The original post for this episode can be found here.

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

Craig Mazin: Hey, I’m Craig Mazin.

John: And this is episode 190 of Scriptnotes, a podcast about screenwriting and things that are interesting to screenwriters.

190 episodes in, we are doing something for the very first time today. We are going to be looking at an entire screenplay.

Craig: Yeah. It’s a 111 Page Challenge.

John: It is. So this is a script called This Is Working. It’s by K.C. Scott. And back in episode 187, we looked at the first three pages of this script and we thought they were terrific. We also thought K.C. Scott was a woman. So we referred to K.C. Scott as a woman through the whole thing.

But he’s a guy. His name is Kurt. He lives in Oakland. His Twitter handle is @BlackSitcomDad. And I emailed him and asked him, “Hey, would you want to share with us your entire script so that we could talk about it on the air and talk about how a whole script works?”

So if I have done things properly, I have put this up the Friday before this episode aired so you guys could all read it and have this in your heads, as you’re listening to this podcast, so we could all discuss this script together.

Craig: And I know that there’s a fair chance that a lot of people will not have done their homework and will not have read it. But that’s okay, because I think we’re going to talk about some things that are specific to K.C.’s script but we’re also going to talk — I mean, does he like to be called K.C. or Kurt? I don’t know.

John: Let’s call him K.C.

Craig: Okay. I think we’re going to be talking about things that are specific to K.C.’s script. But we’re also going to be talking about things that are useful for anyone in terms of writing and what it means to make it in Hollywood and what do you do when you have a script and how do you approach fixing scripts. So it’s best if you’ve done your homework. If you haven’t, think about maybe reading the script and then listening to this in the car. But if you haven’t done your homework, don’t flip out.

John: Everything will be okay. And here to help us make everything even more okay is one of our very first guests on the show ever. This man created The Black List. Not the TV show, but the actual The Black List of like the best screenplays in Hollywood.

Craig: Yeah. The less profitable Black List. [laughs]

John: That’s it. The increasingly profitable

Craig: Yes.

John: He is also a former development executive, so he’s been on many sides of the table and read many, many scripts in his life. Franklin Leonard, welcome to the show.

Franklin Leonard: Hello everyone. Thank you, guys, for having me.

John: So Franklin joins us from New York City.

Craig: Did you hear, he sounded just like Bane there. “Hello, everyone. Hey, Batman.”

Franklin: I blame my microphone.

John: Yeah. So he’s recording on Skype on a little ear bud microphone. But we welcome him and welcome his opinions on this script. Because my hunch is that it was just the right script for us to have on the show, because there’s stuff that I thought was delightful about it, there’s also stuff that needed a lot of work and attention, and I think we can all learn a lot from this script.

Craig: I don’t plan on learning a damn thing.

John: Before we get started on the actual details of this script, I just want to talk through the kinds of people who read screenplays and sort of the different things that they’re looking for. Because, you know, we are readers looking at the script in the context of a podcast and trying to give advice to this writer. But there’s many different kinds of people in Hollywood who reads screenplays. And so let’s just quickly kind of go through who those kinds of people are.

So one place that a writer might want to read their script is an agency or a management company. In your guys’ experience, what are agents and managers looking for? If this script landed on their desk, what would they be looking for?

Craig: Franklin?

Franklin: I mean, look, I think with agents and managers, first and foremost, they’re running a business and their product is the writing talent that they represent. And so I think, you know, a critical calculation for them is can I sell this script, one. And two, is this script representative of the kind of work that can get this writer employed elsewhere, be it in film, in television. Like can I send this person into a room? Is this a script that if I send it out, people are going to be very excited about it and call me and say, “Hey, I have to meet with this person immediately, I have a project they would be perfect to write”?

I think that it’s a pretty clean calculus for them. Because even in cases where they’re just awed by the art of something, they are awed by knowing that other people will be as well and that that will eventually put money in their pocket.

Craig: Yeah. I agree with that. Let’s talk about the laziest agents and managers who I suspect probably comprise 90% of agents and managers. It’s just the way of the world and humans.

Lazy agents and managers will say, “Okay, do I know somebody that wants something like this?” “Can I sell this quickly?” “Do I know somebody that’s been asking for this sort of thing or buying this kind of thing?” “Is the topic hot?” They’re just thinking 10 feet ahead of them.

The best agents and managers are people who don’t worry about what the market is telling them that day but instead look at somebody and think, “I’m going to tell the market that this is where they should be.” And those are the agents and managers that are ideal. Granted they’re few and far between but every now and then, there’s this wonderful marriage between somebody who’s new and interesting and somebody who’s brave.

So if you are writing certain kinds of material, it’s okay to encounter the lazy agent because they’re a lazy dream come true. You’re writing a fighting robot movie, about vampires, and that’s what’s exciting at the moment. If you’re writing something like this script for instance, you are going to need somebody who believes in you and is willing to make the argument to people, “Yeah, yeah, yeah, but this is different,” and that’s good.

John: Now, Franklin, the original incarnation of The Black List, it’s a list of the best screenplays picked by the people who are reading a lot of screenplays, largely people who are running ,or, you know, junior executives at development companies, they’re at studios, they’re producers. What are they looking for? If this script landed on their desk, how would it get there, what would they be looking for as they’re flipping through pages?

Franklin: Yeah. I mean, typically, it would get there via an agent or manager who called and said, “I have a new client, this is what the script is, I’d love to send it to you, I’m really excited about it, will you read it? ” You know, as a sample. Or it will be sent as a spec, you know, sort of sent out on day and date released to a number of different production companies or studios saying, “We’re selling this script, read it tonight, and then if you’re interested, you can buy it tomorrow.”

There’s actually a lot of overlap I think between going out with scripts in those two ways because sometimes you’ll have scripts that are not likely to sell but will still be framed in terms for being sent to a producer or to a financier and say, “Hey, this is a really exciting piece of material, you should read it immediately,” in the hopes that someone will decide to buy it the next day or in the weeks immediately following.

John: Yeah, sometimes, scripts end up there because someone else likes it. And so, a junior executive of this company liked it, they talked to their friend over at this company. Said like, “Oh, have you read the script? You should read the script.” So that pass-around is also a crucial factor as well, isn’t it?

Franklin: That pass-around is actually, yeah. Thank you for mentioning that.

The pass-around is actually really critical and that’s actually responsible for the birth of The Black List. It was me realizing as a development executive that a lot of the best stuff I was getting was not coming from agents and managers who obviously had a vested financial interest in convincing me to read the script, and was coming from people, you know, who I was having breakfast, lunch, dinner and drinks with, who when you sit down and say, “What have you read that’s good lately,” they’re going to tell you honestly the stuff they love, not necessarily the stuff that they think their boss is going to buy or that they think is going to make money.

And I think that ultimately The Black List ends up being, at the end of every year, you know, a snapshot of all of those conversations about the things that are sort of being most traded amongst development executives.

John: Cool. Now in which is the site where writers can put up their scripts and have professional coverage, they can also have people read their scripts, you know. People who are members of can download their scripts, read their scripts and see what is out there in the town.

Franklin: Yup.

John: What are your professional readers of looking for if they’re reading one of these scripts? If K.C. had put this on and paid the money to have it read, what would that reader be doing?

Franklin: Yeah. Our readers are actually told explicitly not to consider the commercial prospects of a script in their evaluation of it. There is a brief section where you can talk about the commercial prospects and the qualitative portion. But in terms of evaluating that quantitatively, they’re told point blank, “Do not consider that.” They are reading screenplays as samples and they’re told to rate them on a scale of 1 to 10 based on how likely and enthusiastically they would recommend it to a peer or superior in the business.

So the website really does sort of depart from that same core idea of the annual list which is forget the financial component of the business for a minute, just what are the things that you’re reading that you just have to tell someone about, which I actually think is sort of the nature of subjectivity in art, right? Like when you see something amazing, you kind of want to share it. And we’re trying to capture that with our readers as well.

John: Great. Well, before we get into the details of this script, just tell us our sort of snapshot opinions of this script that we read. This is K.C. Scott’s This Is Working. Sort of our first impressions and sort of the overall framework of what we want to talk about when we talk to K.C. about his script.

Craig, do you want to start?

Craig: Sure. Well, I loved it. I’ll just say flat out I loved it.

Here’s what I generally loved. I’m always saying to all the people that come and talk to us at our live events or write in when they say, “How do I get an agent? How do I get noticed?” Da-da-da-da-da. And I keep telling them, “Just express your unique voice. And if it’s interesting, they will come. If it is not, they won’t. But whatever you do, don’t copy because you won’t copy very well. And the people that are making the originals are here already.”

Well, K.C. has an original voice. K.C. is palpably intelligent and K.C. has also written a movie that is a character study that I haven’t seen before. It’s a character I literally have not seen before in this way, expressing this thing. It is arched. There is a tone to it that is reminiscent of — it’s kind of like an Oakland Wes Anderson. [laughs] I don’t know how else to describe it.

Franklin: I think that’s right. Yeah.

Craig: It’s easy to criticize the story and we can certainly get into it where it does get very kind of story-light and episodic. On the other hand, I could say the same for some Wes Anderson movies. There are times when you read a script and you think, “I’m not really sure this is going to bear that much criticism because I don’t think the person writing it would care,” in a good way, because they’ve expressed something that is true to them and unique.

So there are some areas here and there where I feel strongly that K.C. should make some changes and there are some areas where I want him to think and expand. However, in the whole, I thought this was terrific. And this is a script that I’m glad that this is our first one that we’re doing because I want people to read this script.

I think K.C. should be working in Hollywood right now. I think depending on the nature of K.C. and his temperament and what he wants to pursue, I think I could easily see him working on a TV show right now. And I could easily see him perhaps taking an assignment based on this work. This script itself would be an independent film.

So that’s my general snapshot-y vibe.

John: Yeah. I overlap a lot with you in terms of really liking the script, really loving the character who I thought was unique and new. And I think as we get into story, being frustrated at times that the story itself gets really familiar and not as special as the character he’s created. And I think he has the ability to create really great, unique, interesting moments, and I want to highlight some of these great moments as we start to get into them. The script is sort of existing in a no man’s land between — it feels like some really great single camera comedy, you know, TV characters are sort of like bumbling through a movie and not really quite able to take the reins of the movie that they’re in. I have some really specific concerns about the women in the movie and there’s some terrific insight, but sometimes the themes aren’t pushed quite enough.

I so much agree with you that I think K.C. should be working in Hollywood soon, and this script I think is going to be a great sample for him. But the better version of the script will be an even better version of showing what he can do.

Franklin, where did you come at with the script?

Franklin: I’m very similar. I think I’m probably a little bit more in John’s camp than I am in Craig’s. But there’s no question to me that K.C. has a voice. His voice is one that I very much enjoy. The characters, not only did I enjoy them, I identified with them in many ways which does say more about me than I think the script. And also there were lines that made me laugh out loud and for anyone that reads a lot of scripts, you know just how rare that is.

Craig: [laughs] Yeah. Me too.

John: Absolutely.

Franklin: And there were a lot of lines that made me laugh out loud.

And I think Craig’s point about working in TV is a really good one. I can imagine K.C. writing for a TV show tomorrow and being valuable in a room, you know, whether it’s a show — for some reason, Brooklyn Nine-Nine kept coming up for me tonally. There was just very funny stuff that I could imagine him, if he can sort of dish out comedy like this on a consistent basis, he’s going to be an additive quantity to a writers’ room.

I actually felt like, you know, if it’s going to be Oakland Wes Anderson, and I think that’s an apt description, I actually wanted it to be a little bit more arched. I think that though the first three pages and really the first 30 odd pages set the tone nicely, I thought that tone receded somewhat in the back two-thirds of the script. And I would have liked to see more tone-setting with the script, so that I as a reader, producer, executive, agent, whatever, know exactly what I’m seeing on the screen rather than just this exceptional character work.

But I enjoyed it. I think it needs work. I think that it’s a good sample now that could be an exceptional sample pushed to where I think it can go.

Craig: And I would just add that the funny thing is that the less I like a script, generally the less I have to say about it. I could probably talk to K.C. about every single page and give him 12 notes on every single page. I don’t want K.C. to misunderstand me. I think that I could have him working on this for a long time and revise it for a long time to make it better for sure. There is a lot.

You can see that he is new. The generally scene craft isn’t happening yet. So you have scenes where — I call them ticker tape scenes where it’s just strips of dialogues. So if our folks are playing the home game, look at page five and six, they’ll see essentially just strips of dialogue.

That’s an indication that you haven’t really written a scene. You’ve written a conversation, which is fine for a sitcom, no-no for movie. Even if it’s a walk-and-talk , I need to feel — even if nothing is happening action-wise in the scene, I need it to be broken up so that you’re giving me something about them. I need to see changes and things happening with them. So there are scene work issues.

I have character issues actually outside of Byron who I think is really well-crafted. I have Amanda issues. But let’s get into all of it.

John: Yeah. Absolutely. Let’s start with the characters because I think that’s what we all responded to. And the Byron character who we first met in the Three Page Challenge is this kind of unique character that I haven’t seen before. And I’ve loved sort of hanging out with him.

So Byron is our hero of our story. He as a protagonist I would argue he doesn’t necessarily protagonate as much as I would love him to, you know, grow over the course of the story. But he is a guy who is a talented illustrator who we sort of had a hint of this in the three pages but this became his real character definition. There are women who tell him what to do and he’s sort of just come to accept that he just does what these women in his life tell him what to do.

It’s set up very ably in the very first scene about the waffles and that becomes a factor throughout the whole story. We see, you know, his progression from this company to leaving the company, to finding an apartment, to his relationship with his girlfriend, ultimately leading us to moving back in with his mom in a way that I didn’t necessarily love. But I loved him.

If I had concerns it was with Amanda who the movie plays almost like a two-hander. It’s not a romantic-comedy. It really — it’s supposed to I think be Byron’s story. But she is the other main character and she reminded me of the Ilana character on Broad City. I don’t know if you guys watch Broad City.

Franklin: [laughs] Yes.

John: And that she’s really verbal and really direct in ways that were wonderful and funny. And yet I had no belief that she existed before I saw her on page two.

Craig: Yeah.

John: And I didn’t have any good sense of who she was or sort of why she was in this, what her movie would be if it wasn’t this movie.

Craig: Mm-hmm. I agree with that. I think that Byron — well, first of all there’s a question, who is the actual protagonist of this movie? And I love scripts that make me wonder about that because I’m not sure if it’s Byron or Amanda.

John: Right.

Craig: And you can argue either way because, you know, Byron is passive. He is defined by his passivity which I love by the way because I love anybody that gives the middle finger to the rules. And it was fun to watch. It was fun to watch him refuse to change. [laughs] It was fun to watch him exist as this thing that could not be changed despite everybody’s desire for him to change. it was, I thought, a very touching and true portrait of somebody living with Asperger’s syndrome, you know, and possibly autism. He was so clearly socially off and yet had this brilliant focus and a certain savantism which I thought was wonderful.

I think John you put your finger on my issue with Amanda. I really enjoyed spending time with her. I need to know what the deal is. I don’t think K.C. can get away with what he’s gotten away with.

Byron we understand has a life and a past. We start to learn about his past. We learn about it from other people. We learn about it from him. Amanda was born on the planet on page 3. And I don’t know what has she had, other boyfriends, what went wrong, why is she doing this job, what’s her problem.

I mean, there’s wonderful movies about two damaged people finding each other and attempting to make something work and failing and succeeding and failing and succeeding. And I want that here. But Amanda is currently not a fully realized character in the way that she must be if this is going to work properly.

Franklin: Yes. I completely agree. I mean, she feels more device than character. And not to sort of invoke the Manic Pixie Dream Girl thing but I do think it’s relevant here like you see it oftentimes with scripts usually written by men about a woman who is meant to, you know, reawaken their perspective on the world and motivate them to do something.

But, I do sort of like that here Byron doesn’t become motivated. He sort of becomes motivated briefly and then decides not to be. But she does feel more device than person whereas Byron feels like a wholly-rounded individual.

And I feel like K.C. was also trying to pull this thing where Amanda doesn’t want to talk about her past. She doesn’t like — her past isn’t of interest to her and that’s why we don’t get to know anything about her. But I think that the character and the scripts suffer as a consequence.

John: I hundred percent agree. I wrote down Manic Pixie Dream Girl also. But weirdly there’s sort of second Manic Pixie Dream Girl which is Rosa who shows up.

Franklin: Right.

John: We see her earlier on, then she shows up later on and she’s like much more literally like a pixie. She’s like the tiny little fire plug. And she serves that function as well.

A thing I enjoyed late in the story was Amanda ultimately becoming so frustrated by Byron’s passivity that she hates herself from becoming this monstrous thing that she’s sort of becoming, that have to boss him around. And so she’s been this person telling Byron to stand up for himself this whole time. And finally she becomes this woman who’s controlling him that she doesn’t want to become. I think that’s a really interesting idea.

And I haven’t seen that before in a movie or certainly not in a movie with these kind of characters. And it wasn’t until that I got to that moment in Amanda’s character that I really believe like, “Oh, yeah, maybe there’s a movie here.” And this isn’t just a very long pilot to a TV show.

Franklin: Yeah. It’s interesting you mentioned that because I didn’t see that coming either. And I think part of it is that we have this default assumption that, you know, our protagonist which I did interpret as Byron is the one who’s sort of morally right in the world. And so, you know, he’s dealing with his girlfriend who’s a little bit sort of demanding, he’s got this mother who’s really difficult that sort of bosses him around.

And they’re like, “Oh, this guy should sort of just be left to his own devices. He’s a good guy. He’ll figure it out.” And then the person who is supposed to be helping him figure it out is like, “No, you were insufferable. Get it together.” And that I did not see coming. And there is definitely something interesting there but I think it needs significantly further mined — it needs to be significantly more further mined in order to really work.

John: I want to get back to this idea of who’s the protagonist. Because the reason why obviously I identified Bryon as protagonist, he’s the first guy we see, we sort of see his struggle. We’re seeing things through his eyes. And Amanda sort of appears as an antagonist trying to cause him to change.

And the first change we see is when he decides to leave Jane and shows up at Amanda’s apartment. And that’s actually one of the moments I really loved is that like he doesn’t quite know why he’s there but he knows he needs to be there. That moment really worked for me. And I felt like, “Oh, and now our movie is starting. And now we’re going to start on this journey.”

And then we sort of spin our wheels for quite a long time. And ultimately it feels more like Amanda is the character who changes along the way.

Craig: Well, yeah, I think that it does feel like wheel spinning unless you kind of go along for the ride of that there’s a bait and switch here because Byron actually never does anything. Amanda does everything. She really does, I mean, it’s true that we start with Byron on page one but Amanda is seen on page two. And she’s already peaking at his drawing. And she essentially drives everything. She is the one that tells him what to do at work. She tells him to quit. She essentially draws his eye away from somebody else. She starts their business. She tells him what’s wrong with him. She argues with the real antagonist of the story I think which is Byron’s mother.

And ultimately we start to realize that the guy that we thought was the moral center is in fact a problem. And maybe he’s the antagonist. [laughs]

Franklin: I think if anything.

Craig: Yeah. I like stories that go ahead and play around with this stuff because if you can’t play around with it now when you’re writing your original screenplay, they’re never going to let you play around with it when they’re paying you. So you might as well do it now.

John: Let’s look at templates though. So, you know, obviously, the classic romantic comedy, when you look at When Harry Met Sally there you have two characters who, you know, are sort of entwined and they are each other’s protagonist and antagonist. Like they’re pushing each other towards places. And I honestly think this movie could go there.

As I was reading through it the first pass-through I really saw this more as like a Working Girl where I saw, you know, Byron being the Melanie Griffith character sort of like finally sort of coming into his own and standing up for what he believes and sort of showing what he was worth. So standing up to these people who are controlling him in his life. That ultimately doesn’t seem to be the movie that K.C. is interested in doing.

Or I sometimes wonder whether K.C.’s ability to just like write funny scenes and, you know, write these characters, he just sort of wrote them in this direction and we sort of ended up where we ended up.

You said, you know, Oakland Wes Anderson. I wrote down sort of Whit Stillman Comedy of Manners. And that these characters sort of existence in this slightly heightened world. I thought the advertising agency was arched in a way that felt more almost like that ABCs sitcom Better Off Ted. I didn’t sort of believe the universe of it.

Craig: All right. So there is the thing that K.C. I’m just going to insist on because that’s just wrong. There are things that are occasionally just wrong. So the ad agency is a big, big mistake. You have these characters that are pushed and we talked about this all the time in development if you are pushed you need something to push against.

First of all, his job is ridiculous, that’s not a real job. The fact that he thinks that people would want to see a hummingbird torn apart is insane.

Franklin: [laughs]

John: [laughs]

Craig: So he’s mentally ill at that point in a way that I can’t get onboard with. He’s boss is ridiculous. The way the office runs is ridiculous. That’s starting to feel like Office Space. So like in Office Space, the office was ridiculous, our heroes were totally normal people struggling against this insanity. You can do one or the other.

And in this case I find that our characters are the kind of quirky, interesting ones. The work space must be grounded and real. It has to be and his job has to be real. And what’s his trying to do has to be real or this thing is just going to feel fake as F.

Franklin: See, I’m going to disagree actually. I just I think that it has to be more finally tuned if you’re going to do that. I think you can have a world where the environment is still eccentric and a bit skewed, it’s just that it’s a much, much higher tightrope. I think that that K.C. doesn’t really nail it.

But again, I mean, look there were things that amused me about it sort of coming out of the corporate world that actually didn’t feel that sort of crazy to me whether it’s the sort of yes men and women analysts, whether it’s sort of Pete, the guy who doesn’t really know how to run anything and is constantly asking his employees, “Okay, what should we do?”

Craig: Yeah, no, I’m on board with that. And I love the fact that he would site Steve Jobs all the time. That all felt real. What doesn’t feel real is that he’s 22 and also doing all that stuff. It’s the joke on a joke syndrome. At some point you start to feel like that’s not a real place. Everything is a goof, you know, even the details of the hummingbirds.

Franklin: Well, the hummingbird thing I just didn’t really see that at all honestly.

Craig: Yeah, you just need to —

Franklin: But the 22-year-old VP thing unfortunately that that doesn’t —

Craig: I didn’t. You know what, here’s the deal. Then that’s your one thing but then make him actually really brilliant. You can’t do the joke on a joke on a joke thing. You just can’t.

Franklin: You can’t have a 22-year-old who’s incompetent, who’s also, okay, that’s fair.

Craig: Citing Steve Jobs, who also asks everybody else what to do. Who also is talking about an insane actual campaign. You have to pick some places where you push against things otherwise there is nothing there.

John: Yeah, another example that came up a lot for me was Silicon Valley.

Franklin: Yeah.

John: If you look at Silicon Valley you have heightened characters in a heightened world. But it’s very carefully balanced so that it doesn’t just feel completely crazy pants the entire time through.

And here K.C.’s ability to create some really unique and interesting moments between his two main characters I think it’s sometimes being undermined by this heightened world he’s created around himself.

The other challenge I really had with the workplace set up was having Jane be his boss but not his boss. That felt just too convenient and you can sort of hear the sound effect or the needle scratch as she walked into the room. It didn’t feel true to me. So I’m kind of fine having her be part of the universe. But the actual scene in which Amanda comes in and sort of saves the day and sort of does all the stuff and sort of makes everything possible felt way too movie and not nearly real enough.

Craig: Yeah. I mean, I actually when I saw that Jane was his boss I went, “Oh, okay. This could be good.” But really what I then wanted again was some, you know, when people are sort of spiraling out you need somebody in the middle going, “What the hell is going on here?” You know, “Who is this woman? Why is this? Who is this woman and why is she here? And why are you talking to her?”

And Byron, you know, you should be zeroing in on this. It’s insane. And yet the woman actually comes up, this Amanda woman comes up with something that’s undeniably good that Jane is forced to accept. But Jane seems also nuts.

John: Yeah. So an argument on Craig’s behalf that Amanda is really the protagonist of the script currently is that there are many scenes that involve Amanda and one of the other women that don’t involved Byron at all which is strange. And some of the scenes are actually delightful. So I’m not suggesting that we cut them.

But it’s just I think this weird thing where you have like there’s scenes between Amanda and Jane where they’re having these sort of really specific discussions and like these really cool power plays or between Amanda and Byron’s mother. And they’re fascinating and I haven’t seen them quite before. And that’s what I liked it so much. But it felt they would land for me so much better if I believed that Amanda existed before page three.

Craig: I totally agree. That’s why I actually prefer her to be the protagonist of the movie. That’s the thing. Amanda could be spectacular here, you know, if I just had a little bit more. And if I understood — I need to understand why somebody is in a circumstance that the typical person would find extraordinary.

She says she’s a freelancer but we kind of pick up that she’s not really working much at all. She clearly doesn’t have much money. She is the sort of person that insinuates herself really aggressively into other people’s conversations and lives. These have all the hallmarks of a personality disorder. And since we can see that Byron has all the hallmarks of a spectrum disorder, I’m in. I’m in. I just want to get more out about Amanda’s situation. I want to understand what’s going on here because where this could go ultimately is a really interesting anti-romance between damaged people and they’re damaged in a very modern way. [laughs]

Franklin: Yeah.

Craig: I don’t know how else to put it.

Franklin: But it’s interesting on that modern question too, right, like there’s no scene where Rosa is like I Googled her, here is who she is.

Craig: Yeah. No, nobody ever Google’s Amanda. Exactly.

Franklin: Right. But it actually just occurred to me that no one — like this woman just appears and she just shows up and is in everyone’s lives all the time. And no one says, “Is she on Facebook like what’s the deal with her?”

And if you’re going to do something in that world and again in sort of a contemporary world especially in San Francisco I feel like you need to either have an excuse for why that question doesn’t come up like though she’s a coder she’s rabidly anti-social media and like scrubbed her Google history, or you need to like address it and move on. Or have it be something that motivates the plot, come to think of it.

Craig: Well, that’s right. Because when you have somebody, say, “Oh, yeah, I couldn’t find you anywhere.” “I scrubbed my social media history entirely.” “Oh, okay. Why?”

Franklin: Right.

Craig: Well, if I wanted you to know why, I would put it on social media. But I’ve scrubbed my social media history, you see. It’s like there’s the mystery, you know. There’s got to be something going on here.

John: Yeah, but the minute we introduce that idea, you’re going to have to pay that off.

Craig: Correct.

John: The minute the words are given to it.

Craig: That’s right.

John: But that could be great. And it could be lovely to see what that is. And clearly, if she is insinuating herself into his life at the restaurant, this is a pattern. This is something that she does before. And we should see her do it again over the course of this movie. We should see her sort of pick another Byron and change that other person’s life too. And that could be a great source of conflict.

I think my biggest frustration story-wise, I guess we’re really segueing into story and plot here, is I felt there wasn’t enough conflict between our main two characters. Once they sort of got their apartment, things are just kind of chugging along. And there’s little moments, but there’s not — I hate to use the word stakes, but it didn’t feel like there was a lot of challenges ahead. They lose their money because of the fight with the mom. But even that’s like not a very big deal.

A thing I think happens a lot of times with newer writers is they love their characters because who wouldn’t love Byron? And they don’t want to see their characters suffer. But your characters need to suffer. And it didn’t feel like K.C. was willing to put either of his, you know, two lead characters into quite enough of a predicament.

Franklin: Well, I mean, Byron is really never in a predicament, right? Like worst case scenario, even when he loses the money, we always believe that he can just go back to his mother who is wealthy and where his 30-something brothers still live. And Amanda, because we don’t know anything about her past, we don’t know whether there are any consequences to her being out but she seemed to be doing fine prior to her relationship with Byron. So, losing the money that she didn’t have isn’t really a loss either.

Craig: Yeah, that’s where the stakes are going to be. I mean, this is definitely what we would call a low stakes movie no matter what the stakes are going to be. I’m alone again or I failed again, or I’m not going to change, I’m going to be stuck in a sort of depressing route. This is how a lot of smaller movies, well, we’ll call them art movies. I don’t know, I think all movies are art movies regardless. This is a low stakes movie, and that’s okay.

I enjoyed the fact that these two people rushed headlong into an idiot hipster fantasy. Because I, you know, like a lot of rational people, I find those to be amusing. [laughs] And of course, there’s a certain amount of almost Schadenfreude as you watch the idiot hipster fantasy start to disintegrate. But then, you also see that they’re fighting for it. Now, these two people are suddenly fighting for something, which was touching.

But I completely agree that there is currently no price for failure because our punitive protagonist, Amanda, didn’t have a life before this and there is apparently no life after this. I don’t know anything about her. It’s the biggest thing that I think K.C. has to work on.

John: You know, we often talk about want versus need. And in the case of these two characters, I have a hard time articulating what either of them wants and/or needs.

Franklin: I was just going to say that.

John: I can sort of apply my own sense of need to like where these characters need to sort of grow up. But, you know, if this were a musical, Byron would have his I want song. It would probably be really, funny. And it would probably be sort of self-defeating in a really charming way. You know, Amanda clearly seems really driven, but I don’t actually have a good sense of what her end goal is. So it becomes frustrating along those lines.

I also want to circle back to Craig’s diagnosis that Byron is somewhere on the spectrum. I didn’t feel that at all. I felt what was so fascinating about Byron as a character is that he was, you know, a pushed version of where I think a lot of American men are these days. And they’re just sort of like these big man-babies. They sort of never really fully grow up and never take ownership of their lives. And he was just a sort of extreme example of that.

Where I did notice, I think, of what Craig’s describing is Byron’s voice changes sort of based on situations. He could be really, really articulate in some cases, but more often, he’s like he is in the first three pages where he’s just like sort of kind of mumbling his replies to things. And I didn’t necessarily believe that it was the same character page-to-page based on the words he was using.

Craig: It’s interesting. I mean, my diagnosis of him, which is, you know, anytime you diagnose a character, you’re just guessing. And who knows.

Franklin: Do you mean because they’re not real people?

Craig: Probably. [laughs] That’s probably what it’s about. I’m not sure that any of you are real people either, frankly, so I don’t really know. But he has an extraordinary artistic talent. He tends to fixate on details in front of him. He is easily overwhelmed by things. He vomits at the prospect of having to, you know, change his routine. He seems socially awkward in all phases. And everyone around him is accustomed to taking care of him.

Now, this brings up another question for me for K.C., which is just how much of a genius is this guy, because he’s attracting people left and right. He is considered special by almost everybody. This is another area where I think grounding the workplace could be of great value to K.C., because if I understand that this is a guy that has a history of generating money for a company and succeeding for a company, then all of his weirdnesses and strangenesses are worth it.

Then I would believe that it’s okay that he walks into a room and sells them on this ripped up hummingbird because you know what, he’s done this before and then he was the guy that redesigned the Diet Coke can. Whatever it is, I need to know that he’s valuable and a genius, because I’m not quite sure why everyone is fighting over this chubby, passive — [laughs]

Franklin: You mean chubby Basquiat, scruffy Colin Powell and big —

Craig: Right, exactly, exactly.

Franklin: And my favorite, big boned Drake?

Craig: Yeah. That one’s great, big boned Drake. I mean, all of that stuff is so smart. I mean, this is why I love K.C. because he’s so smart.

John: Yeah.

Craig: And there’s just this palpable intelligence coming off of this thing. All the things we’re talking about now are things you can either learn or just grind out or whatever. You know, you can’t teach smart.

Franklin: No, no. And I also like the callbacks on the description thing are hilarious.

Craig: Yeah.

John: Yeah.

Franklin: I also think that the question of his genius and sort of why the company has him on board actually solves another problem which is the stakes question and the want/need thing. Okay, this is just a guy who’s a savant and is sort of like he works at this company and the company is milking him dry and he doesn’t believe in it. And he just kind of wants to go paint.

Then we understand that like he’s not the kind of person who can actually make a decision that’s in his own best interest. He’s got this job, it’s a fine job. He’s, you know, he’s sort of valued, but what he really wants and needs is to be doing something that he cares about, but he lacks the ability to actually make the step to do it. That’s interesting to me.

As is the dynamic of this sort of, you know, this guy who everyone’s obsessed with because he does generate amazing work who then has to step away from that because he wants to choose his own path. That’s a much more interesting conflict for me. And it also creates the possibility of conflict in the second and third act as the company tries to get him back into the fold. Maybe Rosa is sent in to bring him back. Maybe his mother is somehow connected to bringing him back.

You know, you don’t want to make it too plot-heavy, but at least then your low stakes movie has real stakes about who is this person and what is he going to do with this life, and what is he going to do with his extraordinary talent.

Craig: Yeah.

John: If the movie is about his journey, if the movie is about the two characters’ journey, then I think you may want to steer away from that sort of plotting and really get back to the fundamental issue of like, you know, he refuses to change. And I love very late in the story she has a line, “You’re just this big squanderer of women’s lives.”

Franklin: That’s a great line. Yeah.

John: It’s a great line. It’s a great thematic summation of sort of the frustration everyone feels about him. And at the same time, I get him. I understand like maybe he just kind of wants to sit in this room and paint. And like everyone has all this pressure for him to do other stuff. It’s like, I don’t want to do that. And that’s kind of a great character too.

Craig: Well, the idea of the artistic squanderer of women’s lives is a — that’s a really interesting and time-tested motif. I’m thinking of the Scorsese segment of New York Stories and the notion of a tortured artist who burns through women until they inspire him, because he has to suffer to create. And of course, they are nothing more than fodder, although they don’t realize it at the time. And the cycle repeats.

There is something there. I mean, what we’re watching is essentially somebody saying, “I don’t want to be that. I’m different. I’m not going to be that for you.” But I don’t necessarily get the sense of what Jane does for Byron, because we don’t need — I mean, while Jane is clearly watching what he eats, I need to see that there’s a little more utility there for Byron.

John: Absolutely. I mean, Jane is using him as an asset. She’s watching an asset. And she may care about him the way you care about, you know, a pet but not as a boyfriend.

Craig: But I also want to know how that started too. In other words, if we’re getting to a place where Amanda’s saying, “I’m not going to be the next in this long list of people for you,” then I need to know how Jane fit into that list. Did Jane inspire him? Did she discover him? Was she the one that found him in a gallery and put him into a job? And he says, “She hired me,” but I don’t understand like what did she? How did that love affair begin? How did it go wrong?

It’s fun to watch somebody say, “I don’t want to end up like the two of you, but I feel like that’s exactly what you’re doing to me right now is pushing me in a place where I end up like her. And then, you just go on to the next one.” There is something really interesting there, but again, it really hinges on us getting why Amanda is different, because she is.

John: The last big story point I want to hit from my side is the lack of sex in the movie, because I felt like Byron was this weirdly asexual creature. And it felt weird that by the end of the movie, I’m not quite sure they ever had sex. And that feels strange for me for this kind of movie.

Franklin: I think they had sex —

John: It’s clearly R-rated.

Franklin: In between the two periods, like at the very end it just jumps forward and they’re all living in his mother’s house. They had sex in between those two periods.

Craig: Yeah. When he texts her and says, “Put your pants on,” I presume that this means at some point they’ve had sex. But, yeah, it was a weird choice. I noticed it, too, and I didn’t quite understand it. I didn’t also understand why you would have a scene where somebody goes, they have the crazy I have to kiss you thing and then they don’t have sex. That’s not how —

Franklin: Oh, no. They definitely have not had sex when he texts her to put her pants on because his mother asked directly about it.

Craig: Oh, really?

Franklin: And she —

Craig: Oh.

Franklin: And she’s like, “I am amazing in bed but your son doesn’t know.”

Craig: Oh, that’s right. Yeah. So what is that?

John: Yeah, I don’t know what that is.

Franklin: I don’t know what it is either.

John: I don’t think it’s helping, because I think within Byron’s man-babyness, we don’t actually want him to seem like he is, you know, literally a special needs, you know, character. I mean, you don’t want to sort of make him so childlike that you’re like, “Okay, now everything is just weird and creepy.” You want him to be able to have something to him.

Franklin: Maybe this is a film set in the asexual movement.

Craig: Well, we would need to know that. I mean, that is a thing. I mean, that’s very modern. And we would need to know that. And that would have to be a thing. But that almost feels like it deserves its own movie. I mean, I agree with John. I found that very odd. I particularly found it odd when he came to her place and kissed her. And then she kissed him back. At that point, that’s the scene.

John: Yeah.

Craig: That’s where you have sex now.

Franklin: No, it’s when you go to a diner and talk, come on.

Craig: Well, but, right. I mean, the thing is it’s such a great cutaway to — like she says, “We need a break. Yes, are you hungry?” But they should , they kiss. It’s only been two days, they kiss and then they should have sex. We don’t have to watch it, there’s ways to do it.

John: Yeah, I would argue against it. We don’t necessarily have to have sex at that moment, but whatever the first moment they have sex is, that’s going to be a really good scene. And so to not give us that scene is crazy.

Craig: Well, that’s where adults have sex, I think. [laughs] But regardless, whatever, I think it would be really funny for them to have so that we hear them having sex and the next shot is then in a diner eating huge waffles. That’s a huge laugh. That’s a huge laugh, much bigger than the laugh now, because we would understand that not only — they’ve now satisfied both major desires. [laughs] And it would just be very funny.

Franklin: But I actually think you want to see these two characters, you know, not actually the actual intercourse, but I think you want to see what their dynamic is at this highly intimate moment between the two.

John: Yeah, that’s what I’m saying.

Craig: Sure. I mean, and you can play that out that way as well. But if we’re going to do a modern love affair, this is the — I mean, we talk about, I give this criticism all the time. So I’m sent comedy screenplays all the time and half of them, when I send back, I just say, “This is a ’90s script.” This is a 2016 script as far as I’m concerned. Like I got to give K.C. a ton of credit. This thing feels so right now. And so I really loved how that was working. And I’d love to see how the right now of their sexuality works. And this is really on point.

John: Yeah. So we’re not going to have time to get to all of our little page notes because I circled a whole bunch of little things, but I thought maybe we’d flip through pages and as we found stuff that we really loved or things to think about, we could just highlight and flag some of those moments. Sound good?

Craig: Sure.

John: All right, from the very start. I flagged just “Jane’s car. Jane drives. Byron’s in the passenger seat, still drawing. They’re both dressed for work.” We’re still on page 1. A little bit more detail that shows us what dressed for work looks like. I just want a little bit better sense of who these characters were so I could picture them in my head. So, is he the kind of guy, like what does Byron dress like? If I saw an image of what he was like at the very start, I’d have a better, more concrete version of who Byron is.

Craig: Yeah.

John: Flipping?

Craig: Yeah, flipping. I mean, just a similar thing on page 2. When I meet Amanda, I need to know more that she’s white and 30.

John: Yeah.

Franklin: Well, that was actually another thing that I mentioned. And it was definitely something that I noticed immediately is that every single character is described in terms of their racial backgrounds. Which I think ended up having value down the line, but it was jarring the extent to which it was always parentheses white something. So even the waitress is white, perky.

Craig: Well, that was my fault. I asked for that.

John: That’s Craig’s fault.

Franklin: Well, there you go.

Craig: In the Three Page Challenge because he didn’t know — that was one of the few characters, well, I don’t know. It was all on Page 1 and 2. I kind of wanted to know, I mean because the waitress is talking about African-Americans and diabetes, I was like, “It’s a totally different vibe if she’s white. It’s a totally different vibe if she’s black.”

Franklin: Yeah, that’s true.

Craig: You know, I needed to know. I actually have no problem with this. I feel like this script was like racially true.

Franklin: Yeah.

Craig: That it felt like a script where not — people weren’t theorizing about race or being like really weird about it, but they’re actually being a like race the way that people are in reality about it.

Franklin: Don’t tell Nellie Andreeva.

John: Oh no.

Craig: Oh, who’s — what, why?

John: There was a Deadline article this from Nellie Andreeva and everyone tweeted at it saying like, “Oh, you have to have Malcolm on to respond to it.

Craig: What was it about?

John: A thing I learned this week is sometimes the best response is just not to respond at all.

Craig: Oh yeah. Well, listen man, I had a guy call me a liar on something about I don’t know — don’t even get me started. [laughs]

John: Exactly. That’s why I’m not getting you started.

Craig: Yeah.

John: I want to get to page 6. There’s a moment where Amanda and Byron are both walking and she’s like, faster. Like I’m here at my coffee shop. And it was this moment of really false urgency. It sort of felt like they were on a bus and she’s getting off her stop, but there’s no reason why she needed to go in there right then. So, if you’re going to create a reason why the characters need to stop talking in that moment, I need to believe that reason. So it could be that she had a phone call scheduled at a certain time or there’s some reason why they couldn’t stand there forever. And I didn’t believe it the moment on page 6.

Craig: Yeah. That would be the ticker tape scene for sure —

John: Yeah. On page 7 is the first time we’re entering into the PET CORP conference room and I wrote “sitcom.” And just the way the dialogue played and sort of the pithy one liners back to things. Like I was suddenly in a sitcom and it wasn’t a sitcom I loved.

Craig: Yeah I agree, this is my whole tonal issue with PET CORP. And also, I would say to K.C., this is an area where you want to do a pass through of this thing where you don’t think like a writer. Now you say to yourself, “I’m directing the movie. Okay, I’m directing the movie.” Maybe you won’t, but think you are. Now, how visually do I want to do this? How do I want to make this interesting for people? I mean, you’re going to cut from a dead shot of Byron on the street, to a dead shot of a conference room?

No, no, no. Let’s be a little cinematic here. You could do it, it’s cool. Spend a little time. There’s other stuff to cut in the script anyway. So, you want to look at your transitions. This is just simple craftsmanship, how you get in and out of places. Every introduction of a place or a person needs to be its own mini movie. Really think that way about all this stuff.

Franklin: That advice about a pass, specifically focused on transitions and character introductions is incredibly good advice. Like every writer should take that time before showing their script to anyone.

John: Yes, on page 11, Amanda says, “This is how people get kidnapped on 24, no, thank you.” 24 is just a too dated reference. You know, I like her idea that she doesn’t want to come with them, but 24 felt just weirdly a time machine.

Franklin: Yeah, you could use a more dated reference and have it work weirdly or a contemporary one, but 24 is sort of in that valley where it’s just like the script was written while 24 was still on the air and you’ve, you know —

Craig: Right.

John: Yes.

Craig: Yes. So, like Colin Powell will be acceptable forever and [laughs] Basquiat is acceptable forever. Actually, I frankly avoid current. If you can avoid current or near current references, you’re always better off.

John: Yeah.

Franklin: Drake will be around forever so it’s fine.

Craig: [laughs]

John: Drake is endless.

Craig: Just killer. That’s —

John: He’s the alpha and the omega. Page 16. Here is a moment that’s stutter stop, I had to read it a couple of times. So, Rosa is saying to Byron, “Actually, one of the directors had a conflict, so they bumped it up. The meeting starts in 90 minutes.” Byron pukes again. Amanda bursts through that back door. “There you are. You realize the meeting starts in two hours?”

Craig: Right.

John: So, Rosa had information that Amanda didn’t have. And so Amanda is saying old information but as an audience, we’re just confused. Like, when does the meeting start? Do I care when the meeting starts?

Craig: Yeah, I mean, I actually, what I wanted there was Rosa goes — so Byron says the meeting starts in two hours. Rosa says, “Actually one of the directors had a conflict, so they bumped it up. The meeting starts in 90 minutes.” He pukes, we laugh. Amanda burst through the back door. “There you are. You realize the meeting starts in an hour?” “What?” “Yeah, they called. They just bumped it up. One of the directors — ” [laughs] I mean like I want —

John: That’s escalation. Comedy.

Craig: Yeah, I want — and then he pukes again. I get that, you know. Yeah, you don’t want to kind of unsharpen your pencil there.

John: On page 17, Amanda asks, “Are you too young to have seen The Godfather?” Rosa says, “I’ve seen episodes…” That’s a great, great line. Amanda says, “For Christ’s sake.” No, no, no, don’t undercut the joke with a line back. That’s like, “I’ve seen episodes…” Let that be the joke and let’s move on.

Craig: Yeah.

John: And I think as you’re doing that pass for, you know, character introductions and for transitions, also do a pass through to say like what lines can I cut after jokes, so that we can keep moving on and that’ the kind of thing that you’re going to cut.

Craig: I’m a big fun of just penciling in reactions. You know so, “I’ve seen episodes…” Amanda stares at her. Wow. You know, anything.

Franklin: Perfect.

Craig: Then I understand the rhythm of the scene and then, you know, she’s about to say something when, “I’m okay, Rosa, you should probably,” bwah or he pukes right then and there, whatever it is. But John is right, you don’t want to do that.

John: Yeah, on page 20, hopefully this scene will not exist anymore, but there’s a lot of numbers and prices. Numbers and prices if they’re in dialogue, it’s usually helpful to spell them out rather than have digits for them because that way you can actually control what is being said. And people just don’t make weird random choices for how they’re going to say things.

Craig: Yes, I mean, so, what we have here is essentially four, four-and-a-half pages where he’s doing something we’ve seen before. We have seen this scene before where somebody starts pitching something and it seems to be going south and then they pull it out with some little brilliant twist. And that’s great presuming that things are a little more grounded here in the office. It’s just too long. It can be compressed down for sure.

John: And we’ve also seen evidence of the script that Byron can write completely new scenes that are unlike anything we’ve seen before, so, why give us a scene that’s kind of like the scenes we’ve seen before?

Franklin: I also think that for moments like this, they need to not be super on the nose, but they need to talk about the theme of the movie.

John: Yeah.

Franklin: I mean I keep going back to the slide projector presentation in Mad Men and how this idea of nostalgia and the sort of longing for home becomes an undercurrent for all of Mad Men. And I feel like if you’re going to do something like this, like hummingbirds and all this stuffs feels very arbitrary. And the sort of Canadian Snowbird thing, just, it feels irrelevant. And it’s tacked on. And I love to see something that actually like talks about and that sort of elucidates who Byron is and then the reaction from Jane and Amanda, we can learn more about them as well.

John: Yeah.

Craig: That’s a really good point. There are times when you can be thematic and not on the nose. Let us figure it out or let us just — even if we don’t figure it out, just osmotically, we’ll start to sense that there’s something emerging here.

John: From Byron’s point of view, if the product is something about like taking control of your life or like, you know, you know, taking ownership of things, you know, there’s probably a way you can, you know, capture some aspect of what is the theme.

Craig: You could also like, if for instance, the problem is that that hummingbirds, we design this thing that has to move around but they don’t want to move around. They want to sit still. The hummingbird’s fine, it’s the thing that we designed around it that needs to change. You know what I mean?

Franklin: Yeah.

Craig: Like somehow or another, he doesn’t even understand that he’s talking about [laughs] himself but he is. He’s making a plea to his girlfriend to leave him alone but in doing so — and then Amanda backs it up, and then Amanda comes later to kind of regret this philosophy. It’s that kind of vibe that I think could be really useful there. Yeah.

John: On page 26, Byron introduces his cousins. “Amanda, this is Jane and her cousins Grace, Faith, and Yunjue.”


John: “They threw in a Yunjue. Cool.”

Craig: So funny. I laughed at that.

John: It’s such a great line, I love that moment.

Craig: That killed me.

John: Then through the rest of the scene, though, those cousins stick around. Don’t call them cousin 1, 2 and 3 anymore —

Craig: Yeah.

John: Just say like, Jane, cousin one, Yunjue. Even if you put their names in parentheses, just so we could keep them straight.

Craig: Yeah, for sure.

John: Because the cousins never show up again. So I think in that level it’s fine to keep labeling them as cousins, but give them their specific name.

Craig: Yeah. On page, middle of page 27, Amanda has a long run and that felt not up to snuff for the other stuff that K.CK had done. It was a bit forced and I — and it had that kind of rambly, I’m going to give an impromptu speech. It felt written and so much of the other stuff didn’t. So, that one probably — it would be better if it were shorter. Amanda works really well when she gives little tiny bullets.

Franklin: Yeah.

John: So here is a great tiny Amanda bullet on page 28. So, this is just Jane and Amanda having a conversation. “I do my best to make him see he has the tools to really do well for himself if he pulls it all together…” Amanda says, “Well, it’s obvious he adores you.” “Is it obvious?” “I mean. Sure.”

Franklin: Right.

John: And so it was, I mean period, sure period. It’s so telling, and it’s so encapsulates where those two women are coming out at that moment.

Craig: Yeah.

John: So good.

Franklin: The other one that I have also is he and Jane are living together and does she have no idea that his mother is filthy, filthy rich?

John: Yeah. I guess it only comes up when he finally checks his bank balance and that’s when he explains that there is this trust. I actually like the discussion like, you know, “So you’re a trust fund kid.” It’s like, “No, no. I just — “

Craig: [laughs] Right. And he starts defining what it means to be a trust kid. There was something to — again, this is why I started to diagnose Byron because he is unaware that he has six hundred some odd thousand dollars to his name. And didn’t even know how to login to the site to see it. And that feels — that is such a specific choice to not even know. Forget like, “I’m uncomfortable with it. Yeah, it’s something like this but I don’t really know.” No, he has no clue. That is so infantilized and it should be maybe more of a red flag than it is, you know.

Franklin: [laughs]

Craig: I mean it’s kind of shocking.

John: So here’s a great thematical speech that Jane gives. And I think it’s fun to look at the movie from Jane’s point of view, because clearly she’s puts a lot of time into Byron and sort of like keeping his shit together. Jane says on page 55, “Listen to me. There will always be someone to tell you that you’re special and quirky and deserve more than you have, and that if you burn your life to the ground, you’ll have something new and better in its place. But there are only so many of us who will tell you the truth, you’re a child, and there’s nothing rare or special about children.” It verges on being overwritten, but it’s such a clear statement of where she’s coming from and if I could feel those kind of moments from the other characters in the movie, there would really be something special here.

Franklin: I actually really liked that line. I actually didn’t think it was overwritten, because I sort of view Jane as like sort of type A. Like she’s been mentally preparing to have this, to give this speech to him through some significant part of their relationship, I feel like —

John: Yeah.

Franklin: And it’s also why, you know you’re also sort of surprised by the fact that, you know, not too much later, you’ve got Amanda basically being like, “Jane is right. You are a child and there is nothing very special about you,” because you’re setting up this idea again, that sort of Byron is this misunderstood guy who’s dealing with this woman who doesn’t treat him special and whatever and then you can completely invert that by the end of it and you’re like, this is a guy who basically moves his girlfriend into his mother’s house and that’s the end of the movie.

Craig: I half loved the speech and half had a huge problem. Love the front half because that is a great summation of what temptation is. The second half, I had a problem with because it essentially negates their relationship entirely. I have no idea why she’s interested in being with this guy, why she even has a problem, why she even tried to defend their relationship. She’s literally saying, “There’s nothing rare, special about you. Everybody is telling you you’re special and quirky and deserve more than you have, they’re all not right. You’re just…you’re nothing.”

And that’s a mistake. And this goes back to my point about why was Jane with him in the beginning? And why is Jane defending this? If Jane is kicking him out of the house before he can leave, I get this. If Jane is fighting to keep this relationship, then I want her to essentially articulate, “And you are special and quirky, but you don’t deserve more than you have. This is exactly what you deserve. This is the best you will ever get with me. And if you burn your life to the ground, you won’t have something new and better in its place.” Then I would get it. But this second part of it rang false for me.

John: I hear you there.

Franklin: That’s a good note.

John: Page 63, we go into a printing shop and we meet Emeka who’s going to show up in later scenes. But throughout this whole page, we don’t know and Emeka is an ambiguous enough name, I didn’t know if that’s a man or a woman. And it changes how you sort of read the scene. And so ultimately we’re going to learn that it’s a man, but that needed to be established right from the very start.

Craig: Wait, Emeka is a man?

Franklin: Yeah.

John: Yeah.

Craig: Really? Oh.

Franklin: I think it technically is pronounced Emeka. I only know that because of Emeka Okafor, the basketball player.

Craig: Oh, Okafor. Great.

John: Okay. Except that, the reason I say Emeka if you actually look at how his name is spelled in the dialogue below, it shows up a couple different ways. There’s Emekea.

Franklin: Oh, that’s right.

John: Yeah.

Craig: Well, that may be a…that’s a typo I think.

John: Yeah, there’s a typo twice.

Craig: Okay.

John: Anyway, just let us know that it’s a man because it helps us out a lot. Give us some visual description.

Craig: Now, this scene by the way, I remember thinking, “Okay, here’s a scene that needs to have a point,” and it’s not that it’s pointless right now, it’s halfway there. This is a place where I go, “Something’s wrong with Amanda.” And I want Byron to see [laughs] that something’s wrong with Amanda and I want Amanda finally at this point, an hour into the movie, to admit that she’s not just haha funny confrontational. She has a problem. There’s something wrong with her.

John: I think she got released from some sort of mental facility quite recently. I think there’s something — I think that she could be rapidly, you know, bipolar. It’s something that could be really fascinating and really wrong about her.

Craig: There’s something there. Yeah.

John: I would love to see — I’d also love to meet those character who knew her from before because it feels really strange like, why do you have no friends?

Craig: I know. [laughs] No friends. No family. No life.

Franklin: Yeah, she does have her own apartment, though.

Craig: I will tell you that if at the end of the movie it turns out that Amanda is his invisible friend and it’s a Shyamalan twist.

Franklin: [laughs]

Craig: You wouldn’t have to rewrite much, I mean that’s…and that’s a bad sign.

Franklin: I actually thought that was where we were headed for a while —

Craig: A bad sign. A bad sign. Yeah.

John: I really love the moment on page 80, with Byron and Rosa. And Rosa showing up there and Rosa has this long speech, which is I kind of believed, which is basically like, you know, she’s just sort of fascinating and intrigued and she’s a little bit Manic Pixie Dream Girl, but I loved that character coming in at that moment. And if I really understood Byron and Amanda before then and believed them, her entering into the picture could be really fascinating. So I dug Rosa when she comes back in.

Craig: Yeah. This was good. And it was made plausible by the fact that she was high. So, they’re wasted and that works. This is one area where I want K.C. to really think carefully. When we watch Byron start to fall for Rosa, in the way that he fell for Amanda, the same way and then he kisses her, we all I think in the audience if we’re watching this movie go, “Oh, no. Oh no.” It’s not just that he’s just cheating on this girl. It’s that we realize that his interaction with Amanda isn’t special, that she thinks it is and it’s not.

He is that guy that falls in love every day. It’s like a twilight zone episode. It’s chilling and I think it’s traumatic and K.C. runs backwards from that conflict as fast as he can. And I think that’s a huge mistake because we want Byron be held accountable there and this is really cutting to it where Amanda has to suddenly realize, “Oh, no. I’m not special. This is just what he’s…” It’s like that moment in Glengarry Glen Ross, they just like salesmen. You know?

John: I mean, in many ways I think that’s pointing towards what it is like for these two characters is like Amanda interjecting herself into a situation. That’s what Amanda does, and so we need to see — we see her do it at the very start. We need to have a sense that she did it before then and she’s going to keep doing it.

Byron is the guy who whenever some woman will come in and sort of take care of him, he will gravitate towards that woman because that’s what he does. And that can be the question of the movie is like, “Can these two characters stay together when their basic natures will always try to pull themselves apart?”

Craig: Yeah, I mean, and similarly, just as you have Rosa coming in as Byron bait, is there somebody else that’s Amanda bait. I mean, that’s an interesting idea here. You want to — this is where, I mean, and I was like, “Okay, great.” It’s page 82 and this is where the conflict should begin to emerge. We should start hitting the bell because we’re entering into the final lap. But then K.C. backs away from it entirely and the balloon deflates and it’s the worst time in a script to do that.

John: Here is a possibility to consider. It’s like maybe Rosa can be sort of both of their projects. So essentially, pushing a little bit further than how it is currently in the script where Amanda sees Rosa having a problem. Like, she’s in a terrible relationship or whatever. And so, she intercedes and pulls her out of that relationship. And sort of brings her to the apartment. And then, of course, Rosa becomes this center and the focus for Byron. That might be an interesting way to sort of like, they both have a — there’s a love-triangle aspect there that could be great.

When we get back to Byron’s mother’s house, I just felt like the movie was trying to wrap itself up and didn’t kind of know what it was doing.

Franklin: Yeah.

John: I mean, I don’t think going back to Byron’s mother’s house would be where we want to end up in the version of the movie that we think can happen.

Craig: I mean, I will say that I thought it was very brave. And for that reason, I liked it. It’s the kind of ending you talk about. Now, you go into a test screening, this ending will kill you.

John: Yeah.

Craig: But this isn’t a movie designed for test screenings clearly. And it’s shocking. I mean, in terms of like a writing sample, it’s the craziest like weird horror movie ending. So I kind of loved how brave it was. The problem I think is that we’re not quite sure what to think at the end and maybe that’s okay, but I wouldn’t necessarily dismantle this. There is something fascinating about it.

John: I think there is something fascinating about going back to the scene of the crime. Basically, like, how did Byron get to be so messed up and just see what that is is potentially great. And for him to make the choice to sort of go back into that place is great. But maybe then it’s shorter than where we actually are, because I feel like we’re back at that house for a long time and I didn’t necessarily believe how Amanda fits back in that. It just felt like a new little movie was starting and was like —

Craig: Right.

John: “Oh, but we’re kind of done with this movie.”

Franklin: I also didn’t understand the dynamic in that house. It just seemed so utterly preposterous to me that it felt either insufficiently described to be the scene of the crime. Like I don’t understand how Byron ends up as Byron having grown up in that house.

Craig: I agree. Yes, yes, and I think that that’s a mistake. I don’t think there should be siblings. I think that this feels like such mama’s boy story. And mama’s boys or mama’s boys because mama has one boy, not three or four or I think one of these is a girl. I can’t remember.

Franklin: I think it’s all boys.

Craig: Oh, they’re both boys?

John: I think it’s all boys.

Craig: Okay, yeah, so I thought that that was a mistake and I didn’t get anything from the siblings that mattered anyway. But I think part of what doesn’t work about the end is that it involves Amanda whom we don’t yet understand. But there is an interesting story of two — a woman coming to rescue a man-child. And then we start to realize, oh, she’s a woman-child. And they’re both children and then they both end up back with a mommy. [laughs]

John: Yeah, okay.

Craig: It’s kind of fascinating but I need to know where Amanda came from if I’m going to believe this ending.

John: I agree with you.

Franklin: I also think we need to know more about the mommy in that case, in that dynamic too. Because I think she is very much presented as a device right now as well.

Craig: But she’s hysterical —

Franklin: Oh, she’s amazing.

Craig: I’m sorry, the way that K.C. described her is wherever she sits it looks like a throne.

Franklin: Yeah.

Craig: I saw her immediately. Like I didn’t need — I could draw you a picture of her.

Franklin: Totally agree.

John: Yeah, she’s doesn’t need to move quickly ever.

Craig: And the flowing, whatever the shawl.

Franklin: The shawl.

Craig: I mean, it’s like, “I got it.”

Franklin: Which Amanda actually specifically mentions.

Craig: I know [laughs] It’s so great. And I got to give K.C. a lot of credit. The scene between Amanda and the mom is a — here’s where K.C. just has a natural gift. K.C. understands what is said between what we say.

Franklin: Yes.

Craig: He’s really good at that. And that confrontation was very well done. It was the kind of thing that actors would love to do, because it’s tactics. John and I did the episode about conflict. This is a quiet, silent fist fight. And he really does it well. So that’s why I know that he can do this. The other, I mean, look, he picked a very whimsical, indie-flowing structure, la-la-la kind of thing to do here as a movie. So no one is going to buy this script and make it at a major studio, never in a million years, right? Somebody might fund this and make it as an independent which I think would be really cool. But we’ve always said on the podcast, the goal with scripts like this isn’t that somebody buys it and makes it at Warner Bros. The goal is somebody reads this and goes, “I want to represent you.”

Franklin: Yup.

Craig: “I want to hire for this. I want you to meet some people.” You tell me Franklin, and I know you can’t predict these things, but I think that other than the, yeah, the support we’re giving him here on the show that he would do very well on The Black List website.

Franklin: I think he would. I think that the script needs to — he needs to make all the adjustments that we’re talking about. Like, I think that, because even in these sort of indie free-flowing scripts, the best versions of them are ones that bring the level of sort of psychological study and focus that the scene between Amanda and Byron’s mother but they bring it to every single scene.

Craig: Yeah.

Franklin: Right? And that deliver the kind of like “every seat she sits on feels like a thrown” to every character introduction. And I think if he can bring that kind of quality work to all aspects of this script, the office space, how the third act evolves if we’re calling it a third act. Then yes, I think this is absolutely the kind of script that does well on The Black List. By the way, I think it’s the kind of script that done — the best version of it is the kind of script that people pay attention to.

Craig: Yeah.

Franklin: That people are quoting in offices like, “Oh, did you read that script? Oh, my good, the big boned Drake line is hilarious.”

Craig: [laughs] Right.

Franklin: Like these are things that you actually do. You sort of quote, you dialogue check this kind of work. I just don’t think it’s all the way there yet. And I actually think that K.C. is best served by going back and doing like a heavy — not a heavy rewrite but like a really focused scene-by-scene rewrite so that every scene is written at the quality that the best work is.

John: I agree.

Craig: Yeah.

John: Let’s talk about some specific advice for K.C. This script now exists in the world for lots of people to see. We’ve had this discussion. He’ll have some exposure, you know, people reading this script based our talking about this script. What would be our advice to him for what his next steps are? Craig, what do you think his next steps are in terms of pursuing a writing career? Right now he’s living up in Oakland, what do you tell him to do?

Craig: Well, we’ve kind of stepped in to his puddle here. I don’t think we can ignore what we just did. So if I were him, my next step would be to contact us and then ask us, “Can you help me with this?” And I would say, yeah. I would love for K.C. to come down and there are a couple of people that I think, you know, we could try and figure out if he could meet and might be interested in taking him on maybe a manager or if he doesn’t have an agent maybe find him an agent or have an agency read the script and maybe meet some people that might just give him some general advise. I’d love to know about him first what his situation is, I mean, his Twitter handle is BlackSitcomDad.

Franklin: Which by the way I loved and even just on the cover page alone I was like, “All right. I want to like this.

Craig: [laughs] So cool. But is he actually a father? Does he have a family? Are they situated in Oakland? What’s going on up there? What’s his job? How does he make his living? What’s his flexibility? All that stuff that we would need to find out. I would urge him to go on The Black — Franklin, can you just give him — can’t you give him like three free months?

Franklin: Yeah, I’m happy to hook him up with three free months and three free reads. But with one caveat, which is I do think it needs a rewrite.

Craig: Oh, yeah. No, for sure, yeah.

Franklin: I think for his benefit. And, you know, I’m uncomfortable saying this but it’s like, if you are an agent or a representative or manager or somebody listening to this podcast, you will read this script and there will — I think you will have a similar reaction to what we’ve already had. And you will definitely see the talent here. I think K.C. is probably — it is best for him if he does a rewrite on the script before he goes aggressively seeking that representation.

Craig: I totally agree. And I was really encouraged by the fact that he, you know, incorporated some of the notes that John and I had from the first three pages. I could see that happening. I do think he needs to rewrite as do we all, right? I mean, a first draft is a first draft.

Franklin: Yeah.

Craig: I don’t know what draft this is here but it’s the first draft as far as I’m concerned. So, yes, a rewrite. But once he’s kind of gone through and gotten this a little more down the line towards polished, I think he should put it on The Black List. I think it will get some good attention there.

Franklin: And when he does, it would be for free. Here’s the other thing I’d say —

Craig: Nice.

Franklin: And I think this is something that like is maybe a broader conversation. I’m sure you guys have discussed it before. It takes a heck of a lot of courage to allow someone to do this with your script.

Craig: Huge.

Franklin: And I think it’s the kind of courage that you see reflected in the writing and the choice of subject matter. And I think it speaks incredibly well of his potential future to be a risk-taking writer, both in terms of his career and how he chooses to go about it. Which for me, as somebody who used to work on the sort of producing financier side and was once an agency assistant, it’s something that I think that all people working in the industry desperately want to see because those are the people that end up doing things that we all want to be associated with.

Craig: Yeah. Yeah, I agree. I mean, my enthusiasm for K.C. basically turns on this. It’s less about, “Oh, he’s written a script that is perfect or 80% of the way there.” My enthusiasm is based on what I see is a very high ceiling for him because I would much rather read a script like this which needs a lot of work but indicates inherent talent than I would a script that is just perfectly crafted and all the nuts and bolts are screwed in tightly and it’s whatever.

Franklin: Are you saying you don’t want to read another Taken rip-off?

Craig: I haven’t read any of them. [laughs]

Franklin: Congratulations. That in and of itself is an accomplishment.

John: Yeah, see, that’s a luxury that we have, Franklin. So we don’t have to read scripts.

Craig: Yeah, exactly. I mean, that’s the nice thing. And I would say that this is where like the lazy manager will go, “Well, if it were another Taken, I could sign…” right? But the smart manager will look at this guy and say, “Here is a diamond in the rough.” And those don’t come along very often. And we don’t know what will happen here. There’s a lot of diamonds in the rough that never turn into diamonds in the not rough.

John: So my question for K.C. and, you know, what I would talk about with him when I talk with him because I will talk with him at some point is we described him both as like, well he could get staffed on Brooklyn Nine-Nine or Blackish or he may be the Oakland Wes Anderson. And those are two different people. And you shouldn’t try to do both. I think if you try to do both, you’re going to not succeed in doing either one of those especially well.

If he perceives himself as a filmmaker, that’s awesome. And then this is a script that maybe gets into Sundance Labs. You have that whole route ahead of you. Trust me, I have done a lot of Sundance Labs. We would be delighted to have a script like this that has an interesting voice, has interesting things to dig into. That would be fantastic. And I can totally see that working.

I don’t staff TV shows and I certainly don’t staff half-hour shows. But I got to think that if you were reading through a lot of samples, if you read this sample, you’d be like, “Wow, this guy is kind of pretty good. And he might be a right person for our show. Now, does he have any real experience, you know, working in a room, doing all that stuff? Maybe not but I might have a meeting with this guy because he seems interesting, he seems good.”

And so, again, I’m not a person who’s staffing those half-hour shows but I have to think that these people love to read good voices, good characters, and I think he’s showing that here.

Craig: Yeah. I’m going to make an assumption that because his Twitter handle is BlackSitcomDad that he’s black and that is going to be something that he just has to prepare that Hollywood will naturally go, “Here are some black movies. Here are some black shows. Why don’t you do those?” Because that’s what they do. I mean, we talked about it with Malcolm.

I mean, Malcolm told the story — I don’t know if he told it on the podcast or he just told it to me, but early on in his career he had gotten his initial attention off of a script that wasn’t a “black script”. And he had general meetings and he came in and somebody said after the chitchat, they were like, “So, look, here’s the thing. We don’t really do black movies here.”

Franklin: Yeah.

Craig: And he’s like, “But I also don’t do them. And so, what?” And so, yeah —

Franklin: My response to that would have been, “You don’t want to work with Will Smith? That’s cool. Okay, fine.”

Craig: [laughs] Well, yeah.

Franklin: Or Denzel or —

Craig: We are presuming that this individual, his mind was not expanded appropriately.

Franklin: Right.

Craig: It’s something that K.C. has to be aware of. I think what’s interesting about this script is that he’s essentially saying, “I’m in my own peg over here. I’m a peg in this hole. It doesn’t fit in any of those holes,” right? But just be aware, that’s what they’re going to push him towards. And if that’s not what he wants, he just has to be really clear and firm to that because racist Hollywood [laughs] will do it every time. Set your watch.

Franklin: They will. Well, on the bright side though, I think that that peg, he’s not the only sort of peg in that hole, which is to say I think that the notion of the kind of work that African-Americans and people of color can do in Hollywood is expanding semi-rapidly. You look at something like Dear White People which is still a movie with, you know, themes about what it means to be African-American is very much in the sort of Wes Anderson tradition in terms of its design, its style of comedy and things like that.

So there’s a rising wave, I think, of change in that regard. But, yes, you will absolutely have to be very, very clear about what it is that you want to do and possibly turn down opportunities that are financially very lucrative because they could force you further into that, I don’t want to call it a ghetto, but —

Craig: Pigeonhole.

Franklin: Yeah, a pigeonhole that is not representative at all of who you want to be as an artist.

Craig: And just to be clear, I’m not saying that K.C. is in the special place of a black writer who writes this kind of movie. I’m saying that he’s in the K.C. place. Like I think [laughs] K.C. has written a movie that’s a K.C. movie. I don’t know other people that write this. I don’t know [laughs], you know, it’s very, very specific to him, which I think is actually the — that’s the double-edged sword, right, is that it is unique to him. And so he automatically becomes very interesting. On the other hand, it’s unique to him, so people are like, “Well, but that isn’t a genre yet,” [laughs] you know?

Franklin: Right, no, but I mean, look, the default is, I mean, like you could literally have written Grand Budapest Hotel and walked into a room if you are African-American and there is a significant percentage of Hollywood executives there that would be like, “So we have this Tyrese movie. You want to write that.”

Craig: [laughs] We have the Tyrese biopic.

John: So good. So we’ve given K.C. some really specific advice but if you’re just a normal listener listening to this podcast who read the script, who listened to this conversation, what do we want the take-home for them to be? Like what should you gain from reading the script and hearing this discussion?

Craig: Well, for me, it’s to be creatively brave, to not over calculate and attempt to homogenize your script to whatever the world of rules are. I mean, clearly K.C. doesn’t give one sweet damn about what people are looking for in specs. And good for him because I think what “people” are looking for in specs isn’t what actual people in Hollywood are looking for in specs. If you are writing in a certain genre, then, sure. But K.C. has decided, has opted to be original and brave. And while he is far from perfect here and has all sorts of challenges to overcome with the script, guess what, so does everyone, including all the people that have followed the rules and calculated.

Everybody will have issues that need work, everybody. But K.C. has been brave. So I would just say to people out there, no matter what genre you’re working in, even if you are writing in the fighting robot or teenage vampire genre, be brave, because if you don’t stick out, even if you stick out with some of the crazier choices, you won’t stick out.

John: Franklin, what do you think our listeners should take with them from this discussion?

Franklin: A lot of that, although, I do think that, you know, the black Aspergers anti-romantic comedy is very much in vogue right now.

Craig: [laughs] There’s like a hundred of them.

Franklin: There’s so many. I really —

John: Everyone is trying make one.

Franklin: I really feel like, you know, that’s the new thing. But no, I think that’s right. I think it’s be creatively brave with the subject matter that you choose and how you choose to tell the story. I think the importance of voice, I think even within the subject matter, K.C. has moments, inconsistent moments where you can see that in any environment, he’s going to come up with a point of view on that material that is uniquely his and it is very much on display. And I think that that should be the goal of every writer because if anybody could do it, why should you be the one that does it?

And then lastly, I think it’s also the importance of craft and what Craig was talking about earlier, go back and look at your transitions, go back and look at your character introductions, go back and look at all of these sort of scenes of dialogue and make sure they’re as strong as your strongest scenes because, you know, any one of those three things is not going to get you all the way there. You can have all the craft in the world, but if you don’t have an interesting point of view and an interesting subject matter, you’re not going to get there. If you have an interesting point of view, but you don’t have interesting subject matter and you don’t focus on craft, you’re not going to get there. And if you have a great idea, congratulations, so does literally everyone else.

John: Yeah. I think my take home would be that we respond to original characters and we will follow those characters kind of anywhere. And so a lot of the script didn’t work. And I think we were pretty honest about the things that didn’t work for us in the script. But the reason why we’re so enthusiastic is because there was something really special underneath there. And you sense this writer had real talent and could write these characters doing anything, and could probably write many other movies and that was exciting for us and that’s why we spent 90 minutes going through all these details.

So again, I want to thank K.C. for being super brave and giving us this script to talk through. That was awesome.

Craig: Sure paid off for him, didn’t it?

John: I hope. It is time for our One Cool Things. My One Cool Thing is another podcast called Lexicon Valley. And one specific episode, which is all about Try And. And so in a sentence like I’m going to try and write three pages before lunch. So is that grammatically correct or incorrect? How does that feel to you guys?

Craig: You mean, in terms of a plan?

John: I’m going to try and write three pages before lunch.

Craig: Oh, you mean like try to as opposed to try and?

John: Yeah.

Franklin: Yeah.

Craig: It’s fine. I mean it’s grammatically correct. I’m going to get to try and write three pages before lunch. But I prefer to. I like to try to.

Franklin: Yeah. I would assume that try to is correct because if you try to, that doesn’t mean you will. But if you try and, that’s suggesting that you both try and are successful.

John: Yeah. So this podcast sort of digs into the Try And. So the podcast overall talks about sort of quirks of language and sort of where words come from. But it turns out that try and actually is an older form, at least in current research, is an older form than try to. So in most cases, you can substitute try to for try and. But what’ weird about try and as a phrase is like, you can only do it with those two specific words. So you can’t say, “Tries and,”. You can’t put it in the past. You can’t put it in a gerund form, “I’m trying and,” you know, make something. it’s just a weird quirk of language.

And it’s one of those things, it’s sort of a marker of a native speaker versus a non-native speaker. You can’t really explain why it works a certain way in English. It just does work that way in English. And so basically, I want to give people permission to say try and if it makes sense to them, they don’t have to go the try to. But I can’t explain why.

Craig: Neat. Works for me.

John: Neat. So there’ll be a link to that. Craig, what’s your One Cool Thing?

Craig: My One Cool Thing today is a subreddit called WriteResearch. So we’ll put a link in, but it’s just the capital Write, capital Write, capital Research, all slammed together. And it’s fascinating what they’ve done here. There’s a guy named ParallaxBrew. That’s his Redditor handle.

John: That’s one of the most classic Redditor handles —

Craig: ParallaxBrew. And he’s the moderator. And the idea of WriteResearch is that it’s a Reddit where they have created a database as they of hard-to-find or exceptionally useful information for writers. In that database, they also interview professionals to gain insights into what they do and they allow users to request information on a profession or character trait.

So they’ve essentially built up this repository of research aimed directly for writers who are trying to essentially make their characters more believable. And because of the way Reddit works, their voting system has kind of curated it down, so they have sort of the best stuff there. They don’t do Wikipedia as a general link. And I’ve just sort of flipped through it and it’s fascinating. I mean they have all this stuff — I mean it’s just an amazing resource. And of course, it’s searchable. I just thought it was remarkable actually.

John: That’s great.

Craig: And I kind of wished I had known about it.

Franklin: Is it stuff like what it’s like to be a CIA agent or like what it’s like to be over 7 feet tall?

Craig: Well, I’ll just read a few of these things. Cults and cosmic, consciousness, religious vision in the American 1960s, cult, placing the Stockholm syndrome in perspective, victim, kidnapping. Then there’s job description, custodian, Sharp v. Baltimore Police Department, letter from Department of Justice to BPD.

Franklin: Wow.

Craig: Then they have things like self-awareness to being washed and socially desirable behavior, a field experiment on the effect to body wearing cameras on police, human reciprocity among the Jewish prisoners in Nazi concentration camps. K.C. should check this out because they have a ton of these things on personality disorders.

And then you have information requests, like for instance, here’s one. Request information about hobbyist light aircraft flight, request information about Al-Qaida, request information about working on a military nuclear launch site. [laughs] If all those three people are the same person, we have a problem. But hats off to ParallaxBrew and his other moderators for putting this thing together. It’s kind of crazy. It’s cool.

John: Franklin, do you have a One Cool Thing for us?

Franklin: Sort of. I have a one very cool thing, but the details of which I cannot reveal, but they will be revealed tomorrow if you’re listening to this on March 31st. And I know that’s April 1st but it is not an April Fool’s joke. So check us out on social media @theblcklst with the blcklst part has no vowels or me @franklinleonard on Twitter. Go to our website on April 1st. It’s a very cool thing. It’s something that we at The Black List are very excited about.

Craig is initially involved as are some other friends of the Scriptnotes podcast. And hopefully it will be something that everyone will be very excited about. And will provide hours upon hours upon hours of entertainment.

Craig: [laugh] It will be mirthful.

Franklin: It will be mirthful. I think that’s very well said.

John: Awesome. So Franklin, thank you so much for being our guest on this inaugural episode of we were calling this Full Script Challenge. I don’t even know what to call it. But this experiment in going through and entire script. If you are listening to the podcast for the very first time, you should probably subscribe to us. We’re on iTunes, just search for Scriptnotes. While you’re on iTunes, you can also search the App Store for the Scriptnotes app. That gives you access to all the back episodes dating back all the way to episode one. At is where you can sign up for that premium feed that gives you bonus episodes and gives you access to the very ancient archives.

I am on Twitter, @johnaugust. Craig is on Twitter, @clmazin. K.C. Scott is on Twitter, @BlackSitcomDad. So you might want to tell him what you thought of his script. You should tell him only like nice things. Don’t be a jerk.

Craig: Just don’t be a jerk. I mean just, people are such jerks.

John: People are jerks. People are also really jerks when they like link you to something and like —

Craig: I know.

John: Someone wrote a really nasty review of Big Fish in Boston and then like just mentioned me in it. I was like, “Why would you do that?”

Craig: [laughs]

John: That’s a really — that’s a dick move.

Craig: Yeah, people send me this like, “Gee, look what I found. This lunatic is saying stuff about you. Gee, don’t send me that.” Thanks, I don’t need to — I’m not going to read it.

John: If you want to send us nice things, you can write to

Craig: Yeah.

John: That’s the place where you can send in your questions. Those are always lovely. If you have a Three Page Challenge, like how we found K.C. Scott’s script, just go to And that is where you can find a form to submit your Three Page Challenge.

Stuart Friedel is the person who read through all those Three Page Challenges and found K.C. Scott’s script. So our producer, Stuart Friedel, needs to get kudos for that.

Craig: You know what, let him out of his box today.

John: [laughs]For at least 20 minutes he’ll have some free yard time.

Craig: Yeah, give me some yard time.

John: Our show is edited by Matthew Chilelli who also did our outro this week. Thank you, Matthew. And we will be back with a normal episode next week.

Craig: Instead of this abnormal one.

John: Thank you guys so much.

Craig: Thanks.

Franklin: Bye, everyone.

John: All right.

Craig: Bye.