The original post for this episode can be found here.
John August: Hello and welcome. My name is John August.
Craig Mazin: Hello! My name is Craig Mazin.
John: And this is Episode 105 of Scriptnotes, a podcast about screenwriting and things that are interesting to screenwriters.
Yeah, I really miss Moviefone guy.
Craig: Moviefone guy was awesome. He was enthusiastic about anything, didn’t matter what. “You have selected Care Bears at 9:40am.”
John: [laughs] I think if someone is going to a Care Bears movie at 9:40pm, it’s really troubling. That’s an example — I haven’t even thought about Moviefone, but an example of like technology replacing something. Like who would use Moviefone now?
Craig: Moviefone, there must be a word for technology that in and of itself was revolutionary but only occupied a very thin wedge of time before it washed away by even more revolutionary technology.
John: Revolutionary obsolescence. So, that tiniest little sliver of time which was very, very important. You had actually sent me a long time ago the David Fincher directed You Will commercials.
John: Which we’ll find a link to those. They’re so amazing. So, basically this is 1993, I think. AT&T hired David Fincher to direct these commercials about like how in the future these amazing things will happen and AT&T will be the company that will provide them for you.
And the truth is AT&T didn’t really provide almost any of the stuff that they say in the commercials, but a lot of it is almost exactly right. And so like video calling, except they’re using a phone booth and it’s like, what? Or you’ll send a fax from the beach and it’s like, well, you’ll send email; that’s better than a fax.
Craig: Right. You’ll send a PDF.
John: And I love seeing a young Jenna Elfman tucking her baby into bed on the little video phone.
Craig: That’s right. Normally futurists get it completely wrong. In this case they were spot on.
John: They were spot on except that David Fincher foresaw a future in which everyone was living inside Blade Runner. And it didn’t happen quite that way.
Craig: No. Turns out we just don’t want that.
John: No. It turns out we basically want to stare at our iPhones the whole day.
John: But we’re not going to do that right now because we have a lot to talk about.
Craig: So much.
John: We’re going to do three Three Page Challenges today. But first off we need to like not bury the lead and there is going to be a New York City live show coming up.
Craig: Ah yeah!
John: There were legends and rumors about it on the last podcast, but it’s actually really happening now.
Craig: I’m going back home, to my hometown. We’re gonna do it!
John: [laughs] It’ll be Monday, September 23, at 8pm. It’s going to be at the New World Stages on 50th. It’s just amazing that it’s actually all worked out. And so I think we’re going to be selling tickets starting tomorrow. So, if you’re listening to this podcast on the day it comes out, on Tuesday, I think on that Wednesday we’ll be selling tickets.
But, if not, then Craig or I will tweet about it. And so you will see like, ooh, this is the date that they’re actually selling tickets.
Craig: Where could we get the tickets?
John: You can follow the link that will be on johnaugust.com that will take you to the right place. And so we’ll have the actual click-through code to do that. It’s a Telecharge theater, so we have to sell them through Telecharge. So, tickets are actually $10 rather than the $5 I would love them to be, which was LA, but it’s also New York, so everything is more expensive.
John: But for your $10 you’re not only getting me, and Craig, and a live show, and sort of the other surprises that come with that; you’re getting actually Andrew Lippa who is the lyricist and composer for Big Fish who I’ve been talking about on the podcast for forever. And there will be a piano there, so I think there’s going to be some singing.
John: I think Craig is going to have to do some singing.
Craig: [sings] I don’t have to.
John: It’s always been rumored that Craig will sing on the show and this time it’ll happen.
Craig: Well, just, I mean, if I’m going to be on a Broadway stage.
Craig: A Broadway-ish stage.
John: Did I tell you what stage we’re actually going to be on?
Craig: You mentioned that this is the stage where people here songs like, “Everyone’s a little racist, today.”
John: Well, see, that’s the amazing thing. So, we’re in this theater complex that is also hosting Avenue Q, a pretty amazing show. Peter and the Starcatcher, another show I love. But, those shows actually have shows that night, so we couldn’t be on one of their stages, so we needed to find a stage that was going to be available on Monday at 8pm. And it turns out to be Gazillion Bubble Show.
Craig: Ooh, I don’t know the Gazillion Bubble Show.
John: The Gazillion Bubble Show is a popular family entertainment that is designed for people with young kids who should not be going to a show at 8pm. The people who should be going to a show at 8pm on Monday September 23 are screenwriters and people who are interested in things that screenwriters are interested in.
Craig: Great. I am super excited. Just so excited. I really am. I mean, it’s a big deal to see my peeps and your peeps. Hopefully given that it’s a city of 14 billion people on a small island, that people will show up.
John: Yeah, you’re exaggerating a little bit, but I think people will be able to come. Los Angeles we sold out in four minutes. I really don’t think we’re going to sell out in four minutes, but I would say that it would be useful to follow Craig or I on Twitter so that we can tell you if there’s something, there’s a reason to move quickly on tickets, because we just don’t know. We have no idea how many people are coming to that show.
Craig: If we sold out in LA in four minutes, I think it’s fair to say that we might sell out in New York in eight minutes.
John: I would hope that just for everyone wanting to be able to come that everyone can come who wants to come, but I do want people to be able to come who want to see it. Plus Andrew Lippa has like a bunch of people who want to see him for Broadway reasons, so that’s going to create seat competition too.
Craig: I would like to make one request: No weirdos.
John: Yeah. No weirdos.
Craig: Yeah, you know what I mean, I don’t mean quirky. I mean, if people just don’t like you, don’t come.
John: So, there won’t be a bar in our actual facility, but there will be a cash bar down the hallway. And so you can go and hang out and see people who saw Avenue Q at the same time, too. And so we’ll go down there and it’ll be fun.
John: Like all things, it will be tighter and more packed because it’s New York City, but it should be a good time.
Craig: Tighter and more packed. More expensive. The usual.
John: Usually. Sometimes.
Craig: More Jewish.
John: Speaking of things that are small and packed full of value, those USB Scriptnotes drives — I’m desperate for segues at all points. That’s really a defining characteristic. I’m always looking for the segue to get me out of this talking competition.
Craig: I gave you one. I said more Jewish. There’s so many ways you could have gone with that.
John: How could I go from Jewish to a USB drive, Craig Mazin?
Craig: So, for those of you looking to save money or perhaps if you’re looking for a good deal… — Oh, you can’t do that; that’s racist.
John: I can’t do that.
Craig: But you know what? [sings] Everyone’s a little bit racist, today.
John: If you’re being specifically anti-Semitic, is that racist in general?
Craig: It is. Because, the Jewish people are both people of religion and they are also an ethnic group.
John: And I can’t argue with you because you’re Jewish.
Craig: Yeah, that’s right. Ha!
John: Trump card thrown.
Craig: Finally! It’s the upside. Uh…
John: So, can you hear the sirens on my side?
Craig: You bet. Oh, and it feels good, man. It feels good.
John: Yeah. I’m above a fire station here, which has usually actually not been so bad at all, except for all the tourists who want to like get their photo taken in front of the New York Fire Station. It’s like, I kind of get it, but at the same time, get out of my way.
Craig: Right. Well, you are officially becoming a New Yorker.
John: Yeah. That’s really what it has come down to is I’m annoyed by all these things. I think I may have already told this on the podcast but for someone who doesn’t live in New York, I live in New York a lot now. And I remember thinking when I was here for rehearsals this last time, “Who should I vote for for mayor?” And then I realized, oh, I don’t live here.
Craig: Yeah. You can’t vote.
John: I can’t vote. But what I will do, and can do, is tell you that the USB drives that hold the first 100 episodes of Scriptnotes, a bunch of people bought them which is fantastic and we’re so glad you bought them. They’re being made now. And they will be in the mail soon. We hope to get them out the door this coming week. I don’t know that we’re going to quite hit that date, but they’ll be coming out really soon.
And so after we said this is the cutoff and we’re not making any more of them, we really aren’t going to make any more of them, but we made enough that I think we’re going to have some left over. So, at a certain point we’ll reopen the store and sell some more of those ones, because I know that people keep joining the show late and the USB drives are a helpful way for people to catch up on 100 episodes of Craig.
Craig: Yeah. Of awesomeness. Sheer awesome.
John: Of awesomeness.
Craig: Pure awesome.
John: You had news, too. Is that correct?
Craig: Yeah, a little housekeeping of my own. Last podcast we were discussing the Olympics in one of our little side trips. And I mentioned that the Olympics were started in Greece, cradle of civilization. How strange then that they should be taking place in Russia where they’re strangely being uncivilized towards our LGBT — am I leaving one out? LGBT, yeah, that group.
John: That’s the group.
Craig: Friends. And Lexi Alexander, a Twitter follower of ours, pointed out in fact I was an ignoramus, [laughs] because while the games did, of course, originate in Greece, when they originated they were religious in nature. They were for men only. The men competed in the nude. And women were barred from watching. And if, in fact, they were caught watching they were put to death.
So, on the one hand, yes, Lexi is absolutely correct — my view that the Olympics were somehow borne of enlightened civilization. No, they were not. On the other hand, the Olympics are even gayer than I thought.
John: Yeah, they’re gayer and more horrible than you ever thought. [Crosstalk]
Craig: [laughs] Exactly. So, really, Russia, if you want to be true to the Olympic spirit, which was borne from nude men wrestling, I don’t know, rethink your dumb decisions.
John: Oh Russia.
Craig: Oh Russia!
John: But it’s not like we can even point to like this is a time where Russia was fantastic and like go back to that time. No, there have been problems kind of from the start.
Craig: Yeah. They’re consistently wrong about stuff. Consistently.
John: Yeah. I feel like the US has had some really good strong golden periods where you could point to significant flaws and sort of how some stuff was working, but the overall spirit was really good, like, “Oh, that’s a promising country.” And rarely can you say, “Wow, Russia is where I really want to be.”
Craig: They haven’t had their Golden Age, have they? [laughs] It’s been one awful situation after another. And vodka seems to make the pain go away.
John: Yeah. I think it was a Simpsons line. “Oh alcohol. The cause of and solution to most of life’s problems.”
Craig: “All of life’s problems.” Yeah.
John: All of those problems.
Craig: In Russia [crosstalk].
John: Today we have — did you have more to do business, or can we get to the Three Page Challenges?
Craig: Should I come up with something? Nah, whatever. Let’s do it. Let’s just go ahead and let’s do it.
John: Stuart did us right this week. And I thought we have interesting things to talk about.
Craig: We do.
John: So, should we start with Oblivion?
Craig: Why not?
John: Or Bury My Heart? Let’s start with Oblivion.
Craig: Do you want to summarize, or shall I?
John: I will summarize this one.
Craig: Very good.
John: This is An Oblivion Prolonged. It’s by Keith Alan Eiler. As always, we need to thank, and I feel like sometimes we don’t — this has gotten to be so routine that we’re not acknowledging and thanking people for their bravery and courage in sending in these three pages of their scripts to us.
John: Because that’s really kind of amazing that they’re trusting that we’re going to talk about their work on the air and hopefully get productive feedback, but also let the whole rest of the world see what they wrote. Anyway, so thank you Keith for sending this in.
So, story starts, exterior the Mars Space Station. And so this is a space station that is above the planet, but we’re actually inside a psychologist’s office. And Dr. Anderson is doing a consultation and a meeting with a guy named David Troxler, who is 40. And they’re talking about Troxler’s relationship with his wife and just other difficulties on the station. And clearly something is going not great but not terribly. They wouldn’t want to end up like Perkins.
And so Perkins is actually a guy we see running frantically down the space station hallway. We’re watching him from the security camera’s point of view. He’s dressed in pajama bottoms. Like, he’s freaking out.
We’re also meeting some other people on the space station, Jake Martell, who is watching this footage, and Perkins is talking about himself and sort of what he did in the past. “It’s weird just to be watching, seeing it all outside myself through different eyes.” It’s basically near the end of one of their rotations on the station and it’s clearly time to consider whether to re-up or not re-up. And that is about as much as we know of the situation on the station at the end of page three.
Craig: I detected that you were struggling a bit to summarize this. [laughs]
John: Yes, you did. It’s not just because I read it this morning and now we’re late at night.
John: It was hard to grab onto specific memorable story details from these three pages.
Craig: Yeah. There was, actually all three of the Three Pages that we’re going to discuss today tied back somewhat neatly to our discussion last week about confusing the audience and finding that line between mystery and confusion. And here I think we fall pretty rapidly into confusion territory.
On the one hand I commend our author, Keith, for being ambitious here in the way he’s presenting this. And it is an interesting situation. We’re looking at a space station and then when we go inside the space station we see that there’s a therapy session going on. It reminded me a little bit of the opening scene of Blade Runner where the replicant is being interviewed and it was somewhat disturbing.
But a couple of things sort of jumped out that kept stopping me. A small thing — we don’t use “pre-lap” generally in feature films. We use “off-screen” usually.
John: I use pre-lap all the time.
Craig: Oh, you say pre-lap? It’s the first time I’ve seen it in a script, but that’s fine. Then it’s a choice. It’s no big deal.
Dr. Anderson, I mean, and the descriptions of things are interesting and well written. I thought the dialogue was interesting. But I couldn’t quite follow what was going on here in this discussion. It seems that Troxler is having issues with his wife, Ellen. He refers to the Kepler problem, which Dr. Anderson doesn’t understand, nor did I.
Craig: Dr. Anderson is uncomfortable. I’m not sure why. He brings it back to a discussion of the wife. Troxler, “a smirk briefly plays on Troxler’s lips, then fades.” Not sure why. And then Dr. Anderson starts talking about a conversation that he’s had with Troxler’s wife, which also sort of surprised me because generally therapists don’t do that.
Bu then Troxler sort of laughs at the thought that she’s starting to lose it. And now Dr. Anderson is comfortable and now all the weirdness has gone away. I’m not sure why. And then they refer to Perkins. When we go to Perkins, what we’re seeing actually is a video of Perkins freaking out. And then we reveal that he’s in a sick bay room with Jake Martell, possibly a doctor, I’m not sure, or an assistant or so forth. And he’s watching this video with Perkins and Perkins is talking about, “I guess I won’t be joining you out there.
He says, “I bet it turns out to be a latchup with that five series.” I just don’t know what’s happening or what’s going on.
So, by the end of page three I was confused both by the circumstances, I was confused by some of the in jokes that I think I was supposed to get but didn’t. And I was confused mostly about the emotional state of a bunch of these people. So, I’m not sure what to think.
I mean, it could be that by page four through eight everything clicks in and I get it. But, I don’t know, what about you.
John: So, yes, clearly I share a lot of your concern that I had a hard time knowing what was going on. And our mutual friend, Rawson Thurber, he has this term which I trot out every once and awhile, is “obscurity for death,” which is like I don’t understand what’s happening and sometimes I worry that this writer is using our confusion as sort of like a smokescreen so we think that more is happening than is really happening.
Some basics, some fundamental things I was confused about, which is just from a writing perspective: how big is this space station? If you’re going to show us an exterior of the spaces station, give us a sense of size and scale because after these three pages I don’t know if there’s 100 people on the station or 1,000 or ten. And so I have a very limited sense of what this is.
I’m thinking it’s a pretty big space station if they have a separate psychologist’s office. And if someone has like — one of them has like a living room. So, it’s like, well, if you’re big enough to have — or Troxler has a dining room. If you’re in a station that is big enough that you actually have a dining room, like not a dining hall, but a private dining room, that’s a pretty big thing.
I didn’t have a good sense of what kind of world I was in. And that was frustrating to me.
All that said, this guy could be Shane Carruth. This guy could be a guy who makes Primer or Upstream Color, both of which are like really hard to follow at the start, but are actually genius.
John: And so I want to fully acknowledge that this could be just terrific and it’s just very hard to follow in this Three Page little sample.
Looking at some specific things on the page, though. First off, Craig is right, and pre-lap is not the right word for Troxler on page one. Pre-lap is if a person is going to start talking before the cut, and it’s sort of important that they’re talking before the cut. But that would mean that he would have to be the first person talking after the cut, and that’s not happening here. So, it’s really off-screen is what you’d want there.
John: “EXT. MARS SPACE STATION — SPACE.” Eh, we’re in space twice. To me, I say you can get rid of the day and night kind of thing when you’re in space. You’re in space.
Let’s look at the very first sentence: “We see a faintly lit space station over the desolate surface of Mars.” Well, here’s a case where we don’t need “we see.” It’s just, “A faintly lit space station over the desolate surface of Mars.” We need no subject. We need no verb. Just give us that fragment because that’s what we need. It’s just sort of the noun phrase explaining what this is.
Craig: And also say “The faintly lit.” It’s a small thing, but if you’ve established that Mars Space Station exists in the slug line, then I would go to “the.”
John: Yeah, “the.” Or, you might just give us space and then reveal. Like, why don’t you be a little bit more cinematic in that very first moment of like how you’re showing what this is? And give us a sense of the size, because right now I don’t know what I’m looking at. And that’s frustrating for the reader who is starting this thing.
John: We may title this episode Adventures in Semi-Colons, because semi-colons prop up as a problem here.
Craig: Yeah, I noticed this.
John: The same first paragraph. “Round and round, never stopping; providing artificial gravity to its inhabitants.” Okay, a semi-colon is almost never the right choice. They’re a very powerful tool but they’re almost never kind of the right thing you want to use, especially in screenwriting.
First off, it’s not even the right grammatical form here because that should be an independent phrase after the semi-colon.
Craig: Two independent clauses. The second somehow commenting on the first.
John: Yes. That’s not happening here.
John: A comma would work here.
Craig: Or a dash, or an ellipses.
John: Yes. Or, most cases where I’ve seen people try to join thoughts together with a semi-colon, a period would have been a much better friend. Screenwriting is about short sentences. So, keep those sentences short.
We’re inside the psychologist’s office. “This is a practical square room with tile carpeting, plain walls, and an airtight hatch for an entrance.” That’s D&D description. That’s very much like, you know, you’ve entered into a 40 foot by 40 foot room with a pit on the far side. It’s not painting the world in a special way. And so this is not a terrific way to start a block.
Craig: I agree. But, I’ll also qualify the criticism a little bit by saying this may be the style of this movie. In other words, this movie may be a kind of very antiseptic, cold sort of thing.
If you notice — Keith, I assume this is intentional. I hope it is, otherwise I’m angry — Keith is constantly commenting on the colors of things.
So, I just wonder if this is part of the vibe. Because everyone seems sort of oddly Valiumed and even the descriptions of the rooms are Valiumed. So, maybe that’s part of the style of it. But, I agree, and unfortunately it makes for a very challenging first three pages.
John: It does. And I haven’t read the script for Moon. I really liked the movie Moon. And I wouldn’t be surprised if the very first pages of Moon kind of felt like this, because it’s just like people plotting through a normal routine.
John: But then again you have to be able to get people to read page four. And so there’s always that issue. I agree with you on the Kepler problem. It’s really a challenge when you’re starting off a movie by referring to someone who is not even on screen and like are we supposed to get it, are we not supposed to get it? Now I’m confused. Should I be looking back ahead to see if I’ve missed something? That’s a frustration is when you’re referring to something we have no idea of what you’re actually taking about. And then when the character is in the world, or ambiguous about how they’re responding to it, it’s not going to be your best friend.
On a general character sense, I have a hard time believing this doctor/patient relationship. Now, maybe it actually all makes sense. Maybe there’s a really good reason why these things are this way. And later on in the film I will understand what was actually happening, but in the moment I saw it I didn’t believe it. And so much of screenwriting is maintaining the reader’s trust. And that being confident in the writer’s ability to get me to the next point. Like my placing my faith in you is merited and when I don’t believe this thing that seems like it’s a psychologist/patient relationship, then I’m a little suspicious as I go onto the next page, and the next page.
Craig: Yeah. This is a tough one. It may be mumblecore in space. And it may be awesome, like you said. These are challenging pages. They’re challenging to the reader. That’s not always a bad thing, but I would say I guess to Keith hopefully that was your intention. Because if it wasn’t, then we have a problem. If it was, well, you’re there. And then you understand that you’ve made your bed a certain way and you’re going to lie in it. And some people are going to be into it and some people are just going to check out and it’s not going to be for them.
But as long as this is what you intended, I would have to say you’ve achieved it.
John: Yeah. One thing I actually really liked, on page three, was I really Perkins’ line, “I bet it turns out to be latchup with that five series.” That’s the kind of, like, it’s something that’s out there in the world I sort of believe that they’re talking about. It’s when characters talk about football and I don’t really know what they’re talking about, but I believe they know what they’re talking about. So, like “latchup” is a strange word, but I believe it’s a word that exists in their world.
I’d much rather have that kind of, like I don’t know what they’re talking about, because I believe they know what they’re talking about, than referencing some character who is not there and I need to start thinking about them.
Craig: You know, it’s funny. I know what you mean, but I didn’t like it here because it felt a little precious, it felt a little forced. Look at me, I’m using lingo that they don’t understand, especially because even what he was saying, to me this was the part where the dialogue got a little chunky. “Guess I won’t be joining you out there tonight, Jake.”
That’s just not a very good line.
John: No, it’s not.
Craig: And then, “I bet it turns out to be…” Why are you saying what you bet it turns out to be? You’re not joining him out there. You’re upset. You just watched yourself freaking out. It seemed like a weird moment to do that. But, you know, then again, this is… — Clearly there’s a very specific tone here and this is one of those areas where I don’t want to criticize something because I might not like the movie, because other people might love it.
This isn’t a question of the writing that much. It’s just the tone. So, I do know that the “dining room/kitchen area is basic white, but with pale red, blue and yellow accents to give it some color.” That better be intentional. Keith, just let us know that the color thing is something you’re doing on purpose.
John: Yeah. I would hope so.
Craig: I mean, different colored jumpsuits and everything has a color.
John: Aren’t you always — I think I’m just now by default suspicious of anything set in a space/science-fiction thing that’s all going to be some kind of weird dream. This is called An Oblivion Prolonged, but then I saw Oblivion and it’s like I went through that whole movie like, okay, well I’m going to figure out what the twist of this is because there’s clearly a twist, and clearly people are like not talking about something they should be talking about.
I think we need to do something about that. I feel like we need to stop making that movie or figure out a way to get around that.
Craig: Moratorium on scary nightmarish space stations. Well, I mean, it’s a good analogy for alienation and existential dread.
John: And the police state, I guess, too.
John: The sense of constant surveillance.
Craig: Yeah. Hell is other people. I mean, yeah, there’s something useful about it, but you’re right, we have seen it and it can verge on pretentious occasionally, hurtling over the line into full pretentiousness. But hopefully this works out.
John: Cool. Let’s do Bury My Heart next.
Craig: Bury My Heart, written by Minhal Baig. I’m hoping I’m pronouncing that right. Minhal Baig.
John: That’s how I would do it.
Craig: Okay. Fantastic. So, we open, we’re inside a hotel room. Someone is changing their clothes inside, but we just hear that, and we’re looking at stacks of cash piled inside of an open briefcase as well as a gun and bullets. Then we move away from there. Now we’re outside of a strip club at the same time. A black Mercedes is parked across the street from the strip club as its closing up and the performers are leaving.
Inside the car we meet Max in his 40s. He’s a stoic type. And he’s looking in his rearview mirror, watching women passing by. And here comes Rachel, 20s, texting. She sees the car, stops, and then keeps moving. And then a different girl, also in 20s, a little sloppy and drunk perhaps, leans over the open passenger window and basically sort of propositions Max.
He asks her to get in the car. She sits down. He gives her a black duffle bag. She opens it up and it is full of cash. $50,000 to be precise. She wants to know what’s the catch, why is he giving her this money. He takes out a gun, puts her hands around it, puts the gun against his chest, and essentially is asking her to kill him. She’s scared, leaves, and he seems upset about that.
And this is Bury My Heart. Minhal Baig.
John: Bury My Heart. So, let’s talk about — before we get into the specifics of the writing, let’s talk about if this were the first three minutes of a movie, that’s interesting. I mean, I’m curious what his deal is. I didn’t necessarily believe how it happened here, but I think that provocative act of like trying to get a stranger to kill you in the start of your movie is interesting.
So, I think it’s an interesting way to start a story. Is it the right way to start your story? Who knows. But I thought it was an interesting way to start the story.
John: I had a hard time reading these three pages and sort of getting the through thread of what was important, what was not important. And I think the specific words on the page were not helping Minhal to create this provocative image. Because I got confused a lot and had to sort of keep backtracking to make sure I was actually following what I was supposed to be following.
John: Let’s dig in on that. Right from the very start. We’re in a hotel room. “An empty bedroom, but clearly lived-in. The light from the bathroom streams in.” So, if you’re in a hotel room, are you in a bedroom? Well, it’s a bedroom if there’s a separate sort of room, but then it’s a more fancy thing. Like weirdly bedroom right in the first sentence through me. Because you think of a bedroom being in a house or a bigger place, but it’s just an empty room if we’re in a hotel room.
Or just be in hotel room and then we don’t have to say anything more in that first sentence.
John: The second block stopped me, too. “There is the sound of someone changing their clothes inside.” We’re in the bathroom. “There is the sound of someone changing their clothes inside.” I don’t know what that sounds like.
Craig: I don’t know what it sounds like, either. I’m not sure, inside what? Inside the bathroom?
John: Inside the bathroom. “The light from the bathroom streams in. There is the sound of someone changing their clothes inside.” But it didn’t —
Craig: No. We could hear zippers. We can hear, maybe, you know, or shuffling around, the sound of somebody shuffling around in the bathroom.
John: Then we go to “EXT. STRIP CLUB — SAME.” But is it really the same? I think it’s actually meant to be later that night. I think it’s meant to be that same night.
Craig: Well, that’s the thing. I was already really super confused because I’m not sure why we even watched this bedroom — not bedroom — hotel room scene.
John: Yup. Well, I don’t know either because, so, in this bedroom we see stacks of cash piled inside an open briefcase.
Craig: But, no, but it’s not. Because he gives her a duffle bag later. I actually went back to check. It seems like there are two things of cash. So, already I’m just puzzled. And not in a good way.
John: Not in a fascinated way.
Craig: Right. Grumpy.
John: As we get to the strip club, “As the club closes up, its PERFORMERS file out and AD-LIB good-byes to each other. The bouncers lock up.” Well that’s just under-written. First off, the performers, like performers — I had to think, like, oh, we’re at a strip club, so it’s not like Cirque du Soleil. If they’re strippers then say their strippers, or dancers. Performers felt like a weird word for that.
I think asking for ad-libs in the second block of stuff is not ideal. And so if it’s meant to be small chat, whatever, but just don’t say the word ad-lib because I feel like —
Craig: I’ve never written “ad-lib” in 18 years.
John: Yeah. I think ad-lib is not your friend. It’s certainly not your friend on page one.
John: So, some line from somebody. Like just let us know who is important. Or, if nobody is important just let them file out and don’t sort of give them non-words to say right there.
John: “MAX, 40s, having mastered cold, emotionless reservation, sits at the wheel.” I don’t know what reservation is. If it’s meant to give us a sense that I guess he’s reserved, but reserved isn’t really reservation. They’re not really the same word.
Craig: And, also, he’s mastered it? I don’t even know what that means. Meaning that — we’ll never know that. I guess the point is you can just as easily say, “Max, 40, sits at the wheel, grim, or flat affect, or cold, distant.” But I just hate this sort of like, oh, here’s a backstory that we haven’t earned.
John: I mean, just like he’s Ryan Gosling in Drive, but older. I’m of the school that I’m fine cheating a line of description on an important character the first time we meet them because it — someone who’s watching a movie gets to see an actual real person there and gets to make their generalizations about them through that. Because we don’t have an actual person in front of us, I’m okay cheating a line of dialogue that gives you a little bit more than you could actually see or hear. I’m fine with that.
But this didn’t do it for me.
And, the next block we have our adventure in semi-colon there. “From his rearview mirror, he sees a few DRUNKEN WOMEN pass by; one talks loudly on her phone, another walks in a helpless zigzag on the sidewalk.” That semi-colon should be a period. There’s no reason to — the second clause is not commenting on the first clause. They’re separate thoughts.
Craig: Also, we’re writing movies, so we don’t say things like, “from his rearview mirror he sees…” We say, “In the rearview mirror, drunken women pass by. Max eyes them.” Or, “Max checks his rearview mirror. In the mirror…” Make it visual. Let’s not get prosy about this sort of thing.
Also, I should also add, shooting things in a rearview mirror is annoying. It’s not just annoying to shoot, because you’re now spending time lining up extras to hit a mirror reflection, it’s also annoying for the audience because a rearview mirror is tiny. A lot of times they’ll take the rearview mirror out of the car anyway because when they’re shooting through the front they don’t want a rearview mirror in front of people’s faces. So, just be aware of that, also. Imagine this in your mind and imagine an audience watching it.
John: Yeah. The bigger challenge we have sort of in this page is like Minhal needs is INT/EXT Car, because basically we’re moving back and forth from perspective of being inside the car and watching what’s outside the car. You can make the argument like once we’re inside the car we stay inside the car, once we’re outside the car we stay outside the car. I think INT/EXT Car would be more helpful for him, where he’s actually split the scene header. You describe we’re going to be moving freely back and forth inside and outside the car, especially because on page two someone comes up to the window.
And right now he has it as “INT. CAR — CONTINUOUS.” But really that girl has come up to the car and is outside the car. That is your friend is INT/EXT Car.
Craig: Right. He jumps to “EXT. CAR — CONTINUOUS.”
Craig: I can’t let you go past, “RACHEL, 20s, fresh-faced, sharp and prurient.”
John: I circled prurient, too.
Craig: Prurient is the wrong word, sir. You do not mean prurient.
John: What do you think he meant? Do you think he meant prudent?
Craig: I do not know. I know that he didn’t mean prurient because that’s impossible based on what she’s — so prurient means sort of sexually licentious.
John: And I don’t think of a person being prurient.
Craig: No. It’s an attitude.
John: Thoughts being prurient thoughts.
Craig: Right. Prurient attitude, prurient thoughts, prurient display. But she’s texting on her phone. There’s nothing prurient about it. I just think he doesn’t know —
John: [laughs] You don’t know what she’s texting. She’s texting some really dirty stuff on her phone.
Craig: It’s not the right word. It can’t possibly be the right word. Again, all this happening in the rearview mirror.
And, of course, Rachel — who is called out in all caps, so she’s somebody that we’re supposed to care about — just is texting, stops, she’s caught like a dear in the headlights, but he’s looking at her in the rearview mirror so she’s behind the car.
Really, just I’m so confused.
John: She’s caught in the taillights, Craig.
Craig: [laughs] She’s caught in the taillights, I just… — And then she moves on, so I guess she, what does that even mean? Why? What is she caught by? She’s just behind a car. There’s nothing to catch her attention at all.
John: Yeah. So, I get what Minhal is going for here, it’s just it’s hard to follow on the page. Essentially, like, so she recognizes that car, she recognizes who must be in that car, and goes the other way. But that’s not what we actually got on the paper here. And that’s not good.
Craig: No. And we need to shift to her perspective for that. We’re not going to see that from his perspective of her. We need to see her approaching the car, see something off with it, stop —
John: Stops. React.
Craig: And then move away in fear.
John: And you know what would really help us know that Rachel is an important character is if she said something to anybody in these first couple of paragraphs.
John: Because she clearly just left this club, so let her say something to somebody so we actually establish like, oh, she’s an important character who has a voice and is not like all the other people who are here. But then it’s frustrating because the one who actually is doing the work in this next scene is just called “Girl.”
John: And it’s like, but she has lines? And so really if a character has more than two lines they should never just be generic. They should never be girl.
John: For many reasons. First, like for reader’s clarity, this is an important enough character that this person should have a name. But also think about casting this person. Like, “Oh, I’m going up for Girl.” It’s like, well that sounds like you’re an extra, but no, you actually need someone who can act in this moment because it’s going to be a weird thing where like this guy is giving you money to kill him.
This isn’t an extra. This isn’t somebody you’re spending a week trying to cast. And you’re not going to find the right person by trying to go after Girl.
Craig: And my impression was that she’s a prostitute and she’s getting into a car with a man because she presumes he’s out there looking for a hooker. They have a sort of interesting chitchat.
John: I agree.
Craig: Although she seems a little oblivious to the fact that he’s creep, which generally isn’t — hookers are sort of good at noticing creepy.
John: Good radar.
Craig: Yeah, because they deal with this sort of thing all the time.
John: But, not this girl because she is “full of youthful sloppiness.”
John: That’s her line of description.
Craig: By the way, all kidding aside, Minhal might have intended that she’s not a hooker and that in fact she’s just a girl who is sort of interested in this guy in a car. But I have no reason to believe that. I mean, he’s in his 40s and she’s in her 20s and it’s night outside of a strip club and he’s alone, grimly, in a car.
So, one way or another this stuff isn’t matching up, and I’m not sure which is intended.
John: Yeah. So, what you’re referring to on page two, which is actually my favorite part of the whole thing, is she’s looking at the empty passenger seat and she says, “That taken?” He unlocks the door for her in reply. She opens the door and sits down next to him.
Great. That was an interesting way to get her into the car. And so I liked that moment. I wished the whole thing had moments like that because that would be awesome.
And I didn’t buy, on page three, I liked it up until the point where there’s the gun. “He takes out his gun and clasps her hands around it.” And she says, “Gunplay, huh? I like that.”
Craig: No she doesn’t. She’s scared out of her mind. First of all —
John: Who would say that?
Craig: Before he pulls out the gun, where a normal person would start peeing, he puts a bag on her lap. And her, “What’s this?” That’s all. This is a weird guy you’ve never met and he’s put a black duffel bag on your lap and her response is, “What’s this?”
John: You were expecting that there would be a head inside, weren’t you? Weren’t you expecting body parts inside?
Craig: Well, no matter what I’m expecting, I don’t think the girl would say anything at all. I think she would be puzzled. And I think then Max would say, “It’s yours. Open it.” And now she would be concerned. But maybe I should open it because I’m scared, and she opens it, and there’s all this money. And I don’t think she would say, “Jesus Christ, there must be like,” I mean, she’s like, “Good golly gee.”
No, I don’t think she’s going to say anything here. This is an example of a scene where you really have to think about the notion of who’s in charge of the scene, who’s driving it, who has power, who is afraid, who is not. Because this is potentially good stuff here, but she’s just yapping away throughout the whole thing here.
And then when she finally gets to “Gunplay, huh? I like that,” we’re like, well, this is not a human.
John: Yeah. So, let’s envision together the scene I kind of think that Minhal set out to write, which could be actually really kind of cool. And I think that would actually start with there’s a guy parked outside a strip club, women are coming out, at the end of the night they’re doing their normal stuff. Probably a little chitchat between them in a way that’s actually meaningful so we have some sense of who they are, a little bit of the reality of the world.
One woman knows not to go to that car and goes the other way, but another girl who we’ve established a little bit before she got to the car does go to the car. And in that car something like this scene happens where this guy puts the gun to his chest and basically wants to die.
Craig: Yeah. If I were doing a quick rewrite I would actually not start with the car at all. I would start with the strip club, it’s closing, and strippers are coming out. And I would give them little bits of bye-bye dialogue. And I would be following Rachel, who is the person we’re supposed to care about. And I would have her walking and texting. And then I would have her stop and notice the back of a car parked there on its own. And then something about that, she turns and walks the other way, a little frightened.
Then, I would show another girl, one of the other girls who is chitchatting or smoking or something, seeing that car, and sort of walking over to it curiously. And that’s when we would meet Max.
John: Yeah. I agree with you. I think it’s a much better way. Because your characters are taking you to the source of danger and you’re not splitting your focus. You’re focusing on one thing and letting that thing that you’re focusing on carry you to the next thing.
Craig: Right. And it’s just also a way for, when we have — let’s rename girl. Let’s call her —
Craig: Veronica. Veronica, by seeing the car, and seeing the man, and making a choice to walk over, tells me a ton about Veronica. Before she ever opens her mouth I know that she’s smart, calculating, a hooker, making a decision about a guy, could probably use the money, weighing things and, “Eh, screw it, let’s do it.” But, this is a business transaction for her. The other way is just some girl I don’t know who goes, “Hey Mister. What you doing out here?” [laughs] Well who the hell are you? And why?
So, multiple issues here for Minhal. But, you’re right, the story bones here are promising. So, I think Minhal, man or woman, not sure, either way, Minhal, you have a good idea here for how to open a movie, which is a man propositioning a hooker not for sex but to kill him. And that’s an interesting mystery to start with, why, and all the rest of it.
Not so sure that the plan is very well thought through. I’m not sure what hooker would actually go along with it. But that aside, the issues that we have really are issues of structuring and introduction and revelation and staging.
John: I agree.
Let’s go onto our third one for today which is from Brie Williams. We don’t have a title but we know it’s from Brie Williams. So, Brie Williams, thank you for sending it through.
I’ll synopsize here.
We start exterior of Tolly’s BBQ Drive-Thru. And there’s a big plastic pig and a car is there to place an order apparently. And the woman’s voice inside says, “Two rapes and a murder.” And the drive-thru speaker person is confused. “Can you repeat?” “And grand theft auto.”
And then we actually come around to see that Claiborne is the person inside. It says, “BUNNY CLAIBORNE (40s), dark flyaway curls and a white button-down shirt.” And she’s on a car speaker phone. So, she’s talking about two rapes and a murder. She’s not trying to order two rapes and a murder. She’s talking about a grand theft auto charge and talking stuff down. Making some jokes. And then she finally orders a small rib bucket.
In the car she’s actually gotten the BBQ, she’s gotten it on her shirt, she’s gotten it on her bra. She’s like taking the shirt off as she’s going through apparently to work, which is at the exterior of the Harris County Criminal Courthouse where we find her. Establishing shots where we get then to a voiceover which is really truly a pre-lap, where she talks through the defense of her client.
And she makes the point that this guy is clearly squirmy and not a guy you’d want to have around, but just not being the kind of guy you want to have around doesn’t make — is not a reason to send someone to the death house.
Leaving that Claiborne has conversations with a guy named Lonnie, the armed guard, about his wife and her skin disease. And that’s the end of our three pages.
Craig, what did you think?
Craig: Well, this was trying to be interesting and it was trying to be funny and I’m afraid I wasn’t very interested and I didn’t laugh.
Now, I want to talk about some of the mistakes that I think happened sort of tonally and some structural mistakes, because I have no idea where this is going to go, but not a big fan here.
Some issues right off the top. I had a real, real problem with the first page, just figuring out what the hell was going on. And once I understood what was going on, it would still be very difficult to actually execute. The idea is that we’re opening on the drive-thru window speaker and we’re hearing Claiborne and then in parenthesis underneath, (OS — from inside car), which is a no-no, “Two rapes and a murder.” And the drive-thru speaker says, “Excuse me? Two apple pies?”
That was, I felt good at that moment. [laughs] I thought, okay, that’s actually quite clever. I like where this is so far. And then it went kind of downhill because then we go inside the car, we meet Bunny Claiborne, the drive-thru speaker is inside her car now saying, “Could you repeat?” Then a phone voice says, “And grand theft auto.” And I’m like, wait, oh, and now she’s on the phone. She’s having a discussion with this guy on the phone.
Her discussion, her character is revealed in this little paragraph, and I’m going to read it: “Oh please, the grand theft charge is bullshit. He moved the car to transport the body. It’s not like he killed her for the car. I mean, have you seen the car? (laughing),” on the same line. “It’s a fucking Dodge Dart.”
Now, am I supposed to hate her? [laughs] Because I hate her now. I find this to be false bravado. It’s very put-offish. And so I’m finding her icky. And also, frankly, the staging of this, again, doesn’t work because people don’t do this.
If they pull up to a window they put the person on hold. They say, “Hold on one sec.” Blah, blah, blah, and a blah, blah, blah, and then they go back to their conversation. They don’t keep talking while the drive-thru speaker guy is talking. It just doesn’t work. I didn’t buy it.
Now we’re heading down, we’re in her car, we do a bit of physical business where she’s unbuttoning her shirt because it’s got BBQ stains on it. She’s swerving around. Okay, so she’s a bit of a mess, I get it. And then we get to the courthouse and over an exterior shot establishing the courtyard plaza of Harris County we have this endless pre-lap.
Craig: Generally speaking, you get a sentence in. This has three sentences, the second of which is quite long. So, you have an eight-line long dialogue brick that is meant to be read off-screen.
And then we go inside and we have her delivering the rest of this speech, which frankly I didn’t find very good. I wasn’t — I thought she was making a point that wasn’t particularly sharp. And what was concerning to me was that clearly the movie means for us to believe that this is a sharp, smart argument that she’s making. But all she’s really saying is, “He’s a squiggly guy, but it’s your job to look at the evidence.” You’ll see that everything the prosecution has presented doesn’t amount to capital murder, it amounts to Zacharia Lee is a bad guy.
Now, but surely they presented something else. [laughs] It couldn’t just be that. This is not a great defense she’s mounting. And then people laugh at her line, “Being squiggly.” It just seems like everybody is kind of broad and goofy here. And we finish with this conversation where we spend half of our precious page three chitchatting with Lonnie the armed guard, even though she’s walking on her out, they have this eight-line long exchange that doesn’t particularly go anywhere.
And we do have a — you will point out the completely incorrect semi-colon on the third line as well, but I just couldn’t get a handle on this. What about you?
John: Craig, I don’t know how many Three Page Challenges we’ve done — maybe 60 do you think?
Craig: A lot, yeah.
John: A lot. I’ve never heard you be more wrong about three pages.
John: In the entire history of our podcast. If this were a video podcast people would see me being dumbfounded at your responses.
Craig: Really? Exciting!
John: Yes. I thought these were incredibly promising pages. And so all the technical things you pointed out are actually true. And so parentheticals don’t belong within the block of things. And parentheticals with character names belong up on the line with the character name. Those are simple, basic things that Brie should know and embrace and it will take her five minutes to internalize and she’ll never make those mistakes again.
I thought the first bit was funny. Not like hilariously funny, but here’s what it was: It was funny in exactly the kind of way of like a Kyra Sedgwick TBS show kind of way, where she’s like a tough Texas defense attorney who has a messed up personal life. And I thought for what that was, and I got what that vibe was, I thought it was actually a pretty good job. And so the squiggly thing that you thought was terrible, I actually marked, I wrote in my little erasable pen I wrote, “Terrific. I really liked it.” Except I scratched that “Scattered LAUGHTER in the courtroom,” because it’s not true and it shouldn’t be there.
John: Because it’s not there. It should be cut.
And, I agree with you, again, about sort of, this felt like a walking into the courtroom conversation rather than a walking out of the courtroom conversation. Because if you’re leaving a building you’re not going to have a long conversation with somebody.
John: But if you’re going through security and have to like put your stuff through the bag stuff.
Craig: Right. You’re slowly dealing with the nonsense of putting your crap through the thing.
John: Then four-eighths of a page on that I totally believe if its helping establish what this is. I thought like here’s the dialogue in this:
How’s the wife, Lonnie?
Got the shingles.
Sorry to hear it.
Skin’s all scaly-like.
Tell her to feel better for me, all right?
You ever seen a gila monster? That’s kinda what it’s like.
No, I never have.
Claiborne gives a wave of her hand and pushes out...
I get what she’s going for there. It’s just like that guy who’s like over-engaging, over-sharing information. This feels like it’s a comedy/drama designed for TNT. That’s what I was getting out of this, or an adaptation of one of those detective novels that I would never read.
Craig: Okay. [laughs] I…
John: You disagree?
Craig: I do.
John: Which is fine.
Craig: I’m sorry. And, l mean, listen Brie, the good news is that you got one of us here for sure. I get sent things like this a lot. There is something off about the way the character is being presented. It doesn’t — it feels a little forced. It feels a little fakey somehow. There is a fake brassiness to it.
I mean, I could see Melissa McCarthy playing Claiborne, but not like this. Yeah…
John: Yeah. I think this is like Erin Brockovich as a defense kind of attorney, or that kind of idea. And that’s a reasonable idea. It’s not going to be to Craig Mazin’s taste. But, I thought —
Craig: Which we all know is horrendous. [laughs]. I mean, look, yeah, I don’t know. The technical issues that I have, that you have as well, and those are all technical issues, really my issue is I just didn’t like it. And that’s not really, I mean, in the end that’s not why we do these. So, I have to say, Brie, not everybody will like it. Or maybe just I won’t. [laughs] No.
John: Because here’s the thing: I bet if we read the rest of this script, and I’m really curious now at this point whether it’s designed as a one-hour or designed as a feature, because I could see either way out of these three pages what’s going to happen here. But my hunch is that if it’s all this quality and actually has a story with a structure, if she can really tell a tale with this character, not just like have this character enter into situations, I suspect it will interesting. Doesn’t mean that it gets made, but it has some kind of voice to it which was nice.
Craig: Yeah, I agree with you. There is a clear voice here and I actually think that this could be — I could like this, actually.
John: Also, my hunch is given the obvious technical mistakes here that Brie may be new to screenwriting and may be learning sort of how it all works.
Craig: And also to be fair to Brie, I sort of write things like this, vaguely like this, so sometimes I think — we rarely get this kind of sort of R-rated character-driven comedy kind of thing for Three Pages, so I may just be harder on it because —
John: It’s in your ballpark.
Craig: Maybe because I’m hard on myself, so when I read things and I go, okay, well, there’s no way that she would be having this discussion while the drive-thru speaker guy was there. That’s psychotic. Nobody does that. So, then I’m just grumpy about that and I’m not really paying attention to the fact that actually you could probably fix that very, very easily.
John: Yeah. And I think when I was listening to your critiques I was like, well yes, but those are really easy things to fix. And so it doesn’t mean that they’re not actual problems, because you’re not wrong about sort of these technical things, but they were in no way the deal killers that they were for me that they were for you.
Craig: Yeah, it may be that I just get fussier about this kind of screenplay stuff.
John: I get it.
Craig: Sorry Brie.
John: I hope Brie knows that one of us loves her.
Craig: I do. [laughs] Yeah. I do.
John: [laughs] It is time for One Cool Things. I’ll start.
This is a book that’s structured as a website. So, you can either look at it as like an e-book or you can look at it as just a website that you go to. Regardless, I think it’s worth literally almost everybody going to.
It’s called Practical Typography. It is by this guy named Matthew Butterick who is a typeface designer. And this website/book advertises itself as typography in ten minutes. Basically if you just read this little page, it will take you ten minutes to read, you will do a much better job than 90 percent of people who work with type because it has very simple guidelines for like do this, don’t do that, really straight forward things about like this is how long a line of text should be. And if it’s going to be longer than this it’s going to be very hard to read, which is absolutely true, and so much of what we do in print and on the web would be improved if everyone just followed some of these guidelines.
So, it is a simple website that you can go to, click right through, and follow the links. And I think everyone will benefit from it.
Craig: My One Cool Thing this week was a recommendation from one of our Twitter followers and it’s a game called Gone Home. It’s by an independent game company called the Fullbright Company, I believe, and not only is it a good game, and it’s available for — it’s not a mobile game. It’s for PC or for Mac. And I think it costs $20.
And it’s a game that you could probably play in two or three hours. Theoretically you could blow throw it in an hour if you want. Very simple set up. You are a girl who is coming home from a trip overseas to your family’s new home that they just moved into and no one is there.
And you start to move through the house and it is creepy and scary, but I will tell you the following things without spoiling anything. It’s never what you think it’s about until sort of two-thirds of the way when you realize what it’s about. There is no shooting. It is a discovery. The game is a discovery. And it’s beautifully done. Beautifully done.
And it struck me when I finished playing it that for the first time I thought to myself there could be a real future in this as just a genre. The genre of a story, like an episode of television, or a movie that you walk through and discover as a game.
Because we’ve always struggled with the notion of interactive movies, or interactive entertainment because it’s authorial. We’re presenting a story to a passive audience. And I believe that. And similarly games struggle with it, sort of famously BioShock, the existence of BioShock is to provide a commentary on how you who play games think you’re engaging in an interactive narrative. You’re really on rails being forced to do what the game demands you to do.
What this really surprised me with was its ability to just let you, in your own way, experience a story. Let you walk around and find it and uncover it like a detective, almost like if you’d imagine piecing together… — And, you know, naturally it’s contained in a house. But, I thought, you know, I could see people actually making movies like this where you walk through the movie on your own.
And so I was very inspired by it. I thought it was really well done. And if you have twenty bucks lying around and feel like trying this game out, please do. It’s called Gone Home and we’ll throw a link on for you.
John: Fantastic. Now, Craig, while you’re in New York City for the live Scriptnotes taping, have you already seen Sleep No More?
Craig: Last time I was in New York I tried to go see Sleep No More and it was sold out, so I’ve made — I’ve got to figure out what night I’m going to go, what night I’m free when I’m there and jump on tickets early, because, yes, it’s life-changing from everyone’s review.
John: Your description of Gone Home really reminds me of Sleep No More in the sense that you are just wandering through a space and you can sort of construct the story that you want to construct based on what you discover. And you can open books, and read things, and piece together what’s really, well, maybe what’s really going on. These scenes will just sort of like drift through and you can see them. I think you will dig it.
Craig: Awesome. Yeah. I’m going to go for sure.
John: Great. So, recaps and reminders for this episode. There will be a live Scriptnotes on September 23 at 8pm here in New York. Tickets will be going on sale probably tomorrow. We’re positing this on Tuesday, so they should be up for sale on Wednesday. But follow me, I’m @johnaugust on Twitter, or Craig, who is @clmazin on Twitter, and if there are differences or new details we will tell you about them on that.
If you have a question that you would like us to address on the show, you can write to firstname.lastname@example.org and Stuart will filter it appropriately. If you have a Three Page Challenge of your own that you would like to submit there are instructions for how to file a Three Page Challenge. Go to johnaugust.com/threepage, all spelled out, and you’ll see the instructions there. There is boilerplate language we ask you to put on there so you will not sue us and not be angry if we don’t get to your submission, or don’t like your submission, or whatever.
But, that’s it, I think. Craig, thank you for another fun podcast.
Craig: Thank you. See you next time.
John: All right, bye.
- David Fincher’s 1993 AT&T You Will ads, and on Wikipedia
- Follow @johnaugust and @clmazin for Live from New York details
- Andrew Lippa on Wikipedia
- Screenwriting.io on pre-laps
- The Oatmeal on semicolons
- Three Pages by Keith Alan Eiler
- Three Pages by Minhal Baig
- Three Pages by Brie Williams
- Matthew Butterick’s Practical Typography
- Gone Home, from the Fullbright Company
- Sleep No More
- Outro by Scriptnotes listener Stephen Moore