John August: Hey, this is John. So, in today’s episode of Scriptnotes there are enough bad words that you probably don’t want to listen to it in the car with your kids, or at work if you work at some place that doesn’t like to have occasional swearing.
Craig Mazin: Hello and welcome. My name is Craig Mazin.
Dana Fox: I am not John August.
Craig: And this is a live Scriptnotes coming to you from Hollywood, California. Folks, let them know you’re here. To set the stage for you playing the home game, we are in the ArcLight Theater in Hollywood. Big 400-seat theater. The whole thing is sold out. Everyone is here to benefit Hollywood Heart, which is a wonderful charity that helps out kids in need. And this is something that we did last year and we’re doing it this year. Not, you know, I don’t want to go out of my way and say that last year’s show wasn’t great. It was great.
There’s no chance that it’s not going to get better this time. We had David Benioff and Dan Weiss from Game of Thrones.
Dana: That’s nice. That’s good stuff.
Craig: There you go. Yeah, that was good.
Dana: Those guys are good. That one guy is tall.
Craig: Yeah, very tall.
Dana: Weirdly attractive. The other guy I’ve not met yet, but also I believe to be weirdly attractive. I’m just trying to set the stage because it’s not a visual medium.
Craig: This is the sort of stuff I don’t get with John August.
Dana: I’m trying to just—
Craig: Ever. But tonight we have incredible, incredible guests. But first, just to kick things off, I figured we should just catch up a little. You know, John likes to do follow up. I’ll make it easy for you as we go.
Right now, maybe we’re going on strike.
Dana: Oh boy. Yeah.
Craig: Are we going on strike?
Dana: I don’t actually know, but I do know that like a hot minute ago I pressed send on a really not super great script that had to be handed in today before this event. [laughs] So, you’re welcome, America. I hope you enjoy that movie.
Craig: Yeah. Flash ahead to a couple years. When you’re in the movie theater you might go, “Ohh, this was what she was talking about. It’s not that great.”
We’re hopeful that there isn’t going to be a strike. If some of you are writers, and you’re a little tense, don’t worry. We all are. But we’re hopeful.
Dana: If anybody reads anything on their phone, definitely yell it out. Like right as it happens.
Craig: Yeah, like if we’re going on strike, interrupt the show. And if we’re definitely not going on strike, yeah, interrupt the show.
Well, I think we should probably get started with our guests, because we have a busy show. And what we’re going to do is we’re going to talk to our guests and then at the end of the show we’ll open it up to some questions from you guys, as we always do. And then afterwards apparently there is a party that only one-quarter of you may attend. So, just decide amongst yourselves. Who thinks that sounds like a good idea?
Craig: Yeah, should be fine. Our first guest tonight – my cards are—
Dana: Your cards are amazing, Craig. You’re doing so good. I love this.
Craig: John does everything. You know that, right?
Dana: Oh, you’re doing amazing.
Craig: I feel like I’m doing all right.
Dana: You’re doing great. I love this. Go.
Craig: Because normally I just – normally I get to do what you do. It’s so much more fun, right?
Dana: Keep crushing. You’re doing great.
Craig: Our first guest tonight is the creator, executive producer, writer, and star of a television show that is now the longest running live action comedy in television history.
Craig: So, screw you, Leave it to Beaver, or whoever they beat. I’d like to welcome to the show Rob McElhenney.
Rob McElhenney: Is this where you were sitting?
Craig: Yeah, is it nice?
Rob: Yeah, super warm. Are you nervous?
Craig: I’ve done 299 of these. This is our 299th – you’d think that we would have done the 300th like this, right? Not interested in round numbers. Fuck them. Does that answer your question?
Dana: You know, the penultimate episode every television show at the end of the series is always better than the final episode. So in a weird way I feel like this is it.
Craig: This is the one. This is the one.
Dana: This is the Ozymandias, or Rian will tell us how to pronounce it when he comes in.
Craig: It’s a very famous poem. It’s Ozymandias. We all know.
Dana: Clearly not John August. Like living up to not being John August right away.
Craig: Rob, I want to just ask you, how do you even wrap your mind around the fact that you’ve done this show that is the longest running live action comedy in television history. Does it feel that way? I mean, does it feel like you’ve run a triple marathon? Or are you like, no problem, we can keep doing this forever.
Rob: I certainly feel like we could keep doing it forever just because we’re having so much fun with it. And our audience seems to grow every year, which is great.
I will say that even just driving here, as I was driving down Fountain, it all looks exactly the same to me as it did 12 years ago. And I was sort of reflecting on the last decade of my life. And it seems to have gone very quickly. Even though I was obviously in a very different point in my life when I created the show.
Dana: I have a follow up question. Do you have children and do you know their names?
Rob: I do. I have two children. Two boys. And, well, I’ve been lucky enough because my wife is also on the show with me. So, we have – they have their own trailer. They’re not going to be fucked up. They’re fine.
Craig: You still haven’t even mentioned the names. It’s boy 1 and boy 2.
Dana: Boy 1 and Boy 2, super grounded.
Craig: Yeah. Boy and Shorter Boy.
Rob: My wife takes care of the names. The nanny does the schooling. No, I get to spend a tremendous amount of time with them. And, in fact, we kind of got the show down to a system now where our writer’s room is we come in at 10:30 or 11 and we leave by 5 or 5:30, no matter what.
Dana: I always heard that the Modern Family people had a “No Headlights Rule,” which is like they don’t leave if they have to turn their headlights on. And at like two o’clock in the morning when I was making my show, I was always so jealous of that. Do you guys have the “No Headlights Rule?”
Rob: No. Usually we just watch to see when Charlie’s eyes glaze over. And as soon as that happens I’m like, all right, it’s just diminishing returns at this point.
Craig: It seems weirdly seasonal anyway. I don’t like that rule. You know, think about a show like—
Rob: By the way, I’m going to interrupt you for a second, because that’s just kind of fun. I’m going to continue to do that throughout your own show. We’re not the longest running sitcom as of right now. We will be as per our current contract.
Craig: Who do we have to beat?
Rob: Ossie and Harriet.
Craig: Oh yeah. No problem.
Rob: Yeah. We just stepped on My Three Son’s necks, all three of them.
Craig: Nice. Because Ossie and Harriet, they’re all dead.
Craig: They can’t come back.
Craig: OK. We’re good.
Dana: It’s got to be a little bittersweet. What is it like to strangle your idols to death?
Craig: He didn’t say they were his idols.
Rob: I was probably born 25 years after that show was canceled.
Craig: I’m kind of curious about, when I first – I remember years and years ago when I first started out, I was talking to somebody who worked in television and they said the key to television is likeability. The characters have to be likeable.
And even then I thought that doesn’t make any – I don’t like many of – the characters that I love on TV seem really grouchy and grumpy. And then Seinfeld came along and defined the notion of a show where everyone was unlikeable, even to the point where in their season finale they all to prison and the show is literally saying these are bad people.
You guys went, nah, nah, nah, we’ll show you bad people. I’m kind of curious, the fact that everyone is sort of sociopathic, I mean, I don’t know if you would agree with that diagnosis, but the fact that they’re all sociopathic, does that kind of – does that kind of help you just generate endless ideas? You don’t seem – like you could go anywhere with these characters.
Rob: Yeah. I mean, the fact that the characters don’t grow, or change, or learn anything ever is helpful because you reset at the end of every episode. So it’s a blank slate.
Craig: That’s tragic actually.
Dana: Like morally bankrupt Finding Dory sort of?
Craig: Right. Yeah.
Rob: That’s how I pitched it.
Craig: Because it just seems like, you know, shows will say, well, the show was kind of going along and then it jumped the shark. You know, but you guys, I think you’ve avoided the shark-jumping because all you do is jump sharks. It’s all you do, every episode you’re jumping some kind of shark.
Rob: Yeah. We jumped shark within the first three minutes of the pilot.
Craig: Exactly. So you’re going to be fine.
Dana: I haven’t watched all 7,000 episodes, but have you guys ever tried to jump the shark by not doing something insane, like having it just be a normal episode of television?
Rob: Yeah, we’ve done a fair amount of just straight episodes. Certainly we do a lot of bottle episodes, where there’s not a lot going on. It’s just all very insular. In fact, we did an episode this season called The Gang Tends Bar. And it’s literally just about us running, operating a drinking establishment.
Dana: Like an actually working bar?
Rob: And one of the characters, it was brought up that this is like the greatest scam in history. We sell something that’s addicting to people for money. We get them addicted. And then they give us money. And we think we came up with that scam. And we’re like who came up with the scam? We’re like, we did when we bought the bar 12 years ago. And really the guys that first started creating alcohol and selling it created that scam.
Craig: Right. This is why you can go forever. Because you can just write an episode where they just tend bar. I mean, there’s really nothing limiting you, I mean, because a lot of shows will say, well, Simpsons did it. That’s the problem. You know, Simpsons, there’s been 4 billion episodes and they’ve done all these high concept.
You guys don’t really do, well, I guess occasionally there’s sort of high concept.
Rob: Yeah, we’ll do musical episodes. We did an episode this year where we turned black for the entire episode. We thought, well—
Craig: How’d that go?
Rob: It was fairly well received, thank you very much. There was a splattering of applause. See?
Craig: Yeah, they’re very accepting.
Rob: Yeah. That’s really the lifeblood of our audience is the smattering of applause across the country. Mostly in metropolitan markets. For the last 15 years.
Craig: It’s kind of amazing. Between the ages of?
Dana: But for real, like dialing in for real, how do you actually keep it feeling fresh after that many episodes? It’s sort of shocking to me that you guys are able to still be that good after that many episodes.
Rob: I think it’s mostly because it’s our faces that are out there. I really do believe that. I think, look, running a show as you guys know is really difficult and time-consuming, and tedious, and it takes a tremendous amount of effort. And also we’ve had the luxury of only doing between 10 and 15 episodes a season. We’ve never done more than 15 episodes a season, which I think helps.
But beyond that, the fact that we know that eventually we have to shoot it and it’s going to be our face that goes out there adds that extra element of let’s not fuck this up in the writer’s room. Let’s get it right. And let’s make sure we continue to have fun.
But also beyond that, we still enjoy it.
Craig: But that’s another interesting challenge that you have that I can’t really think of anybody else that has it quite like you. You create a show, you write a show, you produce a show, you star in the show, you’re married to one of your cast members. Now, over time there are inevitably moments where there’s, I don’t want to say there’s strife or anything, but there’s some conflict, or there’s competing interests, or – how do you–?
Rob: Between me and my wife?
Craig: No, I’m talking about the cast and, you know, normally if you have a problem as a writer with a cast member there’s a producer that you can talk to. Or if you are cast members having an issue with each other, you can go talk to a writer. There’s nowhere to go. You’re always there. How do you manage the blurred roles that you all seem to kind of have on that show?
Rob: We fight quite a bit. And we continue to fight. The truth is that over the years we’ve tried to figure out ways to sort of alleviate some of that conflict. And oftentimes what happens is when we do, the work is garbage. And at the end of the day, we realize that the conflict – the confluence of all of these very strong-willed people is what makes the show great, from the writers, to the performers, even to some of the grips. I mean, we’ve had people with us for 10, 11, 12 seasons. And we got to a point where people are free to add joke pitches.
I mean, I’ve had grips and a teamster actually gave me an idea for an episode. What you have to approach every day with is that it’s all about the work. It’s not about your ego. It’s not about me. It’s about the show being good. And as long as the fights are about the show being good and getting better and not about ego, then that’s going to yield the best result.
Craig: Those are good, clean fights. I mean, those are the kinds of fights that are productive. But it’s still – it is a marriage of a kind, especially with comedy, too. It just seems like, I don’t know, funny people can be tricky. And it’s an interesting thing that you guys have managed to keep that marriage. And it’s been so consistent.
You know, a lot of times these shows will go on, and then one big person leaves and they replace that person. So, you know, it’s not Sam and Diane, it’s Sam and Rebecca. And it kind of keeps going after that. But that really hasn’t happened with you guys.
Rob: Well, we’ve had the luxury of working with Danny, too. So, Danny, who has a – oh, he’s only an icon.
Craig: He’s a television legend, worth a mere smattering.
Rob: And he gave us a tremendous amount of perspective. I mean, you know, he was on one of the great – he played, I think, one of the top five greatest characters in the history of television, on an amazing TV show. His wife was in one of the greatest TV shows of all time. And then they both went on to fabulous careers outside of it. And Danny obviously was a huge movie star. And he would pull us aside and be like, “Look, I promise you, it’s never going to get better than this. Ever. Ever.” And I believe that. I believe it.
And so when you have somebody like Charlie, who over the last four or five years has gone on and done really, really big movies, he comes back and every time he comes back he says, “I don’t want to do that. I want to do this. This is what I want to do. So if I have to sacrifice that for this, I will do that for the rest of my life.”
Craig: That’s great. That’s great. Good for Charlie.
Dana: It’s kind of emotional.
Craig: All right, I have kind of a looking beyond the show question for you, because you know Charlie goes on, he does these things. You, too, I know have interest in doing other things beyond the show. And the nice thing is one doesn’t have to preclude the other. You can do both. But when you think about, I don’t want to say cheating on your show, but maybe doing something else, do you run in the opposite direction from what you’re doing on that show? Because Charlie, you know, he stays in the comedy pocket pretty much. Are you thinking that’s there, I’m going to try something completely different when I branch off?
Rob: Yes. I mean, the project that I’m working on right now couldn’t be any different than – any more different than Sunny. And I think I never saw myself as a sitcom person. I never considered myself funny. I just happened to meet really, really funny people and I was desperate and I was waiting tables and I was like I’ve got to figure out something.
And I wrote this script that was super dark, but when I put it into Charlie’s hands, or into Glenn’s hands, they made it funny. And I realized, oh wow, this could actually be a sitcom. But the truth is I never had any aspirations to get into comedy writing at all.
So when I look for an extension outside of Sunny, I kind of run away from it.
Craig: Wow. Interesting.
Dana: I feel like there are probably people here and who are listening who would love to know just like the trajectory of how you actually made it happen. Because I think people who are as successful as you, it’s like we all sit here and we talk about the career and all the amazing stuff. And most people are out there just going like, “I just wish someone would answer my phone,” or, you know, phone call, or read my script, or whatever it is.
What was the sort of defining moment for you? What was your trajectory to get you where you are right now?
Rob: Well, mostly just desperation. I mean, I was working in every bar and restaurant in NYC. And I was just acting, or I was trying to act, I was auditioning, and not getting any jobs. And complaining about every script that I read, whether I thought that the script was garbage or that I wasn’t getting the job.
So, I was encouraged very aggressively by my agent to stop bitching and to write something myself. I got the Syd Field screenwriting books, which, you know, are—
Craig: Yeah. Page One. Page Three. Yeah.
Rob: And the William Goldman. And I just tried to understand the—
Craig: And just so I figure out if I have to kill you or not, was the first thing that you wrote It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia?
Rob: No. No. The first thing—
Dana: You will make it back to your car tonight.
Rob: The first thing I wrote was not a comedy at all. It was really super dark. Really dark. Because that was the time in my life when I was very dark. I wrote the script about a crime that took place in NYC and I wound up giving it to my agent. And he said maybe I could sell this. And we wound up optioning it to a company called Propaganda Films. Remember them?
Craig: They do commercial work, right?
Rob: Yes, or they did. They were shady. Shady people.
Craig: Oh, they were shady?
Rob: Oh yeah. Big time.
Craig: The name is kind of a tip off, isn’t it?
Rob: You’d think so.
Craig: Yeah, like let me tell you all about Propaganda Films.
Rob: They did. I will say though they wound up getting it to Paul Schrader. Paul Schrader, I don’t know if you guys know Paul Schrader.
Craig: Wrote Taxi Driver.
Rob: Taxi Driver and Raging Bull. And he signed on to direct it. So, I got to work with Paul for six or eight months rewriting the script.
Craig: That’s kind of cool.
Rob: That was really cool. Really cool. But if you know Paul’s work, the movie got darker and weirder. And darker and weirder. And then by the end, Propaganda was waiting to get paid and they didn’t really pay me anything. And by the end I said, hey Paul, like what’s going on? Are you going to make this movie? He said, “Well, I’m going to go off and do this other movie first, and then I’ll come back.” And then in the meantime Propaganda went bankrupt and the whole thing fell apart.
Craig: I mean, you must have one of these, right? I have one. We all have one of these.
Dana: Everybody has a creepy, sad story like that.
Craig: Yeah. You know like when you get that first moment where you’re like, oh my god, this is it? That company is going out of business in like a week. So your smart move is to short the stock.
Dana: Short the stock, yeah.
Craig: Just short the stock. Like whoever offers you your first gig, short the stock. Make some money.
Dana: But not to sound like a platitude, but I’ve always believed like it actually matters more how you get up from that one. Because like it’s going to happen for sure. And then it’s how do you handle yourself? Do you like cry like a bitch and get really mad about it and never write anything ever again? Or do you just go like, all right, pulling on my pants. I’m going to be a grownup. I’m going to start over.
Rob: I cried like a bitch. And I didn’t write anything for a long time. Because I was like that’s miserable. I mean, who wants to do that.
Craig: That’s a great question.
Rob: Yeah. I don’t even like writing. I hate writing. And if there’s any other writers in here, you guys know that writing is the worst.
Dana: It’s horrible.
Rob: It’s like the dumbest, dumbest job.
Craig: We’ve said it many times.
Dana: It’s like sad, and painful, and thankless.
Craig: The only thing worse than writing—
Rob: No recognition.
Craig: Yeah. The only thing worse than writing is listening to a podcast about writing.
Rob: It’s so much better to say the words that someone else wrote. And then you get all the money.
Craig: I know. It’s amazing. They even tell you were to stand.
Rob: They do everything for you.
Rob: They just point the camera and you just say the words.
Craig: Somebody dresses you like a child.
Craig: It’s amazing. I know. But I don’t have the facial symmetry for it. Good job, man. That’s pretty sweet.
Rob: I can’t help it. Anyway, so then I moved out to Los Angeles and I decided to write again, but I just wrote something. And I thought I want to write something very simple so that I don’t have to give it to somebody else. I want to go shoot it myself. And so I shot – I wrote a little short film that was very dark, but I brought it to my friends, Glenn and Charlie, and they thought it was funny.
And so we – and I was like all right.
Craig: Boy, did you dumb fuck your way into a billion dollars?
Dana: Oh yeah, that’s what I was going for. It was funny.
Rob: I just hitched my wagon to those two and just like held on for dear life.
Craig: This just blows my mind. Like you get Charlie and Glenn and Tim Herlihy, a friend of ours, when he was at NYU his roommate was Adam Sandler. I got Ted Cruz. This is unbelievable. Fucking unbelievable. Like, I must have been – you think I’m bad now, I must have been a real piece of shit in a previous life.
Dana: I just want to know, because you know they didn’t match that stuff up just randomly. There was some weird algorithm that thought you and Ted Cruz were like fucking—
Craig: It was like a Saw movie. Let’s just watch a man break down. Let’s do it. Let’s just see it happen and it’ll be fun.
Dana: There were cameras everywhere. You just don’t know.
Craig: Exactly. It was horrendous. So, you know, you’re like, oh yeah, look, I wrote a thing. Let me give it to my talented friends.
Rob: And I just decided I want to make this. I want to learn how to make it. So I didn’t know anything really about filmmaking, but I didn’t know anything about writing. I just got all the books and tried to – obviously I watched as many movies and TV shows as I possibly could over the course of my life.
And so I just went to Best Buy. And I didn’t have any money, but I got one of their credit cards. You know, it was super high interest rate and it was like, “I’ll pay you back.” And I did. I did pay them back.
Craig: You did? You paid them back.
Rob: And I bought a camera, like a prosumer-camera, and then I got Final Cut and learned how to cut. And then we just shot it. And then I cut it together. And it was terrible. Like, terrible, terrible. But I realized it was terrible. And then I rewrote it. We shot it again. That was also terrible. And then we reshot it maybe three or four iterations, and then I realized, oh wait, maybe this isn’t so bad.
Dana: The takeaway is there are no excuses. I mean, people talk all the time about like, well, I could, if I would, if I this, or if I that. It’s like you have an iPhone. Do it. Stop talking about it. Just do it. Because you’re going to suck for a very long time, so you might as well start sucking. Oh god. Sorry honey.
Craig: That’s Sexy Craig’s job. He handles that stuff. We don’t talk about the sucking. It’s true that that is necessary. It’s also true that a lot of people will shoot it, it stinks, they shoot it, it stinks, they shoot it. And then it never does get better. I mean, that’s the fascinating thing. That’s the thing I just wish I could go in time and watch all those little moments where people just go this way or this way. And people that have the potential and are talented, and there are some of them here tonight, who can go either way.
And they just decide to go this way. You know, because the funny thing is most of the people that insist and persist and prevail against all odds actually just never make it because they were never going to make it. It’s funny, like I worry sometimes that the people who can make it get too easily discouraged, because they’re aware. Like you said, “I know it sucks.”
Dana: They’re smart enough to know that it’s not good. Yeah, that’s what I was like.
Craig: What is it, the Dunning-Kruger effect? Is that what it is? I think we have a president who currently…anyway.
Well, that was enlightening. I think we got a pretty good sense of why it is that the show has been going on so long, and it’s because you do have that thing where you marry talent to this endless commitment. It’s really remarkable. I mean, it’s an incredible accomplishment.
Television has been around a long time. And for you to beat those records is unbelievable. And I can only presume, what are we talking about here, another 20, 30? I mean, basically until you die?
Rob: I guess.
Craig: All right. Well, you heard it here. We made news.
Rob: I don’t know. If you keep watching, we’ll keep doing it.
Craig: Keep watching it. He’ll keep doing it. Thank you, Rob.
Rob: Thank you.
Craig: Rian, come on out, buddy. We haven’t talked in a while. Looper was good.
Rian Johnson: Thank you.
Dana: I loved Looper.
Craig: And anything, anything since?
Rian: Well, it’s been slow.
Craig: It’s been slow. It happens.
Rian: It does.
Craig: But you know what?
Dana: I’m sorry. I feel so bad for you.
Craig: Brother Bloom was a little bit of a dip there. You got a little slow. Got a little sluggish. But then you came back. You bounce back. You’ll be fine.
Anyway, thanks for coming, Rian.
Rian: Yeah. Good talk. Good talk.
Craig: Rian Johnson, this is great. I don’t quite know how it’s taken this long. Maybe just because, I don’t – I don’t know. I always feel like, I don’t want to put you on the hot seat or anything.
Rian: I’m getting so nervous right now. I don’t know what’s about to happen.
Craig: But this is why. I don’t want to make you nervous. But Rian and I have been friends for a long time. And, of course, we all know of his story, his legend. Rian wrote and directed Brick, which came out in 2005. And he won the Originality of Vision prize at Sundance, which that year at least that’s accurate. I don’t know if it always is. That year, completely accurate.
Rian: It’s original. That’s like the better word.
Craig: It’s originality. Yeah, we’re not saying it’s good. But we haven’t seen that before. 2008, aforementioned Brothers Bloom which I actually love.
Dana: Bigger applause than Danny DeVito.
Rian: And Ozymandias.
Craig: And in 2012, I’m sure you all saw Looper. We’ll be having a contest later to see which one of you can explain the plot to me. But it is awesome. Also, Rian has directed some of the best of the Breaking Bad episodes, including Ozymandias. Ozymandias, look upon my works in despair.
And recently Rian has written and directed Star Wars: The Last Jedi. So what happens in it? [laughs]
Rian: Yeah, there’s a Jedi who is…the last in…
Craig: The last, possibly. OK, here’s how I want to start. You really are, when it says originality of vision, I thought that was apt. Because you are unique to me in that no matter original and, well, we’ll see monastic a lot of writers are, at some point along the way, and maybe peppered in throughout, they will work with other people on things. I’m thinking of Scott Frank, for instance. Scott always has time each year to write his own thing. But then he’ll go and he’ll work with James Mangold on Logan, for instance. And he’ll bop around and do things.
Not you. You have always been Rian Johnson Industries, kind of. I write Rian Johnson screenplays and then I direct Rian Johnson movies. And I think that’s part of the reason why there isn’t one every year. You take your time. You’re careful about it.
Then, this happens, and it’s sort of like the absolute opposite of solitude. You have now hundreds of people. And, on top of that, you also have this existing culture behind you and these other movies and characters that have been handed. How did you adapt to that new reality?
Rian: Well, I mean, it’s been so nice having lots of other people and not feeling so lonely. But I should actually back up and say one of the most surprising and nicest things about this whole experience has been how similar it actually felt in terms of the process to the other films.
Rian: It was really a come up with a story that I care about, write it, and then direct it. And I had my DP, Steve Yedlin, my producer, Ram Bergman, my editor, Bob Ducsay, from Looper. I mean, people I’ve been working with for years. And bizarrely just kind of felt like a – it felt like we were just all making another movie. And creatively, because Disney and Lucas Film were so terrific, also just creatively it felt just like coming up with something I want to make and making it. It’s been weird.
Craig: That’s very good news, I think. Because I think sometimes people will say, well, if somebody makes their own films, they are sort of an auteur for lack of a better word, and then they get involved in some large other thing, maybe their vision gets muddled. But what you’re saying kind of is you actually just did it again.
Rian: Yeah. I mean, yeah, and I think because people who are much more talented than me have done stuff this size, and it can go the other way very easily.
Craig: What do you mean by the other way?
Rian: I mean, it can be a bad experience. And that’s what Ram, my producer and I, before we came into this we waited really carefully, because on the one hand it’s Star Wars. It’s this thing that you love so much. But that also means that if it isn’t a good experience and it goes south, it would be the worst nightmare in the world to be fucking up Star Wars. And to have a miserable experience making the thing you great up loving.
Craig: Well, we’ll find out soon enough, won’t we?
Rian: Exactly. I was going to say. Spoiler alert.
Craig: So enjoy this time. This is nice.
Rian: I will just be listening to this podcast on repeat. Huddled in a fetal position behind a Denny’s.
Craig: That’s how I met you.
Rian: In Pomona. Yes. Flashbacks.
Craig: Memories. Dana, what do you have to say about this guy?
Dana: I wrote some stuff down.
Rian: Look at this.
Dana: I brought a pink pen just as like a fuck you to you guys.
Rian: That’s good.
Dana: So, I asked my kids to ask you questions. So, I said I’m going to interview the director of Star Wars tonight. I said what do you want to know. And Charlotte, my two-year-old, said Darth Vader. And Oliver, my four-year-old, said, “That’s not a question. You have to ask something like what’s the new movie about. Tell me the plot.”
So, if you want to elaborate on that. And then I said I don’t think he’s going to be able to say that, so you have to ask something else. And he said, “OK, I want to know why does Daddy’s phone only have some of the Star Wars’ songs on it, but not all of it.”
And then I said I don’t think he knows the answer to that, so you have to ask one more. So he wants to know why Boba Fett was a bounty hunter.
Craig: Answer the question.
Dana: Let me ask a follow up adult-style question. How did you get over the institutional memory of it enough to actually get in there and start doing it? I mean, I feel like it’s such a coveted brand for, you know, a company, but it’s more so I think we all think it’s our own thing. Like it’s all our favorite thing. So, how did you get over that initial feeling of like how can I touch this perfect thing?
Rian: Yeah. I mean, from the outside just looking at it, that was a really scary thing. And once I kind of started actually working on it, it’s funny, I found that the exact thing you think could be a big burden was actually the main thing that helped the whole process. Because telling any story, and you can look at – this is definitely what Lucas did when he made the original movies, he went out there trusting his own instincts.
And he was out there to tell a story that he cared about and that made sense to him. And at the end of the day it was coming from a really personal place. And so for me, knowing that I had that grounding of from a kid these movies meaning that much to me, and being so deeply ingrained, I kind of – I felt like that kind of gave me permission to trust that and to not freak out about what it means in any kind of bigger sense. And just say, OK, I know why I wanted to be Luke Skywalker when I was a kid. I’m going to believe that that’s a good compass to follow.
And so kind of turning inward like that actually was kind of a lifesaver. And I would think is the only way you could approach something like this and make it, you know, kind of mean anything to you I guess.
Dana: Is it weird if I cry during this Q&A? That’s like really beautiful.
Craig: John has never cried.
Rian: In life?
Dana: That’s the only thing I can bring to the table.
Craig: When John was born he didn’t cry. He just came on out and—
Rian: Just clipped himself off.
Craig: Exactly. Yep. And then plugged himself in. Yeah.
Dana: Have you always trusted though that gut instinct that like your point of view mattered and meant something? Because I think for me my trajectory was going from a person who was just trying to survive and get a paycheck and have a job to someone who felt like, well, maybe my specific perspective on this is interesting. And I should follow it. Did you always have that? Or when did you get that?
Rian: Well, I never was like good or smart enough to like get industry work before I made my first movie really. Basically I wrote Brick right out of college. And essentially just like tried to get it made through my 20s. I didn’t make it until I was 30. But the whole time I was trying and it kept almost getting there and falling apart.
But I was working some really wonderful jobs. I worked at a preschool for deaf kids for a while. I worked at the Disney Channel producing promos for like Bear in the Big Blue House. Like really good jobs, but nothing that was like I’m making money doing what I, you know, what my sights are set on.
So, when I started doing it, it was starting with this thing that was this really personal thing. And then was very, very lucky and able to just kind of keep doing that, I guess.
Craig: But there’s something about you, though, that a lot of people start out, they have a dream of what they want to do. They can’t quite get there. They’re making promos for Blue’s Clues.
Rian: Bear in the Big Blue House.
Craig: I’m sorry, the what now? The Bear?
Rian: Bear in the Big Blue House.
Craig: Oh, I remember him. Oh yeah.
Rian: Great shows. Henson. Anyway, go ahead.
Craig: Yeah, it was. It was good. So, you’re working on Blue’s Clues and you get this big break to make your movie and I think for a lot of people at that moment when someone turns to them and says, “But…” there are a couple of things you need to do that maybe don’t feel right to you. In that moment you say, oh OK, I don’t want to go back to the Bear in the Big Blue House. I want to keep moving forward here.
You’ve always struck me as somebody who would just say, well, then no. I’ll just go back to the Blue House.
Rian: It’s not like I had written something that had huge commercial value and somebody was going to say, “If you let us do this, we’ll make you a billion.” You know? Brick is such a weird movie. You can imagine how weird it was on the page. And with a first-time director, like it’s not like there were a ton of things like that that you’re talking about. But there were a lot of times that I would show it to different people who were producers or knew somebody somewhere or something, had that tantalizing like, you know, oh, maybe if I follow this. And they would say, “Yeah, if it’s just not set in high school, maybe then we’ll do it.”
Craig: I remember – can I tell a Looper story? Can I tell a story about seeing Looper? You had a few of us come to see Looper. I don’t know if you recall.
Rian: Oh, I recall the screening. We call you guys now the Wrecking Crew.
Craig: Well, we all liked it. I mean, you should have—
Rian: Did you, though?
Craig: You should have seen the Game of Thrones pilot. That was a wrecking crew. There was just blood everywhere. No, it was good. It was good. It was a little long. It was the usual stuff, right?
But I do remember that there was, and there was a bunch of us there, and a lot of good writers. I mean, I think Scott Frank was there. And I think Ted Griffin was there. And maybe John Gatins, too. And there was – you guys have seen Looper? Great. If you haven’t seen Looper, you don’t get to go to the party. And just like that, we solved the attendance problem.
So there’s a moment where Bruce Willis has a choice about whether or not to kill a child because that child may or may not grow up to become a terrible, despotic mass murderer. And he chooses to kill the child. And it turns out, wrong kid.
And there was a debate, I remember, in the room. And I remember specifically thinking, ugh, I don’t know, but I think so. It’s ballsy as hell. It’s brave. I don’t know. And I remember you just watched this whole thing. And at some point I remember thinking he doesn’t give a good sweet goddamn what any of us think about this. Not one bit. He’s made up his mind.
And that, in a weird way, is precious in our business to have an instinct and to adhere to it, even when a lot of people might say, “Whoa, that’s a little cray-cray.”
Rian: Yes, but, I guess. Yes, but you still need to – like for instance I was listening to you guys and I was really tuned into the fact that – like and this was actually very, very interesting. Because Looper, I had worked with some great, very famous actors before, but nobody who is like the type of star that Bruce Willis is. And a big fear going into it from the page to the screen was are we going to lose – is his character going to totally lose the audience when he shoots the kid? They’ll disconnect from the movie and say I don’t care what happens, I’m not invested anymore.
And so I was actually very tuned in and listening to every conversation I could listen to about—
Craig: Maybe it’s just your face looks like you—
Rian: That’s very possible. But, I mean, the fascinating thing is we found out it takes a lot to turn an audience against Bruce Willis. It takes more than shooting a child in the face. He shoots a child, an innocent child in the face. And like we talked to people afterwards saying like, “Yeah, but we figured he must have had a reason for doing it.” It was a very useful lesson actually.
Craig: Absolutely terrifying, actually.
Rian: Steve Buscemi in that part might not have been the—
Craig: No, no, that’s it. Boo. Walk out. Burn the theater down.
Dana: I think all of America must be like me, because I just see him and I’m like, “Dad?” Like he’s just everybody dad. So we’re like, I guess I forgive him. Maybe he’ll be a nice guy next time. Don’t worry, my dad doesn’t listen to podcasts.
Craig: [laughs] I don’t think anyone’s does. So, here’s something that I think people here will – it’s a nice warming thought. That if you are trying to break into the business, you’re trying to get into Hollywood as a writer or filmmaker, everyone really is Rian Johnson in 1997, right? Everyone has a script. Everyone has some sort of lack of visibility about what’s ahead of them.
But what do you tell folks who come here? I mean, how to approach their own path when they are being beset on all sides by advice and–?
Rian: Well, it was actually listening, Rob, listening to you guys talk. You said exactly what I feel like I most often respond to with that which is – and this was my experience, too, which is I think if you put energy into how do I break into the industry, how do I get an agent, how do I – it’s putting the cart before the horse. I think that ultimately first and foremost practicing. Shooting it. And then reshooting it. And reshooting it. And rewriting. And just getting, working on yourself and getting better. But just doing it.
Like getting a camera. Getting whatever camera you can get your hands on. And making stuff. And then getting out there however you can. I really, it sounds naïve a little bit when you say it, but I actually think practically that’s the industry – you can’t say the industry will be the path to your door, but I think that’s the best way to find your career is just to do what you do and get it out there however you can I think.
Rian: I really believe double down on substance. And that ultimately is, you know, what everybody is looking for so hard out there. Everybody wants something that’s interesting and good, I think. I hear a laugh.
Craig: That guy is like, “I own Disney.”
Rian: I may be totally skewed on this and wrong, but I feel like that’s – end up coming down on that, you know?
Dana: I was just going to say, do think that Brick would get made now?
Rian: Yes, if someone made it. Yeah. I mean.
Craig: That was kind of Yoda-like.
Rian: It didn’t get made then until they made it.
Dana: And how did you truly not give up after like ten years of trying on the same thing? How did you know your thing was worth something, and not that it was not, you know, people are slamming the door in your face for a reason? Like you pushed past that.
Rian: Well, I mean, I’m sure everyone here has a similar thing where it’s not like – you’re not always boldly up on the horse going forward. You do end up sobbing and crying. You do end up needing a weighted blanket occasionally to comfort you. But I don’t know, so it’s not a steady process, but I think ultimately like me if you’re dumb enough and have little enough talents outside of this industry, you have no other options really and have to just keep blindly moving forward, I think.
No, you just keep doing what you do, I think.
Craig: That’s accurate. I don’t think you’re good at anything else.
Craig: I have a question for you. Because you’ve always written what you’ve directed, and you’ve always directed what you’ve written, is there a director you’d like to write a script for? And conversely is there a writer whose work you would love to direct?
It’s one of those fanciful, rhetorical, imaginary questions.
Rian: Well, I mean, there are so many directors that I love, but writing, like you said, writing sucks, writing is terrible. I hate writing.
Craig: Welcome to Scriptnotes.
Rian: I feel like directing is the fun thing. No, writing – you love writing—
Craig: If I go through the pain of writing, then I want to direct it?
Rian: Exactly. Yeah. If you go through all that work, then why wouldn’t you get to make the film?
Craig: Interesting. Directing seems so hard to me.
Rian: No, it’s so easy.
Craig: Because you’ve got to wake up.
Rian: It’s so easy.
Craig: Every day you have to wake up. And all the questions. These glasses or these glasses? This tie or that tie?
Rian: Those glasses. That tie.
Craig: Oh, wow.
Rian: What was hard about that?
Craig: Film School with Rian Johnson. OK, I have one last question for you. Not to bum everybody out, but Carrie Fisher was not only our first princess and wonderful actor and a huge part of our culture, but she was a great, great screenwriter. And when she passed away, John and I talked about that. She was one of us.
And so I just thought I would invite you to share any thoughts you had about Carrie, because you were probably the last director she worked with, right?
Rian: Yeah. That’s how we connected as writers. And that was just an instant thing. The very first time I met her, I ended up just spending hours at her house. And she was like, “Tropic of Cancer. I’ve got it here somewhere.” And we ended up, even after she read the script, you know, that was kind of our bonding experience. Sitting together for hours, going through all the different lines.
Anyway, she had a brilliant mind. And I really loved her, man. I’m very, very, very sad she’s not around to give me a piece of mind – give me a piece of her mind about the movie when she sees it. She’s wonderful. I’m happy that we have a wonderful, beautiful performance from her in the film. And I’m just really happy and grateful I got to meet her and have her in my life, even briefly.
Craig: Fantastic answer. Thank you, Rian. Maybe we could open it up to some questions and answers for Rob, and for Rian, and for Dana.
Dana: Please, let’s not be weird about it, guys.
Craig: We have some microphones we can hand around.
Audience Member: The Last Jedi has what I think is one of the best posters ever. Was there any point where you send it back and send this poster sucked? What level of involvement did you have with it?
Rian: Well, no, they – I had little to nothing to – I had nothing to do with it, really. So I can agree with you and say it’s a gorgeous poster without being an asshole.
And really the way it worked, I walked into a room just with like 40 posters on the walls of all of these different ideas. And it was me and Kathy Kennedy and some other folks. And we all – it was like magnets. Our eyes just, whoop, right to that one.
Then there were just a couple tweaks to it, but really right off the bat they just made this. I agree, I think it’s a stunner. I’m glad you like it.
Audience Member: My question is for Rob. You mentioned that it took a lot of encouraging from I think you said your agent to get you to finally write something. And I was wondering what finally got you to do it, or now when you don’t want to write, or when it’s hard, because like you said it kind of sucks, what gets you to finally do it? What helps?
Rob: Desperation. I mean, because the truth is I hate it. If I didn’t make that clear. I hate it. It’s the worst. It’s the worst. The worst. And I wasn’t working. I was working in a restaurant. And I just got sick of it. So I started writing. And now I do it for money. And when there’s a deadline and I have to do it because we’re shooting. You know, and the truth is when I’m really – when we get into it and things are happening and things are moving forward, there’s not a greater feeling in the world, because as you know if you’re a writer, staring at a blank page or a blank computer screen is the absolute worst, but when you fill it up and when you read it back through, and you truly believe in your heart. And you know that it’s good, you created that.
And it’s the only art form in our industry where you create something from whole cloth. And what can be more satisfying than that? So I still fucking hate it, but I derive an incredible amount of pleasure from a finished project.
Dana: Yeah, and also a little practical advice, too. Just like take your pajamas off. Because if you don’t look like you’re at a job, you won’t feel like you’re at a job. And if you don’t have real pressure, create fake pressure that you actually are so fucked up you start believing in. Because if there are no deadlines and if you don’t have to do it to get paid, and if none of that stuff is there and you’re just in a vacuum going what should I do, it’s all just this wonderful blank page.
The last strike we had, I was like, oh, this is going to be amazing. I’m going to sit down and I’m going to write this spec that’s inside me. I did not write one word. Because there were no constraints. Nobody was saying like it has to be a little bit of this, and do your best job making it that. So just create fake constraints on yourself.
And even if that is doing an It’s Always Sunny spec so that you don’t feel the pressure of I have to have my voice figured out. Just figure out how to write a good scene the way that that show writes a good scene. And study their show, you know, study a bunch of their episodes and try to do your best at that. And that will just get you in the muscle of it.
Craig: Got any advice for the blocked or the reticent?
Rian: No. I think that it’s, I don’t know, it sucks. There’s no cure for it. Except I find literally just switching and thinking about something else for a while or if you don’t have the luxury of doing that, yeah, then staring at the wallpaper until it starts peeling off. And I’m just going to describe the rest of Barton Fink right now in detail. This is going to take two hours, but it’ll be worth it.
Craig: That is very Swedish. He’s our little Swede. I’m a big fan of the shower. I don’t know for whatever reason. Taking a long shower lets me kind of imagine. I don’t like writing—
Rob: How environmentally responsible of you.
Dana: There’s a drought in California, Craig.
Rob: The worst drought in the history of our state. Oh, you just take your long showers.
Dana: Craig created the drought.
Rob: Because the world needs more of your movies.
Craig: More, exactly. They’re not even – it’s not even water. It’s hand to blood. It’s awesome.
Audience Member: Excuse me. I lost my voice last weekend, so I have to growl like Batman. Batman wants to know, it’s for all four of you, is there one pilot or one movie that you wish you had written or directed?
Craig: Oh my god, just one?
Rob: Man, I watch Mad Men, and I’ve watched that series through twice. And then started a third time. And I’m just fascinated by that show on every level. Insofar as it is not a subject matter that interests me at all. There’s not much that actually happens. There’s no hook. On paper, having not read the scripts, I just mean in terms of like a one-line pitch, it seems boring as all hell.
And yet I was riveted more watching that show than almost certainly Game of Thrones. I’m going to tear them apart.
Craig: I mean, I like the show. I just don’t like them.
Rob: I actually hate them. I happen to love Game of Thrones, and Breaking Bad, and I was riveted watching all those shows, but I’m inherently interested in watching a chemistry teacher turn into Scarface. I’m inherently interested in watching dragons going and kick ass. I’m not inherently interested in watching a bunch of guys smoke cigarettes and drink whisky and talk about marketing.
And yet I was thoroughly riveted at every moment of every episode. And humbled by the fact that there was a person and/or people out there that were able to do that with the writing.
Craig: What about you, Rian?
Rian: Paper Moon is the – I love a lot of movies, but if there’s one movie that I watch and I feel like, god, this feels so close to everything I love. It’s Paper Moon.
But what Rob said, I mean, I think – like I just saw Certain Women, the Kelly Reichardt movie, recently and it’s – like I find myself fascinated by things that are so outside of my skill set. And it’s a similar thing where it’s such a gentle, such a – you know, such an observational film and yet you’re riveted every single second. More so than in most Hollywood blockbusters. And that’s magical to me, because I don’t know how it’s done.
So, yeah, that’s, yeah, similar.
Craig: What about you, Dana?
Dana: Don’t patronize me. Nobody cares. No, because Rob said – I’m kidding. I’m sitting next to Rian. Because Rob already said Mad Men, I would have to say The West Wing, because I’m in love with shows that are about people having a work family and loving their work so much that they have these relationships that are not sexual at all, but that are like deeply loving. And I find that fascinating. That’s what I loved about Mad Men is I was so obsessed with the Peggy Olson/Dan Draper characters, because they had this beautiful love affair that was totally platonic.
And because they loved their work. Craig, what do you think?
Rian: Nobody cares.
Craig: I’m going to say Toy Story. And I’m going to say Toy Story because it was, I think – maybe it was the first time that the technology of storytelling finally perfected narrative. It was just perfect. There was nothing there that was wrong. Everything was right. Everything worked. Everything fit together beautifully. And Pixar has done it over and over and over.
But I remember seeing Toy Story and thinking that’s a flawless thing. Even if it’s not, you know, I know it’s not Taxi Driver, but it’s a flawless thing. Who wouldn’t want to have that, to be able to say I did that? That would be remarkable.
Dana: And I have kids, so I can tell you that if you’ve watched it 147,000 times, it doesn’t get boring.
Craig: There’s no mistakes.
Dana: It’s perfect. It’s amazing.
Craig: There’s just not one mistake. It’s just a remarkable thing.
Audience Member: Hey guys. Myself, like many in this room, I’ve written a lot of screenplays, gotten attachments, or good notes, or lots of nice things, and all these breadcrumbs of hope that have never led to a sale or a film necessarily getting made. So, I guess I’m just asking the four of you, since clearly you’ve seen success and know what you’re doing, what are some enduring qualities that we all need or should hone in on and strap in for, because I know that even once you get a sale, or you get something made, it’s not like your problems go away.
So, can you maybe talk about some of those qualities?
Rob: Qualities in a script? Or qualities—
Craig: I think he means in him.
Audience Member: Oh, I’m sorry. Just as a writer/producer, just person living and working in this city?
Craig: Well, I’ll tell you one thing that you’re going to run into, people are going to read your work and then they’re going to say things about it. And they’re not, even if you’re working for them, and they’re paying you, or they’ve purchased it already, they will say things like, “That just doesn’t work.” And it will feel terrible. It will feel much worse than you think it will feel.
It never stops feeling terrible in a weird way. It’s a strange thing to have that, you know, I always think like if actors dealt with what writers deal with, it would just be one take after another of, “Nah, that’s not, no.”
Rob: We do. It’s called auditioning.
Craig: Oh, yeah, there is that. That’s to get the job. We also do that. It’s called pitching. But you are going to have to learn in those moments to put that pain second, because where a lot of young writers, new writers go wrong is they cannot handle that emotional dissonance. It’s hard. And they become either defensive or discombobulated.
And in the end people have choices of who they want to work with. And you don’t want to be unpleasant. And it’s not our fault, it just happens. It’s human. But I think having some kind of emotional resilience is a really important thing.
Dana: And congratulations on having breadcrumbs. I mean, that’s more than most people have. So, keep going, dude.
Rob: Certainly resolve is something that Craig was just talking about, but I think it’s also just a lack of cynicism. And Mazin is like one of the most cynical people I’ve ever met to comedic effect, but the truth is he wakes up every day – I believe this is true. You can correct me if I’m wrong. But you still have a sense of wonder and joy of the fact that you are living your dream.
And I think you have to remind yourself of that every single day. Whether you’re getting paid for it or not. Because you could be working, you know, on a roof somewhere laying grout. You know, you’re not.
Craig: You could be flashing a roof.
Rob: Sure. Whatever profession Craig was headed down.
Craig: Flashing. On a roof.
Craig: Yeah. It’s the stuff that goes—
Dana: Around the thing. It plugs the holes.
Craig: Nah. It’s more like, some of you know what I’m talking about. Some of you have spent time on a roof like I have.
Rob: Anyway, it’s really easy to get cynical. And to get hardened. And to become so angry at the world or at the industry or, you know, whatever – whoever you need to blame. But the truth is that if you wake up and what you love to do is write, or what you love to do is make films, you can do that right now.
And you are doing it already. And I think that takes a certain sense of innocence and maybe naïve joy and sense of wonder. And if you lose that – and even the most hardened, I’m pointing to Craig, of professionals, I still think keeps that.
Craig: Oh, this is, you know, a lot of these people I assume have been listening to the show for a long time. You start to realize that I’m – John is actually the hard one. I’m a mush. I really am. And I am endlessly amused and fascinated by what we do.
When you do get to walk onto a sound stage, every single time I walk on a sound stage I get excited. Every single time. And when I see dailies, and when I see things like movie posters, I get excited. And when, I don’t know, when it becomes real, even storyboards get me excited. And the truth is what no one can ever take away from us is we get that time on our own where we’re completely in control of it. And in those moments, you should feel nothing but passion for it.
I mean, you guys all seem to hate writing. I love it. And I love it even when it’s hard. I love it because it’s just, I don’t know, it seems like the most wonderful mode of living. I think if you just stayed in there, obviously it would be bad. They would find you days later. But that’s, you know, that is so much preferable to me than I don’t know what are the other options. Like heroin, I guess? Just something to make everything else go away?
Dana: And more practical advice. If you have to have a job, like most people do when they’re trying to get into the business, you have to like pay the bills. Give your good hours to your writing. And don’t tell John August, because I was actually John August’s assistant. I’m sure he won’t listen to this. Wah. Sorry John.
But I used to wake up. I worked for John, and I would get to his house at like 9:30. And I used to wake up at 4:30 in the morning so I could write before I got to work. So, then I was like answering his phone like, [slurring] “This is John August’s office.” And I did nap a lot. He did see me napping a lot.
So, you can’t always do that. But if you can do that, I would recommend not saying to yourself like, oh, I’m going to do my writing when I get home from work in like the two shitty hours where I’m exhausted at the end of every day, because that’s like saying you’re going to become a surgeon in your spare time, you know, on your lunch break or whatever. That’s not doable.
Craig: All right. I think we’ve got time for one more.
Audience Member: I have a question for Dana. I’m sorry that it’s probably the question you get a lot. Do you feel like you had to work harder breaking in as a woman? And what advice do you have for young women screenwriters.
Craig: Let me answer that for Dana.
Dana: No, no, no, Craig, you don’t understand. I’m going to answer it, and then you’re going to tell me why I’m wrong. You’re going to explain it to me later why I’m wrong.
First of all, no, I don’t think I had to work harder because I was a woman. I think I just had to work really, really, really hard because this business is really hard. And anyone who wants to do it has to work really hard.
You know, there have been times where I think being a woman is not awesome. For example, you’re getting ready to pitch something and you have to go get a blow out and that takes a fucking hour. And no guy has to do that. And then you’ve got to worry about your outfit, because you’re like do you think he’s the kind of guy who likes tits or doesn’t like tits? And does he hate his ex-wife, or does he love his wife? Like I don’t know. Do I remind him of his daughter, or his wife, or you know, it’s like, ugh. So that’s a fucking drag.
Craig: Did you know that was going on? I didn’t know that was going on.
Dana: I mean, you have to think about it. So, you know, there’s that.
What I will say is that there was a certain point at which I stopped tap dancing and like pretending that it was every guy’s idea. Because I did a lot of that for a long time. Like I would plant things in guy’s heads and then they would say it back to me. And I’d be like, “Oh my god, you’re so smart.” But that got kind of exhausting. So I stopped doing it. And I think my advice would be just like work harder than – it’s the same advice I would have for me which is like work harder than everyone else. I was always wherever I had to be before everyone else. And I always stayed later than everybody else. And I always treated every single meeting and every single interaction I had with anyone like it was an audition to get invited back into the room the next day.
And no matter how much success I’ve had, I still feel like that. Every single day I treat my job like I’m the luckiest person on earth that someone is paying me to do it. And I better just leave everything on the field, or not on the field. How does sports work?
Do you want to leave it on the field? Or do you want to take it off the field?
Craig: Do they like tits? Do they not like tits?
Dana: Do they like the boobs? Do they not like the boobs?
Craig: It’s basically the same question.
Dana: It’s very complicated.
Oh, and one thing that was hard was when I started running my own TV show, and I was the boss of like guys who are a lot older than me. That was weird. So, you know, you do have to deal with that kind of stuff. But I’m sure you guys have had your version of that. You look like a 12-year-old. You probably still have that. Like a hot 12-year-old.
Rob: I leave my boobs on every field I go to.
Craig: I think that pretty much covers it. And that’s our show.
As always, Scriptnotes is produced by Godwin Itai Jabangwe. Godwin. And it is edited by Matthew Chilelli, who also wrote our awesome, fantastic intro. Matthew.
If you have questions, you know where to find us. For short questions, you can reach us on Twitter. I am @clmazin and John is @johnaugust. For longer questions, such as the ones that were posed here, you want to email those to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show notes for this episode will be at johnaugust.com. Transcripts go up four days after. With that, I want to thank so, so much my cohost, Dana Fox. The amazing Rian Johnson. The incredible Rob McElhenney. John Gatins, and all the folks at Hollywood Heart, it was such a pleasure. Thank you guys for coming out and supporting this great cause.
Thank you very much.
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