Random Advice

Let me give you some advice

Craig and John go back to basics with an all advice episode, looking at the Dear J.J. recommendations for Star Wars, Tony Gilroy’s advice to screenwriters and whatever’s up with Max Landis.

50 Random Questions

As promised, John and Craig answer a bunch of listener questions on everything except screenwriting, on topics ranging from sex to science to sushi.

First sale and funny on the page

Craig and John look at two recent court decisions that could have a big impact on how movies get sold and resold — and how writers get paid. First-Sale Doctrine is one of those intractable issues that involves freedom and control, bits and atoms, creators and consumers.

So you’re applying for a job

Brett Terpstra has good advice for anyone sending in a resume.

How to Not Be Fat

Screenwriters are often not the healthiest folk. We do our work at computers, surrounded by snacks, so it’s no surprise many of us get fat. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Basic cartographic concepts to understand when first setting foot in New York City

After somehow flipping my mental model of the city, I spent a few years trying to correct my internal map of New York City, one visit at a time. Two decades later, I’m not a native or an expert by any means, but tourists consistently ask me directions — perhaps because they recognize that I was once lost, like them. So here’s a guide I’ll offer to help anyone who finds themselves encountering New York City for the first time.

House-sitting for ghosts

My last house-sitting gig was in 1995, taking care of Vincent Price’s old house in the hills. I lasted one sleepless night. Despite the promise of easy escape — the master bedroom had sliding glass doors to the patio — the accumulated creaks and bumps and footsteps in the dark were too much for my fertile imagination.

Dear Cindy in Blue Valentine

So, hey, you’re pregnant. And it’s not welcome news, because you’re in college and hope to go to medical school. But before you marry scruffy-cute ukelele guy, maybe think about adoption.

All fiction is fan fiction

Sure: everyone’s already linked to Austin Kleon’s wonderful post How to Steal Like an Artist (and 9 things nobody taught me). But I can’t know that you’ve read it. And I don’t have better advice for you today, or even this week. So I really recommend you read it, and take some notes.

On babies

It occurs to me that while relatively few of my readers will end up becoming professional screenwriters, nearly all of them will end becoming up parents. So in that spirit, I want to offer a few suggestions to file away.

Oh, Jessica

I have to believe she was misquoted, or excerpted in some unflattering way, because Jessica Alba couldn’t have actually said this.

Picking a last name

My husband legally changed his last name to August while we were pregnant with our daughter, so we’d all have the same last name. It’s made life a lot easier.

Backpacking through Africa

Don’t let fear of the unknown stop you from visiting. A billion people live there, and you owe it to yourself to see what it’s like.

Should she take anxiety medication?

Jenny was prescribed anti-anxiety medication, but worries it will mess up her writing.

What’s the big deal with fonts?

Why do people rag on Arial and Comic Sans? Does type really matter?

Getting things done

Any system is only as good as the person using it. I’m largely GTD, but hardly a master.

Fix or ditch the car?

Should Nick repair or replace his 93 Oldsmobile Ciera before heading to Los Angeles?

Should I leave the island?

Sunny island or culturally-rich city? There are good arguments for both based on how old your kids are.

On Golden Handcuffs

Paul spent 29 years in a job too good to leave, and regrets it.

The rules of engagement rings

Jack wants advice on getting a ring for his wife-to-be.

Where do I eat lunch?

A reader wants to know my picks for casual restaurants in LA.

Advice on anything

This coming week, I’ll be answering questions completely unrelated to screenwriting or the industry.

On 2010

For the past few years, I’ve been aiming more towards “areas of interest” rather than true resolutions. That way, there’s no implied promise to be broken.

How to do college

New York Times writers offer suggestions for incoming college students.

Alternate with water

For every alcoholic drink, drink a glass of water. Trust me.