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 94 of Scriptnotes, a podcast about screenwriting and things that are interesting to screenwriters.
Now, Craig, in full disclosure, this is our second attempt at doing episode 94, because we got four minutes into it and you realized that something was not right.
Craig: Yeah, I totally blew it. We use these external mics and I didn’t switch the input source to the external mic, so it was trying to record me though my closed laptop. So, I sounded like a ghost in a wind tunnel.
John: Yeah. That’s never good.
Craig: A boring ghost in a wind tunnel.
John: But, now we’re here and we can do the podcast that we really want to do which is that we have so many questions that have stacked up. And they just keep piling up and piling up. And if we don’t address them at some point they will just burst through and the email folder will come to tatters.
Craig: Yeah, there’s a real thing called Question Poisoning.
John: Yeah. It’s deadly.
John: And there’s not enough media attention on Question Poisoning. It just builds up and builds up. And, you know, everyone talks about the Explanation Point Poisoning, and sort of that’s the danger, but no, it’s the question marks that are really the dangerous part here.
John: So, we’re going to try to churn through a lot of these questions that people have generously written in. If people have a question for us, I should start by saying you can always write at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will attempt to answer your question. You can also, if it’s a short thing, just tweet Craig or I. I’m @johnaugust. Craig is @clmazin.
But, Heather from Dahlonega, Georgia…see, the good thing about re-recording this podcast is I was actually able to say her city right.
Craig: [laughs] That’s good. Well, because it’s called Roald Dahl’s name in it, so I figured you’d pick up on that.
John: Oh, yeah, Dahlonega. So, now I can’t not say it.
John: Heather writes with a really good question. “Why do so many TV shows now produce less than the average 22 episodes a season if they’re not midseason replacements? And how is this affecting the writers?”
That’s a good question, Heather.
John: So, Heather brings up the point that most seasons of TV shows we think about as being 22 episodes, but that’s not actually really correct a lot of times. When shows are really successful, sometimes they’ll do a 23rd or a 24th episode. That happened to Chicago Fire this year. And I think Castle does it. And that’s a thing that happens because networks want more of the hit shows so they can keep their ratings up, which is understandable and great; exhausting for the writers, but great.
And TV shows used to be even longer. Series could be like 30 or 40 episodes in a season, which just seems madness now. And they were shorter schedules on things and it was all crazy. Now, we talk about 22 episodes as being a full season. And we talk about 13 episodes as being the initial order for a TV show. So, an American TV show, classically, if it’s going to be a fall pickup they will order 13 episodes, sometimes they’ll order less — eight episodes, or not quite to 13. But they’ll order 13 episodes and if the show is a hit then they’d hope to order the back nine episodes which bring you up to a full 22. And that has been sort of the classic model.
But that classic model is changing largely because of cable, because of other changes that happened in the TV industry. And, Craig, in the previously recorded podcast you’d actually talked about the TV season and why we have the TV season that we do.
Craig: Yeah. The notion of the fall, I mean, so summer was a break. It wasn’t a break because they felt like giving writers a break. It was a break because people didn’t watch TV, at least in the early days, in the summer very much. The viewership numbers went way, way down. And, remember, this is back in the day of three networks. So, they don’t have to wonder where people are going. When the ratings at ABC go down, and NBC and CBS, it means people have turned their TVs off. They’re outside; they’re picnicking; their swimming. This was back when people used to move around and not just eat in front of their TV.
So, the summer seemed like a good time to actually just put reruns on the air because the viewership numbers weren’t at a level where they could get great advertising numbers. But, then the question is well why does the season start in the fall as opposed to like, oh, I don’t know, late August, or when kids go back to school. And it’s the fall because that’s when the new car models were introduced to the public. And the new car models drove a huge amount of the advertising.
So, they very quickly landed on a fall to late spring season. But, you know, that’s kind of gone.
John: It’s gone to some degree. I think we still have a fall season because broadcast television, which means the big networks in the United States, so NBC, ABC, FOX, CBS, they have a fall season because they still have an upfront season. And upfronts is where the networks display all of their new shows for the new season to big advertisers and the advertisers have a chance to buy a bunch of advertising time upfront and commit at a discount rate for the stuff that they want to — the commercials that they’re going to want to air over the next year.
And so it’s useful to broadcast TV to have a fall season. That doesn’t mean that everything has to be in the fall season, and I think we’re seeing more and more shows being introduced midseason.
But Heather writes like why some shows that aren’t even midseason don’t seem to go their full distance. And a thing that happens quite a bit is a show gets its initial order of eight, or its initial order of 13, and it may not get that back nine. It may not go to a full 22 episode season. And yet the network says like, “Well, it still did well enough that we want to give it another shot. We want to put it back on the network the next year.” And so therefore it might have a ten episode season the first year, and then ten episodes the next year.
That’s not awful. That’s just a thing that happens. It can be challenging for a writer who wonders whether, “Should I take a job on another show? Am I still under contract to this show so I can’t jump onto another show?” There’s challenging things with those short orders. But, that is a thing that really happens.
Now, in cable, weirdly a different thing happens a lot which is that you will get an order for ten episodes or 12 episodes and your season will go and you’ll go off and do something else and then you’ll come back and they’ll say, “Oh, no, no. This is still the first season. We’re going to just keep continuing on this same season.” And they do that because contractually that way they don’t have to give people their season bumps.
Craig: Oh, that’s lame.
John: It’s lame, but that’s the way that the contracts have sort of shaken out. And so it’s something that we should probably be addressing at some point in the WGA that you have to…
Craig: It should be by time, not by whim.
John: Yes. There should be some reason for why things kick into their next season of a show. But, for actors, and for writers, and for producers and everyone else who would get a bump in the second season, sometimes they will also get a title bump. So, like the first season you might be a staff writer and they’ll say, “We move you up to co-producer in your second season.” That wouldn’t happen because you didn’t actually have a second season; it was just a 40-episode first season that was spread out over four years.
So, that’s madness, but that is something that is happening right now.
Craig: It sounds like madness to me.
John: So that’s why Craig doesn’t do TV.
Craig: One of the many reasons I don’t do TV. I do actually kind of like the notion of the shorter seasons. It’s a very European way of approaching it. And certainly in cable there are shorter seasons, it seems like giving writers a little bit more time and directors in particular.
You know, people hear us talking about the writer-director issues in features. You know, directors in TV are constantly behind the eight ball. It’s actually one of the things that the DGA worries about when they go into negotiations and they try and protect their TV directors because they get these scripts at the very last minute. There’s no chance to prepare or really plan. And suddenly they’re thrown into this incredibly aggressive schedule to shoot the show. And so giving writers and directors a little bit more breathing room to create the shows would, you think, would maybe help quality.
But, you know, the business people have their quality and quantity graph. And that’s the way they approach it.
John: I will say in a general sense, I see more and more writers approaching shows as arcs of 13 episodes or arcs of seven episodes because they don’t know necessarily where their break is going to come. And I think a lot of feature writers would be more likely to approach television if they weren’t committed to that 22 episodes that’s just going to kill you.
Craig: It’s really scary to me.
John: With Chosen, which Josh Friedman and I set up at Fox, my hope — sort of my stated hope — was that we could get like a midseason order so that we could do ten or 13 episodes and have them be awesome rather than 22 episodes and have them be, you know, okay.
Well, we have our next question from Anthony. Anthony! “Should one try writing a script before pursuing a career in screenwriting, or start pursuing a career in screenwriting, for instance an internship and assistant jobs, and learn how to do that first and then try writing?” I should say that I’ve added a lot of words into that question to make it read properly. [laughs]
John: Should I learn proper grammar before I start writing or should I do it afterwards?
You should write a script. But here’s the wonderful luxury of the screenwriter is no one can stop you from writing a script.
John: And so you should write a script. And you should write your script now. And you should see whether you enjoy the actual process of putting scenes together and writing a screenplay before you commit to doing it. It’s like, should I become a football player? Well, you should probably play some football first.
Craig: Yeah. When you say should I try writing a script before I pursue a career, or should I first pursue a career…do both. Write one now. Write one while you’re doing something else. Write one after you do that thing. Nothing is stopping you as John said from doing it.
You will learn just from the process of doing it. You will learn something. There will be some value. And you can rewrite that one if you feel like you’ve learned and you want to.
John: So, in full disclosure, I did try writing a script before I moved out and went to film school. And I just didn’t get it. All the pieces didn’t sort of fit together right for me. But, I think I didn’t have as much exposure to what real scripts look like. And I feel like now with the internet, and with like a thousand scripts online, and the ability to sort of see what that is actually supposed to look like, I would have read a lot more scripts and probably would have tried writing a screenplay before I ever moved out to Los Angeles.
Craig: Makes total sense.
John: Roger asks, “The last few years I’ve worked as a location scout on several movies and TV shows. This year I’m going to make a big push in sending out my scripts in hopes of getting an agent or a manager. Do you think my credits on IMDb as a location scout hurts my chances at getting representation or work as a writer? I know in this town it’s very easy to get pigeonholed. Should I use a pen name, my initials, or am I over-thinking this?”
Craig: Well, I’m glad he included this last little bit so that I could say, ah, that one. You’re over-thinking this.
Craig: Don’t worry. If your script is good that will be the matrix within which all is contextualized. If you write a good script then they’ll say, “Check this out. This guy wrote this great script and believe it or not he’s a location scout.” If you write a bad script it will be like, “Oh my god, do you want to see what a screenplay by a location scout looks like?” [laughs] That’s the way it goes. Okay?
Everything will be led by the quality of the script. You don’t have to worry about hiding what you do.
John: I will say if you have just terrifically embarrassing credits that you want to get off IMDb, get them off IMDb and go through whatever weird process you have to go through IMDb to get those credits taken off. Sometimes I’ve found where people will give me a “special thanks” on IMDb. It’s like, why did you give me a special thanks? So, now you have your link to your movie on my page? That’s just crazy.
And so I’ve had to…
Craig: That’s weird.
John: I’ve had to throw some tantrums about that. Because, that’s just not cool. And generally they’ve mentioned it in a nice way like, “This guy was a real inspiration to me and so therefore I want to thank him.” But then it shows up as like I was involved in this project which I wasn’t.
Craig: Eh, that’s weird. Don’t do that.
John: But if there’s something that like, you know, Steve Callahan is a friend, he’s an actor. He is a genuine actor and shows up in a lot of indies, but one of his credits is for this move that’s like Man at Urinal. And that’s the credit that shows up in IMDb. And I’m like, that’s not good at all.
Craig: I love it. I’m totally into it. Now, I want to see that movie. I want to see Man at Urinal.
John: Man at Urinal.
Craig: Well, Urinetown is great.
John: Urinetown is fantastic.
Craig: If Urinetown can somehow avoid the jinx of urine-based titles?
John: Urinetown relies too much on the theatricality of it all and the staginess of it.
Craig: It’s a great musical.
John: I like Urinetown a lot though, too.
Craig: It’s a great show. It’s a privilege…
John: It’s a privilege to pee.
Craig: …to pee.
John: I got it out first!
Craig: You did. Ugh!
Laurence from New York, otherwise known as Urinetown, “Why are actors sooo,” and he did put three zeroes, I mean Os. We call them Os! [laughs] I called the Os zeroes! What’s wrong with me?
“Why are actors sooo grossly overpaid in comparison to writers, directors, and/or producers? Are they paid more than you guys?” Now, first of all, I love those two questions. So, the first question as a premise and then the second question questions the very premise of the first question. Yeah, of course, they’re paid more than us if they’re big movie stars.
“It seems that if an actor is making $20 million then a director and writer should be making at least $30 million.” Oh, what a great guy. “But obviously this is not the case.”
John: Again, he’s like stating a premise, and then denying the premise.
Craig: It’s pretty funny.
John: So, let’s tackle the premise altogether. Are actors overpaid? That’s sort of one premise. And then are actors overpaid relative to writers and directors?
John: So, are actors overpaid? Definitely, I think, we’ve gone through cycles where actors have been just wildly overpaid and that’s annoying. And yet you look at sort of why you pay an actor a certain amount of money. You pay an actor a certain amount of money because you believe that having that actor in your movie will guarantee you a certain amount of box office. That’s the only reason why you pay somebody a lot of money.
And so the classic example that everyone will always bring up is like Jim Carrey in The Cable Guy, who got $20 million for The Cable Guy. Well, maybe he was worth $20 million for him in that movie. I don’t know that the facts bore that out, but they felt that that was the right amount to spend on him.
Craig: Yeah. It’s all about the marketplace. So, people ask this question a lot about professional athletes as well. There are actors who do get people to go see them in movie theaters. The trick of it is very few of them, really none of them, do it perfectly consistently. What happens, therefore, is the marketplace is reactive.
You are an actor, you have a movie, it’s a big hit, and people perceive that it is a hit because of you, as an actor. The next movie you’re going to get paid a whole lot of money. Does that one not do as well? Okay, then that’s when you’ll be paid less. Everything is this sort of marketplace analysis of what your value is.
But considering that most movie studios won’t make big budget movies without actors, big name actors, yeah, they clearly have a real value.
I have to tell you, I don’t look at my value as connected to their value. So, in terms of this question of should they be paid more than writers — there’s no “should.” You get what you get. For me, I don’t care what you pay Melissa McCarthy. Pay her as much as she can get. I hope Melissa McCarthy gets a billion dollars a movie.
None of that impacts what I think I’m worth. Right? My worth is based on my market value. And my market value is based on what you think this movie will make for you if I write it. And what other studios seem to be willing to pay me if I don’t work for you. And I have had situations where studios have said, “Look, we would love to pay you this. The only problem is we’ve agreed to pay this actor this and our budget is really getting squeezed.” And my response is, “Not my problem. That’s your problem.”
If you paid this actor this much money and you knew you wanted to pay a writer, you wanted me to do it, but you don’t have enough money for me, that’s poor management on your part. Either pay me what I’m worth, and somebody else gets jammed, or expand the budget. But, the option of getting me for a discount because you decide to pay somebody else more than you ought to have, per your own budget? Nope.
And almost every time it works out.
John: Yeah. I mean, the writer has two choices. The writer can say, yes, I will take this amount of money which is less than my quote, or you could say no. And, I’ve had to say no sometimes. And that’s just the situation.
John: So, back to this issue of actors getting paid. Classically Marvel, as they sort of set up this franchise for how their movies fit together, made very aggressive deals with the actors that they brought in so that they could have them for multiple movies, so that their salaries couldn’t go astronomically huge in success. And that has paid off very well for them.
So, they were able to make sequels to these movies with giant stars and actually be able to afford to make them. Now, I’m not clear sort of where Robert Downey Jr.’s deal is right now with Marvel, but if he doesn’t have any more movies under his contract he’s in a position where he could ask for a tremendous amount of money because he has driven some very, very big movies for them.
John: All the same, Marvel can say, “You know what? We get that. That’s not our business model.” And they could with somebody else for Iron Man. And people would go, “Oh, no, you can’t do that!” But you know what? It would be fine.
Craig: Yeah. And look, this is why, forget fairness and just deal with reality, okay. I believe, of course, that writers are an extraordinarily important part of this process. The most important part. I’ll just go ahead and say it. I’m a chauvinist. Writers are the most important part of the process.
However, when a big band breaks up, let’s say U2 broke up today, and Bono went and did a tour and the other guys did a tour… — Well, here’s the deal. I can get a bassist, a drummer, and a guitarist to sound exactly like those other three guys, Clayton, Mullen, and The Edge. But I can’t get anyone to sound like Bono. Bono is Bono. It’s just one of those human things.
Human performance is incredibly specific. And, yes, they can ultimately go and get other people to write and direct Iron Man movies. They’ve done it. Right? They’ve proven they can do that. And you may like one better than the other, but if you put somebody else in the suit and it’s not Downey, I don’t know, it’s just not as cool, it’s not as interesting for that movie.
Michael Keaton? Turns out he was replaceable as Batman. Is Christian Bale, was he replaceable as Batman? No. [laughs] It’s just different. It’s just one of those things.
John: You’ll have to do a different version. And that’s actually something kind of exciting about doing the next version of something. That is fine and good.
Jay Z asks…
Craig: Oh, my god, Jay-Z?
John: Wouldn’t it be amazing if Jay-Z were listening to our show? You know who does listen to our show is Rebel Wilson.
Craig: I saw that tweet. It was very, it was like, “Ooh, look at us!”
John: Ah, Rebel Wilson, we adore you. You’re very, very funny.
Craig: Hey Rebel.
John: So, I hope you’re enjoying your hike, because apparently you listen to us while you hike.
Jay Z. asks, “If you are a screenwriter over 60,” oh, so it’s probably not the real Jay-Z.
Craig: Oh, it might be because Jay-Z is interested in senior issues.
John: [laughs] He’s very interested in senior issues. Interested in Cuba. He’s interested in Beyoncé Knowles.
John: And writers over 60.
John: “If you are a screenwriter over 60 still looking to break in, which of the following are true? Number one, stop, you don’t have a chance in hell at this point. Number two, you have to write the greatest screenplay of the 21st century to break in; anything less won’t get developed once they see how old you are. Three, if you walk into a meeting with a 25-year-old writing partner you might have a shot. Four, make your own low budget movie; it’s your only avenue at this point. Five, write a play or a book and hope it gets noticed.”
Craig: He seems to be missing six.
John: Which is?
Craig: Write a good screenplay! I mean, god, darn.
John: Well, number two was that essentially.
Craig: No, he wrote, “You have to write the greatest screenplay of the 21st century to break in; anything less won’t get developed once they see how old you are.” Here’s the thing — write a good screenplay. Write a good screenplay.
I’m sorry. I think that there is this belief that somehow you’re toxic because you’re 60 years old. You are not. I know a lot of screenwriters out there who if they’re not already 60 are getting really close, and they earn way more money than I do year after year.
If you write a good screenplay, note that screenplays do not come with a photograph of you and your birth certificate. Again, just like we mentioned to Roger the location scout — the screenplay will set the circumstances. The guy who wrote The King’s Speech, older gentleman.
Craig: If they read the screenplay and they really like it they’re going to buy it. You know why? Because they’re going to make money off of it. Don’t beat yourself down right off the start with a list, with an iteration of things you cannot control.
John: Yeah, don’t nick yourself.
Where I think he has some reasonable questions which is when I go into the room to do all the stuff, when I do the water bottle tour of Los Angeles and do all those first meetings, will it be different with me going in as a 60-year-old than me going in as a 25-year-old? Yes. It will be.
John: Because you will be older than some of the people that you’re sitting there and talking with. That’s just a fact of life. And so your question about like if you had a 25-year-old writing partner, would that be helpful? Yeah, it might be helpful, just the way perception works. And that’s if someone sees you as someone who is perceived as a peer rather than as their father, that could be useful.
But they’re ultimately going to respond to can this person write or can this person not write. Do I trust this person can write the movie that I want them to write and deliver? Then, you’re happy and you’re golden.
Now, going to say writing a book or a play and hope it gets noticed, well, you could absolutely do that, but I don’t think those are the best ways to get started as a screenwriter. If your goal is to be a screenwriter you should be focused as a screenwriter. If that doesn’t work out and you like to write plays or books, those are things which I think tend to favor people who are not so young, and therefore you could be successful at that at any age.
But don’t stop — don’t kill your dreams of being a screenwriter simply because of your age.
Craig: Yeah. Let’s remember that if you want to look at a group that gets more rejections a year age wise, it’s going to be 20 year olds, because they’re writing the most screenplays, I think. And they’re getting their butts kicked out there. Okay? It’s no picnic for 20-year-old screenwriters, believe me.
One thing to think about if you do end up in rooms with people is that your attitude will carry you a long way. If there is a positivity about you and an acknowledgement that this is a bit odd, “I know, I’m 60. Maybe this isn’t what normally happens but, you know what, I’m having fun. I’m enjoying it. I have the kind of energy and spirit of somebody that isn’t 60, or 20, or 30, but just a writer who wants to make a great movie.” You will be appreciated.
If you walk in there with the burden, the silent burden, of all these presuppositions — that you’re being judged, that you’re going to be discarded, that you’re going to be somehow the victim of inherent discrimination — it’s going to radiate off of you and get kicked back at you. It will be a self-fulfilling prophecy. I can’t tell you that ageism isn’t real, because it is. I can’t tell you that you won’t suffer from it, because you very well may, might, or almost certainly will at some point.
All I can tell you is worrying about it and factoring it into the way you behave isn’t going to change anything.
John: I would expand that to sort of all of the isms or “obias” that you’re going to generate for yourself. And so I’ve walked into these rooms. You know, I had a meeting with Tony Scott. I’m like the gay guy going in to pitch to Tony Scott. And he’s like smoking a cigar in the room. But, you know what? It was just fine. And like I could have been freaking out about sort of what that was going to be like. And it was absolutely just fine.
And, you know, if you’re a woman going into a room to pitch, like, you cold freak yourself out about how this is all going to work, or you could be the person who is like confident going in there and delivering the goods and you’re probably going to have a much better outcome there.
So, it’s not to say that none of these things are real and that there’s not a reason to talk about them or discuss them. I would say that there’s not a reason to let them stop you from trying to do what you’re trying to do.
Craig: Yes. Yes. Yes.
John: Next, Fiona. Do you want to ask her question? It’s a long one.
Craig: Boy, all right. “How does someone hire you?”
John: That’s Fiona’s entire question.
Craig: [laughs] It’s so great.
John: And here’s why I picked this question, because I could read it two ways.
John: The one question is like how does someone hire a writer, which I think is an interesting thing we don’t kind of talk about.
Craig: But I really think Fiona wants to know how do you get work.
John: No, I read this as how does Fiona hire me. I thought she’s saying, “How do I hire John August to do…”
Craig: Okay, see, that never occurred to me.
John: I would say a few times a year just a random person will say like, “Hey, I have this idea for a movie. How much would it cost to hire you to write this movie?”
Craig: I get that.
John: And that’s a charming thought. And so I don’t want to sort of automatically dismiss that [crosstalk].
Craig: I always tell them $800, and that’s enough to back them off.
John: [laughs] So, let’s talk about how writers are hired overall. And so writers are generally hired by studios and by producers when there is an existing something to adapt or the writer has come in with a pitch for some project and then the studio or producer or production company will hire that writer to write that for them so then it becomes a work-for-hire, which is an important sort of copyright concept.
So, you, the writer was the original writer of something, but authorship and copyright rests with the people who paid you the money to write it.
John: They will pay you a certain amount of money to deliver a draft. And if it’s a WGA sort of situation, they will pay you a certain fixed amount to start writing and a certain fixed amount when you deliver. And there will be hopefully some guarantees about reading periods, and that they can’t sort of drag it out forever.
There are hopefully some guarantees in that contract, even if it’s not WGA, about sort of how this relationship is going to work.
It can be very little money. So, for like the non-WGA things, maybe it’s $5,000 to write a script, which is not a lot. If it’s a big tent-pole project, there are some scripts where people are paid $2 million, $3 million to write something. There’s a huge range of how that happens.
When was the last time where someone wanted to hire you individually as a person? Has that happened to you in your career? Someone who wasn’t representing a company but just wanted you to do something for them?
Craig: No, it’s been forever. I mean, I initially started when I was first out here and I was working, I was working in advertising. And so I was a copy writer for entertainment advertising, you know, trailers and TV spots and stuff like that. And so I would freelance and get hired by individuals at various, you know, people think that studios make trailers. The studio doesn’t make the trailer. They hire a trailer company to make the trailer. And the trailer company doesn’t really make the trailer. They hire people like me to go write the copy for the trailer.
It’s a whole thing. But, yeah, but it’s been 15 years or more.
John: Yeah. Going back to Fiona’s question about how do you hire a writer, generally if there’s a project, like, I have this book that I now control the rights to and I want this writer to do it. You would approach that writer’s agent. You would figure out what agency they’re at. You can call the Writers Guild to find out who represents a certain writer. You would call the agent, talk to the agent, convince the agent that you are not a crazy person. And then that agent would report to the writer saying like, “This person wants you to read this thing and I’ve read it and you should maybe consider doing it.”
You usually go through the representative, so either the agent or the manager to get access to that writer and get them to pay attention to you and see whether they would work on this thing for you.
Craig: If you want to hire me, if anybody out there wants to hire me it’s very, very simple. A briefcase of kidneys. I would write anything for 20 kidneys — healthy — packed properly in ice. Or five hearts.
John: Now, there was some writer and I feel like it is John Milius, but I may just be completely making this up. It’s probably an apocryphal story anyway. But like the price to hire him was a certain amount of money and like a rifle and some deer to shoot. There was some bizarre thing where like he wanted…
Craig: Oh, that’s bizarre? Should I have not asked for that? [laughs]
John: [laughs] It’s a standard rider. So, you have like no green M&Ms in you bowl and some deer to kill.
Craig: I would accept lungs. I used to not. But, you know, things are getting tight. [laughs]
John: You know what’s good about money? Money is fungible and you can buy things with money. I get so frustrated when people want sort of those other things. And it’s just like, no, no, get money.
Craig: You think money is fungible? You should try human organs.
Craig: No taxes. Very portable.
John: For this project I’m working on I’ve had to learn a lot about gold. And gold is one of those things that seems like, oh, it’s fungible, and it’s safe, and it’s bankable. Gold is really a pain in the ass. And I don’t fundamentally get why people still want to use gold because it’s just difficult in so many ways.
Even though it’s exciting that you can actually sort of melt it down into different things, you have to test it and it’s just not good.
Craig: Yeah. It’s a big pain and it’s super heavy. I mean, but it’s shiny and it’s beautiful.
John: It is shiny and beautiful.
Craig: It’s beautiful.
John: And like if you’re a Looper then I could understand why they would want to give you some gold blocks to pay you off, because that would make a lot of sense.
Craig: Yeah, oh, for sure. But, you definitely can’t use hearts or lungs.
Craig: Because just the time. Well, anyway. So, what’s our next question? [laughs] Oh, Ferdinand.
John: Ferdinand from East Prussia asks, “Say you’ve got a scene set on a sidewalk then partway through a character arrives via car. You want to show his approach from inside the car, but there isn’t necessarily any dialogue or more than one shot before the sidewalk scene continues. How do you handle short inter scenes. I’ve always assumed they get their own slug line, brief scene description. However, when breaking down a script for production it’s a little misleading to identify this shot as a scene, isn’t it?”
John: This is Ferdinand from East Prussia, or just a clever name. It’s probably not a real person from East Prussia, but wouldn’t that be awesome?
Craig: Well, East Prussia is either from the east of Prussia, or it’s East Prussia, Pennsylvania. I think there’s an East Prussia, Pennsylvania.
John: I thought that Ferdinand was like the deposed, like assassinated person of East Prussia?
Craig: Archduke Ferdinand was…
John: Wasn’t he Prussian?
Craig: No. I think he was a Serb.
John: Okay. Well, I’m going to type this in and see what…
Craig: Right now. Let’s do a live Google. Live Googling. Archduke Ferdinand I think was…Bosnian?
John: Ferdinand Krueger of East Prussia…maybe not?
Craig: Oh, he’s from East Prussia, Illinois?
Craig: I thought it was Pennsylvania. But the Archduke Ferdinand who was shot was definitely not from Illinois.
John: Yeah. I know almost nothing about actual history. [laughs] I’m sadly just awful at most of history. I now know that World War I came first.
Craig: Oh boy. Archduke Franz Ferdinand, who I propose was Serbian, was in fact, well, he was Austro-Hungarian and Royal Prince of Hungary and Bohemia. And his actual nationality was, oh, I’m sorry, his assassination in Sarajevo precipitated Austria-Hungary’s declaration of war against Serbia.
John: Mm-hmm. If it didn’t happen on Game of Thrones I’m not going to really follow what happened.
John: That’s as much history as I can sort of take in.
Craig: WWI was the original Game of Thrones. It was Game of Thrones but with mustard gas.
John: Oh, yeah. But they have the equivalent of mustard gas. You get that…
Craig: Yeah, Wildfire.
John: The dragon wildfire; the dragon stuff that they shoot out there and that was cool. That was green.
Craig: In WWI every day was the Red Wedding. Every single day. So, when things like that happened everybody was like, “Eh, it’s just another day.”
John: Back to Ferdinand’s question. So, he’s asking about sort of what happens when a scene is going to continue but you have to show a new thing that’s going to interrupt that scene.
Craig: Yeah. It’s a good question.
John: I would probably do that as a slug line. How would you do that?
Craig: I generally don’t, because I find that it’s going to make the read too jangly, because I really don’t want… — I mean, I understand what he’s saying. We don’t really want to feel like we’re watching three scenes in one scene. It’s one smooth flowing scene; there just happens to be a shift of a POV into an interior of a thing.
The interior of a thing really doesn’t demand a slug line. So, what I would probably do in this case is just an all caps action line FROM INSIDE THE CAR or POV INSIDE THE CAR, describe the POV inside the car, and then BACK TO SCENE as the next action line.
I might bold POV INSIDE THE CAR. Here’s the thing — you as the screenwriter, you’re trying to, again, as we said before, paint the movie for the people reading it. And that will do that. When it gets time for production, the first AD is going to go through and what he may just simply do is assign a number to that shot, just so that they know they have to be inside the car for that shot.
John: Yeah. So, you and I are actually talking the same thing, but you say slug line for what I would call a scene header.
Craig: Oh, I see.
John: I would do that same thing where it’s an all caps line that’s on the left that is indicating that it’s a major thing to pay attention to, a shift, and therefore we’re doing that but it’s not actually a new scene.
John: And I agree with you that when the AD is going through and breaking down the script, if that was scene 32, she might call that scene A32, acknowledging that that little moment is a separate little blip that they’re going to have to pick up the day of shooting.
A general conversation about when you’re inside cars I’ll often go to the INT/EXT header for what that is, because if you’re inside the car and you’re outside the car, like you’re inside a car but you are in an outdoor environment. And so sometimes it’s really about the neighborhood that you’re in is as important as being inside that car.
John: So, INT/EXT can be your friend when you’re inside the car, a scene that’s happening in the car but then it’s also getting outside of the car.
Craig: Yup. That’s true. Depends really on balance. You know, if you just have one moment that’s inside, then just call that out. But if you’re back and forth, if it’s somebody inside a car talking to somebody outside of the car and it’s back and forth, yeah, then just INT/EXT.
Next we have Jeff who wonders, “If you have an agent but you feel he or she isn’t doing enough to get your work out there, what are appropriate ways of being proactive?” Well…
John: Well, you’ve come to the right person because Craig is an expert at dealing with agent type situations.
Craig: Fire them! Well, I do love firing. In general, screenwriters are far too afraid to treat their employees as employees. Yes, an agent is an employee. Are they an employee who deserves a lot of respect and consideration? Yes. Should they be an employee/partner? Yes.
However, in the end they work for you. And if you are not satisfied with the way that they are doing their job, it’s a very, very simple thing. You call them up and say, “I want to sit down with you and I want to have lunch.” There is this thing in all agent brains that hears that and goes, “Oh no.” There isn’t one agent on the planet who doesn’t hear that and think, “Oh, great. I love lunch,” or, “Nah, I’m too busy for lunch.”
They all hear it and they go, “Oh, no. Oh, no. Oh, no.” If they don’t hear “oh no” from that then they really are ridiculous and you should fire them. You sit down and you have lunch and you say, “Look, I’m not loving the way things are going.” And be as honest as possible. “I’m a little uncomfortable. I’m very disappointed. I’m mildly disappointed. I am infuriated.” Whatever it is, lay it out there. And just say, “I want this to work. And here’s how I think it should work. You tell me what I can do to help you, but here’s what I need you to do to help me.”
You have that lunch and you listen to everything they have to say and hopefully they listen to everything you have to say. That lunch is like a flare you just shot out there. If it doesn’t improve within a certain amount of reasonable time, call it three months…
John: I was going to say three months, too. Then you have to leave.
Craig: You have to leave. You have absolutely laid down the gauntlet and it’s time to go.
John: Now, Jeff is specifically saying you feel he or she isn’t doing enough to get your work out there. Now, the reality of the situation may be that no one thinks Jeff’s work is very good. And you’re going to have to listen carefully to the agent because the agent may be phrasing this in a way, saying it’s just not landing the way you would hope it would land; it’s not getting the response we really hoped for. And that may honestly be the case. Or, it may not be the case and you may have other ways of finding out sort of what’s really going on there.
A general thing is you can talk to other people about your agent. And so if you’re going out on some other meeting or you meet somebody at a party and you’re five minutes into the conversation, you can kind of talk about sort of like what agents are like, too. And maybe there really is a problem and maybe you’re just not at the right place.
So, it could be you. It could be them.
Craig: Right. And that conversation that you have with them sometimes could bring up… — I remember years and years ago I was grumpy because I was looking around and I saw some of my peers doing production rewrites, like little weeklies. And I thought, “Why aren’t I getting those offers? Where are those jobs for me? I feel like I could do a really good job on those sort of things.”
So, I sort of had a, “Hey, what’s the deal? Why don’t I get that?” And basically the response back was, “Because they don’t think you can do that and you’re going to have to prove that you can do that. And it’s a very small list of people that do that and you have to earn your way onto it. And if you want to earn your way onto it here’s what needs to happen.”
And I thought, oh, thank you for the honesty. And so it all happened. But I needed to know that it needed to happen. In other words, I needed to know that there was a process to go through in order to get there.
And, similarly, if you sit down with your agent and you lay all the stuff on the table and they say, “I’m having trouble because everybody hates what you wrote,” then you should say, “Well, thank you for that. That hurts, but thank you. It would have been better for me to know that from you sooner. And let’s see now if I can write something better.”
Craig: But honesty, honesty, honesty.
John: Mark asks, “I was very lucky to get a spec of mine shot. I was involved in the process and on set, but obviously not making decisions after the script was handed in. The movie did not turn out well. I was hoping you can discuss the etiquette for what to do with that situation going forward. For example, when you’re in a meeting and people who read and liked your script asked how the finished product turned out, what do you say? I don’t want to say it’s great and then have them see it when it comes out and think I’m an idiot; but I also don’t want to complain or badmouth the people involved.
“My manager recommended to deflect the question by saying I’m too close to it to have perspective. Any other advice?”
Craig: That’s not a bad answer. I mean, the other answer — it sounds like what’s going on here is we’re in that gap between the movie being finished and the movie coming out. And it’s an important time for this screenwriter because when he says “I was very lucky to get a spec of mine shot,” it sounds like this is his first movie. So, he’s going out there now as a screenwriter that just has a movie coming out.
People like his script and now he’s a guy who’s been through the process of production. So, these meetings are about getting work. You don’t want to necessarily call an air strike in on your own position here. So, what you could say is, “I actually haven’t seen it. I’m hearing some good things, but honestly the director kind of ran with it and I haven’t really been a part of the process since. So, I’m looking forward to seeing the movie.”
Now, that may be a total flat-out lie. And if you’re not comfortable with that flat-out lie, you that you’re going to get caught in that flat-out lie, then I think something like, “You know, it’s different. It definitely reflects his vision. I’m still kind of wrapping my mind around it.” [laughs] That’s a good phrase.
By the way, everyone will know what you mean.
Craig: Sorry to tell you, unless you literally lie and say I haven’t seen it yet, anything less than “I love it,” everybody will go, “Oh, it’s shit.”
John: Yeah. So, I think your suggestion is good. I think the manager’s suggestion is good about sort of the deflecting. I would also maybe deflect it into, “Yeah, I just don’t know how it’s going to turn out. It’s such a weird process going through that.” And you could talk about what your intentions were going on and just go onto the next thing over.
You could talk about sort of how hard it is to get a movie made. Or, the classic thing that Laura Ziskin would always say is like, “I think we should just give an award for getting a movie made,” which was always a sign that like, oh, that movie did not turn out well.
But, that’s the reality. And people will pick up on that code and they’ll also know to stop asking questions.
John: So, you can thank them for loving your script. It’s like, “Well thank you; that really means a lot to me that you read it.” It’s such a strange thing to have something that was so close to you that now is this movie that’s the same but different.
Craig: The other thing you can do is kind of an invitation for bonding is to say, “You know, it’s in process. I’ve seen a lot of it. It is so-and-so’s vision of what I did. I’m still not quite sure how I feel about it. I would love to hear from you. When you see the movie I’d love to hear from you as a third party who read the script and thankfully liked it, and thank you very much for that, what you thought of it. Because I’m kind of curious about that myself.”
John: Now, here’s another thing that we should tell Mark is that we don’t know where it is in the process. So, he says it didn’t turn out well, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s done. Because when I saw the first cut of Go, my first instinct was to kill myself. And my second instinct was like do something so this movie never comes out, because it was awful.
It was soul-crushingly awful. And it just did not work at all. And so I remember I was just sort of shaking. I was downstairs in the screening room at Sony. It was not at all what I wanted to do. And I was in this situation sort of like Mark where people loved my script and then fortunately only ten people saw this cut. I’m like, “I just don’t know what I’m going to do. I don’t know what to say. I don’t know how to proceed.”
And how I ended up proceeding was we just went back and we just kept editing, and editing, and editing and sort of getting it back to what it needed to be and doing the reshoots and it turned out really well. But, if I had gone out and sort of like badmouthed it at that point, that would have been a mistake, too.
Craig: Never do that. Never, ever, ever do that.
John: So, what Craig says about like it’s early in the process. It’s fair to say that it was so tough to see it because it’s just not the same thing that you went through. And you can bond on that level, too.
So, maybe things will get better.
Craig: Yeah. Doom — oh, I guess things aren’t getting better — Doom writes, “I have one bone to pick. John’s use of the phase of The Avid,” which is not a phrase but rather a term, “drives me crazy.” Not as crazy as your misuse of the word phrase.
Sorry. I can’t help but editorialize as I read these questions. You’re much better at it then I am. I’ll start again.
“I have one bone to pick. John’s use of the phrase The Avid drives me crazy. The reason is because he is so fair in pointing out alternatives to ubiquitous programs like Final Draft. In every other category you make room for the possibility that someone else is not using your technology. But when it comes to film editing there is just The Avid.”
Well, it’s not actually a question; that’s a bone which is being picked.
John: Yeah. So, I chose the question because I think on some level Doom is right in that I’m using the Avid as a generic description for any non-linear editor, partly because I feel like we don’t have a good term for what that is, because “non-linear editor” is just too long of a word.
And I’m using the term the way that people who edit movies really do sort of use the term. Because even if they’re not cut on the Avid, in a general sense people will say “the Avid” because what they mean is literally that machine that is sitting in that room that the editor is staring at.
John: So, that’s kind of what the term is that we use and I’m sorry that I’m Kleenexing it, but that’s really sort of what we use.
I think it’s lucky to live in a time where there are many choices in editing software. And so the Avid is certainly some of the most common stuff you see, but people use Final Cut. People use all of the other systems that are especially designed for commercials and things.
Craig: I just know really there’s the Avid and there’s Final Cut. And, frankly, it seems like Final Cut had its moment and then blew it. And we’re back to the Avid again. I don’t see anything else out there actually.
John: There actually is other stuff. And people who cut stuff for commercials and cut things for other systems, other systems are used in other things.
Most of the TV and film work that I’ve been encountering recently has been on the Avid. Final Cut Pro, the older version, was making some serious inroads. People sort of chafed at what Apple did with the revisions.
John: They may be winning some of those people back but the Avid is just sort of the term that we use for these things. And it’s what people are sort of using as their workhorse in making features and TV shows.
Craig: I think that Doom, either you work for one of those companies, or you’re just a little fussbudgety. But, here’s the thing — is that really worth, I mean, as somebody that loves umbrage, you need to portion it out at the right moments I guess is my point.
John: It’s a good point because this took Doom easily ten minutes to write this email to me. And easily probably an hour to think about like, “Oh, that just drives me crazy!” He had to sort of sit with his anger long enough to decide to write the email about that.
So, it is sort of interesting that it actually crossed over a line to him for that. Because we got some two-page emails about the Bechdel Test and other things like that. And I can see where people were coming from, because they had a strong opinion about sort of how that stuff fit. Or, like, please don’t bring up Jesus again, because we had enough emails about that.
Craig: Oh, really?
John: Yeah. Oh, I’ll send you some of those. Nothing terrible. You shouldn’t be afraid for your life.
Craig: No. Should I be afraid for my eternal life? [laughs]
John: Basically saying your earlier Jesus analogy and your Moses analogies were pointing out reasons why they didn’t fit perfectly and really was kind of moot.
Craig: I’m sure that’s true, by the way.
John: Well, what’s interesting, going back to last week’s conversation about Nikki Finke and comments sections is that this is the kind of thing where it would be very easy to write in a comment section, but to actually — this person chose to email me his thought. I guess that’s why I’m responding to it because it took a lot more initiative to actually send the email to me and to have that personal relationship of like, “I am sending an email to you rather than just commenting on your blog.”
Craig: Yeah, I mean, listen, I get it. It just seemed like a strange thing to be fussy about. Because, you know, if I were listening to a podcast between editors and they referred to Final Draft all the time. “Well, you know, when writers are on Final Draft,” I would think, yeah, I get it, because that’s what they know. I mean, that’s not…whoop-de-do. I’m not going to get that worked up about it.
Whereas they know about Lightworks and the little shark that comes along out of the door and eats your, or whatever that thing is.
Anyway, last question. Nick. Do you want to read this one?
John: No, you can do it.
Craig: “Is it a bad idea to copyright my screenplay? Some say that it’s a speed bump in the selling process because lawyers would have to get involved to get the copyright transferred to the production studio company. Thank you for any help.”
What do you think?
John: So, what Nick is referring to — obviously anything you write is copyright you. You don’t have to submit stuff. And he’s talking about the actual process where you’re submitting stuff to the copyright office and going through that process. And I’ve seen people come on both sides of that. And I’m honestly hoping that you’ll have a more definitive answer and I can just say I agree with Craig.
Craig: Well, I don’t think it’s a bad idea to copyright your screenplay at all. Yeah, it requires that somebody actually fill out the paperwork to transfer the copyright officially as opposed to just pretending from the start that you in fact wrote… — See, the fiction is this: You write a screenplay. It’s a spec screenplay. That’s you. Copyright you.
It’s not registered? Doesn’t matter. Your copyright. You then sell it to a studio. The studio wants to own that screenplay under a work-for-hire doctrine meaning I own this screenplay, all parts of it, I wrote it.
So, what they say is, “I’m going to buy this from you and part of the purchase agreement is that you agree that we commission this,” which they didn’t. And that is fiction. And the reason the Writers Guild allows this fiction is because it’s good, frankly, for the Writers Guild. Because what it means is that this is covered as employment and therefore the following things apply to it — minimums, and I believe health and pension apply to sale of literary material, I believe. I may be wrong about that. Credits, more importantly. And, of course, then the requirement that the person selling it get the first rewrite job on it, which is a big deal.
If you just go ahead and copyright it yourself, eh, so they transfer the copyright. And it may be, I’d have to check with the Guild to see if that would disrupt things like pension payments or health payments on the sale itself. But, you know what? I’ll follow up on that.
John: Okay. We’ll do follow up on that.
Craig: Yeah, I’ll follow up.
John: Because I remember being at a panel in which an entertainment lawyer was making a very strong case that you should absolutely register these copyrights and that it was a very important thing for writers to do. And I was surprised by it because I’ve honestly never done that on any of my specs.
Craig: I mean, the benefit of registering your screenplay with the copyright office is that in the case of infringement I believe registration with the copyright office does give you a certain avenue that you wouldn’t otherwise have. And I believe it’s to collect punitive damages as opposed to just damages of infringement.
But, let me check and see if there’s any downside over the Guild. And we’ll do a little follow up on that.
John: Cool. It’s time for One Cool Things. Do you have a One Cool Thing for this week?
Craig: Have I talked about the Fitbit before?
John: I think you may have. Is that the bracelet thing?
Craig: Yeah. Well, mine is like a little clip on in my pocket. If I have talked about it before then, oh well.
John: No, I don’t think you have on this podcast.
Craig: On this particular podcast I haven’t talked about it.
John: Yeah. I think maybe last week’s you did.
Craig: [laughs] So, I’ll just do it again. I’m like an old man now. “Have I told you about how I met your mother?” Yes!
John: Yes. [crosstalk]
Craig: It’s this little doohickey and you clip it to your pants pocket or your bra, if you’re so inclined, and it keeps track of all of your movement throughout the day. It keeps track of how many steps you take, how far you walked, distance. How many flights of stairs you go up and down.
And it’s super motivating because the theory is you should take 10,000 steps a day. You should walk five miles a day. This is just good, basic health. And because I’m wearing this thing and monitoring it with my iPhone and the computer, I’m just taking the stairs more and walking more. It’s so stupid, and yet it works.
I am a slave to a Fitbit now, and better off for it. And, oh, the other cool part of it is it monitors your sleeping. Again, this is something I got out of conversations with Bob Gordon of Galaxy Quest fame. So, you can wear it on a little wristband thing when you sleep — it’s very soft, so it doesn’t bother your sleeping — and it basically measures your restless moments and your awake moments and gives you just a general sense of how much did you actually sleep last night.
You know, yes, you lost consciousness at midnight and you regained consciousness permanently at 8am. But, did you sleep eight hours or did you sleep five hours and like three weird tossing, turning hours? So, it’s very cool. I like it. And it’s like $89 at Amazon.
John: Lovely. Cool.
my One Cool Thing is a website that is free and this is a suggest from a listener named Jason Ahlquist. So, Jason, thank you for sending me to this link.
It is called Mission Log. And the Mission Log Podcast has this archive of discovered documents from Star Trek, the original series, dating back to 1966. And there are a bunch of memos and photos and outlines from the original series from back in the day.
And so I’ve always loved seeing things like letters from Desilu Productions to Gene Roddenberry, and sort of talking about like, “I just read your script for The City on the Edge of Forever. Here are my notes.” And these are actually typed like on real typewriters. And they’re on letterhead. It’s just such a different way of how things used to be done.
And so it’s great to see notes about episodes of TV shows you’ve seen 30 times and sort of how they’ve changed over the time.
Craig: I’m going to check that out. that sounds awesome.
John: So, the Mission Log Podcast. And thank you, Jason Ahlquist, for sending that in.
John: If our listeners have suggestions for things we should talk about on One Cool Things, or have questions about anything we’ve talked about on the show today, they should visit johnaugust.com/podcast. We’ll have those links.
We will also have information about the t-shirts. And I probably should have started the episode with this. The t-shirts, we have the amazing orange t-shirt and the amazing blue t-shirt.
Craig: So soft.
John: So soft. Stuart swears it’s the softest shirt he’s ever touched. This is the last week to order them. Actually, if you’re listening to this on Tuesday, Friday is the last day that you can order them. So, just stop whatever you’re doing, pull over the car, and just go to johnaugust.com/store and take a look at the t-shirts because they’re really good.
We’re only selling them in this window so that I just don’t have to deal with t-shirts for more than just this one little window. So, we are going to get the orders. We will make the t-shirts. We will put them in packaging and send them out to the world.
Craig: Are we profiting on these t-shirts?
John: We’re sort of barely on these t-shirts. We are covering out…
Craig: We do we make a shirt?
John: We’re going to cover our costs. So, we’ll cover our silk-screening cost.
Craig: No profit yet.
John: No profit yet.
Craig: I’m waiting for the profit part.
John: I think we make like five bucks on a shirt, maybe a little more.
Craig: Whoa! Woo!
John: So, that money will help pay for things like our transcripts, which I never talk about on the show, but it’s one of the rare things that a podcast does is we have transcripts for every single one of our — approaching — 100 episodes that are actually at johnaugust.com.
So, if you are listening to this podcast and wanted to go back and see what we actually said, if you go to the actual episode at johnaugust.com, at the bottom of every post when Stuart has the transcript he will put a link to it. And the transcripts are usually up three or four days after the episode. And you can go back and see exactly what we said.
John: So, that’s what we will cover. And it may help us buy some alcohol at our 100th Episode.
John: So, in fact, we have two live events this summer. We have Saturday, June 29, which is part of the Writers Guild Foundation’s big benefit a whole full day craft seminar. Tickets are available for that right now. You can go to the Writers Guild Foundation. Just Google that and find tickets for that.
I think there are still tickets as we’re talking right now. And our 100th Anniversary Extravaganza…
Craig: The big show!
John: …which is Thursday, July 25. Tickets for that should go on sale July 1.
Craig: That’s going to be fun.
John: I’m really looking forward to that.
Craig: Yeah. That’s going to be a great night. Are you going to wear something special?
Craig: You’re just going to do regular…?
John: I’m dressing in normal clothes. Are you going to dress up?
Craig: Well, I’m either going to wear my regular clothes or I’m going to go like a full Liberace fur — I might do like a fur and sequins.
John: There’s nothing better on a nice summer night than fur and sequins. So, applaud that.
Craig: Furs. Rings.
John: And maybe you can just crank the AC so it’s all comfortable for you.
Craig: Rings. And those big boots that Gene Simmons would wear in Kiss. You know, just something for the ladies.
John: Yeah. Or, maybe you could bring Michael Douglas in to wear that for you and you could wear normal clothes.
Craig: Hmm. I’d have to get a hold of Michael Douglas somehow.
John: Oh, we’re going to have a bigger guest than Michael Douglas at our 100th Episode.
Craig: Oh? Well, now I’m showing up.
John: All right. Cool.
John: Craig, thank you for another fun podcast.
Craig: Thank you, John.
John: And we’ll talk to you again next week.
- Email us or tweet John or Craig your questions for future episodes
- Fitbit helps you manage your health and wellness goals
- Mission Log Podcast’s archive of discovered Star Trek documents is fantastic
- Order your Scriptnotes shirts before June 21st!
- The Writers Guild Foundation presents The Screenwriter’s Craft: Finding Your Voice featuring Scriptnotes Live
- John’s blog post on this summer’s two live shows