The original post for this episode can be found here.
John August: Hello and welcome. My name is John August.
Craig Mazin: Uh, uh, uh, uh, my name is Craig Mazin.
John: And this is episode 184 of Scriptnotes, a podcast about screenwriting and things that are interesting to screenwriters.
Craig, you are in the thick of it.
Craig: I’m in the thick of it. Every now and then, you get a writing job that is truly a job.
Craig: Okay. You have three weeks. We’re shooting a movie. Fix a whole bunch of stuff. Go very, very fast — faster, [laughs] faster.
Craig: Please write for budget, please write for schedule, please write what the movie stars want, please write what the studio wants, please write what the producer wants. Listen to everybody, do everything right. Get it right the first time. Go, go, go, go, go.
John: Yeah. And I’ve been in your situation before and I know how stressful it is. And then I remember that people who write for one-hour dramas on television, that’s their life every day. As tough as it is for us, at least at some point, you’ll be able to hand this in and say, “Bye. Enjoy making the movie.” Versus a TV show, you turn this in and they’ll be like, “Oh, your next script is already late.”
Craig: The only thing I’ll say —
Craig: In our defense —
Craig: Is that while episodic television is brutal, particularly primetime network episodic television where you’re doing 26, 22?
John: Yeah, it’s 22, but it keeps cranking up —
Craig: Keeps cranking up.
John: Because they want more.
Craig: So you’re doing a ton of these things. But the characters are there, the voices are there, the settings are there, a lot of the plots have been broken before or at least the general storylines. You know, you’re not shouldering this burden of all of it and kind of building a train as it’s rolling down the tracks. That’s the scary stuff.
Craig: But, you know.
John: What you’re doing is a little bit more analogous to shooting the pilot where it’s just like there’s a real question like what is this thing even —
John: Supposed to be?
Craig: That’s right.
John: And there’s a lot of competing voices for what this thing is supposed to be.
John: The challenge of course of network TV or really any TV is you could be already making the thing and they could tell you, “No, it’s not the thing that we want you to be making.” And then you’re going to have to deal with stuff you’ve already shot, stuff that’s going to come down the pipe, it’s just — it’s bad.
Craig: Yeah, this is the stuff where you just want to be able to say to people who are observers or analysts of movies and how movies are made, I just wish that we could all work in some sort of Plexiglas booth so they can watch and go, “Oh…”
John: “Now, I understand.”
Craig: “Oh, that’s why sometimes movies are the way they are.” [laughs] And the crazy thing is sometimes it works.
John: Sometimes it works brilliantly and sometimes that pressure cooker creates great stuff, so.
Craig: Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. All I know about this is certainly these jobs are difficult and they are exhausting. And it’s a little bit like giving birth, I think. You know, my wife said after our first kid, “Well, I’m not doing that again.” And then she did. You sort of forget because time passes and then you’re like, “Yeah, yeah, it’s no big deal.” So, whatever, two, three weeks. Whoop-tee Doo. You know, these two, three weeks, they feel like five years.
Craig: They feel like five years. So anyway, I’m almost out of the woods on it. I’m doing the best I can. And in many ways, it’s been a lot of fun. But I’m a little a tie-tie.
John: I understand it.
John: Today, we’re going to walk you through a very gentle discussion of many different topics, some of them suggested by our readers. We have follow-up on previous episodes, talking about Gravity, talking about Australian television, some suggestions about the premium feed, a question about film by credit.
And then because rights are so much in the news these days, we have three sort of related stories about film rights and how much studios want to hold onto things. So it’s a good continuation of our chain of title discussion.
Craig: Great. I thought that our, I don’t pat myself on the back very often for our podcast. But I thought our last podcast about the Gravity situation was one of our better podcasts.
John: I’m really happy with our episode. It was one of our more sort of detailed and planned going into it episodes where we really figured out what we were going to talk about. And this is going to be completely the opposite of that because I literally just put the notes together about half an hour ago.
John: But we can start with a follow-up question about Gravity.
John: So, Nick writes, “Let’s say that there is indeed absolutely no evidence that Gravity, the movie, was based on Gravity, the book. However, what if there were evidence that the screenplay, what Gerritsen did subsequent to publishing the book was directly lifted and used in Cuarón’s movie?” So essentially, what if she really did write some other stuff and somehow Cuarón or Warner Bros read this stuff and tried to incorporate it into the movie?
So her book was not utilized, but her script work was. What kind of case would she be able to make against the WB? Certainly, nothing about her book contract would necessarily directly apply. But would there be an arbitration claim? What would the scenario be like if the work she had done that wasn’t part of the book somehow made it into the movie, Gravity?
Craig: I’m going to presume that she is aware of this. I’m going to presume that prior to the movie coming out, she is aware that in this scenario that the movie has appropriated what she believes is work that she’s done in her screenplay stuff.
Now, if she’s written this material and it was not purchased by the studio and then she lobbed the charge here, most likely what would happen is the following. There would be, yes, it would be a WGA issue. There would be pre-arbitration. So a pre-arbitration and/or a participating writer investigation which is sort of like a pre-pre-arbitration, where you’re trying to figure out is this person a participating writer, did they provide literary material that was used on screen for this movie?
If that’s the case, the studio is going to need to give her a contract for her work, pay her at least minimum, and then Ms. Gerritsen would become a participating writer for the purposes of arbitration, and then her material would be entered into the arbitration, and people would decide, “Okay, does she deserve screen credit or not?”
Now, the tricky part here with this is if that were the case, the next question would be a non-WGA question. This would be a question for her attorney and that would be does the stuff that she’s written that ends up in the movie, is that so closely related to the material in the book that we can now assume that the book is part of the chain of title here, that this is a derivative work of her book, in which case, we’re back to this contract claim situation.
John: And so, in our discussion of Gravity, this last episode, we noticed we didn’t really bring the Writers Guild into it at all. And usually, when we talk about credits and we talk about sort of who’s the author of the movie, we’re always bringing it up the Writers Guild. Because the Writers Guild is who determines, in US movies, who gets screenplay credit, who gets written by credit. All that is the screenwriting work of creating a movie.
The Gerritsen case is about these underlying rights to this novel and her belief that the underlying rights to her novel were utilized to make the movie, Gravity, and Warner is saying, “Uh-uh. That’s not what happened.” So if she truly had created screenplay material that somehow made it into the movie, and again, it’s not just like a Warner’s executive says like, “Hey, you know what would be a great idea is if this kind of thing happens.” It has to be real material that makes it in.
If that somehow happened, then that becomes — that enters into the universe of the Writers Guild. But independent of that, it would never be a Writers Guild thing. And I think a lot of times people assume that, “Oh, well the Writers Guild handles everything related to rights in movies.” And that’s not actually correct. Everything that is sort of underlying material is ultimately something that’s being dealt with in contracts and copyright law. It’s only when you have to figure out who gets that written by credit on a movie that that underlying material becomes a factor for arbitrations and for the Writers Guild.
Craig: Yeah, “Written by,” Story by,” “Screenplay by,” and so forth. I mean, the Writers Guild has control over what their deal with the companies gives them control over. It’s entirely tautological. So we have a collective bargaining agreement like any labor union does with the companies. And Theatrical Schedule A, which is online if you choose to read it if you’re suffering from —
Craig: Insomnia one night or you’re a masochist.
Theatrical Schedule A lays out exactly what the rights are of the Writers Guild and how these processes are handled, and what the procedures are. And from that comes our Screen Credits Manual and all that. There have been cases. I know of some where writers have said, “Whoa, whoa, whoa. You’re using some of my stuff that you never bought.” And the companies have had to very quickly buy it, and naturally, they don’t have a lot in the way of leverage, you know.
Craig: So one of the things that the Writers Guild has raised a red flag about numerous times, and it’s not germane to the Gerritsen case, but there’s this odious practice of inviting multiple writers in to pitch on projects to try and get a job. And then sometimes the studio executives will say or sometimes the producers will say, “Well, can you write us up a, you know, write us up a little pitch.” Or, “Write me the first ten pages.” Which we are, by our working rules, not allowed to do at the guild.
Writers may do this. “May,” meaning they could realistically do it, not properly do it. And if they do, the companies expose themselves because they don’t own that material. They haven’t bought it. If they don’t buy it, they don’t have the rights to use it. If any of it shows up in a movie, they’ve got a real problem. So that’s one of the tactics that we have used to say to the studios, “You got to stop doing this stuff.”
And frankly, the business affairs people completely agree. The business affairs people who do write up the contracts are fastidious about securing as many possible rights as they can. The fact that the folks over in the creative wing are sort of willy-nilly having people write stuff that they don’t buy or get the rights do freaks these lawyers out and for good reason.
John: Yeah. So I want to issue a caveat here which I think Craig is going to agree with me on. If you are a writer who’s going into one of the situations where it’s an existing project and they’re inviting multiple writers in to pitch, and the producer or the studio executive says, “Hey, would you write me up something?” You have a choice. You have a choice to write that thing up or not write that thing up.
And you might have just heard what Craig said, it’s like, “Well, it sounds like I should write this thing up and turn it in because then maybe I have like a copyright claim.” I don’t think that is your best course of action.
John: I think you should actually follow the instructions and the rules of the Writers Guild and not write up something without being paid for it because that is part of the whole reason we have a guild and a union to make sure that people aren’t doing work they are not paid for.
Craig: Yeah, look, that’s the moral argument which is a correct argument. And here’s the practical argument. 999 times out of 1,000, they don’t use the work. You’ve just wasted your time, and more importantly, you have once again lowered the bar for all of us. You know, this is the proverbial race to the bottom that we’re trying to avoid here where the ultimate end of it is everybody write a script and we’ll just pick the one what we want and buy that one.
If you’re a professional writer in the Writers Guild, you get paid to write. You don’t have to get paid to pitch. You can go and tell them as much as you want. You can go and say, “Hey, look, I will talk about this all day long to anybody you want. I’m not writing a word. I am not printing a letter until I’m hired.” That’s the deal, that’s how we’re supposed to do it. And I would argue that those of you who are not doing this are actually hurting yourselves because you are, A, being taking advantage of, and B, signaling that you are the kind of person who is willing to be taken advantage of.
John: Well, it’s a dangerous position to put yourself in.
John: So speaking of people doing their jobs properly, we have follow-up from Ben in Australia who writes in reference to the Rebel Wilson episode and the clean Rebel Wilson episode, not the Dirty Show.
John: In the clean episode, she talks about writing her show for Australian TV and how there really aren’t censors and it was a completely different experience than what she found on American television. So, Ben, who actually works in Australian TV writes, “You call it ratings. We call it classification, tomatoes, tomatoes.
“I want to clarify a misunderstanding. Rebel mentioned that Australian TV channels don’t have the equivalent of standards of practices. This is incorrect. All the commercial networks equivalent to NBC or CBS, the public broadcasters like PBS or BBC in the UK or pay TV, like cable TV, have in-house professionals called classifiers. Network TV in Australia is relatively tame like the USA. However, there is plenty of scope for provocation in the evening. Rebel probably didn’t hear from a classifier because her TV series didn’t require edits.”
So Ben is saying, yes, it’s looser. Yes, they probably have some different standards, but there are sort of standards and practices. And they actually have people who have the equivalent jobs of the American ratings people.
Craig: Well, all I can say to Rebel, who we know listens, is for shame, you’ve failed to discuss the classifier to such an extent that they call you.
John: Indeed. So, Rebel, basically, you had extra head room. And you could have gone even dirtier and you didn’t. So basically, you sold Australia short.
John: I hope you feel good about yourself.
Craig: You weenie.
John: Rebel, you’re the best.
Craig: Not bad.
John: Oh, I just love her.
Craig: I do too.
John: She gives good hugs.
John: All right. We have a question or sort of a suggestion from John who writes, “Big fan. And all about paying Stuart and Matthew’s bills.” So he’s a premium subscriber and so he’s saying that he’s paying Stuart’s salary and Matthew’s salary because he is a premium subscriber. So thank you for that.
John: He asks, “What if you did a premium Three Page Challenge episode where you only receive submissions from premium subscribers? Or even do a Golden Ticket thing again where you choose one Three Pager from the show and privately read their whole script or pilot. People go nuts for that. Not sure how you’d verify. Maybe you only say the URL in a 30-second premium clip or through the Libsyn site, just an idea. Stay funky.”
Maybe. I sort of throw this out there as a, “What do you think, Craig? And what do other listeners think?”
Craig: Well, first of all I’m not going to stay funky. I want to be clear about this, I’m funky on my own schedule, I don’t just stay funky. I go in and out of funky —
John: Actually, if you followed his orders to stay funky then you never had funk.
Craig: Yeah, that’s right. That’s right. You know what the most funky thing you can do? Not stay funky. Okay, now that aside although that one —
John: Craig, you were a normcore before there was even a norm.
Craig: Damn straight. I think it’s a perfectly — Look, I believe in rewarding our premium subscribers as much as we can if there is a simple way to check a username against a subscription account. I think that that’s a perfectly good idea to say, “Okay, this is only open to premium subscribers.”
John: We’ll look into it. It’s all through the Libsyn stuff and so Libsyn is the people who host our podcast. It’s the people who make the app. It’s what makes putting the podcast out in the world not onerously expensive. So it’s a matter of whether we can actually get that user ID sort of detail information, but maybe. And I’ve been, you know, honestly, I’ve been happily surprised by how many people subscribed I think apparently for the Dirty Show and for the extra bonus episodes. So, maybe. I think it’s kind of a good idea.
Craig: Great. Okay. Well, we will work on that and see if we can’t get that going, but thank you, John, for writing in and for helping to pay Stuart and Matthew’s bills.
John: It’s very nice. Craig, while we’re on sort of the metatopic of the Scriptnotes podcast, we’ve discussed off air the possibility of doing a live show sometime spring/summer and I think you and I both sort of said like, “Yeah, maybe not,” but then Stuart pointed out that our 200th episode is actually going to be coming up, like, in May. Maybe that it is a call for a live show.
Craig: Yeah, 200, geez Louise.
John: Two hundred episodes.
Craig: Yeah. What are we going to do for a 1,000th episode?
John: Yeah. With a thousand episodes we’ll be — that’s like 15 years from now.
Craig: I know, we’ll both be in the home.
John: Yeah. Or at that point maybe there will just be like artificial intelligence that will speak with our voices very knowledgably about contract-related things.
Craig: Thank god, so I can just sleep. Well, for the 200th episode it does sound like maybe we would want to do something, I mean, when we talked about it I was just a little concerned that we were maybe falling into the “If you don’t go away, how can we miss you?” trap, but if there’s demand for it, you know, if people like it.
John: Yeah. So , I would ask our listeners, if you have suggestions or things you would like for our 200th episode or if you think we should maybe not do a 200th episode like live show, that’s a valid opinion as well. Short thoughts like that, just hit us on Twitter I’m @johnaugust, Craig is @clmazin or if you have a longer thoughts or suggestions about things that would be great for our 200th episode write in at email@example.com and we’ll think about it.
John: So, our next question is so in Craig’s wheelhouse, I mean, like this person just woke up in the morning and said like, how can I ask a question that Craig will know the answer to?
Craig: I’m feeling it.
John: Craig will know the answer.
Craig: I’m feeling funky already.
John: So, this person, this is a guy named Jay I actually met at the Austin Film Festival.
John: He writes, “I recently wrote and directed my first feature film, Seven Minutes, an indie film. It premiered at the Austin Film Festival and we sold it to Starz.” Congratulations!
John: “I had a film by credit at the top of the credits. The WGA called me to make sure the story originated with me and that I was the only writer. DGA had approved the credit as well, they did or at least they appear to. We got a letter saying that the film by credit was no good and had to go because WGA says a film by credit at the top of the film can only go there if all the credits are at the head of the film. Our credits are at the end. This is because according to WGA’s logic audience members assume that film by credit is the director’s credit and they don’t stay until the end of the movie. They would not know who the writer is.”
John: Craig, I have no idea about the current state of a “film by” so can you catch us up to speed?
Craig: Well, this has been a long, longstanding debate between the Writers Guild and the Directors Guild. A film by credit started to appear some decades ago and began to stick in the craw of writers as you would imagine. It initially was meant for, well, first of all it naturally blossomed out of the whole auteur theory which drives writers crazy and because also it’s not true or at least it’s invalid, but it was initially was like look a film by Steven Spielberg, a film by Martin Scorsese, you know, something that might mean something.
But overtime it became a film by anyone and what the hell does that even mean? So, the Writers Guild has hated this credit. As the story goes, the Writers Guild apparently convinced the studios in the ’80s, I believe, that they should get rid of it, that they should disallow a film by credit. And as the story goes, I’m not sure this is true or not, this is just a legend.
As the legend goes, the DGA heard about this, freaked out and threatened to strike for the first time in their — or at least legitimately threaten to strike for the first time of their existence and the company said, “Well, we don’t really care about this. It’s fine you can have it.” And so, in fact, every three years when the Writers Guild negotiates this big collective bargaining agreement included in it is a letter that basically says the Writers Guild is saying that we hate this film by credit and the companies are saying, “Yes, we have heard you, you hate it.”
Craig: It has become enshrined as something we permanently hate. Now, the WGA and the DGA have been sort of trying to get a grip on this thing because even the DGA started to feel, I think, a little embarrassed by the proliferation of this, what we call the vanity credit. It’s one thing to say film by somebody that we all respect. It’s another thing to say film by some effin guy, right?
Craig: So, yeah, I think that this is part of the brokered solution between them is, yeah, if you’re going to do a film by credit, you have to also have the writer’s credit up in the front of the film, otherwise, yeah, it does seem like you just did everything.
John: So, my question is really, what is Jay encountering? Is he encountering a policy? Is he encountering a formally agreed upon rule? Like, what is he actually bumping up against? Because if it’s not part of our contract with the studios, is it just a mutual agreement between the WGA and the DGA? What is he actually hitting?
Craig: I cannot say for sure that it is in the contract, but I suspect if the WGA is saying you can’t have it there, it’s in the contract, I can get confirmation of that. Let’s say it’s not in the contract and it’s just effectively an agreement between the DGA and the Writers Guild. That’s just as good essentially.
Craig: I will say that aside from the rules here I’m going to talk to Jay and anyone else that’s directing movies. Whether you write and direct it or just direct it, really think about this film by credit and think about what it means. If you’ve written and directed it you can say, “Well, I understand why this would be offensive to a writer, but I am the writer,” well, yeah, great, so we have a credit called directed by and we have a credit called written by or screenplay by, but then there’s the editor, there’s the DP, there’s the costume, there are the actors —
John: There’s the producer.
Craig: The producer. I mean, what is this film by? What does that even mean? It certainly not a film by any one person. It is the most bizarre credit, the most pointless credit designed to aggrandize one person in defiance of fact. I don’t get it. I don’t even know what it’s for, why even have it? It’s embarrassing. I find it embarrassing that you have to announce that this is a film by you. You directed it, take credit for what you’ve done. It’s really egregious when someone says, “A film by me, but I didn’t write it, I didn’t come up with the story, I didn’t come up with the characters, I didn’t come up with the dialogue, I didn’t come up with the scenes, I didn’t come up with the point, the theme.” That’s just embarrassing.
John: So, I’m looking for examples of where I feel it makes sense and so I look at sort of, you know, people who kind of feel like they are auteurs in a way, like a Wes Anderson. So, like, if somebody says like “a film by Wes Anderson” I can sort of imagine that because I can sort of imagine what font it’s in, it’s all in that cohesive universe. And yet if that card weren’t there it would still be a We Anderson film. I mean, it’s a Wes Anderson film because it is completely his, you know, it’s in his universe, it’s his canon.
So, I take weirdly greater umbrage at the word “by” than having someone’s name there. So, weirdly for me a Joe Schmidt film is not offensive to me because you could also say the thing about a George Clooney movie, I mean, when he’s an actor not a director. It’s just like it’s identifying what category it falls into rather than the authorship of the movie or the, you know, the creator of the movie.
But again, this is opinion, this isn’t sort of standard practices and rules and that’s what Jay was encountering was apparently was some form of agreement between the WGA and DGA about how this is going to work.
Craig: Yeah, I know what you mean about Wes Anderson and I — there are directors that have clear styles just as there are writers that have clear styles. And I do think that that’s what the directed by credit means. The style, the look, the fonts, those are directorial choices.
Craig: But why should Fantastic Mr. Fox, a film by Wes Anderson, when Roald Dahl wrote the novel. I just don’t , I mean —
Craig: You know, it’s a film by a whole ton of people but you’re the director, so I just find that credit to be obnoxious. I’ve always thought it’s obnoxious. I find it to be like a weirdly insecure credit.
John: I think I agree with you there. And I have friends who’ve taken the credit, dear people who I love, but if I really sort of scrape back the layers and get to it I think it’s insecurity that is feeding their desire to have that extra credit on the movie.
Craig: Well, I think also to be fair to a lot of directors it’s like a thing where now it’s harder to not take it. Well, okay, all my friends take it, everybody else is taking it, why am I not taking it? Why am I the one guy that’s waving this flag against this credit? So it’s like the path of least resistance now to take this credit.
So, you know, I’m not a big fan. So, I would say to Jay, hey, you know what? The way to avoid this whole brouhaha: don’t take that credit.
John: Exactly. The easy solution to the question he writes in with.
John: So, while we’re making suggestions for people to stand up and do something that’s against the grain of things, this is off the show notes but — so every year I host a couple of the Director’s Nights at Film Independent and I love doing it. So I do a Q&A. I just did a Q&A last night with Damien Chazelle of Whiplash and his editor and his composer. You met Damien. He’s just the best, I loved him.
Craig: What a jerk, right? [laughs]
John: What a jerk! He was fantastic.
Craig: Yeah, he’s a sweet, sweet dude.
John: And so we showed clips and we talked through stuff and answered questions and then he had to do another Q&A right after that because that is what you do this time of the year is you — if you have a movie that’s up for awards consideration or in this case nominated for many awards, you are on this circuit where all you do is press for your movie, screenings for your movie, and I kind of think it has to stop.
I think it’s weirdly a destructive practice that I would love to see — I don’t think this is going to ever actually happen because I think if one director or one film said, “You know what? We’re not going to play this game. We’re not going to sit down for The Hollywood Reporter for two hours for this roundtable. We’re not going to go to this photo shoot. We’re not going to waste all of our time doing this because it is a waste of time.” But if you were the one movie that did that you’d be screwed because you potentially would miss out on awards, you’d missed out on some of the box office bump.
But if a group of the top films sort of got together and said, “You know what? Let’s not do this. Let’s just not play this crazy game,” our system would be so much better and we’d allow filmmakers to go back to actually doing what they should be doing which is making movies, not answering the same question a thousand times.
Craig: Yeah. I suspect that a lot of the people that are involved in it agree with you. The problem is that they’re not really the ones that are pushing it. It’s the studios, it’s the financiers, I mean, you know, if anybody has any misconception that awards are about merit or art, they are not. The awards exist to support two financial streams: one, the actual award show which is a financial stream; and then the promotion of the winners to create box office bonanzas.
John: So, here’s where I push back on those two things. I think you can honestly still have the award shows without the 17 weeks of promo and special issues and other madness and special screenings that sort of go into this. I think you can actually have those award shows and we wouldn’t sort of suffer. I think you’d still be able to make money off of those.
In terms of the actual financial gain for doing all that stumping, I wonder and I’m sure some very clever statistics person could go through and do a study of these are the movies that came out over this 10-year period that were sort of “for your considerations” and look at their box office and chart sort of how much the bonus they got from their award. And I don’t know that it’s fundamentally worth it.
I like the idea of awards as we talked about before in a sense of celebrating great works of cinema and just look at these awesome movies. It’s a great thing that happens and I love that movies like Whiplash which might otherwise not sort of get a bigger audience get that bigger audience because people know them from the awards. But I think, I’m frustrated not just for Damien, but sort of for all directors and writers and cinematographers who are pulled away from doing the stuff that they should be making which is their next movie because they’re having to feed this industry.
Craig: Yeah, some people put the — lay the blame at the feet of Harvey Weinstein, and certainly those feet are surrounded by lots of blame for lots of things.
John: And lots of Oscars.
Craig: Yes. Well, that’s the thing, you know, so people can go, “Well, hey, you know, do you remember when, I don’t know, Shakespeare in Love won the Oscar? Well, that’s because Harvey went bananas and promoted like crazy and then that movie made a lot of money afterwards.”
And, you know, unfortunately it’s a cheater’s game. And so the game theory is everybody either has to be decent together or the cheaters win and then everybody suddenly just goes, “We’ll, I guess we’re all doing it now.” And look, I’m with you. I mean, the part of the awards that are great or the part that are pro artists and pro art and the part that’s bad is the cynical part where it’s being used to, you know, line pockets and it’s a shame because you’re right. It’s kind of nuts that anybody would have to suddenly have this new job of three months of self promotion. Even actors get a break. I mean, they don’t do self-promotion for that long, you know, on a typical movie. So —
John: So a director who you and I both know who has a reputation for being a bit of a jerk, I remember someone talking about his availability on something and when he’d be free to do something. And he had a movie coming out that he said, like, “Oh, yeah. Well, I won’t be available for these three months because I’ll be doing all the Oscar season push stuff for it.”
And he said it in a way that had the assumption that, like, his movie was going to be so well received that everybody would be talking about it for an Oscar, and then it wasn’t at all. And there was something, I remember feeling this wonderful schadenfreude when the event didn’t happen. But in a weird way, he was being realistic in a way that I as a younger self had not appreciated that, like, it really is three months of your time that would be sucked away. And so he was being — if his movie had turned out better, he really would’ve lost all that time.
Craig: You just can’t say that. I mean —
John: Yeah. You shouldn’t say it. Exactly.
Craig: No, you never say that. I mean, that’s crazy.
John: Yeah. You say, like, you know, “My newborn daughter is going to be a supermodel.” You don’t say that.
Craig: Yeah, like, I can’t, yeah, I know we’re supposed to have a reunion of five years. I probably won’t be there because my kid is going to be at Fashion Week.
John: Maybe. Could be.
Craig: Yeah, well, you know, the bone structure is changing.
John: My closest experience with the awards season stuff was Big Fish. And so Big Fish, we got some nominations so we did that whole push, but we didn’t get any serious Oscar nominations so it just stopped. Once Oscar nominations came out, largely it just stopped. And there were parts of it that were actually great. And so I got to meet, like, other filmmakers. And so I got to meet Peter Jackson and all these folks who are on that same circuit doing all the same stuff. Anthony Minghella I met and just loved.
And that part of it was really, really cool. But, you know, after, like, the third time you’re sitting around a table with the same people, it just becomes this grind and it’s not — I don’t know, it’s not a good thing.
Craig: I was talking about that whole thing with John Gatins because he was on that circuit when —
John: Oh, for Flight.
Craig: When he was nominated for Flight. And he said something that made me laugh that they would — the same, you know, so all the same writers are gathering over and over and over and they’re all around these tables. And everywhere they would go, there would be some sort of lunch. And at every single lunch, all of the actors and writers and directors would get served lunch with rolls. There would always be a roll and nobody would eat the roll. [laughs]
Craig: Because they all were like, “I got to be on camera.”
John: Can’t eat bread.
Craig: Can’t eat carbs, yeah. Just wasted rolls.
John: I think I remember talking with you and Aline on the balcony at the Chateau Marmont at a special little party for John Gatins.
John: And so here’s the thing. I love John Gatins. I love Aline. I love so many people that were up there. But the fact that that was considered a necessary part of what you do at this stage of the awards season was frustrating. I mean, it was lovely to see people, just it was annoying that that’s a thing that needed to happen.
Craig: Was that something that, like, because I just thought that that was just a, “Hey, I’m gathering my friends.” But was that like a studio thing?
John: Oh, no. There was a list formed, yeah, of people who —
Craig: Oh, the studio do that?
John: The studio did that and I think, you know, smart people. And I think Aline probably had a hand in that, too, because she wants to make sure , because here’s what you do in those early for your consideration stuff, you want to make sure the people who might love your film see the film early enough and so they can start talking about it, so that there’s a critical buzz of this kind of thing. And that, the management is crazy.
Craig: You know, it’s not probably going to be an issue for me but — [laughs]
Craig: If it ever does, somebody else is going to have to do all that. I can’t. I can’t even —
John: Here’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to have just basically Sia. We’re going to have somebody who’s acting the part of the writer and saying the things you would say but it’s not actually you.
Craig: That’s a good idea. You mean like that girl that does the dancing?
John: That little girl, the little dancer. I’m going to hire that little girl.
Craig: You get me that little girl.
John: She’s going to wear the same blonde wig. People will ask her a question and she’ll just dance the answer.
Craig: I want that girl to do all my stuff.
John: I want Shia Labeouf to do it. That’s what I want.
Craig: I don’t want to do, like, any more interviews. I don’t want to do another interview for the rest of my life. And I just want that little girl to just dance some stuff.
Craig: With that wig on.
John: So good. I think I just got an interview request to talk about one of the other topics that we’re going to get to in the show and it’s for a magazine. I think I’m just going to send the woman back a little gif of that little Sia girl dancing.
John: That’s my answer.
Craig: That’s my answer. [laughs] That’s my answer. I mean, we should — I don’t want to — I mean, we should pay her.
John: So, here’s literally the question that I was asked. It was about the Harper Lee case.
John: And this is a new thing that came up this last week. So Harper Lee, author of To Kill a Mockingbird, famously has kind of nothing else you can read of hers, no other books.
John: But apparently she had actually written another book called Go Set a Watchman which To Kill a Mockingbird is sort of excerpted from. So it’s kind of a sequel, kind of a prequel. It’s the same characters. And so there’s lots of sort of general news stories about this because there’s a lot of question, Harper Lee is 88. Why is she doing it now? Is she really in full control of her decision process?
John: That’s all interesting but I have no special insight to that. What you and I can talk about, because we talk about it all the time, are rights. And so what’s interesting about this situation is the rights to those characters because these characters first appeared on screen in the Universal movie. So Universal owns rights to the 1962 movie and that was a huge hit. So $13 million back in the day, that’s more than $100 million today, won three Academy Awards, Best Actor. But would they own the rights to the characters to make another movie? So, you know, they obviously don’t automatically get the rights to this book, but would somebody be able to make a movie version of Harper Lee’s new book without the rights to those characters? And it’s confusing.
Craig: Yeah. I mean I would presume that some of it, a lot of it, has to do with the nature of the rights that Universal owns. So there’s a piece of paper somewhere, I hope that they still have it, that delineates precisely what the rights are and what the terms of those rights are and if they have the rights to all of the characters in that book. Like, for instance, you could see, “Oh, it says here we have the rights, the exclusive rights to make movies based on the characters in this book.” Well, yeah, well, those characters are now in another book. Does that mean you have the rights to the characters in this book also or just the characters in this book?
Craig: This is how lawsuits happen. This is why contracts are so awful and why the language is so tortured because, you know, contract law is kind of a game of, “Yeah, but you didn’t say exactly that.”
So who knows? I mean, this has come up before a lot of times. What happens is in lieu of the very expensive lawsuit, the two interested parties kind of just agree and do it together.
John: Exactly. We’re going to link to an article in the Hollywood Reporter that talks about Silence of the Lambs, Manhunter, and sort of the complicated rights to the Thomas Harris books, and ultimately, the way they got out of it without sort of like suing each other to death was to do a coproduction —
John: Because apparently the Clarice Starling character complicated the whole issue. So to be able to do stuff with her was incredibly challenging.
Craig: Yeah. And so they worked this stuff out. This is an interesting case though because it does have this added twist of is this her family making some cash here, is she really, why, you know, why suddenly at the age of — how old is she? 88.
Craig: And she’s had a stroke so, and it’s not like she has gotten on the phone and said, “Yeah, I’m Harper Lee. I’m into it now. Let’s do it.”
Craig: So, you know, I mean, it will be a mess.
John: It’ll be a mess.
Craig: Oh, god.
John: The easiest solution would be for Universal, if Universal wants it, Universal wins the rights, there’s not going to be a problem. If some other studio pushes really hard for it, they’re going to always have to have in the back of their head, like, we’re going to have to deal with Universal at some point. So that’s a decision going into it. We don’t know that people necessarily want to make a movie of this book because we haven’t read the book.
Craig: Well, that’s the other thing. Who knows if it’s any good?
John: Who knows if it’s any good? So on a similar topic of studios coming together to work out complicated rights about a character is this last week it was announced that Sony and Marvel had come to an agreement about how they were going to handle Spider-Man. And also it is all related to — it’s interrelated with Amy Pascal stepping down from running Sony Pictures.
John: So the plan at this point, as I best understand it, is Spider-Man will be allowed to enter into the Marvel Universe through the Disney Marvel Universe. He could appear in Captain America: Civil War or other Marvel properties down the road.
John: But Sony will essentially still be allowed to make Spider-Man movies. And so Sony gets out of this the ability to have a fresher, newer Spider-Man that they like, that people are excited about. But they are sort of kind of leasing the character back to Disney/Marvel. Apparently, Marvel really, really, really wanted Spider-Man back and wanted to pursue an outright sale. And Sony’s only agreeing to lease it back.
Craig: I guess I’m a little confused about the way this works. So they can both make Spider-Man movies?
John: No, as I understand it, Spider-Man can appear in Marvel movies but —
Craig: Okay. He can appear in them, okay.
John: It’s not a standalone movie.
Craig: Got it. So now I get it. So basically, Sony is saying, “Yeah, you can now use, like, he can show up in The Avengers, say, and that’s awesome promotion for our Spider-Man movies.”
Craig: And so that, now what’s so fascinating about this is that it underscores how valuable Marvel’s brand is and this is in a business where there are almost no true brands. You know, for a long time, I think the only real brand in Hollywood was Disney. And then Pixar became a brand for sure. Marvel may be the strongest brand of them all at this point.
John: Marvel or Star Wars, they’re both incredibly strong brands.
Craig: Well, Star Wars is a movie. It’s not a — you know what I mean?
John: Oh, come on, Star Wars is a brand.
Craig: No, no, it’s a brand. I mean, I’m talking about companies. I mean to say, like, studios.
Craig: Studios didn’t have brands. Like there’s no, Universal doesn’t mean —
John: I see what you’re saying.
Craig: You know what I mean? So, I mean, surely, there are movies that are brands, no question. But Marvel, as a company, has the most brand value of any studio and they’re literally getting the right to use this guy that they didn’t otherwise have for free because of their brand equity, because their brand equity actually boosts Sony’s product. That’s wild to me. That’s amazing.
John: It’s wild. So the other news that was announced. So Amy Pascal will produce the new Spider-Man movie which can happen on a faster time schedule. But Kevin Feige from Marvel will also produce it.
John: There can be, again, he’s been very, very smart about making really good movies and it certainly is in his best interest and Marvel’s best interest for the Spider-Man movie to be excellent because that helps them for using the Spider-Man character in their own thing. So it’s a weird synergy but potentially kind of cool.
John: Now, a counter example of this is a less valuable character is Quicksilver who appears in both the X-Men movie and in the new Avengers and they didn’t reach some sort of a magical agreement. Somehow they both had the rights to the character but they cast him as different actors. They didn’t try to make it one character across those two franchises.
Craig: Yeah, because Quicksilver isn’t sort of a needle mover the way that Spider-Man is. And so, I mean, it’s fascinating that Kevin Feige, who is essentially the head of a studio, is going to be producing a movie for another studio. But what’s so smart about it, and Kevin Feige is clearly one of the smartest guys in Hollywood, is that he can now integrate the Sony Spider-Man storylines into the Marvel storylines.
Craig: He is essentially giving the fans what they want. What a surprising thing that he would put the fans first and play the long game and show foresight.
John: I love the long game.
Craig: Kevin Feige, are you nuts? Don’t you know you’re supposed to just be shortsighted and make as much money? Now, now, now.
Craig: So good on him. Very smart. And as for Amy, I have to say, having never worked — and you did a lot of work for her.
John: Oh, yeah.
Craig: Never worked for Amy, never met Amy. I’m thrilled because I’m so disgusted by the nonsense, the Internet nonsense and the shame machine and the outrage baloney. And this is a long, a well respected, long-serving professional who, I said it before, came off better in her emails than practically anybody else would if their emails were exposed. I’m glad that she has this and, frankly, I suspect she will be much happier.
John: I think that is a very strong possibility.
John: So our last story is really about rights once again. And this is something that a reader had sent in to me and I wasn’t aware of it but you had actually already seen the clip from it. It’s just fascinating. So it’s this thing that aired on FXX 1:30 in the morning on Monday, February 9th.
John: And it was an adaptation of Robert Jordan’s incredibly popular Wheel of Time series. And so this series started in 1990. It’s a 14-book cycle. So it started in 1990, went through 2013. And so huge books, a lot of people said, like, “Oh, this could be the next Game of Thrones.” It’s incredibly complicated but has super fans. It’s a bestseller. And the rights to this are owned by a group called Red Eagle Entertainment.
John: And so what seems to have happened is there was a ticking clock and they had to produce something or the rights were going to revert.
John: And so they made this thing that they aired at 1:30 in the morning. And Craig, you watched more of it than I did so can you —
John: Tell us?
Craig: All right. So to be fair, I’m not familiar with the Wheel of Time series but from what I understand, it is very much — it’s very popular. It has a huge fan base like the way Game of Thrones has, the novels.
So I clicked on this thing because I though, I think the article I read said something like, “Watch the worst show ever made.” [laughs] So I clicked on it and it was fascinating. I watched about 10 minutes and I would say the first five minutes featured a man walking through an empty mansion and he’s shouting for his wife and his children. And they appear to be playing a hide-and-seek game so we’ll hear occasional giggles. I believe his wife is Ilyena. And he yells Ilyena maybe 30 times. [laughs]
Craig: And so it’s just four minutes of, “Ilyena! Children!” And then, “Hehe,” and then he turns, “Ilyena!” on and on and on. It’s the most insane thing.
As if somebody said, “Look, we have nine minutes of show. How can we have an hour of show?” “Let’s take every single bit of footage we have of this guy playing hide-and-seek and string them all together.” [laughs] It’s wild. I mean it’s really weird.
John: So there is precedent for this and most of the articles including the article that we’ll link to talk about Fantastic Four. So what happened with Fantastic Four is the rights to it were going to revert back to Marvel or whoever Marvel was back in those days. It was quite a long time ago. And the studio hired Roger Corman to make the cheapest possible version of the Fantastic Four. And so little bits of that Fantastic Four movie have leaked out and it’s predictably sort of what you’d expect. It’s horrible special effects but just apparently the bare minimum of what you needed to do to say, like, “Well, it is a Fantastic Four movie.”
And so that sense of, like, again, how important it is to hold on to these underlying rights. You will do crazy things like make a crappy version of an adaptation because you know that there’s a great adaptation out there that is potentially incredibly valuable.
Craig: Yeah, the trick of this all is that a lot of these rights deals say, “Okay. We have the rights to make a show of this thing until this day, you know, five years from now. And if we don’t then you get it back. But if we do, then we have the exclusive option to renew the rights cycle for another five years, right? So if we just keep, if we keep making these things, they still belong to us.” I suspect that’s probably why Fox will hold on to the X-Men forever. We keep making X-Men movies, we still get the rights.
John: And that same thing happened with Spider-Man so —
John: Sony basically had to keep making Spider-Man movies or else the rights were going to revert. And I think Marvel was clever enough that there was a [laughs] — they can’t just make a $1 million Spider-Man movie. There was the requirement for how much they have to spend on a Spider-Man movie. And so talking with people involved in the reboot, the Amazing Spider-Man series, there really were ridiculous time pressures placed upon them not just to hit a release date because of, “Oh, we have a slot in schedule,” but like, “No, no, no, we’re going to lose Spider-Man if we don’t make this movie.”
Craig: Right. That’s why you can see the natural alliance between Sony and Marvel where Marvel is saying, “Look, if you guys just keep doing this, you’re going to damage this thing that we care about, that we think there’s a lot of value to. Why don’t we all just take the foot off of each other’s necks here and work together?” So that’s smart. Now, this thing, this is bizarre. And almost certainly there’s going to be some kind of lawsuit as a result because, you know, at some point, you have to say, “Well, define making something.”
I mean, was this made in good faith? Now, when I read this article, and it’s not in the link you have here, and I believe this is the case, adding to the strangeness around this is that the director died in a car crash like a day after he finished shooting this thing. So for those of you who are into conspiracy theories —
Craig: Now, I’m not. I just —
John: I know a well known screenwriter who’s a big conspiracy buff.
John: I’m sure he has a whole plan on this.
Craig: Yes, I’m sure that he does while he’s figuring out how we filmed the moon landing and so forth. But no, I think it was just a terrible coincidence or maybe not a coincidence. Maybe he was so tired because from what I understand, they were shooting like 30 hours in a row and they literally made the thing in like, I don’t know, two or three weeks or something. It’s insane.
Craig: What a weird, weird thing. I mean, we’ll have a link to the pilot. It’s on YouTube. But I don’t know if FXX is going to be defending their copyright on this particularly aggressively so.
John: Yeah. I’m not also clear whether FXX is really the people who instigated sort of making this thing or if they basically just rented out the 1:30 time slot, that someone else did that because that —
Craig: Good point.
John: Was going to happen, too.
Craig: Also, I didn’t know there was a channel called FXX. [laughs]
John: Well, yes, you did, because The Simpsons marathon played on that.
John: That’s the channel that did the 24-hour marathon.
Craig: Oh, okay.
Craig: Oh, so there’s Fox, there’s FX, there’s FXX.
John: But is there FXXX?
Craig: Oh, probably.
John: It’s going to be a big franchise. Vin Diesel will be in it.
Craig: Yeah, but you know who likes that channel?
John: [laughs] Sexy Craig loves FXXX.
Craig: Yeah, I’m just going to be at home watching FXXX.
John: It’s so good.
Craig: Why don’t you come on over?
John: But in the interest of, like, wrapping this all up, it’s like there’s really a time situation where, like, you’re scrambling to make this movie really quickly so the rights don’t revert. It’s almost the situation described at the very start of this podcast where you’re talking about how in the race to get something into production, you also end up making these choices which, lord knows, you hope they’re the right choices. But the train is leaving the station and you just got to do it.
Craig: Yeah. I —
John: I think whatever you wrote is probably better than The Wheel of Time.
Craig: [laughs] I hope so.
Craig. Yeah. No, it is a rare film and perhaps a non-existent film that is made under ideal circumstances.
Craig: There is always something going on. In this case, there was a lot going on.
John: Well, honestly, art without any constraints is generally dismal. I mean, constraints are what make art possible. It’s just sometimes the constraints are ridiculous constraints or choices made for reasons that wouldn’t be, you know, artistically awesome choices.
John: And so, so much of the job of these last weeks as you’re moving a movie into production is figuring out, like, “Okay. What movie are we making and what’s staying and what’s going out?”
John: Indeed. All right. It’s time for One Cool Things. My One Cool Thing is something that everyone had said was really, really good and I just kind of ignored them for a long time because I think I misunderstood them. And now that I just took a chance on it, and now I understand them and I was wrong. So my One Cool Thing is Broad City.
John: A comedy on Comedy Central. And I think I thought it was, I don’t know, edgy and gritty in sort of a, I don’t know, “how to make it in America” kind of way. And it’s actually more of like if you were to just take Girls and Workaholics and put them together, it’s just great. And I just love it. If you sort of took Laverne & Shirley and just, like, had them sort of doing shit in Brooklyn.
Craig: Oh, I like Laverne & Shirley.
John: Oh, my god. Who does not love Laverne & Shirley?
Craig: I love Laverne & Shirley.
John: And so there’s just these two girls hustling and [laughs] they’re really funny and they’re hustling. So the first season is up on Netflix. It’s also on Comedy Central now. It’s on demand. Watch Broad City. It’s really, really good.
Craig: You know, before I get to my One Cool Thing, let me just say Laverne & Shirley, I’ve often thought, is the kind of sitcom we need again. The physical comedy of it, it was so great. I just love, you know, the only people that do that now are like Disney sitcoms for kids.
Craig: It’s like they stopped doing physical comedy. I loved that stuff when I was a kid. I just loved it. And I love it now. I love Laverne & Shirley. They’re the best.
John: They’re great.
Craig: Really great.
John: I mean, we think of Penny Marshall but Cindy Williams was awesome on that show.
Craig: Cindy Williams, Michael McKean, and I mean —
Craig: All of them.
John: It’s the first show I remember traveling where they started, it’s Milwaukee, right?
Craig: Mm-hmm. Yeah.
John: Hasenpfeffer Incorporated.
John: And then they moved to Hollywood in the last season, or last two seasons, and it’s just, like, it was just bizarre.
Craig: Yeah, I know. They would occasionally do that back then. [laughs] That was, you know, trying to goose the ratings.
Craig: But hey, come on. Carmine Ragusa?
John: Oh, so good.
Craig: The Big Ragu.
John: Big Ragu.
Craig: Big Ragu. I mean, God, she had an L on. She would always drink the Pepsi and the milk.
John: So, again, one thing I appreciate about Broad City is that like Laverne & Shirley, they’re kind of broke and, like, their being broke factors into it a lot. And, you know, I really love Blackish which is sort of the opposite of that show and, like, the characters are really rich. But it’s so much fun when you find sources of external conflict and being broke is a large part of it.
Craig: Yeah. And their show is about women living together that are broke. I think there was one that was — wasn’t there 2 Broke Girls, wasn’t that a show?
John: That is a show.
Craig: It’s a show now?
John: It’s a show but it’s not really about —
Craig: Oh, it’s not?
John: It’s a multicam.
Craig: Oh, it’s multicam? It’s not, well, Laverne & Shirley was a multicam show.
John: That’s true it is a multicam show. I don’t know why, I’m being so weirdly judgy because Laverne & Shirley was an awesome multicam show. And maybe 2 Broke Girls is fantastic. I just — modern CBS multicam shows just give me —
Craig: They give you hives.
Craig: You know, I don’t have that. I can’t say anything about 2 Broke Girls because I haven’t watched it. What a shock, okay.
John: It’s always a safe bet.
Craig: My One Cool Thing is a band. And the band is largely the work of a singer/songwriter. It’s called Fantastic Negrito. And Fantastic Negrito is out of the Bay Area and I’ve been following these guys for a while because my friend, Malcolm Spellman, who writes on Empire, which is now an empire, has been friends with the lead musician/songwriter of Fantastic Negrito for many, many years. And so I, you know, sort of follow him on Facebook and so forth. Outstanding stuff.
The guy’s name, one of the greatest names of all time, Xavier Dphrepaulezz. Xavier Dphrepaulezz. There are more Zs in there than you think. Outstanding stuff. And so, you know, I’ve been just following them, well, it’s like, well, my friend has a band. Cool, they’re actually awesome. Great. NPR ran this thing called Tiny Desk Concert Contest. It’s basically like, you know, a little original song and video contest. And guess who won?
John: Fantastic Negrito.
Craig: Fantastic Negrito, the winner of the Tiny Desk Concert Contest, very cool. We’ll provide a link. I just think Xavier is the coolest and it’s just good music. You know what it is? It’s like real black music. It’s old school black music. It’s soul. It’s like real soul from the ’70s. It just feels — it’s not Hip-Hop. It’s not modern. But it’s not like lame-o old, old. It’s just real. It’s so good. I love it. I just love it. I just think this guy is the best.
John: Yeah. So Fantastic Negrito played at the Black List party this year.
Craig: That’s right.
John: And so I got to see that. And he was fantastic. I’m going to call him he. It’s one of those weird situations where you can say it’s a band, or you can say it’s a person, but it’s really his music project.
John: So you really just identify it as him.
John: He is fantastic and he is, like, this weird, like, James Brown and Beck sort of like somehow merged souls or something. And as a performer he’s just spectacular and electric and fantastic. It was the completely wrong venue to see that.
John: And so it was just too loud for the small space. But he’s one of the people I would track down and see at a club anywhere in this country. So we will provide links to this and videos as well because he’s great. And Malcolm has been a huge promoter from the start and I should’ve listened to him earlier.
Craig: Yes. And we will try and get Malcolm on the show as well because he is in and of himself blowing up right now over Empire which is a phenomenon.
John: Yes. So Craig, you’re going to need to watch the show Empire at some point.
Craig: Oh, no.
Craig: Is that —
John: I’m sorry. Homework.
Craig: Is it on TV? [laughs]
John: [laughs] It’s a show on the television.
Craig: I don’t —
Craig: You know I’ve been watching —
John: Have your son explain how to turn on the TV?
Craig: He won’t know. He’s the last person to know how to turn on a TV. I’ve been watching Togetherness.
John: Which I hear is great. I haven’t watched it yet. And I feel bad. Jay Duplass — I adore him, so I want to see it.
Craig: Ooh, it is good. It had the best depiction of bad sex I’ve ever seen in my life in the last episode. If you’re a fan of bad sex the way I am, check it out.
John: Sounds good.
John: That is our show for this week. So our outro this week is provided by Manoel Felciano. It is great and involves Craig’s voice a lot. So Craig, you’re actually going to want to listen to this one. If you have an outro that you would like to provide to us, send us a link to it.
John: Just send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. That is also the email address to which you can send questions or follow-up comments. Short things, you should write to us on Twitter. I’m @johnaugust. Craig is @clmazin. This show is produced by Stuart Friedel.
John: It is edited by Matthew Chilelli. And if you’re on iTunes, you should leave us a comment or leave us a rating because those are helpful to help other people find the show. Subscribe to us while you’re there. Our premium feed, which we’ve mentioned before, is available at Scriptnotes.net. We also have an app that’s in the App Store and at the Android App Store.
Craig: John, is it expensive?
John: And it also gets you all stuff —
Craig: Is it expensive?
John: So the app is free to download.
Craig: Oh, that’s not expensive.
John: If you, no, that’s free. It’s the best you can get. What is costing you some money is the monthly subscription to the premium feed.
Craig: Oh, no. How much?
John: Yeah, it’s a crazy bargain. That gets you all the back episodes to the very first one, and it helps pay for things like Stuart and Matthew and all our transcripts, so thank you very much for people who subscribe to that.
John: That’s our show. Craig, I’ll talk to you next week.
Craig: Thanks, John.
- The Deal with the Gravity Lawsuit
- The One with Rebel Wilson and Dan Savage
- Get premium access at scriptnotes.net
- Harper Lee’s ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ Sequel Sparks Questions Over Film Rights on THR
- With Marvel Deal, Sony Opts to Lease Rather Than Sell Spider-Man on THR
- Spider-Man: How Sony, Marvel Will Benefit from Unique Deal on Variety
- Wheel of Time is the sad lesson of what can happen when you sell the rights to your books on Vox
- Broad City on Comedy Central and Hulu
- Fantastic Negrito, Winner of NPR’s 2015 Tiny Desk Concert Contest
- Outro by Scriptnotes listener Manoel Felciano (send us yours!)