The original post for this episode can be found here.

John August: Hello and welcome. My name is John August.

Craig Mazin: I’m Craig Mazin.

John: And this is Scriptnotes, Episode 87, a podcast about screenwriting and things that are interesting to screenwriters.

Craig: Hmm, interesting.

John: I put it in there this time.

So, Craig, this is my last episode broadcasting from Chicago. I am flying home on Friday night. I just cannot tell you how excited I am to be back home in my own bed. I have not really been back in Los Angeles since February, so it’s been a very long time.

Craig: These stretches are difficult. And I know feeling all too well. There is just something about your own bed, your own house. In fact, I play this little game with myself where I think to myself even though it’s in the future, I’m going to be walking to my front door, and when I walk to my front door I want to remember what it was like when I thought it was in the future. [laughs] It’s a very strange thing I do. But, somehow it’s comforting and it gets me to the point in time I want to be.

John: So, it’s been a remarkable time and stretch here in Chicago. And we’ll talk about a bunch of things today, so let me talk about the topics on our agenda:

I want to talk about moving on, which is both how you move on from a project that you’ve been writing for a long time and recognize that, well, maybe you should just not keep rewriting that project.

In a more general sense, how do you recognize that maybe screenwriting is not a career that you should be focusing on.

I want to talk about reviews, because I remember like when you had Stolen Identity, that movie that you wrote, you got all those reviews and you had a bad reaction to the reviews from that. And I had an interesting situation with the reviews here for Big Fish.

Craig: Okay.

John: And, finally, we should talk about the Zach Braff Kickstarter thing because that’s a thing that happened this week.

Craig: Yeah. I’m not going to veto any of that.

John: Great. So, let’s go in reverse order. Let’s talk about the Zach Braff Kickstarter thing.

Craig: Right.

John: We had an episode a few weeks ago where we talked about Kickstarter in a general sense, and Veronica Mars in particular, and you were not high on the idea of Kickstarter-funding projects, like making movies based on funds raised on Kickstarter. Is that a fair assessment?

Craig: It was. It wasn’t so much an issue with the Veronica Mars people. I think in the end I probably had a larger issue with just the concept of Kickstarter and what it does. But, the specific circumstance of Veronica Mars made it hard to criticize them. They had somebody who owned their copyright saying, “Unless you come up with a whole bunch of money that you don’t personally have, we’re not going to let you make this.” So, okay, I got that.

John: This week Zach Braff announced that he had the ambition to make a follow up to Garden State and that he was using Kickstarter to raise the money, or some of the money, to make that movie possible. And it was funded — as we’re recording this it got up to about $2 million, and maybe higher than that right now. And it looks like there’s going to be enough money to make the movie.

There was a lot of criticism and blow back about Zach Braff doing this and sort of he’s here, you have like a rich actor, or perceived to be a rich actor coming off the TV show Scrubs, and sort of why should we be paying for him to make a movie.

Craig: Well, there was a bunch of criticism. One was, yeah, okay, here’s a guy who at one point was reported to be making a third of a million dollars per episode of television and he’s asking for $2 million from people without granting them, of course, any kind of stake in the profit. That seems a little odd.

The other criticism was that he wasn’t saying, “I can’t get this money elsewhere.” What he was saying was, “I could get this money elsewhere, but then I wouldn’t necessarily get my way.” And that’s a very different situation than the Veronica Mars thing. He can make this movie without Kickstarter. He just doesn’t want to.

So, there was some, certainly some push back there as well.

John: Now, I’ve met Zach Braff on a couple occasions, always like social things, so not on any particular projects, and he was actually always lovely. So, I don’t have anything against Zach Braff in general. I would say that some of the criticism I read about his scenario was that he didn’t come off well in how he was presenting himself and the project.

And I think it would be a good primer for anybody who’s considering using Kickstarter to raise money to be really careful about your messaging because I feel like that push back against him, in a way that was not favorable.

Craig: Well, he still got his money, so in that end, you know, from just a pure ends orientation he won. I think that, I don’t know. Look, I’m friendly with Michael Shamberg and Stacy Sher, the producers on this. I don’t get it. I just don’t get it. And I told Michael as much, you know.

Nothing against Zach Braff. I don’t understand this. He wants final cut on a movie, you know, I don’t know. Earn it? Or, you know, plenty of people go out there and get financing for small movies like this and do get final cut because it’s a small movie and they’re not getting paid that much.

Or, put your own money to it. You know, someone sent me a link just today. A year ago there was a big article in, I think the New York Times, about Zach Braff’s awesome loft in Manhattan and how he had just redecorated it. [laughs] I’m just reading this going, “Ugh, man, why do you need $2 million from people out there?” I don’t understand it.

At one point he referenced a guy who, you know, he said most people don’t know that Garden State happened because one guy funded most of it. Well, where’s that guy? Garden State made a good amount of money based as far as I can tell. It should have had a good return on investment. Where is that guy? I don’t understand this. I just don’t get it.

And here’s the thing: In the end, I can say, well, I find it tacky on some level, but I can’t blame Zach Braff because it worked. I can’t blame, again, you know, when we talked about Kickstarter last time, my whole point was every business if they could just get capital for which they had to offer no equity would do it and should do it. So, let’s just call it the Sucker Born Every Minute theory.

Who are these people giving him…I don’t understand it. There are so many other things to give money to in this world. Why this? I don’t get it.

John: Well, I think as we talked about in Veronica Mars, one of the reasons they want to do it is because they want a thing to exist. And Garden State, I liked that movie. And I think a lot of people liked that movie and they would love to see a follow up to that movie. If this is a way to make that happen and sort of bend the universe in that direction, that’s fantastic.

From the Zach Braff or the existence of the movie’s perspective, yes, I think he could have gotten the money someplace else because, yeah, you kind of want to make a sequel to Garden State. I can see the logic behind doing the Kickstarter model, though, because it generates publicity and interest in a movie that does not even exist yet. And it will be the movie that raises money on Kickstarter, so people will already know about it a year before it comes out. And that can be useful.

And I think that some of what people use Kickstarter for isn’t even so much to raise money as to raise awareness that something exists. And that’s potentially useful. It has a publicity scope.

Craig: It’s even worse now to me. I get your “let’s just cause it to be created” argument. And in the case of Veronica Mars, that’s true. It literally was the only way that it was going to happen because barring those people… — And I don’t believe that, for instance, it’s as easy for Kristen Bell who starred on a show that didn’t make it into like big syndication dollars and all the rest of it to just say, “Okay, we’ll here’s the $4 million we need to make this show, or this movie rather.”

But this could exist — he said as much. He said, “Yeah, I could make this movie. I wouldn’t be able to cast this guy.” And then he pulls the guy in from Big Bang Theory who I’m pretty sure he could cast. It’s a $2 million movie. Or, it’s a $3 million, whatever it is, why not? That guy is on the biggest sitcom in America.

I don’t know, maybe I’m just out to lunch here. But then your point is like, well, so now these people are not giving money to something for which they receive no profit in success, they’re also funding the publicity campaign for the thing for which they receive no profit in success. And I just don’t get it at all. And if people are asking me to apportion some kind of blame here, I’m going to say 98% of the blame goes to people giving money to this on Kickstarter. [laughs] I just don’t get.

I don’t get it at all. And, you know what? There are people out there who really don’t have access to what Zach Braff has access to who really need Kickstarter. They’re not just going to Kickstarter because they don’t want some — because they want final cut. They don’t have anything or any way of knowing anything, or any way of anyone giving them anything except Kickstarter. But, $2 million goes to this.

I don’t get it.

John: I wouldn’t apportion any blame to anybody. I think I share a general frustration about this situation in the sense of you have a person who you know to be wealthy who you know, however much money he has, you know that he has the ability to make this movie in some other way and has chosen to go this route to do it for reasons that you’re not entirely sure you agree with. And you don’t want all movies to happen… — I worry about a scenario in which all small movies feel like they have to go through Kickstarter. If they didn’t they’re not real.

That’s the only concern I have is that, you know, working with a lot of the Sundance movies, like they’re always scraping to get funds. But if the expectation is that not only do you have to sort of impress investor people but you have to do this Kickstarter thing, it just becomes this weird beast of figuring out your t-shirt campaign before you’re figuring out your movie.

Craig: Well, it doesn’t appear to be working for Melissa Joan Hart who tried the same thing. And, ironically, her movie is called Walk of Shame, which is the expression they use for Kickstarters that don’t reach their goals. It was made mostly that it was on purpose.

I just wonder if we haven’t seen the last of these. In other words, the Veronica Mars thing was met with just pure exhilaration. This one, not so much. Frankly, it took a bit. I mean, Veronica Mars had made more than this thing did in like 24 hours practically. This one kind of like dribbed and drabbed its way to $2 million.

I mean, granted, it took, whatever, four days. I mean, that’s fast. Don’t get me wrong. But there’s been a lot of criticism. And, you know the internet, John. You know it the way I know it. It just feels like, I wonder if the worm has turned here and the next person who tries this isn’t going to just get absolutely slammed in the face.

John: We’ll see.

All right, next topic. Let’s talk about reviews, because last week we talking about getting notes. And getting notes and getting reviews are kind of related topics, but also very different topics.

Usually when we’re talking with screenwriters, reviews come a long time after you’ve finished your work. So, you have written a script. Like, Frankenweenie is a good example. That was the first movie that I just did not read any reviews.

And it was actually very easy for me to not read any reviews for Frankenweenie because I had been done with that movie for like a year and a half before the movie came out. So, it wasn’t very close and personal to me. I loved the story, but I didn’t have a lot of emotional stake in it immediately. So, I knew that the reviews were basically good. I knew that my life wouldn’t be greatly improved by reading them, so I just didn’t read any of them. And it was actually lovely not to have read the reviews.

You chose to read the reviews for Stolen Identity.

Craig: Yeah, it was mistake. [laughs]

John: [laughs] It was a mistake. So, here with Big Fish, we just opened. And so last weekend was our opening and so the reviews came out. And Andrew Lippa, the composer and I, decided deliberately that we were not going to read any reviews. We were not going to read the good reviews, we were not going to read the bad reviews. We were going to read no reviews.

And it was actually the right choice I think because it was a weird thing with a musical because a movie, you’re done. A movie, you’re done and you’re finished. Whereas we’re in this preview process so we’re still making changes all the time and we’ll make more changes before we go to New York.

And even reading the good reviews in a weird way would have been toxic because it would have made us, you know, I don’t know, when you put words to something and you read something in print, it gives it a sense of authority that may not really be warranted. And so even if you read something, like a glowing review, saying this is the best song or the best scene in the whole show, in a weird way you’re nervous then to change it. You’re nervous to do the actual work you need to do.

Craig: Right.

John: So, what we chose to do is we said — the producers, obviously, we’re going to read all the reviews — and so we said, “Read the reviews. And just tell us the generalities of what things are common. What things everyone agrees we need to work on. Not everyone, but what is the consensus of the stuff we need to work on.” And, thankfully, there was consensus. And the consensus was exactly what all of our friends and colleagues who had seen the show said we needed to work on as well. So, that was good.

Craig: Great.

John: And then there were also raves. And so like the Variety thing was a rave. And so they can say it was a rave. And I could know that there was a rave that I didn’t have to read which was a wonderful thing.

But, I want to talk about, you know, last week we talked about notes and sort of how you approach notes. And what’s different is when you’re getting notes from somebody you can actually engage them in a conversation. A review is like a monologue about what you did. And there’s not a way to ask questions about back about it. There’s no way to sort of engage with them. And if there were they’d be, I don’t know, more useful.

Craig: It’s funny that as we talk about reviews, the areas in which they can be useful keep getting pared down, and down, and down. So, they’re not useful to you early on. They’re not useful to you later. [laughs] They’re not useful to the artist at all. They’re not.

John: Well, in a weird way these reviews are sort of like on any cool news where they used to have like test screening reviews, and I’ve always criticized those because like someone is trying to review an in-progress product. It’s like, it’s not the final product.

With theater, you necessarily kind of have to have those reviews because we are selling tickets. I think it’s fair to review what we’re doing and sort of where we’re at in the process.

Craig: Sure.

John: And the best, you know, a lot of the reviews said these are the things that worked and these are the things that need to be improved before it gets to New York. And like that’s a lovely way to phrase it. But it’s still sort of judging a thing as it stood that night when the next night it was different. It’s like trying to give a moral assessment of a seven-year-old kid. They’re still growing. They’re still changing.

Craig: Yeah. And I would imagine that talking to audience members could give you a very similar snapshot. The truth is, it’s audience members that you want to attract. Famously, Les Misérables when it opened in London got terrible reviews. Same show. Same show that has been running forever, all over the world, and then the movie, and the multiple cast albums. Terrible reviews. The critics just didn’t matter. They weren’t right.

Or, let’s not say that. They weren’t applicable to what people on stage are going for which is to fill a theater with people. So, talking to people I would imagine would give you, like you said, all they did was say the same things that your friends and your other preview goers were saying.

John: Absolutely. One of the most fascinating things that happened this last week was we had groups sales meetings which is they fly in a bunch of the people who sell whole big blocks of tickets to tourists who are visiting New York City. And so it could be church groups, educational groups. It could be conventions, whatever.

And these people are fascinating because they see a zillion shows, because they see all the shows that are coming to Broadway. So, afterwards we did this Q&A and they could ask questions. And one woman was like really, really direct about the things she liked and the things she didn’t like, and who she was going to recommend the show for and who she wasn’t going to recommend the show for. And that was actually really useful because I could engage her in a conversation. And a lot of what she was saying was consistent with the other notes we were getting, and with like honestly apparently what’s in the reviews which is great, because that means that’s a thing you can address.

Craig: Right.

John: The process is like as if we’re editing a movie but the Avid, we’re putting a new cut off the Avid every day and have to show it to an audience. It’s like you’re having 35 test screenings back, to back, to back. And it’s wonderful to have that opportunity, but also exhausting to have that opportunity.

Craig: Yeah, I can see that.

Well, I think it’s very smart that you guys were not plugged into the reviews and in the end they simply — they are, I guess, just associated with the experience, but they are not causal to it in any way.

John: They’re a snapshot of sort of what the show was like at a certain time and what the reaction to the show was at that time.

Craig: Through one person’s camera.

John: Through one person’s camera. And, honestly, like what happened that night, because some nights are really, really good, and the audience is fantastic, and just everything kind of clicks. And some nights a line gets dropped or some cue doesn’t work quite right, and it is like the sustained magic trick. Even with a movie, you’ve seen scenes where like literally cutting one reaction shot changes the whole scene.

Craig: Right.

John: That’s the kind of situation we’re at now where like some stuff has to be polished exactly one way or it doesn’t really work right.

Craig: Yeah, you know, and I totally believe you because you’ll see that with movies, and movies never change. But the audience changes, or a theater changes, or a venue, and it’s just weird sometimes. It’s just one thing that they respond to in one room, they don’t in another. So…

John: You and I have both been to experiences where they’ll have a premiere, but like there will be too many people for one screen. And so there will be theater A and theater B. And it’s the exact same movie playing in both places and people have different experiences which is so…

Craig: So weird.

John: It’s crazy.

Now, partly why I didn’t read the reviews was sort of a psychological self-defense. It’s like knowing what was going to send me off in little spirals and make me unproductive. But, psychological self-defense is really sort of our third and biggest topic today which is how do you recognize when it’s time to move on from either a project or from this thing of writing.

And let’s talk through that, because I have 12 produced movie credits, maybe. I think 10 or 12. And a lot other movies I sort of worked on along the way, but there’s a whole bunch of scripts I wrote that never shot. And I’ve had to sort of move on from them. And you have a big shelf of stuff, too, I assume?

Craig: Yeah, for sure.

John: So, let’s talk about when you decide to just be done with a project, or do you decide — does it just fall off or have you officially sort of said goodbye to any projects?

Craig: I have said goodbye. There’s one project that I was hired to do by a studio and I really loved it and my producer really loved it, but there were circumstances that made it sort of impossible to green light it. It just wasn’t a good fit for the studio and it was very expensive. And I think it has just been there. I don’t know if anyone has ever really worked on it again. I think it’s just dead.

And, you know, in a weird way, it doesn’t bother me. I guess that’s okay, you know. I’m okay to rest on those things. There’s a spec script that I wrote that has some really cool stuff in it, but then just stuff that’s not quite right, and I kind of realize, “Uh, I don’t really want to write this anymore.”

And, so I quit on it. And I have no problem with that at all. Do you feel great sadness when… — Do you feel like quitting on something is a bad thing, or ending like that is a bad thing?

John: I can offer two perspectives. I think every movie that I write is real to me in the sense that I’ve entered into that world and I’ve written everything from the inside, and so those characters are as real to me as the characters are in the movies that get made. And so there’s a certain sadness when like something doesn’t proceed because I know those characters are never going to see their full life. They’re only ideas of the final movie. And so they’re real to me, but they’re not real to anybody else. And so that’s a sad thing.

One of the themes in The Nines was that sense of these characters are sort of trapped forever in 12-point Courier. And what is the creator’s responsibility to their creations. Am I responsible for, having created these characters, am I responsible for making sure they exist in the world for real? At what point are you allowed to sort of walk away from the things you’ve made, be it a story, a script, a universe? At what point is a creator allowed to walk away from the things he’s made?

So, some of those things, it is different when it is my own original baby, when it was like a spec script I came up with. It was entirely mine. I own every little bit of it. That’s a tougher thing for me then sometimes there’s a bundle of rights that I was hired on to write this thing. It’s not my thing. I did everything I could. I took care of this thing as well as I could, but it’s not ultimately mine.

That’s a situation like Preacher. I would love the Preacher movie to exist. I just can’t actually get it to happen. And I don’t own those rights and so I can’t push it any further. And I can get people on the phone, but I can’t get the next thing to happen, and that’s the reality of it.

Craig: I mean, it’s not the end of the world. I mean, I guess, you have an experience writing something and I always feel like we learn every time we write. We push ourselves or challenge ourselves in some way. And there’s an upside, frankly, to the things that are unmade. And that is you get to enjoy them perfectly in your mind. And no one can mess with those.

John: So, I think there’s sometimes an opportunity cost to holding on to things. And that opportunity cost is like that is time when you’re not writing something new.

Craig: Yeah.

John: That is time where you’re not pursuing something new. And that’s an important thing to remember, because honestly the easiest thing to do is often to work on another draft of that project. And so sometimes you promised it to somebody, so you’re going to fire up the word processor, and like Final Draft, and go through and just do a new pass for somebody. And a lot of screenwriters in Los Angeles have written one and half scripts.

Craig: [laughs]

John: They’ve written that first spec script. They started on another script. They didn’t really finish the second script. And they’d go back and they’d keep writing that first one, which might have had a pretty good idea on it, but all they sort of know how to do is how to rewrite that first script.

In most cases, people would be better off say acknowledging like that was a lovely script, I learned a lot from there, and move onto the next one.

Craig: Yeah.

John: The first thing I wrote which got me an agent will never get made. And it should never get made. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t a perfectly valid piece of writing. It just wasn’t a movie that the universe wanted to exist.

Craig: I also think that for a lot of these writers they are belaboring under a misconception that their script must be as perfected as possible, or I guess the proper way to say that is their script must be perfected in order for someone to truly appreciate it. And it turns out this is not at all the case.

A, there is no “perfected.” There is only perfected for you. B, nobody ever reads a script and says, “It’s perfect. Shoot it!”

John: No one.

Craig: And, C, most importantly, and most encouragingly, the stuff in your screenplay that is basic, and intentional, and specific to your screenplay will shine through flaws every day of the week. Everybody, frankly, is looking for something, even if it’s one great scene, or just the basic idea. They’re going to get it or not. They never pick up these scripts — no one, forget the cartoon producers and studio executives that you might imagine are out there, anyone, no one is going to pick up a script and say, “It is flawed, therefore no good,” or “It is perfect therefore good.” That’s not how it works.

So, when we redo, and redo, and redo, and redo and just sit there sanding and polishing we are unfortunately misusing our natural obsessive compulsive disorder for bad. We let that get out of control. We need OCD to be able to fill 150 pages, and we need OCD to redo it and fix it in large, gross ways.

But, when you start to indulge the OCD, that is when you are entering the line of diminishing returns and it is time to consider maybe moving on.

John: Yeah. Here’s a sign: If you go through a draft and you’ve mostly change punctuation…

Craig: Yeah!

John: …that was not a productive draft. Because you start to recognize that all you’re doing is polishing the script but you’re not actually changing the movie. Like, the movie that you actually make from that script would be almost exactly the same script. You’re just kind of improving the words.

And it’s not to say that the words are unimportant. The words are incredibly important and you should — every word in your script should be deliberate. But that doesn’t mean you should have spent three years on those words and every word in that script, because that’s not good and productive use of your time.

Craig: Right.

John: In many ways I feel people who get a chance to work in television benefit from recognizing that perfection is a trap. And the time pressures that they’re under in TV is like, “How do I write what needs to be written in this scene so that…” You know, good enough is sort of a trap too… “but that it does its job, and that therefore the scene will work and I can move onto the next scene.” It’s how to write the best scene for what it needs to be the first time through.

Craig: Right. That’s exactly right. And just keeping checking into yourself. If you feel like you’re still eating meat, keep writing. If you start feeling bones crunching, stop. You’ve gone too far, you know? And you’ll know. I think we all know.

Because we care so much about these things, sometimes when we finish a script and we feel really good about it we just read it, and read it over, and read it over, and we’re just congratulating ourselves by reading what we’ve done. And that’s a perfectly fine way to indulge yourself if you’d like. But that’s also a pretty good sign that you should probably now start to ease off the pedal and send it out into the world.

John: Yup. A friend of mine who’s very smart and sort of much more psychologically self-aware than I think I will ever feel comfortable being…

Craig: Is it me? Is it me?

John: [laughs] No, certainly not you. When she’s moving on, she will write a letter to the script saying, “These are the reasons why I’m moving on.” And it’s a weird sort of closure exercise for her, but like, “This is why I’m done. You’re fantastic. But I’m not going to be continuing to pursue you anymore,” which I know sounds a little bit crazy, but the actual process of writing that saying gives her permission to stop thinking about it and obsessing about it.

Craig: That doesn’t sound a little crazy. That sounds a lot crazy. But, if it’s working…

John: If it’s working. Because what I do find is that sometimes there’s just the open loops that you just sort of keep thinking about. Like, oh, I need to go back and do that. Oh, I need to go back and do that. And it becomes a sort of stacking kind of guilt.

And if you give yourself permission to just be done with something, that can be useful. And if it takes writing a letter, or just a little note to that thing saying, “This is why I’m not going to worry about you anymore,” that could be useful.

Craig: Whatever it takes. You know, you just want to try and find the sweet spot between the ding-a-ling who starts 12 scripts but never finishes and the other ding-a-ling who’s on his 20th draft of something where he’s now fixing tiny things no one would have noticed in the first place anyway because he’s on the 12th level of revisions.

And, by the way, for the way, for those poor people, god help them when other people finally read it. They don’t recognize that you’ve already gone through this process and that you’re 12 levels in. They’re just like, “I got bored here.”

John: Yeah. A lot of times people keep writing that thing because they’re scared of, who am I if I’m not writing this thing. So, maybe you should set a limit. So, like I will not rewrite this script until I’ve written an entirely new script, because that way at least you’re moving forward. And probably in the process of writing that new script you will recognize, “Oh, you know what? I’m a writer. I’m not just one script.”

Craig: And there you go.

John: And you’ll keep moving on. But, let’s push a little bit further. What if you’re not a screenwriter? And how do you know whether you are a person who is just maybe not cut out for screenwriting?

Craig: Well, I was thinking about this the other day because someone on Done Deal Pro sort of did some back-of-the-envelope math about what the odds were of becoming a professional screenwriter. And while the back-of-the-envelope was pretty loosey-goosey in terms of all the assumptions and things, obviously it’s low, right? The odds are low. I don’t know what they actually came up with, but let’s just say the odds of — you know, when you look at all the people who want to be a screenwriter, all the people trying to be a screenwriter, let’s say that the odds are 0.05% of them become professional screenwriters in however we define that term.

And my argument back to all of them was, no. Those are the odds, maybe, let’s stipulate, but they’re not your odds. Your odd are 0% or 100%. That’s it. The general odds don’t apply to you. So, with that in mind, really what it comes down to is: Are you wasting your time?

And, this whole concept of “follow your dream” is so important and so vital for the people whose odds are 100%. And so destructive and limiting to the people whose odds are 0%. And I think it’s important for us to speak to all of those people out there who are doing this to say: Listen, there may come a day where you start to believe that perhaps it’s not supposed to happen. You’re not what is wanted in the world for a screenwriter. And you’re not loving it. And I think it’s okay to say, “I’m going to stop now.”

We shouldn’t associate shame with that. I know too many people who have wasted a lot of time and there’s other stuff to do. And, also, frankly, I mean, I’m sure you’re the same way — screenwriting is a huge part of my life. It’s my profession, it is my vocation. It has been so for nearly two decades now and hopefully for another decade still. It’s not the most important thing in my life by far. By far!

You know, my wife, my kids, it’s not the be all, end all.

John: Two points to sort of reiterate is that moving on is not failing. Moving on is recognizing what’s working and what’s not working and making a choice to pursue what is the best path for you to be pursuing next.

Second off is the difference between what you do and who you are. And your identity cannot, should not be in most cases your profession. Your identity should be the things you stand for, the things you love, the people who are in your life. It shouldn’t be what you do on a nine to five basis.

Craig: Yeah. For sure. If that is your identity something has gone terribly wrong.

And, frankly, if that’s what you’re chasing, too, there are kids who really want to make that baseball team. They really want to make the tournament team because they love baseball. Then there are kids who really want to make that tournament team because they really want that uniform that says, “I’m on a tournament team.”

A lot of people out there I think want the uniform.

John: Yeah they do.

Craig: [laughs] And, I got to tell you, it ain’t that great. When I was…I’m going to tell you a little story. Let me tell you a little story about little Craig Mazin.

Little Craig Mazin went to public school on Staten Island for kindergarten through fifth grade. And his public school was as New York City’s Board of Education love to do, because they were super creative, our school was, Public School 69, PS69. — No jokes please. — So, I went to PS69.

And in PS69 if you were in fifth grade you could become a safety monitor. And a safety monitor basically got to stand in the hall and do safety stuff, I guess. But really what it was was this: you got this white cloth band thing. It would sort of go around your waist like a belt. But then it had this other thing that went diagonally from the right side of the belt, up over your shoulder, and then back around. And then there was a badge on it.

John: So, it was a sash-belt-badge combo.

Craig: Sash-belt-badge combo. And you could do things like check for bathroom passes and stuff like that. You were essentially a little Gestapo. And did I mention badge?

John: Yeah.

Craig: Oh my god did I want this! I wanted it so bad. And I don’t know what the criteria were for selecting hall monitors. I was, at the risk of sounding arrogant, I was a star pupil. Star pupil. Now later in life it occurs to me that that’s probably not — the high performing students weren’t necessarily what they wanted for their goon squad. [laughs]

But oh my god I wanted that thing so bad. I had no interest whatsoever in what it actually meant. And I remember feeling so frustrated by the casual “who cares” attitude of the kids who were awarded the sash-belt-badge combo and who didn’t even seem to care about it. Or, god forbid, forgot their sash-badge combo at school. You know?

John: So, Craig, you were never given that sash-badge?

Craig: No, I was not. I never got the sash-belt-badge combo.

John: This is explains so much, Craig. It also explain why you fundamentally reject anybody who sort of wants that kind of thing because now — not having gotten it yourself — anybody who would want such a thing, or who’d want to…or who would want to kick-start a campaign to make sash-belt-badge combos is suspect in your world.

Craig: [laughs] I would love, by the way, if one of our listeners actually found an image of this somewhere on file. It has to be a sash-belt-badge combo thing from a New York City public education school from K-5, which is what we had, and it has to be circa ’70s. I’ll go as high as ’81.

Anyway, no, the truth is it was a very, very 10-year-old thing of me, but yet those 10-year-old things never go away. They’re always inside of us.

I’ll give you another one. When I was in college I really, really wanted to be in one of the a cappella singing groups. And I was good enough to get a call back, I just wasn’t good enough to actually make it. And I was — I felt, it’s not jealousy, it’s the frustration of denied aspiration. It’s really hard to deal with. But, you know, the thing is, you do have to look in your life at the things that you do get, and then remember everything that you get at some point becomes a job, becomes work, becomes a task.

And if all you see is what’s romantic about it, and there are some romantic things about screenwriters. You and I get to hang out with famous people and be on movie sets and go to premieres. That is romantic. And we get to talk to people, you know, and be interviewed. On this side of the line, of course, it’s like, blech, right?

So, for those of you who are fueled primarily by romantic aspirations, think about that means.

John: I would also say when you have this idea about what your life is going to be like when you’re having that job, when you’re in that position, you’re really doing the same kind of thing which I had some problems with the reviews, is that you’re putting your self-esteem in someone else’s hands. Your sense of self-worth is based on whether someone else thinks you are good enough in this situation or in this world.

And so, be it reviews, be it getting your hall monitor sash, you have decided that how good you are is based on how someone else judges you. And that’s not a productive, happy way to go through your life. Ideally your self esteem should be based on the things that you do and can control and things that you want that you can achieve that are meaningful to you, not meaningful to other people.

I definitely get that. My daughter has a similar situation to your hall monitor/hall pass thing. She’s seven years old and one of her good friends does ballet. And so she’s like, “Well, I want to do ballet.” It’s like, well, why do you want to do ballet? “Because she does ballet. They get to do the Nutcracker and stuff.” It’s like, well do you want to do that? “Oh, I really, really want to do that.”

But we actually really drilled down. She kind of just wants the trappings.

Craig: Right. She wants the shoes.

John: She wants the shoes. But she doesn’t want the work. She doesn’t want one more thing on her schedule which is already sort of over-packed. In a weird way she doesn’t want someone else to have something that she doesn’t have.

Craig: Yeah.

John: And that’s a natural instinct, but you have to sort of push beyond that natural instinct.

And so I feel like a lot of people approach screenwriting because they really want to be in the movie business, but they recognize that they have no idea how to direct a movie. They feel like they don’t have the funds to make a movie. They don’t feel like they know people who can help them make movies. They know on some level that they’re not actors.

So, the only thing that seems like approachable in the world of making movies is writing a script, because anyone can write a script, so that is what they pursue. But, it’s not..I would say 80% of people who are aspiring screenwriters wouldn’t necessarily classify themselves as writers. It’s not like they wrote stuff before this. They just want to make movies, and so therefore they’re writing screenplays.

And that’s not likely to work out well for the 99.5% of them. Because they’re not getting into it for the right reasons.

Craig: Yeah.

John: Most of the people we know who are successful screenwriters, they were good writers before they ever approached screenwriting. And they were writing for other things and then they came to screenwriting. That’s a common trend amongst most screenwriters I’ve met. They were always good writers. Is that true for you, too?

Craig: Yeah. I’ve always been good with words and my — the vast majority of writing I did prior to screenwriting, frankly, was non-fiction writing. It was essay writing. It was persuasive writing. Investigative writing. I was a student journalist. But always trying to tell a story.

So, I was working with narrative inside of non-fictional topics. And you can see, you know, the non-fictional writers that we tend to appreciate the most in a sort of popular way are the ones who are able to place things within a narrative.

I’ve always been obsessed with narrative, and with mythology, and I’ve always loved movies. So, yeah, I was always a lexicographically-minded person.

John: I think there’s a reason why a lot of non-fiction writers tend to sort of drift over to screenwriting is, you know, writing for a magazine is very much creating a narrative but with very specific constraints in that you don’t have all the space and time that a novel has. You have a very specific kind of writing that you need to do. There’s certain restrictions placed upon you, the same way there are restrictions placed upon screenwriters. And screenwriters can only talk about things that you can see and hear. A journalist can only report facts. They’re limited to the truth.

You know, an investigative journalist only has the things that he or she can actually find and put into the story. So, there’s a reason why people who come from those field tend to come into screenwriters. Mark Boal is an example of that. Someone who comes from a journalism background. I was a journalism background as well.

So, I do feel that a lot of people come to screenwriting out of this desire to be part of the movie business. “I like movies a lot and so I want to write movies.” That’s not necessarily the best bridge between the two.

Craig: Right. Yeah, just be on the lookout for that. As you go through this, at some point you my start to feel like it’s a slog. That you’re doing all this but not for “it.” You’re doing all this for other reasons.

John: Yes.

Craig: Or, you’re doing it for the right reasons, it’s just not working. And all I can tell you is if you should come to that day where you just don’t like doing it, stop. Just stop. It’s okay.

John: It’s okay.

Last week on the podcast we talked about, someone wrote in the question saying like isn’t it really annoying when people do this kind of thing, and I proposed a hash tag called #CutItOut for stuff we needed to stop doing as screenwriters.

Se, a classic one is, you know, air ducts are just…we have to stop using air ducts because air ducts are cliché and they’re gross. But we proposed if anyone had other ideas for things that they need to — we need to stop seeing in movies and that screenwriters need to take responsibility for just not putting them in movies, to tweet them with a hash tag.

And some people wrote in with some good suggestions. So, here are a few.

Dan Slovin wrote, “This trope I’m bored of, ‘Oh god, he’s broadcasting on every TV on the planet.'”

Craig: Oh, yeah, like the guy who takes over the main switching station for all TV channels? [laughs].

John: Yeah, exactly.

Craig: Yeah, what is that?

John: Yeah, what is that? Because it’s not really practical. I don’t even know sort of what they would be?

Craig: It doesn’t really work that way because there are different satellites. What are you — you’ve got control of every satellite and what you’re going to do with that is broadcast something?

John: Exactly. And when was the last time I watched broadcast TV? I haven’t watched broadcast in months. [laughs]

Craig: Exactly. Exactly. Yeah, you know what? I never even considered that. It makes no sense. You’re right.

John: Aaron Bradley wrote in with three. One is, “Dropping one’s camera in the face of unspeakable horror.”

Craig: Oh, yeah, yeah.

John: Yeah, you see that a fair amount.

Craig: Yeah, with the slow backing away.

John: “There’s no such thing as…followed by whatever thing doesn’t exist.”

Craig: Yeah, that’s the Gilligan’s Island, “I’m not wearing that dress.”

John: “The girl telling the slacker man who’s the hero of the story if he can’t do it she’ll get someone else who can and then storming off.”

Yeah, I see it as a general idea. Like, “Well, if you can’t do it, I’ll get somebody who can.” Eh. That’s clammy.

Craig: Yeah, it’s more clammy then…I mean, it’s a clammy line, yeah.

John: “How about a sociopathic antagonist with an Old Testament Name.”

Craig: [laughs] That’s pretty good.

John: Yeah, that’s pretty good. Eli, Josiah.

Craig: Yeah, yeah, Hachaliah. I always loved Hachaliah. I think that’s in Inherit the Wind when William Jennings Bryan is losing his mind and having a stroke. He starts yelling names of biblical books and Hachaliah was maybe one.

John: This is actually a pet peeve of mine. This is from Devin O’Neil. “A character receives shocking news, so shocking in fact that after much dry heaving they vomit.”

I’ve never received news that made me throw. I think it does actually happen. I just don’t want to ever see it in movies again.

Craig: Has that happened in movies? [laughs]

John: Oh, it’s happened in movies.

Craig: Really, where somebody throws up because of a message?

John: Yeah. They get so overwhelmed that they throw up.

Craig: Oh, the big throw up, I see. Yeah, okay, now that I think about it, yes. Got it.

Throwing up is gross anyway. Although it’s funny, I watched The Sixth Sense with my son last night who’s 11. He loved it. And I really appreciated it, probably more than I did when I watched it the first time when it came out. And there is that terrible moment where the ghost of Mischa Barton throws up. It’s really scary.

John: Yeah, Mischa Barton.

Craig: Mischa Barton.

John: She is scary.

Craig: Yeah.

John: “This ends now.” That’s a clam more than anything else. But, no, just stop that.

Craig: That is a message for itself.

John: Yes. David Bratton suggested that.

We’ve talked about this before, but like an opening scene where somebody hits an alarm clock, or hits an alarm clock and knocks it off the nightstand.

Craig: Right.

John: Stop that.

Craig: Yeah. Nobody does that.

John: Nobody does that in real life.

Craig: No one.

John: “Tight on an eye as it opens, pulling back to reveal the hero waking up in the desert not knowing how he got there.”

Craig: Um…

John: Uh, that’s awkward.

Craig: Does that happen?

John: It does happen. I mean, it’s not always the desert. But just that sense of like waking up someplace and having no idea how you go there.

Craig: Oh, okay. I guess. I mean, that’s not so bad.

John: Says the writer of The Hangover movies. [laughs]

Craig: Well, I didn’t invent that language in the first one. [laughs] So, I can’t take credit or blame for that. But, I don’t know, I mean, I guess. That’s like, what a close-up, a disorienting close-up? I think we have to keep that within our language.

John: Nick Rheinwald-Jones writes, “The criminal protagonist is bailed out of jail by a guy who wants him to do another crime.” Yeah, that needs to stop.

Craig: And, again, maybe my film vocabulary is weak, but is there a famous example of that?

John: Oh, I think it’s actually really common in heist movies where the guy gets out of jail and is immediately recruited in to do the same thing, or sometimes it’s the government who comes to get the guy. It’s like, “We need you to do this thing because you’re the only person who can do it because you did this crime before.”

Craig: Right. Okay, got it.

John: So, let’s stop that. August Benassi writes, “The character decides to quit drinking. Dramatically stares at bottle. Opens it, and pours it out.”

Craig: Yeah…

John: Yeah. I think that probably does actually happen in real life. I’ve just seen it a lot. And I saw it in John Gatins’ movie, Flight, and I thought was the last time I needed to see it.

Craig: Yeah, you know, that doesn’t offend me. Some of these don’t bother me. [laughs] They really don’t. Maybe I’m just more cliché-oriented than most people, but I don’t…that doesn’t bother me. Yeah, I’ve seen it before, but it’s something that every single person — one of those people has to do it, so…don’t they?

John: Yeah, I just…yeah. Giving up drinking in movies overall is a sort of source of frustration for me. It just feels like, you know. I mean, it’s a thing that happens, just it annoys me for some reason.

Craig: You know what annoys me, come to think of it? It just annoys me because of what we do. Any time there’s an author in a movie, he has, or she has, writer’s block. And then something happens. And then they just start writing and they can’t stop.

John: Yeah.

Craig: It’s the most ridiculous portrayal of how writing works. It’s not some crazy coke binge where it’s like one crazy night because I finally got over my problem.

John: Yeah, they get like graphia or whatever where they just can’t stop writing.

Craig: Yeah. And they’re so happy. And it’s just that shot of their face while they’re typing. And then a shot of pages that turn into a stack of pages. It’s crazy!

John: Yeah, it’s the corollary to ripping the paper out of the typewriter and crumpling it up.

Craig: Exactly!

John: Tossing it into the overflowing trash can.

Craig: Yeah, I know! And that scene is always there, too.

John: John Meehan writes, “On the desk or shelf or on the wall we see a faded old photo of a younger, happier main character alongside a woman and a child.”

Craig: Uh…

John: Yeah. That’s sort of an establishing shot of who the character was in a younger, happier time. That’s…

Craig: Yeah, that is cliché. I mean, we actually did a little spoof version of that when we did Superhero Movie because it is so cliché, and that was a pretty funny scene, I liked that. Just the happier times and in each picture the things around his poor, dead dad, the things that his dad was doing were increasingly dangerous. [laughs] It’s just kind of funny. I liked it.

John: [laughs] Jason Markarian writes two different ones. “Our disheveled lead long pours a beer into his cereal.” Yeah, beer and cereal, no. Stop that.

Craig: Yeah, maybe I’m just not seeing enough movies. That just sounds stupid anyway.

John: “Our disheveled lead, straight from bed, chasing far too many aspirin with a huge swig from a vodka bottle.”

Craig: Well, yeah, this whole like “I’m going to drink in the morning, look how crazy my life is,” I also don’t believe that that happens.

By the way, I don’t know about you, but my other thing that…this isn’t even a trope. This just makes me nuts is when people wake up in the morning and start kissing each other. Like, brush your teeth. It’s gross!

John: “The female lead has a boozy one night stand with a guy who the next day turns out to be her new boss or coworker.”

Craig: Yeah, okay.

John: Yeah, I’ve seen that a lot. Don’t do that.

Craig: That sounds pretty familiar, yeah.

John: Joey H. wrote that, thank you for that.

“Showing open boxes of takeout in a single person’s fridge to show that he is single.”

Craig: Yeah!

John: Yeah, Wilson Kelley, good call there.

Craig: See, that’s a good example of something we should just cut out, because it’s not useful anymore. It’s actually dumb. It doesn’t even seem true.

John: Yeah. So, I would say, yeah, let’s not do that. Or, if you’re going to do it, again, make a joke out of it. There’s probably a good joke to be had there because it’s so expected that you can probably surprise us with something else that’s different there.

Craig: Right.

John: Oh, here’s a good one. Getting the bad guy…okay, “The bad guy gets captured because it’s part of his essential plan.”

Craig: Right. I’ve seen that a lot.

John: It’s happened a lot recently. So, that’s in Skyfall. It happens in Avengers. It doesn’t need to happen again.

Craig: It happens in, I mean, the Joker does it.

John: Oh, yeah, that’s right.

Craig: And I never understand it frankly. I honestly never understand that whole, “I want you to capture me thing.” It did, by the way, as much as I enjoyed all the movies we just mentioned, I didn’t understand why he had to do that in Avengers at all.

John: No. I don’t understand why he had to do it in Skyfall, either. If he had the capability of doing all of those things he was already doing, there was no reason why he needed to get captured in that, either.

Craig: Plus, it always backs the screenwriter into a weird place because they want it to be a twist. Well, if it’s a twist, that means the villain has to behave as if they don’t want to be captured. But, once we find out that they did want to captured, you have to reconcile their prior behavior which is really hard to do.

John: Yeah.

Craig: Like why were you kind of behaving like you didn’t want to be captured so that you would be captured? None of it makes sense.

John: It does not make sense.

Joe Dinicola writes in, “When the boss baddie turns away, then turns his back and shoots one of his own guys.” Yeah, when you shoot one of your own guys to show that you’re a badass, yeah, I’ve seen that a lot. It’s not the best use of your time.

Craig: When you say to prove that you’re a bad guy, you shoot one of your own guys?

John: Yeah. I think that’s what he’s implying. So, it’s one of those things where like the villain shoots one of his own people sort of cavalierly.

Craig: Oh, I see. Oh, you know, I’m guilty of a lot of these.

John: Yeah, but you’re a successful screenwriter so…

Craig: I mean, I feel like when I do it it’s really entertaining! [laughs]

John: [laughs] Maybe in your next script you’ll consider it.

Craig: Maybe I’m done with them now, now that I’ve gotten them out of my system.

John: Our final from Erica Horton, “The crazy/awkward priest or minister at the wedding.” Yeah, I think I’m done with that, too.

Craig: Example?

John: If you’re doing a wedding scene, like I don’t need the priest to be eccentric. I just…

Craig: Yeah, that’s normally…again, I’m drawing a blank. Where does that happen?

John: Oh, I think that happens a fair amount. So, I think Four Weddings and a Funeral, I think that’s a trope that’s in there. There is something where Robin Williams is a minister.

Craig: Well, that was License to Wed and that, while the movie doesn’t rise to the test of what you wanted that movie to be, but the whole point was that he was a nut. I mean, it wasn’t like there was a scene and in the scene the priest was goofy.

John: Yeah. I didn’t see that movie.

Craig: I did. I saw it. And, you know, it wasn’t for me.

John: You didn’t work on it?

Craig: No, no. Went to the theater. I’m not sure why.

John: I have not been to the movies in seven weeks. I’m so excited to see a movie, any movie. It will be great. I’m so excited to have a night where I’m not writing Big Fish. That will just be a delight.

Craig: It’s too much fish.

John: So, let’s get onto our One Cool Things. My One Cool Thing is actually very much related to this topic of moving on. So, my friend Gabe Olds, who was an actor on DC, his mom is a famous poet, Sharon Olds, who just last week or the week before won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry. And her book is called Stag’s Leap.

And the Pulitzer people say it’s fantastic, but I also think it’s just fantastic. I read it this last week. And it’s the first book of poetry I’ve probably read since college. It’s just free verse. Nothing rhymes.

What it chronicles is her divorce. And so it’s her divorce of her husband of 30 years. And it’s just breathtaking and amazing. And sad, but really just terrific. So, I highly recommend it. And especially if you haven’t read poetry in a while, it’s great to be able to read a bunch of poems that are about one thing. Because so often, like in The New Yorker you’ll read a poem, and like, oh, that’s a really good poem, but it’s one little appetizer of something.

And so this makes a meal out of this whole situation and there’s a whole arc to it which was terrific. And poetry, in a weird way, matches up to some degree to what we do in screenwriting because unlike normal prose which has full, complete sentences and has paragraphs and stuff, the stuff that we write is also kind of free verse-y. It’s just like it’s words scattered on the page to create an effect, and that’s what she does incredibly well in this book of poetry.

So, Stag’s Leap by Sharon Olds is my recommendation.

Craig: It’s a very difficult thing to marry a poet because on the one hand they can be super depressing and then you want to leave them. But then if you leave them you know that they’re going to destroy you in poetry.

John: Yeah. It’s like dating Alanis Morissette.

Craig: God, it’s just like dating Alanis Morissette. It’s true. You know she’s going to get you like Dave Coulier got gotten.

John: Yeah. I guess. I have friends with personal experience in that front. So, yeah.

Craig: But, you know, that album was good.

John: It was good. Or Fiona Apple. I remember my friend Rawson Thurber at one point said like, “I do just want to date Fiona Apple for a couple months in the hopes that she’ll write an album about me.”

Craig: Right. Exactly. Just an angry, hallowed out album of anger sadness.

John: What I will say that also really impressed me about Sharon Olds’s book is that in it you can recognize that the fact that she was a poet who was writing about their situation did have an effect upon their marriage. He was the knowing subject of some of her work. And who wants to be in that kind of spotlight?

Craig: Apparently not him. [laughs]

John: It was not him.

Craig: Yeah, he punched out. Hard to blame him. Hard to blame him.

Look, I don’t want to take sides in this difficult divorce, but I am saying to this guy, you know, you might potentially have a friend in me here.

John: Okay.

Craig: I mean, I get it. That’s all I’m saying.

Well, I have a One Cool Thing this week. So, let’s talk about energy for a second. If I were to say to you, John, that the international space station is the largest scientific — international scientific collaboration on the planet. That would be true. But do you know what the next largest scientific collaboration o the planet is, measured by how many nations are participating through labor and money?

John: Is it the Super Accelerator?

Craig: No.

John: Oh, what is it then?

Craig: It is a big huge fusion reactor.

John: I love it.

Craig: So, there’s this project called ITER, that is the Latin pronunciation of I-T-E-R, which means the way, which sort of sounds culty, but it’s not. And it is a massive project. It’s actually housed in France. And they are essentially trying to solve this problem that they’ve been chasing for a long, long time for fusion energy.

And the cool thing that happened is that this week basically they got approval for — the final approval for the design of the most technically challenging part of this thing. And by getting that final approval they’re actually on the path to making this thing work within 10 years. That’s the theory.

And I think it’s going to work. And so basically regular nuclear power is fission power where we smash apart uranium atoms, I believe. And the fission of those atoms releases a lot of energy. It also releases a ton of radioactive waste and there’s always the chance that it could have a runaway chain reaction. Those are the problems that we all know about.

Not the case with fusion reaction in which they are actually smashing atoms together and by smashing atoms together releasing a ton of energy. In fact, that’s how the sun works. The sun is basically a big fusion reactor using hydrogen, and helium, I think, and something. Well, hydrogen. [laughs]

In any case, here are the benefits of fusion reaction. You can’t have a meltdown, you can’t have a chain reaction. It does not give off radioactive waste of any significant amount. And the fuel is basically kind of water. But, to make it work you have to kind of heat it all up with plasma to hotter than the center of the sun. It is incredibly — basically you have to get temperatures of over 100 million centigrade.

But, they’re close. They’re actually getting close. And, if they can figure this out, we’ve solved the energy problem permanently. It’s done. You can sell your oil and gas stocks. It’s over.

And I think, John, despite our advancing age, you and I will live on a planet with fusion energy.

John: That will be fantastic if we do. Now, I’ve seen different fusion things along the way. One of them was like a laser-based thing. So, it’s a bunch of lasers that have to fire at exactly the right moments and exactly the right spot to create this. Do you know what the engine is that creates the heat?

Craig: They’re basically using a version of what’s been around all the way back to Soviet Russia called a Tokamak which is a big, huge donut. And then they use these big, big magnets that old the fuel, because the fuel can’t be held in anything…

John: Because it would melt through it.

Craig: Yeah, melt through anything, right? So, they’re using magnets to basically hold this stuff in place and they’re using plasma and then firing helium and tritium and something at each other. So, it doesn’t look like it’s lasers. It just looks like it’s just gases and magnetic coils and stuff.

John: And smashy smashy.

Craig: And smashy smashy. And so the theory is that they will be, now that they’re kind of on board to finish the construction, the big part of this construction. And we’re talking, like this is how precise it is –there’s these 18 magnetic coils that weigh hundreds of tons. And they have to be positioned with a precision of less than two millimeters. That’s how careful they have to build this thing.

But they think they might even be able to inject the plasma into it in 10 years. And another five years after that they put the tritium in and, zoom, supposedly then you’re off and running.

John: Hooray.

Craig: Yeah, so just hang on, people. Just hang on.

John: Just make it another 15 years. We’ll have power.

Craig: We’ll have clean, super clean, super safe power and then, of course, the ice age will follow. Because we were supposed to warm the planet. You know it’s coming. You know that’s going to happen. It’s inevitable. It’s just…we can’t win.

John: Yeah, well, what we can do is thank our listeners for listening to us. And if you have questions about anything we talked about you can find notes and links at our show page, We are on iTunes. You’re probably listening to us through iTunes, but if you’re not go to iTunes and search for Scriptnotes and subscribe. Leave a note if you’d like to leave us a note, a comment; it helps people find us.

And, if you have a question for me or for Craig, small questions are great on Twitter. I’m @johnaugust. Craig is @clmazin. If you have a longer question that we sometimes answer on the show, it is

And thank you guys very much for listening. Craig, thank you for a fun podcast. I look forward to being back in Los Angeles so I can still not see you and still talk to you on Skype.

Craig: Very exciting.

John: But I’ll be closer.

Craig: You’ll be that much closer.

John: We’ll be in the same time zone at least.

Craig: That will make it easier. Welcome home. Congrats on a successful Chicago run. And I’ll see you next time.

John: Great. Thanks.

Craig: Bye.

John: Bye.