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 214 of Scriptnotes, a podcast about screenwriting and things that are interesting to screenwriters.

Today on the program, we are going to be taking a look at four stories in the news and ask, “How could this be a movie?” We did this last time in episode 201 and that’s when we looked at the FIFA scandal and now that’s a big movie over at Warner Bros. with Matt Damon and Ben Affleck. So we’ll see if we can do it again.

Craig: What movie will we predict this time?

John: I don’t know that any of these movies are going to happen, although at least one or two I think could be in the HBO mold, so we’ll see.

Craig: Yeah.

John: Cool. But first I want to talk about the process of having finished a script because just yesterday I finished a script that I’ve been working on for three years.

Craig: Well, guess what, I just finished a script this week, too. So this is perfect.

John: Fantastic.

Craig: Woo.

John: And I tweeted afterwards saying like, “Oh, I’m — ” you know, I tweeted a little photo of the side of the script. It’s 126 pages. I know it’s too long. I know there’s stuff to cut. I know there’s stuff in it that’s probably bad. I don’t know what that stuff is yet. But I said, “Written bad pages are better than unwritten great pages.”

Craig: Sure.

John: But that’s sort of glib and I think actually a little bit untrue because as I looked into my soul and how I really felt about it, what was so great about the script before it was written is that it was all kind of perfect. I mean, even because it was unformed, I knew what its potential would be and those scenes didn’t have problems because they weren’t written.

And so I want to sort of walk back from my comment a little bit on that because it’s a really true experience I found, especially for things that I’ve lived with for a long time. It’s like planning a wedding and then you get through the wedding and you’re like, “What, that’s it?”

Craig: Yeah.

John: And there was very much a sense of like, “Well, that’s it?” as I finished the script yesterday.

Craig: Right. Well, and that happens again when the movie gets made.

John: Mm-hmm.

Craig: So there’s this realization problem that we have. We have a perfection in our mind and then we realize it and there’s a sadness. This is why I often have post scriptum depression because what was so perfect and full of possibility is now, eh, it’s a document. It looks like everybody else’s document. There’s four million of them generated a year.

John: Yeah.

Craig: And then you kind of get re-excited if the movie gets green-lit and now it’s being made. And then it becomes revitalized because there’s cast now and the excitement of the movie. And then you see the movie and you think, “Okay, well, that’s what it is forever.”

And, you know, Lindsay Doran says, “Wouldn’t it be great if all we did was just develop, write screenplays, and publish them and then they’re done?”

John: Yeah, like being a novelist. That’d be so fantastic.

Craig: [laughs] Right. But even then I assume for them that the finished novel is not quite as great as the ideal.

John: I think some of what I’m feeling is that before something is finished, it can be anything and especially because I haven’t shown it to anybody other than Stuart who typed up some pages. It literally was just all of me and it was all in my head. And it had nothing but possibility. And now, all of those 50,000 choices have been boiled down to these specific choices and it’s one thing now versus any possible thing.

And that’s just a difference. All the imagining I’m doing are imaginings to change or steer the course of this thing that already exists to some degree. And even though I could make some huge fundamental choices and there have been scripts where I’ve cut 70 pages out of them and rewritten them, this is probably the shape of what the movie is going to be.

Craig: Well, you know, this is part of a writer’s life is this acceptance of imperfection. Because what we’re trying to do is, it’s impossible. See, what we’re being asked to do is imagine reality in all of its dimensions, both spatial dimensions and time, and then internal and external dimensions of emotion and relationship. And we’re being asked to do all of that in text, which is imperfect. It’s inherently imperfect. So we have to accept this inherent imperfection or we will just be sad all the time.

John: We don’t want to be sad all the time.

Craig: No.

John: The other thing I will say is that there’s a certain thrill about the rush of finishing something. And it’s sort of like when you’re on deadline for anything, when you’re sort of like that last final crank and there’s some adrenaline happening. And so whenever that adrenaline no longer needs to be there, you sort of feel its absence. Like why am I not so excited as I was two days ago? Well, two days ago I was about to finish this thing. And now it’s finished and you don’t feel that same sort of excitement.

Craig: Well, adrenaline is a liar.

John: Yeah.

Craig: Unless you are in actual physical danger, adrenaline is a liar. It’s lying to you when it tells you that things are exciting and fun and it’s lying to you when it tells you that you’re scared. You just can’t trust it. You have to learn to not trust it. You can enjoy the experience of the ups and, you know, hopefully mitigate the experience of the downs. But it’s a liar.

John: Yeah. Yeah, that’s absolutely true. So as we go into our four things we’re going to be talking about today, those are all nascent possibilities. And that’s what I think is so much fun about discussing them on the show is there’s nothing holding us down on these whatsoever. They can literally be anything.

Craig: And there’s no accountability. That’s the best part.

John: That’s the best part, too.

Craig: Yeah. Like we were guests on Franklin Leonard’s podcast. I’m sure we’ll talk about that later. But one of the things we talked about is how much easier it is to talk about people’s writing than to actually do the writing because there’s no accountability.

John: Yeah.

Craig: It’s wonderful.

John: Absolutely. Because, you know, Franklin or Lindsay Doran or anybody else reading your script, they can offer out any suggestion because they don’t have to implement it.

Craig: I know. They are not bound by duty.

John: Nope. But I am duty-bound to remind our listeners that T-shirts are available but only until September 17th. So if you’ve not yet looked at the Scriptnotes T-shirts, the four different options for Scriptnotes T-shirts and placed your order, maybe pause this podcast and do it now so you can put your order in.

They are $19 a piece. Those pre-orders stop on September 17th. You go to store.johnaugust.com and we will gladly take your order and we will print it and we will send it to you so you will have them in time for the Austin Film Festival at the end of October.

Craig: Hey, you know, when you said pause the podcast, it reminded me of something.

John: Sure.

Craig: A little side trip here. I listened to some podcasts.

John: Oh, my god. Craig, you’ve broken your fundamental rule.

Craig: Yeah. Well, I listened to some podcasts [laughs] —

John: So what did you listen to?

Craig: Okay, it’s so embarrassing. [laughs]

John: What is it like to have people talking in your ears?

Craig: It’s so embarrassing. I was in the car. I was bored with all of my usual entertainment and I said, “You know what, everyone says that they listen to our podcast in the car, maybe I should listen to a podcast in the car.” So before I started rolling, I thought, “Oh, I know [laughs], I’ll listen to a Dungeons & Dragons podcast. [laughs]”

John: Was it fantastic?

Craig: It was terrible.

John: Oh, I’m sorry.

Craig: Well, here’s the thing. I don’t blame podcasts. I blame that podcast. But I will say that in a strange way it was very comforting because I realized, hey, you know, you and I are actually pretty good at this.

John: Yes. We’ve actually done a bit of this now.

Craig: We’ve done a bit of it. We’re not bad. You know who else is very good, is Karina Longworth. I don’t know if you’ve —

John: She’s fantastic. So we know Karina through Rian Johnson and she has a podcast about the history of Hollywood and sort of —

Craig: Right.

John: Stories along the way.

Craig: It’s called You Must Remember This. And without giving anything away, I will tell you that I am a guest voice on the next series of it.

John: I’m very excited to hear that.

Craig: Yes.

John: All right. So T-shirts, they are available now but only for a short time. So if you want to get a T-shirt, you should definitely visit the store to do so. Oh, also while you’re there you can also get a USB drive. So we ordered more USB drives. We were out of them for a while, but they are back in the store now.

Craig: Yeah. I listened to a Dungeons & Dragons podcast. [laughs]

John: That’s pretty amazing.

Craig: I don’t know, I’m not sure you heard what I said.

John: No, but then again, on Sunday I’m going over to your house to play Dungeons & Dragons.

Craig: Right.

John: So the nerd quotient has already been fully established.

Craig: No, I’m just out of control.

John: You’re the worst. You are also the worst when it comes to disbelieving me when I —

Craig: Right.

John: State things that are so clearly obviously possible. So let’s play a little clip from last week’s show —

Craig: Oh, good. [laughs]

John: Where you discuss why the idea of a flexible drill bit extender is impossible.

Craig: Yes.

John, I want you to think through what you’ve said there —

John: Yeah.

Craig: And I want you to imagine [laughs] the flexible thing turning in the drill. And now tell me what’s wrong with this.

John: You’re saying that the whole thing would whip around and it will not —

Craig: Yeah.

John: I know someone solved this problem. There’s a way in which the —

Craig: What you’ve created is essentially, it’s an edge trimmer. I would love to see you build this —

John: I believe we —

Craig: And attempt this because it will be hysterical.

John: We live in an age of carbon fiber and nanotechnology. There’s like a real way to do this.

Craig: No.

John: So basically so the things inside is spinning even though the outside is solid.

Craig: But once you — ah.

John: No, I agree with you that the anchor on the outside is going to have to not spin. But I think there’s a way to do that.

Craig: But even inside. I mean, if it’s spinning rotationally in one plane —

John: I fully comprehend the challenge.

Craig: You see what’s happening? [laughs]

John: I do fully. So whatever the cable is that’s inside —

Craig: This is awesome. [laughs]

John: Yes.

Craig: I want you to build it. I actually want you to do it and then I want you to turn it on and get hurt and your furniture is everywhere. [laughs]

John: [laughs]

Craig: But I —

John: I don’t know if this is a Kickstarter or a suicide pact but —

Craig: It feels good, man.

John: It feels really, really good.

Craig: It feels good.

John: And so from that we hear a very cogent explanation on why this thing could not possibly exist —

Craig: Right.

John: Except that it does.

Craig: Yeah. So earlier you described one of your tweets as glib and inaccurate. I think I was both glib and inaccurate. You know, the thing that I failed to consider was that you can have a drill bit that would only work if the bit end was actually in the thing it was supposed to be turning. Because then, yeah, I guess, you know, and then I went and watched some videos.

They’re not exactly gainly and you got to kind of move slow with them. But, yes, they are physically possible. They do work. I faceplanted on that one. I couldn’t have been wronger.

John: [laughs]

Craig: Couldn’t have been.

John: I’m so excited. That’ll be my ringtone from now on.

Craig: I couldn’t have been wronger. Oh, Craig’s calling.

John: The last bit of follow-up is the last week’s episode was called NDAs and other acronyms. And a listener actually created a Twitter account so he could write in to point out that NDA is not an acronym. It’s an abbreviation. Unless you’re one of those people who refers to it enthusiastically as “nndah” —

Craig: [laughs]

John: This is Patrick Taylor who wrote in with this. And I challenged Patrick back to say that by the Wikipedia definition, NDA is in fact an acronym. It’s also an initialism. It’s really basically how you define your giant categories. And I would define the overall category of acronyms being the ways that we’re shortening down the letters that compose them.

Craig: Was his objection that nondisclosure is one word?

John: No.

Craig: And that it should be NA?

John: No. His objection was that an acronym is technically something that is pronounced — it’s like SCUBA where you’re actually pronouncing it as one word.

Craig: Oh, I see. I see. Oh, that’s an interesting point.

John: There are dictionary definitions that will back him up that will say that this is in fact an abbreviation or initialism and not an acronym. But by most common usage, this would be considered an acronym.

Craig: Right. Well, I’m glad that he joined Twitter for that.

John: Yeah. I’ve got somebody on Twitter, so I feel like I’ve done something good. So thank you, Patrick, for writing in.

Craig: Yeah.

John: Let’s get to our topics for this week. So first up, we have Kim Davis. She is the Kentucky clerk who refused to issue marriage licenses.

Craig: Right.

John: So if you are listening to this podcast a year from now and you don’t remember who she was or if you are an overseas listener who has no idea what’s happening, let’s give you the briefest of recaps.

So in the United States, after Obergefell v. Hodges, it is the rule of the United States that clerks have to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples just as they would to opposite-sex couples. Except for Kim Davis. Kim Davis, the county clerk in Rowan County, Kentucky, she’s an elected official. She’s served 27 years as deputy clerk where her mom was the clerk for decades. And she’s now been elected clerk.

She said she would not issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples because of her religious objections. And in fact, she avoided issuing marriage licenses altogether because she didn’t want to appear that she was singling out same-sex couples —

Craig: Right.

John: For this treatment. So two gay couples and two straight couples sued her. They argued that because she is an elected official and these are the duties prescribed to her, she has to issue marriage licenses. The Federal judge ordered her to do so. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed. She went all the way to the Supreme Court and in a one-line opinion said, “Uh-uh, got to do it.”

Craig: [laughs]

John: Davis did not do it.

Craig: No.

John: So on September 3rd, which is yesterday for us recording this, she was found to be in contempt of court and taken into federal custody.

Craig: Yeah.

John: So how would this be a movie, Craig Mazin?

Craig: Well, it’s a tough one because she’s so wrong. Obviously, what we want out of movies is conflict and some sense of suspense and surprise. It doesn’t matter what the genre is — comedy, drama, horror — – all movies have some sense of suspense, drama, and conflict.

The problem that we’re facing right off the bat here is there’s very little conflict because she’s just wrong with a capital W. There’s no possible way that anyone can say at least per the law that she’s right. I mean, they’re trying but mostly it’s just politicians pandering to people. I mean, you know, the Supreme Court, when they send a one-line thing, that’s their equivalent of, “Did I stutter?” [laughs]

John: [laughs]

Craig: I mean, this is the rule, that’s it. You have a job. You know, it’s obviously not about religious freedom. You know, when you’re writing a movie, you are essentially making arguments. And the arguments have to be decent enough that there’s a little bit of confusion, you know.

John: Mm-hmm.

Craig: So I mean, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that my instinct, actually, is that the movie to make out of this is a documentary about this woman because I suspect, I mean, having read a little bit about her life, that there’s something interesting going on here.

John: I agree that she is the really interesting character here and that the situation itself is not particularly interesting.

Craig: Right.

John: Because the situation is sort of resolved, except for her. And I think she is the fascinating character. And she is the hero of this story. So while I may disagree with what she’s doing, I think she is a fascinating hero because if you look at sort of her back story, she very recently became a born again Christian. And so a lot of the charges of hypocrisy that are leveled against her I think are a little bit, I don’t want to say unfair because a lot about this situation is unfair, but she has been married four times. There’s questions of, you know, kids out of wedlock and those sorts of things.

But I do believe that she firmly believes what she’s saying. And what’s she’s saying is, “To issue a marriage license which conflicts with God’s definition of marriage with my name affixed to the certificate would violate my conscience. It is not a light issue for me. It is a heaven or hell decision. For me, it’s a decision of obedience. I have no animosity towards anyone or harbor no ill will. To me, this has never been a gay or lesbian issue. It’s about marriage and God’s word. It’s a matter of religious liberty which is protected under the First Amendment of the Kentucky Constitution and the Kentucky Religious Freedom Restoration Act.”

Craig: Yeah, not so much.

John: “Our history is filled with accommodations for people’s religious freedom and conscience. I want to continue to perform my duties but I’m also requesting what our founders envisioned, that conscious and religious freedom would be protected. That is all I’m asking, but I never sought this position and I would much rather never have been placed in this position.”

Craig: It’s a bad speech, you know. I think it’s a bad speech.

John: I agree it’s a bad speech but I think those are interesting ideals. If they are truly held ideals, I think they’re really fascinating for that character.

Craig: Well, the issue with a zealot, so we’ll call this character a zealot —

John: Yes.

Craig: Is that either they don’t change, in which case they are often the villain. Or they do change but this becomes a little mushy. Because what you don’t want to do, I think, is a movie where a discriminatory fundamentalist religious individual comes to find that gay people are super okay and, you know, maybe I was wrong —

John: Yeah.

Craig: That just feels mushy and boring and kind of a morality tale. So I’m not sure that her zealotry is going to get us very far. There is a satire version of this to do. I tend to not like those. I find them to be simplifying.

We talked the other week about how narrative kind of simplifies what’s interesting about life. And when you’re doing something like this, I think a satire sometimes falls flat because it feels obvious. The other way to go is maybe to come at it from the point of view of a straight couple that wants to get married. I don’t know.

This is a tough one. I still think a documentary is the way to go.

John: Yeah. I understand the desire to fall back on what is truly there and just being able to interview. Like it does feel like, you know, the talking heads of it all could be fascinating and I think Errol Morris could make a great documentary out of this.

Craig: Right.

John: But I think partly what you’re frustrated by is if you do try to cast her as the hero, who do you find as the villains, who is the antagonist that sort of forces a change. And I wonder if it maybe is it’s her versus other conservatives. I think that could be a really interesting thing to see about to the degree to which she is following talking points or setting her own agenda, to the degree to which she is attracting a spotlight that they may not want her to attract.

You look at Fox News and to the degree that she can be a hero of Fox News and have the Sarah Palin effect but then also she can’t — once you’ve created her, can you control her? Joe the Plumber was an example of a conservative figure who was created by the media but then ultimately sort of couldn’t be controlled by the media in the way that they wanted it to be.

Craig: Right.

John: And that’s an interesting fight.

Craig: Yeah. And that does veer into the satire zone where, you know, maybe they find the one clerk who’s willing to fall on her sword and she just won’t stop falling on her sword and it blows up in their face. But, you know, the problem with a movie like this is that the conflict feels overripe, you know. We’ve had this conflict now for I think it’s been, you know, I would say 15 years has been the span of it.

And it is essentially over. And not only is it over, but it’s over, over. There was a final determinative decision. A lot of republicans and conservatives are essentially saying, “This is okay. We’re okay with this.” Ted Olson was the main lawyer in that Supreme Court case. He is a conservative and he was the one advocating for marriage freedom.

So it just feels a little overripe. So I keep thinking, “Well, how do we make this not about this?” For instance, you could tell a story of a woman who has other problems. Like I’d love to know why did you become a fundamentalist, why were you born again? What was going wrong in your life and how do you think this is going to solve it? And can we bring you to a point where you fix yourself through this process? Interesting.

John: Yeah, it is fascinating that now she’s going to be in jail. And so —

Craig: Right.

John: As we’re recording this she’s in jail for contempt of court. And that is a fascinating place to take a character as well is to sort of take away, you know, a character’s liberty to put them there. So I remember Martha Stewart being in jail and sort of like what that does to our perception of a character who has lost this throne that she had and what that does.

You said this is a 15-year journey and really one of the kickoff points of this journey was Gavin Newsom’s 2004 marriages that he started in San Francisco.

Craig: Right.

John: And so that is also an act of sort of civil disobedience where you have an elected official not following the sort of law of the land and acting sort of in defiance of governmental mandate for a time. And at the time, he was vilified for doing this but then later on became sort of perceived as being like, “Oh, he was ahead of his time. He was heroic.” And I do think that she perceives herself and certain people who support her perceive herself as being that kind of Gavin Newsom figure where she is the hero of this biopic and not the petty villain.

If we do cast this movie, Craig, who do we cast as Kim Davis?

Craig: Well, that dress is straight out of Kathy Bates in Misery.

John: It’s just so close.

Craig: Yeah. What is that —

John: It feels too on the nose. .

Craig: What is that dress? It’s like she’s wearing some kind of knit shirt and then there’s this flat formless and featureless — I wouldn’t call it a dress but like a large hanging vest. [laughs] What is that?

John: Yeah. It’s a thing you commonly see in sort of more conservative circles. And I don’t know honestly what you call it. But costume designers must be able to make it because it’s going to be there.

Craig: Right. Well, that was definitely what she —

John: It’s Amish-ish.

Craig: Yes.

John: It feels like it’s deliberately plain in a way that it’s meant to not call attention to itself.

Craig: Well, I think Kathy Bates, just from Misery, that was pretty spectacular. And she’s always been very good at playing what I’ll call Middle American or country American characters without making you feel like she was doing a caricature. I don’t know where Kathy Bates is from actually but I wouldn’t be surprised if she is from somewhere Middle America or south because she just feels so authentic when she does that.

And that’s a really important thing because you don’t want to feel like you’re doing — you know, people don’t want a movie to have contempt for its own characters because it feels like cheating. We want you to love your characters and we have contempt for them. That’s what’s so interesting, you know.

John: Yeah. I mean, if you cast Rebel Wilson in this part —

Craig: [laughs]

John: You’ve got to find a movie that you’re sort of rooting for her. And so maybe it’s Rebel Wilson and it’s her domineering mom. Maybe put it back a few years. Maybe there’s reasons why she’s doing this that aren’t so transparent. Or maybe she’s being played as a tool of some conservative thing and these aren’t her truly held beliefs and she’s being made to profess these things that she doesn’t truly believe.

Craig: Yeah.

John: I mean, Rebel Wilson in prison is going to be a pretty good movie.

Craig: Yeah. I can also see a version where this character, she’s following this because she was told to follow this. She was told that to fix her life she should follow these rules. And now she’s taking them to their natural conclusion and she’s confused because people aren’t supporting her anymore. And she doesn’t understand, well what’s the point?

The tricky thing about a movie with this case is that it ultimately comes down to a discussion of religion and religiously-held beliefs. And generally speaking, the movie business, which is a business, is more interested in collecting money from believers than it is trying to sell material that is skeptical of belief.

John: Yeah.

Craig: That’s why you don’t see many atheism movies. It’s just not [laughs] a money-maker. But Kirk Cameron as a praying firefighter and does pretty well.

John: Absolutely.

Craig: So this would be an uphill battle I think no matter how you approach it.

John: I agree. It does feel like if you were going to make this movie, you’re making it for premium cable. You’re finding some way to get a great filmmaker and a great actress to do something that it feels like it’s going to hit that right audience that’s already subscribing to premium cable.

Craig: Yeah. I’m always fascinated when the far right gets upset because Hollywood is so liberal. You just think like, “Mm. Well, not when it comes to religion, that’s for sure.”

John: Yeah.

Craig: Yeah.

John: Next up, here’s a movie that feels like a movie because it actually has an action sequence in it. So this happened end of August. We have three American men who are friends since middle school. They’re traveling through France. They’re sleeping on a high-speed train when a Moroccan man, Ayoub El Khazzani, opens fire. The three young men spring into action, disarming the man. They are lauded by heroes in France and the U.S. One of the men suffers a hand injury. They are young, charismatic, and the talk of the town.

So how do we make the French train attack movie?

Craig: Ooh, well, I mean, you can come straight at it. First of all, I think the title for this is Zut Alors.

John: Yeah. French people never say zut alors.

Craig: They don’t?

John: No.

Craig: Huh.

John: Yeah. Zut alors or sacre bleu.

Craig: Sacre bleu. Zut alors.

John: Yeah.

Craig: Okay. So of course the first option is to just tackle it straight on. It’s Die Hard on a train, which I think has been done before, but okay, it’s real Die Hard on a train. And you don’t have to tell this exact story because the exact story is about four minutes long.

John: Yeah. That’s I think my biggest frustration with it is it feels like, okay, you have one brief action sequence.

Craig: Right.

John: Done.

Craig: Done. But there is a grand tradition of hijackers, terrorists taking over a moving vessel and then somebody happens to be on that moving vessel who has skills.

John: Yup.

Craig: This is essentially what Steven Seagal did in the, you know, “I’m just a cook. I’m just the cook.”

John: Yeah.

Craig: Right? So you have in this story two guys who happen to be military and one guy who’s just I guess tough and awesome. But you could certainly see kind of a bullet train movie where there’s a bullet train moving through the European countryside and these bad guys take over. And it just so happens that three special ops guys are on the train and now against all odds with no weapons or anything, they have to take these guys out.

I mean, trains are great. I mean, cinematically, they’re great. Did you like Snowpiercer?

John: I loved Snowpiercer.

Craig: Yeah.

John: And the fascinating thing about trains is because they are entirely linear things.

Craig: Right.

John: There’s no moving left, there’s no moving right, you can only move forward and back. And that is an exciting thing. You can move up and down because in most train sequences, at some point you have to get up on top of the train.

Craig: Right.

John: Or somehow climb under the train, which is incredibly dangerous.

Craig: Yes.

John: So it’s interesting that this happens on a French train because back in, I think it was 2007, Derek Haas, myself, and Michael Brandt and a bunch of other American screenwriters were flown over to France to be shown parts of Paris and Marseille that they want us to shoot in and to show us the TGV, the high-speed train, saying like, “Hey, why don’t you make a movie on the TGV?”

And so as I looked at the story, I’m like, “Wow, I kind of remember all these things about the TGV.” It’s like we could make a French high-speed train movie. And yet there would be the temptation to try to make it about these guys. And these guys, while they’re wonderful, there’s just not enough plot happening here, at least not enough plot to follow on the train itself.

Craig: Right.

John: So you could follow the guys beforehand, you could follow the attacker beforehand, you can do all that stuff. But you’re signing up for this movie to be on the train and there’s just not enough stuff happening on the train in the real version of the story.

Craig: Right. In the real version, no. But there is a genre of action movie that simplifies the task down to the most basic thing. I think it’s called The Raid.

John: Oh, yeah.

Craig: Is it Indonesian?

John: I think it’s Indonesian but I know what you’re talking about. It’s a long action sequence at a building.

Craig: That’s right. It’s basically we’re going door to door. And that’s what it is. They fight door to door through a building and it’s incredibly simple. Snowpiercer, we have to get from the back to the front.

John: And I’m looking at stuff as we’re talking. So Under Siege 2: Dark Territory was the Die Hard on a train.

Craig: There you go. So that was Die Hard on a train, again with the cook. So we’re talking essentially about doing a new version of that. I would add some things that I think make it modern. For instance, it should be on a bullet train, which I think is scarier. And I think maybe if there is some payload on the train that, you know, if we can’t stop this train before it gets to Paris or something, then something blows up.

I mean, look, I’m not a big fan of these movies. I just don’t care about action movies that much. But it seems like you could probably make a pretty good one.

John: Yeah. To me what’s interesting about it is that I suspect for some producers who are chasing down the rights to the story which really means the life rights, the publicity rights to these three gentlemen to try to sort of make the movie about them and that feels like a fool’s errand because the actual story is not going to be sufficient. Like maybe you can make a TV movie where you can just pat it a lot and then have the action sequence in there and just milk it. But it doesn’t feel like there’s really a capital M movie to be made about here.

What I did think was maybe interesting is what if you started with this event or this is happening in the first 10, 15 pages and then you’re really charting the afterglow. So what is it like to be the hero of this moment and have this big media spotlight? What are these guys like a month later, six months later? Once you’ve been the hero and then you have to go back to your normal life, what is that like and how do their relationships change over time?

Craig: Very interesting. Yeah. What I’ve never seen is a movie that starts with an act of heroism. Essentially start with the ending of an action movie and then make the story about the aftermath, including post-traumatic stress or, yes, dealing with the fame. The fact that nobody ever seems to get things right ever, you know, no narrative is ever accurate, yeah.

Then there are interesting stories about the relationship between the good guy and the bad guy, which I think powered a lot of what made Captain Phillips interesting.

John: Yeah.

Craig: Was that relationship and how at the end, you felt sad for everyone.

John: Yeah. Yeah. And so if you do the movie that starts with this action sequence and then you are tracking both our three heroes and our guy who is now in prison and sort of what his life is like and sort of really figure out what was going on there, then that’s potentially really interesting.

There’s even maybe a comedy to be made if you really just focus on the three guys. And if it is, like right now, this version of the movie, it’s these — two of the guys are military and one is not. But if it Seth Rogan and two buddies, then that is potentially a very different movie. If they were not so incredibly clean cut but were just — they had all the flaws of real 20-something guys and then they have this media spotlight shown on them, that could be —

Craig: Right.

John: A pressure cooker.

Craig: Yeah, it’s interesting. Again, not great.

John: Yeah.

Craig: You know, we haven’t yet found our great story right now. I’m not sure anybody is going to make a movie out of either of these things.

John: All right. That’s why we need you to talk us through Tom Brady and Deflategate. And I honestly have not followed the story, whatsoever. So I need you to explain it to me.

Craig: Well, I’ll do it as briefly as I can because there’s — frankly, there’s not a lot of specifics. I mean if you get real deep into it, then there are a ton of specifics. But it all goes back to the AFC Championship Game last year, the 2014 season. So this was the game to see who would represent the AFC in the Super Bowl called the semifinals, if you would, John.

John: All right. So for our international listeners, we’re talking about American football.

Craig: American.

John: We’re talking the grandest of American sports, the most —

Craig: [laughs]

John: Actually, that’s a very good question. I said that and I’m not sure I believe that. It’s not even the most American of sports because baseball might be the most American of our sports.

Craig: Yeah, they’re both pretty darn American.

John: It’s an incredibly powerful part of American —

Craig: Yeah.

John: Culture.

Craig: Yeah, exactly. And in this particular game, one of football’s heroes was playing and that is Tom Brady, the quarterback for the New England Patriots. Their opponent that day was the Indianapolis Colts. Now, it used to be that the home team would supply all of the footballs for a game. And then I think it was in 2006, there was a rules change that was inspired by quarterbacks, including Tom Brady, saying, “You know what, actually each team should be able to provide their own footballs because, you know, we all have little slight things that we like about these footballs.”

Now the footballs are — they are inflated per the rule book. And the rule book says that they have to be between 12.5 and 13.5 pounds per square inch. Well, interestingly [laughs] in that AFC Championship Game, what they found out was that the after the game, the balls that Tom Brady was using were underinflated. And the deal with underinflated footballs is essentially they are as they say, easier to grip and to throw and to catch even and to hold on to especially when it’s cold or the weather is bad.

Now, there are all sorts of reasons why the footballs might have deflated a little bit. They were good at the beginning of the game, and then suddenly in the second half, they weren’t. Maybe it’s temperature and maybe there’s some air leaking, who knows, expect that it appears from a series of texts and messages and testimony from various people that work for the New England Patriots that this was absolutely intentional that according to them the New England Patriots per Tom Brady’s awareness and instruction, intentionally deflated the footballs.

Now, the Patriots won that game. They were leading at the half and then the second half, they [laughs] led even more. And so following that game, the NFL began an investigation. And the investigation went oddly. For instance, Tom Brady, declined to submit texts from his phone. In fact, he said his phone had been destroyed. It was a lot of really weird stuff.

When push came to shove, what happened was the NFL said, “We believe that you did this. We believe that you essentially cheated. And you are going to be suspended for four games.” I believe it was four games. Yes. And the Patriots were also fined $1 million and lost their first round pick in the 2016 NFL draft.

So to put it in perspective, there are 16 regular season games in football. So that’s a fourth of them and Tom Brady is, by a lot of metrics, the best quarterback in the game or certainly one of the best. It’s a huge deal.

John: Yeah.

Craig: So they appealed [laughs] to a court or an arbiter.

John: All right. So this decision was handed down by the NFL.

Craig: Correct.

John: By some investigatory committee?

Craig: That’s exactly right. Now, the NFL in and of itself is full of a whole bunch of villains. Anybody who’s — I don’t know if you’ve seen the trailer for the Concussion movie —

John: The Will Smith movie, Concussion.

Craig: Yeah, exactly. So the NFL already is just [laughs] — no one’s really particularly admiral on this.

John: They’re the American FIFA.

Craig: They are. Well, no, because the thing is — well, we’ll get to how they’re different from the American FIFA.

John: Oh, they are not corrupt in the same ways.

Craig: That’s right.

John: They’re not bribing people.

Craig: Exactly, yeah. So what ended up happening basically was this was overturned in the U.S. District Court for Southern District of New York because the judge essentially said that, “Hey, you didn’t — ” he said, it was a lack of fair due process for Tom Brady. So I think the NFL said they’re going to appeal the decision. So who knows what’s going to happen? Did he cheat? Did he not cheat? Is the NFL going too far? Are they not going far enough?

John: Is Tom Brady going to jail?

Craig: Tom Brady will not go to jail. There’s no crime here. It’s just a question of whether or not you’re going to — you’re going to be able to play the game the whole season or not and will there be that black mark in the record book against you for all time.

John: So let’s talk about the characters in this story because Tom Brady himself is such a movie star leading man kind of character. He’s also married to one of the most beautiful women on Earth, Gisele B√ľndchen.

Craig: That’s right.

John: So he is fascinating. He sort of has this superman quality to him, but he’s also making some really dubious statements especially the whole thing about his phone being destroyed.

Craig: Right.

John: He’s a hero to children and he’s potentially the villain of the story. How do you cast this role?

Craig: Well, you want somebody that I think — you know, this is where — this is better I think than the story about the county clerk because you can have somebody that you switch on.

John: Yeah.

Craig: You want somebody like — let’s say you get a guy like Chris Hemsworth who is just really good looking and athletic and you love him and then you think, “Wait, maybe you’re lying.” And then you think, “No, maybe you’re not lying.” “No, maybe you are,” and, “No, maybe you’re not.”

That’s kind of the — why this I think has captured everyone’s imagination other than the fact that it impacts the NFL, is that no one’s quite sure what to think about Tom Brady. Is he just a great guy who’s getting jabbed by Roger Goodell, the commissioner of the NFL or is he kind of a sociopath? And just a huge liar — and, you know, one of the worst allegations was essentially that he threw a couple of the equipment managers under the bus. And these are guys that aren’t making a lot of money. You know, they’re making maybe 60 or 70 grand a year. They’re told by Tom Brady, the incredibly wealthy, incredibly famous quarterback, “Hey, do this for me. And don’t worry if we get caught. I’ll take care of it. It won’t be problem and then he hangs them out to dry, throws them under the bus.” That kind of behavior, you know, so.

John: Yeah.

Craig: That’s the fun of this movie is, is he or isn’t he?

John: Yeah. And that seems like a binary question. So did he do it or did he not do it? Is he a good guy or a bad guy? And yet, you still have the possibility of some really subtle things like even if he is a good guy, he’s still trying to protect himself even as a good guy, so he may throw those people under bus while still have not been behind the whole thing. And so —

Craig: Right.

John: You know, you could even see him as being this morally upstanding person in terms of the actual deflation but not so when it comes to these guys he’s thrown under the bus. You can also envision the scenes where he’s visiting sick kids in hospitals and yet you kind of believe he is a shit. So these are interesting character shifts for this one character. But who are the other characters in our story?

Craig: Well, I think the main other character is Roger Goodell who is the commissioner of the NFL. So he’s leading this investigation. And there’s all sorts of stuff going on about this. You know, there’s history here and all the rest of it. The Patriots have been accused of cheating before. So there’s also a little bit of a sense of you are the one that got away and now I’m going to get you on tax evasion, Al Capone, [laughs] even if I can’t get you on murder, you know.

So the problem and well, it’s a great thing for the story. It’s a problem for the real life narrative, is that Roger Goodell also is kind of awful. He runs the NFL like it’s the Soviet Union essentially or even more appropriately, a tobacco company in 1960.

John: Yeah.

Craig: They run it like — their secrecy and denial of truth. They are bullies. They make an insane amount of money. And they are protecting that tooth, nail and claw. So you have these two very powerful people who are very different, who are challenging other. And it may be that neither one is particularly good.

John: Yeah.

Craig: And so then, I think you could actually get a really interesting movie out of this where you start to drift away from the details of were these footballs underinflated or overinflated because ultimately what it really is about is who the hell are we watching? What is this sport that we’re watching? Because the more I read about the NFL and the neurological problems and the behavior of their athletes and the way they protect their athletes and then this sort of thing, the darker and darker it gets. There is a creepiness and a dirty, dark, nasty underside to the NFL and I would love to see something — I love it when a movie starts with something small like an underinflated football and turns into oh my god, this whole thing is rotten to the core.

John: So let’s say you are Chris Hemsworth because Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, they’re really busy. They’ve got the FIFA movie to make.

Craig: Right.

John: But maybe Chris Hemsworth has some open, you know, he has some time on his hands. He wants to make this movie. So where does he start? Like are there anything he needs to lock down in order to make this movie? Because he’s not going to get the permission of the NFL exactly.

Craig: No.

John: Does he try to lock down one narrative account of what this is? Is there like a — does he try to lock down a great article about this? Or does he just find the right writer and director and take it in to Warner Bros? What is the play here?

Craig: I think there’s been so much that’s been written about this that you can probably get away with hiring a writer to just research and then create their story. There are public figures involved that you don’t need permission from. You don’t need the permission to portray Tom Brady and you don’t need the permission to portray Roger Goodell because they’re public figures and this is a historical account.

You will run into trouble I think — I’m not sure how they handle the use of logos and things for stuff like this.

John: Yeah, it’s challenging. I remember Any Given Sunday which is the Oliver Stone movie that John Logan wrote. They had to sort of make up all of their own teams and logos because they couldn’t get any of the actual NFL stuff involved.

Craig: Yeah. If permission is required, you’ll never get it. They don’t give permission for anything and they certainly wouldn’t give permission for this. In fact, they would in a Scientology kind of way, start to pre-butt the movie before it ever came out. It’s going to be interesting to see how they respond and deal with the Concussion movie. It will be challenging in that regard. But I don’t think the meat of the movie is about on field play.

John: No, I don’t think it is at all. I think that’s actually the fascinating thing, is that I’m not sure we are seeing a football game other than probably some part of that initial game with the deflated balls and then everything is aftermath. And the locations you’re right at are probably, you know, you’re in mansions and you’re in board rooms and you’re in hallway conversations and don’t let anyone tell me that you told me this, but this is what’s going on. That’s all fascinating. It’s probably a little bit more like Michael Clayton than like a big football movie.

Craig: Exactly. And with that in mind, what you might want to do to free yourself is to not use the name Tom Brady or Roger Goodell but instead to just create fictional characters that everybody understands are, you know, pen names for those people so that you’re a little freer to fictionalize. You know, what you can’t show — you can show a public figure but it’s harder to then show that public figure alone having some sort of like crying about something. Well, you don’t know they did that so that’s where you run into legal issues. So you might want to free yourself by doing a kind of parallel universe movie where you can explore Deflategate in your own language.

John: Yeah. And I haven’t seen Concussion yet so I don’t know to what degree they’re basing that on real things or just their own story.

Craig: That is entirely on real things. They got the life rights to a doctor that was the doctor that first discovered that, so they’re following him and his patients. And so that’s all real and they’re using actual, you know, I imagine they’re using testimony from the congressional hearings and so on and so forth. And because they own the life rights to that doctor, they can have that character do anything because they own it.

John: Now, here’s a question about sort of the logistics of making this movie. So let’s say you try to say closer to the Tom Brady situation and to the NFL and whether or not you call Goodell Goodell, I’m wondering about the degree to which our media companies are embedded with the NFL. That might be challenging to make the movie or promote the movie. I can see, you know, the NFL saying, you can’t put a commercial for your movie in one of our broadcasts. I’d be curious whether that is a thing that comes up even in Concussion.

Craig: I would be surprised. And I think that would be an easy lawsuit. I mean the bigger issue is which are the companies that air NFL programming. So that includes CBS, Fox and [laughs] NBC and ESPN. So we’re talking about CBS, Fox Studios, Universal, Disney, not Warner Bros., so I could see that. But the companies that air the commercials are the networks.

John: Yeah.

Craig: So I don’t think the NFL could apply that kind of pressure, not that they wouldn’t try.

John: Last point I want to make about this movie is it is so American. And I think it’s going to be a challenge to make this movie work overseas because we don’t know what — people overseas are not going to know about this specificity of American football even if we’re not showing a lot of American football and the game in the movie, there’s going to be a sort of ‘who cares’ factor, the same way that we sort of say like, “Well, who cares about soccer?” You’re going to have to convince them to care about American football.

Craig: No question. I don’t think that you could make this movie for a lot of money. I don’t even think that this movie can be made for a lot of money even if it did play overseas because it is one of those adult dramas. It’s not a franchise. It’s a one off. It’s something that is a little more sophisticated. So yeah, you’re talking — I mean, ideally, you make this for$15 or $20 million and aim for $70 million, domestic, you know.

John: Yeah. Aaron Sorkin?

Craig: Yeah. Well, listen, his would be amazing, you know.

John: Amazing.

Craig: And Sorkin does have the ability to make these things fascinating. But there are other writers who I think could be great. Scott Silver, for instance, is working on his own NFL brain issue movie. And he’s excellent, so I could see him doing it as well.

John: You know, also, there’s a lot of true to life stuff. Andrea Berloff.

Craig: She does.

John: Straight Outta Compton.

Craig: Straight Outta Compton.

John: She’ll be one of our guests at the live Scriptnotes. So we can ask her then if she’s going to write the Tom Brady movie.

Craig: Oh, that’s a great idea.

John: Right. We’ll do it. Our last story ripped from the headlines is about Uber. And Craig, on the Workflowy you said, Uber versus cabs, what kind of movie do we want to talk about here? What is the situation, the scenario that we want to explore with a movie about Uber or Uber and cabs?

Craig: This is actually more like the kind of pitch that we will typically get from the studio where someone will say, “I have a general world that I want to talk about,” but what is it, right? So Uber versus cabs, in city after city where Uber comes in, cab drivers start to get angry. So it costs a lot of money to get a city license medallion for a cab. And now these Uber guys come along, they don’t need that, they start beating you at your own game. And it’s a little bit of slobs versus snobs. It’s also political intrigue. It’s about capitalism. It’s about people being taken advantage of. It’s about people fighting each other for scraps in a world where there’s disparity of income. There’s so many different ways to do it which is why I kind of like it.

So I would say to you, what’s your — of all the ways to approach this kind of thing, what’s your instinct?

John: You know, I wonder if it is sort of like Shortcuts or an Altman movie in general where you’re looking at things from a bunch of different perspectives. And so you see both the young Uber driver who’s starting off and the experienced cabby who’s like losing fares. You see sort of the pressures from all sides. You see the Uber rider.

I also wonder if this is maybe an international movie that we’re not paying attention to because where I’ve seen the big sort of riots and revolts about that has been Paris actually where Courtney Love famously tweeted like, you know, there’s — she was in Uber and she’s being surrounded and there have been times where like Uber cars have been flipped over by Paris cabbies.

Craig: Right.

John: So it feels like the flashpoint for this is actually overseas even though we talk about it a lot in the U.S. and I think looking at it from a broader perspective and sort of the Altman model might be a way to really look at all the sides of it because I think if we just try to come at it from — well, if you try to do it like Animal House, I just don’t know that it’s going to really work.

Craig: I agree because it’s not like Uber drivers are rich. Uber is rich. You could do a comedy where you simply use it as a cute current background. You could do a romance.

John: Yeah.

Craig: To mean a woman who drives an Uber and a guy who drives a cab and it starts off with them fighting over who gets to stop in front of the thing and you’re ruining my thing and you’re old school and then kind of come together. I mean maybe it’s just background, you know.

John: Yeah. That might be the best way to do it. If you’re trying let what Uber is inform one character and what the cab system is inform another character, the cab system is old school. It is traditional. It is a club that you have to join. And it’s a club that immigrants have largely risen up through. And it’s a way to sort of achieve some status. But it’s also a really hard life. And you’re working incredibly long shifts. And you are sort of always at the public’s beck and call. Versus Uber which seems so tidy and organized and it is a fresh young upstart. There’s a weird sense where I could just as easily be an Uber driver as an Uber passenger.

Craig: Right.

John: There’s a peer relationship to Uber drivers and passengers that doesn’t exist in the cab world. So that dichotomy I think is really interesting.

Craig: There’s also a way where you dispense with the versus part and just pick one. And in this case, I think Uber, because it feels current and new and do an After Hours kind of movie. Somebody leaves a package in your car. You’re going back to deliver it and suddenly you’re involved. I like movies like that. I mean you wrote a movie like that. I think that could be fun just as part of the Uber thing.

John: So I will tell you that the movie I just finished like yesterday actually has an Uber sequence in it. So I don’t identify it as being Uber, but it’s clearly a ride sharing situation and the nature of trust sort of, an overall theme that permeates this movie. But that trust relationship with a stranger becomes an incredibly key point in this movie because the passenger is a young woman who really should not be getting into that car and yes is getting into that car. And so as an audience, we are wondering has she made a smart choice.

Craig: Right.

John: And that suspense is fantastic. A question for you, when will you let your kids use Uber for the first time?

Craig: We’ve been talking about it because it would make our lives a lot easier.

John: Yeah.

Craig: My son is now — he’s the DJ for his high school’s football team. So he goes out to the site and he sets up his equipment and plays music in the halftime and all the rest of it. But they have games a lot like on a Saturday night.

John: Yeah.

Craig: So we have to bring him home, you know. So we’ve been talking about it.

John: So your son is now 13?

Craig: He’s 14.

John: Fourteen.

Craig: I still feel like it’s a little young.

John: So this is a conversation I have with a lot of parents because my kid is not quite your kid’s age. But again, it will be one of those things happening soon. And if you’re going from our house to another friend’s house and we sort of can put her in the car and she can get out of the car there to another parent, that feels like a different thing than her going off to the mall by herself or like her going off to the movies by herself.

It’s also interesting to hear parents talk about putting their kids in Uber is like, “Well, I can track the dot. I can literally see on my phone where she is.” And there’s something reassuring about that. But at what point do you stop tracking that dot? And in some ways, you’ve made it easier for them to just have some independence early on, but will you ever be willing to give up that sense of being able to track where they are?

Craig: Well, this I think will become part and parcel of everyone’s life. Eventually, we will all be tracking each other. Nobody’s going to be driving at all.

John: Yeah.

Craig: Cars will drive themselves. We will be tracking each other. And there will be no expectation that you can get anywhere. And that’s when strip clubs start to lose business.

John: It’s so bad. Looking into sort of how I feel about putting my kid into a car, I wonder whether I feel more comfortable putting her into a driverless car or a car with an Uber driver. And that’s a strange thing to think about, but a large part of my apprehension about putting her in a car of a stranger is not that the stranger is going to do bad job at driving, but that stranger might himself or herself be dangerous.

Craig: Yeah, there’s actually once you remove the emotional block, there’s — it’s hand down, you put them in the driverless car.

John: Yeah.

Craig: The driverless cars are going to essentially be perfect. And Uber drivers are not. They’re just people. And yes, then you also have the issue of whether or not they are — there’s a problem with them as a human being and then just things like them talking. I don’t want people talking to my kid.

John: [laughs]

Craig: Don’t talk to my kid. Leave my kid alone.

John: Yeah.

Craig: You know. So yeah, driverless car, sure.

John: Sure.

Craig: Yeah.

John: We’ll see. All right. That’s our topic for the week. It’s time for our One Cool Things. So my One Cool Thing is a mashup video. As you know, I love mashup videos. This one is terrific. It’s by Antonio Maria Da Silva. It’s called Hells’ Club. And what he’s done is he’s taken all of those scenes where you have characters in night clubs and he’s put them all together to create like one giant club in which all the characters seem to gather together in one space. And so he’s an editor. It’s really masterfully done.

And so there would be cases where you have, you know, Tom Cruise in Cocktail but you also have Tom Cruise in that Michael Mann movie, you know, sort of interacting with each other in ways that are fascinating. So I recommend it to anybody who just likes movies, but also to sort of emphasize how crucial eye lines are for editing. And you’ll recognize as you watch this video that as long as you have two characters who seem to be looking at each other, you’ll believe that they’re in the same space.

Craig: Oh yeah.

John: And so the editor has done some good things to sort of like change lighting to make you believe like the lights are consistent. And there’s some cases where he’s doing clever split screening. But most of the time, it’s just like I believe that those eye lines are matching and therefore I believe that those characters are looking at each other. It’s just really remarkably well done.

Craig: Excellent. I will check that out for sure. My One Cool Thing is a bit of a life hack that I picked up online. So when you and I recorded our interview with Mari Heller, as you may recall, I showed up with a very wrinkled shirt. [laughs] That’s just me, you know, because I don’t — what am I going to do? Iron stuff? I don’t do that.

John: No.

Craig: No. So cheap little life hack and it completely works. Let’s say you have one to three pieces of wrinkled clothing.

John: Yeah.

Craig: Put them in the dryer.

John: With a slightly damp towel?

Craig: Nope. Three ice cubes.

John: Oh.

Craig: Close the door. Put it on as hot as it can get for 10 minutes.

John: All right.

Craig: And that steams them and they come out pretty darn good.

John: That’s great.

Craig: Yeah.

John: I believe that same trick will work, not with ice cubes, but with any sort of — I put like a slightly damp wash cloth and that same thing will work.

Craig: But mine uses —

John: Steam is good. But ice cube feels better.

Craig: Yeah, mine uses ice cubes so, I don’t understand… [laughs]

John: I don’t know what you’re talking about —

Craig: I don’t get it.

John: Because clearly ice cubes are better.

Craig: They’re just better.

John: I think the reason why the ice cubes feels better is because it seems like magic because you’re using water in a different form.

Craig: Right.

John: It’s as if there’s like a whole transformation — like where did the ice cubes go? Oh, the ice cubes are busy working to take the wrinkles out of my shirt.

Craig: You know what they were doing? They were sublimating.

John: They were. I thought they were actually melting before they sublimate.

Craig: Yeah, you’re probably right.

John: But still — yeah.

Craig: But I thought maybe. [laughs]

John: One of my daughter’s homework assignments this week was — she’s in fifth grade, they’re doing the three states of matter. And so like, oh so water has steam and it has water and it has ice.

Craig: Right.

John: And she’s like, “What are other examples?” I’m like, “Uh….” It’s actually hard to think. It was hard for me to think of other substances that are common to us that we encounter at all three states. Can you think of any?

Craig: In all three? I mean there’s rocks and lava.

John: But we don’t see like steamed rock.

Craig: No. It’s the gaseous state that’s the problem.

John: Yeah.

Craig: Because most things that are gaseous aren’t going to go all the way back to a solid. Yeah, liquid nitrogen.

John: Yeah, again, the really special cases.

Craig: Yeah, not solid.

John: Perhaps because the gases are going to be invisible to us at almost all the times. And so steam is one of those rare exceptions where we see it for a moment before it becomes invisible to us.

Craig: Well, yeah, and also water, it just has a very narrow band for liquidity. It’s really narrow. I mean —

John: It happens to be a band that we live in all the time.

Craig: Right, exactly. That we’re obsessed with [laughs] because it keeps us alive, but —

John: [laughs] Yeah, but actually there’s no happens to be. Like it’s because —

Craig: It’s because.

John: You’re alive because that band is —

Craig: That’s right. So 0 to 100 is pretty narrow. And yeah, I mean water is also weird because it’s one of the few things, maybe not the only, but one of the few things that is less dense as it turns from liquid to solid.

John: Yeah. And I’ve seen speculation that there’s kind of no fundamental rule of the universe that it actually had to be that way. Like, obviously, like it works that way for a reason, but not an applied reason, but it’s really good that it works that way, but it could not work that way. And if it didn’t’ work that way, it would be very hard for life to form on Earth because things would freeze from the bottom up.

Craig: Right, exactly. Things would freeze from the bottom up. But what would be easier would be getting ice cubes out of ice trays.

John: That would be fantastic. And with those ice cubes out of ice trays, Craig would have no more wrinkles in his shirts. Our show is produced by Stuart Friedel.

Craig: Yeah.

John: It is edited by Matthew Chilelli. He also wrote the outro this week. If you have an outro you would like to submit for our show, we would love to play it. So send it to ask@johnaugust.com. Send us a link. That’s more helpful. It’s also a place where you can send questions, feedback for longer stuff. Little short things are great on Twitter. I’m @johnaugust. Craig is @clmazin. You can find us on iTunes. Go there and subscribe and search for Scriptnotes. It’s also where you can find the Scriptnotes app. On scriptnotes.net is where you can sign up to listen to all of the back episodes, all the way back to episode 1.

Craig: All the way.

John: All the way back. Reminders. T-shirts, September 17th is the deadline. So pre-order your shirt right now. Also, vote, I don’t remember the deadline —

Craig: Yes.

John: For the WGA voting. But you should vote right now. Just go to your computer and vote. You actually have to find your little find envelope that came in the mail. But once you find that, then go to the computer and vote.

Craig: Right.

John: We strongly recommend that you vote for some screenwriters. Two of them being Zak Penn and Andrea Berloff.

Craig: Yes.

John: And to vote for Howard Rodman.

Craig: Yes.

John: And that is our show. Craig, thank you so much.

Craig: Thank you, John.

John: Right. Bye.

Craig: Bye.

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