The original post for this episode can be found here.
John August: Hello and welcome. My name is John August.
Craig Mazin: My name is Craig Mazin.
John: And this is Episode 392 of Scriptnotes, a podcast about screenwriting and things that are interesting to screenwriters.
Today on the podcast it’s another round of How Would This Be a Movie where we take a look at three stories in the news and discuss how they might be adapted to the big screen, or the small screen. We’ll also look at the final moment in movies, what they do and why they change so often.
Craig, it’s just you and me. We’re just two guys back talking on Skype.
Craig: Could we call this a classic Scriptnotes?
John: This is a classic Scriptnotes.
Craig: It’s the old original flavor.
John: It is. Yeah. So some new offices, some new equipment setups, but it’s still the basic Scriptnotes.
Craig: As long as it’s you and me, you know. As long as it’s you and me, I could foresee a day where – let’s say one of us were incapacitated?
John: Yeah, yeah.
Craig: If it’s me, the podcast goes on with someone else. If it’s you, not only does the podcast end, but I probably never say the word podcast again.
John: That would be really sad.
Craig: No, no. I mean, no. The part about you being incapacitated, don’t get me wrong, that’s tragic.
John: That’s tragic.
Craig: That’s tragic. And careful listeners will remember I believe we did broadcast our episode of Fiasco, is that correct?
John: Oh yeah.
Craig: With Kelly Marcel in which your character was incapacitated cruelly by the two of us I think. So, there’s a tradition of that. And it would be very, very sad.
John: It would be. I feel like I should put together a living will just for that scenario just to make sure that everyone understood my wishes if I were to become incapacitated.
Craig: That’s a great idea. Because otherwise this all collapses.
John: Do you think Jack Thorne could take over my place?
Craig: You know what? I wish he would. [laughs] That’s what like, you know, you say to your spouse after – how many years have you guys been married by the way?
John: Only married for–
Craig: Well, but together. Let’s call it effectively married.
John: 19 years.
Craig: 19 years. OK, so Melissa and I are at 22 or 23, something like that. Very similar. Your spouse turns to you and says, “You know, what if you had to be married to so-and-so?” And you’re like, “Let’s do it.” [laughs] “It sounds great, let’s go.” And then, of course, your fantasy turns to horror. Because here’s the thing. Jack Thorne is amazing, but you don’t know what you got till it’s gone.
John: Mm. That could be a lyric.
Craig: It should be. It should be the lyric of many things. I can just imagine myself just thinking, oh wow, look at me, stepping out on John August. Cheating with some other guy.
John: Yeah. The thing is you’re already cheating. You already have a whole second podcast recorded. I know about it. And you’re going to be dropping it week by week.
Craig: That is true. We haven’t announced that though, so we can’t talk about that. [laughs]
John: But this last week something was announced. A much anticipated trailer dropped showing how governmental corruption and arrogance led to massive destruction when a dangerous power source was accidentally unleashed. I’m talking of course about Aladdin.
John: Which comes out May 24. So the trailer finally came out for Aladdin.
Craig: Yeah. Well, the big trailer. You had a teaser.
Craig: And now this is the big trailer.
John: This is finally the good trailer. So I wrote the screenplay three years ago and I’ve really had almost nothing to do with it since. But correct me if I’m wrong, you also had some trailer out this week as well?
Craig: I had a teaser, a little 45-second teaser that weirdly was also about how governmental corruption and arrogance led to massive destruction when a dangerous power source was accidentally unleashed. Not quite as fun as Aladdin. It doesn’t have that pizzazz. But it is the 45-second teaser trailer for Chernobyl, the miniseries forthcoming to HBO. It arrives on May 6. We can now say that. May 6, the first episode airs. Or cables? It transmits on May 6.
John: It goes out into the world on May 6. And so because it’s a week by week thing it will start before Aladdin and it will be running still after Aladdin.
Craig: Well, they are a great pairing.
John: They are. Really.
Craig: You’re going to need the break, trust me. If you’re watching Chernobyl, by the time Aladdin rolls around you’re going to be like can I please just get a break?
John: I don’t know that my original screenplay for Aladdin will ever be seen in the world, but I would say there actually were more parallels to Chernobyl in my original screenplay than in the final movie.
Craig: Well, you know what? I’m interested to see – I’m fascinated by these Disney adaptations that are sort of auto adaptations in a sense, like self-adaptations, and how they do it, and how close it is. I mean, the trailer, you could see the trailer partly was sort of proudly saying, “Look, look, it’s the same.”
John: It’s the same movie but with real people.
Craig: It’s exactly the same. Right. Which I think is fascinating. But then you could also tell, I mean, it can’t possibly be entirely exactly the same. So I’m just fascinated by those aspects of auto-adaptation and how they work. And so after Aladdin happens and I see it I’m going to want to read your script. I’m fascinated by these things and how they evolve as it were.
John: Maybe someday they can make an animated version of Chernobyl.
Craig: You know, we’re working on that.
John: Complete the cycle. [laughs]
Craig: That would be, you know, yeah, no.
John: Follow up. So, in previous episodes we’ve talked about the WGA negotiations with the talent agencies about the future of the agency agreement. There have been some big meetings in the past, but there are some big meetings coming up. So those three meetings coming up are Tuesday March 26 at the Beverly Hilton, 7:30pm, Wednesday March 27 at the Sheraton Universal, also 7:30pm, and Saturday March 31 at the Writers Guild Theater, 10:30am. There will also be meetings on the east coast. I don’t have those details but you can look those up. Those will be talking to members about what’s going on, what’s in store. There will be a membership vote coming up so that’ll be why you’ll want to go to these meetings to learn all of that information.
Craig: And would it be acceptable for me to say that – seems to me reported widely – that at the very least now the guild and the talent agencies appear to be talking?
John: Indeed. So this past week I was in two negotiation sessions and, yeah, there’s chatting. It’s doing the things you do in a negotiation.
John: So that’s what we want.
Craig: That is an improvement over what was there prior, which is nothing. So, and certainly not the fault of the Writers Guild I should add.
John: Cool. Our big marquee topic I want to get into today is the final moment in movies, or I guess episodes of TV, but I’m really thinking more in movies. And this came to mind this morning because there was an article talking about the end of Captain Marvel. This is not even a spoiler, but at the end of the original version of Captain Marvel she flew off into space and they changed it so she flew off into space with some other characters. And it was an important change and sort of giving you a sense of where the character was headed next.
And it got me thinking that in pretty much every movie I’ve written that last moment, that last beat, has changed from the pitch to the screenplay to the movie. And I sort of want to focus on why that moment is so important and also why it tends to change so much.
Craig: Interesting. And it’s funny because for me because I’m obsessed with that moment it actually rarely doesn’t change – it doesn’t change much for me.
Craig: But that’s in a sense because I think I weirdly start with it. I don’t know.
John: I start with it, too. And so as I was thinking back to Aladdin, my pitch for it had a very specific runner that had a very definite end beat. And so when I pitched it to Disney and also I just pitched it casually to Dana Fox, it made Dana Fox cry that last line, the last image of that last moment. It’s not in the movie at all. It totally changed in ways that things change.
But I would say even the movies like Big Fish and other things which have been very much, you know, we shot the script, those last moments and sometimes the last image really does change because it’s based on the experience of sitting through the whole movie and sort of where it’s deliberated to.
So let’s talk about that last moment as a way of organizing your thoughts when you’re first thinking about the story and then what it looks like at all the different stages.
Craig: Well, to start with, we have to ask what the purpose is. You know, I think sometimes people think of the last shot in cinematic terms. Somebody rides off into the sunset. So the last shot really is about sunsets. But of course it’s not.
For me the final moment, the final shot, that last image contains the purpose of the entire thing. Everything comes down to that. If your movie was about the love between two people, then that is that final moment. We’ve talked about Lindsay Doran’s Ted Talk where she talks about how movies are really about relationships. And she would cite how sometimes she would ask people well what was the last image of some movie, The Karate Kid, and a lot of people don’t remember it is Mr. Miyagi’s face. Proud. It’s Daniel and then Mr. Miyagi looking at each other and there’s pride.
So, figuring out the purpose of that last shot is kind of your step one of determining what it’s supposed to be. And you can’t get there unless you kind of know what the hell your whole movie is about in the first place.
John: Yeah. I mean, movies are generally about a character taking a journey. A character leaving home and getting to some place. But it’s also about the movie itself starting at a place and getting to a place. And that destination is generally that last beat, that last moment, that last image. And so of course you’re going to be thinking about that early on in the process of where do you want to end up. And way back in Episode 100 there was a listener question and someone asked us I have a couple different ideas for movies and I’m not sure which one I should start writing. And my answer was you should pick the one with the best ending because that’s the one you’ll actually finish.
John: And if you start writing without having a clear sense of where you’re going to you’re very likely to either stop writing it or get really off track and having to sort of strip away a lot of what you’ve done. So, having a clear sense of this is where I think the movie lands is crucial. It’s like the plane is going to land on this runway tells you, OK, I can do a bunch of different stuff but ultimately I have to make sure that I’m headed to that place. You may not be signaling that even to the reader, to the audience, so that they’re not ahead of you, but you yourself have to know where this is going.
Craig: John, when you were in grade school and you had some sort of arts and crafts assignment and the teacher said you need to draw a circle, and you just have to draw a circle. You don’t have a thing to trace. Were you a good circle drawer?
John: I was a fair circle drawer. I know it’s a very classic artistic lesson is how to trust your hand to do the movements and how to think about what a circle is. Were you a good circle drawer?
Craig: No. Absolutely horrendous. If you ask me to draw a circle you would end up with some sort of unclosed cucumber. And the reason I bring this up is because to me the classic narrative is a circle. We begin in a place and we end in that same place. There is a full return. Of course we are changed, but the ending reflects the beginning. The beginning reflects the ending. There is a circle.
If you don’t know your ending and you don’t know how the circle finishes it’s quite probable that you won’t know how to start the circle either. That you will end up with an unclosed cucumber, like nine-year-old Craig Mazin attempting to draw someone’s head. This is how things go off. This is where, I think, people can easily get lost as they’re writing their script because they realize that the story has developed in such a way that it wants to end somewhere but it has really not a strong click connection to the beginning.
One of my favorite albums is Pink Floyd’s The Wall, I think it’s Pink Floyd The Wall. And Pink Floyd The Wall, they play little games, the Pink Floyd folks did, and one of the games they play in Pink Floyd The Wall is very low volume at the very beginning. You hear this tiny little song and then someone says, “We came in.” And then at the very end, the very end, they’re playing the song and it finishes and then you hear someone say, “Isn’t this where?” And that’s exactly the kind of thing that blows a 15-year-old boy’s life, but it also was satisfying. You felt things were connected and they chose to make the very last moment some sort of indication that the beginning is relevant.
It’s the way frankly Watchmen ends. It’s the same thing. There’s this beautiful come around with that last final look.
John: Now, because we’re talking about narrative circles I need to acknowledge that Dan Harmon has this whole structure thing that’s based on a circle where there’s a circle and there’s these little lines across it that characters go on this journey. That’s absolutely a valid approach if you want to think about story that way.
That’s not quite what we’re talking about.
John: We’re talking about how in general a character leaves from a place and gets to a place, but in both cases they’re either finding a new home or returning to a previous home changed. And so just a character walking around in a circle isn’t a story. A character being profoundly changed and coming to this environment with a new understanding that is a change. And sometimes it won’t be that one character. Sometimes it’s the narrative question you’ve asked at the beginning of the story has gone through all these permutations and landed you back at a place that lets you look at that question from a new way.
So it’s either answering the question or reframing the question in a way that is more meaningful. So that’s what we’re talking about, the narrative comes full circle. There’s a place that you were headed and that place that you were headed reflects where you began.
Craig: No question. And it’s really clear to us how someone has changed when we put them back where they were when we met them. It’s just one of those things where you can say, oh, here’s the variable. Where we begin is the control. Our character is the variable. Start at the beginning, get me to the end, and let me see the difference. And sometimes it’s very profound.
You know, we start and end in the same place in Finding Nemo, but we can see how different it is in the same place because the variable has changed and that’s your character.
John: So, I’m finishing the third Arlo Finch book right now which is the end of the trilogy, and so each of the books has had that sense of like, OK, reflecting where the book began and where the book ended and there is a completion there. But it’s been fun to actually see the whole trilogy. And it’s like, OK, this is the journey that we went on over the course of this year of Arlo Finch’s life. And yes he’s physically in the same space but he’s a completely different character in that same space and has a different appreciation for what’s happened.
And so being able to go back to previous locations where things have happened you see that his relationship to them is completely different because he’s a different character having been changed by what’s gone on. That’s what we’re really talking about with that last beat and how the last beat has to reflect where the character started and what has happened to the character over the course of the journey.
Craig: Yeah. I mean, you would not – reading Arlo Finch you would never expect that he would end up a savage murderer, but he does.
John: [laughs] It’s really shocking for middle grade fiction.
Craig: Well it is. But then when you look back you go, oh yeah, you know what, he was laying the groundwork for that all along. It actually makes sense. He’s a nightmare. Then there’s the Dark Finch trilogy that comes next. Oh, you know what? Dark Finch trilogy is not a bad idea.
John: Dark Finch sounds pretty good.
Craig: You should do it.
John: I think it’s going to be a crossover with Derek Haas’s books about his assassin.
Craig: Oh yeah. Silver Bear.
John: Silver Bear.
Craig: Silver Bear. Dark Finch. That sounds like a Sondheim lyric. I love it.
John: Oh yeah.
Craig: I love it. So, you know, when I’m thinking about these last images, everybody has a different way of thinking about this. But what I try and do really is actually think about it in terms of a last emotion. What is it that I want to feel? Do I want to feel comfort? Do I want to feel pride? Do I want to feel love? Do I want to feel hope? The movie that I worked on with Lindsay Doran, which is I think my favorite feature script, and so of course it hasn’t been made. They make the other ones, not those. The last shot to me was always an expression of the kind of bittersweet salute to the people who are gone. You know, it’s a coming of age story and the last shot when I just thought about the emotion at the end, the emotion at the end was the kind of sad thankfulness for having known someone who is no longer with you.
And I go, OK, I can wrap myself in that. That feels like a good emotion. And I know how that is reflected by the beginning. How you then express it that can change.
John: For sure.
Craig: And often changes frequently. But this is an area where I think movies sometimes fail because the system of movies is designed to separate the writer and her intention from the actual outcome, so a writer will have an intention like I want my movie to end with the bittersweet thankfulness for those who are no longer with us. That is my emotional intention. And here is how I would execute it.
Nobody else sees the intention underneath, or they don’t understand it, and they just go, “Well you know what? We don’t like necessarily the way they’re executing that. Let’s make a new execution. Let’s do this. Let’s do that. Let’s make it noisy. Let’s make it loud. Let’s make it funny.” And the intention is gone. And then you get to the movie and you show it and people go, “Well, the ending.” And you’re like, yeah, the ending, and that writer never really nailed the ending.
Craig: You see how it goes? It’s just freaking brutal.
John: Yeah. That’s never happened to me once in my career. Let’s talk about what that ending looks like in the different stages. So, in the pitch version of it, you know, obviously we talked about in pitches that I would describe it as you’re trying to convince your best friend to see this movie that you’ve seen that they’ve not seen. So you’re really talking a lot about the characters and how it starts. And you may simplify and summarize some things, especially in the second and third act about stuff. But you will tend to describe out that last moment, that last beat, because you’re really talking about what is the takeaway experience going to be for a person who has watched this movie that you’re hopefully going to be writing.
So, in a pitch you’re going to have a description of what that last moment is because that’s really important. It’s the reason why someone should say yes to reading your script, to buying your script, to hiring you to write that script. So that last moment is almost always going to be there in the pitch, even if it’s not fully fleshed out, to give you a sense of what you want the audience and the readers to take away from reading the script.
Craig: What I’m thinking about in a room where I’m relaying something to somebody is ultimately how do I want them to – I want to give them a fuzzy at the end. I want to give them some sort of fuzzy feeling. I don’t want to give them plot. If I finish off with plot, so for instance, let’s say I’m in a room and I’m pitching Star Wars.
What I don’t want to do is get to the end and say, “And in our last shot our hero receives a medal which he deserved.” What I want to talk about is how a kid – I would bring it back to the beginning and say this farm boy who didn’t know about this world beyond him, didn’t know about the Force, who didn’t know about the fate of his father or the way he can maybe save the world, he is the one who saved the galaxy. And at last he knows who he is.
See, some sort of sense of connected feeling to the beginning. If you’re selling plot at the end then what you’re really selling is what Lindsay Doran calls the end that people think is the end but not the actual end.
John: Well, let’s take your example of Star Wars because you might pitch it that way, but then when it comes to writing the script you actually have to write this scene that gets you to that moment. And so as you’re writing that scene at the last moment you’re looking at what is the medal ceremony like, who is there, what is said, but most importantly what is the emotional connection between those characters who are up there. Actually painting out the world so we can see like, OK, this is why it’s going to feel this way. This is clearly the intention behind this scene but also I’m giving you the actual things you need to give us that feeling at the end.
And so in the script stage what was sort of a nebulous description of like this is what it’s going to feel like has to actually deliver on that promise.
Craig: Yeah. I always wondered – I hate being the guy who’s like would it be better if a movie that everybody loved ended like this – but the last shot of Star Wars is the medal ceremony, right. And then you have them looking at each other, and so the emotion is the relationships between them. But I always wondered what would happen if the last-last shot of Star Wars was Luke Skywalker returning back to Tatooine a different man and kind of starting a new beginning, a new hope. You know, that vibe of returning. I always wondered if I would feel more at the end if I saw him return.
John: I think it’s worth exploring. I think if you were to try to do that though it would just feel like one more beat. It would feel like the movie was over when he got the medal and you had this swell. Whether the journey was this is a kid who is all on his own who forms a new family, so like going back to where his dead family was wouldn’t feel like the kind of victory.
Craig: Dead family.
John: Dead family. So I think you want to see his joy and excitement rather than sort of the – I would just imagine the music would be very different if he had gone back to Tatooine at the end. It wouldn’t feel like a triumph.
Craig: Yeah, no, you’re right. And I guess then the payload for that final bit is really the looks between Leia and Luke and Han and Luke. That it’s we’re a family, we’re friends, we did it. We went through something nobody else understands.
John: So let’s say you’ve written the script, you’ve gone into production, and 100 days of production there’s finally a cut and you see that last moment in the film and it’s different, or it doesn’t work, or the way you had it written on the page doesn’t work. In my experience it’s generally because the movie sort of got – the actual movie that you watched isn’t quite the movie that’s on the page just naturally. And as people are embodying those characters things just feel different. Obviously some scenes get cut, things get moved around. And where you kind of thought you were headed is not really where you’ve ended up. And so you have to make some sort of change there.
In some cases it’s reshoots. In some cases you’re really shooting a new last scene. You realize this was not the moment that we thought we wanted to get to at the end. But in some cases it is just a matter of this shot versus that shot. Whose close-up are we ending on? You talk about Mr. Miyagi. I bet they tried it a bunch of different ways and it would make more sense to end on Daniel rather than Mr. Miyagi, but ultimately Mr. Miyagi was the right choice.
They’re thinking about what does the music feel at this moment. How are we emotionally landing, the payload here. And the music is going to be a big factor. So, there’s going to be a lot of things conspiring to get that last image, that last moment of the movie. And you may not have been able to anticipate that on the page.
Craig: No question. And this is why it’s really important for you to understand your intention because it may work out that your intention didn’t carry through in the plan. But if we know the intention and we have married the beginning to the end then the beginning has set up this inexorable domino effect. You have landed at the end. You require a feeling. Let’s see if we can make that feeling editorially a different way. And if we can’t, OK, let’s go back and reconsider what it’s supposed to be.
In rare circumstances you do get to a place where you realize, oh my god, having gone through this movie it’s really about this. It turns out we care more about this than this. This relationship matters more than this relationship. OK. So, now we have to think of the beginning, let’s recontextualize what our beginning means and then let’s go ahead and fix an ending.
But the ending can never be just – do you know what? “It just needs to be more exciting.” That’s nonsense.
John: The danger is a lot of times in test screenings they’ll see like, OK, the numbers are a little bit low here and people dipped at the end, so let’s add some more razzmatazz to this last little beat, or like an extra thing. And generally people don’t want more. They don’t want bigger or more, they just want to actually exit the movie at the right time with the right emotion. And that’s the challenge.
Craig: Right. How do you leave them feeling is the biggest.
John: So sometimes though the opposite holds true. Just this last week I was watching a rough cut of a friend’s film. And he has this really remarkable last shot and these two characters and their relationship has changed profoundly. But as I watched it I was like oh that’s a really great last shot/last moment for kind of a different movie than I saw. But when I looked at the movie I had seen before that I was like, oh yeah, you could actually do some reconfiguring to get you to that moment and actually have it make sense. So it was really talking about this is where we get to at the end. I think you’re not starting at the right place. And so therefore you may want to take a look at those first scenes and really change our expectations and change what we’re following over the course of the movie because doing that you could land at that place and it would feel really meaningful.
Craig: Again, the beginning is the end is the beginning. Right? If something is not working in that where your circle is supposed to connect up and you ended up with an open cucumber, then either the ending is wrong, or the beginning is wrong, or they’re both wrong.
Craig: But it’s usually one or the other. And it is I think tempting at times to say, “Well, since the ending is the last thing, everything else is the pyramid and this this thing sits atop the pyramid, this is the easiest thing to fix.” And, John, you’re absolutely right. Sometimes the easiest thing to fix is the beginning.
John: Yeah. Change the expectations of the audience as they go into it and you can get them there.
Craig: Match them to where they’re going to arrive.
John: All right. That is our discussion of that final moment. Now let’s talk about the very, very beginning where we think about what these movies could even be. So in previous examples of How Would This Be a Movie we talked about articles from the news. Many of those cases those things have become movies. And so at least they’ve been optioned as movies.
Craig: We’ve been making people money left and right.
John: We really have been. I mean, I think if anyone deserves a packaging fee it is–
John: [laughs] Craig Mazin and John August of Scriptnotes fame.
Craig: I mean, you’re joking, but literally we’ve done more in those situations than a number of agencies have in certain packaging situations.
John: Indeed. So, obviously the story that we couldn’t escape this past week was operation Varsity Blues. This was – so this is not going to be a big thing we’re going to talk about – but this is the story of the college admissions scandals that ensnared Felicity Huffman, Lori Laughlin, a bunch of other VC folks. It was all anyone could talk about in Hollywood. And I will say while I can’t describe what happened in the negotiating room, I will say that every moment that we weren’t actually talking about the negotiations was completely talking about this whole scandal. I almost wanted to have a five-minute free period where we could all just talk about – it’s crazy, right?
Craig: Get it out of your system.
John: This is nuts.
Craig: Yeah. There’s a current feeding frenzy, you and I are both aware of this, that many, many, many people are attempting to get the rights to. I guess one of the main articles – the main article, you know, that’s one of those stories where I think life rights actually is really useful because some of the people within the story if they granted life rights you’d get more information. Obviously the perpetrators aren’t going to be granting anything anytime soon.
But so that one will be a movie. So probably not a good idea for us to go on the record as to how, or show, or something. That’s inevitable.
John: The story broke Tuesday morning. My first email about it from a producer came at 12:38pm, so just three, four hours after the story broke I already got my first like, “Hey, would you ever consider writing this thing?”
Craig: It was on Wednesday?
Craig: Oh, Tuesday, OK, yeah, so I didn’t get one until Wednesday. [laughs]
John: All right, well, I mean–
Craig: Same thing.
John: I don’t want to say it, yeah, but, yeah.
Craig: No, of course, you’re one day better than me. Or, or, you’re one day better than me. There’s really no alternative.
John: In this segment though rather than talk about specific articles or specific incidents, I want to talk about three big story areas. And so we’ll have links to some articles that talk about that story area and in some cases one of those articles might be useful. But really I want to talk about what is the kind of movie that we do in this space.
And so the first, there’s two articles we’ll link to. One is about an unvaccinated boy who got tetanus and tetanus is a disease that shouldn’t exist anymore. But if you don’t vaccinate your kids they can get it. He was in the hospital for 57 days, $800,000 worth of medical expenses. Another story that could be helpful here is about a kid who defied his parents and got vaccinated against their wishes. I think he ended up testifying to Congress about why he did that.
So, Craig, I mean, talk to me about vaccines.
Craig: Well, I think I’ve gone on record a number of times as stating that not only am I violently pro-vaccine, but I’m violently anti-anti-vaccine. Of all the things I can tolerate in other people I think anti-vax is probably the lowest on the list. I mean, I’m literally telling you if I had a choice between sitting in a room with a Neo-Nazi or an Anti-Vaxer, I think I would go with the Neo-Nazi. I think at the very least I could say let’s – I’m just going to talk to you as a Jewish person and let’s see how this goes. [laughs] You know? We’ll sit in the room together. But an Anti-Vaxer, no, they’re dead to me. They’re dead to me. Their minds are not only not functioning in any way I can even approximate respecting, but they are through their smugness and arrogance, they don’t even have the common decency to be hateful people. They’re just aggressively stupid and they are killing other people with their outrageous, smug stupidity.
John: So now that you’ve stated your position on this–
Craig: My carefully–
John: Carefully nuanced position.
Craig: Carefully nuanced position.
John: Let’s think about how a vaccine story could work. And so there’s a couple different templates which come to mind. First is sort of the classic huge disease outbreak situation. So we have movies like Contagion, Crisis in the Hot Zone – I guess Crisis in the Hot Zone was never a movie. It was always supposed to be a movie. I read a zillion scripts on it, but I don’t think it ever became a movie.
Craig: Yeah. There’s–
Craig: Outbreak. And Contagion. There were quite a few.
John: And so that’s the thing where a superbug gets out and suddenly half the world is decimated. I mean, World War Z is in some ways the same kind of thing where everything spirals beyond control.
Craig: Someone eats the wrong bit of monkey mean and there it goes. We’re off and running.
John: Something goes amuck. That doesn’t feel like the most, I mean, you can keep making those movies as long as you want to. That doesn’t feel like quite what we’re talking about here.
John: I think that sense of an individual choice, an individual story is probably more compelling. Talk to me about Ethan Lindenberger from Norwalk, Ohio. He’s one of the kids in this article who does sort of defy his parents and gets vaccinated by himself. I mean, he’s an interesting character because it gives you a way in because you can both love your parents and love your family and yet feel like you have to do this thing that is in opposition to their wishes which is a classic kind of heroic framework.
Craig: Well we typically will see this kind of story told in the context of religion. Someone grows up in a cult or even in a – let’s just call it extreme end of a mainstream religion. And they love their parents but have to get out. Eventually they realize it’s not correct and they have to get out. Although in some cases clearly they don’t love their parents. Their parents are abusive and they have to get out.
And that’s exactly what this reminded me of. Essentially he says, listen, that his mother loves him but she was “steeped in online conspiracies that made him and his siblings vulnerable to vaccine-preventable diseases like ongoing measles outbreaks. I grew up under my mother’s beliefs that vaccines are dangerous. He’d show her scientific studies but said she instead turned to illegitimate sources that instill fear into the public.” Essentially his mother was a cultist.
And, by the way, that’s what Anti-Vax is. It is a flat-out cult. It is a cult based in fear and instead of worshipping a central person character what they worship is a central theory, a charismatic theory if you will.
So, there is a natural kind of narrative structure for a story where someone has to get out. And what you’re doing is retelling it in the context of science, and medical science, which I think is kind of an interesting angle on it. If it were me, I think I’d be going – because I’ve thought about this. You know, I’ve thought about doing a limited series on the rise of anti-vaccination which has always been with us by the way. I mean we say it’s a rise. There’s always been fear of vaccines. And the fear of vaccines is directly connected I think to the fear of people who are smarter than us.
I think there’s a direct line. It’s the same thing when we look at fear of elitism, fear of expertise, fear of those smart people, fear of the scientists, and then a direct line to fear of vaccines. It’s always been there but the current story that begins with the charlatan Andrew Wakefield and continues to this day to me is deserving of a – there’s a good exploration there. I’ve thought about it.
John: Now, the counter narrative is also an easy thing to see. So, the opposite movie which is basically that vaccines were a conspiracy. That secretly they always knew they were doing harm. That story we’ve seen a bunch, too. So, it feels like there’s going to be an upcoming one at some point about the opioid crisis and how big pharma was–
Craig: Oh there is. Steve Zaillian is working on it right now. It’s going to be brilliant.
John: Yeah. So we always have that kind of thing where like there is a secret government cabal hiding information about the real truth of these things. I agree with you that I think the cultist template or basically escaping from the cult template or the – I hate coming to realize, but the character who discovers that what they thought was true was not true is a meaningful way to think about it. The Matrix is essentially that, too. That sense that the world is not the way you thought it would be.
And I think what’s interesting about the vaccine situation is because the enemies are invisible and kind of ancient. Because no one has any experience with measles we think that measles doesn’t really exist. And it’s almost like one of those like don’t do that or you’ll attract the dragons. Like no one has seen dragons for 500 years. I’m not sure they ever really were there. As these diseases break out you realize like, oh wow, measles is terrible. Tetanus can kill you. These are things that are real issues.
Craig: Yeah. In a very real way Chernobyl is a story about what happens when people decide that because something hasn’t happened it can’t happen. And it won’t happen. It’s just inherent to the human condition. We pretend because we don’t know these things.
And, yes, there’s a weird line because you don’t want to end up as the person who is walking around saying, “Don’t you understand? Just because you haven’t seen ghosts doesn’t mean that ghosts aren’t there.” No, there’s an absolutely wonderful reason to presume that ghosts aren’t there. This is different. We know that vaccines work and we know that there are diseases that kill people. And the fact that we have eliminated polio because of vaccination doesn’t mean now that we don’t need to vaccinate because polio is not a thing. It’s a thing.
Mitch McConnell had polio. Which he seems to have forgotten, mind you. No, it’s a thing.
So, for me I keep thinking about this story in terms of the villains. Because I find the villains fascinating and horrifying. And there’s a danger in feeling like your axe-grinding if what you’re doing is building a narrative around a hero who is just yelling all the time, “Don’t you understand?”
John: The Jeff Goldblum character.
Craig: “Vaccines are great.” No, the Jeff Goldblum character is amazing as a kind of like background, “Do you know, uh, maybe we shouldn’t, uh, do this.” But in a show like this what you could end up seeming is just facile if your show is built around a CDC scientist or medical doctor.
Craig: At Harvard Med who is saying, “Don’t you understand? You’re killing people.” Yes, we understand. And then you’re just going to repeat over and over? I want – it’s the villains that fascinate me. I want to expose them with the hope that some people would see themselves in it and think twice.
John: Yeah. That’s the goal. So, it feels like the characters we’re going to be looking for is who is the one who has a journey, well it’s probably somebody who starts in that world and leaves that world and recognizes that world for what it actually truly was. That feels like the classic thing.
The villain, it could be a quack. It could be a person who is profiting off that fear. But it probably is more that even kind of accidentally charismatic cult leader. Basically people start to believe him or her and that creates a sense of self-esteem and then they can’t have their self-esteem challenged by science or reality. And that becomes a fascinating loop there.
Craig: Yeah. I mean, you can see a story about parents who – let’s say the mother convinces the father that vaccines are terrible. And so they don’t vaccinate their child and then eventually their child dies. And these two people have to come to grips with it and they can’t. And there are ways – by the way, this is one of the most fascinating areas because this is one of the few areas where it’s more likely that women will be the villain. It’s fascinating just demographically. For whatever reason, this seems to be more prevalent among women than men.
So, and that already fascinates me because then I can get out of the usual thing as well. Because we’ve seen a billion male cult leaders. Haven’t seen too many female cult leaders. That’s exciting.
John: Yeah. It’s good. All right, our next story area is the Boeing air crashes. And so this is of a relatively recent Boeing redesign of planes. Two of these planes have crashed. A bunch of other countries grounded the planes saying there’s something fundamentally wrong here. The US stalled for a bit and has now grounded those planes. So let’s talk about this situation, this area, and figure out what are the interesting stories in there.
So, our friend John Gatins wrote the movie Flight. So Flight was a great movie about a plane crash or plane near crash and a remarkable pilot.
Craig: It was a crash.
John: Oh, it was a crash. It was a crash that wasn’t as bad as it could have been.
John: And there have been other movies about plane crashes. Where are the story areas in this Boeing situation?
Craig: Well, we’ve got a few potentials. Sort of the obvious one is the – we’ll call it the big political story. Why are these planes still flying around in the United States while other people cancel them? The problem is that the United States grounded the planes quickly thereafter. So that story gets a little short-circuited. That feels like a little bit of a footnote.
Then there’s the investigation angle, you know, how did this plane crash. And then I think connected to that one is where I would probably start, which is why is this plane this way to begin with? That is fascinating actually. I don’t know if you’ve read about why they think this has happened and what led to it, but quick summary is that they continually need to update these planes to appear as if they’re selling something new and something that is more advanced. And advanced means saves money. That means more fuel-efficient. That means you can fly longer with less fuel, less drag, all that.
And Airbus is Boeing’s main competitor. Airbus is rolling out their new planes. Boeing freaks out. We’ve got to rollout our new planes. We don’t have new planes. Let’s take the planes we have and make them fly cheaper by making the following modifications. And they do. Because technology progresses.
But what they find is in making those modifications – and they’re so slight, right, they’re shaving things off here and there – that in certain circumstances the engines themselves are creating a little bit extra lift. So, if the plane is pointing up a little bit too much then it could theoretically start pointing up a lot too much. So, they just go ahead and build a thing into the system that automatically will lower it back down if that happens. They don’t tell anyone. Or they do, but they bury it in manuals. And the presumption, current presumption, may be proven wrong, is that in both cases of Ethiopian Airlines crash and the Lion Air crash, which look almost identical, that this system engaged incorrectly and the pilots didn’t understand what was happening. And so they started correcting for the system that was correcting and there was a feedback loop and the whole thing came down.
Craig: And so you trace it all the way back to the same story we’ll hear about airlines where they say, my god, we just saved American Airlines $14 million a year by removing one olive from our salad. That’s kind of the same thing that’s going on here, except it’s leading to death apparently.
John: Yeah. So I think the challenge of that kind of a story is figuring out how you put characters in there that are compelling. And so you can have the investigator character who is going through and figuring all this out. You could do a more Chernobyl kind of situation where there’s a group of people that we’re following or we’re looking over the course of time. We’re figuring out how we got to this place or we’re moving back and forth to do it.
I don’t know that it’s going to feel especially compelling. I mean, it’s totally possible that we’re going to find that there’s some moment in there that really is groundbreaking and blows it all open, but I do worry that it’s not a movie. It’s really more of a good documentary than a narrative film. The actual just reporting of the facts may be more compelling than – just because unlike Chernobyl we’re not going to have great visuals. We’re not going to have great things to see. We could theoretically have two plane crashes, but there aren’t going to be cinematic moments. Does that make sense?
Craig: It does. And since I’ve seen Chernobyl I know that – I’ll just spoil it. The explosion happens very early on, really early. This is a kind of a one-incident plot, right? Plane crashes. What I find fascinating about complex disasters is not the thing that begins it but rather this terrible dragon’s tail that extends behind it that gets worse and worse and worse and worse.
So it never stops in a sense. With something like this you’re absolutely right. And it reminds me a little bit of the Sully movie. Was it called Sully? Was that what it was called? Sully?
John: Yeah. Which I never saw. Did you see it?
Craig: I saw it. And, you know, well first of all it was fairly apparent to me that they had just created a lot of drama that wasn’t true. The government inquiry board suddenly got very evil. Yeah, I mean, ultimately I just thought this doesn’t need to be here.
Craig: I mean, very good filmmakers. Excellent filmmakers. Great actors. Great people involved. I just ultimately it didn’t feel like it rose to the test for me at least of I didn’t learn anything great other than Sully is a hell of a pilot.
John: Yep. Well let’s talk about this story area then. So rather than specifically these crashes or these Boeing planes there’s that sense of what you’re describing if this is really what caused these planes to crash was the kind of algorithm, this kind of automation that people weren’t aware of that had a good intention but went awry. So, you can very much envision as our Teslas start being able to drive themselves more, one bug could result in huge catastrophic problems. And so that sense of unintended consequences of automation, or these things which we rely on to keep stuff functioning properly goes wrong.
So, if for example what if it weren’t that there was one specific problem and this one specific design, but there was something more fundamental and we had to ground all the planes like what happened after 9-11. That is the kind of impact that you see that really does change how we live our daily life.
Craig: Yeah. I mean, air travel is essential to everything. And interestingly in the days following the second Boeing 737 Max crash, Max-8 crash, a number of people started asking American Airlines and Southwest Airlines, the two US carriers that use those planes, “I don’t want to fly on that plane. Can I get my money back? Or is there another plane?” And both airlines essentially said the same thing which was we’ve flown tens of thousands of flights with these with no incident. And that’s true.
Craig: It’s still the safest form of travel there is. And this is one of those areas where like radiation I’ve discovered, there’s certain things that we find to be dread. Certain diseases. We dread certain diseases when we should really be dreading other ones because they’re the ones that are way more likely to kill us. Like we’re terrified of rabies but we don’t seem to be particularly worried about, I don’t know–
John: Heart disease.
Craig: Heart disease. Exactly. We’re still eating our pastrami sandwich while we’re talking about how terrible rabies is. And really very few people get rabies. Radiation, dying from radiation, I watch people refuse to put their phones up to the heads, but meanwhile the banana they’re eating has more radiation than the phone. By the way, so does flying. People are terrified of flying, but cars are constantly smashing into things. 35,000 people a year I think die on the road. Cars are bursting into flames. We have no problem with it. I was thinking about this in the context of they’re starting to talk about using drones now to move people around. Air cars essentially. And, you know, sooner or later an air car is going to crash. And someone is going to die. And everyone is going to lose their minds.
But that day 15 other people in Southern California alone will die in auto accidents. And no one will even care.
Craig: We struggle with this.
John: We discount the things that happen every day and focus on those rare things because they’re just so spectacular.
Craig: Exactly. They’re spectacular. And ultimately we know, well, if I get into a car accident I could survive that. If I get into a plane accident, no. And that’s what terrifies us. We’re not in control of the plane. Something else is.
In the case of this story I think there is something fascinating about the notion of how we put things in the hands of computers and then we’re terrified that the computers will let us down. But almost every single time, in fact, sorry, every single time when the computer lets us down is because a human has let us down. The computers aren’t writing their own code.
John: They will someday, but not yet.
Craig: Not yet.
John: Not yet.
Craig: [laughs] Not yet. So, what happened here was something akin to when a doctor gives you a pill to solve a problem, it does except it creates a new problem, so he gives you a pill to solve that problem. And you get pill on top of pill. And in this case it seems like they’re solving one problem that creates another problem, to they make a new thing to solve that problem, but it creates a new problem. This is a human thing. It’s about money.
John: Yep. All right. Something else we can’t control is the weather and this winter has been–
Craig: I can.
John: I always forget you have weather control. You and Storm from X-Men are our weather controllers. This winter has had some spectacular extreme events in weather across the US. We’ll link to two articles, one about the historic number of avalanches in Colorado. Another one about the Bomb Cyclone which is what they’re calling this huge winter–
Craig: Bomb Cyclone.
John: Bomb Cyclone!
Craig: Bomb Cyclone!
John: This huge winter storm complex that has sort of parked in places of the US. So let’s talk about extreme winter and what kinds of movies we can find in what’s happening in this big winter not-wonderland. Horrorland.
Craig: Weather is tough, right? I mean, because it’s slow and what we generally end up with are movies like The Day After Tomorrow where it’s cataclysmic, supernaturally cataclysmic weather where we’re taking it and speeding it up so it’s happening at a geo-storm. You know? And so it’s science-fiction essentially. Because what we don’t know really how to do is make a story out of a two-degree increase in average temperature in an area.
John: Yeah. Let’s try to separate that out because I think it’s hard to make the climate change movie because it’s just hard to sort of see the actual thing. We can talk about that another time, but like showing that is really hard to do even though it’s probably much more important than any given storm.
But we do have templates for survival stories in extreme weather.
John: The good thing about weather is it’s a disruption of ordinary daily life which is fertile ground for narrative. Because it breaks characters out of their usual routines and being broken out of their usual routine we can see them do things and take chances and go on journeys they wouldn’t otherwise take.
Craig: Yeah. Human versus nature is a classic. And there’s this inner sense we have when we watch those narratives that what we’re seeing is the human finally understanding who they are and the depths of what they can do because they’ve been pitted against nature. It speaks to an innate human desire to master nature. Right? I will beat you. I will defeat you. And you won’t beat me.
And we like those stories. We like them but they often are very similar. You just see – you find ways in where, OK, what makes The Perfect Storm better than, you know, this movie about the river overflowing. And you find the differences, but there is a real formula to it. Doesn’t mean bad. I like a good formula movie. But in this case I wonder if out of this new round of stuff the most story valuable thing that has come out is just the phrase Bomb Cyclone because, I mean, how is Bomb Cyclone already not a movie on – which channel makes Sharknado?
John: I think it’s Sci-Fi Channel, yeah.
Craig: Yeah. Like it just seems like Bomb Cyclone is terrifying.
John: Well, some of what’s happening in this last round is that we’re having snow storms in places that are not used to snow, and that can be fun, you can do a comedy where it’s like this snow day in Atlanta. Like they just don’t have – completely out of context for what they’re sort of used to.
Craig: That’s a good idea. Good idea. Stop there. That’s a great idea. To me, somebody should make that movie. That’s funny. Snow Day in Atlanta. I love that.
John: That sense of everyone is knocked off their normal routine. No one knows how to deal with this thing. So it’s a fish out of water story in some ways, too.
Craig: It’s a fish out of water story, but then it gets people to do stuff. And then things that maybe you wouldn’t have dealt with you deal with. It’s classic comedy stuff. And somebody falls in love. And there’s a snowman. There’s a snow fight. But it’s fun.
John: It’s fun.
Craig: It’s fun.
John: It’s fun.
Craig: I love it.
John: Classic other template for this is trapped, basically where you have characters stuck together in a place where they have to deal with a thing. For some reason we are fascinated with storms trapping characters at motels. I can think of so many examples of that. Where characters are forced to interact in ways they would not otherwise be interacting. Drama. Thriller. Those are sort of the classic ways to get into this. But I guess what’s important is in all these situations the weather is an inciting incident. It’s a reason why these characters are in this situation. But it’s rarely the actual villain. Because the weather is not personified in a way. It’s not a dragon you can defeat.
Craig: That’s exactly right.
John: You just get through it.
Craig: Yeah. Apparently everyone on planet earth saw Bird Box on Netflix.
John: I never saw it.
Craig: I’ve seen some of it. I won’t spoil anything. The bad guy, the monsters, whatever you are, you don’t even see them. That’s the point. You don’t see them. So they might as well be the weather. The plot is if you look at them then you go crazy and want to kill yourself. So you can’t look at them, so what you end up with is people trapped together in a house with this bad weather/alien presence outside. And the personified villain – so Eric Heisserer who wrote that script clearly understood exactly what you just said in a way that Shyamalan did not when he made The Happening. Because he thought the wind will be scary enough, or plants. They will not be.
And so what Eric Heisserer very smartly figured out early on in his writing process – I haven’t talked to him, I just know this is what happened – he said, oh my god, the weather isn’t personally scary. So he essentially created two tiers of effects. This is a very screenwriter solution but it works. Most people who look at this thing will go crazy and kill themselves. Some people will go crazy but basically go and evangelize and try and get other people to look at the thing.
Craig: And therein you have your personified villain. It’s essential for a movie about the weather/aliens.
John: Another good example I can think of is Stephen King’s The Fog. And so you have a bunch of characters trapped in a supermarket, surrounded by this supernatural fog. And it’s the dynamics of those characters within that space and them jockeying for power is really what you’re following. The same can be said for The Walking Dead where the zombies are weather.
Craig: They’re weather. Exactly. We have seen the enemy and it is us. So, Stephen King does the exact same thing in The Dome. You know, OK, let me trap you. You’re facing a common enemy. And let me watch you rip yourselves to shreds instead.
John: Yep. So, I think if we’re going to do a movie about the Bomb Cyclone or any of this extreme weather it’s probably going to fall into either the snow day in Atlanta template or here is an ensemble drama about characters trapped in a situation. Those feel like the natural ways to do it. Because I don’t think we want another Goldblum situation where someone is explaining the weather. That doesn’t feel like–
Craig: [laughs] Goldblum situation.
John: But honestly you could stick Jeff Goldblum in all three of these movies that we’ve pitched today. So, you can definitely see him being the plan expert who is telling you I warned them not to do this but they did it anyway.
Craig: Right. Exactly. Exactly. Where do the Madea movies take place, by the way?
John: Oh, I don’t know.
Craig: I mean, I think he shoots them all around Atlanta and Georgia.
John: It feels like they should be in Atlanta.
Craig: So Madea’s Snow Day just feels like–
Craig: How is Tyler Perry not already writing that?
John: The poster, just make the poster and the movie follows.
Craig: Madea’s Snow Day. I would actually see that.
John: [laughs] I would see Madea’s Snow Day, too.
Craig: I would. I would see Madea’s Snow Day. I have no problem with that. None.
John: All right. If you have ideas for other How Would This Be a Movie do send them our way because we do gather those up together and Megana will put them in a nice little package and we’ll look at them again. I think it’s always fun to look at these areas because honestly that’s what Craig and I kind of do all day. Just random things are thrown in our general direction and we have to say like, oh, what kind of movie is this. And that’s what kind of movie it is.
Craig: If you become a writer in Hollywood, and I think a lot of you would like to be, those of you who are not already, this is what you do a lot of the time. This is it. So, if you hate the idea of doing this, hmm, mm. That’s all I got to say.
John: Yep. To bring this all back together I would say that in any of these movies that we’re sort of half-pitching here it’s going to come down to what is that final moment. What is the takeaway from this thing? Because if it’s just like a bunch of weather happens or a plane crashes that’s not a movie. It has to be about what is the last thing you’re taking from this thing that made it worthwhile to be listening to this pitch, to be reading this script, to be watching this movie.
Craig: 100%. These two things are not unrelated.
John: Great. It’s time for our One Cool Things. I have a Kickstarter for my One Cool Thing. It is the Humblewood Campaign Setting for the fifth edition of Dungeons and Dragons. So you and I have both encountered these things that are Kickstarters that do a special new little world for within the DND universe. Humblewood is absolutely adorable.
Craig: It is.
John: So, I first came across these because Leesha Hannigan who is an artist who did some work for us for One Hit Kill, she has some of her characters in this. They are these adorable foxes with swords and rabbits and mice. And it looks absolutely incredible. So, just encourage you to check out the Humblewood Campaign Setting for Dungeons and Dragons.
If you don’t play DND you’re not going to get a tremendous amount out of this, but it’s worth looking at the artwork because it’s just really incredible.
Craig: And it does seem like if you are introducing your kids–
John: Oh my god, it would be perfect.
Craig: Yeah. Particularly, you know, not every kid likes the kind of classic monster stuff, and blood and guts, and brains with sharp teeth sticking out of them and all that stuff. This is definitely more kid-friendly. It’s softer but it’s cuddly. But it’s still DND so you still get to kill stuff. I mean, come on. But you’re doing it with an adorable mice character named Jerbeen, or sorry that’s his race. He’s a Jerbeen, which means he’s a mouse person. It’s adorable. Adorable.
John: And Aline Brosh McKenna will of course love the owl knight, a Strig, and Aline loves owls. But, I mean, come on.
Craig: She loves owls. And then there’s Corvum – looks like sort of Necromancy/Crow guy. Very good. If you love birds, and you love DND. No, it is. It’s adorable. It’s absolutely adorable. Don’t worry about the it not happening. Their goal was $20,000 and they’re currently at $127,000.
And here’s a thought. Make some stuff for DND. People like it.
John: They do like it.
Craig: Yeah. I love it. My One Cool Thing is an article from NewScientist.com. We will include a link in the show notes of course. And it’s fascinating. I did not know this. Here’s the headline: Humans couldn’t pronounce “f” and “v” sounds before farming developed. Like how many F sounds are in that sentence itself?
So essentially a group of linguists have determined that our jaws before agriculture were aligned in a certain way where it was all about chewing hard food. And because our jaws were aligned in a certain way we couldn’t actually align things so that the bottom teeth could touch the top lift to make “f” or “v.” It just didn’t work.
John: It’s top teeth and bottom lip, right?
Craig: Sorry, did I say bottom teeth and top lip? I meant bottom lip and top teeth. You’re absolutely right. What if I was like, oh, is that how you say it?
John: I tried to picture like an orc doing it.
Craig: Exactly. But what happened with agriculture once we started to farm our food became easier to chew. And it led to changes in human jaws and teeth. And thus with the jawbone not having to do as much work it doesn’t grow to be so large and now you can make F and V sounds.
John: That’s nice.
Craig: I love stuff like this.
John: I love evolutionary biology. I love how stuff all fits together. And sometimes it can be magical thinking, like oh it must be this way. And who knows maybe they’ll find that this isn’t quite accurate for some reason. But it does track and make sense and also reminds me that humans have been around for a long time. There used to be many different species of humans in our sort of giant family. We ended up doing different things because of where we ended up. It’s cool.
Craig: I love it. I love anything that reminds me of how much animalistic meat blobs we all are.
John: Yeah. That we’re mammals.
Craig: Yeah. I mean, we’re special mammals but we’re mammals. We’re mammals. We’re meat.
John: We’ve got big brains and we’ve got really nimble hands and that got us a lot.
Craig: Thank god for soft food. It’s my favorite food.
John: Soft food is so, so good.
Craig: The best.
John: That is our show for this week. Our show is produced by Megana Rao. It is edited by Matthew Chilelli. Our outro this week is by Jim Launch and Jim Bond. If you have an outro you can send us a link to firstname.lastname@example.org. That’s also the place where you can send longer questions. For short questions on Twitter, Craig is @clmazin. I’m @johnaugust.
You can find us on Apple Podcasts and Stitcher and wherever you listen to podcasts. If you’re there leave us a review. That helps people find the show.
You can find the show notes for this episode and all episodes at johnaugust.com. We’ll have links to the articles we talked about. You’ll also find transcripts there. They go up within the week of the episode coming out.
You can find all the back episodes at Scriptnotes.net. It’s two bucks a month to listen to those back episodes.
Craig: $2 a month. Come on.
John: Come on. We also sell packs of 50 episodes if you just want to buy those. They are at store.johnaugust.com.
Craig, lovely talking about all these things with you.
Craig: John, another great episode of Scriptnotes.
John: And I’ll talk to you next week.
- Aladdin in theaters May 24th!
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