John August: Hello and welcome. My name is John August.
Craig Mazin: My name is Craig Mazin.
John: And this is Episode 285 of Scriptnotes, a podcast about screenwriting and things that are interesting to screenwriters. Today on the podcast, oh, it’s another episode of How Would This Be a Movie where we take a look at stories in the news, or things we just kind of came across, and try to make sense of them the only way we know how – which is to try to squeeze them into a two-hour block of big screen entertainment.
So this week we’ve got Sinbad, we’ve got sea monkeys, we’ve got kidnapping and Nazis. We’ve got metaphysical paradoxes. We’ve got a possible Nicole Perlman situation. I think it’s going to be a good round of the How Would This Be a Movie.
Craig: I’ve got to tell you, I think there’s a great movie where you jam all of that together.
John: Oh, 100 percent.
Craig: And I think the title of it is Possible Nicole Perlman situation. And it’s Sinbad, it’s sea monkeys, it’s kidnapping, it’s Nazis, it’s metaphysical paradoxes. I mean, I’d see that. I’m not sure if I’d see any individual one of those.
John: Yeah, but all together?
Craig: All together.
John: This could be one of those rare situations, because we’ve had so much success in How Would This Be a Movie before, where we talked about the bank robberies, and we talked about sort of the weird Southern California people trying to frame each other. But this one, it’s going to be tough to make each one of these individual movies, but I think they need to gang up together. You need to get all the rights, put them together, put them in the blender, hit puree, and then you’ve got a movie.
Craig: Hit puree. That’s the tag line for the movie.
John: Absolutely. It was so delightful listening to this past week’s episode with you and Derek Haas. So, Derek is a good friend in Los Angeles. I realize that I hadn’t heard his voice since I moved to Paris, and it’s because I don’t call people on the telephone. Like, I don’t call friends and talk on the telephone because who does that anymore? It’s all emails. And so I’ve emailed with him, but to hear his voice was just lovely.
Craig: Aw. That’s nice. It’s true. The phone call is essentially dead. It’s only used for business at this point. My kids never, ever – they will – when they talk to each other – sorry, when they talk to their friends, they use FaceTime.
Craig: But the idea of just an audio-only call. No one does that. Ever. They just text or they FaceTime. That middle zone is gone.
John: So, I’ve emailed Kelly Marcel many times, but the only time I’ve spoken to her since I’ve been here was for the podcast.
Craig: There you go.
John: That’s crazy.
Craig: See that?
John: Yeah. But it was delightful. Thank you for bringing Derek on and answering a whole bunch of listener questions. We have three more listener questions we’ll try to get to today.
John: But you guys did that episode without me because I was in Madrid last week, and it was so much fun, and I want to talk about that. So, I was a guest for ALMA, which is the Spanish Writers Guild, and it was a two-day thing. I spoke at a university and then I did a master class on a Saturday where I spoke for six hours, which is madness, which I don’t think I’ll ever do that again.
Craig: Six hours?
John: Six hours. It was basically just me. And so I went through two–
Craig: Oh my god.
John: Sort of like slide show presentations. I did some audience Q&A. I had a little interview section. But it was just tremendously fun. It was also my first time doing live translation, so where I would talk and people would have headsets and sort of like at the UN they’d be translating in real time. And my translator was phenomenal. Stella, thank you very much for what you did. But it was so much fun. And I really enjoyed it. I had great, smart questions.
If you are curious what I spoke about, two guys wrote up the whole experience, and so I’m going to link to the blog posts they did. So it’s Àlvar López and Carlos Muñoz Gadea and on Bloguionistas they wrote up sort of what I talked about. And if you don’t speak Spanish, you can probably Google Translate it and get most of it. But it was a really good fun conversation.
Craig: You know, have we talked about Google Translate? Was that my One Cool Thing, how they’ve had that crazy huge leap? Have we discussed that?
John: I’m not sure we have. But let’s have that conversation now, because it’s gotten so much better. And you’ve read the articles about why it got so much better, right?
Craig: Yeah. So they completely changed their entire way of approaching it. It used to be a very formal kind of thing of this word goes to this word, and here are grammar rules. And they switched over to an entirely different thing which is essentially a kind of a neural net learning process. And it’s fascinating.
So, they turn this thing on and just let it start learning kind of. And they have made this enormous leap forward in their ability to translate things. And I did sort of check it out. I wanted to go see like, okay, let’s see how good this is. It’s really good. And the way you can tell it’s really good is because you can take something – I mean, the test they always say is take something in the language you know, have the translation turn it to a different language, and then have that translation turn it back to your language and see how close it is. And it was like really good.
They have taken this huge leap forward and they’ve also – there’s this interesting thing, I don’t know if you read about this, where it seems that what the Google Translate software is doing is creating what they call – I can’t remember quite the name – it’s like an intermediate language–
John: It’s like an Esperanto, like a machine language Esperanto.
Craig: In a weird way. Like it’s kind of having this weird midpoint. It’s not like it’s invented its own language. It hasn’t. But it’s doing this thing that actual translators do, which is that there’s this weird middle language in between the two languages that they’re moving things back and forward through. It’s kind of amazing.
John: Yeah. The process of translation is phenomenal. And to see Stella do this work in real time, so she has to be able to pay attention to what I’m saying and still keep the translation going. I was looking over her notepad and she had sort of a shorthand she kept for like what I was saying. But it wasn’t in words. It was all in symbols. And so she would have like a circle to, with an arrow out, and it was all just a way of keeping track of what I was saying so that she could do it. It was really a remarkable skill.
John: And to have to do that for six hours is just nuts.
Craig: Six hours. My god.
John: So, the other thing which was fascinating going to Madrid is I had not been to Spain since high school. And I had liked it in high school, but I had never been back. And so I thought, you know what, my Spanish is actually probably pretty good. I mean, it’s probably a little bit messed up because of my French. My Spanish was actually like really surprisingly pretty good. And so at the start when I was doing press interviews on the Friday before, she was doing translation. Like they’d ask a question and she did a translation. And by the third interview I was like, you know what, I kind of got this. And so I was able to hear the question in Spanish, answer back in English, and it was just delightful to actually be able to hit the ball back over the net, which I still don’t feel I do very well in French.
Craig: That’s fantastic. I would not have done that. I look at myself as just I try and be an expert in English. [laughs] But that’s my thing.
John: You do pretty well in English, Craig. You really do.
Craig: I’m really trying my best. You know, we have a new president now. And he has set a very high bar for English proficiency.
John: He’s using the best words.
Craig: He’s all the best words.
John: So important to have. The last thing I want to point out about going to Spain, so I was talking with this Writers Guild of Spain. It was called ALMA. And only this year did I start to realize like, oh you know what, there really are Writers Guilds in all the different countries, but they’re not like our Writers Guild. So, Howard Rodman came over to Paris in the fall and he was talking to all the European Writers Guilds. And so Spain has one, France has one, UK has one. And in the US, our WGA is a genuine union. We are actually a labor organization. In most of these countries, they’re not. They don’t have the same sort of negotiating power that we do. And you would think, well, in some ways that’s great. They’re not going to go on strike and do crazy things. But they don’t have the leverage that we do.
In fact, some of the Spanish people were telling us you can’t, even on their website, give like recommended minimums for how much you should charge for a draft. That is considered restraint of trade. And so it’s so weird to enter into a system where everyone is just a free agent and when everyone is a free agent, prices do not do well.
Craig: Yeah. It’s the strange unintended consequence of what at least at first blush is a very pro-writer policy. And that is that in the rest of the world there is Droit Moral, the author’s right, and so what they don’t have in Europe, certainly not in Spain, is work for hire, which we have here in the United States. Work for hire in the United States means that when we’re hired to write things, the employer can retain copyright. So that seems not as good for writers as would be the case in Spain, where no one can take their copyright. They always have copyright. But what it does for us is it makes us employees. And as employees, we can unionize.
So, we do have things here in the United States that they just simply can’t get over there, because they’re not employees. And that is where you run into things like restraint of trade because they are not employees, they’re not unionizing, they’re independent people that are essentially colluding to try and fix prices in an open market.
And so also the other things that come with being an employee, like pensions, healthcare, and all that other stuff aren’t there. In the United States, we have our system, when we talk about residuals that is essentially our attempt to mimic royalties, which obviously copyright holders do get.
So, yeah, it’s kind of a – it’s not even a double-edged sword. I think it’s a one-edged sword. I think our system is actually better for writers, at least in screen.
John: I think it’s better for writers to make a continuous living, and that’s really I think what most writers want to do in film and television. I’m starting to recognize that it is an artifact of sort of when Hollywood came to be is that we came up in a time when there were strong unions. And I have a hard time imagining that if today movies were invented, we’d be able to organize. And I mean it’s the same reason why video game companies have a hard time organizing those employees. We’re not in a labor time these days.
Craig: I completely agree. And you can see the impact of that on animation. Let’s just say, we’ll call it computer animation, CGI animation, which didn’t exist really until the ‘90s in any meaningful way. In the feature business, that is not a union business. So the people that write any of these movies, well, any animation period. But all the Pixar movies, not one of those writers, not one of those directors has ever gotten a penny in residuals. And that’s not great.
Craig: I completely agree with you. If we had not built our industry in a time of enormous unionization, we would not be unionized.
John: Yes. It’s true. All right. Let’s move onto our big feature topic today, which is How Would This Be a Movie. And so we’re going to take a look at three stories in the news, or things that fell over the transom, and talk about them in their possibility of moviedom.
So, let’s start with the story from the New York Times this past week. It was written by Frances Robles. Abduct at Birth and found 18 Years Later. It tells the story of Alexis Manigo, who at 18 finds out that she’s been kidnapped as a newborn from a hospital in Jacksonville, Florida. Authorities tell her her real name is Kamiyah Mobley. And Gloria Williams, the woman she thinks of as her mother, actually abducted her when she was a baby.
So, Alexis says, “I never had any ID or driver’s license, but other than that, everything was totally normal.” She did acknowledge stymied a few months ago when she applied for work at a Shoney’s, but lack the Social Security she needed to get the job. And when she was kidnapped from the hospital, there was this large financial settlement that her birth family got from the hospital for basically mismanaging her, or basically for letting her be kidnapped. And now she’s 18 and it’s really unclear where that money goes.
So, this is the framework. Craig, what’s the movie here?
Craig: Well, so you have somewhat of a Lifetime movie-ish kind of thing. Baby stolen, raised by another woman, family never gives up. 18 years later, they find her and get her back. OK.
But here’s what’s fascinating about this. This is a quote from Ms. Manigo, who is the young woman who was kidnapped talking about Gloria Williams, the woman who is alleged but it seems quite clearly did it, the woman he kidnapped her. She said, “She took care of everything I ever needed. I never wanted for anything. I always trusted her with it.” She said that Ms. Williams, her kidnapper, was not mentally ill and that she had not been overprotective. “She was a very smart woman.” Ms. Williams worked at a navy yard, handling medical records, and was set to receive her Master’s Degree this year.
So, what’s remarkable is that this perverts everything that we would think would be the case about a criminal, because it’s a criminal act. And remarkably what this young woman says in response to being raised by this woman, Gloria Williams, the kidnapper, is “I feel like I was blessed. I never had a reason to question. A blessing like that. Someone loving you so much.” Fascinating.
I mean, what do you – to me, that’s where you begin. Right?
John: I think it is. I think there’s obvious movies trace back to sort of we talk about the Lifetime movie version of this, which is sort of the sensationalistic. And I don’t want to sort of dis all Lifetime movies. I think there’s a reason why that genre of movie exists. But I think there’s a bigger feature version that we’re sort of hoping for for this.
You look at Room. And Room is a story of, of course kidnapping, but that’s an incredibly bleak story of survival and escape and what you do afterwards. And here she’s not trying to escape anything. It’s basically her whole life has been upended. It’s more like you’re not the person you thought you were. How do you find a new identity?
It also reminds me of this most recent year’s movie, Lion, where you have a guy who is like on a quest to figure out who he really is and who is family was. So, there’s templates for it, but what I also find so unique about this template is, so, she’s African American. Everybody in this story is basically African American. If you look at the picture of her in the New York Times article, she looks like an Obama daughter. So, it’s not the classic sort of pretty white blond girl being kidnapped.
And l love, though, what you’ve singled out about what she’s saying. That doesn’t even feel like Stockholm syndrome. She actually had a pretty normal life. And she had no reason to suspect that anything was wrong until pretty recently.
Craig: Yeah. So, to me, what the movie is about is about an 18-year-old, through whom we can all identify, and we should, coming to grips with a couple of strange things about life. Namely, somebody can do something very bad to you. That is a harm to you. To steal you from your own parents. And, yet, be a good person to you. And maybe even be a good person for you. That is a very complicated thing.
And then, of course, there’s the notion of finding a relationship with these people that now you come from. And struggling with the fact, I mean, I think there’s a wonderful scene here. Sometimes you think about these movies and you think what’s the great scene. And the great scene is after the hullabaloo of being found and returned and all the rest, and recriminations, and how could this woman have done this, and all the rest. And I thought I knew her, and I don’t. Being in the home that you were supposed to be in with the people you’re supposed to be in. And wanting to go back.
Craig: To the only mother you know, who never treated you wrongly, except for this thing that was in fact terribly wrong. That, to me, that’s an interesting movie. That’s pretty deep stuff. And I’m fascinated by it because it feels real.
Lifetime movies, some of them are very good. I completely agree with you. When we say Lifetime movie, it’s a little bit unfair to Lifetime. Really what we’re talking about is a soap opera-ized movie. Which is kind of an overwrought thing where everything is pushed out dramatically. And here, I think it’s the opposite. Here I think we’re asking these really tricky questions about what it means to love somebody and care for somebody and even the nature of parenthood. Because I think a lot of people who adopt children will say quite eagerly, you know, obviously they’re not stealing somebody. Right? They don’t commit a crime. But they love somebody that they did not give birth to. And that person loves them.
We know that love is real. What do you do when that love is real, but it’s predicated on a crime? That’s fascinating to me.
John: Absolutely. And, you know, this is the maternal love. But we’ve seen those sort of love stories where like it’s a relationship that was based on a fundamental lie, and yet 30 years later they find out the truth behind things. Sort of like what is the statute of limitations on that truth? And when does that misdeed become forgiven?
I think her motivation, Gloria’s motivation, is also really fascinating here, because obviously we’re going to see this from the point of view – the story is going to tell us from the point of view of this girl and her family who was searching for her for all these years. But what was the inciting incident that happened with Gloria that made her hold this baby and say like, “You know what? I’m going to take this baby with me.”
John: And was it a spontaneous decision? Was it something about this family? Was it something she read about this couple and their daughter made her think like either I could take this, or I should take this baby, because this baby is not safe with them? And I know nothing about the actual biological family here. I’m hoping they’re lovely and wonderful.
But there’s definitely a version of this story where Gloria perceives herself to be the hero, saving this kid from a bad life. And to some degree, she has some vindication because it looks like she gave her a pretty good life. And she seems like an organized stable woman who managed to get a Master’s Degree, which is, again, not the stereotype, the prototype we think of for a kidnapper.
Craig: No. It’s true. And we do know at least one fact that at the time of this, let’s see, her name again – well, she has so many different names. Alexis Manigo, whose real name is in fact Kamiyah Mobley, that when she was born the mother, I think, was 16 years old. I think that’s what the article says. So, yes, it’s possible that this woman though, “Oh, I’ll be rescuing this girl from a bad situation.” It’s still a crime, of course. It’s not her call.
There is another interesting way in on this. So, Kamiyah/Alexis’s real parents, her birth parents I should say, are Craig Aiken and Shanara Mobley. The fact that her real name is Kamiyah Mobley, I suspect maybe Craig Aiken and Shanara Mobley are not still married. I don’t think they indicate – or were ever married. I don’t think that was ever an issue.
But there is another way in which is Shanara Mobley. So, this is a young girl, a 16-year-old girl, I believe from the article, who gives birth to a baby. The baby is stolen. She never gives up believing that that baby is still out there somewhere. And she is fighting a system, trying to find this kid. And nobody seems to be able to help.
And then she finally gets her back. And she now has to try and become a mother. And the interesting thing is she never actually had the chance to. She was supposed to be a mother and all of this time goes by and now she is one. But she’s not a mother of a baby. She’s the mother of an 18-year-old young woman. And adult. Who has been raised by somebody else entirely. The feelings that she has towards this girl – is this girl a stranger to her? Even though she has her face?
And what does she feel about this other woman, who she must hate on the one hand, and on the other hand in a weird way has to kind of – she owes her something for keeping this child alive and raising her so well. So, that’s another way in, is the mother.
John: Yeah. In that version of the story, we have other prototypes for the birth mother who gave up for adoption and then the adoptive mother and sort of what the tension is between those two. This is just heightened in such a strange degree because it’s not an adoption situation. It is – there’s a crime underneath all of this. And I think that makes it potentially fascinating.
I’m curious whether this specific story is worth pursuing for a movie. Like whether it’s worth it to try and get the rights to this specific case and this specific situation, or do you do it like Room where you are just – you’re taking a general sense of these kinds of situations and building a fictional story out of it.
I can see both sides. My hunch is that you’re not going to get a lot of specific value out of these individual people. And that you might be better off looking for a fictional situation to build around this kind of story. What do you think?
Craig: I agree with you. I totally agree. I think it’s actually important that you not use their story, because I’m not sure how much more road there is dramatically to drive here. I think we may have gotten it. And you need to be able to create your own circumstances to tell a dramatic story here with a point and a resolution. And so I don’t think you want the life rights here.
I think you just want an idea, which is a baby is stolen and raised beautifully, apparently, by this criminal. And then it is exposed. And that’s probably the end of act one, or something like that. And then what happens after? And you have the story also of parents that never gave up, and so on and so forth. And I think that actually could be a terrific movie.
I think it’s a small movie. It doesn’t need to be a lot of money.
John: No, it doesn’t at all.
Craig: I don’t see any call for a large budget here. I love the fact that it’s African American, because I think we tend to see these kids of – I think you pointed at this. We tend to see these kinds of dramas, like what was that movie, the Michelle Pfeiffer movie, The Deep End of the Ocean. I think Steven Schiff wrote that.
John: Oh yeah.
Craig: They tend to be white families mourning the loss of white children. And there’s something good and valuable about representing these kinds of stories with African American families that aren’t about the kind of tropes of drugs, and shootings, and gangs, and all the rest of it. But, just a regular family drama. Which I think is really interesting. So, I do think this could be a terrific movie.
John: Yeah. Going back to sort of how you structure it, I think what you described is probably the most natural structure for it, where early in the film you discover something is wrong. Probably by the first act break, that’s when Gloria is arrested and now you’re going back and you’re having to sort of meet this new family. And things proceed from there. So it’s sort of like the second half of Room, where you’re trying to reintegrate into a life.
But I think there’s also potentially a version of this that slices up time in interesting ways. So that we get the reveal of like this is your real family, and then we go back and time to see it from Gloria’s point of view, or you basically get the kaleidoscope version of what this is. And that in the round version of this you see multiple points of view and really understand that it’s much more complicated. You’re navigating through a minefield. And you don’t try to focus on just the one protagonist, but you just sort of see a kaleidoscopic view of this weird situation, and what it means to – thematically that sense of motherhood and sort of what that is like and how it can drive a person to make some big choices.
Craig: Absolutely true. You don’t have to be chained to any kind of traditional narrative with something like this. You only want to chain yourself to the version that lets you get the most emotional resonance out of it. When you look at movies like this, one way to think of them – think of them as disaster movies. Like Titanic is a disaster movie with a romance in it, right? And in Titanic, because it was based on a real thing and everybody knew the story of the Titanic, they didn’t bother surprising you with the fact that the Titanic hit an iceberg. If anything, they begin by showing an old lady in a movie saying, “This is how it worked,” and then she goes, “Nah, it was actually a little bit more interesting than that.”
So, you have a disaster here which is a woman steals a baby. And you could work backwards to that. You could begin with it, it could happen in the middle. It could be a memory. It could be a dream. It could be any – there’s all different ways to do this. The key is to find that core thing that you’re really trying to hammer home to people. And for me, it’s that strange love. And the existence of that strange love. And maybe even the notion that love can be bad. There’s no such thing as pure love. That there is something maybe dark on the other side of all love. That’s fascinating to me.
So, somebody brilliant – this is an ambitious thing though, if you’re going to do it. As they say in the movie business, John, it’s execution-dependent.
John: It is. It does not sell itself. You have to really write this one. And you have to make this one. And it has to sort of just work. You have to stick the landing on this, or you don’t got a movie.
Craig: Do you worry that when we do these that 5,000 people then turn around and attempt to write – and suddenly the market is flooded with versions of this story next year?
John: Yeah. Yeah. Well, it would be better than some of the other kinds of tropes that get trotted out.
Craig: There you go.
John: But if Franklin Leonard at the Black List gets overwhelmed with these, he’ll tell us.
Craig: He’ll let us know. It’s our fault. Sorry.
John: Sorry. All right next up, we have something potentially light and fun. We’ll see.
Craig: No. [laughs]
John: So, sea monkeys. And so when I put this on the outline I’m like, oh, well everybody knows what sea monkeys are. And then I realized, you know what, they might not, because we have international listeners. And sea monkeys I perceive as being a largely American phenomenon, because they were a phenomena we grew up with. They were big in comic books. Can you talk us through just the quick version of what sea monkeys are, in case people have no idea what we’re talking about?
Craig: Sure. So for you and I, kids who were growing up in the ’60s and ‘70s, every comic book you got had ads in it, pages where they were selling novelty items. Things that were meant for kids, like prank bubble gum that would turn your mouth black. Or, you know, sneezing powder.
John: X-ray specs.
Craig: Yeah, which were not X-ray specs. But the biggest ad was always for sea monkeys. Sea monkeys were these remarkable creatures, and the cartoon portrayed them as a family. A nuclear family. A father. A mother. And two lovely children.
John: A teenage daughter and like a younger brother.
Craig: That’s right. Exactly. It was a little bit like the Jetsons in that regard. And they were these sort of pink creatures with weird sort of projections on their head that looked like little crowns to me. And they lived in a fishbowl, with a little castle, and they were just having the best time. And they were sea monkeys. And you could buy them.
And you would send a dollar in, and what you’d get back were these packets and what the ad promised was that you would put the packets into a regular fishbowl of water and lo and behold within seconds these sea monkeys would come to life. And they were trainable. And they would do acts for you and put on shows. [laughs] And, you know, even as an impressionable child who probably still thought that there was a Santa Claus and all of that, I knew – no.
Craig: Well, it turns out that sea monkeys are in fact brine shrimp. And brine shrimp have this strange property where when they lay eggs, the eggs can stay dormant and essentially dehydrated and dormant for a long time. And if you put them in water, they will then reconstitute and hatch and out will come brine shrimp, which look nothing like the cartoon of sea monkeys. They’re just tiny little bait shrimp.
John: Absolutely. They’re tiny little specs of sand that are kind of floating around and do not even look that cool. So, I remember getting sea monkeys with my brother, and we put the conditioner pack in the water and waited the 24 hours you have to wait. And we put the little sea monkeys, the second packet, and put that in. And you look at them and you’re like, well that’s interesting for about 20 seconds. And then what do you do? And then eventually the water dries up and you just toss the whole thing away. Because there’s not even a pet. It’s like even a hermit crab. It could kind of move around a little bit.
John: This was not even that.
Craig: No. No. It was a terrible thing. It was essentially a scam. One of the remarkable things about those packets is the first packet is special water purifier. And so you had to pour that in the water. And for 24 hours it would purify the water. And then the second packet would be the sea monkey eggs. And they would immediately come to life. Well, as it turns out the first packet are the eggs. It takes them 24 hours. And the second packet was a blue dye to make it so that you could actually see the damn things.
And, yet, there is this story lurking behind it that’s kind of remarkable.
John: Before we get to the story behind it, let’s say that someone approached you with just the story of sea monkeys. We have the rights to the name sea monkeys. So let’s talk about this version of this, because we’ve all encountered these things. And we make fun of the Slinky movie, but like there are bits of IP especially based on toys that they’ll be shopped around as like, “Hey, we’re going to try to make this movie.”
And so when we encounter those things, sometimes they are like, well, we got this piece of property. Come in and pitch us your take on how you would do this thing. And so team after team of writers comes in pitches them like how they would make this movie. More increasingly what happens is they’ll get together a writers room of some experienced writers, some newer writers, and they’ll spend four weeks breaking possibilities for stories for sea monkeys in the room. And Nicole Perlman, our friend, who is a twice guest on the show, she runs a lot of these rooms. She’s really good at this, apparently, at sort of talking people through how we’re going to do this. And running that team that’s figuring out how we’re going to take this piece of intellectual property – in this case sea monkeys – and make them into a movie.
So, what would those sea monkey pitches be like? What do you think, Craig?
Craig: Well, you know, if somebody put a gun in my mouth – it would have to be in my mouth, by the way. If the gun is to my head, I’m going to take my chances that it maybe ricochets off my skull. But if it’s in my mouth, I would say, well, you could do a story where the guy who originally – the mysterious man who is selling sea monkeys insisted until his dying day that he saw real sea monkeys. He did. And that it wasn’t a lie. And that one day people will see. And that these things – one of them, it’s going to happen to him, because he did it himself. And they were real sea monkeys. And he swears.
But, you know, he’s been dead for a while, and nobody believes that. But they’re still selling sea monkeys. And this kid, who is very lonely and maybe, you know, usual thing. Mom died. Dad died. Divorce. You know, one of those things. He’s lonely and he wants sea monkeys. And they’re like, “You’re stupid. Sea monkeys are baloney.” And he gets the packet of sea monkeys. He puts it in and it’s just, yeah, there they are, the little dots of brine shrimp, and it’s lame.
And he goes to bed. And then there’s like a meteor or something and aliens who were the original sea monkeys. The guy was telling the truth. They get into his water and he has real sea monkeys. And they need his help to get home, or something. That’s probably… – And then hopefully the gun would come out of my mouth. [laughs]
John: [laughs] They’re like, OK, that was just good enough to get the gun out of your mouth.
Craig: Exactly. Exactly. Or, at that point I’d feel so bad I’d pull the trigger myself.
John: I should stipulate that in Frankenweenie, there actually is sort of the equivalent of sea monkeys. I’m sure we don’t call them sea monkeys. But that same idea where everyone is trying to resurrect their dead pets. And so this guy like dumps all the sea monkeys in the pool and they become giant live things. So they become like one of the big monster threats of Frankenweenie, these things that are like sea monkeys.
I was thinking more on the order of Smurfs, where you basically just take the name and then you sort of create what is their life like. And so it’s an animated movie where you are following the adventures of these sea monkeys and you establish whatever rules. And you really sort of go by what they sort of look like on the package. So, it’s, you know, it’s the Jetsons under water kind of to some degree. I don’t think that’s a movie you make, but I bet it’s a movie that would get developed. If the right producer with the right hustle and like ended up at the right studio that was appropriately desperate, you could go through a couple of development cycles on Sea Monkeys.
Craig: [laughs] That’s a great way of saying – if you had the exact perfect mix of people, you would get to go through a couple of development cycles. You know, the thing about sea monkeys–
John: Well, Craig–
John: Craig, we did make the movie Monster Trucks.
Craig: We did. Well, we didn’t.
John: Yeah, but as Hollywood, together, we all basically made Monster Trucks.
Craig: But, you know what, let me say something about Monster Trucks.
John: Let’s talk about Monster Trucks.
Craig: Let’s talk about Monster Trucks. So, this movie came and crashed and burned. And it was very, very expensive. And any time this happens, people go bananas in our town. And, you know, look, you see the trailer for Monster Trucks and you think, well, this does not look particularly good. It’s kind of corny. It feels very old-fashioned, sort of like Herbie the Love Bug, expect instead of the Volkswagen being alive, there’s an incredibly expensive CGI creature that’s making the truck move.
And it looked very paint by numbers, you know, guy finds a friend and his buddy. And even the design of the creature borrowed from other movies like How to Train Your Dragon, and so forth. But, you know what? They weren’t building it on an existing title. They were trying to make something new. So, for that alone, you know, I tip my hat. Maybe it didn’t work out. OK. And maybe it wasn’t a good bet and it cost too much damn money. But they were at least trying to do something new.
I mean, the problem with things like sea monkeys is what happens is – as you know – people just sit in offices making lists of names of things people know and then backing movies into those things.
John: I would argue Monster Trucks is exactly the same situation, Craig. Because we both know it was a title. They had sort of no idea what that was going to be, but it was a title. And then basically a title. It’s like Cars, but they’re trucks. That’s really what it is. So, I’m not going to give you a pass on the like, “Oh, no, it’s a brilliant original idea.”
Craig: I didn’t say brilliant. I didn’t say brilliant.
John: OK. This was not The Matrix, Craig.
Craig: All right. I’ll give you that.
John: And so I really don’t mean to hate on that movie, but I would say that like you shouldn’t compare against the worst possible example of something, but I feel like there’s a movie – the Lego Movie, like sea monkeys at least have faces. I mean, they have a thing to them. They’re not as popular as Lego, but like the Lego Movie is a really good movie. And so I think there probably is a really good movie you could make out of sea monkeys, but you have to have the equivalent of those guys to do it.
Craig: Well, sure, but also, no, because the thing is Legos are an experience that multi-generations have. And they are an experience connected through creativity. And there’s an enormous amount of Lego stuff, of varying types, for different ages. And, of course, you’re not able to do the Lego Movie, I don’t think, if you don’t have the existence of all the encompassed brands that Lego has.
John: That is true.
Craig: Sea monkeys are one thing. That’s it. And they’re not interactive. And they’re not multi-generational. My child today, I mean, I don’t think either one of my kids would have any clue what a sea monkey is. None.
John: All right.
Craig: You would have to play on the nostalgia somehow and – but it’s not like the Smurfs even. You know, the Smurfs are also a global brand. I don’t think sea monkeys are a global brand.
John: The Smurfs are Les Schtroumpfs here.
Craig: They’re Les Schtroumpfs. I think the way – it’s funny, because you listed a few movies down here. And before you listed those movies, in my mind I’m like, the real story here is the John Lee Hancock version of the man who invented sea monkeys. That’s the real story.
John: Yeah, so the man behind this, we’re going to link to a really good film by Penny Lee that is like a short documentary that she made for CNN Films that talks about the guy who created sea monkeys. And so essentially he wasn’t an inventor. He was really a really good marketer. And he figured out, like, I want to sell the bait. I want to sell these sea monkeys, these little brine shrimp, but I’m going to call them – he came up with the name sea monkeys. He came up with the artistic concept. Advertising them in the back of comic books. And he built this whole thing.
So his name was Harold von Braunhut. He died in 2003. So he also made X-ray specs. You know, and so you could look at this as like, well, congratulations to this guy. He was able to find value in this thing. He sort of brought joy to kids’ lives for like the 20 seconds that these sea monkeys stayed alive.
But he could trigger that thing in the imagination, which was great. And so you could see like that’s a very American story. But, he’s also, Craig?
Craig: Well, he is also – was also a virulent racist who supported the KKK and a number of white supremacist groups. This is a guy that they actually have on film saying, “Heil Hitler.” And talking about blacks and Jews using words that are not black and Jew. Just a horrendous person, and, yet, oddly, was born Jewish.
Craig: So, what? [laughs]
John: You got a lot there. You got a whole thing. And so I find that that’s so fascinating. Because, well, you naturally kind of want him to be the protagonist of the story, because he’s the main guy. He’s the guy who comes up with the idea. He goes through struggles and adversities. He sees the ups and downs. But then you’re like, but it’s also like a KKK person. So he can’t be the hero of your story. I mean, not the hero in the sense that you’re actually genuinely rooting for him. So it makes it very uncomfortable, which is why I think it circles so nicely John Lee Hancock’s movie because you have The Founder and like I saw his movie this last week and Michael Keaton is phenomenal–
Craig: He’s great.
John: And his performances are great, but John Lee Hancock does not, you know, he’s making a story about a guy who was ultimately not the guy you kind of want to be rooting for. And he’s not a Nazi, but it’s like, I mean, you can’t sort of compare with the KKK.
John: But it gets to a really uncomfortable place, which I was surprised by, because I was thinking, oh, it’s going to be an inspiring story about the guy who created McDonald’s.
Craig: No, not at all.
John: No. No it’s not. And so I’m curious whether you think like the sea monkey movie but Braunhut could be a movie-movie, it is an HBO movie? If you make this, where do you make this movie for?
Craig: Definitely not for theatrical release. Because, you know, even The Founder is kind of a limited target audience. I think it’s opening this weekend – by the way, for those of you who haven’t seen it yet, because I believe it’s opening a few days before this airs, do see The Founder. It’s terrific. But, you know, it’s platformed and it’s meant for a narrow audience. But, that’s about McDonalds, which is one of the truly well-known global brands. Sea monkeys, not at all. It does feel like maybe an interesting hour-long thing for HBO or something like that. Maybe even it might actually be a better documentary in a weird way to sort of expand on this video that we’re linking to into more of a – I think it’s about an 18-minute video or something like that. Maybe it could be a 45-minute kind of thing.
There is something that struck me when I was reading about Harold von Braunhut, the Jewish anti-Semite and racist, and that was when I was a kid and I saw the sea monkey ads, one of the things that struck me was how mainstream and kind of aspirationally American the sea monkey family was. Even though they’re sea monkeys, they’re clearly white. They have very Caucasian features. Very WASPY features. They have that kind of perfect American family thing. They weren’t six Jews crammed in too-small house, screaming at each other, like my family.
Although they were in a fishbowl, it seemed like a much nicer place to live than Staten Island. There’s an interesting angle there that this guy had this weird self-hatred. And this worship of an idealized life that he thought he was robbed of being a part of. And even with these stupid things, he understood that this was something people would want. Joe Orlando, who was – I don’t know if he still is – a major guy at DC Comics, he was the guy that drew the illustrations. And it was something that obviously struck a chord with kids.
It’s not just the copy about – it’s the pictures. You wanted that perfect family in a fishbowl. Like is your family terrible? Would you like a perfect family, in a fishbowl? You can have one with sea monkeys.
John: Yeah. That classic thing of like the utopian ideal, which is really destruction. Basically like you want to erase the part of yourself that you hate, and so therefore you portray this idealized version of how things could be or should be. And so you don’t want to make Hitler comparisons, but this guy was the Hitler of brine shrimp.
John: He was selling this vision of not Aryans, but sort of aquatic Aryans.
John: Where everything was better in the little bowl. He’s like the reverse Little Mermaid. He wants to go back into the water.
Craig: Exactly. Well, and you know–
John: Because it’s happier there.
Craig: There’s certain parallels to Disney. You know, Disney always sold a perfected view of white America. And you can see it now, too, with the Make America Great Again. The question is, well OK, that means it was once great. When do you think it was great? There’s some interesting videos where they go and ask Trump supporters, “OK, when was America great?” And they give a lot of fascinating answers that seem pretty unaware of things like slavery, and war, and disease.
Craig: But when you look at Disneyworld, for instance, or Disneyland, and you walk down Main Street, it’s like 1910, early 1920s Americana. So right before the Great Depression. Right before we became an international country, really. You know, we were still just America, despite our doughboys sort of kind of participating in WWI. And before everything fell apart. And you get a similar kind of vibe here. It’s a castle, by the way. The sea monkeys have a castle.
John: Of course, because they have a little crown, so of course they have castles. They’re royalty.
Craig: They’re royalty. There is something really interesting about the creepiness underneath all of it. But to me, probably better served by a documentary than a movie.
John: I agree with you. But I would not be surprised if within the next five years we see somebody buying that title as an idea for an animated something. I just feel like Nicole Perlman is going to get a phone call and she’s going to decide, do I do this? And maybe she does it because she’s so good at it.
Craig: Well, listen, the thing is they’re not just going to say, “We want to make a sea monkey movie.” They’re going to say, “We want to break a three-movie sea monkey arc.”
John: That’s what it is. It has to be. Yeah.
Craig: All right.
John: Five seasons and a movie. Finally, a unique case where we’re not talking How Would This Be a Movie, but we’re talking about a movie itself. And so most of us are probably familiar with Sinbad. I shouldn’t say most of us. Many of us are probably familiar with Sinbad. He was the standup comic and actor. Made a lot of movies in the ‘90s. But then over the Christmas holiday, you Craig, you emailed me about this movie. And I was like, oh wow, that’s actually so fascinating.
So I was sitting across from my husband, Mike, and we were at the hotel bar downstairs. So, I’m going to play some audio and you’re going to hear the chatter in the background, but bear with it because I was asking Mike about his experience with the Sinbad movie where Sinbad plays a genie, and he had a very specific memory of it. So, let’s play the audio and then talk about our experience.
John: So there’s a movie where Sinbad played a genie, did you see it, or was it at your theater? What was it?
Mike: When I was working on Woodland Hills, managing that location, I think the movie was out then and Sinbad lived nearby. And so I remember him sort of coming in maybe around the time of the movie being in theaters.
John: What was the name of the movie?
John: And it was about the DC Comics character? How was it spelled?
Mike: I think so.
John: Great. So you would say ’95?
Mike: No, it would have been, if I was working in Woodland Hills it would have been between ’97 and ’99.
John: OK. And just him. Do you remember anybody else being in it, or any trailer or anything?
Mike: No. I vaguely remember – I can vaguely picture the poster. And I think there might be two kids in it, which makes me think that somehow he might be like the family maid, or like manny or something like that. And he’s a genie/he’s a nanny, or something.
John: All right. Can you think of any reason why I would be bringing this up or asking questions about it?
Mike: Other than you’re having another Shazaam movie.
John: OK. Craig just sent through an article about it and about the movie and a whole Reddit thread about the movie. So, everyone has essentially your memory of the movie, but the movie never existed. So, what’s strange is a lot of people have exactly your memory of Sinbad in a movie–
Mike: Well, and Sinbad lived in Woodland Hills and he still used to come into our theater.
John: Do you believe that? Or do you think it’s a hoax, someone is pretended it never existed?
John: So, Craig, talk us off this weird metaphysical ledge. Is it a hoax? What is the deal with the Sinbad genie movie?
Craig: Well, it’s not a hoax, because I think far too many people have far too strong of a personally held belief that they remember this movie existing. So, some facts. The movie did not exist. At all. We know this because it’s impossible to hide a movie in 2017. And Sinbad himself is absolutely mystified by this whole thing. [laughs] You’d think he would remember. It’s also not something that would have any reason to be covered up, or hidden, or buried, or squirreled away.
So, what you have is a failure of memory in the precise way, in the precise same way across lots of people. Now, there are explanations for this. Why people have the same faulty memory. And, of course, it’s easy to think, oh, there must be some kind of – let’s call it a metaphysical reason.
John: A glitch in the matrix.
Craig: A glitch in the matrix.
John: Or like a parallel universe and things crossed over, things disappeared.
Craig: But in my mind, it’s as simple as this. And perhaps I’m being reductive here. But Sinbad, the comedian, his real name is not Sinbad. He took the name Sinbad, I’m not sure why, but Sinbad himself, that’s a fictional character from Arabian folklore. There have been movies where Sinbad has appeared, the character of Sinbad, who generally wears a turban and comes from the same culture and the same stories that included genies. And so I think people in their minds there’s an unconscious dot-dot-dot between Sinbad and genies. And I think for a lot of – I’d be interested in seeing the racial statistics on people who remember Sinbad being in a genie movie called Shazaam, because Shaquille O’Neal, the basketball player, was in a genie movie called Kazaam.
Craig: And I wonder if a lot of this is white people just confusing two black actors, who are roughly the same age, playing genies, at roughly the same time. But beyond that–
John: I think there’s clearly more than just that. So, the Shazaam/Kazaam thing was sort of my first go to. It’s like, oh, they’re just confusing that, and because they’re both black people. And I agree with you that the Sinbad name carries with it that whole Arabian folklore thing. So those little parts of your brain sort of connect. But what’s so interesting is when you dig down into these threads and you talk to people who were not preconditioned to have a certain response, they’re like, “Oh yeah, I remember Kazaam. That’s a different movie. And I remember not seeing Kazaam because I thought it was just a remake of the Sinbad movie.”
Craig: A rip-off of Shazaam.
John: It was a rip-off of Shazaam. And so people have very distinct memories of the whole plot of it. And so, again, I’m not saying that this thing actually happened, but I think it’s actually more interesting and more subtly confusing, sort of the way that the dress that looked two different colors based on when you looked at it.
John: It’s the narrative version of that. Like there’s a version of your memory where that actually did happen. And I think it’s so interesting that we think of our memories as being written down someplace, but they’re actually just rehearsed. So this one memory can sort of feel like it really happened, but it’s just this little loop that’s rehearsing and creating a fictitious memory there. And it’s fascinating that for so many people it’s essentially the same memory.
Craig: That’s right. I remember in college I took a class on cognitive psychology, which is a fascinating field, because this is all it really concerns itself with. Essentially the flaws of cognition. And one of the theories that they had at the time, I don’t know if it’s still the case, is that the experience of déjà vu, which is universal, and which in the Matrix was in fact explained as a glitch in the Matrix, that déjà vu occurs because there is a neurological routine that serves to give us the sense of familiarity. When we see something that is familiar to us, we feel it is familiar because our brain goes, “Hit the familiar button on this.”
And déjà vu is essentially a hiccup of that. It’s when the brain hits the familiar button on something that isn’t familiar. But we can’t tell the difference. All we know is familiar is familiar. And if it’s familiar, it’s familiar. And so part of this may just be that this thing is naturally tweaking. There’s something about the combination of these elements that is naturally tweaking the familiarity button in people.
In the end, we’re left grasping for straws here because we just – there’s no really cogent, convincing explanation of this. This does go into the “we don’t know what’s going on box.”
John: I think why this is so appropriate for this segment because I think it is the How Would This Be a Movie mechanism is kicking in and I feel like we see the combination of Sinbad, a genie, what would that movie be like? And I think we would all chart basically the same kind of movie. Like you imagine, oh, these kids find a genie in a bottle and he does these things. You can sort of imagine the things that would happen in that Sinbad/genie movie really easily. And you can sort of picture the time that it’s happening.
So when I drilled deeper with Mike about what do you think was actually really going on in your head there, how do you think you got this confused, and he’s like, “You know what,” so he was looking through IMDb, like other Sinbad movies. “You know, what? I think I was taking the poster for First Kid, which is a Sinbad, and sort of combining it with Kazaam.” He could sort of see like what he was doing.
It was a strange situation though where he was literally working in the theater where Sinbad was coming in all the time, so it felt so specific that he was thinking like, oh, this movie that must have come out between this year and this year because he knows what movies come out what year because he worked in a theater. It is just a strange thing where like sort of like The Dress, it just hits those buttons in your brain and makes you think, oh, this must be – it’s a narrative optical illusion.
Craig: It’s a narrative optical illusion. I think that’s a great way of putting it. And it’s funny, we know that optical illusions fool us. And we don’t question whether or not they’re real. We don’t. Even the ones that are really, really good, like the one with the grey squares and the white squares, which is amazing.
John: Oh yeah.
Craig: We just accept, OK, our eyes and our brain are bad at this. But we don’t accept it with memory. And we don’t accept it – so, a lot of what cognitive psychology was about was investigating things like the reliability of eye witness testimony, which is terribly unreliable. For these reasons. And, by the way, this is why we do what we do and why people want to see the things that writers do. Because our brains are narrative. It’s also what gets us into trouble as we can see around us right now.
Politics. Everything. Everybody has figured this out. Every marketer, every politician, every lawyer in a courtroom. Everyone has figured out that the way to make the most effective impression on another person’s mind is to do so through narrative. Because our brains are wired narratively.
John: I think the only remaining question is do you make the Sinbad/genie movie now? Just should you take advantage of this weird moment and just go back and retroactively make the movie? And you should make it like it was in the ‘90s and just like actually make it and blow everyone’s brains. Just like, oh, now it exists. This thing that you always wanted to exist, now it’s there.
Craig: Or, you do a meta thing where it’s like you find Sinbad, because you’re like I know that this actually happened. And I think you are a genie. I think you got rid of it because you’re a genie and you don’t want people to know. And I get why, you know, it’s like because people were bothering you because you’re really a genie, but I know you’re a genie and I need your help. And Sinbad is like, you’re crazy, you’re out of your mind. And then it’s like, OK, yeah, it’s true. I’m a genie. What do you need?
John: [laughs] I made the wish to make the movie go away because it was bad.
John: So, one of the things I’m sad that I’m missing that’s happening in Los Angeles right now that I’m hoping you get a chance to go see. You know the Jerry Maguire Video Store?
Craig: I’ve read about this. The crazy pop up Jerry Maguire Video Store that only sells I think thousands of copies of Jerry Maguire.
John: On VHS.
Craig: Yeah, of course.
John: So it’s like an art installation that you can visit, but it’s a video store that just sells Jerry Maguire. And I find it fascinating. And it feels like it’s related to this whole sense of like this movie that doesn’t really exist that everybody remembers. It’s all of a piece. There’s something magical happening there. So, we’ll put a link to that in the show notes as well.
Craig, we have these three questions. We don’t have time for these questions. They’re going to get punted back for another week because we got busy talking about Nazis and Nicole Perlman.
Craig: Yep. Nazis and Nicole Perlman. That’ll keep us busy.
John: I don’t regret a bit of that. But I have a really good One Cool Thing. So, this is the video for Wyclef Jean by Young Thug. So it’s directed by Pop and Clout, which I think is just the director’s name for Ryan Staake. So, the video is terrible. It’s just awful. And the reason why you should watch it is the director basically explains what went wrong in the course of the making of the video. So, they spent $100,000 to shoot this rap video for Young Thug. And Young Thug never showed up. And so he was like ten hours late and then never got out of his car. And so Young Thug had very specific instructions about things he wanted in the video. So they started shooting just like B-roll footage for what that stuff was, but then he never actually showed up to be part of it.
And so if you watch this video, it will show the footage, but then it will just be these insert title cards from the director explaining what was supposed to be happening here. And it’s one of my favorite videos of the year. It’s just delightful.
Craig: And that’s the video, by the way.
John: Yeah. It is the video. The real video is the director’s video.
Craig: That’s the real video. So it includes like, “Audio of Young Thug explaining what he wants which is incoherent and insane.” And then this guy doing it and just remarking on the stupidity of it all. And it’s the video. [laughs] That’s the thing. And I guess either Young Thug never watched it, or was just like this is dope. Let’s put it out.
It’s great. It’s the video of the year.
John: So I want to thank Matt Jebson in my Twitter feed for recommending it. It really is just terrific.
Craig: Yeah. Yeah. My One Cool Thing is, it’s a little dark. A little dark today.
John: Man, so I just expanded the little tab to see what it was, and my heart got palpitating, because I know what this is for, and I’m not happy to see this. It’s not a One Cool Thing.
Craig: Sorry, it’s not.
John: It could save a person’s life, I guess. But oh no, Craig.
Craig: It’s a One Scary Thing. Well, listen, I’ve been working on this – I haven’t talked about this HBO thing. And I don’t want to yet until it’s like real. We’re close on this. But it is a miniseries that involves – the topic of radiation comes up.
John: It’s Silkwood 2, but yeah.
Craig: What’s that?
John: It’s Silkwood 2.
Craig: It’s Silkwood 2. It’s Silkwood meets the Sea Monkeys. But I’ve been doing a lot of research and we live in an uncertain time. It seems to have gotten a bit more uncertain. And I’m not suggesting that we are on the verge of nuclear war. I don’t believe we are at all. But we are currently threatened, all of us, by at least the proliferation of nuclear material and terrorism and the possibility of dirty bombs and so forth.
And so there’s an item that I think everybody should have just as a matter of course, like a standard first aid item, just the way you would protect against earthquakes if you live in an earthquake zone, and things like that. And it’s potassium iodide. And you can get potassium iodide pills quite easily. They’re over the counter. You can get them on Amazon or local store. And the reason you should have them is simply this: if there is any kind of radioactive disaster, or accident, one of the most dangerous isotopes, radioactive isotopes, is the radioactive isotype of iodine. And your thyroid gland is really good at absorbing iodine. And so we see that one of the first impacts of any kind of radioactive disaster is an increase in thyroid cancer. Sometimes a dramatic increase in thyroid cancer, which can kill you.
So what they suggest, if something like this should happen, is that you take potassium iodide, only by the way when this happens. Do not take it normally. That is not good for you. But, if there is some kind of problem, you take potassium iodide which is a stable form of iodine. The thyroid will essentially uptake that and be flooded with it and not want to take any more iodine. And so if radioactive isotypes of iodine then waft over to you, you will not be up-taking and absorbing them. It’s very cheap and it’s just a good thing to have around. Sorry to be a downer.
John: Man, we should have reversed the order of our One Cool Things. But, yes, I agree it’s a necessary thing. It’s a thing that I was already planning to get, have in our first aid kid, and in our survival things. So, yes.
Craig: Sorry about that, guys.
John: That’s all right. That’s our show for this week. As always, it was produced by Godwin Jabangwe and edited by Matthew Chilelli. Our outro this week is a Matthew Chilelli classic. So, thank you, Matthew, for making such great music.
If you have an outro, you can send us a link to email@example.com. That’s also the place where you can send longer questions like the ones we meant to answer today. For short questions, we’re on Twitter. I’m @johnaugust. Craig is @clmazin. We’re also on Facebook. Look for Scriptnotes Podcast.
You can find us on iTunes. Search for Scriptnotes. That’s also where you’ll find the Scriptnotes App. We also are now in Google Play Store.
Craig: What? That’s a thing?
John: No, actually I think we’re the Google Music. People wanted us to be accessible through this Google thing, and so we sent them a URL. And now magically our podcast shows up there.
John: If you’re in any of those places and want to leave us a comment, we really will read those. And maybe we’ll read them on the air at some point, because those are always fun to do.
Show notes for this episode, and all episodes, are at johnaugust.com. So that’s where you’ll see the article links for the stuff we talked about today and for buying potassium iodide for impending nuclear winter.
Craig: [laughs] Sorry.
John: And we’ll also have transcripts to read. So, you know, while the lights are out, you can maybe print them or something and remember what Scriptnotes used to be in the days before the big flash and bang.
John: And thank you to everybody who subscribes at Scriptnotes.net. That’s where you get all the back episodes. So, we have no more USB drives, but if you want all those back episodes, including episodes with John Lee Hancock talking about The Founder, Kelly Marcel, Nicole Perlman, who has been on the show twice when she’s not running writers rooms–
Craig: For sea monkeys.
John: When she’s not surrounded by sea monkeys and Nazis. She is on previous episodes and is phenomenal. So, you can find those at Scriptnotes.net. It is $2 a month.
And that is all the boilerplate I have to offer. Craig, thanks for a fun episode.
Craig: Thank you, John. Talk to you soon.
John: All right. Talk to you soon. Bye.
- John’s Madrid Talk
- John’s Madrid Talk II
- Abducted at Birth and Found 18 Years Later
- The Real Story of Sea Monkeys
- Sinbad in the Genie Movie
- The Mandela Effect
- Young Thug – Wyclef Jean
- Potassium Iodide
- John August on Twitter
- Craig Mazin on Twitter
- John on Instagram
- Find past episodes
- Outro by Matthew Chilelli (send us yours!)
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You can download the episode here.