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 507 of Scriptnotes, a podcast about screenwriting and things that are interesting to screenwriters. Today on the show what is preproduction? Or what the hell is Craig doing right now?
Craig: That’s a great question.
John: Then it’s another round of How Would This Be a Movie where we take a look at stories we found in the news or just online somewhere and discuss how they could be filmed entertainment for the world to enjoy. We’ll also look at a related question: why do certain movies get made? What is it about some projects that make them more or less likely to actually go into production?
And then in our bonus segment for premium members, if you were a time traveler Craig what would you want on your cheat sheet? If you had like a one-page back and front of stuff you wanted to carry with you back into the past what stuff would you want to put on that sheet?
Craig: OK, well mostly prescription medications. But let’s get into it.
John: Let’s do it. All right. Let’s start with preproduction. So, Craig, you were gone last week because you were in the throes of preproduction. We described you as being buried under an avalanche of preproduction.
John: Talk to us about – I don’t think we’ve really talked about what preproduction is.
Craig: Yeah, I don’t think so.
John: So let’s really go through it both for a writer’s perspective but also a showrunner’s perspective which is different. So talk to us about the kinds of things that are involved in preproduction and really what are the boundaries of preproduction versus production and when does preproduction really start for you?
Craig: Well, the easiest question to answer is what the boundary is. The boundary is once the cameras start rolling you’re in production. Every day prior to that you’re in preproduction. On a television show where there are multiple episodes individual episodes will have prep going on while you’re producing other episodes.
The time you spend in advance of shooting in prep varies from project to project. The rule of thumb for feature films, for an average feature film, let’s say we’re talking about a $40 million movie, typically you’re looking at three or four months of prep. For a show like the one we’re doing we have been prepping for many, many, many months. And we will continue to prep throughout as new episodes come up. The basic gist of it is if you think about all the things that have to be in place when you’re shooting, all of those have to be planned. And that’s what’s happening in preproduction.
So every department is planning the locations you’re going to be shooting, the sets you’re going to be building, the clothing that the actors are going to be wearing, the casting of the actors, the stunt work that’s going to be required, the picture cars, meaning the cars that show up on the screen when you’re driving, what’s all that look like. What cameras do we need? How many cameras do we need? Do we need cranes? Do we need other special arms for the cameras? Who is going to be handling the video playback? Who is going to be recording the sound? Makeup. Hair. Visual effects.
Every single tiny little thing has to be figured out, including a bunch of things that I don’t necessarily concentrate on, but also have to be figured out like who is doing the catering and what are the trailers going to be. And, oh, props. All the fabrication of things. You know, everything actually happens in prep. And if it doesn’t, well, that’s going to be a sad day of shooting.
John: Well perhaps our listeners have watched a heist film. And so you’ve seen the preparation that goes into a heist. It really is kind of analogous because you are trying to plan for this event which is the start of production and you have to think about what are all the things we need and what are the things that could go wrong and how are we going to be ready for this. So you’re assembling a team. You’re getting the resources together. You’re figuring out how you’re going to do these things.
And what’s different about prep for a movie or prep for a pilot is that in this case of the series you have to be thinking about not just how you’re going to make this first episode, but what are the decisions you’re making right now that are going to carry through the whole show and especially this first season? You’re planning not just for one hour of entertainment. It’s multiple hours and a huge schedule to go through. So the decisions you’re making with this first director are going to ripple through to all of the other directors on future episodes. And these are fundamental decisions you’re making right now.
Craig: They are. And it’s really dangerous. You have the ability to mess things up before you even start and to mess them up permanently. So you have to be really careful and you have to think twice. There is a tendency, I think a natural human tendency, to want to just arrive to yes. Get to certainty as quickly as you can. But I find that it’s really important to listen to the nagging little voice at the back of your head going, “Well, wait a second though.” Maybe this is a problem for people who have stronger egos than I do because I think sometimes I hear stories about showrunners just like, “I’ve decided this,” and everyone is like, “But we’re the experts in this little area and we’re saying this.” “No, I’m saying…”
Anytime anyone, I don’t care who it is, it could be the guy delivering lunch, if that guy is like, “Hmm, that looks a little too red, don’t you think?” I’d be like, what, oh I mean, hold on. Does it? Let me consider that carefully because it might. Because if you don’t measure a thousand times to cut once you’re in trouble.
Example, hair. Very simple thing you’d think, hair. It’s not simple. That’s going to be the hair. So, we’re going to be shooting for quite some time. Once we figure out what Pedro Pascal’s hair looks like that’s the hair. Every day. Every day. If you blow it then every day you’re going to walk in in the morning, you’re going to look at him, he’s going to look at you, and you’re both going to go, “Great.” And he and I will both think the same thing, “Craig is an idiot.”
So, got to get it right.
John: Yeah. Now, let’s talk about what the start of prep really is because there’s this sort of murky period that I’ve found when a project is like we’re going to do this thing but it’s not quite clear when we’re going to actually shoot it, so the initial onramp into prep is really strange. And so talk to us about for something like this or for something like Chernobyl what were those first hires and when do you get sort of permission to actually make those first hires who are going to help you to put the rest of the team together?
Craig: Well, so sometimes we’ll call it pre-prep, which is kind of an amusing idea, but I mean, pre-pre-prep. So, the first thing that happens typically is in order to get a green light for your movie or your television show there needs to be a budget. And the only way to have any reasonably useful budget is to do some work. Typically that means figuring out roughly where you’re going to shoot and looking at some key locations and determining what you might need to build and not build.
To do that you have to start with this first key component and that is a producer. The producer in movies that I’m talking about is typically a unit production manager, sometimes they are elevated to executive producer or something like that. And in television they might be called producer or also executive producer. So for us, Rose Lam is our executive producer along with myself and Carolyn and Neil. And she was the first real key hire because she was the person who was going to start to work on schedule, like let me look at the scripts, let me look at this bible, let me use my experience to break it down, get a sense of how long this thing is going to be, come up with some basic numbers and some plans for where we should shoot.
And to do that you get a little bit of a float. They call it a float. You get floated some money from the studio. Not too much, but enough to get that done and done accurately. At which point then there’s a decision made about budget and all the rest. And then you begin hiring people. You need your casting director very early, because you’ve got to cast way ahead of time. You need to hire your production designer very early because what their vision is is going to impact how you are going to be spending your money. And you certainly need to make sure you have a director in place as well.
John: Yeah. And what can be confusing is based on different kinds of projects and media when you go from like, OK, we can put together a budget versus OK we are giving you a green light to start shooting can be a very different experience. For something like your show, maybe they said like OK we’re going to make this thing based on this budget, this script, and this director and other key talent involved. But other projects I’ve been through you’re going through quite a lot of preproduction and they have stop points sort of along the way. Like you can spend up to this point but they could decide like, no, we’re actually stopping this right now. We’re not moving forward. We’re not giving you the green light. And that can be one of those tricky things, too.
It’s not like full speed ahead, we’re making this thing, we’re starting this day. You’re continuing to like sort of hopefully build momentum, but you’re still waiting for key decisions from the powers that be.
Craig: Yeah. And for television that’s sort of what a pilot is. There’s a built in break point where everybody can agree to produce to one hour of television and no more. And then decide what to do from there. For us we were ordered to series, so that’s not an issue. We’re doing it.
Look, it’s risk and reward. Bet hedging versus commitment. They each have plusses and minuses. Pretty obvious what the plusses are of hedging your bet. The minuses are that when you don’t have a full commitment it can sometimes be harder to access and lock down great talent, not just in terms of actors, but in terms of directors, cinematographers, production designers, and all the craftspeople that create the product with you, create the show, the movie, the series.
And if you don’t actually have a full commitment there a lot of them are like or I could just go over here where there is a commitment and now I have a job. And I don’t have to worry about not having a job. So there are costs to that.
John: Yeah. A thing you find in sort of traditional television is you shoot a pilot and then all of your actors are placed on holds so that the studio can decide, OK, yes, we are going to make this into a series and therefore we can pull all of those actors and keep them on the show. And obviously there’s the choice to replace any of those actors you want to and reshoot that stuff which does happen.
It’s tough. And I think as more and more stuff has been written as mini rooms and we’re sort of shooting the whole thing at once that can be great, but it also puts a lot more showrunners in situations like you are where you have to plan for like – you may only get one crack at it. If you were shooting a pilot you could make some changes between the two things. Just like Game of Thrones made changes after that pilot that didn’t work.
John: You’re not going to have that opportunity.
Craig: No. And we didn’t have it on Chernobyl either. And so part of that is making sure that you feel really, really confident in your team and in the scripts. But I think there are probably also on the other side of the pilot process some negatives to consider as well.
So positives are you can stop and you can retool and move ahead successfully like they did with Game of Thrones. The potential negative is everybody gets a chance to just sort of pick at it and water it down and smooth off the edges and make it stink. Nothing survives too much scrutiny. Nothing. From people who can comment without accountability.
So when I’m making something and I’m commenting on it in the editing room I have accountability for it. All of my comments are leading towards me coming out to the rest of the world and saying I stand by this. Other people it’s sort of like, well, if it’s one of the shows that a network puts out in the year, or Netflix, one of the 15 shows they put out every ten seconds, they’re not really accountable to it. So, it’s like they’re not getting blamed for it specifically. And so everybody can sort of focus too much and pick at it and then walk away. And it can just, you know, the soufflé can collapse.
So, plusses and minuses in all circumstances to these things. When there were only three networks and there was one season it made sense. Everybody had a pilot. Nobody could avoid the pilot situation because there was nowhere else to go, because those were the three networks, this is how they do it. We all do it at the same time. Not so anymore.
John: Yeah. But also the musical chairs problem of it was really tough because essentially there’s only a certain number of actors. There’s only a certain number of cinematographers, directors. You’re all fighting for very limited resources here.
John: So I got my third choice of an actor and I got this–
Craig: Yeah, it’s bad.
John: It’s bad. And so this is probably a better way to make things, but it is still really difficult.
Craig: It’s difficult. Yeah.
John: So, a question for you. As you were buried under work last week, how much of your daily firefighting problem-solving is really about money and budgets?
Craig: Very little. We certainly have budget challenges. There’s no such thing as a show without a budget challenge. It doesn’t matter what your budget is. My feeling is that by and large no matter what you do as an artist you will always have at best 90% of the money you need. That’s just the way it goes. Because, you know, your imagination always exceeds your grasp to some extent. And they have to draw the line somewhere. We do have a very healthy budget and we have a budget to make an excellent show, and so we shall do our best to do.
But, no, most of the issues that I deal with really are just the issues of 400 things need to be determined and here’s what someone just sent over as a possibility. And it’s not quite right, but it’s making us reconsider this or that. Someone says I need to sit with you for ten minutes and just ask you three questions. And that ten minutes turns into two hours because the questions are actually complicated. And then all of the other things that were supposed to happen after that have just been pushed down the line and then things spill over into the weekend.
And as you get closer to shooting this is very common.
John: Yeah. Now, how much more complicated is it shooting something that’s distant and remote? Like Calgary is not the end of the world but it’s not in a production hub. And obviously Chernobyl was not shot in a production hub. It does strike me as a very different experience because when I make a movie here in Los Angeles, we’re making Charlie’s Angels, we have all the resources of Los Angeles here. And we can pretty easily swap people in or out if we need to.
You are more isolated up there and is that a thing you have to think through in production right now?
Craig: No. It’s something that we consider early on. But one of the selling points of shooting here in Alberta is that there’s a pretty good layer of crew here in Alberta. And when we need to fill in we pull people in from Vancouver or Toronto where those are production hubs. Vancouver is more of a production hub at this point than Los Angeles is. So there’s actually quite a good depth and folks don’t mind relocating from Vancouver to Alberta for a while, or Calgary for a while, the way that our friend Derek lives in Chicago for a big chunk of the year because they do Chicago Fire there. So, that hasn’t been too bad.
And of course Calgary is a city of a million-plus people. So this experience has been much easier than the prep experience in Lithuania. There’s no language barrier. And there’s just more people to pull from. However, this production is way larger. So everything kind of scales together.
You get 90% of what you want all the time. That’s the way it goes. At best.
John: Let’s talk about you as a writer in this prep preproduction situation. Also it’s weird, as I was working on the outline here. We say prep and preproduction and prep is sort of a shortened version of preproduction, but it’s also preparation. It’s weird that they are describing the same things and they’re similar words but they’re not quite the same word.
John: As a writer what are you doing right now on that first script that’s shooting? How much are you still tweaking things? Is there a script coordinator who is helping get stuff put together? What is the writing that happens for you during this period?
Craig: The writing for the first three episodes and to some extent the first four episodes is kind of done. There are little tweaks. I kind of blew it. I forgot that we had changed, like literally a word from one thing to another, and I was like oh, D’oh. And that actually matters because the people doing some prosthetic stuff need to know where it’s going to go. So we issued – the green pages were literally I think one word changed.
We do have a script coordinator and so I work with her closely. I’m very good about maintaining revision levels and scene numbers and things like that. But with any production at this point you do need a script coordinator to be the central distribution point. And that all goes through Synchronize. Synchronize is the software that everybody uses. God, I hope it’s better than – it’s not owned by Final Draft is it? Because that would bum me out.
John: I don’t know.
Craig: I don’t think it is.
John: It’s probably Entertainment Partners or something else.
Craig: Yeah. Anyway, so it’s basically the software that does all the distribution of schedules, calendars, scripts, all those things to cast.
John: And are you distributing physical scripts? Or is it all online now? Basically are people seeing printed pages or are they only scenes on tablets?
Craig: I believe that they are able to print them. They arrive as watermarked PDFs so they print them for themselves for reference if they need to. But, no, this is not like the old days where when it was time to release new pages 12 Xerox machines begin cranking up to 800 kelvin as pages got shot out. We just don’t do that anymore. It’s wasteful and it’s slow and expensive and unnecessary.
But it is a weird situation because I am writing the other episodes. So, you know, there are episodes that are going to be shooting many, many months from now that I’m writing now while we’re prepping and then while we’re shooting. And that’s, you know, that’s a tingly feeling of anxiety.
John: And something we should make clear is that the preproduction phase stops at a certain thing. Once you start production like preproduction stops. But there’s still prep on each individual episode.
John: And that is the director. And are you marrying a director and DP together? Who travels together on an episode?
Craig: Yes. So each one of our episodes. Without getting into it, because I don’t think they’ve all been announced. But we have five directors across ten episodes. So we have the pairings all figured out in terms of DPs and such.
John: And does each director have his own first?
John: So one AD is running the whole?
Craig: Well, no, I believe there’s going to be a second first AD that comes in. So, they alternate because what’s going to happen, of course, is the first AD does need to start prepping episodes with the director. So once it’s time for that our first AD who is working with our first director to kind of step back and start planning ahead then the new one comes in. So, yeah, we do have this kind of side-by-side first AD thing going on.
John: And so that episode prep is also crucial because you made general decisions about the look of the show, how stuff is basically going to work, overall camera styles, but this director with this DP and this AD is figuring out like, OK, we’re going to need a crane on this day. This is how many extras we need for this thing. So it’s really taking what you’ve written in the script and figuring out like, OK, let’s really break it down in how we’re going to do this and what is our plan for getting this episode shot in the number of days that we have. What is our schedule going to be? When do we go to nights? How do our weeks work? Those are crucial things.
Craig: We’re going to nights real fast.
John: Oh, Craig, you wrote a shot that probably mostly takes place at night.
Craig: No it doesn’t. Thank god it doesn’t mostly take place at night. But there’s a bunch of night stuff early on and, of course, we don’t shoot in order, so I’m not giving anything away about what happens when. But I’ve been pretty smart about not plunging us into too much night. But there’s night early on. And you know what? Better to do it early.
John: Yeah. Rip the Band-Aid off.
Craig: Rather than when you’re week – sorry, week – month seven and you’re like oh my god.
John: But you are in Calgary facing a unique challenge. There’s limited daylight.
John: As you get into the winter.
Craig: And this is an interesting challenge. Very limited night right now. So, a couple of weeks or so, or however, I haven’t looked at the schedule exactly to see exactly how many days, but the number of days we have that we’re shooting nights we have to be really careful about. They are very well orchestrated, prepared, and choreographed because right now in Calgary you get about 4.5 hours of proper dark.
John: Oh my god.
Craig: That’s what you get. So in production when you shoot a little bit of a day and a little bit of night it’s called a split. We will likely be kind of in a semi-split situation where we shoot a little bit of stuff that’s sort of day-ish and then we start prepping and we use that kind of twilight, that 19-hour long twilight that they have here to set up. And then once the sun is gone-gone, boom, pedal to the metal.
John: Yeah. I remember on Go, of course it has a lot of night shooting, and it mostly takes place over the course of one long night, and there would be times where you’re just trying to get this one last shot and the sun is coming up and you’re trying to hold up flags to make it a little bit darker. And you just curse the rising of the sun. And then to have to drive home after a full night of shooting with the sun coming up is just the worst experience.
Craig: Particularly if you’re driving east. It’s just blaring in your eyes.
John: Oh yeah. That was me. Me coming from Santa Monica Airport back to my house in Hollywood.
Craig: It’s depressing. The shooting schedules can definitely screw your head up. They certainly screw my head up. There is this awful feeling of chasing the light or chasing the dark, which is why I think some of the older, more well established directors from the ‘70s and ‘80s starting promoting this whole we’re going to shoot everything on a green screen stage and I’ll be MoCap because you don’t have to go outside, it’s always air-conditioned. There’s no light. There’s no dark. You’re wherever you want.
John: Yeah. Season two of your show is going to be like The Mandalorian. It’s going to be all virtual sets. Pedro will be back in his environment.
Craig: It will not. Look, I do – I’m not impressed – The Mandalorian, the volume. I love that they call it the volume. It’s a remarkable technology. It seems very well suited for something that does take place in a kind of fantastic other world. We’re a very naturalistic philosophy over here.
John: You’re a naturalistic zombie show.
Craig: Yeah. Not zombies. Not zombies.
John: Sorry, fungal creatures.
Craig: Thank you. Humans, just fungal-infected humans.
John: Yeah. Infected humans. All right. Let’s think about movies that are not in preproduction. They’re not even in development. They are just potential movies. It’s our segment How Would This Be a Movie. And as set up I’m seeing Zola this afternoon. I’m very excited. Because it’s the first of the movies that we’ve pitched, way back at the Austin Film Festival. I remember our great discussion about the Zola tweets, so I’m excited to see that movie. People love it.
John: Just this past week I got approached to adapt – to do one of my first How Would This Be a Movie. One of the properties we talked about on the show, producers came to me and offered me–
Craig: Did they know when they were offering it to you that–?
John: They did not. Because if they had known they would have seen like why I did not think it was a good idea for a movie.
Craig: They would have seen the big no flag being waved real early. You can’t say which one it is I assume?
John: Unfair for me to say which one it was. Because someone will get that job, and that will be great, because I love when writers get hired to adapt things. I just don’t think it’s a good idea for a movie. All right. We have three or four projects here to look at. We’re going to start with the big one which I think probably actually is a movie. We’re going to link to the New York Times story on this, but there’s actually a lot of other sources for it.
This was about these criminals who were using these secured devices, these encrypted devices, for phones and texting that they thought were legit, but of course the FBI was actually behind it. And so they bought these cell phones on the black market. They believed that they were super securely encrypted. It was like cell phones just for criminals.
Craig: Right. [laughs]
John: And of course the FBI was involved in this. And they were able to sort of really round up a whole network. On one day they had arrested 800 people in more than a dozen countries. They intercepted 20 million messages in 45 languages.
Craig: They seized tons of drugs. 250 firearms. 55 luxury vehicles. And $48 million in several currencies and crypto currencies.
John: And interestingly none of the people arrested were in the US. Because you actually can’t use basically what they were doing, like you can’t use in the US. But it was like Australia, and Asia, and all sorts of other places.
Craig: Yes. Europol was sort of a big part of it. So something like this has happened before. There was I think it was either the FBI, CIA maybe, had figured out – there was a company that was hosting servers for the dark web. I’m not sure what aspect of it. But they got them. They came to those people and were like we got you. We got you on X, Y, or Z, whatever they had done wrong. And the deal is we’re going to go easy on you if you just let us run this. And they were like you got it.
And so for months all these people who were using this secure server specifically to avoid the prying eyes of the government were literally sending stuff through a government server. And all of it was just being logged as mountains of evidence.
John: Yeah. And it was a very similar case here. So this is Operation Trojan Shield. Ugh.
Craig: Oh my god. Really?
John: That was the name of the operation.
Craig: Condom brand.
John: There was a service called Anom. And basically they busted the guy who was making these secure cell phones. And said like could you just keep making these secure cell phones but let us see everything that’s happening there. And he was like OK.
And so they sold these really expensive cell phones. I think it’s also so smart that they kept these phones really crazy expensive and sort of underpowered.
John: And so everyone felt like, oh, it’s got to be legit. It’s got to be real.
John: And it’s a classic honeypot. You make somebody sort of feel like oh I’m getting something for free, or I’m getting something that no one else could have. And that’s how it works.
Craig: And they got them. So the question is how do you make this a movie beyond the simple mechanism of the kind of man in the middle hacking trick that they pulled here, because in and of itself once you get the point of that, well, then that’s that. So what do you do to kind of jazz this thing up to be a movie?
John: Well, I think there’s a couple good choices here. So I kept thinking back to the 2006 film The Lives of Others, the German film where–
Craig: Great movie.
John: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, I just love saying his name.
Craig: I know. It’s great.
John: Which is about eavesdropping in East Germany and a guy who is listening in on a family and sort of like becomes involved in their lives. So that’s a clear way in. But I also think we always talk about sort of ethical choices and characters being forced to make tough things. You’re going to hear about so many crimes and you have to make decisions of like when are you going to intercede or not intercede and sort of what is worth sort of blowing the whole thing up for or not.
And I think those tensions can be great. I’m assuming that the movie is more from the law enforcement side than from the other side, but maybe we’re splitting it sort of back and forth the way Sicario does. I think there’s lots of ways. What’s tough about the story as it is right now with the situation is like there’s so many characters you could pick, there’s so many ways in, and it’s a completely different movie based on where you start.
Craig: Well, and that’s why in the end when these companies purchase these stories, so whoever wrote this article, in this case I’m looking at the New York Times article. It was by Yan Zhuang, Elian Peltier, and Alan Feurer. So let’s say that Yan, Elian, and Alan sell the rights to this story as they’ve written it to Warner Bros. At that point Warner Bros what they have is a big question mark. And then they start talking to writers. And this is how it gets figured out.
Somebody is going to come in and throw one of those darts in the right path. For me, when I think of this, I do think of The Lives of Others, and I also think of Donnie Brasco. And the idea that you can create a relationship with somebody while this is happening. That part of your job is now you are monitoring the communications between two criminals and it’s quite clear to you at some point that one of them is just simply being used by the other.
Because you can see everybody’s communication. So what you’re watching is the normal flow of social activity where someone is being bullied or ostracized or lied to or manipulated. And you begin to feel for them. And I think that’s really interesting. So there’s all sorts of possibilities here.
But it would have to be whipped up quite a bit beyond just the concept. The concept alone isn’t going to get you more than 15 or 20 interesting minutes I think.
John: I agree. So, you and I are both thinking about this as a drama, but let’s think about this as a comedy or some other genre of film. Because there’s something kind of funny about this. The central conceit can be funny where these people think they’re being secure and they’re not being secure. And that’s relatable. We’ve all sort of messed up and done something that we thought was private and was actually public and it sort of got out. So there’s an opportunity to tell the same kinds of stories or the set the same kind of characters but play it in a funny way. And I think that’s another very interesting take to this is to approach it as a comedy, or even a romantic comedy.
Because what is it like if you can see inside what a person is really doing? Or you can see that this guy’s girlfriend is absolutely just a nightmare and you want to sort of intercede there. There’s something fun about having that information feels like a comedic premise.
Craig: Yeah. And in the ‘90s, I mean, this is how I got my career started. You would imagine a drama and then you would say, OK, do the drama except the person that would be the hero what if they’re just an idiot. Now go. Literally, don’t change anything else except that they’re stupid. And let’s have fun.
John: Steven Soderbergh, Matt Damon movie. I think it was The Informant! with an exclamation point feels – that’s a similar kind of premise there.
John: You talked about sort of buying the New York Times article. I don’t think you buy this article. I don’t think there’s an enough there.
Craig: I don’t think anybody should buy any article. I don’t understand that whole business to be honest.
John: But I can imagine that there’s a longer article that really goes into the characters and gets some firsthand reporting that is unique and different that could be an article worth buying.
Craig: Then it’s just facts. They’re reported. Everything in the article as it is published is available for everyone to use. The reason you would buy the article is to have access to the iceberg under the water line amount of notes that perhaps the reporters had aggregated. And that can be interesting stuff.
John: That could be interesting, too. In this case you’re unlikely to get firsthand – none of the people involved in this story are going to talk to you. None of those people are going to be real characters that you can – real life people that you can buy life rights to. That’s not a thing here. So it’s not important.
John: Cool. All right, next How Would This Be a Movie is Wanted: A Household Manager/Cook/Nanny. This is a thousand-word job listing that requests applications from somebody with a good degree, great executive functioning, very good Excel skills, and also river swimming. So I remember when this – so this was a viral post that went out. Basically this woman, a single mom, who was a CEO was trying to hire on someone to be a nanny, but the requirements for this person were just absurd. Basically crazy. And then I remember also reading Ruth Graham and Slate did a follow up where she actually talked to the woman who did the post. And it was much more reasonable and also interesting.
Because basically this woman kind of needed a wife. This woman needed to do sort of the other stuff and it became sort of an interesting question of feminism and gender roles. I thought there was an interesting thing underneath that as well.
Craig: Yeah. I read through that, too. Although I wonder sometimes if we look at these things and the first filter we’re going to consider is gender and the way sexism functions in a patriarchal society. And then the second filter we might want to consider is tech people versus not tech people, because it’s like they’re their own species of human.
John: Oh yeah.
Craig: When I listen to the tech people talking, I mean, so I was really interested in the woman sort of explaining through things, because I thought like OK this is where I’m going to actually see the truth under this and go I get it lady. But here’s the first thing. OK, so Ruth Graham asks this question: how did you set about writing this ad? And the woman said, “I had a great nanny for 5.5 years with our family. When the kids started school I placed her with a Google family that had baby boy twins. She’s now been with them for 5.5 years and they love her deeply. This is important because,” and now here’s why we go into Techville. “This is important because I’m one of the most loving, kind people around. And I build wonderful long-term relationships.” Who talks like that?
John: No one.
Craig: No one.
John: A tech person talks like that. Yeah.
Craig: A tech person is like and now here’s–
John: And now value.
Craig: Yes. Let me give you the PowerPoint of why you should invest into my human status. That was like whoa. And, look, also some of the stuff, I understand like your desire – it would be great if she was really good at mountain driving. I guess. But also she’s like my kids and I love to swim in rivers. We’re really into river swimming. You know, it’s OK if you found a wonderful person, a nurturing, caring person who could do all this other stuff, including mountain driving, but when she’s like these people aren’t physically fit enough I’m like well kind of also how dare you. So an amazing, wonderful, loving, caring person who your children would love and who would teach them things and take care of them and drive them places, do all these other things, you’re not going to include because she can’t river swim? How about just leave her there on the shore and then swim on back?
Anyway, I started getting annoyed when I was reading. Because just like, ugh, tech people. It’s tech people. Tech people.
John: And I think what she really wants is Maria von Trapp from the Sound of Music.
Craig: Maria von Trapp couldn’t swim the–
John: No, but those kids did river swim. Like we saw them swim in the river.
Craig: Yeah. And they also climbed a mountain, literally.
John: They did.
Craig: Every mountain.
John: Uh-huh. They did some mountain driving as they were getting out of there. So, yeah.
Craig: That’s true. That’s true.
John: So who are the characters in whatever story this is? I think it’s a comedy, but I think it’s a relationship comedy probably between these two women and what happens here and sort of what that dynamic is which I think is potentially really fascinating.
Craig: OK. I have an idea for a movie for this that I actually think is pretty good.
John: All right.
Craig: So don’t steal it everybody, but here’s my idea. My idea is you’ve got this kind of back-breaking tech humanoid. It doesn’t matter if it’s a man or a woman. Literally doesn’t matter. Who is a single parent and puts this crazy viral job listing out there that is essentially demanding a super human. There is a mess. Somebody is a mess, manny, nanny, doesn’t matter. And they’re like I need money. So they basically lie to get this job, but then are required by dint of the job, and also by starting to really care for those kids, to become the nanny that they were supposed to be. And the better they get at stuff the more it becomes apparent to everybody else around in the tech world that is meeting this manny/nanny that the manny/nanny is a super human because they have risen to this task. And that person becomes CEO.
Because if you can do all the things that this person is asking you don’t need to be a nanny. Guess what? You are a mega human. So anyway that was my idea for a movie.
John: I really do like that idea and I like the sense of – what you’re pitching is sort of a School of Rock to some degree. The person who takes the job just to kind of take the job because I happened to answer the phone and I sort of passed myself off as this thing I’m really not, and then I actually learned how to do it and I actually had skills that were above and beyond because I was actually myself.
John: Sort of underneath this.
Craig: And the same thing happens in the third act. By having that success, because you did this you then are in a position where you’re going to leave those kids and then the kids are like why and then you’re like, oh, I love you. And it’s nice. I mean, look, it’s formula and everything but I do think that you’ve got to lampoon the tech culture here. They are nuts. And by the way they’re nuts and they’re also running everything.
John: They are. Well, the other thing you’re pitching is essentially Mrs. Doubtfire.
John: Which is a person coming in under false pretenses to do this. So to the degree that I think you could go in tomorrow and say like it’s Mrs. Doubtfire for the 2020s. Yeah.
Craig: It’s like Mrs. Doubtfire becomes the perfect human being who becomes both an allergist and a river swimmer and a stunt car driver. And one of the things she was like “determine how to purchase travel via points or miles and comparisons.” And I’m like, oh, so they’re also a travel agent. They’re a booking agent.
John: But that is a spouse to a large degree, too. That’s what’s fascinating about this is that they really – she wants someone to watch her kids but also to help run her life. And that’s–
Craig: I mean, I don’t know how it goes over there with you and Mike, but for me and Melissa there are a whole lot of things on this list neither one of us does, including let me just start with river swimming. And mountain driving. Mountain driving?
John: Yeah, you’ve got to mountain drive.
Craig: Yeah, I don’t, yeah.
Craig: Megana, when you read this, just out of curiosity, what did you think about this?
Megana Rao: I felt so bad about myself.
Craig: [laughs] That’s terrible.
John: Now, Megana, you come from a tech background, so you worked at Google. So for all you know you know the Google family that took the previous nanny here.
Megana: Yeah, the Google baby boys. I mean, that part of it wasn’t surprising for me and I had a real visceral reaction to reading this. And I was like a lot of the things she’s talking about is adulting and the worst parts of being an adult.
Megana: And I was just thinking about like I think the reason that people have such a reaction to this is because the emotional labor required for these things is so taxing and tiresome. And thinking about doing a job of just looking at kids’ summer camps is so hard to like fathom. Because it’s horrible, but then it also made me think of all the work that you guys and all parents are doing but we just prefer to look at because we don’t pay for it.
Craig: Yeah. There is quite a bit of that. I believe that people need help and I believe if you can afford help then it can be a win-win for everybody. Some people are getting employment and people are getting help.
John: And she’s paying $35 to $40 an hour which is not bad.
Craig: No, no, it’s quite a lot. That said, the job that she’s describing is intense and there is a whiff of, well, when the revolution comes they’ll be the first against the wall, you know? It’s starting to get a little weird when you’re like having people pit themselves against each other to get your job to do this list of impossible things that honestly you will be OK if you don’t have somebody swimming in the river with your children. That’s not necessary.
Megana: Well, the weirdest thing to me also is when she talks about – she’s, you know, the most loving, wonderful person around.
Craig: Oh my god. What the fudge?
Megana: And how she loves her employees. It was just this weird thing of like outsourcing family and community but having – I don’t know. It was just so blurry around the boundaries and that made me feel really weird.
Craig: She did I think at some point describe her friends as – what was it?
Megana: Building alliances with other parents.
Craig: Building alliances. How dare you? Also, the nanny needed to be able to do sit-ups, lunges, squats, and pushups.
John: Yeah, physically fit.
John: Yeah. I mean, like you do. Megana knows this. It’s part of the office culture here.
Megana: Yeah. Every day when I walk in.
Craig: John is like–
John: I blow the little whistle and then we do our lunges and our squats.
Craig: Megana, it’s Thursday and that’s squat day, so here we go. I, wow, experienced snow-driving.
John: Next How Would This Be a Movie. So this is a couple who breaks up after being handcuffed together for 122 days. This is Ukrainian lovers, Alexandr Kudlay and Viktoria–
John: Pustovitova. Have taken off their shackles and are moving on from one another. So this is a couple who agreed to be handcuffed together because they were having relationship troubles and they decided that the way to solve these would be to be the most cliché version of a ‘70s odd couple who have to sort of live together by being handcuffed together. So they could have divided their house in half and put a tape line down the middle, but instead they chose to be handcuffed to each other.
John: And as I looked through the photos related to this article I see them wearing different clothes including clothes with sleeves. And I don’t understand how they’re putting on these clothes with sleeves while they are handcuffed together.
Craig: This is so much bullshit. This is Instagram nonsense bullshit.
John: That’s why I kept it on this thing. This is just annoying Instagram couple decides to be annoying Instagram couple.
Craig: Screw you guys. Where they lost me completely was when it said that Pustovitova ultimately had to quit her job as a beautician because clients weren’t comfortable with her husband standing over them as she manicured their eyelashes. So, first of all, you can’t manicure an eyelash. You manicure fingers, not eyes. But you cannot do that job while handcuffed anyway. Geez Louise.
John: So Craig there is not a movie to be made about this particular handcuffed couple?
Craig: No. It’s nonsense and I would like to never hear of them again.
John: All right. Our final How Would This Be a Movie contender, this comes from a Washington Post advice columnist Carolyn Hax. It is her column. And here is the issue. Megana, would you read this question for us?
Megana: My husband’s sister “Beth” fancies herself a psychic of sorts who can communicate with the beyond. A few months ago, we were eating dinner when she began talking about a spirit with me. I honestly had no idea who she was talking about and told her that, because I had no deceased relatives or friends who fit her description. Beth became very upset, claiming that she was overwhelmed with what the spirit was trying to tell her. She was so upset she ran from the room to lie in a dark room and compose herself.
My in-laws asked me to be gentler with her, since this “gift” is a major part of her identity.
I see two paths. I can either lie to Beth and feed her belief that she has this “gift.” Or I can tell her she is dead wrong. Which makes me feel like I’m kicking a puppy. My husband and I would ideally like to handle Beth’s “gift” in a thoughtful way, but it’s hard to see what middle ground we have, especially when she puts you on the spot. How can I thoughtfully respond to Beth in a way that preserves her self-worth but also doesn’t give in to a delusion?
John: Now, Craig I think has a strong opinion on sort of the reality of Beth and what the sister should tell Beth. But I would urge him to think about as a movie or as characters in a movie is this a situation that can be fun and fraught? And how might you develop this as a movie?
Craig: Yeah. It’s a fun odd couple situation when you are marrying somebody and their sibling – you inherit these other people. And if you are very much a skeptic about things and that’s part of who you are, that’s part of your identity, no one ever seems to acknowledge that being a skeptic should be a major part of anyone else’s identity. And then you get stuck with somebody who believes this nonsense. It’s really frustrating.
It’s particularly frustrating if they keep being right and you start to feel like you’re being gas lit and what’s going on. Look, I refuse to be a part of any movie that actually says – other than Ghostbusters – that suggests that there is any of this stuff. But that seems like that’s what it would be, ish.
John: To me Beth feels like a minor supporting character, like you’re marrying into a wacky family.
Craig: She’s one of them.
John: It’s Meet the Parents, but she’s one of them.
John: That’s the natural choice for it. But if you want to elevate her up from a supporting character to the other sort of co-lead, that is potentially interesting. I mean, obviously Ghost is a great example of this situation where like this person has a “gift” that seems impossible. Whoopi Goldberg’s character has a gift that is impossible. Seems impossible. And yet it is important for the plot to move on. And there can be some good comedy there.
But I think it’s important to marry the skeptic with the true believer. That’s comedy.
Craig: Yeah. I think you’re right. But I also feel like I’ve seen this character before a little bit. You know, like the wacky and then no one has to take them seriously. Everybody agrees that they’re nuts. So it’s not really, I don’t…
John: But I think what’s potentially more fun is that everyone says like oh no but she’s right. Like if you come into a family where everybody is like, oh no, Beth has the gift and she sees these things. How are you supposed to deal with that? As the rational person. And so we’re coming in as the audience as the rational person. We’re relating to that character as our way in and then we have to see like, oh my god, and the frustration.
Craig: Every family I ever talk to I think I’m the weirdo. Because somebody there believes in god. And that to me is right up there with contacting the dead. I just don’t understand it.
John: Let’s do a recap of our four things we talked about today. So the first off is the criminals and their cell phones that were actually done by – there was a whole FBI sting behind that. Is that a movie? Is it a limited series? What do you think that is?
Craig: I don’t think it’s a limited series. That would be a very boring limited series. I think it’s a movie maybe if you really make it about relationships.
John: Yup. Nanny plus.
Craig: Yeah, it could absolutely be an interesting comedy that lampoons tech culture.
John: The handcuffed couple is not a movie. We’re striking it out. And I wanted to leave it on this list because I felt like these are people who perceive themselves as characters in a movie and they’re not. They have main character syndrome and it’s annoying and they need to just stop.
Craig: Yeah. The Defiant Ones is a great movie about two people handcuffed together or chained together. And it was all about the relationship between white people and black people during the Jim Crow era. That’s not this. This is just dumb. [laughs] This is just stupid.
John: The original Charlie’s Angels “Angels in Chains” episode is a classic and you’re not going to top that. So, just stop.
Craig: Can’t top it.
John: Can’t. And psychic sister-in-law is a maybe and I would say it’s possibly a movie but also I think that’s an interesting character in an ongoing TV comedy because it’s not a problem you’re going to solve. You’re not going to resolve this problem.
Craig: No. It feels like a wacky neighbor.
John: Yup. Let’s segue to something that Aline actually brought up. She texted to say why don’t you guys talk about why certain movies get made, so not just how would this get made but why certain movies get made. And my first instinct is that movies get put into development by development executives who are one type of person. And so they’re seeing story from a specific way. And they are interested in like oh the story, the characters, this writer is really great. And movies go into production because of marketing executives. Basically the decision of like what movie do we think we can actually make money on is often a very different team.
And so when I get approached with a hey would you want to adapt this thing for us, when I got approached with this hey do you want to take this How Would This Be a Movie one of my fundamental decisions was like I don’t think you’re actually going to make that movie. And so much of my job as a screenwriter is to really stock pick or thinking like what movies do I think you’re actually going to make versus you’re just going to hire me to write a script.
Craig: Yeah. It does seem to me that some movies just cannot be stopped.
John: Inevitability is I think a thing.
Craig: Inevitability. Generally speaking if there is some underlying property that some PowerPoint presentation proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that it can’t miss, they’re making it. Obviously it can miss. In fact, those probably miss more frequently and then the hit, it doesn’t matter. Everybody agrees together, holding hands in a boardroom this is correct. So this is how you do get pitched things where you go you can’t be serious.
And there’s nothing you can do about it. They’re making it. If there is a combination of a very hot star and a very hot director, they’re making it. Even when they shouldn’t. And that doesn’t have to be a very commercially obvious movie. That could be like a completely commercially not-obvious movie. And yet still but we got them. And then it’s like, OK, I guess you’re doing it then. You shouldn’t. But all right.
John: But you always have to think in terms of like what is the slot for this. And does the studio see this as their awards contender? Or do they see this as a big blockbuster movie that’s going to actually generate real movie? Because those are the two things that studios tend to make now.
With the rise of streamers there’s latitude to make other kinds of movies that are appealing to specific audiences which is great. But classically people were approaching this as like can I win awards with this or can I make a gazillion dollars off of this. And those are the things. And some of the movies we talked about today it’s not quite clear how that would work out. I mean, the nanny-plus, Aline could write that movie. It reminds me of sort of like I Don’t Know How She Does It or those books – there was an era of books that were adapted that were centering on women and women’s issues. Maybe you make those for streamers now, but you’re not making them very often for theatrical release.
Craig: No, I don’t think any of the movies that we contemplated existing today would be for a major studio. They just don’t do them.
John: Unless it was Smokehouse, the George Clooney company, doing it for Warners as a big awards kind of thing. That’s possible. Like Argo is an example of that kind of movie.
Craig: Yeah. There is still that niche, but a lot of times I think with those things they have arranged for other co-financiers that limit – when you talk about like, OK, we’re spending a bunch of money, what they’re spending a bunch of money on is, I don’t know, whatever Paw Patrol, live action Paw Patrol.
John: That’s what we want. Did you see the trailer for Clifford the Big Red Dog?
Craig: I did.
John: The trailer for Clifford the Big Red Dog was better than I expected and I think it will actually succeed in its target audience. And I want to wish them well.
Craig: I have no idea because I don’t know what it costs. If it costs a whole lot, I don’t know.
John: If it costs $100 million then I think that’s money not well spent. But I don’t think it costs $100 million.
Craig: That would be unfortunate. And somewhere someone is listening to this going it literally cost $99.5 million, you mother-f-ers.
Yes, listen, I root for all movies.
John: I root for all movies as well.
Craig: All movies.
John: All right. Let’s do our One Cool Things. Craig, do you have a One Cool Thing this week?
John: No, you forgot.
Craig: I didn’t forget. You know, what episode is this? 507? There aren’t even 507 cool things in the world total.
John: There are so many cool things in the world.
Craig: I don’t think so. I think we’re into like moderately interesting things at this point.
John: My One Cool Thing is genuinely cool and I think our audience will like it.
Craig: I’ll be the judge of this.
John: Do you want to hear it?
John: So my One Cool Thing is an episode of Decoder Ring. It’s a podcast I listen to. I think it’s been a One Cool Thing several times before. Willa Paskin hosts it. It is terrific. It’s on Slate.
This episode was on the Tootsie shot. And the Tootsie shot – you know in Tootsie when she’s walking towards the camera, it’s a very long lens in a crowded New York street?
John: You recognize that shot as an iconic image from Tootsie, but from a zillion other movies.
John: It’s about the history of that shot, or that kind of shot, and how that shot became possible because of technological changes, but also sort of cultural changes. And the changes in cities overall. It’s just a really great analysis of both urban structure but also moviemaking and cinematography and what that shot means in terms of like we’re focusing on this one person among a sea of other people. That it’s generally a first act shot that you see.
John: And establishing who this person is in a crowd of others. I just thought it was great. And it ties into 9 to 5 and lots of other things, too. So I would highly recommend people check out the Tootsie shot episode of Decoder Ring.
Craig: Pretty cool.
John: That’s pretty good.
Craig: Pretty cool.
John: And that’s our show for this week. Scriptnotes is produced by Megana. It is edited by Matthew Chilelli. Our outro is by Michael Karman. If you have an outro you can send us a link to email@example.com. That’s also the place where you can send longer questions. For short questions on Twitter I’m @johnaugust.
We have t-shirts and they’re lovely. You can find them at Cotton Bureau. You can also find the show notes for this episode and all episodes at johnaugust.com. That’s where you find transcripts and sign up for the weekly-ish newsletter called Inneresting where we talk about things that are interesting to writers.
You can sign up to become a premium member at Scriptnotes.net where get all the back episodes and bonus segments including the one we’re about to record on your cheat sheet for time travel. Craig, thank you for coming back and for a fun episode.
Craig: Thank you, John.
John: All right. So Craig this is the conceit here I want to get to. So let’s say you are traveling back through time and you may get stuck someplace. If you had one sheet of paper back and forth what kind of information would you want to have that you could share with the people of that time, that era, so that you could jumpstart them but also sort of like prove that you actually know things? What would you have on there that would make you seem so, so smart?
Craig: OK. And I don’t know what time I’m going to?
John: You don’t. You don’t know what it’s going to be.
Craig: Because what a bummer you jump in that thing and you end up just yesterday. You’re like, ugh.
John: I’ve got the Pythagorean Theorem for nothing.
Craig: God. Yeah.
John: And I want to stipulate that there’s prior art here. So Ryan Norse has a great book on how to invent everything. A previous One Cool Thing of mine was The Information by Lewis Dartnell. There’s The Thrifty Time Traveler’s Guide by Jonathan Stokes. So people have thought about this. But the sense of one sheet of paper is sort of my conceit for this.
Craig: I would probably emphasize medicine and in particular germ theory.
John: Yeah. Oh god.
Craig: And some simple antibiotic methods. But most importantly just basic germ theory. If I could back into certain periods and just prove to people that they should just wash their hands, and like specifically the doctor.
You know, when Lincoln was shot, so this is not that long ago. What was it, 1865?
John: Sounds right.
Craig: So not that long ago. That wasn’t thousands of years ago. The doctors who they took him across the street and they brought doctors in. He was clearly in grave straits and on his way to dying. There’s a bullet hole in his head and they just put their fingers in it to try and feel if they could find the bullet. That’s what they did.
They didn’t wash. There was no reason to wash because there’s nothing on your hand that could possibly cause more problems than a bullet. If I could do one thing it would be germ theory.
So notes on germ theory. Plans for how to heal infections. How to prevent viral transmission and bacterial transmission.
John: Those all sound great. I think there’s some basic formulas that would be important there. Because this idea of a cheat sheet, I don’t know if you ever had any classes where a physics test you were allowed to sort of like have one sheet of paper that can have–
Craig: They never let me have that.
John: Oh, I think it’s a godsend. Because it’s stupid not to because you could always look it up.
Craig: I know. But they were mean.
John: Yeah. So the basic formulas, so Pythagorean Theorem, Quadratic Formula, getting everybody on a base ten system is just so important and so crucial. The knowledge that the world is round, because experiments you could do even in ancient Egypt that show like oh the world is round, you can actually calculate the size of the earth. The sense that the earth is not the center of the universe. That the sun is the center of our solar system. That there are other planets. I think that’s important to understand. It’s not going to have as big of an impact necessarily as washing your hands will be, but I think will move things forward.
Getting people past – you know, if you look at Aristotle and sort of the classic philosophers they were trying to do this theory of mind, but also the physical universe, and they just did not have the tools to actually understand. So they kept inventing things and they systematize this logic but it was based on nothing. So bringing them the scientific method and sense of like this is the hypothesis, this is what I’m testing. This is the results. That feels crucial to me.
John: Capitalism and just the sense of how money works and how we’re going to exchange stuff, how we’re going to exchange goods and services.
Craig: A lot of Bernie fans screaming at their iPods right now. How dare you!
John: If you understand capitalism then you can get to other sort of systems as well.
Craig: That’s how you get yourself off the hook, huh? All right.
John: That’s what it is. But who explained capitalism better than Marx? No one.
Craig: Yeah. I’m not really sure anybody did prior to that. It was just sort of this is our system. It’s a natural bartering system is what we do.
John: There was Adam Smith.
Craig: From the Invisible Hand.
John: Invisible Hand and all that stuff. Those feel like the crucial things to sort of get across. I mean, you don’t need to teach them atomic theory. There’s things that are just not going to be realistic because they have to build so much stuff along the way, but I want to get people started as quickly as we can. And hopefully head off some of the worst things like slavery and thinking about sort of like what does it fundamentally mean for each person to have inalienable rights that are possessed within.
Craig: Well, I mean, what do you think? Based on everything we know about science fiction when you go back and you help people then you hurl yourself back to the future, it’s going to be a nightmare scape. Because that’s just we can never help.
John: Time travel inevitably involves sort of like sleeping with your mother and it’s bad.
Craig: Oh, why would you? Why?
John: Back to the Future.
Craig: Got to drink heavily now at 11:47 in the morning. Oh man. I’m going to go back in time to a moment before you said that. That’s all I want to do.
John: Now if you can go back in time you could actually think of a One Cool Thing that you could have shared here.
John: No, not going to do it.
John: Craig, thank you very much for a fun episode.
Craig: Thank you, John.
John: And listeners if you have suggestions for what you should put on that sheet do write to us because I think you’re going to probably have some really good ideas of what that sheet should be.
Craig: Better ones. Oh, you know what I would love? I would roll the dice and hope that I would go back to the time of Jesus. And show him the bible. And have him go, “You can’t be serious?” And I’m going to be like, no dude, this is real. And he’d be like, “You can’t? You cannot be serious.” And I’m like, no, no, no, this is seriously real.
John: Listeners if you tweet at me with your one page back-and-forth sheet cheat I will retweet that because I think that’s a great idea. Do it. Craig, good luck with your continued preproduction and when do you start shooting? Or is that public knowledge?
Craig: That is not public knowledge, but real, real soon.
John: Cool. Enjoy.
- Zola Movie discussed in our HWTBAM segment on Episode 222.
- The Criminals Thought the Devices Were Secure. But the Seller Was the F.B.I.
- 1,000-Word Job Listing for a “Household Manager/Cook/Nanny and follow up An Interview With the Woman Who Wrote the Viral 1,000-Word Job Listing for a “Household Manager/Cook/Nanny from Ruth Graham on Slate.
- Couple breaks up after being handcuffed together for 123 days
- Must I really indulge my ‘psychic’ sister-in-law?
- Decoder Ring: The Tootsie Shot
- Gift a Scriptnotes Subscription or treat yourself to a premium subscription!
- John August on Twitter
- Liz Hannah on Twitter
- John on Instagram
- Outro by Michael Karman (send us yours!)
- Scriptnotes is produced by Megana Rao and edited by Matthew Chilelli.
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