John: So, next week let’s have an episode that’s just entirely off-topic.
Craig: Oh, yeah.
John: Where we just talk about what should, you know, really anything is fair game. And so obviously we’ll pick which questions we’re going to actually answer.
John: But I’d like a very wide, I’m going to cast a very wide net here.
John: So, anything you would like us to answer, we’ll happily try to answer on the podcast next week.
John: Sex. I’m happy to talk about sex. It can be our first sort of mature-rated thing. I’m happy to talk about sex.
Craig: I think this is a great idea. More than anything, because I’m kind of fascinated to see what you think about some of these things?
John: I’m happy to talk about it.
Craig: I feel like the two of us are so different but we’re so similar. We have different styles.
John: We are really different about a lot of stuff.
Craig: We are. But I feel like we always end up in the same place.
John: I think it’s largely because I create a very open space where I allow you to be over on the edge of crazy.
John: I say like, well, it’s fine that you’re on the precipice of crazy. Here’s the other side of that line.
Craig: I get it. I get it. You’re just humoring me. That’s cool, too. I think it’s going to be a great show.
John: [laughs] I think it should be a good, fun show. So, we’ll encourage people to send in any question you want to ask about anything. You can send those questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also tweet us if it’s something short, but why don’t you just send us a longer thing and we’ll read it on the air?
Craig: “Dude, you’re not funny.”
John: Yeah. That’s always a good thing to say.
Craig: “Be funnier.”
John: “Be funnier.”
Craig: Okay! All right, Twitter. I’ll get on that.
John: That’s going to be good. Last thing, so if you want to see me tomorrow night at The Academy, there should still be tickets left. I don’t know, we’re recording this on a Friday, so who knows. But they tell us that even if it is sold out, they always have a line. And people who are in line almost always get in.
So, if you want to come see us tomorrow at 7:30 — me tomorrow at 7:30 at The Academy — you can come to that. And you can mark your calendars for — god, I’m going to forget the days — June 29th and July 28th for live podcasts.
[Sirens in background.]
Craig: Nice. Look, the sirens are coming. The sirens are coming to tell us it’s over.
John: This is the end of the episode.
Craig: This is it.
John: So, Craig, thanks for a good podcast and I’ll see you next week.
Craig: Thanks John. Bye.
- Turning the Page: Storytelling in the Digital Age at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater
- The Inebriati from That Mitchell and Webb Look
- Paramount & MGM Sued By ‘G.I. Joe’ Writers and the complaint from Deadline
- Twenty Shots to Be Henceforth Retired from Film Vocabulary on Reverse Shot
- The Los Angeles Times on Studios donating film set materials to Habitat for Humanity
- Joe Nienalt and Daniel Vang’s will-read-your-script fundraiser for the American Heart Association
- Listen to Scandal Revealed episode 221 featuring Matt Byrne
- Chad & Dara Creasey are on Mistresses on ABC
- The Hollywood Reporter Comedy Class of 2013’s writeup on Dana Fox (and John Hamburg)
- Rawson Thurber’s We’re the Millers on Wikipedia
- New dad Sean Smith on IMDb
- Email us or Tweet John and Craig your questions on anything
- OUTRO: Cyndi Lauper’s Girls Just Want to Have Fun covered by Busby Marou