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

Craig, this is our 112th episode. It’s also our “Let me give you some advice” episode, because we have a lot of backed up questions to answer. But also for whatever reason this week a lot of people took it upon themselves to give other people advice. And so I thought we would weigh in on some of that advice that was given this week.

Craig: We live in an advice culture.

John: We certainly do. Unsolicited advice comes quite frequently. So, our listeners have solicited advice, so we’re happy to provide them, but also want to provide some feedback on some other advice that was offered this week.

And we should start with the big one which is this video that sort of went viral this week called “Dear J.J. Abrams” with these people in Portland made up this really nicely animated video suggesting some things that J.J. Abrams should keep in mind regarding Star Wars.

Craig: Yup.

John: So, I watched this and I thought the advice seemed well intentioned and actually relatively good advice. I’m just not sure it was quite targeted at the right person, because while J.J. Abrams is directing this movie, it’s Michael Arndt who is writing the movie. And there are many people involved with it.

So, Craig, what did you think of — well, let’s talk about what the four points of advice were. That might be a good place to start.

Craig: I mean, sure. So, he was advising things — Let me just start editorializing immediately. He was advising things that people have been talking about for over a decade now since the prequels came out.

There’s no “advice” here for people making a Star Wars movie. So, don’t do things like the Midi-chlorians, you know, keep the force mysterious.

Keep Star Wars a frontier-based movie in the western style in which it was initially done.

Don’t make it cutesy. So, you don’t do jokes where people are stepping on tails and all the rest of it, you know, Jabba’s tail.

And keep it sort of dirty and gritty so it’s not all shiny and new and antiseptic, but it’s sort of broken down like the Millennium Falcon was sort of a hunk of junk.

John: Yeah. And those are all good points. And they’ve all been sort of well made points before. I think it was a useful and visually nice encapsulation of those points, but it wasn’t especially new. It was an interesting way for this ad agency in Portland to get attention for themselves by creating a viral video, so good on them I guess.

Craig: I guess. [laughs]

John: But I would say it actually got me more excited about a Star Wars movie suddenly because it made me remember what it was about the first three movies that I loved so much and what I’m potentially very much looking forward to in a J.J. Abrams directed version of it.

Craig: Sure. I guess that’s true. But, look, first of all it’s mistitled. It should be “Advice for George Lucas for 10 years ago,” or 12 years ago, whenever those movies came out, because really what he’s complaining about are the prequels.

George Lucas, let me just say, George Lucas made Star Wars. He made it! This thing that these grown men are so obsessed about that they’re taking time to make these advice videos over and animating them and regurgitating points that other people have made a thousand times, and far better frankly. George Lucas made that thing on his own, with no help from anybody. In fact, everybody was against it and he made it. He invented the whole thing out of cloth.

So, if you want to go ahead and give George Lucas advice about how to not make the prequels that he’s already made after that that weren’t good — go ahead. Go talk into your time machine to George Lucas. J.J. Abrams and Michael Arndt and Simon Kinberg and Larry Kasdan who are writing these sequels now, you don’t think they know this? You don’t think that they know these points that would fall frankly under Star War Criticism not-even-101, it’s like senior year of high school Star Wars criticism. I mean, come on.

Really, it’s a frontier? It’s a western? Eh, I don’t know. The whole thing just annoyed me because it was facile, it’s been done already a billion times. It’s easy. And it’s weirdly taking credit, pre-credit, for decisions other people, [laughs], greater minds than these guys are making. Can’t we just stop talking about Star Wars?

John: But my daughter can’t stop talking about Star Wars.

Craig: Yeah, well your daughter is seven!

John: She’s eight now.

Craig: Eight!

John: Well, what’s fascinating and sort of frustrating about Star Wars as a parent is she — I think she likes the original movies better than the prequels, but she watches all of them and she doesn’t actually have a — she hasn’t developed taste in a way yet.

Craig: Right.

John: She doesn’t appreciate it the way that I appreciate that the original movies are better than the sequels.

Craig: Sure.

John: And so in some ways me showing her this could be a useful way for me to talk about these are the reasons why and she might actually pay a little bit of attention to some of the things I find better about the original movies than the sequels.

Craig: No question. But, you know, I have to say that when we were kids and we saw Star Wars that there were plenty of people, who is that critic? John Simon, is that his name?

John: I have no idea.

Craig: Somebody Simon, the critic, hated Empire Strikes Back. Just hated it. You know, went on and on about how it was an inferior, I don’t know, Ersatz version of old serial movies that were so much better. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

You know, and now we’re the old guys yelling at people to get off or lawns and I just feel like, look, maybe — I hated the prequels. Hated them. You know, these guys did their little two minute video. Anybody born in the late ’60s/early ’70s could do a 12-hour monologue about why the prequels were terrible and the original movies are great. And congratulations to us, but the truth is you’re right, our children enjoyed the prequels for what they were.

And, you know, maybe it was for them. And either way, who cares?! This is, I mean, honestly who cares? It just feels like these people just pick over this stuff and the only time I’m ever interested in Star Wars commentary is when it’s funny and it’s revisionist, you know. I mean, Kevin Smith famously had the whole that Luke Skywalker is a war criminal thing.

John: [laughs]

Craig: And Eddie Izzard does this great thing about Darth Vader just like dealing with employees on the Death Star and the cafeteria, [laughs], you know, having to go to the Death Star cafeteria because there are so many people working there. And things like that are funny, and they’re fresh, and they’re interesting, and they’re respectful, frankly.

And I just don’t feel like that I — I just don’t like it when people invest their time and energy on hit pieces, because let me tell you, this thing is designed as advice to J.J., like he freaking needs this guy’s advice, like he’s not smart enough.

But beyond that, it’s really just a hit piece on the prequels. That’s all it is, just another hit piece tarted up as something else. And, to boot, John, it’s a list of things. Eh, every possible thing to get me angry got me angry.

John: Well, here’s another list of things, this one by Tony Gilroy, the screenwriter of Michael Clayton.

Craig: Ah, I like this list! [laughs]

John: All right, you probably agree with almost everything on this list.

Craig: Eight out of ten.

John: That’s pretty good for another screenwriter to come up with this. This is a list that Tony Gilroy provided based on an interview with the BBC and so we’ll provide a link to that. Here are the bullet points of his list of advice to screenwriters. Number one, go to the movies.

Craig: Yes.

John: Yes. Rather than reading books, got to the movies. Make stuff up but keep it real.

Craig: Yes.

John: Start small.

Craig: Yes!

John: Learn to live by your wits.

Craig: Yes!

John: Write for TV.

Craig: No.

John: Ah! Here’s where we disagree.

Craig: [laughs] Yeah.

John: This is specifically what Tony Gilroy said about writing for TV. “It’s getting harder and harder to make good movies. TV is where the ambiguity and shades of reality live, it’s where stories can be interesting. A lot of writers are very excited about TV right now and it’s a writer-controlled business. When writers are in control, good things happen. They are more rational, they are hardworking, they are more benevolent.” Surprisingly he did not use semi-colons there, but.

“Every time writers have been put in charge of entertainment, things have worked out, so with TV maybe we will see a writer-driven utopia.”

Craig: I don’t disagree with the positive aspects of what he’s saying. What I disagree with are the negative aspects. If you want to write movies, if you are supposed to be writing movies, you should be writing movies. Tony Gilroy continues to write movies as far as I know.

John: But if Tony Gilroy wanted to make an awesome series for HBO, it would be phenomenal.

Craig: Maybe. I mean, you know what, because I liked a bunch of his movies. Some of his movies I don’t like that much. Tony Gilroy is a brilliant guy, he’s an amazing writer, and a great filmmaker, but he’s not infallible. And television is a very different medium than film. And writers have had interesting times crossing back and forth. There are some that seem to do so with ease and others can’t. I guess the only reason I disagree with it is, look, there are still people making really interesting good movies out there.

John: Agreed.

Craig: It’s occurring. And they may not be so interesting to him. And his kind of movie has become very difficult to make, agreed. But, look, I just saw a very late in the process cut of Scott Frank’s next movie, A Walk Among the Tombstones, and it’s terrific and it’s very much the kind of movie that Tony Gilroy is saying nobody makes anymore. Well, they do.

John: They do.

Craig: Yeah, so it’s not that I, you know… — And look, also, there’s a ton of terrible television out there. [laughs] A ton. A ton! It’s just that the outliers in television are so great, you know. So, I couldn’t get on board with that totally.

John: All right.

Number six, learn to write anywhere, anytime.

Craig: Oh my god, yes.

John: Oh, wholeheartedly agree with this. And people who fetishize their writing process…

Craig: Please.

John: No, don’t.

Craig: Yeah.

John: Number seven, get a job.

Craig: Yes!

John: I agree.

Craig: How many times have I said make Plan B Plan A, Plan A Plan B.

John: Mm-hmm. Get a life.

Craig: Yes!

John: Yeah. You have to do other interesting things, because otherwise you’re just going to write about your toes.

Craig: Right.

John: And the things that other people have already made into movies. You’re just going to be copying other movies unless you have something new to say.

Craig: Right.

John: Number nine is a point I suspect you disagree with. Don’t live in Los Angeles.

Craig: Well, duh. [laughs]

John: Duh. So, this has been classic advice that we’ve given this whole time through and I will trot out my standard thing I say at this point is that if you want to write country songs you should probably move to Nashville. And if you want to write Hollywood movies, you should probably move to Hollywood. It’s as basic as that.

Craig: Yeah. Tony lives in New York and he’s got that New York think. I don’t know if he grew up in New York or not. I did grow up in New York, so maybe that’s why I don’t have the New York thing. There’s nothing special about, I mean, yes, there’s something special about New York. I mean, I love New York, da, da, da. I do. I love it.

But, there’s a New York chauvinism that occurs that’s just stupid. And I love Los Angeles, frankly, and I like it here. That aside, of course it’s easier to break into the business in Los Angeles than it is in New York. And even the television that’s made in New York originates in Los Angeles. It’s just shot there. I think this is terrible advice that is coming from his kind of Tony Gilroy grumpy, “I’m a New Yorker,” kind of guy thing.

John: Number ten, develop a thick skin and just keep going.

Craig: Heck yeah.

John: Yeah. It is ultimately survival. And so it’s one of those things where you see a bunch of twenty-somethings try to start out as screenwriters. And some of them make it and some of them won’t make it. Talent is a lot of that, but perseverance is another huge factor in who is still working ten years later.

Craig: Yeah.

John: And you just have to be able to roll with it. And if I were to quit all the times where I felt like quitting, none of this would have happened at all.

Craig: Yeah. And the other aspect of thick skin is learning where to place pain on the scale of priorities, because you’re going to suffer. And I don’t mean like you’re Van Gogh and you’re suffering for your art. I mean, you’re going to suffer — people are going to be mean to you. People are going to be mean to your face. People are going to be mean anonymously. It’s tough. And they’re going to be mean for all sorts of crazy, weird reasons, and we’re going to get into a few of those I think when we discuss this New York Times article.

But people are unfair and mean in this business. And even when they’re being fair and nice sometimes they cause you pain because they simply don’t understand what you’re doing. They misunderstand you.

John: Yeah.

Craig: So, you have to be able to survive that constant drip torture because you’re in for it. I mean, this is a great list, honestly. I mean, aside from number nine which I think is just wrong and the other one which I kind of qualified a little bit, there are some really, really good wisdom in this list from somebody that’s been doing it for a long, long time at an extraordinarily high level of achievement. So, I would suggest everybody take a look at it.

It is excellent advice. And lo and behold, it’s excellent advice from somebody who actually does it and not, say, somebody who doesn’t do it.

John: Agreed. So, everything we talk about in today’s episode you can find in the show notes at johnaugust.com/scriptnotes or /podcast, both will get you there.

The next thing which you already sort of set up was a New York Times piece that I sent you a link to. This was something that a reader had sent in based on some follow up on something we talked about this last episode. We had talked about how there’s a dearth of female directors and why is that. Is there any way we can sort of study and figure out what that is?

Craig: Right.

John: Well, a listener sent in this link to a New York Times piece which I thought was really fascinating which is looking at why in theater are there fewer female playwrights, or fewer female playwrights who are getting their work produced at the highest level.

And there were some fascinating findings in it. One of the most interesting things really speaks to the question you and I both asked is why do we have — there seems to be a weird discorrelation between how many high powered women execs we have and how few female directors we have, because shouldn’t they be hiring women?

And in theater they found that women artistic directors of theaters were less likely to hire women than men.

Craig: Right.

John: Which is fascinating.

Craig: It is. Specifically, so this is a Princeton student, so go Tigers, and they did a couple of different experiments, but the one that was the most fascinating was they took one play and for one group, a control group, they sent it out under a male name. And for the experimental group they sent it out under a female name to see what the differences would be and the acceptance. And they found a very significant difference. The same exact play when it was submitted as a play written by a female, it was not received as well. It was significantly downgraded by the people who read it.

But what was fascinating was that when they took a look at who was reading it and who was evaluating it, and then they looked at the gender of those people, what they found was this: men didn’t care at all what the gender was of the author. Whether they got that script as a man or the same script written by a woman, they didn’t care. Their answers were roughly equivalent. It was the women.

The women had a demonstrable bias against female writers. And that was shocking.

John: Yes. And so when we say bias we say statistically the numbers were very different for women artistic directors reading women. So, it wasn’t saying that they were emotionally prejudiced or trying to explain why they were doing this. It’s simply that was how the numbers came out.

Craig: Yeah, the scientific sense of the word bias.

John: Yeah. So that is a really interesting finding that I wonder if it could be replicated in any meaningful way in Hollywood. First instinct flush is to try to do that thing where you switch the names on a given script and see what the results were based on different people reading it and what that is.

Theater is useful in that artistic director is sort of like the one person reading it. And so you can sort of say like that is who did it. Never in Hollywood is it really so clear cut who is the one person reading it and making a decision whether to proceed or not to proceed.

Craig: Correct. Yeah. It’s a very difficult experiment to run in Hollywood because also it’s just hard to send out scripts and not have people talking about it and essentially poisoning the research well by calling each other or, you know.

John: And our first question was really about female directors. And this doesn’t really speak to female directors. It really speaks to female writers. And we’ve discussed, you know, there’s underrepresentation of women in the writing ranks, but it doesn’t seem as completely out of line as it is with the director ranks. And directors is about a person in front of you in a room convincing you that they are able to direct this movie, so more things get involved. You can’t do a blind study that way.

Craig: There is a gender gap among screenwriters and television writers, though. The gender gap seems to occur across writers and directors in every aspect of Hollywood movie and television making. And I am fascinated by this. I mean, a part of me thinks, “Hey man, I don’t have a dog in this fight. I’m a dude.” [laughs] You know? So let’s just go with the most crude reading of the results. Guys are gender blind when they evaluate stuff and women aren’t. Well, I’m on the upside either way, so who cares?

You know, I have a daughter. [laughs]

John: Yeah, so do I.

Craig: I don’t want her — and she’s funny. And I don’t want her stuck where it’s like… — I guess my question to the world, to the world of women, and I ask questions of the world of women constantly. And either I get answers I don’t understand, or answers I don’t like. But what is that?

John: Yeah. I don’t know what that is. And I guess you naturally approach it with the assumption that if women are in places of power that is going to help women who could use that hand up. And this would seem to indicate that it’s not necessarily true.

Craig: It seems to indicate that. Now, I mean, my instinct if you had asked me to guess, my guess would have been that in fact women wouldn’t have shown any bias. That their results would have been like the male results, that is to say gender neutral/who cares. “My job is to find great material. That’s what I’m about.” Because that seems like a rational point of view.

But it seems there is something going on. There’s a weird resentment or there’s a thing and, look, it’s feeding into all sorts of creepy stereotypes about women. I have to acknowledge that upfront. Catty. Bitchy. Competitive. And all of that leaves a bad taste in my mouth. So, I don’t want to go down that road and try and ascribe any kind of causality to this.

But I have to say it should be talked about. It’s an important finding, even though it’s limited.

John: Agreed. And there’s also the danger of the twice-as-good problem, where basically you end up holding a certain group to a higher standard because of reasons X, Y, or Z, or partly because you are a part of that group. And therefore you hold people of your same group to an unrealistically high standard for what they need to be able to prove in order to say yes.

Craig: Yup. That may be part of it. Whatever it is, whatever the motivation — good, bad — it’s wrong. It’s wrong. It’s hard to look at a result like that and make sense of it. I struggle to make sense of it. So, dispiriting to say the least.

John: Dispiriting to say the least.

Our last bit of unsolicited advice, I thought we might offer a little unsolicited advice because this is something that you and I separately looked at. This last week Max Landis, who is a screenwriter of the Chronicle franchise, made a choice, which was maybe not the best choice, which is to give an interview to a website in which he was very, very candid about girls, and dating, and sex. And many things you wonder if they were the best choices to divulge.

And I bring it up because on a previous podcast you and I had discussed the whole Ender’s Game fiasco and you had that writer — the novelist I should say — the novelist behind Ender’s Game who became this huge controversial figure and that tainted the movie that he was associated with.

Max Landis I don’t think is in that same category at all. But, in that podcast we did discuss like, well, what happens when you have the screenwriter who suddenly is drawing a lot of attention for things that you may not want the screenwriter drawing attention to himself for?

So, I don’t want to patronizing and sort of offer Max Landis advice, but I do want to discuss that sense of finding that boundary between what you discuss privately and what you discuss publicly, because I feel like it’s a thing.

Craig: Well, this is not the first time, [laughs], that this particular gentleman has done this. This is his thing. This is who he is. And he — look, I have trouble. I have trouble here. We’ve laughed before about how at some point somebody accused me of being a trust fund baby, [laughs], even though my parents were public school teachers. But he is the son of a very rich, famous Hollywood director, and he had all the advantages and all the pluses here. And he’s just — his personality is such that this is what occurs.

I don’t even think there’s much in the way of choices here. I just think this is his thing, this is what he does. And I just would prefer that, not he, but people like him… — So, let me spread it beyond the world of writers.

John: Yeah.

Craig: Shut up! Just shut up about yourself. I mean, look, you and I have done — this is 109th podcast?

John: 112th.

Craig: 112th. Oh, geez. So, 112 podcasts and we talk about other people and we talk about the business. Occasionally we’ll slip into little things, but they’re so mild. I think that this public sharing of the most creepy parts of yourself is lame. It’s just lame.

John: I do wonder if some of it is a generational thing and that I need to take a step out of myself and look at the perspective from a person who is in their young 20s, and they just have a different sense of where that line is drawn.

And so Lena Dunham is a friend. And so Lena has, I would say, the advantage of having a fictionalized universe that she can write for herself and talk about things that she wants to talk about within that world and doesn’t have to divulge all of her personal life. But, I would say she draws that boundary between private and public differently than I would now. And that’s just I think partly generational.

Craig: Yeah. Maybe and maybe not. You know, I was going to raise Lena as an example, too, but look, Woody Allen has been doing this for 30 years also. Where he, I mean, look, he made a movie about being in love with a 16-year-old girl and then he fell in love with his, [laughs], something was going on there.

John: Yeah.

Craig: And he casts his wives and his girlfriends and his lovers in his movies in succession. This has been going on forever. Artists have been doing this forever. Using your complicated life as fodder for dramatic representation I think is fair game as long as it’s represented, re-presented, and it is done for our entertainment.

Whatever personal growth Lena Dunham gets out of doing the show, Girls, it’s inconsequential frankly to the fact that it entertains a lot of people and that’s what it’s there for. And this is not that. This is not that at all.

John: But I wonder if on some level it’s almost the Lady Gaga point of, like, is she creating art or is she art herself? And that sense of — that blurred boundary between the work you are doing and who you are in presenting yourself into the world. And that’s an interesting situation when you’re a screenwriter rather than sort of a pop artist.

Craig: [laughs] Right. I totally agree.

John: And maybe we’re all pop stars now. Maybe that’s —

Craig: No, we’re not. And this is important to point out, because Madonna did this. And, again, people who appear whose faces and bodies, whose physical beings are the product, in part, along with the quality of their minds, can transform themselves into these bigger than life people and their lives become part of the product.

And remember Warren Beatty famously saying…

John: Yeah. Kevin Smith. Kevin Smith is, granted, also an actor, but Kevin Smith is really a writer-director who is famous, I think, for his public life.

Craig: And it’s our generation, Kevin Smith.

John: Yeah.

Craig: But also my instinct many times when I’ve read or listened to him is, “Shut up!” Because I don’t — I find at some point that all of the stuff that’s done under the guise of honesty and expression and entertainment is really just a pathetic, endless audition for frustrated actors. That’s all it is.

And I get it because, you know, I mean, we all want to be movie stars. Everybody wants to be a movie star, you know. And so you and I, we had like our tiny little moment where we got to sing on our podcast, you know. [laughs]

And that was fun! But it was just one little moment. And you know what, this guy, I’m sure you saw it on Twitter. One guy wrote in and he’s like, “Well, you know, 109 episodes and this was one self-indulgent dud, but I’ll excuse it,” which I thought was hysterical because, like, all right you took the time to point out that we had a dud even though, whatever, you can argue whether it was a dud or not.

But even that guy was like, “Yeah, that was self-indulgent.” You know what? Yes, it was! [laughs] It was self-indulgent. But it was fun and we did it once, whatever.

But we all have that instinct. It’s when you turn that instinct, when you lie about it, and try and make it something it’s not like interesting self-expression, or, I don’t know, just be honest about what it is. It’s narcissism.

John: Yeah. Quite possibly.

Craig: Anyway, I think —

John: So, I have no specific advice for Max Landis. And in no way I do want to sort of put him on shout and sort of do any sort of — I feel like it’s very patronizing for me to even sort of bring it up. But I also thought it was useful to bring it up just in the sense of what is a screenwriter’s public role and does the screenwriter’s public role have any effect on what they get to do next?

Craig: Yeah.

John: Because I do feel like there are going to be people and producers in studios who would read this and say like, “You know what? Maybe we’ll pick somebody a little safer in a way. Someone who like I’m not worried about what they’re going to suddenly tweet a week before the movie comes out.”

Craig: I think that’s fair to say. Good work tends to trump everything.

John: Yeah.

Craig: And screenwriters will never be as interesting as even the seventh lead in a movie to the public.

John: Yes.

Craig: So, I mean, Max’s interview will largely go unnoticed and disappear. And he does this frequently. It’s just what he does. And, you know what? That’s him. [laughs] It’s just Max being Max.

John: [laughs] That’s what you get.

Craig: Yeah, that’s what you get. And it’s like, I don’t know. All I guess I could say about it is I just find it lame. That’s all.

John: Well, let’s us be us and let’s answer some questions from listeners because we have quite a few in the mailbag here, so we’ll start with the simplest question we’ve done in a very long time, a question from Alessandro in Los Angeles. “Where can I find good freelance screenwriters for hire? Is there a trustworthy website for that?”

Craig: Well, they just shut it down. It was called the Silk Road. You could get hit men, you could get drugs, you could get screenwriters. [laughs]

John: [laughs] You pay with bitcoin. It was great.

Craig: Bitcoin. By the way, side note. I got obsessed yesterday for whatever reason because I was reading about Silk Road. I’m like, bitcoin? So, I started reading about bitcoin. And I finally learned what bitcoin mining was. Do you know what bitcoin mining is?

John: I do. Absolutely. So, it’s these complicated computer algorithms and your computer does all this work to generate them. And there’s a limited number of bitcoins that could ever be created mathematically and therefore they increase in value in a way that should be useful. And yet it also feels like a giant Ponzi scheme to me.

Craig: Well, no, actually, all right, you’re almost right. And, Alessandro, I promise we’ll get to your answer. The deal is that, okay, so banks process transactions and it’s a very complicated thing to do. But in bitcoin there are no banks. It’s just person-to-person. So, who is processing the transactions? The bitcoin miners. That’s what bitcoin mining is. They’re basically doing all the computer processing to make sure that these secure transactions go through properly.

So, the bitcoin world essentially uses the people that are processing the transactions as a way to create more bitcoins. But they keep changing. Like, it used to be that they would give you 25 bitcoins for so many things that you processed and then it became less. I don’t know. Anyway, it’s super complicated and incredibly dorky, but finally I was like, what the hell is that? Why is it mining? Is there really a mine? [laughs] I’m so stupid.

John: Well, it is mining in the sense of like it generates — there’s ways you can actually generate coins from scratch, but it deliberately takes a tremendous amount of computing power and it algorithmically escalates in ways that you and I could never understand. It’s big math. But I can totally answer Alessandro’s question.

Craig: Yeah, yeah, all right. So, Alessandro’s question, I mean, so where can you find good freelance screenwriters for hire? I’m excited to hear your answer. I have no idea.

John: Well, I would say, here’s the thing — you have to take a step back. It’s not like you can just hire them like you’re going to hire a plumber off of Angie’s List, off a recommendation. You’re going to have to read a lot of scripts and you’re going to have to read the scripts and figure out like who is the person who could write this thing. And then you’re going to have to meet with that person and form a relationship. So, it’s much more complicated than a list.

But, the places where you would look for these is the Black List. Those people, I’m saying like blcklst.com, so the people who are submitting their scripts to that and the ones who have ones publicly that you can read, read them. And find the ones that you really like.

Go to film festivals and find people who have made interesting movies and figure out who those writers are, because a lot of those writers don’t have paid work. You’re going to have to find good material and then figure out who wrote that material and start a relationship with them. And that is an incredible amount of long work, but you’re not going to hire somebody off of a list. That doesn’t happen.

Craig: No. It doesn’t. And I have to say these questions always make me a little nervous because we are a podcast for screenwriters. And when I hear some guy going, “Hey, where can I find some freelance screenwriters?” You know, like is there a Home Dept where I can pick up guys to do drywall?

Most screenwriters that are worth their salt are in the Writers Guild and they can only work for Writers Guild signatory employers which is a big deal. You have to show that you have the ability to pay residuals and that you have enough assets to cover that and that you have to pay minimums and contribute to pension and healthcare.

And when people are just like, “Hey, where can I find a writer?” I just smell the abuse already. I can smell it.

John: Yeah, Alessandro is going to drive up in this pickup truck and say, “Hop on in. I’ve got some writing to do.”

Craig: “Anybody here know how to do a third act? Get on. Get in the back.”

John: Our next question comes from Bretton in Newton, Massachusetts. And Bretton, who could be a man or a woman, I’m not actually sure.

Craig: Bretton. I’m going to say man.

John: This person is an eighth grade English teacher. And also a screenwriter. “These two things together are why I have such a hard time when I read things like this snippet below” — that I’ll read — “in a script that seems to have generated some buzz of a writer on a young and hungry list. This guy has representation.” So, basically Bretton has read this represented writer’s script and I will try to tell you what is in this sentence that has been singled out.

“Suddenly; she see’s Smith in the rearview mirror and nearly shit’s herself. She slams on the breaks.”

Craig: Misspelled.

John: Wrong kind of brakes. “Breaks,” like break a plate. “And she’s out of the cab.” So, those are two spectacularly bad sentences.

Craig: Right.

John: And so the question is essentially, like, what gives? How does that person get represented and why do I not kill myself when I read that kind of writing?

Craig: You know, [laughs], I don’t like it. I find it atrocious and I think it either indicates laziness and sloppiness or it indicates a certain lack of fundamental education. What it doesn’t indicate is whether or not the script is any good.

John: Yeah.

Craig: And this is where, I mean, our question asker points out Quentin Tarantino seems to be notorious for this, too. Well, that’s sort of your answer there, isn’t it? I love Quentin Tarantino movies. I think they’re amazing. If you were to tell me, “Look you have a choice. You can have more Quentin Tarantino movies but…”

John: Or better punctuation.

Craig: “…or better punctuation.” I’m going to go with more Quentin Tarantino movies. So, you know.

John: But, in that answer you’re not saying that grammar and punctuation and the basic rules of English are unimportant. We’re just saying that really great filmmaking is more important than all of those things. But all of those things are really, really important. And all of these things that are singled out here are reasons why I would throw this script across the room, unless I was deeply intrigued by something else that was incredibly.

Craig: A-ha! That’s right.

John: But, I would still have that temptation to throw it across the room every time I saw one of those things. And so don’t be the person who has any mistakes on the page.

Craig: Right. I’m completely with you. It’s lame. That’s my word of the day. And I also think that when you read a script like this, even if you like the story or you like a lot of the screenplay, in your mind you’re also thinking, “I’m going to have to work with this person and they seem like a big dummy. So, I don’t want to work with a big dummy.” So, maybe I’m going to just hire somebody else to fix this, sort of be with me if I’m directing the movie.

This is a little bit like, hey, yeah, if you go in for a job interview at a bank and you are slovenly dressed, there’s a chance that you’re so impressive that they’re like, “Pfft. Who would have thought slovenly dressed guy? But you know what? He’s great at what he does.” Absolutely true.

Generally speaking, though, put a tie on.

John: Yeah.

Craig: Yeah. This is not —

John: It’s not going to hurt you.

Craig: It’s not rocket science. Yeah, exactly.

John: Our next question comes from Annie who writes, “I was hoping you could give a soon-to-be-college grad some advice. I am primarily interested in writing but I also want to explore other aspects of theater and film, specifically directing, casting, even performing. I know that it sounds scattered, but technically I’m not part of the real world yet. Can you suggest an industry job for someone like me who wants to gain exposure and experience in different areas?”

Craig, what would you suggest Annie do?

Craig: The job that you’re offered. That’s the job I suggest. You’re not in a position to pick and choose and craft your perfect job that touches on all 12 aspects of your interests and then dive into it with gusto. You’re going to get the job you get. Now, if you’re interested in directing, casting, performing, you know, maybe being a PA, trying to get a job as a PA on a movie set or on a television set. You certainly will see a lot of things.

But, since Annie is primarily interested in writing, I will remind her she doesn’t need a job to write. She needs a job to pay her bills and her rent. And then she just needs to write to write.

So, that’s kind of my advice is get the job you can get.

John: My general advice to Annie, who is going to be graduating from college and hopefully moving out to Los Angeles or New York — but Los Angeles would probably be a better choice for her — is don’t be afraid of getting a job and figuring it out and then leaving that job to go to another job that is in a different area that you’re interested in. And that’s completely cool and acceptable for people in their early 20s to do.

So, they get a job as a PA at a casting agency and they do that for six months, if they can survive six months doing that. Then they work on a set. Then they work for a producer or they do the agency mailroom. That’s fine. And it’s good to hop around those things, because you’re not going to find one job unless you do all those things. It just won’t happen.

If you are lucky enough to become the assistant to a director in film or television, that would give you little bit more exposure in all those different areas, but whatever is going to happen is going to happen.

My second bit of sort of standard advice, but I’ll just trot it out again: Just meet people who are at your same level. And you are going to meet people who are assistants doing various different things all over the town. Make friends with them, and hang out with them, and have drinks with them. And you will learn from exposure what they’re doing, too.

Craig: Great. Great answer.

John: Cool. Next question comes from Shawn. And Shawn writes, “I recently watched an interview where Craig informed a reporter that a former boss influenced him to pursue screenwriting.” I think that was at the live show you were talking about that boss, right?

Craig: Yeah.

John: “At the time you were not confident enough to take the plunge. What is the best way to inspire, encourage, challenge a talented person to take this path? I work with plenty of highly creative assistants in the industry that battle with the same dilemma Craig did, the majority of them being female and/or minorities who come from families that influence them otherwise.”

So, how do you nudge somebody to take that bold step and try?

Craig: Well, the person who, I don’t want to say — influence isn’t quite the right word — he said, “You should write a screenplay and then I’ll give it to somebody.” What’s going on with people who are afraid of doing this, taking the plunge, particularly when they feel like they’re disenfranchised for circumstantial reasons to begin with, is that they don’t feel like they have — they’ve looked past the point where they finished a screenplay and then they have no idea what they’re going to do with it.

And the scariest part of writing a screenplay isn’t the writing of the screenplay. It’s the notion that you’re going to write it and you’re going to care about it and love it and it will be unread. Forget unmade. Unread. You don’t even know who to give it to. So, if you are working, this person says that he works with plenty of highly creative assistants. Promise them access.

And you would be amazed. That’s what people want. If you say, look, if you see talent in somebody, you say you write a screenplay, you talk to me about what the idea is. Let’s talk about it. And if it’s something that I think is a good idea, then I can say to you in return, “I’ll give it to somebody to read.” And that’s what’s going to get them to write.

John: Agreed. I’m a big fan of if you see something, say something. And that is if you see a person who has talent, let them know that they’re talented. Because maybe no one is actually telling them that they’re actually quite good at this and that you think they could do more there. What you say about sort of promising them access is really important, but also when I have that conversation I make it clear that like I’m not trying to — I have no vested interest in this at all other than I want you to succeed, because I think you will make something good in the world.

And that’s a thing that people don’t hear often enough is that what they’re doing is really good and what they’re doing is sort of important for the world out there and people should see it.

Craig: Very good.

John: Next question comes from Cole from the USA, just generally somewhere in the USA.

Craig: Oh!

John: Cole writes, “I am 14 and I have been writing scripts, mostly shorts, for a few years now and people always tell me the most important thing is to know your characters, especially their voices. I can never quite understand what people mean or how to get a feel for the character I’m writing. What are your suggestions for understanding characters better? Thanks.”

Craig: Hmm.

John: Voice.

Craig: Yeah, well, he’s very young, I mean, so when you’re 14 years old, and this is hard, and I was 14 so I’m going to talk to you now remembering fully well what it was like to be 14. You can’t beat yourself up too much for having some gaps here because you’re still very young. And you’re at a time in your life when your brain is still growing. Not to say that you’re somehow limited by neural capacity, but you’re changing.

And a lot of what it means to understand a character is to understand other human beings, to really understand them. And to really understand human beings, and that means all the wonderful things about them but also their lies, their deceptions, their self-deceptions, their delusions, their desires.

These are things that 14 year olds aren’t particularly famous for knowing. These come — they are earned. Your understanding of humans is earned. It is hard to inhabit the mind of another person realistically and hard to speak through the voice, the distinct voice, of another person realistically if you haven’t earned it through experience. And on top of that, also, frankly there is just a talent component that is innate. So.

John: I think there are some things that Cole could do right now to work on some of those skills.

First off is just listen, and listen really carefully, and listen to people who aren’t sort of in your immediate social sphere, so like when you’re on the bus, when you’re out at the mall, wherever you are, listen to some people and actually really hear the words they’re using and how they’re expressing themselves.

And try to write that down and try to sort of continue what they would say and how they would say it. Because right now probably everyone sounds like you because you only know what you sound like.

And so I think you can develop an ear for how other people speak and how people express themselves just by listening really carefully and that can be a useful sort of next thing. But what Craig is really hitting which is so important is that you have to develop the empathy to really see something from another person’s perspective. And you can in some ways practice that in your real life.

And so next time your parents frustrate you, and you slam the door and you’re in your room, literally just try to put yourself in their perspective and see the whole situation from their point of view. And that is going to be crucial for you being able to write from that other point of view, write from other people’s point of view is to inhabit their mind.

Craig: Yeah, there are some exercises you can do to start flexing this particular muscle. For instance, ask two friends to pick two people that you know at school. They don’t have to be your friends. In fact, it’s better if they’re not your friends. But they’re two people that you know. And so your two friends are going to assign you two other people. You’re not going to have a choice of whom. And then I want you to ask two other people to come up with two things, something and a situation, almost like an improv show. Give me a situation involving two people. And now ask two other people, okay, here’s a situation with two people. Give me something that one person wants. And then ask somebody else, give me something another person wants.

Until, when your exercise is done you have two people that you know that you didn’t choose. You have a situation you didn’t choose. And you have two competing desires you didn’t choose. Now write five pages of a little short movie. And see if you can do it, like them in their voices.

John: That sounds great. What it is, at first that sort of sounds like improv, but improv is about being funny, being funny in that moment. This is not about trying to be funny. It’s trying to create a real thing that could happen there.

Craig: Yeah. Exactly.

John: That’s a great idea.

Next question comes from Austin Millet. “My question is this. I’ve heard your Is 15 the new 30 episode about where the first act break generally goes and what it accomplishes. My question is this, what about the break between the second and third act? Should the break immediately precede the climax or set in motion the events that lead to it? I’m sorry if you have answered this before, but I’ve only been listening for a few months and have only gone back so far.”

We haven’t really talked that much about what’s classically the second act break.

Craig: Right.

John: And so the second act break usually in Hollywood parlance is sort of the worst of the worst. It’s like things are at their darkest and then the hero must do one final push towards victory. That’s the broadest, most simplified explanation of what we’ve talk about with a third act. But the third act is that last chunk of the movie. And that act break in some way — sometimes is a very clear thing that happens.

Craig, do you see anything changing about the third act?

Craig: No, I mean, the notion that should the break immediately precede the climax or set into motion the events that lead to it, it depends on the movie. There are movies where the third act really is really truncated. And there are others where it’s quite long.

To me it’s not so much a question of placement, although typically if you’re talking about say a 110-page screenplay, in my mind somewhere in the late 80s or early 90s of page count. That’s usually when this happens. And I like to think of it as the moment where our hero no longer — has changed fundamentally.

John: Yeah.

Craig: Has changed so that they can no longer go back to their life that they had in the beginning of the movie, but they are not yet ready to do what is required to be perfected so to speak. So, they’re lost. They’re without a philosophy. And this is the moment where they are starting to realize that they must gain tremendous courage to do whatever needs to be done to prove that they have changed. And that can come out in all sorts of different ways. But sometimes it’s just procedural and plottish, you know.

This whole act thing is overblown.

John: Yeah, I agree. It’s overblown. The simplest thing I can tell people is that when we talk about three acts we talk about a beginning, and a middle, and an end. And fundamentally that’s really what it is, is that everything has a beginning, middle, and end. No matter what you do, it’s going to start, it’s going to happen, and then it’s going to over. And if you think about it in those terms you’ll be less paranoid about what page you’re on and all that stuff.

Craig: I was talking to somebody after the live show in New York. We were talking about act breaks. And I said, you know, the funny thing is we only talk about act breaks as screenwriters. Nobody else talks about them. I mean, sometimes in development they’ll say it because it’s early on. But when you make the movie and you’re in the editing room, you talk about reels. So, in the old days, film reels had to be balanced because movies were actually on reels and they could only be so many minutes long.

But we still use it just to divide up the work in the Avid — or I’m sorry, the non-linear editing system. And then suddenly the movie is divided into reels. And nobody talks about acts anymore at all.

John: Yeah.

Craig: It’s just sequences. So, this act thing is… — Don’t worry about it so much.

John: It’s a little artificial. This is our last real question.

Craig: Okay.

John: This is from Rocco in Los Angeles.

Craig: Rocco!

John: “I’ve been speaking with a producer who’s helping me secure funding for a screenplay I wrote and plan to direct. He tells me that one way to go about it is to pay a casting agent between $2,500 and $5,000 to get the script to actors. He also suggests I have an account containing $10,000 to $20,000 to pay actors a deposit in order to secure a letter of intent from them.

“A few years ago I paid a different producer $5,000 for development for the same purpose. And he ended up hanging himself on the Sunset Gower Studio lot and I lost my money. I’m wondering if this is a legitimate way to raise funds and how common you think this process is for indie films, and if you think it’s a smart way to go about it.”

Craig: [laughs]

John: Craig?

Craig: Well…the last time you followed this course of action it ended up with someone hanging themselves. No. This is not —

John: No, it is not —

Craig: This is not a smart course of action.

John: A screenwriter should not be paying a producer to start to try to make a movie.

Craig: Well, first of all, this is not, okay, the producer is helping you secure funding for a screenplay you wrote and plan to direct. “He tells me that one way to go about it is to pay a casting agent to get the script to actors.” No!

Yes, that is one way, but he left out another one way to go about it is to rob a bank. One way to go about it is to sell drugs. Casting agents, so you understand Rocco, are hired by legitimate film productions that already have financing in order to fill out the cast of a movie. Typically they’re filling out lots of parts, but not say the lead role which has already kind of been put together with the financing by a talent agent who has given the script to an actor.

Nobody, as far as I know, pays casting agents, [laughs], weird, like a $2,500 to $5,000 is like a weird Breaking Bad kind of stuffed envelope amount of money to get the script “to actors.” What actor do you think you’re going to get? Just walk with me down this road, Rocco. And actor gets a call from a casting agent and first of all they’re answering the phone to a casting agent and that person is like, “I want you to read a script. I love it.” And they’re like, “Okay?”

Do you think that’s the way it’s going to work, that the $5,000 is going to get a casting agent to call Brad Pitt. No. Okay, so that doesn’t work. Your producer, who I’m starting to think is quite a bit of a problem, now suggests that you have an account containing $10,000 to $20,000 to pay actors a deposit in order to secure a letter of intent from them. This is not how it works.

Actors will say they will sign these letters of intent to help you get financing and they sign them for free. Do you know why? Because they intend to be in the movie. [laughs] Because they want to be in the movie. What is this deposit nonsense? What is that? And how do you get that back?

And then you paid another producer money for development which is such a no-no. And then he hanged himself.

Rocco, I grew up with a lot of Roccos, and you know, Rocco, that name is supposed to go along with street smarts man. Come on! You’ve got to know better than this. You’ve got to know these guys are playing you here. This is terrible. Terrible way of going about it. It’s not legitimate. I feel super bad that you’ve been suckered before.

And I’m reaching out to you as a friend over the wire and saying you’ve got to break ties with all these people that are asking for money. All of these people. And follow — you asked what the legitimate way is and John is going to tell you.

John: A legitimate way is sort of all the annoyingly slow ways we’ve talked about on the show before which is people read your script and say, “This is really good. I want to make this movie.”

Or, “I think you’re a really good writer and I want you to write this other thing.”

Or, “I’m watching your directing reel and you’re really talented. Let’s try to make a movie or another short.”

You’re meeting these people at film festivals. You’re meeting these people at coffee shops, wherever. Wherever you’re meeting these people, they’re not hanging themselves in Sunset Gower Studios. And I just feel like you’re hanging out with the wrong people essentially.

Craig: Yeah, it’s the wrong crowd. You know what? You can put your script on the Black List website for whatever that is, a couple hundred bucks or something. And people will read it and you’ll get honest feedback. The one thing you can’t do is — if all it took, buddy, was somewhere between $2,500 and $20,000 to get an independent film going, every minute there’s be an independent film coming out in a theater near you. It just doesn’t work.

Believe me, I wish it did, but it doesn’t.

John: And the thing is there are a phenomenal number of terrible independent producers out there, but they’re not even charging money for it.

Craig: Right.

John: They’re genuinely trying to get movies made. And they’re ineffective, but they’re not changing you money.

Craig: [laughs]

John: So, you need to find —

Craig: We’re like trying to work them up to just inoffensively ineffective.

John: Indeed. So, what you’re looking for is that producer who is above board and effective. That’s not going to be easy.

Craig: You know, what an awful world. I feel really bad for Rocco. And I just feel like it just sucks. It sucks that people do this, that they prey on people like this.

You know what we need to do?

John: Oh god. What are we going to do?

Craig: I know. I know. Whenever I start talking like this you get nervous. But I feel like we need some sort of list of names. We need to just start naming and shaming names of people that ask writers for money for stuff like this. It’s so disgusting and it is so unethical.

John: I would say rather than creating a — Black List has already been used — rather than creating a negative list, I will say that something like an Independent Feature Project might be a way to sort of — look at the producers who are making these independent films and are making them legitimately, that’s the way to go. Look for the people who are actually doing the work that’s coming out rather than people who just have a business card.

Craig: Just don’t give anyone a dollar. It’s Three-card Monte. Honestly. It’s Three-card Monte. It’s just so depressing. Well, I’m sorry, Rocco. I really am. And believe me, I wasn’t laughing at you. I was just laughing just about the visual of, [laughs], you know, you’ve got this producer and he’s developing your script and you try and reach him and he’s just swinging from the rafters at Sunset Gower.

John: At Sunset Gower of all the randomly specific places.

Craig: I know. What a great place. Actually, that may be how I finish it up.

John: [laughs]

Craig: [laughs] I might just get myself a little monthly rental over at Sunset Gower and just string myself up and that’s it.

John: I don’t know. Craig, don’t.

Craig: I shouldn’t?

John: No. I think you’ve got another good ten years in you.

Craig: Oh! Do you? [laughs] Great.

John: Craig, it’s time for One Cool Things. I can go first or I can go second. What do you want to do?

Craig: Well, if you don’t go first then we’ve got nothing. [laughs]

John: Ah! So, while Craig thinks of his One Cool Thing, because this was sort of an all advice episode, I’m going to reach back to some advice I had a long time ago which was I had watched the movie Blue Valentine and I liked a lot about Blue Valentine but the thing that drove me crazy about it is the Michelle Williams character who is pregnant and decides not to have an abortion. At no point in the discussion of that did adoption ever come up as an option for her.

And having many friends who have families through adoption, I just want people both as individual people existing in the world and as writers especially to not ever forget about adoption. It’s not at all sort of what it’s been portrayed in movies and TV and literature. This sense that it’s a shame or it’s a secret or it’s that thing you don’t talk about, but no, talk about it, because it’s actually a very great thing that happens in American culture now and sort of worldwide culture now.

And if we don’t portray it honestly and positively in media, no one is going to know that it exists. Because women who find themselves in situations where they may end up going into adoption situations tend to be young women who might not have any other exposure to it except through movies and through television. And so I think we have some responsibility to show that as a thing that exists in the world in an honest light that’s not, you know, unicorns and rainbows, but it’s a thing that is good and real in the world. And there are many families that only exist in the world through adoption.

So, adoption is my One Cool Thing.

Craig: Very cool. We know all sorts of people that have… — It’s interesting. A number of families I know who are mixed, so there’s some biological kids, some adopted kids. And we know some families that are all adopted kids. It’s an absolute good.

John: One bit of small advice for everyone to sort of keep in mind is whenever you sort of use adopted as like the adjective descriptive of a kid, so if someone is a child in a family don’t say like their “natural son” and their “adopted kid.” So, you were using that because you were explaining sort of how kids got into this situation.

Craig: Right.

John: But in media reports, or talking about kids, never say they’re “adopted daughter” in a sort of pejorative sense. It’s important to bring up, say like kid through adoption or whatever, but adopted as just an adjective by itself —

Craig: You mean as kind of a pointless modifier. Like if you’re like, “Oh yeah, I have this new doctor I’m going to. He’s black. And he’s really good.” Like, well, why black? Why did I need to know that? That kind of thing.

John: My daughter didn’t through adoption, but there were some reports that “John has an adopted daughter.” It’s like, well, actually, that’s not true. But it doesn’t actually kind of matter. Just like —

Craig: She’s my daughter.

John: Just like daughter.

Craig: Exactly.

John: Daughter is enough.

Craig: Well, you have the other thing, I’m sure, where people are like, “So, who’s the dad?” Do you get that question?

John: Yes. And that’s incredibly frustrating and annoying.

Craig: I know. It’s just rude.

John: And it’s understandable. And I asked those questions when I first encountered two dad families. It’s just not a reasonable question. You don’t ask about the paternity of any other child out on the playground.

Craig: Right.

John: So, don’t ask about us —

Craig: I know. It’s kind of just like —

John: Or if you see a parent and their child is racially clearly not the same, don’t ask like, “Oh, so what’s the mom?”

Craig: Right. It’s not…go away.

John: That’s a ridiculous question.

Craig: Right. [laughs]

John: It’s not your business what the racial makeup of my child is.

Craig: And by the way, who cares? Who cares?

John: Who cares?!

Craig: What’s the mom? Uh, human. Yeah, she’s a human. Yeah. How about that. Yeah, there are so many — people are curious and they are —

John: They’re curious. And they don’t mean to say anything wrong. That’s why I’m trying to say it in a very positive way. Just learn the questions that are great to ask and the questions that are not great to ask.

Craig: Yeah, it’s just a little prying. It’s a little weird. Well, that is excellent advice.

I do have One Cool Thing that just popped into my head. I don’t know how it popped in but I’ve been using it for months now. So, John, are you a wine drinker?

John: I do drink wine. I don’t use the special argon gas that you suggested.

Craig: Right, right, the argon gas. So, I’ve been getting into wine a little bit, but I’m very much a dilettante. I don’t think I’ll ever be a fancy wine guy at all. And because I’m not a fancy wine guy, I don’t do these things where I go and buy super crazy bottles of wine. It’s just not me.

But there’s this website and I haven’t talked about this before called WinesTilSoldOut, have I?

John: No, it sounds great.

Craig: [laughs] I mean, maybe it’s stupid. Maybe I’m being taken advantage of. But it’s a very cool idea for a website. So, this company, WinesTilSoldOut, and it’s wtso.com. They do this thing where basically they get bunches of wine that they’re usually pretty decent and you can do your own investigation. They’ll always put these promotional ratings on there, their nonsense rankings of wine. But you can go and read actual wine drinker reviews of them to double check.

And they put them up at a discount and it’s usually a pretty good discount, sometimes better than others. But what’s interesting about it is it’s just there till they sell out of it. And they never tell you how many they have. They could have 12 bottles. They could have 500 bottles. So, sometimes, and the wines are at different levels of demand, so sometimes they’ll say, okay, here’s a wine, it costs $40, but some until we’re out of it. And it could be gone in five minutes, it could be gone in a day.

Sometimes they have really expensive bottles of wine that have been seriously marked down. If you’re starting to be interested in wine and you don’t feel like spending a crazy amount of money and you like deals, not a bad idea to check out the WinesTilSoldOut people.

And once a month they do this thing where they just blitz through like 100 wines in a day and it’s kind of fun. So, if you’re looking to stock your closet with bottles of wine that you would probably spend $60 on in a store, maybe you’ll get them here for $25. Not a bad idea. Check it out.

John: Sounds good.

Craig, thank you for another fun podcast.

Craig: Thank you.

John: So, standard boilerplate here. If you are curious about anything we talked about on the show, there’s almost always show links in the notes. So, the things for the New York Times thing, the J.J. Abrams advice, they’re all at johnaugust.com/podcast or /scriptnotes. Both work.

If you are listening to us on a device that connects to iTunes in some capacity, which most things do, and you’re in iTunes, subscribe so that we know that you are listening and maybe leave a comment there.

If you want to write an email to us for one of these kind of questions, it’s ask@johnaugust.com.

On Twitter, which is great and handy for short things, I’m @johnaugust. Craig is @clmazin. And that is our show.

Craig: Awesome. I could go another hour, but you know what? I don’t want to.

John: Save it.

Craig: Save it. Save it, man.

John: Good advice, Craig.

Craig: [laughs] You, too, John. See you next week. Bye.

John: Bye.

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