The original post for this episode can be found here.

John August: Hey, this is John. So, today’s episode has some strong language. Standard warning. You know what, headphones might be appropriate. Also, on today’s episode we talk about some serious things including sexual assault. If you have been a victim of sexual assault, please know you are not alone. Consider contacting rainn.org, or call their national sexual assault hotline at 1-800-656-4673. Thanks.

Hello and welcome. My name is John August.

Craig Mazin: My name is Craig Mazin.

John: And this is Episode 322 of Scriptnotes, a podcast about screenwriting and things that are interesting to screenwriters.

Today on the podcast we’ll be discussing sexual harassment and other despicable acts in the case of Harvey Weinstein.

Craig: You just said that so merrily, by the way. [laughs] Yay, today we’ll be learning how to bake a nice cake and sexual harassment by Harvey Weinstein.

John: But we’ll also be looking at what should happen or might happen in the post-Weinstein era, Craig.

Craig: There may be some cause for optimism there.

John: To help us do that and have that conversation we’ll be joined by two amazing guests. First off, Daley Haggar is a writer whose credits include Cristela, Anger Management, Friends with Benefits, and Big Bang Theory. She also wrote a terrific article for Lenny entitled “Why I’m Snitching on Hollywood’s Sexism,” which you can actually listen to in the Scriptnotes feed. We recorded that half an hour ago.

Daley Haggar: Hello.

John: Welcome to the show, Daley.

Craig: Welcome, Daley.

Daley: Thank you.

John: And also Dara Resnik is a writer whose credits include I Love Dick, Shooter, Jane the Virgin, Castle, and Mistresses. She also co-wrote an article this last week with Gillian Boher for the Washington Post titled “Don’t be so sure Harvey Weinstein is going away for good.”

Dara, welcome to the show finally.

Dara Resnik: Thank you for having me. I feel like this is long overdue, so I’m thrilled to be here.

John: It’s very long overdue.

Dara: For a terrible reason.

John: No, a terrible thing has brought us all together.

Dara: It’s true.

John: So before we get into the meat of the episode, we have some news and some business, some podcast business. Craig, what is the most common request we get as we go to live shows and as people are coming up to us and saying, “Craig Mazin, when will you provide us with…”

Craig: With branded meat snacks.

John: Those are not things that we actually provide to our listeners. We provide quality entertainment once a week, but we also provide clothing.

Craig: T-shirts.

John: Yes.

Craig: It was either going to be some kind of meat snack or a t-shirt.

John: So I’m happy to announce that we actually do now finally have t-shirts available for purchase. They are on Cotton Bureau, just like last time, but they are new shirts. They are brand new shirts.

Craig: All right, so new designs.

John: New designs.

Craig: And they’re spectacular designs.

John: Let us talk through the designs and we can have like honest feedback from our guests. They can tell us which of these things they would actually want to wear.

Craig: Awesome.

John: So, the first t-shirt is Scriptnotes Classic. It is a typewriter with the word Scriptnotes on top of it. What’s different about it this time is it comes in a normal light mode and a dark mode, so it’s the same t-shirt, the same colors, but there’s a dark t-shirt and a light t-shirt. I think it’s fun.

Dara: I like that one. I would wear that one, but I have gotten a preview and I think there’s one I like more.

John: All right. The one I think she likes more is called Umbrage & Reason. And it says Umbrage & Reason on it. And it also says Scriptnotes on the arm.

Craig: Now which one of us is Reason?

John: I think I’m Reason.

Dara: Definitely. Yeah. It’s like not even a question.

Craig: See, I would have said umbrage is reason. But I get it. I get it.

John: Yeah. Unreasonable people could have umbrage.

Craig: Yeah, I think that’s more of a raving to me. Umbrage, to me, is always justified. You’ll be hearing some of it today.

John: I think so. Our third and final t-shirt is the Umbrage Strikes Back. It is a Star Wars homage. It features the Scriptnotes little typewriter surrounded by laurels that suggest a Star Wars type universe.

Craig: And because you’re using my catchphrase, what percentage of the monies will I get?

John: You will get the standard Craig Mazin cut of all proceeds coming into the podcast.

Craig: So zero again?

John: Zero again. Our t-shirts help pay for Matthew who cuts the show, for Megan our producer, for hosting, and for all the other things. So, guys, thank you for buying t-shirts. But they’re mostly there because people like t-shirts and it’s a pleasure to see them out in the wild. Even this last month in London I saw them out on the streets of London, which was terrific.

Craig: Yeah, it’s very, very cool. We do see them and I was at a restaurant, just like a lunch, and I was walking out and it was one of those little side streets where you have to kind of park far away from the restaurant. It was Little Dom’s. Do you know Little Dom’s?

Dara: Oh, I love Little Dom’s. I used to love the original, the Dominick’s.

Craig: Where was that?

Dara: It was on Beverly. It closed.

Craig: OK. But this one is in Silver Lake I guess.

Daley: Los Feliz, I think.

Craig: Los Feliz, thank you. Thank you, Daley. But you got to park on some far flung street. And so there’s just a guy jogging by, and I just glanced over and he was wearing a Scriptnotes t-shirt and I went, huh. And then I kept walking and he just sort of stopped like, wait, you’re the t-shirt guy. And we had a nice little chit-chat and then he just kept on running. It was very cool. They’re out there in the wild. It’s always nice to see them.

It reminds me that people do listen to the show. I know that John is fully aware that people listen to the show. But I forget. All the time.

John: Yeah. We will be seeing a bunch of our Scriptnotes t-shirts, I suspect, in Austin. This next week we’ll be there for – we have two live shows. We have extra special events. So, come see us this week in Austin if you’re there.

Craig: Yeah. For sure. We will have an excellent, excellent time. And definitely check out the live show that we’re doing on Friday night. Because that’s the one where John and I and some other writers go and drink a little bit too much. Not too, too much, but we probably go over our standard 1.5 drinks.

John: Yeah. We might get all the way up to two. That’s what I heard.

Craig: Which is crazy for me, you know, with my little Jewish liver.

Dara: Like thirsty in the morning hungover, but not like headache hungover?

Craig: Yeah, yeah, that’s my thing. I don’t really have headache hangover. I either have thirty in the morning hungover, or dead. Like dead all day. I can’t do it. Yeah, my liver doesn’t really—

Dara: Work?

Craig: It works, like in the sense that I’m not jaundiced all the time. But it cannot – like you’re German. You could probably drink an enormous amount.

John: I can. Yeah. I can drink an enormous amount.

Craig: But like, Dara, I’ll bet you cannot drink that much before you get crazy sick.

Dara: I can drink. I can hold my own. I think there are a lot of people who might be listening to this who would say, “I’ve seen Resnik hold her own.”

Craig: Really? So all this time I’ve been blaming it on being Jewish, and it’s just that I suck.

Dara: And I’m really Jewish, and smaller than you.

Craig: Yeah, oh no, for sure.

Dara: We should test this and see which one of us can—

Craig: No we shouldn’t, because I don’t want to lose. And then I’ll be dead. You were not listening.

Daley: This podcast is a drinking contest.

Craig: It would be an amazing drinking contest.

John: Yeah. We replaced your water with vodka and we’ll see how it is at the end of the show.

Craig: Blah.

John: Blah. Last bit of news. This is a segment we’ll call John’s WGA Corner, because I actually have a few things I need to talk about. First off–

Craig: WGA Corner! You just named that on your own. I’m coming up with a better name for that. Not today. I’ll think of one. Go ahead.

John: If you are a WGA member and you got an invite in your email box to come to an outreach lunch, please do. This last week I was happy to host a lunch for screenwriters where we talked through issues. And it was really great. And to just have 15 people around a table to talk about what’s really going on was a unique opportunity.

My question for you guys. I asked in the room how many of you have changed agents or managers in the last two years. What do you think the show of hands was? What percentage of people raised their hand?

Dara: I would say very few. I would say 5%.

Daley: Yeah.

Craig: I would go a little higher. I would say it actually probably – because it’s agents and managers. I would say it’s closer to a third.

John: It was more than 50%, approaching two-thirds.

Dara: Wow.

John: And so when you actually dig into why they switched agencies or managers, it’s really fascinating. So, that was a thing we wouldn’t have known about if people hadn’t come to these lunches.

So if you get an invite to come to one of these, please do. We’re talking to screenwriters first, but we’ll be talking to other writers in other categories down the road. So, if one of these things shows up in your email inbox, please do come, because it’s incredibly helpful to us.

Second off, if you are a writer who is working in comedy variety, so you’re writing for a show like Colbert, or Samantha Bee, the process of applying to get one of those jobs, you end up submitting a writing packet of your stuff, a submission packet. Daley, have you ever done that? You’ve written comedy before.

Daley: Many, many times.

John: So, a thing I was just naïve and didn’t understand is that I assumed it was just things you had already written, but they actually ask you to write specific things for that show. And I got sent a few of those things, the submission packet requests, and it was tremendous amount of work. And it felt like a lot of unpaid labor.

And so that’s a thing the WGA is looking at now. So, if you are a WGA member who has gotten one of these submission packet requests and it seems like, wow, that’s just a crazy amount of free work they’re asking for, send it in. There’s an email address called contracts@wga.org. And we’re just taking a look at that to make sure it’s all kosher and above board.

What were things that you saw when you were doing that?

Daley: So, I know some shows do or used to, sort of, used to have a policy to prevent against either accusations of theft or maybe just people doing free work, but like Letterman for instance, I applied a million years ago. They have you write top ten lists about old news. And I think same for shows like The Daily Show. Because there was a controversy with the Jimmy Kimmel Show when it first started. They were asking people to generate theoretical material for this brand new show. Which makes sense why they would ask that in a packet, but I think the WGA did end up getting involved. There was a little settlement. I got like $150 or something. And my packet was terrible. There’s no way I was getting a job there. But, you know, I did get—

Craig: So it was not worth $150?

Daley: It really wasn’t. [laughs] But I just remember it was kind of that same free labor issue.

John: Yeah, a writer I was talking to described it as like imagine you were trying to get staffed on CSI and they asked you like, OK, write an episode of CSI. It was crazy in the amount of work they were asking for. And so trying to find where that natural line is is really important.

Craig: In the arrangement, though, they’re not saying that they’re owning that work I assume, right?

John: No, so they’re not saying that they own the work that comes in. They’re signing some sort of thing, but the point being if you’re writing a specific bit for one show, it’s great that you own that thing, but you’re not going to be able to use that for anything else.

Craig: I agree. It’s a real issue. But then, of course, you have to figure out how it is exactly that these shows are going to figure out who to hire.

John: Yeah. I mean, what some shows have turned to doing is they look at sort of general packets and then they ask specific people to write these things. So it’s not an open call for everyone to submit these things. They’re asking – or they’re even paying.

Craig: Well that’s the thing. You could actually just give someone $5,000, satisfy the minimum basic agreement. Own the material, by the way. I mean, this is the part that blows my mind. If I were running one of these companies, no, I’m not going to throw $5,000 across the board to 100 people. No. But if I look at general packets and I narrow it down to 10 candidates, of course I’m going to spend the $50,000. And also if – and then I get to keep the work. It just doesn’t make any sense.

John: It doesn’t make any sense. And we’re talking about comedy variety people, but the issue of leave-behinds when you’re going to pitch a feature. The same type of thing where that is spec work you’re asking for people, and that can be really problematic, both for the writer and legally for the people who are asking for it.

So, again, if you are encountering these kind of situations, write in to contracts@wga.org. And we just want to keep an eye on it.

Dara: I actually think this is related to some of what we’re going to get into, which is a culture of respect for people in this business. And I think that’s pervasive in all ends.

John: I agree.

Craig: Amen.

John: So let’s get to the topic at hand. So, to recap, in case you’re listening to this a year later and trying to remember hey what happened, because like before the nuclear war.

Craig: But there’s still podcasts.

John: There’s still podcasts. Because, remember, we sell these USB drives that are indestructible.

Craig: Indestructible.

John: Yeah.

Craig: That’s not tempting fate at all.

John: No, not a bit.

So, Harvey Weinstein and his brother, Bob Weinstein, created Miramax. And then later the Weinstein Company. Together they produced hundreds of movies, everything from Sex, Lies, and Videotape, The Crying Game, Pulp Fiction, The English Patient, Shakespeare in Love, The King’s Speech. Plus, Scary Movie.

Craig: Yes. Scary Movie 3 and 4. I worked almost exclusively for Bob Weinstein for about seven years.

Dara: Wow.

Craig: So I have perspective.

John: You have perspective. October 5th, this past year, New York Times ran an article by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey entitled “Harvey Weinstein Paid Off Sexual Harassment Accusers for Decades.” So that one detailed – started talking about Ashley Judd, but other actors and employees who were working for him and encountered terrible, terrible things that he was doing.

A subsequent article by Rowan Farrow for The New Yorker extended the list of other bad things that had happened. Weinstein was fired. And that sort of catches us up to now. So, we were off the air for two weeks while this was all happening, but in some ways I think it was good that we have a little bit more distance and perspective. We’re not talking about current events, but sort of more what happened in general and what can happen next.

Craig: Well, who wants to dig in on this? I mean, you both did excellent work, I have to say, both the article and the essay were fantastic. And I kind of – I mean, I have my own things to say about the Weinstein situation, but I’m sort of fascinated to hear what you guys have to say.

Dara: Do you want to – this is like that Amy Schumer sketch where like the women look at each other and it’s like—

Daley: Totally.

Dara: I’ve got nothing to say. You go first. Do you want me to dig in or do you want to—

Daley: Yeah, you can go and I’ll—

Dara: I’ll dig in. I thought this was one of the best things to happen in a while, while being completely horrified. I was really floored and impressed with the number of people who came forward in such a short period of time. You know, when the Cosby case broke, that was sort of a slow trickle, which eventually became a flood. This was like dozens of people all coming out at one time. And as we saw, not just with the dozens of people, but then with the social media response and all of these people posting Me Too, Me Too, Me Too, and posting their experiences being assaulted and raped and harassed, there’s a safety in numbers with that.

And I think it’s making a dent. I don’t know how big a watershed moment this is. But I think we have changed some hearts and minds towards being allies for women and other marginalized voices.

John: Daley, did this take you by surprise? Like when this happened, what were your initial instincts?

Daley: The Harvey thing specifically? That did not surprise me, because of course we’ve all heard stories from guys, you know, about how abusive he was. But, yeah, I’m a little surprised just in the sense of there has always been this culture – I mean, I’ve never worked in the movie business, only TV. And there’s this real culture of, like, there’s a whole thing of the writers’ room, it’s sacred, and it’s a cone of silence, and all that stuff. And you’re not supposed to talk shit about the writers’ room, or even talk about anything that happens in it, because it is this sort of sacred, disgusting place.

[laughs]

But, you know, I’m glad for that reason that this did come out. The article I did, the Lenny piece, I had written months ago. So it was pre-Weinstein. And it just, very coincidentally, the intended publication date was right in the middle of this.

Dara: That’s crazy.

Daley: That helped it kind of get out.

Craig: That worked out.

Daley: Yeah, it really did. It was crazy.

Craig: That’s amazing.

John: Back up and talk about the sense that everybody knew. So, I would say that personally I knew that Harvey Weinstein was kind of a jerk and a monster, but I didn’t know that this thing was happening. I didn’t know that he was abusive to women in the ways that he was abusive to women.

You were around the Weinstein brothers more. What was your sense, Craig, of what was happening?

Craig: Well, you know again, I almost exclusively worked for Bob. I had probably six or seven encounters with Harvey over those years. And they were fairly limited. They were unpleasant. No shock there. I did not know at all that there was any kind of – I guess what you would call harassment or assault taking place. And, of course, rape.

What I knew was rumors I had heard. And the rumors I had heard were rumors of kind of a – I guess you’d call it quid pro quo arrangements, right, so that “Well you know this actor and this actor Harvey had a quid pro quo arrangement. They slept with him and he made them famous.” Now as it turns out, and I’m not going to bother repeating the names because it’s just rumor-mongering, one of those actors said, “No, that’s not true.” She was propositioned, but nothing came of it. And the other actress said not even that happened.

So, those rumors were incorrect. And I never heard anything about that. I’m kind of – I don’t know if you guys saw Scott Rosenberg’s piece that he did.

Dara: I thought it was really lovely.

Craig: It was amazing, but it also – I was like, my god, so the Weinsteins really – I mean, they hate each other. Obviously you can see that. Two scorpions in a small box. That company was very divided. So there was the Harvey side and the Bob side. And the Harvey side was trying to win Oscars and the Bob side was shlock. And, of course, being from Staten Island, I’m on the shlock boat.

So I’m reading this, Scott’s talking about how on the Harvey side there was parties and there was glamour and there was award shows and red carpets. And he was getting flown to these vacation spots. And I’m like, oh my god, on the Bob side it was just darkness and occasionally you would get, you know, like he would give you a Diet Coke. And then they actually changed that. I remember in the office – in the office – they took Diet Cokes and stuff out of the refrigerator and put in a vending machine for their own employees. I was about to say that’s how horrible they are.

Daley: Telling.

Craig: But I realize that the raping is probably slightly worse. So, anyway, the point is I did not know at all. That said, not – it certainly wasn’t one of those things where I’m like, oh my god, I can’t believe that person is that person. No. this seems, yeah, I can connect the dots here.

Dara: I heard rumors – I was a PA in New York in the late ‘90s and would hang out with other PAs. Some of the names of which I remember and some I don’t. And the conversation often turned towards “He’s a really bad guy and here’s some stuff I think might be happening, but I don’t really know.” And that was obviously confirmed.

John: Sarah Polley had a great piece this last week where she talked about going there with a publicist and the publicist says like I’m not going to leave you alone in a room with Harvey Weinstein.

Craig: They knew. The publicists knew.

John: So that publicist knew. And so the question of if you’re a person who knew, or like strongly suspected, what was your responsibility? Like what should that publicist had done? And what should any of these actors who were in these situations should have done. And that’s one of those sort of impossible to roll back time to figure out.

Dara: Well I think the issue with that is it places a lot of responsibility on the victims, and on friends of the victims, and ignores a much bigger issue of power structure and power dynamics. And the way that you have to weigh the cost of speaking every single time you do it.

I even tell my students – I teach at USC – and I’ll tell them, you know, you might hear a joke and you might think “I want to say something,” but you do have to consider what the cost of that is going to be in the long term and do you want to use your capital now, or do you want to use it later for a more “serious” offense. So I don’t know what the “responsibility” would be. It’s a much bigger conversation about power.

Daley: I also think it brings up the need for specific policies. I know we’re a free-wheeling business and we’re artists and we don’t teach all that corporate crap and HR, but I do think it’s not even that people who don’t stand up are bad people. I think it’s human nature to see – I’ve certainly seen things that were not good and let them just go by because most people aren’t confrontational. We’re not really programmed for that.

But, again, it’s why if there’s specific sort of procedures to follow, because going to HR we all know is kind of a joke right now in this industry. It gives at least a path for kind of doing the right thing, which may help.

I also think, just as far as the TV thing goes, having more women there. Like I have been at shows where it’s usually the youngest person there was getting harassed, in a couple of cases. I had women come to me and I was able to kind of run interference a little bit. But when you have one woman on a show alone–

Craig: Also not really your job. Right? You’re supposed to be there writing.

Daley: Right.

Craig: And now, I mean, I don’t know how to feel about say the assistants who knew what was going on and were essentially engaging in this charade. They knew perfectly well that when they said, “Oh yeah, come on up to Harvey’s room, we’re all going to be there,” they were not going to be there. And they knew that was the deal.

On the other hand, I know that place. I know those guys, and I know that business. And everybody was in fear. Everybody. That is a – it is an impossible situation. It makes you, well, it’s like he separates – both of those brothers – separate you from what is normal. And they separate you from what is humane. And then you’re just in another culture.

Dara: I think that that’s actually true, though, across Hollywood. And you guys are lucky, because you write features, and there’s a lot of this stuff that you get to avoid. It doesn’t mean that you don’t get exposed to it, but we’re in writers’ rooms. And I have definitely been in a structure where you start to normalize abusive behavior and go, oh it’s OK, it wasn’t that bad today.

Daley: Yep.

Dara: And people do operate in fear, because there’s always the unspoken and sometimes spoken thing in the room of, well, if you don’t want to do this job there’s a thousand people behind you who can do it and who I’ll trust to do it. So, if you want to keep your job, then you have to just suck this up. And for me I actually feel like my career and my life changed when I decided not to be afraid anymore. And I’ve walked off jobs for bad treatment. And, you know, you find another job. If we stop operating in fear then, you know, things change.

Craig: Well, I’m glad you brought that up because one thing that has blown me away is just how much braver so many of these people are than I am. And I was. You know, and it’s specifically around this issue, because I know what the time that I spent working for Bob did to me. And the therapy I had to go through and the toll it took on my body and my mind. And there was no sex involved at all. And so I think about these women, and I’m like “I don’t know if I would have gotten out of bed.” And when people say, well, why did they take so long to say something. Why did they go back to work? Why did they agree to be photographed with him?

Those are the most rational responses, because you’re trying to somehow maintain your sense of how the world functions. You’re a decent human being. Something terrible happened. Another person did a terrible thing to you. Well, obviously we – there’s a relationship there. No, there’s no relationship. You just don’t understand.

Dara: And, Daley mentioned HR. You know, I believe that there are situations in which HR can be helpful, not related to sexual harassment. I think they can be part of the problem. I went to HR once at a studio that I will not mention, because I wanted to tell them that a friend of mine was melting down. And their response was, when I told this executive to tell HR this, their response was, “Are you sure it’s not just a disgruntled girlfriend?” Oh boy.

Craig: You know, I think HR kind of gives it away by their name. That is the most – I mean, “human resources.” Why don’t you just say meat? Meat Department. They don’t give a damn.

Dara: Right. No.

Craig: They are there, essentially, I believe in corporate structures to protect the corporation from accusations and liability, right? Now, in a place like the Weinstein Company, especially when they were completely divorced from Disney, HR, are you kidding me? That person is also scared for their life. Everybody is absolutely, I mean, anyway.

John: So, let’s talk about, you know, there’s a power structure, but what sort of structures would we want to see in place that would help mitigate or at least make these situations less common? So, a suggestion from Sarah Schechter this last week was blanket rule no meetings in hotel rooms. Period. Stop that as a thing. That cannot happen. And if CAA and all the other agencies said like “We are not ever going to let our clients have meetings in hotel rooms, particularly not like first meetings,” done. And none of this – forget the gamesmanship of like “The assistant is going to be there.” No. Meetings should not take place in hotel rooms. A simple thing.

But I also wonder about general best practices for all of us. And so if we see something, what should we do? And it feels like it’s not our time to inject ourselves not knowing what the full situation is, but at least to talk to the person who is going through it, let them know that you saw it. Let them know that they’re not crazy. Document it, even if it’s not going to go into HR or something else. I find the contemporaneous documentation of things that have happened is so helpful, because then you can actually see like this is the thing that happened. It helps you process it emotionally, but also like you know this is a real thing that actually happened. You’re not crazy. You can’t be gaslighted. This happened at this moment.

And I feel like if we all took it upon ourselves to notice when these things are happening and write it down, some of this stuff could be at least brought to light.

Daley: I think another thing we need to be doing, again, this speaks more to the TV end of things, because there is a locus of power on a TV show. It’s the showrunner almost always. That person is almost always a writer. Which means that person is not necessarily a manager. And we need to be training showrunners. And, again, I know our industry resists this because we’re artists and we don’t need that. And he’s a genius. And what you have is these – especially if it’s a very popular show – you have a cult-like kind of atmosphere. It’s like what Craig was talking about. Just everyone is afraid.

Usually if women are being abused, men are also on some level being abused at those kind of places. So we need to be doing a better job selecting and then training showrunners to deal with this stuff. And letting them know it’s not OK, because in the case of the Lenny piece especially, we had a showrunner – I don’t think he was malicious, but he let things happen and then ultimately kind of put the blame on me. I mean–

John: They put the blame on you for being a distraction.

Daley: Right. And that was a literal quote, by the way.

John: So this thing that was being done to you was a distraction to the show, so therefore you had to go to the B room and be out of sight.

Daley: Right.

Craig: This I think goes right to the heart of what has to happen in our business. The reason that I think somebody like that feels OK to even think that, much less say it, is because the most important thing in our business is the show or the movie. We have elevated that to everything. That is why certain people who are just notorious bastards are almost celebrated for it.

I remember reading an article about Scott Rudin years ago. It was almost glowing in its detailing of how vicious he was to other human beings. Same, by the way, for Harvey. Bob has always floated under the radar, but just as bad. And we know others, right?

And what it comes down to is this: Hollywood as a business, from the top level, needs to say for the first time that human beings and the treatment of other human beings in a humane manner is more important than the movie or the TV show. Holy shit. What a revolution that would be. Because the truth is what they have to be able to say to that showrunner is we’re killing your show. How about that? This is actually more important is not being a total piece of shit to another human being.

That obviously covers sexual harassment. It obviously covers sexual assault. And it also covers bullying, which is so endemic in our business, because it is essentially – our business enables bullies.

Dara: The problem is those are gigantic corporations that operate in a capitalist society. And so unless it affects their bottom line, and there are quite a few lawsuits that are successful and take them for a whole bunch of money, I don’t think they’re going to change their practices.

That being said, I do think – and I said this in my Washington Post article with Gillian, I do think a lot of this is a reaction to Donald J. Trump being the president. I think–

Craig: Oh you had to use his middle initial.

Dara: I think that we saw him – we in Hollywood, which is mostly if not liberals, certainly open-minded thinkers is sort of necessary to being a creative person – we saw this guy who did all of these things and treated people so crappily get up there. And we said, you know what, screw it. We’re not going to let this happen here anymore. And that’s one of the reasons I have hope that this is – even if it’s not a watershed moment, a moment that makes a small dent in this issue.

Craig: I agree with you completely. And I do think that Trump is absolutely part and parcel with this, because people are looking at him and then they’re turning and they’re looking at Harvey and going, “Wait a second. You’re the same guy.”

Dara: Totally.

Craig: And they are the same guy. I do think we live in an era now where it is harder for corporations to get away with this stuff. I think corporations are starting to figure it out as well.

Disney let Miramax – well, they fired the Weinsteins away. And I remember when that happened. People were so confused. Why would they let these cash cow guys go? I suspect it was because at some point Disney realized, A, they – I’m just guessing here – were probably not financially appropriate. And, B, because this was going to inevitably tarnish – they’re Disney for god’s sakes. And they knew on some level these were bad dudes.

Jeffrey Katzenberg, who was at Disney at the time I believe, came out and said Bob was just abusive, right?

John: Yeah.

Craig: I don’t think you can now get away with this stuff the way you used to. And the more these things happen, I hope the more they continue to happen. I’m not in favor of a culture of accusation. I’m not in favor of a culture of presumption of guilt. I truly am not.

Daley: I like due process.

Craig: Due process is a wonderful thing. However, when you have somebody like Harvey Weinstein with, what are we up to, 40 accusers, and he’s on tape admitting that he did it. And he’s also a known piece of shit. Then I’m OK with it. And I think we have some other ones in our business. And I think people need to basically tell those people your treatment of people will not be excused simply because your movie or your television show makes money.

Dara: And I think that goes back to also what John was asking about, responsibility. I mean, if I was going to say where the responsibility lies, I think it’s in uncommon allies. I mean, there’s a lot of sort of what you might name patriarchal white men in my midst who sort of knew that this was an issue in America and knew it was a problem and sort of had a heart about it and would think about it. But I think that the inundation of these stories has had a deep and lasting effect on them. And as it stands even this week I saw them – some of these guys in my life – speak up when they saw something crappy happening. And it was the first time I’d ever seen those guys speak up.

I’d seen them sort of ha-ha laugh along with everyone else. And instead they spoke out. And those are the kind of allies, you know, you can’t leave it to the people who are marginalized to speak up for themselves. You also need allies who are in power.

John: So, we talked about Trump, but let’s also talk about Mike Pence and sort of the Mike Pence rule, because I also worry that that’s a thing that could come out of this, a negative repercussion that could come out of this. It would be the sense that men being so paranoid about having women around that they just like, well, the safest thing to do is to keep all women away. And never be alone with a woman. And sort of like never allow situation – never mentor a woman.

And I do worry that that can have a chilling effect, too, where it’s like basically all of the phone calls that don’t happen, all of the “Let’s talk in a hallway” kind of things that don’t happen because they’re worried. There’s a paranoia about being alone with women. That hurts the women who are not having those conversations.

How do we address that? Did that make sense?

Daley: I’m not sure how we address it, but that’s definitely a fear I have, you know, especially on the TV side because the movie business and even in the TV business will never say, “Well we just can’t have any actresses.” But what they can do is discriminate on the writer front. And I know I had direct experiences and was told by people post-Friends lawsuit – I think everybody is familiar with that. The woman. And regardless of the merits of that particular suit, the attitude kind of coming down from that was, you know, women are trouble. It’s sometimes better just not to hire them. Or you’re lucky we hired you. We really don’t. We’re afraid to have women here. We just don’t want the trouble. You know, all of that stuff. I have no idea how we stop it other than kind of raising awareness about it, trying to get more women in the mix and more women.

You know, quality writers have the kind of power I think you were talking about. Like it’s not a corporate level power, but Hollywood does run on reputations and kind of who is the cool “in” writer we want. And if those people refuse to discriminate and refuse to work with people who do, my hope is that will help change things.

Craig: I’m with you on that. Look, I can’t necessarily speak to how to solve the writers’ room problem, because I don’t know that culture. But I will say that, to me, the greatest burden is on men not being assholes. It’s actually not hard. I have a woman that I’ve worked with for – I think we’re up to now I’d say six years. And her name is Jack Lesco. Jack is short for Jacqueline.

And she is like my editor. So she reads everything. I’ve talked about her on the show before. And she’s an integral part of my work life. She reads everything I write. She takes all the notes. She gives me comments. And she’s in my – my office is two rooms in Pasadena. I’m in one. She’s in the other. Door’s open between them. And we’re there every day together. And here’s the deal: if you are a decent person, I think you should be aware that in that situation you have an obligation to affirmatively not do shit that is going to be creepy.

Because here’s the thing. A lot of times, I think, people do things because they’re not thinking and it comes off creepy. And then it gets bad or worse. Sometimes they’re legitimately bad people. But how about just read the room. Read the situation. And put yourself in the shoes of another human being, which is what we’re supposed to do all the time as writers anyway, right?

This is a smaller, physically weaker person than you, who may have had – probably statistically has had – bad experiences with men before. How about you keep that in mind? It’s actually not hard if you’re just mindful about it. It’s not hard to be not a piece of shit. It’s Melissa Mazin’s rule of life. You don’t get credit for doing the right thing.

Dara: I would say it’s not hard for you to not be a piece of shit. I do believe that humans are primal creatures and that there is a certain amount of deep-seeded rage in all of us. And some of us learn how to listen to the better angels of our nature better than others. One of the things – I was trying to think of a response when you asked that question in terms of how do you avoid a culture in which now we just can’t have older mentors and such. I think, you know, right now they give you these sexual harassment seminars and they’re treated a little bit as a joke, which I think I also talk about in the Washington Post article.

And I think that there is something to really taking those workshops seriously, but not having them run by lawyers, which is what they usually are.

Daley: Yes.

Dara: Having them run by people who know – I mean, when I worked for Jill Soloway she brought people in to workshop with us and talk about issues of power. And really to talk to each other. People of different types and from different backgrounds. And I think it would really behoove every show and every corporation in this town to do something like that. Especially because women and people of color are going nowhere. I mean, I actually do believe that we are on the rise out here and people are going to have to learn—

Craig: You mean “Going nowhere” meaning they’re not disappearing, not that they’re not making progress.

Dara: Yeah, yeah. Sorry, that’s confusing, you’re right.

Craig: You’re here to stay.

Dara: I think women and people of color are here to stay. I think men have been telling stories for thousands of years, and some of those stories are getting boring. You guys tell wonderful stories. No offense.

Craig: Every now and then.

Dara: But it’s time for some new voices. And with 450 shows shooting, they need new minds and new backgrounds. And we all have to figure out how to respect each other and give each other much more dignity than we do now.

Craig: I just want to tell you. I am not always a good person at all.

Dara: No, I don’t actually think you are.

Daley: Oh, we know.

Dara: I was trying to be nice.

Craig: And, in fact, I have had, and it’s in part like I definitely had issues with – it’s never been with women. It’s always been with men, where I have mistreated men. Because in part you get into the cycle, especially when I was working with Weinstein, you get into the cycle of daddy hits you, and you turn around and you hit the guy below you. And it was bad.

I know that I have sinned. And I think it’s inevitable. We are, all of us, you know, imperfect. And you try and get better. The thing that I think men have to acknowledge is that we have the capacity to do more damage when we are imperfect. And I think a lot of men get very nervous about this thought. That somehow we’re being picked on.

Nah, you’re not really being picked on, dude. You’re just bigger and stronger. I don’t know what to tell you. It’s like, I’m just not as threatened by a large woman as I am by a large man, because I’m not rational. I could die. You know?

Dara: And I also think there’s something to taking responsibility, like you are, like Scott Rosenberg did. I mean, one thing I didn’t see that I wanted to see were more people in power with specific examples of “I did this.” I think they probably didn’t because they’re worried that they’re all going to get sued. But I would love to see that. I think that that’s a huge step going “I did this thing.”

John: Well I think what you’re describing is the difference between a narcissistic monster, like what we saw with Weinstein, and guys who aren’t overall bad guys but have done some shitty things. And sort of how do we – I mean, feel like you need a truth and reconciliation thing to sort of talk through like these are the things that happened and these are the things that can’t happen again in the future. And these are the paths that we’re going to take to sort of move forward.

So, talking about sort of in the writers’ room, because Craig and I are not in the writers’ room very often, what are situations that women encounter in the writers’ room that a man in the writers’ room might not be aware that they’re doing?

Dara: It’s complicated in a writers’ room because of that Friends case. That Friends case basically says that anything that happens in a writers’ room is creative. It’s creative fodder. So, it doesn’t matter if you’re talking about someone’s junk. It doesn’t matter if you’re sort of making fun of somebody or bullying, like a character or people in general. I couldn’t aim anything at you. I couldn’t comment on what you’re wearing or how you look.

But what ends up happening in those environments often is because you’re in this creative space where you’re talking sort of lewdly about people, it does often get aimed at somebody accidentally, sometimes intentionally. And engenders an environment sort of outside the room where you’re a little bit more comfortable I think saying things that might be inappropriate.

I will say one of the things that’s complicated for me is I actually believe in that ruling. I believe that in the writers’ room you need to be able to say insane, sometimes disgusting, things—

Daley: Yeah, me too.

Dara: In order to get to the creative juice. But sometimes it crosses a line and that’s where I think a workshop might come in.

John: Well let’s talk about process though. Because even if the content is it’s OK to say anything, I hear from a lot of women saying it’s hard to get heard. Or the talking over. Dana Fox was on the show and she talked about this sort of weird way you deliberately undercut what you’re about to say so that it doesn’t sound too aggressive or too judgy. I see you both nodding.

There’s a syndrome that women can end up falling into where they make it seem like they’re discounting themselves before they even pitch an idea out.

Daley: There’s a situation where women kind of fall into, and again, this isn’t sexism on a Weinstein level, but it is a type of sexism. We basically fall into like a Mother Pence role of being the moral arbiters of the room, which in a writers’ room as previously described is not welcome, because for the guys to say crazy things and be bad, and then the women end up sort of, if you try to make a point about a joke, well, that may not make sense in this context, you know, or maybe that’s a little harsh of a joke. You know, having that criticism taken as – and again, in a writers’ room it depends what you’re rank is. And there are all sorts of rules of etiquette for questioning a pitch, say. Or questioning someone’s riff in the room on say my boobs, which was a thing that happened a lot.

Craig: That’s not – yeah.

Daley: Yeah, that’s not really creative environment. That’s abusing the environment.

Dara: And that’s not under the Friends ruling. You would not be able to do that under the Friends ruling. You can talk about the character’s boobs, but you could not talk about the boobs of somebody in the room. I think I just want to keep saying boobs.

Craig: Boobs.

Daley: I know. I started. Sorry. But, yeah, and we don’t want to be that person who’s always kind of correcting and moralizing, which again is why it’s good when men sort of chime in on that if something bad is happening.

Dara: And I’ve been called the PC police by talking—

Daley: Yes, that’s it.

Dara: And not just talking about you know saying, “Hey, you can’t talk about Daley’s boobs.” Like I’ve been called the PC police by saying that I don’t think that that is something that that character would do because we’re trying to amp up who they are in the run of the series or whatever. And it’s like, “Oh, that’s just something that you’re saying because you feel like you need to speak for all women.”

Daley: Yeah, there’s a real like straw man kind of situation that happens all the time and it drives me nuts. Where a guy will think like his joke, like no one is laughing, or they cut the joke because it’s too un-PC. You know, well Norman Lear didn’t – you ain’t Norman Lear. Your joke just wasn’t funny. It didn’t work. That’s why it got cut. It also happened to be offensive. But, you know.

Dara: Also, Norman Lear was subverting the culture. Like it’s a whole other, yeah, ball of wax.

Craig: It’s very difficult to explain these subtle things to people who are unsubtle and dull. You know. And it’s frustrating when they try and use these arguments. I mean, the truth is, I think, that when I listen to these examples that it’s really either you get it or you don’t. Right? Like you can see the matrix or you can’t.

Dara: And I think part of what happens, too, when you’re called the PC police is the person in charge, or whoever it is that’s saying that, is not acknowledging that you’re coming from a trove of experience. That it’s not that you’re just trying to—

Craig: Grinding an ax.

Dara: You’re not just grinding an ax or trying to manage what’s happening. It’s that, “No, I’ve been assaulted in my life and I feel a responsibility as a culture creator to put images into the world that do not beget that for other women.” And that’s a visceral thing. Not an intellectual thing.

Craig: Right.

Daley: And partly I think these issues are, I’ve said it before, but they are partially solved by just having more women there. It doesn’t need to be 50% on every show. It doesn’t have to be some mandate. But just getting a few more women in there makes it — one, you have allies, and two, there’s a kind of related sexist problem in writer’s room. Have you guys ever heard the phrase penis phone?

Dara: No.

Craig: No.

Daley: Very bad Sports Illustrated gift with purchase. No, it’s a term – did not do well. Yeah, they recalled a lot of them.

Craig: What is the penis phone?

Daley: The penis phone is – and it’s a term and I’ve heard it used almost exclusively by men. And it’s a joke term. There will be a situation like this. We’ll be in a writer’s room. Maybe I’m the only woman there, or one of a couple of women. Guys are all, you know, it’s kind of an aggressive atmosphere, the pitching. And a woman will pitch a joke. And it just won’t be heard. And there’s psychological studies confirming this. When there’s a majority group of men, women’s voices literally can’t be heard.

And it’s not willful. I think it’s just part of group dynamics. Anyway, the woman’s joke will be ignored and then if you have an ally in the room who is a guy, he’ll repeat the joke. And hopefully give you credit. So say, “Hey, I liked Daley’s pitch” and repeat it. This is known as dialing in a joke on the penis phone.

Craig: That’s hysterical.

Daley: And the fact that it’s a term in use in multiple rooms shows that, OK, guys know this happens. You’re not totally innocent. Don’t let it happen. Listen.

Dara: I had a writing partner for many years who was my husband and who is a man. He used to work for John. He’s been spoken about in the show. Chad. And he acknowledged that it was happening. I would pitch something. No one would hear it. He’d pitch exactly the same thing, and they’d be like, “Oh, that’s a great idea.” It was insane. We were like our own sociological experiment.

John: You’re like you need a Remington Steele.

Dara: Totally.

John: You’re controlling behind the scenes.

Dara: And in terms of that thing that women do where they undercut their own pitch, what’s interesting is I’ve worked in rooms run by women. And in rooms run by women you can totally say that stuff and it doesn’t undercut you, because they know that that’s just part of the vernacular and that’s how our minds work. And you can say “This might be a dumb idea, but.” Or “Maybe we can harvest something out of this. I don’t know.”

You can’t say that in rooms run by men. And I tell my students that all the time. When they are discussing notes in my workshopping classes and they go this might be dumb, I go, no, start again. This is what I think. Because most of the time you aren’t going to have a woman running the thing and you’re going to need to know how to speak like that.

John: Wow. So we have a lot of listeners who are aspiring writers. And so I want to maybe wrap up this segment by talking about what advice we have for people who are aspiring to work in this industry given what’s been happening this last month. Has anything changed? Is there anything you would want to tell this writer who is considering packing up and moving to this town?

Daley: That’s a tough one. At least in terms of television, you know, you have to start with great material, which with luck won’t be read with like a gendered lens. You never know. But once you’re in the room, I mean, the advice I would give is still “Don’t be a dick. You’re the lowest man/woman on the totem pole. Use your sort of bandwidth to pitch concise, clear jokes that are jokes, where jokes are asked for. Because there will be moments in the script where it becomes clear we need a pitch here. Don’t be pitching on something that’s already in there that people like. That’s not your job as a staff writer, or future staff writer.” Even writer’s assistants, sometimes they’ll be encouraged to pitch.

And keep it fast. Keep it concise. And make sure it is a joke. That will go a long way to kind of giving you credibility.

Dara: I would tell the people who are coming to Hollywood nothing new that I wouldn’t have told them two weeks ago. I think that what the post-Harvey Weinstein era will be about is better leadership. And that they should change nothing about how they approach this. I think everybody should still come. I think this is still a town that is predominately made up of dreamers and creative weirdos and wonderful people. And you just have to hold those people super close. And hope that something is going to change within their run in the business, and hopefully in women my run in the business, that will make it so that this stuff happens a lot less than it does now.

Craig: That’s great to hear. Because the truth is I do worry. You know, we’ve talked about this before. Sometimes when we go through the annual WGA report on the numbers, it’s like, well, here’s another batch of terrible, terrible numbers. And we worry sometimes that what we’re transmitting out there is, “Hey ladies, hey black writers, hey Asian writers, don’t bother. Right? These numbers are terrible. Just stay home. Go do something else.” And, of course, perversely that will make it worse.

And I do think that, Daley, when you said more women in the room, it just sort of – all you have to do is just project yourself into your mind theater and, yep, I can see how that is fixing a whole lot of problems instantly. So, please, women do come. And as part of the encouragement I would say that certainly the discussion about sexual harassment/sexual assault has never been more prominent in our business than right now.

And, two, that over the last couple of years it has seemed that there has been an awakening. Doesn’t mean that they have fixed things, or that things are – well, I think things may be trending a little bit better. But certainly there has been an awakening. There is an awareness. And so I think while we are far from good, it’s not as bad as it was, I guess. That’s – damned by faint praise, but that’s kind of where I’m at.

John: I think you’re speaking to a sort of expectation also. If you come in expecting that it’s going to be terrible in these ways, you sort of normalize it for being terrible in these ways. And so you can’t be normalized that this kind of behavior is acceptable. So, notice it when it happens. Speak up when it’s appropriate. And just make sure you find your allies around you.

Daley: Yeah. Because when you do speak up, I kind of tried to make this point in the piece. If I had said something, I mean, maybe I would have gotten fired. But I got fired anyway because I couldn’t get jokes out, you know? So, yeah. Try – try a little gentle confrontation if something bad happens.

Dara: And I will say I think it is going to change piece by piece. On Monday night when I taught my USC screenwriting class, right before I went into the class I happened to see on my Facebook feed the response to the Me Too feed, which was “I believe you, I believe you, I believe you.” So I went in there already very emotional. And my students brought up that I had written this Washington Post article. And I sort of put workshopping aside and said let’s talk about what’s going on and how you guys feel about it.

And one student said, you know, she works for one of these bigger companies during the day and she said, “I just feel like in the end nothing is really going to change.” And I told her that I really thought that what happened over the last week has affected some people very deeply on an individual level. And I told them the parable of the starfish. Do you guys know the parable of the starfish?

Craig: It’s a good one.

John: Tell us.

Dara: It’s a really good one. A little boy is walking down the beach at sunrise and there are starfish way down deep into the distance who are going to die as the sun gets hot over the course of the day. So he’s going down the beach and he’s throwing these starfish back into the ocean. And an older, more experienced man, who knows much more about life comes up and says, “Little boy, what are you doing? Can’t you see there’s starfish as far as the eye can see? You can’t possibly make a difference.”

And the little boy thinks about that for a second and he picks up a starfish and he throws it in the water and he says, “I made a difference for that one.” And then I started to cry in class, which was probably really weird for them. But I believe that. I believe in that parable and I believe that moments like this make a difference for a few people. And in the end maybe a difference for a whole beach of starfish.

Craig: That is spot on and terrific. We’ve been doing this podcast for, how long John? Because I don’t pay attention.

John: 322 episodes.

Craig: Thank you, sir. And how many years is that? Six years. About six years. And the truth is, I mean, we started for all sorts of reasons, but for me it has always been part of my penance, not for necessarily being – look, I’m not a criminal.

Dara: Except for that one time.

Craig: There’s been a number of times. Never crimes, just you know. But it’s part of my penance because we have an obligation I think once we realize how it’s working in our heads. And we start to understand how fear and shame have kind of undone us. To then turn around, find other people that are like that, and help them.

It’s why we spend a lot of time talking about psychology on the show. And it’s why we spend a lot of time trying to just help. You know, so we know we’re picking up a starfish every now and then. And maybe one person, literally out of all the years, something special happens to them. But you got to try. Right? You got to try.

Dara: Nothing ever changed by saying nothing will ever change.

Daley: Totally.

Craig: We should get that on a t-shirt. And also Stop Being Dicks I think is pretty good t-shirt material.

Dara: I want that tattooed.

Craig: Yeah, it’s a real simple, good rule.

John: All right, it’s come time for our One Cool Things. We talk about one thing that we liked this last week. For me, it was an absolute godsend. So I was in London and I was working on a different project. And I saved a file and then I opened it the next day and it was gone. It was just an empty file. And it was a chapter for Arlo Finch. And I was panicked, because usually on my home computer I have Time Machine. So I’d go to Time Machine and I’d pull it back. But I was just on my laptop in a hotel room.

Then I discovered something that I did not know. Dropbox saves versions of everything you do.

Craig: Yes. Yes it does.

John: So if you go into the web version of Dropbox–

Craig: Yeah, it’s awesome.

John: There’s a little dot-dot-dot button. Click that and it goes Version History. And it will show all the saved versions.

Dara: Oh my god, you just changed my life.

Craig: It’s amazing. Because not only can you find the thing that maybe somehow you blew away by mistake, but you can also like do an archeological dig of shittiness. Like, “Wow, look how bad this scene was for a while. It’s all there.”

Dara: Until I figured it out.

Craig: It’s waiting.

John: Yeah, so Dropbox is amazing for a thousand reasons, but that was just a tremendous godsend that saved, you know, it saved a chapter. God bless Dropbox. So, yet another god bless Dropbox.

Craig: God bless Dropbox.

John: Dara, do you have one?

Dara: My One Cool Thing is sort of in the future and it’s related to a thing that happened this week. My One Cool Thing is that I’m running the Avengers Superheroes Half Marathon through Disneyland on November 12. This is a thing that I do. I like to combine my cosplay and my running.

Craig: Naturally.

Dara: Because that’s the thing.

Craig: Why would you not?

Dara: It’s so awesome. I’ve dressed as Woody from Toy Story.

Craig: That’s awesome.

Dara: I’ve dressed as a fairy. I’ve dressed as a princess. It’s wonderful.

Craig: And what about this time. Can you say?

Dara: This time I’m going to be Black Widow.

Daley: Nice.

Dara: Really, really excited about it. I’m going to run with her swords in my hands. But what I found out this week is that Disneyland is canceling all of its half marathons for 2018 and possibly indefinitely.

Craig: Why?

Dara: They are saying it’s because of all the construction for Star Wars Land.

Craig: It’s Rian Johnson’s fault.

Dara: But I’m not actually sure that’s it. There’s been rumblings that the City of Anaheim has had issues with the fact that tens of thousands of crazy people in costumes take over the town for a weekend. So I partially wanted to say it, because if anybody ever wanted to dress up and run 13.1 miles…

They have stops along the way where you take pictures with superheroes. And you run through the park at dawn. And it’s really cool. And there’s still entries.

Craig: So I get to wake up at dawn. I get to run 13 miles. I get to put on a costume. I cannot not want this more.

Dara: It’s my favorite thing in the world. I was more devastated than I should have been when I found out that they were canceling 2018 races.

Daley: I thought once about doing a 5K.

Craig: Yeah. And that was exhausting. Right? Just the thought of it.

Daley: Yeah. I started signing up and then I thought better.

Dara: I did a 5K while we were sitting here.

Craig: I actually did a negative 5K. And what about you? What’s your One Cool Thing?

Daley: My One Cool Thing is the CIA’s Twitter feed. Which normally would not be something you’d want to follow. It might be a little scary. But they’ve been posting, I believe her name is Lulu. I believe she’s a black lab. A dog who basically rejected/failed out of the CIA training, but there’s very funny, adorable pictures. It’s on their Twitter feed. Check it out. It’s funny.

Craig: My One Cool Thing this week, I just mentioned it to you guys before and you were like, “Oh, that should be your One Cool Thing.” And it’s frivolous but it’s so bizarre and weird. And it’s kind of old news, but I love it anyway. Somebody made this page called Rihanna Can’t Wink. So, Rihanna, the very famous pop star, occasionally likes to wink. It’s one of her things. It’s one of her affectations. So sometimes she winks in concert. Sometimes she winks in the music videos. Sometimes she winks on a commercial. And sometimes she winks on a talk show.

The thing is she can’t really wink. She does not understand or is not capable of the winking mechanism. The winking mechanism is one eye goes down and up. Blink. One eye. The other eye does nothing. She can’t get that other eye to not do things. Sometimes she blinks and just blinks. Sometimes one eye closes and the other one sort of moves halfway down. Sometimes she closes both and opens them in succession. And the person commenting on this is hysterical. So you just Google Rihanna Can’t Wink.

Of all the crimes in the world, that’s probably the most mild.

Dara: Maybe it shouldn’t be her move. I mean, if it’s a thing she can’t do, it should be out of the repertoire. She’s got a lot of other talents.

Craig: But here’s the thing. On the other hand like, you know what, go ahead.

Dara: You’re Rihanna. It’s fine.

Craig: Just keep not-winking winking, because you know what, you don’t care. I like it.

John: While you’re on YouTube, I would also steer you towards Mariah Carey dancing, Mariah Carey choreography. And there’s one specific video I’ll put a link to in the show notes that has Mariah Carey singing and there’s a bunch of men around her, but they basically just lift her up and move her, so she basically never moves herself.

Craig: That’s pretty great.

John: It’s a spectacular video.

Dara: I was watching her spectacular New Year’s Eve meltdown like in real time.

Craig: Oh, you were there.

Dara: I wasn’t there there, but I happened to be watching the TV at a big party where no one was paying attention. And I was like, guys, guys, something amazing is happening right now.

Craig: Yeah, you’re missing this. That was extraordinary.

Dara: It was great. Yeah, it was special.

John: That’s our show for this week. Our show is produced by Megan McDonnell. It is edited by Matthew Chilelli, who also did our spooky outro this week. It’s Halloween when this episode drops, or just about Halloween.

If you have an outro, you can send us a link to ask@johnaugust.com. That’s also the place to send longer questions. But short questions, we’re on Twitter. I’m @johnaugust. Craig is @clmazin. Are you guys on Twitter?

Dara: I am. I’m @badassmomwriter.

Daley: I’m @d_haggar.

Craig: Not to play favorites, but Daley’s Twitter feed is hysterical.

Dara: She is. She’s pretty amazing.

Daley: Thank you.

Craig: If you like Megan Amram, you know, like play the Netflix game. If you like this, you would like this. If you like Megan Amram’s one-liners, you will love Daley Haggar’s one-liners. Very similar – it’s like surprise. Surprise, weren’t going to think of that one.

Dara: Daley and my friend Liz Hackett are often on the same—

Daley: She’s awesome.

Craig: Completely funny.

Dara: Yeah, Liz is special.

Craig: Yeah, Liz Hackett is hysterical.

Dara: As is Daley.

Craig: That’s another good one to follow, and she’s not even here. Why are we giving her help?

Dara: I’m basically her agent. Love you, Liz. Mean it.

Craig: Ridiculous.

John: We are on Facebook. Look for Scriptnotes Podcast. You can find us on Apple Podcasts at Scriptnotes. While you’re there, leave us a review. That helps people find the show and we read those sometimes. It’s very nice.

Craig: We do. John does.

John: I do. You can find the show notes for this episode and all episodes at johnaugust.com. That’s also where you’ll find transcripts going all the way back to episode one.

We have new USB drives with all the back episodes. Or actually the first 300 back episodes.

Craig: Are they the cool metal kinds?

John: The cool metal survivable kinds.

Craig: They look like little tiny suppositories.

John: But you should not use them as that.

Craig: No.

John: Off-label use.

Craig: I’m only pointing it out in case we are ever redefined as contraband.

John: Oh yes.

Craig: One could…

John: One could.

Craig: Theoretically.

Dara: I smell a Christopher Walken monologue.

Craig: You smell something.

John: If you do not want to have a physical object completely inside you, you can always subscribe to Scriptnotes.net. It’s $2 a month.

Craig: Better plan.

John: And you get all the back episodes and bonus episodes.

Craig: That’s a good pitch. $2 a month. No need to–

John: Put anything up your butt.

Craig: Secrete something inside of your person.

Dara: This is a little what a writers’ room is like, in case you’re wondering.

Daley: Totally.

Craig: We get that part.

Daley: Then someone would demonstrate it.

Craig: That’s the problem. See, we understand boundaries.

John: Dara Resnik, Daley Haggar, thank you so much for joining us on the show.

Craig: Thanks guys.

Dara: Thank you for having us.

Daley: Thank you.

John: Bye.

Links:

Email us at ask@johnaugust.com

You can download the episode here.