The original post for this episode can be found here.

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

Craig Mazin: Argh! Ah! My name is Craig Mazin.

John: And this is Scriptnotes, Episode 130, a podcast about screenwriting and things that are interesting to screenwriters.

Now, Craig, last week there was some controversy and both you and I got sucked into it. So, I feel like maybe we should just start off with this and just get a clean slate here. Okay?

Craig: Fine.

John: So, this happened on February 3. Justin Marks, who is a screenwriter and colleague of both of ours — a friend actually — he tweeted something. He tweeted this: Screenwriters, use two spaces after a period, unless you’re writing scripts in Times New Roman which means you’re not a screenwriter.

So, Craig, I ask you, do you use one space or two spaces after a period?

Craig: One space.

John: Yeah. And so I feel like I am complicit in this controversy that has happened because Justin actually cited that I had said two spaces after a period, which is in fact true.

Craig: But what year was that? [laughs]

John: That was in 2005.

Craig: Right.

John: So, in 2005 I made a blog post about how to change, basically saying that mono space fonts like Courier traditionally use two spaces after a period. Everything else — everything else — should be one space after the period.

Craig: Right.

John: But mono space faces use two spaces after the period. Even back in 2005 I said it’s not a must, I’m just saying it’s a thing that you can do.

Now, if a person were really carefully observing of my behavior they would notice that if you look through the script library at at a certain point I actually switched to a single space after the period. And even you and I on the podcast have discussed it. I looked it up and in 2012 on episode 65 we actually talked about the fact that I was sort of leaning more towards using a single space.

But the truth is I have to sort of come out and say this: like most American screenwriters my feelings have evolved and I have become a single-spacer.

Craig: Mine too. I learned how to type in high school on a Brother electric typewriter. It wasn’t even the kind of electric typewriter that stored any of the words. It was just more of a clack-clack electric typewriter.

John: Did it have a little tiny display before you hit the thing, or just straight to paper?

Craig: No, nothing. Straight to paper. It was a disaster and also, therefore, a great way to learn how to type because it really forced you to learn properly.

And in 1985 I was taught two spaces. It took me awhile to get out of the two space habit because I am a touch typer, but I did. And there is absolutely no call for it. Most screenplays I read are one space. It seems very weird now to see something with two spaces. It’s old school. It’s unnecessary. I think it look worse. And Justin Marks is just wrong. He’s wrong!

John: [laughs] I won’t go so far as to say that Justin Marks is wrong. Or, actually, no, I’ll say he’s wrong in the sense that to be declaratory that it should be a certain way is wrong.

Craig: Right.

John: If he chooses to still use the two spaces, the world is not going to come crashing to an end. But, I would encourage you if you are not set one way or the other way to just use the single space, because for everything you’re doing in your life a single space will go great. It will look fine in Courier.

And here’s what actually pushed me over the edge is when we were working on Courier Prime, the type face of Courier that looks better than sort of normal Courier, we sort of put the punctuation in a place that looked really good with a single space after it.

Craig: Good. Good.

John: So, I would just encourage you to try single space and you probably won’t ever go back. And it’s sort of like when you stop smoking, I suspect, that you’ll suddenly notice other people smoking a lot. You will start to notice double spaces that annoy you to some degree.

Craig: You never smoked.

John: I never smoked. But you did.

Craig: Yeah. You don’t know what you’re talking about. [laughs]

John: If people go back to the early episodes of Scriptnotes you can hear Craig smoking while we are recording the show.

Craig: Well, I never smoked cigarettes while we were —

John: Oh, you did your little e-cigarettes.

Craig: My e-cigarettes. Yes. But that’s not smoking either.

John: So, one last tip, if you make your change midway through a script or if you’re going back to an old script that you’ve double spaced, the simple solution, of course, is to do a find/replace. Just do Find “period-space-space” and just swap it out for “period-space.” Run that through a couple times. You’ll get rid of all the double spacing and you’ll be happy.

Craig: You will, in fact, be happy.

I think it’s better looking, and you’re right, two spaces isn’t going to end the world, but certainly you can’t go on record with something as outrageous as the suggestion that two spaces is preferable and one space is verboten. Not true.

John: Not true. It reminds me of Animal Farm. If you remember that the animals, when they took over, they said like two legs bad, four legs good. And then, of course, they end up manipulate itself so that two legs were better because the pigs started walking on their back feet.

So, I’m just basically saying, “Justin Marks don’t be a pig.” Or, maybe I’m the pig in the example. It really wasn’t a well thought out example.

Craig: No. This was McKenna-like in its clumsy analogy with nature.

John: [laughs] I’m a squirrel in a rocket ship headed towards thieves.

Today on the show we obviously have to talk some Final Draft follow up.

Craig: Yeah.

John: Because that was just a thing that happened.

Craig: That’s what everybody thought you were talking about when you said we got sucked into a controversy.

John: So, we want to talk about that. I want to talk about writing in public spaces, because it’s something I’ve had to do a lot this week. I want to talk about keeping your hero in the driver seat of your story. I had sent you this link to this blog post, this sort of regular column by Heather Havrilesky which I thought was just great because it was really talking about being in the driver’s seat but in real life.

We have a question that I haven’t even sent you yet but I’ll just read it and you’ll have a great answer for it.

Craig: Great.

John: We have people suing Tom Cruise for a billion dollars.

Craig: This is a big show.

John: It’s a big show. I want to talk about this thing called Time Tailor which I didn’t even tell you about but you will be annoyed when I tell you what it is.

Craig: Oh, good.

John: And so it’s a big show. We’ve got a lot to do here.

Craig: Big show.

Well, I guess we should start with Final Draft. We had an interview last week, or we welcomed as our guests on the show two gentlemen from Final Draft, one of whom was and is in fact the CEO of Final Draft.

John: That was Marc Madnick.

Craig: Marc Madnick.

John: And then Joe Jarvis who’s the Final Draft Chief, sort of, he’s the person who is the product manager of Final Draft and I think does more of the technical stuff.

Craig: How would you say — I’ve been looking around at Reddit and Twitter.

John: I haven’t actually seen you on Reddit but I heard through Stuart that you have actually been engaging with people on Reddit which is really dangerous, Craig.

Craig: It is? I mean, it’s in Reddit Screenwriting, not in Reddit, I don’t know, [laughs], whatever else Reddit.

John: Well, Reddit is nothing but timely threads. No, maybe it’s good. Maybe it’s good you’re engaging.

Craig: I mean, I’ve only posted a few things. Everyone has been very polite. What’s the feedback that you’ve sensed from the interview that we did?

John: People have written to say that it was incredibly uncomfortable to listen to.

Craig: Yeah.

John: Which it was uncomfortable to be in that room. So, I’d like to sort of paint the scene and sort of what happened when we did that. We were sitting around a folding table in our little office set with like two towels on the table to sort of muffle some sound. And I was manning the board, poorly, for the four microphones, which we’d just gotten the four microphones up and working.

As it turned out me and Joe Jarvis, we didn’t really need microphones because we weren’t going to be doing very much talking.

Craig: [laughs]

John: It was mostly going to be Marc and Craig and I knew that it was mostly going to be mostly Marc and Craig which is why I sort of sensed that my role would be the let’s make sure no one flips the table over. That was my function to sort of calm things down.

And I didn’t take advantage of the opportunity to challenge him on certain things that I thought were not entirely accurate because things were actually already pretty tense in that room.

Craig: They were a bit tense. But they were…I guess I would say they were civil-tense. In other words, everything was about Final Draft and about the product and how they conduct their business. I don’t think that Mr. Madnick did himself many favors, frankly.

You know, anyone can do what they want when they come on a show like our show and talk about what they have to talk about. I was really surprised, honestly surprised. I expected that he… — If it were me I would have come on the show and say, “Look, let me just be humble about this. Let me listen to your complaints and let me address them in that spirit,” because no company does everything right and certainly Final Draft hasn’t done everything right, and then kind of work back to a place of, “But here’s how we’re trying to get better.”

Not really the case. He was pretty defensive, I thought.

John: He was sort of more the Ballmer mode, the Microsoft Ballmer Chief, the “I know this is the right thing” kind of mode, versus the responsive way. Evernote, which is a product I use, the CEO or the president or whatever it was sort of very recently said like, “Listen, we know that our syncing and a lot of our services have slowed down a lot. We’re not satisfied and this is what we’re doing to fix it.”

Craig: Right.

John: That wasn’t what I heard from him. I didn’t hear that he was responding to things. He was more sort of just defending what had happened.

Craig: Yeah. And you know a lot of the feedback that I saw on the interwebs following the posting of our show commented on his reliance on a couple of talking points, one of which was they had 40 employees, which I’m not sure is particularly relevant.

John: Yeah.

Craig: One of which was —

John: Well, I would like to parse one second for 40 employees, because does 40 employees mean that you’re a giant or you’re small? Because I think to almost everybody listening were like, “Wow, you have 40 employees?” That felt so much bigger. And to him it’s like, “We’re a small company. We’ve got 40 employees.” And so it was a weird disconnect in terms of what I think — he didn’t seem to have a very good sense of who the listenership of the show was.

Craig: I agree, particularly when one co-host of the show has his own software company that puts out very good apps and I believe you have three employees.

John: Exactly.

Craig: The proprietor of Final Draft I believe has one employee, himself. I think WriterDuet is two guys. This is sort of the way things are going. So, I think you’re right. There was a disconnect there. And there’s a question of how many of those 40… — Well, part of the problem is then you start saying, “Well what are those 40 people doing?” And I think it’s probably true that the minority of them are actually coding software. And then, of course, what that means is many of them are doing other things like promotion, and marketing, and other stuff.

So, that talking point was repeated a lot. I’m not sure if it helped him, or his case. The other thing that people picked up on was that both gentlemen were essentially saying we’re old software and we’ve been out of date for a really long time, so you just have to — that’s why it took us a really long time to issue this fairly expensive upgrade that accomplished things that should have been accomplished awhile ago.

I’m not sure that’s a great defense either.

John: I would agree. And so Kent Tessman recently wrote a blog post talking about sort of his experience as a software developer listening to this episode and sort of working through sort of point by point. And so do you want to walk through what Kent wrote about it, because I think that might be a useful start.

Craig: Yeah, so he makes some really good points here. And in the moment it was kind of hard, you know, I had to sort of battle to get in there. Marc is certainly an impressive talker, you know. I mean, I think I’m an — impressive meaning volume. So, you know, we couldn’t get into anything, nor could we rebut point by point. But, also, I’m not a software developer and Kent is, and so he had some interesting comments to make about the things that the Final Draft folks were saying.

First, Retina. So, we brought up the point that Final Draft 8 was not Retina-compatible, nor did they release a Retina-compatible patch. You had to wait I think it was the four years. Was it four years?

John: It wasn’t four years. It was essentially 14 or 18 months after the Retina —

Craig: Between 8 and 9?

John: Yeah, but no, essentially Retina became available and it was 18 months later that they actually supported it.

Craig: So a year and a half.

John: Yeah.

Craig: And it was considered a feature of their $100 upgrade. And his point was, hey, you can’t say that Apple somehow shocked you in a way that nobody else was shocked. Every software developer is in the same boat, particularly guys that are smaller than the 40 employee shop. And what he did was he said all he did was just go into a thing called Quartz Debug and there’s a Graphics Tools folder and he turned on the “Simulate high DPI text demagnification” and, voila, he was able to… — He said he went over to Best Buy, downloaded the Fade In demo on a Retina MacBook that was there on display and it looked great.

So, why couldn’t they have done that? Well, the problem he says is not that they were somehow surprised by Retina. The problem is that they’re using not just old code but nearly ancient code.

John: Yes. He’s saying they’re specifically using QuickDraw techniques which were really from ancient Macintoshes to sort of do all the screen rendering. And specifically Kent is saying that likely in order to — every build they were doing, every time they opened up X code to actually build Final Draft they were getting these warnings saying, like, “You’re using things we don’t let you use anymore, you should switch to newer libraries.”

Craig: Right.

John: And they didn’t and they couldn’t because everything else was dependent upon it.

Craig: Yes. So, QuickDraw goes back to the ’80s. And I’m a Mac-head, so I remember QuickDraw being a thing that they were promoting in the ’80s. But I also remember that when Mac OS X rolled out around 2000, 2001, that one of the things that they were really proud of was this Quartz technology and how — it’s the thing that allows print to look better, everything, the graphics/guts of the system software had been upgraded. And this is really — this has been around for a long time.

And one thing that’s puzzling, but more frustrating than puzzling is that Final Draft sat there knowing full well for decades that they were using deprecated software and they didn’t do anything about it. And they didn’t do anything about it because they didn’t have to. And that’s just poor planning. I’m sorry, it’s poor planning.

So, then for them to say, “Oh my god, we suddenly had to rewrite everything.” Well, you didn’t suddenly have to rewrite everything. You only suddenly had to do it when finally it seemed clear that you could no longer drive your Edsel down the freeway.

John: Yeah.

Craig: So, that was an interesting point. He also makes the point that for Windows users this upgrade is even less valuable than the upgrade for the Mac people because they don’t even get the Retina stuff, or the full screen. He also points out that Unicode, which is something that they’re talking about jumping on the bandwagon with, this newfangled Unicode is something that has been available for 25 plus years.

John: Yes. So, let’s talk about what Unicode is. So, Unicode is a way of representing character sets, so languages, the glyphs of languages, letters that go beyond sort of a standard small roman subset of characters. And it becomes incredibly important for international support. So, if you’re going to be writing scripts in other languages, Unicode is what you need to be able to use in order to render those letters or characters in some cases on the screen. And they still don’t have it.

And it’s one of those things that essentially you get free in Macintosh right now. Like if you write any sort of text editing program that’s not a thing that you have to sort of carefully wrestle with and bake in. It comes free. The challenge is that everything you’ve done up until this point hasn’t used it. And so for Final Draft they have to sort of just do everything differently because it’s not the way they’ve been doing it. And yet it’s not that hard. And it was frustrating for me to hear Marc Madnick to hear sort of how their international users and all this stuff and how they’re doing all this stuff around the world.

And it’s like, well, how are people using your app? Are they only writing scripts in English? Because with Unicode support it’s going to be much more challenging for a writer in Greek to be using your app.

Craig: Yeah. There’s really no excuse. The only excuse is, well, it’s not our focus. Our focus is to market our software, to market our competitions, and to make our deal with Writers Guild, and advertise. But to not feature something that’s over a quarter century old, which in computer terms means is 14 million years old is mind-boggling.

John: And to be fair, Unicode could be 25 years old. It doesn’t mean that everything was Unicode 25 years ago. But like the standard has been out there and now it’s standard. It’s actually genuinely standard.

Craig: It is genuinely standard and it has been standard for awhile. Kent makes the point that Carbon and Cocoa were meant to sort of work simultaneously but that moving to Cocoa isn’t something that people just recently decided is something they ought to do. It’s something that basically they’ve been aware they had to do, they should do, for what, ten years? I mean, that sounds —

John: That sounds about right. It’s essentially like the doctor says at some point you’re going to need to have this surgery. And, yeah, yeah, but I’m not going to do it this year. I’m going to wait another year. And so like you’re wearing down your joints and suddenly, “Doctor, I can’t move.” Well, yeah, you needed to have this surgery ten years ago. You needed to go and do this and now this is the repercussions of this.

Craig: Right. So, suddenly you can’t make the easy fix to have Retina. I don’t know if this is what impacted their application of Unicode, although I doubt it since Unicode pre-dates Cocoa. I doubt it.

And lastly, I’ll just pull up this point. You should read his — he has a very thoughtful piece here — but the last thing he mentions is Fountain. And there’s an exchange that occurs where Joe says, you know, “Fountain is not something that we support but it’s something that we could easily do.” And I said, “So then do it.” [laughs]

You know? And this is something where Kent says, “Fountain is something that they could implement in an afternoon.”

John: Easily.

Craig: And why aren’t they? And answer certainly can’t be lack of manpower. And I doubt it’s lack of interest. I think they’re not doing it because they are internally, I believe, it’s my opinion, see a defensive position in the proprietary nature of their code, or their format rather, their file format. They don’t want it to be easily translatable between other software programs. But, too bad, it is. And “we have a proprietary format” — that’s a mountain that so many companies have died on. Why would you want to be another one?

John: Yeah. I think that really comes down to my central frustration of their defense of sort of what they do. And it comes down to early on in the exchange Marc Madnick says, “We’re the only company that does pagination right.” And that statement really reveals sort of how he perceives his company. Because he built Final Draft because he got frustrated with sort of how hard it was to do his screenwriting, but he had this vision that a page is a page is a page, and it’s a minute per page, and I think he genuinely believes — and I think the company genuinely believes — that one page of screenplay is one minute of screen time. Not just a rule of thumb. I think it’s like a fundamentalism.

Craig: Yeah.

John: I think they genuinely deeply in their bones believe that that’s how it is and that therefore maintaining that one page — maintaining that page on the Mac being a page on the iPad being a page on the PC, you know, no matter which platform you’re opening on that file will still open exactly the same way — is the fundamental thing that they think they do right and do better than anyone else can. And they believe that their one way of doing it is the precise right way.

Now, like any sort of fundamentalism there are really easy ways you can sort of poke that belief which is, well, if that’s true then why are you letting people set like tight or loose spacing?

Craig: Right.

John: Why are you letting people touch the margins at all? So, it gives lie to the idea that this rule of thumb is anything more than just the Crassus rule of thumb. And, of course, we are writers. We recognize that if I write “Atlanta burns” that’s not —

Craig: Yeah, that’s not a minute.

John: That’s four minutes of screen time in one sentence. So, but I genuinely think he believes that. And so I can understand from his perspective that pagination is the most important thing. And understanding that he believes that pagination is the most important thing, Fountain is an incredibly frustrating thing for them to deal with because pagination is fixed. Pagination is sort of how things are going to be when they’re printed on paper. And I think Final Draft is still fundamentally concerned about getting stuff onto paper.

Craig: Right.

John: And so while they’ve been able to generate PDFs, they really still think about printing stuff out and they want stuff to print in the exact same page breaks and everything like that to be the same.

But, file formats and sort of the editable file formats are not fundamentally fixed that way. They’re fluid. And so FDX, which is the format that they use, is an XML format and doesn’t have any sense inherently of where the page breaks are. I know this for a fact because we deal with FDX all the time. And the only way that Final Draft is getting their page breaks to be the same way every time is by some really kludgy methods.

And so they sort of brute force it to fit onto a certain page and then if they have to do it on a PC that’s why they have Courier Final Draft which is a sort of made up font they have that is different on the PC, works differently on the PC than it does on the Mac so that all the words will end in the same place basically.

Craig: Hmm.

John: So it’s this really kludgy way of doing it. So, both Fountain and Courier Prime are big annoyances to them because it means the one thing they think they’re really good at isn’t important anymore.

Craig: Yeah, it struck me — it’s so funny when he said that this was their thing, that this was what set them apart and this was their obsession as a company. I was shocked because it’s not mine.

John: No.

Craig: And I’m a screenwriter. This is supposed to be for me. Yeah, sure, I want a document that I’m writing on my Mac to have the same page breaks if somebody else opens that same document with the same software on their PC. Absolutely. And in that case Final Draft accomplishes that and so does Fade In.

They’ve extended that fetish to their app for iOS. Now, interestingly their app for iOS, another thing Kent points out is that they initially released it as Final Draft Reader. It was read-only, not write, and cost $20. And it was buggy. And then later they dropped the price from $19.99 to zero for Reader and then created the Read-Write app which I guess has a fee connected to it. Which isn’t great business practice to basically charge $20 to your early adopters and then go, “Eh, now it’s free.”

But either way I certainly don’t need my iPad to have precise pagination like that. And I was wrong. In the thing I said, oh, the iPad app for Fade In does that. It doesn’t have any pagination. You just read it. Because, as Kent said, you can tell who’s not a screenwriter on set? It’s the guy with the iPad. Either way, for me pagination is not this holy grail of things. That’s so ’90s to me.

John: It is. And I think it reinforces that obsession that you see in sort of beginning screenwriting books, too, which is that like this thing needs to happen by this page.

Craig: Right.

John: And that obsession about that kind of thing — that’s not actually writing. And that’s the thing that I think I felt more than anything else is that they fundamentally believe this as a way to write a script. They believe this as a way to paginate a script. And I think they’ve sort of forgotten about the actual writing process. So, I did a video awhile back about why I like writing in Fountain. And one of the things I really stressed is that because you’re not thinking about like where the margins are you can actually just sort of focus on what the words are.

And I don’t think Final Draft has focused on the words for really quite a long time.

Craig: I agree. And this, I guess, I know they’re listening. This is my big advice.

John: I’m not sure they’re listening, but I think they’re going to read the transcript after it’s transcribed.

Craig: Fair enough. My big advice is to not — whatever resources you’re expending on developing your software, first of all I would increase them and maybe decrease some of the other stuff, Yeah, I guess I’m saying spend a little more on R&D. Sorry. I understand you’re not in business to go out of business — we heard that a lot. I don’t think spending more on R&D will push you out of business. I’m guessing you guys are in a low margin business, particularly because you’ve been charging premium prices for legacy software for well over a decade, nearly two decades now.

But I would say design. Concentrate on design and features and have less of an obsession over pagination. Pagination doesn’t matter. When you go into production the first AD and the line producer sit down with the screenplay and they start to break it down. And they break it down by content. They don’t care.

That’s why — they always catch you anyway, first of all. If you ever try and fiddle with kerning, or line spacing, or margins. They’re going to catch you anyway. And they read it and they’re experienced. They know how the words will translate into days and they start carving things up by day. And that is entirely about content. It is not about pagination.

That is a weird, weird hill to die on.

John: I agree. The last thing, you mentioned it briefly while they were there, but I think it’s worth everyone sort of taking a look at and I’ll put a link up to it, too. You mentioned QuarkXPress, which I thought was such a great example of a software that was completely disrupted by a newcomer. And I think they could be QuarkXPress. And they could essentially become marginalized by someone else just doing their thing better. And so in the case of QuarkXPress it was Adobe who came in with InDesign. It’s like, oh wow, it does all the stuff we need to do and it was just better.

And it wasn’t better at the start, but ultimately it was better and it got disrupted. And I just feel like it was fascinating to be conducting a roundtable interview thing with a company that I don’t think really understood that their whole world was being disrupted.

Craig: I agree. I don’t think they get it. I think part of the problem frankly is, and I’m happy to say this to Marc, and he’s invited us to go visit them. I think he’s the wrong CEO for this company.

John: I agree.

Craig: He’s not the guy that wrote the software. That’s Ben Cahan. So, he’s not the technical guy. And he’s not a screenwriter. And I wouldn’t expect him to be. So, then what is he? I think what he is is a very, very good promoter. A very good marketer. But that’s not enough anymore. And particularly because the CEO isn’t connected to the technological underpinnings of the product he’s selling, when he’s talking about it you can tell — first of all, how does he even keep his own guys accountable?

John: I don’t know. I mean, there’s a thing in software developing called “Dog Fooding” which is basically you have to eat your own dog food. And because I sense that most of them were not screenwriters, I don’t think they were using Final Draft to write screenplays and therefore had no sense of what that was. But refresh my memory. I don’t think they were actively involved in the screenwriting, sorry, in the software development world either because they’re just not making choices everyone else would have made five years ago.

Craig: Right. I think that’s right. And I think if what he has been promoting from the top down is pagination, pagination, pagination above all, well no wonder things like, I don’t know, like the fact that their dual dialogue system is ridiculous and clumsy, or the general design of the program looks ugly, or the amount of time it takes in between updates. All that stuff falls away.

The fact that they don’t have a proper way for two people in two separate places to collaborate at the same time on a shared document, that should be — that’s what they should obsess over, to the exclusion of everything else. That’s all —

John: I agree.

Craig: That would — if they solved that, and legitimately solved it, I would think that they could survive.

John: Yeah, I agree.

Craig: But, you know, hey, look, he thinks that we’re nuts. Look, right now they’re like, “Eh, we own 95% of the market. Bring it on.” I remember that —

John: We’ll see if in two years, in five years, if they’re 95% of the market. We’ll see.

Craig: Well, I remember when the iPhone came out Ballmer said, “Right now Windows supports 60% of the phones that are being sold,” or something, and “Apple sold nothing.” Well, let’s see where they are in 18 months. Well, there they are.

John: There they are.

Craig: There they are.

John: Moving on.

Craig: Moving on!

John: Next thing. I want to talk about writing in public spaces. So, this last week we’ve had WGA contract negotiation, and while I can’t talk about the substance of what’s happened in the rooms there I can say that like you described it is sort of like jury duty in that there’s a lot of downtime. And so there’s a lot of time where I’m just sitting in rooms with a bunch of other writers. And it’s very tempting to just like trade war stories. Like Carl Gottlieb is right across the table from me.

But I’ve been actually just working. I’ve actually put in my headphones and started working. So, I want to talk a little bit about writing in public spaces because I didn’t grow up writing in coffee shops. Did you? Did you write in public spaces or did you always go someplace quiet?

Craig: No. No. I always just found a little, even when I had — I was sharing a tiny apartment with my then girlfriend now wife. I would just find a little corner.

John: So, I think we are sort of the exceptions to the rule. Most — my belief is that many aspiring screenwriters have found themselves out in public spaces and that’s where they feel naturally sort of drawn towards writing.

So, I’ve been one of those people increasingly I would say over the time, partly because of Big Fish. I’ve just been in New York so much. And that process of sticking in your headphones, staring at your screen, and just being someplace else.

What I’ve found — I mostly like it. And what’s so interesting about the process is that whether you’re alone in your office or you are in a public space, ultimately you put yourself wherever those characters are. And so you put yourself in the scene of where those people are.

Craig: Right.

John: And that can be a really great thing. The challenge for me I find is I have to find exactly the right music or other sort of noise to drown out everyone else around me talking. I have to remind myself not to try to jump right into writing the scene but to sort of give myself some notes about what it is.

So, I find myself writing fragments of things. Like not even really an outline of a scene, but these are things that happen. This is ways to start. And just really sort of visualizing the different ways the scene can sort of get started and get going.

It’s really been kind of a great week. I’ve gotten much more down this week than I would have predicted because I’ve just sort of been forced to be outside of my normal environment where I have all of the distractions of my big computer. I’m just at this one table surrounded by other people. And Susannah Grant is right behind me and she’s just pounding away. So, it’s been a great week for me.

Craig: I think that’s the part, occasionally if I feel jammed up not creatively but jammed up motivationally I will occasionally take a road trip down the street. And I’ll sit outside the cigar shop and work or I’ll go over to the Coffee Bean. For that reason. You are now accountable to everybody that’s around you.

First of all, I love that everybody thinks I’m just some guy, [laughs], that’s wasting his whatever meager money he has chasing a stupid dream of being a screenwriter. I actually like that. It reminds me of what it was like when I was 21 and starting out. And I like the fact that I have to write. I can’t just sit there and stare at the screen. I’ll look like an idiot.

And porn is totally out of the question.

John: Absolutely. Public space. You can’t get away with any of that stuff.

Craig: Can’t get away with porn at the Coffee Been. Well, some people might be able to.

John: But you can’t get away with a game either. If you’re just sitting at the coffee shop and you’re playing a stupid game then you’re clearly not doing work.

Craig: By being in a public space you put yourself — you begin to play the role of professional screenwriter or screenwriter.

John: I think that that’s a crucial thing. There used to be a place and I think it’s closed now but it was called The Office.

Craig: Yup.

John: And it was just a place that basically rented workstations and you’d just go like you were going to the office. And literally it was a place for screenwriters or other writers could go and work and be in a public work environment. It just changes your perspective in terms of, like, I am in work mode. I’m not in home mode. And that can be an incredibly useful thing.

So, I was already sort of in work mode because I couldn’t wear jeans and a hoodie to the negotiations, so it was forcing me more into that zone.

Craig: Yeah. Any tactic that gets you to write more and write better is a worthy tactic short of hurting yourself or others.

John: Or addiction.

Craig: I include addiction as hurting yourself.

John: That’s true. That’s a fair thing.

So, one of the things I was working on this week, I had the revelation — which I’ve had the same revelation 15 times, but every time I have it it’s like, oh, that’s right, I forgot this thing that I remembered from before. I was really having a hard time getting the scene short enough. And I recognized that I had a minor character who was doing a lot of talking and sort of setting up the story and I remembered like, oh that’s right, you’re a minor character I don’t care about at all. You should not be driving this scene at all.

And once I sort of demoted him and said like, no, you’re not allowed to say many things because you’re not the hero of the story, the whole scene changed. So, in general I just want to — it was reminded to me and I’m reminded that we had talked about on the podcast is to keep your hero in the driver seat of the scene. And occasionally you will encounter scenes where like the hero is not in charge of the scene. But almost always the hero needs to be taking the focus of what’s happening on screen at a given moment.

Craig: No question. Obviously we’ve come to this story because we’re interested in how the hero is going to develop, and change, and deal with his enemies, deal with the world around her, whatever it is. But let’s also point out most of the time your hero, if your movie gets made, is your movie star. And don’t you want to see the movie… — The word we would always use, I remember when I started working on movies with David Zucker. He would always caution against giving good jokes to day players.

Day players are actors that are there for a day. So, you have a scene where somebody walks into, Harrison Ford walks into a Starbucks and asks for coffee and the woman behind the counter has a couple of lines with him. That’s a day player. Well, don’t give the good stuff to the day players. Generally speaking your movie star will be better and even if they’re not people want to watch the movie star anyway.

John: It reminds me a little bit of — so, this last weekend we had a second session of this D&D game that we’re playing, Dungeon World, and one of the rules of Dungeon World, one of the reminders of Dungeon World is make characters take the action. The Game Master doesn’t take the action, the characters take the action. And sometimes that’s really challenging when you’re facing like a monster or something. It’s like I feel like I want to roll an attack role for the monster, but I’m not supposed to.

Craig: Right.

John: I’m supposed to let you guys as the players, the heroes, do the work and if your attack fails then I hit you. But if your attack succeeds then you’re the winner. And it’s a very good reminder that the heroes, you guys, are supposed to be the ones who are in charge of the narrative and in charge of the story.

That doesn’t mean that everything should go your hero’s way. Not at all. It just means that they should be the ones who you are following. What they’re trying to do should be the focus of the scene, not them being rebuffed or what the other character is trying to do.

Craig: And here’s an example that comes to mind of how you can do this — sorry, I’m fighting a little cold over here.

John: Both of us.

Craig: How you can do this even when you’re in a scene where your character, your hero, isn’t saying anything. Two other people are having a conversation or one other person is imparting information, opining, philosophizing, but you want your hero to drive it.

Scene that comes to mind: in The Godfather Michael decides he’s going to go and kill Sollozzo in the Italian restaurant. And he goes into the bathroom, finds the gun that’s been stashed for him. Comes back. Sits down.

For the next probably 40 seconds or so Sollozzo rambles, rambles on in Italian about why Michael should make a deal, why this, why that, and the entire time he’s talking we’re on Michael’s face and he’s thinking to himself. Do I do this? Should I do this? Am I capable of doing this? I’m going to do this. And then he does it.

John: If he didn’t have the gun that scene would be a completely different scene. It wouldn’t be his scene.

Craig: Correct. And I like that there are always ways to contextualize stuff through your hero. There are a lot of scenes where your hero is wandering into a room and they know less than everybody around them. Great. Don’t just shower the guy with information because then the information givers are the ones driving the scene. Let him piece it together. Let him uncover it. Let him be distracted by something that’s important to him.

We’ll still get the information filtered through. But very good reminder from you, John August, to all of our listeners, to keep your hero in the driver’s seat.

John: This is a good segue to a piece of advice that I read on The Awl this last week which I thought was actually terrific.

So, a woman named Heather Havrilesky writes a column called Ask Polly. And it seems like very standard sort of like relationship advice questions except they’re really long questions. Because usually when you think about relationship advice questions it’s the Dear Abby length where it’s two paragraphs, it’s really brief, and then the person responds. It’s very common sense. It’s all very boilerplate.

What I love about the internet is that there’s no reason why the question has to be short. And so this woman writes in with a question that’s just endless, or a situation that’s endless. It’s not even really a question. It’s just like this is the situation I’ve gotten myself into. Please help.

And this one was particularly great. So, the one I’m going to link to in the show notes is called “I Moved To A New City To Be With An Emotional Vampire.”

Craig: Yeah.

John: Which is a good headline. But essentially this young woman describes the situation where she got into this long distance relationship with a guy who is fantastic. He was going to move to her. She ended up moving to his city. He still hadn’t broken up with his current girlfriend but eventually did, but then there was this other girl who was always still around. And it was sort of strange.

Every time she tried to confront him then it made her feel bad about things. And so she details it. And as you’re going through you’re like, “Oh my god, how can you not see what you’ve done? How can you not see what has happened to you?”

Craig: Right.

John: And why I bring this up is she is no longer in charge of her own narrative. She has taken herself out of the story of her life. She’s given this other guy — he has the important story and she’s like a bit player in his life rather than being the hero of her own life.

Craig: Agreed.

John: And so I thought Heather’s advice was fantastic essentially about, first of all, you’ve got to get away and you’ve got to fix yourself, but it’s useful I think to screenwriters for two reasons. First off to recognize that there’s real life people who make just terrible choices like this. And so she as a character is kind of fascinating — maddening but fascinating. But also if you were to write from one of your character’s perspective, if they were to write into an advice columnist what would they write? And what would the advice be given to them?

I thought it was just a great example of sort of how people and characters can lose control of their story.

Craig: Yeah. And this particular story was rough to read. The woman who answered said, “Go back and read what you just wrote.”

John: Yeah.

Craig: “And then you tell me how crazy does that sound.” Delusion is — I mean, now we’re just sadly exploiting this woman’s pain for fodder, but delusion and delusional behavior is a fascinating character trait and it is one of those things that does add very realistic texture to characters.

The trick is to make the delusion connected to something that we understand. And that usually is an emotion. True delusion, like schizophrenic delusion is boring, but delusional behavior and thinking that comes about as a result of fear, self-loathing, these things — we understand fear. We understand self-loathing. So, we can start to understand the delusion.

There is a way to understand how this woman got herself into that mess. That’s the fun of the screenwriter is putting your character in a mess that’s fascinating, and relatable and believable and then watching them wriggle out of it.

John: Yeah. I feel like the woman in this article who wrote in this letter, she would be a challenging character to have at the center of a feature, but she’d actually be a great character to be in like a one-hour drama.

If this character was going through this situation in a one-hour drama and like it wasn’t just her story but it was sort of her and the people around her, it would be fascinating because you can see why she made each of the individual choices, and yet having made that choice she is deeper and deeper and deeper to the point where she’s essentially like an addict who keeps going back for another hit of this thing.

And everyone around her must see what she’s done and she’s driven away everyone else who was a friend or could sort of help her out of this situation.

Craig: Right.

John: I would say, again, because she’s lost control of her narrative she’s not really the hero of a movie, but I thought she’s a great character within a bigger context.

Craig: I think you’re totally right about that. One of the things about delusional behavior like this is when you do read it as one long story from beginning to end the weight of the insanity and the bad choices overwhelm your connection with the person who made them. But if you watch them happen one by one then you’re with somebody as they just slowly sink into quicksand.

John: Yup.

Craig: And that’s understandable.

John: It is very much understandable. On the topic of delusional behavior, let’s talk about the $1 billion lawsuit that was recently filed against Tom Cruise and Mission Impossible 3.

Craig: [laughs]

John: And so these happen all the time. And so whenever one of these things happen you and I both get tweets saying like somebody is suing about this and they stole his idea. It’s like, well first off, that’s just crazy town. No one stole his idea. And then when you actually read — we’ll put a link in the show notes, too.

Craig: It’s a good one. It’s a good one.

John: This complaint. Like he’s clearly representing himself and basically he saw the movie and he’s like, “Well that’s just like this script that I sent to William Morris eight years ago and therefore it was lifted from me.”

Craig: Yeah.

John: So, it’s delusional behavior. And so when you actually read through his, the plaintiff’s — what he’s arguing — it’s like, well, you have no understanding of sort of what copyright law. And I don’t want to slam on him, because I think he’s probably not entirely there.

Craig: All there.

John: The fact that no one is willing to even represent him or take his case means that there’s not a there there.

Craig: Generally speaking that, yeah, pro se litigants aren’t your strongest litigants. [laughs] Yeah.

John: But the delusional behavior, it’s real to him. And that’s, I think, one of the interesting things about him as a character is to him this really is a real thing that was stolen him. And he, at the center of his whole inner narrative, this is a wrong that was done to him. This movie that had come out that he finally watched on video it’s like, “Well, wait, that’s my movie.”

Craig: Yeah.

John: “Someone stole my idea for my movie even though it’s called Mission Impossible 3 and it’s basically the third element of a franchise.

Craig: The thing that jumped out for me from his complaint was that he seemed to feel that producing proof that he had written what he wrote was enough. Generally speaking in a complaint you need to actually show how the defendant has infringed on your unique expression and fixed form. He doesn’t even bother with that. He just shows that he envelopes and things.

By the way, I’ve read other complaints that did list alleged examples of infraction and I wasn’t really swayed by those either, or infringement I should say.

But, you know, here’s what goes on. I talk about this a lot of times when I’m talking to writers about the credit process. Sometimes the arbitration system, the Writers Guild credit arbitration system, just blows it. Sometimes they get it wrong.

I would say a good chunk of the time when writers are infuriated by the result the arbiters have gotten it right and that what’s going on this: I write a screenplay, I live it. I see it in my head. It is not only connected to the effort that I put in, but it is vivid to me. I have felt it.

So, that’s my entry into this. And so then somebody hands me another thing and I read it and I go, “Eh, this is just words. I’m just reading this.” There’s nothing else behind it but the reading. And so, yeah, I see all of these things that are connected to my incredibly vivid thing. But they’re not. They just seem that way.

John: Yeah.

Craig: We are tricked by the complete asynchronous nature of our experience of what we’ve written and what we read or watch. I can come up with 20 movies that have scenes that are very similar to the scenes that you’ve seen in Mission Impossible, whichever the one he’s complaining about, because it’s an action movie with a secret agent in it.

John: Yeah. I often call it silent evidence. The sense that you’re seeing these two things and you see them like, well these two things are similar so therefore they must be related. One is the cause of the other.

Craig: Right.

John: But you’re disregarding all of the other things that are similar to those two things which would indicate like, oh, it’s actually just a very common idea.

Craig: Right.

John: And so let’s take Pitch Perfect. Let’s take a movie where it’s about a singing competition or a girl joins a singing competition in college. And so let’s say I wrote a script about a girl who joins a singing competition in college and then I see Pitch Perfect. I’m like, “They stole my idea.” Well, if I’m only looking at those two examples I would say like, well, that feels kind of true. The best defense against that to me would be if someone presented 12 other scripts that were written at the same time that were about singing competitions at college.

And if were shown those other 12 scripts I would say like, “Oh, well, I guess other people had kind of similar ideas. It wasn’t stolen from all of these things. It was idea that was out there.”

Craig: Right.

John: And then I would stop and think like, “Oh, you know what? I guess I did read that article in someplace about singing competitions. Or I guess I was in college and I did go in competitions. I guess there were other people who were in choirs, too.”

And you start to realize, “Oh, you know what? The whole universe does not revolve around me and my ideas.”

Craig: Ah-ha. Your ideas are not as unique as you thought. And, frankly, a lot of this stuff that these people are complaining about being stolen isn’t property that can be stolen anyway. For instance, there is — I can’t remember the name — but there was a movie that came out in the wake of the Karate Kid’s success. And it featured the guy who did Tae Bo. Remember Tae Bo?

John: Oh yeah.

Craig: So, he’s a fitness trainer and he kind of invested this fusion exercise martial arts thing called Tae Bo.

John: I have a hunch that Stuart Friedel, our illustrious editor of the podcast, probably has a whole bunch of like Tae Bo stuff, because that feels like the kind of thing that he’d focus on.

Craig: Billy Blanks I think was his name.

John: I think you’re right.

Craig: And so after the Karate Kid’s success somebody went and made a movie where Billy Blanks played a janitor at a high school, just a humble janitor, and there’s this kid who’s just been — he’s a new arrival to the school and he’s getting beaten up by the bullies in the school.

John: Well that’s just terrible.

Craig: Yeah. And he’s really into this girl but she’s dating one of the bullies and what is he going to do. And one day when he’s getting beaten up the janitor pops out of the janitor closet, whoops everyone’s ass with Tae Bo, and then says I’ll teach you Tae Bo.

Well, you know, [laughs], you could say, “Well, oh my god, they’ve stolen Karate Kid.” No. They haven’t. And people don’t understand what is protectable and what isn’t. Ideas aren’t protectable. Tropes, character archetypes, these things are not protectable. And Karate Kid didn’t invent that stuff either anyway. It’s the specifics that are protectable. And, frankly, it’s the specifics that are the value. There’s a reason that the Billy Blanks Tae Bo movie wasn’t a big hit.

And there’s a reason that Karate Kid was, because Karate Kid is a better movie. It’s way better, you know.

John: Craig, that’s the most controversial stand you’ve taken today.

Craig: Thank you. [laughs] So, I just feel like people don’t even understand how this stuff works. Anyway, here’s an example. A couple of women are suing the folks who created New Girl, The New Girl, the sitcom.

John: Oh yeah. I remember seeing that lawsuit, too.

Craig: Yeah. And I read the complaint.

John: A girl moves in with three guys? That’s a revolutionary idea.

Craig: As if that’s something you can even own. But regardless of that, one of the examples that they cite of infringement is they have a character named Cece and in The New Girl there is a character whose initials are C.C. but doesn’t go by C.C. So, it’s like Catherine Cummings. And then they’re like, “Get? C.C. Get it?”

Well, that’s just delusional. Why would somebody who — think about it. The whole premise of a lawsuit is you intentionally stole my stuff. If I’m intentionally stealing your stuff why would I be encoding references to your stuff that are unnecessary to put in, to leave a breadcrumb trail back to my crime? It’s just bizarre.

John: So, what caused me anger about this and why I sort of want to address it with the Tom Cruise, but especially now with The New Girl, is that it creates this pall, this shadow over an original expression. So, Mission Impossible 3, fine, it’s a sequel that made a billion dollars. But the idea that Liz Meriwether copied somebody else’s script to create The New Girl is just absurd and I don’t want to say it’s like libelous, but it’s kind of libelous, honestly. Because I know Liz, I know what she did. That was incredibly difficult. She’s an established playwright. She did this thing that was great.

Craig: Right.

John: And for someone to say like, “Well, she clearly stole it from me,” it’s like, no. And I feel like the good sound evidence thing could come into pass which basically like let’s pull up all the pilots from the three years surrounding The New Girl that have guys and girls as roommates. And you’re going to see so many similarities in general because it’s guys and girls living in a house together.

Craig: How many metric tons of pilot scripts exist prior to whatever those women wrote and whatever Liz wrote where a woman was living with three guys, or a guy was living with three women?

It’s a sitcom. For the love of god, I mean, it’s like —

John: It’s Three’s Company.

Craig: Yeah, it’s Three’s Company! [laughs] You know, it’s like come on! That’s not why people watch that show. People don’t watch that show because —

John: It’s execution.

Craig: Yes! Thank you. Nobody tunes in because, oh my god, they’re doing it again this week! She’s still living with three guys! Oh my god!

That has nothing to do with the value of the show. It’s so weird to me. That the initials are the same? Just none of that makes any sense to me at all. And, you’re right, it does cast a pall. And frankly it puts studios in this awful position of constantly, constantly having to waste attorney hours knocking away these Looney Tunes lawsuits. Even in The New Girl lawsuit they cite the fact that the studio offered them ten grand to go away.

John: Yeah. Because ultimately and frustratingly that’s what they do because I’ve been… — It would cost them more to try to fight it.

Craig: It would cost them so much more to try and fight it. When they offer you $10,000 what they’re saying is, “Oh my god, you will never win, because if you turn down our $10,000 we’re willing to spend $5 million because you’re that wrong.”

John: Yup.

Craig: Ugh, so annoying.

John: The other annoying thing I want to point out this week which I didn’t even spring on you because I didn’t know this even existed until a friend pointed this out and said that this is something that she was facing on a show that she was working on.

So, it’s a thing called Time Tailor. Have ever heard of Time Tailor?

Craig: No.

John: So, it’s a TV thing that will horrify you. So, essentially what it is, it’s a service. And so if you are doing a one-hour drama or a half-hour show, after you’re done, you’re locked, color timed, everything is perfect, you think you’re ready to go to broadcast, the network takes that episode and they give it to this service called Time Tailor.

What Time Tailor does — I’m looking at their website which I’ll put a link to the show notes — “It reduces run times up to 10%, all without deleting scenes or alternating original content virtually undetectable to the viewer. Single pass repurposing makes a clean copy of your program with sophisticated digitizing to scan every single frame, then redundant fields are removed and adjacent fields are blended.”

So, essentially they’re snipping out scenes, or not scenes, they’re snipping out frames and blending frames to make everything tighter, basically to shrink it down so they can fit one extra 30 second spot into a show.

Craig: Ugh.

John: Sometimes more than that.

Craig: Oh, you dicks. You know, I mean —

John: And the thing is, you don’t know this, but all the broadcast TV you’ve seen has had that for awhile. And a way that you could test for it is generally the iTunes version of it, if you downloaded that, it’s going to have a different runtime than what was actually broadcast on the air.

Craig: Time Tailor. So, in the old days when people would cut film on Moviolas, maybe I’d get this. You know, obviously the two technologies would not exist simultaneously. But now we have non-linear digital editing. We’re all capable of making the edits precisely to the frame we wish. And then you Time Tailor dicks come along.

Listen, man, what can I do? It’s like, this is the part of TV that I know everyone keeps telling me, “Oh, TV, TV…” And I’m like, yeah, yeah, but I have to say there’s some things in movies that I’m still happy I’m in movies.

John: So, my friend, I’m not saying, this isn’t like a basic cable kind of thing. She’s writing on a giant top-rated one-hour drama. So, she finished her cut with her director, editor, and then they’re like this going to happen. It’s going to go through this process and it’s going to be not what you turned in.

Craig: Wow.

John: And that just would drive me crazy.

Craig: Yeah. Umbrage.

John: Umbrage.

Craig: Umbrage.

John: Time for One Cool Things. Do you have one?

Craig: I do!

John: Tell me.

Craig: This one came from I think someone on Twitter and I love this. Do you like to cook, John?

John: I love to cook.

Craig: Okay. Then you’re going to enjoy this.

John: Is it an expensive gadget that I will only use once?

Craig: It is not, although I have those, like a nice French lemon zester. No. It’s called

John: All right.

Craig: And what it is is a database site with lots of recipes, which there are many of, however this one is fun because what they offer you is the ability to just type in the ingredients you have. You type in everything you’ve got near you and they spit back a bunch of recipes that use nothing but those ingredients. Very clever.

John: That’s great.

Craig: Yeah. It’s very clever. And their database is very extensive, so you can really get specific about what you’ve got.

John: Cool. That sounds fun.

Craig: Yeah.

John: My One Cool Thing is B.J. Novak’s book, brand new book, called One More Thing: Stories and Other Stores. So, B.J. Novak is a writer and performer from The Office. You also see him on The Mindy Project. He’s great and really, really funny.

Craig: Saving Mr. Banks.

John: Saving Mr. Banks.

Craig: Excellent in Saving Mr. Banks.

John: He is great in Saving Mr. Banks. Unlike most of these books where it’s essentially like an autobiography with some like lists thrown in and other stuff, it’s just short stories he wrote and they’re really good and really funny. And he’s a terrific writer, so I would highly recommend that.

Craig: I met him, I met B.J., at a Saving Mr. Banks event.

John: You went to the sing-along that I didn’t get invited to.

Craig: To the sing-along. Oh, you weren’t invited to it?

John: No.

Craig: Well, you’ll be invited next time.

John: [laughs] For Saving Mr. Banks 2?

Craig: Uh-huh. Yeah. For Saving Mrs. Banks.

John: I like it.

Craig: And he was a delight to talk to. And it’s funny, sometimes you meet writer-actors and you walk away and you think, “You’re an actor who does some writing.” Sometimes you meet them and you’re like, “No, no, no, you’re a writer who does some acting.” He’s a writer that does some acting. He’s a good actor, a very good actor, but he’s a writer. He’s got a writer’s soul.

It was very nice talking with him. He’s a very cool guy.

John: I’ll do one extra One Cool Thing. I tweeted about this. But he actually was on the Nerdist Podcast this last week, talking about him, about the writer, and actor/performer. They talk a lot about sort of the process of writing jokes versus writing comedy, writing characters. And it’s a great lesson in sort of how that all works. So, we’ll put that up as a little bonus One Cool Thing.

Craig: Excellent.

John: So, a few last bits of news. The Big Fish cast album is out. So, you can download the songs. It’s on iTunes right now. I think by the time this podcast is up the physical CDs will be shipping.

Craig: [sings] “Time stops, suddenly I’m….” Am I going to have to pay for this? [hums]

John: Yes. Andrew Lippa will get some royalties on that and that will be good.

Craig: Yeah. Just from that little snippet.

John: That’s good. I think both the CD and the iTunes are excellent. So, the CD gives you a really good booklet, which I had to sort of copy edit a lot, but it’s nice and has pictures and lyrics and all that lovely stuff. So the physical copy is good.

The iTunes version, you get some bonus tracks. You get an extra bonus track of Magic and the Man, This River Between Us, so it’s hard to say. I would really recommend you buy both.

Craig: [laughs]

John: But anyway that’s out there so we’ll have links to both of those two things in the show notes.

Craig: Yay.

John: We also have a few last t-shirts. We don’t have all sizes — for Scriptnotes t-shirts I should say. But if you go to we have a few last Scriptnotes t-shirts, the black ones, in various sizes. So, if you are still waiting on a Scriptnotes t-shirt you are maybe in luck if you’re just the right size.

Craig: And what size is that?

John: I don’t know. But if you go there it’ll show you what sizes are left.

Craig: You just have XXS and XXXL.

John: Yeah, we have the extra-large small shirts is really all we have left.

Craig: Extra-large small shirts. [laughs] I love that. Are you extra-large small?

John: Indeed.

Standard boilerplate stuff here. If you would like to write to me or Craig something short, Twitter is your friend. I’m @johnaugust. Craig is @clmazin. Longer questions you can write to There is a question that somebody wrote in that we didn’t even get to this week, but we’ll get to it next week. So, that’s the place to send those longer questions.

If you are on iTunes buying the Big Fish cast album you could also go over to the Scriptnotes podcast page there and leave us a note because that’s lovely. You can subscribe to our show as well if you’re not subscribed to us right now.

In iTunes you can also find the iOS app that we have for Scriptnotes which lets you download all the back catalog. We have now 129 previous episodes. You can download those old ones and get all the show notes and stuff for them there.

Show notes for this episode and most episodes are at [motorcycle in background]

Craig: Motorcycle show up at the very end there.

John: That was very good, that motorcycle. Keeping it real.

Craig: Keeping it real, yo.

John: Craig, thank you again for a nice podcast. It was nice to be back in a normal situation.

Craig: Whoa. I want to know what happened in that gap. There was like a really cool gap where I feel like you just went away.

John: Did I disappear?

Craig: Yeah, you went into a fugue state and then you came back. I love it when you do stuff like that.

John: [pause] Like that?

Craig: Yeah. That was it. Oh my god. That was great.

John: I do it. I have these little silences. I think it might be a small stroke, but it’s all okay.

Craig: [laughs] It’s an extra-large small stroke.

John: Craig, if I see you next week then I see you next week. If not, it’s been a pleasure.

Craig: [laughs] I can’t wait to do this alone.

John: [laughs] What if it’s always been alone. The whole time through it’s all been a monologue?

Craig: Yeah. I believe it.

John: All right. Thanks Craig. Bye.

Craig: Bye.