https://youtu.be/IYswsfCGK5E?feature=shared

Hollywood Screenwriter Michael Jamin sits down with Phil Hudson to discuss questions asked by fans and future screenwriters. Questions such as, “Is there plagiarism among screenwriters? How do you prepare for a general meeting with a large production company with a development exec as a screenwriter? When you’re a writer’s assistant, should you ask for an episode, wait until one is offered, or send the showrunner a draft?”

Show Notes

Michael’s Online Screenwriting Course – https://michaeljamin.com/course

Free Screenwriting Lesson – https://michaeljamin.com/free

Join My Watchlist – https://michaeljamin.com/watchlist

Autogenerated Transcript

Michael Jamin (00:00):

In terms of stealing ideas, often in a writer’s room, someone will say, oh, they, I just saw that episode two weeks ago on whatever show. And then usually the writers will go, Ugh, we won’t, we’ll kill the idea. So that’s not plagiarizing, that’s coming up with the idea independently and then killing it because you don’t want people to think you plagiarized. You’re listening to Screenwriters. Need to Hear This with Michael Jamin. Hey everyone, welcome back. It’s Michael Jamin. You’re listening to Screenwriters. Need to Hear this. I’m here with Phil a Hudson.

Phil Hudson (00:33):

What up,

Michael Jamin (00:34):

What up? And we’re doing part two of the ask me anything if Phil has some more questions. These are designed for, what kind of questions are these called?

Phil Hudson (00:41):

Yeah. So ton of questions came in, so we’re moving into professional questions. What I kind of grouped that way, aspirational

Michael Jamin (00:49):

Part one, if you missed it, we’re, if you missed it, that was questions about CRA or craft. Craft.

Phil Hudson (00:54):

Right. Craft.

Michael Jamin (00:54):

Yeah. And these are about questions about professional and what else?

Phil Hudson (00:59):

Aspirational questions. Aspirational, like breaking in and then some general stuff. So, yeah. All right. You ready for this?

Michael Jamin (01:06):

I’m ready.

Phil Hudson (01:07):

All right. Professional.

Michael Jamin (01:09):

Oh, and by the way, the way these people just, if you’re new to the podcast, the way people ask these questions is on my social media profile on Instagram @michaeljaminwriter, every couple months we post a blue tile that says, ask me anything. And so if you have questions that I haven’t answered, that’s, that’s where you do it. Put it up there and we’ll talk about it.

Phil Hudson (01:26):

Yep. Awesome. Professional question number one from Give, give Shrimp a chance, which I think is probably one of the best Instagram ta names I’ve ever heard. I That’s good. I will give them a chance actually, Michael, you’re vegan, pescatarian, vegetarian. What are you, technically

Michael Jamin (01:43):

I say I’m a vegan, but I do eat fish from every once in a while for protein PEs, but I don’t eat any, some

Phil Hudson (01:47):

Pescatarian

Michael Jamin (01:48):

Then don’t, I guess you could say that, but, cause I don’t eat any dairy.

Phil Hudson (01:51):

Got it. Yeah. So you’re vegetarians are vegetarian, pescatarians are vegetarians who eat fish. You’re not that cuz you’re vegan, but you eat fish. Yeah. Got it. Yeah. Cool. Good question here. I thought, I thought it was interesting. When you are a writer’s assistant, can you ask for an episode or wait until one is offered or draft possible story areas and send them to the showrunner just in case asking for a friend? Well,

Michael Jamin (02:17):

Good question. Well, you definitely wanna put in your time. You wouldn’t, if you’re, if you got promoted to writer’s assistant, you don’t want to, in season one start asking for an episode. You gotta earn the right to be there. So you gotta be there for a full year. And then it’s, this is how I feel. And then after, once you’re there for, you know, full year or two or whatever, then you can approach your boss and say, Hey, I’d love to be considered for a freelance episode. I’d love to be able to pitch you an idea. And you should have all these ideas on the ready. I mean, you’re, you’re there. So I don’t, you can do, you can come up with ideas season one, but I I I kind of, you wanna make it so that they owe you so that the writer showrunner owes you one so that you’re, you’re loyal and you’ve put in the time this is the least they can do is to repay you by giving you an episode.

Phil Hudson (03:02):

There’s also a very clear level of trust displayed if you come back for a second season. Right?

Michael Jamin (03:07):

Yeah. It means they like you. Yeah,

Phil Hudson (03:08):

Yeah. So that, so it means that they are looking at you for those opportunities are already considering you. I do. And this is, I, I apologize. I want to say we brought this up last year, so forgive me if this is a little redundant, but I do know that in screenwriting Twitter, there was some conversation about how sometimes you get staffed as a writer’s assistant and then your show gets canceled and then you move to another show and you’re a writer’s assistant there, and then that show gets canceled and that’s a process. And so there are people who have been writer’s assistants for like five seasons and they may not have ever been on a show for two seasons. What about in a situation like that where you’re

Michael Jamin (03:45):

Sucks people Yeah. Sucks for you. I mean, it’s just, what are you gonna do? That’s just the, that’s just the way it goes. Yeah. That, that requires luck. What are you gonna do?

Phil Hudson (03:54):

Okay, here, here’s a political question in regard to this subject, which is I’m a writer’s assistant below me, right? There’s a writer’s pa and above me there’s a script coordinator. And the script coordinator wants to write freelance episodes probably as well.

Michael Jamin (04:12):

Yeah.

Phil Hudson (04:12):

How do you navigate that? Cuz you’ve got someone else, technically, in my opinion, this is just my experience, they have seniority over you cuz they’ve probably been working with them longer.

Michael Jamin (04:23):

The same thing. I mean the, but the bottom line is it’s, it’s very hard. But getting a freelance episode really isn’t like, it’s not like it’s gonna make your life, it’s going to make you feel good about yourself. You’re gonna, it’s gonna be a, a badge of honor. But after that freelance episode, you’re, you’re kind of back where you started from. You’re still a writer’s assistant. You still have to break in as a staff writer to get full-time employment. So, and, and often it’s not uncommon for a writer’s assistant to get their shot and kind of blow it. It’s just not, they don’t do a good enough job. It’s, it’s hard. And so you really wanna be ready you know, the pressure is on. I I get it. So, but that freelance episode is probably not gonna make your career. It’s just gonna feel good. It’s gonna feel good. And that will help. And that might get you by for, that might be enough to, you know, encourage you to keep at it for a couple more years, but it’s not gonna set you up for life. So,

Phil Hudson (05:23):

So don’t celebrate too early.

Michael Jamin (05:27):

I mean, or don’t be crushed too early if you don’t get one, in other words.

Phil Hudson (05:30):

Yeah. Gotcha. Alright, cool. Ivan g Garcia, oh, apologize guys, this is old my eyes. I’m getting old. Michael, my eyes. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative> Ivan Garcia 66 22. What are the basic things any screenwriter should know? I know it’s a really broad, but I thought it was a really interesting conversation to have.

Michael Jamin (05:51):

Yeah, well, okay, first of all, do you know what a story is? And most people do not know how, what a, a story is, right? I mean, honestly,

Phil Hudson (05:59):

Let me interject there too. I had a class in college at a screen at a film school where I was taking a screenwriting class and the teacher asked us to define what a story is. And I knew, cuz you had given me your answer. And I sat around and looked at the room and no one, no one raised their hand. And a couple people said something and the teacher kind of brushed it off. And then I gave your answer to them and he just like had this aha moment. And he literally went and changed his slides to include your answer to this.

Michael Jamin (06:26):

Yeah. So the teacher that important, no,

Phil Hudson (06:27):

And you can get that free at michaeljamin.com/free. That’s so the first lesson in Michael’s course he gives away for free. Go get it. It is absolutely important.

Michael Jamin (06:38):

I like how, how are you gonna write a story if you can’t define it? You know, and you think you know what a story is or, or it’s such a weird question like in your gut, you, I must know what a story is, but honestly, if you can’t define it, you might get lucky once or twice, but you’re not gonna be do it on a consistent basis. You’re just not. Yeah. So there’s that and don’t Yeah. And most people don’t know. And including some screenwriting teachers don’t, don’t know

Phil Hudson (07:02):

That <laugh>.

Michael Jamin (07:02):

Yeah. So,

Phil Hudson (07:03):

Yeah, so story stories of us know and the definition of story. And if I recall from conversations with you from years back, you told me that that’s something you often, when you get lost in a story, it’s because you’re missing one of those elements of story and you have to go put

Michael Jamin (07:17):

It back in. Absolutely. I I, we were, you know, I talked about this before, but when I was running my partner running Maron first season we did a, it was the first day of shooting and we did a rewrite on a scene and we, and, and then Mark was in the middle of the scene and he’s like, what am I doing here? What am I supposed to be playing here? What’s going on? And he starts yelling at me because the scene wasn’t working. And, and he was right. The scene was not working. And it was because in the rewrite I had dropped or we had dropped one of the elements that we needed required. And he was right. The scene did not work. And so I had to go back and rethink and we, I i, we threw another line that fixed everything.

(07:53):

But yeah, it’s like, it’s that important. It like, the actors, without it, the actors are gonna be lost. The audience is gonna be lost. You’re gonna be lost, you’re gonna struggle when you write, you’re gonna be like, what, what am I, why am I getting bored with my own piece? Which is so common that people get bored with their own writing, which is why they lose motivation, which is why they don’t you know, they feel like the writing’s all over the map, which is why like they do too much rewriting cuz they don’t, they still don’t know what’s good. All this comes, I there’s really no screenwriting 1 0 2. It’s all screenwriting 1 0 1.

Phil Hudson (08:26):

No learn

Michael Jamin (08:26):

1 0 1.

Phil Hudson (08:27):

All right. So you need to know story.

Michael Jamin (08:30):

Yeah.

Phil Hudson (08:31):

Formatting comes to mind. But that can be done software, right? Yeah.

Michael Jamin (08:35):

Right. The least important thing.

Phil Hudson (08:37):

But that, that’s a place people get so bogged down. And I know this was true for me. I probably spent a year reading books on formatting. They’re on the shelf back here behind me of just, here’s how you format this, here’s how you do this, here’s how you do that. What I’ve found now is that I’ve absorbed and simulated a lot that just from reading scripts, like right up here, that’s printed scripts that have just printed off you, you learn how other writers, you like how they do things. But also you can literally just Google this as you go along. If you get stuck in there. Plenty of things that kind of explain it to you. So don’t get too bogged down in formatting, but you have to know formatting cuz it is one of the things people are gonna look at and they’ll judge right away whether or not you’re a professional.

Michael Jamin (09:19):

Yeah. It should be. You should, you can learn it. And just to be clear, like sometimes my partner will make it up. Like if we’re writing something, a scene that kind of, the the formatting is, is is unusual with like, it, it’s a phone call within a phone call or something odd. We go, well, let’s just write it like this. As long as it’s clear for the reader, it’s fine. No one’s gonna, you know, and if the ad has a problem with it, okay, fine. We’ll change it when the at, like, I don’t fine if the ad one or the writer system wants to change it. Okay, fine. This is how we’re gonna do it though,

Phil Hudson (09:45):

<Laugh>. Love it. Love it. Okay. So for, is there anything else that comes to mind? Like, is there anything else that a writer and again, basic thing a screenwriter should know?

Michael Jamin (09:54):

Well, you know you should know that your first sample, everyone writes a script and they wanna sell it. And I always say, you’re not gonna sell it. You should just write it, write it as a sample. It’s a calling card to get you work. And so look at it that way, which means you’re gonna be, it’s a, as a writing sample, you’re gonna be judged on the quality of your writing. And so don’t get so hung up on, on you you know, I wanna sell it, I wanna make a million dollars. It’s, that’s like starting at the, the mountain at the top. You gotta start the mountain at the bottom and work your way up.

Phil Hudson (10:23):

Yeah. Got it. Anything else?

Michael Jamin (10:26):

I don’t think so. Okay.

Phil Hudson (10:27):

Maybe I, I will say that you cover a lot of this stuff in the course, so again, if anyone’s interested in that michael jam.com/course

Michael Jamin (10:34):

Go get how fi how to actually sit down and do it. Yeah. That’s what we cover.

Phil Hudson (10:37):

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I did hear someone, because structure is the other thing that comes to mind and you cover that extensively in the course as well as the writing process professionals use. I will say, I did hear someone recently say that what you teach can be found in other places, but the way you teach it and the way you label specific things is just kind of a duh. Like, oh duh. Yeah. It’s like, you can’t misunderstand that. And I think that’s beautiful from like a just getting information across perspective and a teaching perspective. I mean, that’s why some of the early, early testimonial you got from the course where that you’re not only a great writer but a great teacher. I think it’s because it’s, it’s a no-brainer way You explain these things that are very convoluted and confusing.

Michael Jamin (11:20):

Lot of times, writer, screenwriting teachers, I think make it harder than it needs to be is like, no, just make it simple. It’s

Phil Hudson (11:27):

Try to make it smart. I got like 20 screenwriting books on the shelf back there, and it wasn’t until I took your course and again, we, you’d been mentoring me for a while, but it wasn’t until I took your course that I was like, yeah, that’s just a no duh. Like I should just be doing it that way. I should think about it and conceptualize it that way cuz it’s not, you know, inciting incidents and it’s not convoluted, deeper mythical structure, which I totally am not knocking. I’m just saying it’s a, an easy way to think about that process. Yeah. So make it easy. I’m beating the dead horse. I apologize about that, but I do think it’s absolutely worth. It’s a good, check it out. Yeah. All right. I has a follow up question. Should I always feel confident and proud of my work? How should I take criticism from someone who I don’t think knows best?

Michael Jamin (12:09):

Well, you should be proud of yourself for sitting down and actually writing a script because most people say they want to do it and they don’t do it. So good for you for doing it. How should you take criticism from someone, from someone who doesn’t know what they’re talking about? Is that what he said?

Phil Hudson (12:21):

Yeah. Someone who I don’t think knows best

Michael Jamin (12:24):

<Laugh>, and you don’t, I mean, you know and that’s a lot of people. You know what? There’s valid criticism and there’s stuff that, that is not valid. So if someone says if someone says, I don’t, I think you should focus more on these characters, or I think the story should be about this, that’s not valid criticism. That’s someone who’s just trying to rewrite your work. If someone that’s honestly, and if people tell you that, tell ’em to go, you know, pound sand, because that’s not, it’s not helpful. What they can tell you is, I didn’t understand what you were going for here. I didn’t understand what this character, what their relationship was. I didn’t understand why the ending was meaningful. That is irrefutable. That comment is because they’re just saying, you can’t even argue with that. You’re saying, they’re saying they don’t understand it, and you can, you can’t argue with that.

(13:09):

They didn’t understand it. So if you wanna make that more clear, you could work on that in your piece. Or if you want to ignore it, it altogether, you could say, well, I don’t want you to understand it. I don’t know why you’d ever do that. I I think that’d be, I don’t, I don’t think confusing your audience is ever a good idea, but, but those are the kind of notes that someone can give you that are helpful and irrefutable and you can ha give it to your mom. And if your mom reads your script and, and you know, takes her a month to read it because it wasn’t any good, you know, you, you ask her, listen, did you wanna turn the page? Did you wanna find out what happens next? Or did it feel like a homework assignment? And that’s, anyone can, anyone can give you that note. Yeah. It felt a little bit like a homework assignment then. You know, your script is not ready. If it feels like a gift and they wanna read what they wanna read your next work, you might be onto something.

Phil Hudson (13:58):

Yeah. No, I told you, this is when I turned that corner, when I finally got that thing, I opened a beer, my friend said, I opened a beer to read your script. And at the end I realized I hadn’t even taken a sip of my beer.

Michael Jamin (14:09):

That’s good.

Phil Hudson (14:09):

Right? And I was like, that was huge. Like, that was hugely, I mean, never received any type of compliment like that before.

Michael Jamin (14:15):

Yeah, that’s good writing, right?

Phil Hudson (14:16):

Yep. So, awesome. Moving on, McLean 5 55. I thought this was a really, really smart question. Is plagiarism a problem amongst screenwriters? Which I think is the typical question, but mm-hmm. <Affirmative> then he, he or she, how can a writer avoid doing it themselves?

Michael Jamin (14:36):

Oh, plagiarizing.

Phil Hudson (14:38):

Try I avoid plagiarizing.

Michael Jamin (14:39):

Yeah. I don’t know how big of a problem. It’s, I mean, when you’re writing in a writer’s room, none of the writers are gonna steal for you. And, and the idea is, is is specific to the characters you have on the show. And so, I mean, no, we, I’m not gonna steal your idea cause we’re gonna put it on next week’s episode. I mean, you’re, you’re gonna shoot it. In terms of stealing ideas, often in a writer’s room, someone will say, oh, they, I just saw that episode two weeks ago on whatever show. And then usually the writers will go, Ugh, we won’t, will kill the idea. So that’s not plagiarizing that’s coming up with the idea independently and then killing it because you don’t want people to think you plagiarized. And often there are similar often there’re just similar things in the zeitgeist that come out at the same time. And, but I I, I don’t, it’s not really an issue that we really concern ourselves with plagiarizing. You know, I, I, at least I don’t, I’ve never talked about plagiarizing.

Phil Hudson (15:31):

I think there’s a level of homage too that’s being mm-hmm. <Affirmative>, like people are playing homage. So, did you ever watch this show? White Collar?

Michael Jamin (15:39):

No.

Phil Hudson (15:40):

White Collar loved this show. And then there’s like this big moment at the end of a season where the guy gets in a limo and he takes a drink of a cocktail and he wakes up and he’s at this place. And I was like, why have I seen that before? And then a couple months later I pop in mission to Possible three, and that’s literally a thing that happens in that. And I was like, oh, okay. That feels a little lazy to me. But there are plenty of other times where people are doing things like workaholics, for example, they will totally base the premise of an episode off of a famous comedy, and you kind of get what’s going on there. Like mm-hmm. <Affirmative>, they’re paying homage to that. Yeah. And it’s like, it doesn’t, doesn’t feel, it doesn’t feel icky at all.

Michael Jamin (16:18):

Yeah. Right.

Phil Hudson (16:20):

So yeah, it’s it’s like porn, right? You know it when you see it,

Michael Jamin (16:24):

You know it when you see it.

Phil Hudson (16:26):

There you go. Alright. San Sandy, T 63. What aspects of being a professional screenwriter do you wish people gave you a heads up about? And what are the struggles that nobody really talks

Michael Jamin (16:38):

About? Well, I don’t know what, I mean, did someone gimme a heads up about like, I knew it was gonna be hard. I wasn’t naive. I knew it was gonna be hard. It’s gotten harder as I’ve, as the industry’s changed, and no one who, who’s gonna, who could have predicted that, who could have told, given me a heads up that these seasons orders would’ve gotten shorter. You know, when I broke in, we were doing 22 episodes of season. Now you’re, you might be doing 10, and so you get paid per episode. And so it’s a little harder. You have to string a, it’s harder to string across you string a career together now than it was back then. But who could have told me that there was, you know, the writer strike was 2008, 2007, 2008. And back then we were striking over something called streaming.

(17:24):

And everyone was like, what’s streaming? What’s video on demand? What is vod? What does that even mean? No one knew what it was except for the Writer’s Guild, and they knew this was something that we needed to get coverage on. And so that’s why you have a good kilt. And so that was the strike to make sure that writers would get the same benefits if their show aired on a streaming network as opposed to a traditional network. And by the way, who ca I don’t who cares how people are consuming it? It’s the same amount of work, it’s the same amount of creativity. I don’t care if you’re putting it with a, you have a my show I implanted in your tooth and you’re watching it in your brain. It’s the same amount of work for me. So how do I, why would I care if it’s streamed on a through the internet or if it comes through on, you know, a satellite dish? Who cares? And so luckily there are smart people at the Guild who, who saw that coming. Yeah.

Phil Hudson (18:11):

Anything else come to mind? Any other struggles you deal with as a professional writer?

Michael Jamin (18:16):

Well, I don’t know. Do you have something in mind, Phil?

Phil Hudson (18:18):

Well, it was just that there was a John August written a ton of stuff. He had a blog post years ago talking about how to budget your money from your first sale. And that was one of the things that I was like, that’s really smart. I don’t think people are talking about you’ve sold something now what do you do? And he broke it down and he did finances and there’s a spreadsheet and you can go check it out johnaugust.com. But that, that has some pretty interesting information about it. So I just wasn’t sure if there was anything else like you stumbled upon as a writer later in your career?

Michael Jamin (18:48):

Well I kind of knew that as a, just growing up, like you, you know, don’t live beneath your means. Always, always. And I remember someone when I was first buying a house, I remember I got advice from someone, I won’t say who it was, but other at the time, I was like, this is terrible advice. And he was a very successful showrunner and he was like whatever house you can buy, buy more, push yourself. Cuz there’s, you know, you’re gonna make a lot of money and so push yourself to buy a bigger house so you can, and I’m like, that sounds like a terrible idea. <Laugh>, no, my, my father always told me to live beneath my means and thank God I listened to my dad and not him because you’re gonna go through, it’s feast your famine. So I’ll go months, months without making money and then I’ll have a job and I’ll make money again and then, but I never know how long the famine’s gonna last. I just don’t know. No one we, none of us do. Yeah.

Phil Hudson (19:33):

And you know, there’s talking of a recession coming up, so that’s mm-hmm. <Affirmative> now’s the time to be thinking about that stuff as well. I think we very quickly forget how bad things are when things are good and we’ve been as bad as things have been, we’ve been pretty good for a while. Yeah. So, you know, we had this conversation cuz I just moved recently in August, I moved to a much bigger house and I just remember laying awake for like weeks saying, how am I gonna afford this? Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. And I could totally afford it. I would’ve never even moved if it didn’t make sense from a percentage of my income. Cuz I too was taught to live below my means, but I still stressed about it because it’s the most amount of money I’ve ever put into a home, right? Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>, same thing. You gotta, you gotta think about those things and where the next check’s gonna come and how you’re going to eat and how, you know, you have a family, how you’re gonna feed your family.

Michael Jamin (20:17):

So mm-hmm. <Affirmative>. Yeah.

Phil Hudson (20:19):

All right. Enough about my house. Sorry guys. I know you’re here to listen to Michael, not me, but I appreciate you I appreciate you energy

Michael Jamin (20:27):

Real estate, wos.

Phil Hudson (20:28):

That’s right. Holden underscore levy underscore. When writing a spec script, something that you did not create yourself for a studio, what is the most important thing to include in the script? Asking as I’m applying for an internship where they’re asking us to write a spec scene for an existing show. So you want me to rephrase that?

Michael Jamin (20:48):

Yeah. What did he, yeah,

Phil Hudson (20:50):

Yeah. So Holden says, Hey, I’m applying for this internship and they’re asking me to write a spec script from this spec scene from this episode, this existing show. Is there anything in particular I should be including there? Because it’s not something I made I spec,

Michael Jamin (21:03):

Right? I it’s easier to write a spec script than it is an original piece. Far easier, I think. I mean, you have to know how to tell a compelling story. I mean, this is, honestly, this is what we teach in the writing course that we, that we have at my screenwriting course. But is there anything you should put in Yeah, a good story and a good a story with, with high stakes and a compelling B story. And you should be able to have, the characters should be doing things that seem consistent with the characters. You shouldn’t be having guest stars that drive the story. You shouldn’t be. Ha And all this I teach you shouldn’t have guest stars that have more lines than the regular characters. I mean, it should be about the characters in the show. I don’t know why. I don’t know what kind of internship it it is that requires you to submit a

Phil Hudson (21:48):

Spec. It’s a spec. It’s a spec scene. So to keep that, it’s literally, they

Michael Jamin (21:51):

Just, it’s

Phil Hudson (21:52):

A scene. It’s a scene.

Michael Jamin (21:55):

Yeah. I, I, I can’t, I don’t even understand why, why, why they would want, aren’t you just gonna be making coffee <laugh>? I mean, what are they gonna give you? But that, yeah, I mean, if it’s just a scene sa same thing with what I, I just said, but on a smaller scale, you know, make sure the characters are consistent and doing make,

Phil Hudson (22:11):

Make sure they pop, make sure that there’s something, express your voice. There’s,

Michael Jamin (22:14):

There’s conflicts. Yeah. Yeah. Make sure you’re, your, the tone is right of the show. The consistent with the show. Don’t do something totally off balance at the show would never have done, but you’re like, woo. You know, oh, this is a horror episode of this show. But they don’t do horror episodes on this show. Yeah, but what if they did? No. Do you should be con consistent of what they actually did. Sure. Represented it.

Phil Hudson (22:37):

Awesome. All right. I apologize. I’m gonna mispronounce this na underscore type life. It could also be Na cuz it’s, it’s a Jay. You’re your’re poly. You speak more than one language. You speak three Italian, Spanish English.

Michael Jamin (22:51):

Yeah, a little bit of English. Conversational English.

Phil Hudson (22:53):

Nice. Good for you. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>, do you ever get, get your pronunciation super screwed up when you read words. <Inaudible>, N A J o

Michael Jamin (23:01):

Between Spanish and Italian, or

Phil Hudson (23:03):

Yeah, anything? So for me, I speak English. Oh yeah. Spanish fluently. But whenever I talk to anyone, you could be Korean. You come up and talk to me. My brain wants to speak Spanish to you. Just out of the box.

Michael Jamin (23:12):

Oh yeah. I was talking to a comedian Frank Callo, right? Callo is Italian. He’s Italian in, but he goes, that’s not how he pronounces it, it’s Callo. And I’m like, mm, you saying your name though?

Phil Hudson (23:22):

<Laugh>, you know, <laugh> ira.

Michael Jamin (23:24):

Same thing with Mike Burbiglia. You know, I’m like, no, Mike, that’s not how you say your last name.

Phil Hudson (23:28):

The, how do you say his last name?

Michael Jamin (23:31):

[Inaudible] That’s, that’s how you’d say an Italian. But that’s not how he says it. I

Phil Hudson (23:34):

Like the handshake. I like the handshake too,

Michael Jamin (23:36):

While you’re, they all talk with the hands.

Phil Hudson (23:38):

It’s beautiful. [inaudible] Digress. Back to the, back to the question a hand. How do I prepare for a general meeting with a large full caps production company with a development exec as a screenwriter?

Michael Jamin (23:50):

Good question. So a general meeting, they’re just, they wanna make sure you’re not a, a drooling idiot. I would go in there ha with some knowledge of what they do. So do get on I M D B, do do a Google search of what kind of movies or TV shows they’ve made in the past. So you can have educated conversations. So you could say, Hey, what I love this project that you made. Everyone likes being told that you like their, you’re a fan of their work. So that’s easy. A Google search, talk about what they’ve done, compliment them, and then be prepared to talk about yourself and what you co what kind of projects you wanna do. And it’s gonna be very tempting to go in and say, I can do everything. And that’s not the truth. Find out, you know, if you’re a drama writer, what kind of drama do you do?

(24:29):

If you’re a comedy writer, what kind of comedy do you do? And, and tell them what you wanna do and what you excel at. And that way you’re making, you’re making their job easier. If you tell ’em exactly what you do, which is I do high-concept thrillers or whatever then when they have a project in mind or a need, they’re gonna think of you. If you tell ’em I can do everything, they’re not gonna think of you. You, you know, put yourself in a box to make it easy for them to employ you. So tho that’s your preparation. And you could talk about, you should also be prepared to talk about what shows you. Like, they’re gonna say, Hey, what shows are you watching? So you’re gonna say, oh, I watched white Lotus. It’s and then be prepared to talk about what you liked about it, you know?

Phil Hudson (25:10):

Yeah, no, that’s great. That’s great. Cool. Jeremy M. Rice, how much of show running is budgeting and managing a staff?

Michael Jamin (25:18):

All of it, but it’s not really it is managing a staff. You, you’re in charge of those staff, the writing staff. And, you know, most people don’t become comedy writers especially to, to become, you know, management like that. We, we become writers because we don’t want to go into management. And so suddenly you’re the boss of the show and now you have to manage these other writers. And it’s kinda like, I don’t really know how to, it’s a skill that you have to kinda acquire real fast. And so it’s about motivating people, keeping people encouraging them so that they can give you their best. I feel it’s important not to waste their time. If people feel like they’re hostages, they’re not gonna give you their best work, they’re gonna feel beaten down. I like to empower people cuz that’s how you get their best work out of them.

(26:00):

In terms of budgeting, you know, the budget is set and I don’t even look at those numbers when I’m running the show. I’ll just say, I’ll ask the producer, can we do this? The line producer and the line producer doesn’t even always know. Often they’ll come back to you, they’ll say, I think we can do this if we steal from this episode. So, you know, I think we can shoot an amusement park if we steal at this episode and you make this real, we don’t spend a lot of money here. Can you do that? And so, okay. Yeah. I can have fewer sets and fewer actors and fewer everything to make this happen. So it’s a lot, it’s a conversation. That’s why it’s very collaborative. And you work closely with the department heads as a showrunner to get hopefully your your what your vision made. But I, I always try to stay on budget. Cuz the last thing you want to do is give the studio a reason to fire you.

Phil Hudson (26:45):

Sure. this goes back to like one of our early, early episodes. When you’re staffing a show, are you considering budgets at all? Are you just saying, these are the people I want to hire. And then you hear back and say, well, we can’t or we can

Michael Jamin (26:56):

No, they tell you they’re, they’ll come right out and they tell you, okay, you have enough money to hire one showrunner. Usually they’ll say this we want you to have a big staff, so we want you to hire 10 staff writers. And then I’ll come back and say, I don’t want 10 staff writers. I would rather have one really good co-executive producer. And then, and then if there’s money left over, we’ll hire some staff writers. A lot of voices to me are not good in the room. I’d rather have qualified people who know what you’re talking about then, then I don’t need a million ideas. I just need someone who can write a really damn good script.

Phil Hudson (27:26):

Got it. You know, so you’d, you’d rather put the money towards talent and capability over

Michael Jamin (27:31):

Yeah. I always prefer comedy show, meaning experienced

Phil Hudson (27:35):

Writers. I think that’s general. That’s generally true. I would say from my, what I’ve seen at least, and I’m,

Michael Jamin (27:40):

Yeah. But often they want the people, often the people with the purses, they tell you the op they want the opposite because they don’t know. And so they’re like, no, no, we want you to have a lot of different voices. I don’t want a lot of different voices. That’s the last thing I want. I want people who can do the job. Hey, it’s Michael Jamin. If you like my videos and you want me to email them to you for free, join my watch list. Every Friday I send out my top three videos. These are for writers, actors, creative types. You can unsubscribe whenever you want. I’m not gonna spam you and it’s absolutely free. Just go to michaeljamin.com/watchlist.

Phil Hudson (28:21):

Ivan Garcia 66 22 is back. If I wish to become a professional writer, doesn’t mean I should drop everything and just write all day every day.

Michael Jamin (28:29):

Well, I dunno how you’re gonna do that without paying. You gotta pay the bills. But you can certainly drop all your pastimes and become a writer. Like you have to go to work and, you know, and, and, but after work, yeah. What you should be writing, you should be writing every day regardless. And and I I heard a great quote who I think, who was it? I think it was Stephen King said this. I was like, oh, that makes, yeah, that I like the way he said it. You know, when you’re inspired, you’re right. When you’re, when you exhausted and you just don’t have it in you in the can, then you should be reading. But writing comes first.

Phil Hudson (28:58):

I think it was Terrence Winter, and I apologize if I’m miss Mrs. Operating this quote. But he was on a podcast I listened to years ago, and he said that when he moved to LA I believe he was an attorney first, and then he moved to LA mm-hmm. <Affirmative>. And when he moved here, and he’s the creator of Boardwalk Empire and he worked on the Sopranos, really well-known, talented writer. Writer. But he said he moved here and his friends would be like, Hey, let’s go to a Dodgers game. And he’d say, no, I haven’t earned it yet. And he would not allow himself to go have fun until he had done the work he had assigned himself to do. Yeah. And that’s a level of dedication, discipline and professionalism that I think you have to have to make it. And it obviously works, look at him. But yeah, you gotta pay your bills, you gotta eat, right. Yeah. So for him, it’s, you know, it’s sacrificing where other people are not willing to sacrifice because he

Michael Jamin (29:47):

Right. Yeah. How bad do you want it? So you, you can’t, you gotta have to make choices.

Phil Hudson (29:52):

And we talked about this before. It’s you know, sacrifice is a, it basically needs to make hauling, right? It’s, you’re making something sacred so you’re turning, you’re exchanging something for something else to get something better, which I think is a podcast that’s coming up is, yeah. Long-Term focus over short term gratification.

Michael Jamin (30:07):

I guess that makes sense. Sacrament.

Phil Hudson (30:09):

Yeah. Alright. grizzly, hanif, gri, grizzly, heif. He, I don’t know, I apologize. Grizzly, how do you balance writing multiple scripts?

Michael Jamin (30:22):

Like, I wonder if they’re talking about me or you. I

Phil Hudson (30:25):

Think it’s a que it’s a question for you. And, and I think that they might speak to one, right? But how do you, as someone who is writing multiple projects, you know, you’ve sold two or three projects recently with your writing partner Yeah. And your writing your own books, your your own essays. Yeah. How do you balance that?

Michael Jamin (30:43):

Well, it depends what we’re doing. But I, I, I don’t have too many projects at any one time. It’s only a couple. So it’s not that hard. If we’re running a show, then we have a bunch of scripts out and we have to keep ’em all in mind. And you know, and yeah, you look at the outlines, you look at the notes that’s, that’s the hard part of the job. But in terms of projects, I don’t have, I think a lot of people, one, if we’re talking about an aspiring writer or an emergency writer, I think they’ll often have multiple scripts because they get bored by their own work. And, well, I’ll just do this now because I’m stuck here. I’ll just do this now. And so the problem with that is they’re struggling. They don’t know what they’re doing and so they’re just, they’re just putting it off by starting a new project, never finishing anything. And so that’s not good that, that’s why education can help. Where if you understand story structure, you shouldn’t be struggling as much. You, you shouldn’t be getting bored by your own work

Phil Hudson (31:31):

Right? Now, that doesn’t mean you’re not gonna finish. You get to, to a point when we talked about that and in previous podcast, how do you know when you’re done this this project done? You set it aside, you go write something else, you’re gonna come back, you’re probably gonna rewrite some stuff. It’s probably gonna see a bunch of holes, some things you can fix, things you can improve. But that’s just because you got better because you wouldn’t put in time on another project. So Yeah. But I think that’s a great point. Like when you’re running a show, you are running a show and you’re doing a lot of, a lot of episodes, a lot of storylines going at the same time. Yeah.

Michael Jamin (31:59):

So, and often I’ll say to the writer, what’s going on? What’s the story about? Again, refresh my memory <laugh> because I, cause I can’t remember, you know, 10 episodes at the same time.

Phil Hudson (32:07):

Alright. Johnny JK zero one. How does your workday look as a feature writer versus a TV writer?

Michael Jamin (32:13):

Well, I don’t really work much in film. Film. I, we’ve, my partner, we’ve sold two. But we’ve since stayed in television. I, you know, I don’t really know. I mean, your future writer, you know, you’re working from your house probably more. And it’s like, it’s not collaborative. You’re alone and you, you’re dealing with your producer, producer’s giving you notes and you’re going back and you’re, you’re banging your head against the wall. But on TV show, it’s collaborative, a writing staff. So if you have, if you get stuck on a scene, you, you bring it in front of the staff and you say, Hey, let’s talk about this some more.

Phil Hudson (32:41):

Yeah. Great. Alright. colors by sec. C e k, does it really matter where you go to college or university to study screenwriting? How much of an impact does it make on your career? Are the prestigious schools really what they make themselves out to be?

Michael Jamin (32:57):

I don’t think, no, I don’t think so. I think what you can get from, it’s important to learn, you know, screenwriting and study it somewhere. But the degree itself is worthless. No one’s gonna ask to see your degree. They’re gonna wanna know if you can write. And if you, and if that te that school teaches you how to be a good writer, then it’s worth something. But the degree itself will not open any doors. No one cares. I’ve never hired anybody. I’ve never asked to see their degree. I never wanna see their gpa. It means nothing to me. So the education is worth something, but the degree is worthless, I think. But and also if you go to a school, you may, if it’s a prestigious school, your, your fellow students may grow up to be successful directors and, and people that you can work with in the future. So it’s good to network with those people because they’ll, you know, they’ll arising tide raises all boats. But but you can get the, the knowledge without having the degree

Phil Hudson (33:53):

Yeah. As someone with a degree. I concur.

Michael Jamin (33:57):

Yeah.

Phil Hudson (33:59):

Ryan Danowski, how many credits does a writer need to have if they want to become a creator or a showrunner?

Michael Jamin (34:06):

Yeah. How many credits? It’s like it doesn’t really work like that. I mean, we were writers for 10 years before someone decided we were ready to be showrunners. And even then we weren’t sure if we were ready. It’s, it’s a big leap. There was talk earlier, like I, I know some people who become showrunners, you know, maybe after four or five. And it’s, it’s a little scary because there’s so much to learn and so much to know. So it’s not even about credit. So they, I know everyone wants to be a showrunner. I, I would just don’t like, just worry about being him a writer first. It’s, it’s, it’s so freaking hard. There’s so much you have to know. And that’s why they get paid so much money is because, you know, you gotta know how to do it. I, it’s, I I wouldn’t just learn how to write first one step at a time.

Phil Hudson (34:55):

Yeah. I yeah, I think it, the, that question kind of speaks to a lack of understanding of how the process works. And it’s not like you apply for that job, right? Right. Like, that’s a job that you are given or assigned because you have enough clout and credit and respect for the accomplishments you have. Or you’ve sold something and you have enough clout credits. Right. And and respect for what you’ve done. So, because we, I asked that question early on. Go ahead.

Michael Jamin (35:27):

Well, the first time we were hired as showrunner, it’s like, I’m sure that was Michael. Hi Michael Eisner hired us for Glenn Martin. I’m sure he was nervous cuz we had never run a show before. And he had a right to be nervous. We had a lot of experience, but he was like, can you do this? And my partner like, yeah, we could do it Very unconvincingly. So he had a right to be nervous and we were nervous. It’s like, it’s a big, it’s a big deal to give someone that break.

Phil Hudson (35:49):

Yeah. Yeah. So I mean, I asked that question early on too. Like, if I sold a show, am I automatically the showrun? And you’re like, Nope. I knew you may not even be an executive producer,

Michael Jamin (35:58):

Right? Oh, probably not. You’ll probably be, yeah. But you’ll probably be a low level or mid-level writer. You’re not gonna, they’re not gonna, it’s, it’s such a big deal that they’re not gonna trust their investment to someone who’s has no idea how to do it.

Phil Hudson (36:10):

Sure, sure. Awesome. That’s the end of our professional. We got a couple aspirational and one general, I think we can get these done in a couple minutes here and, and wrap this up. Don’t need to split into a third episode on the Ask Me Anything episode of Michael Jam’s screenwriting podcast. Yeah. Nate, the Nate Gillen or Gillen, I’m so horrible with these pronunciations. I apologize everybody. As the medium for television seems to shift from networks to streaming platforms, whose staff should I try to join as a PA and eventually a writer to pitch a show to after years of experience in course Netflix, Disney, a studio like fx and

Michael Jamin (36:47):

I think whoever will hire you, that’s Yeah. Is that what you

Phil Hudson (36:50):

Yeah, that’s definitely,

Michael Jamin (36:51):

There’s no wrong answer. Whoever will hire you and those writers will bo if they’re on a network show next year, they’ll be on a streaming show. Like they’ll bounce around. There’s, we don’t, we don’t care, I don’t think. Yeah, for the most part we’re like, Hey, who’s hiring? We’ll take the job.

Phil Hudson (37:05):

Yeah. I think I can speak to this as someone who has been a PA for the last several years in multiple aspects whatever job you can get, like finding a job is the hard part. Like yeah, it is so hard to find APA job where you can get brought on that you can then have to build a reputation. And it’s not like you stick with a studio or, or production company. Mean you’re typically moving with that crew of people. You’re production office coordinator likes you, so as an office pa they hire you on the next show. You’re a set pa the first ad likes you or the second ad likes you. The second, second likes you. So they bring you on to the next one. You move with the people, not necessarily the people making the show. There are some circumstances, you know, I’ve, I’ve been working with 8 24 for a couple seasons now on Tacoma fd and I did have some conversations with them where they said, Hey, we would like to continue to work with you.

(37:57):

And so I’ve built that relationship of trust over several seasons with them. And I could probably go to them and say, Hey, I’m looking for a job and they’d recommend me to stuff, but I also have plenty of other relationships that I could probably just move to the next project or the next project with the groups of people I’ve worked with. So it’s just networking and you’ve gotta get the job first. So don’t, don’t don’t feel like you’re plotting out an entire career based on what job we get as a pa. That’s just not gonna happen.

Michael Jamin (38:23):

Right,

Phil Hudson (38:24):

Right.

Michael Jamin (38:25):

Cool. Exactly.

Phil Hudson (38:26):

We’re gonna get into some questions that are very similar here. Right. And so I, I just want to give the, these people, cause I asked the question some, some clout, but they are very similar and I, things you’ve already answered many times as an aspiring screenwriter, what is one of the best ways to gain exposure? Where is a good outlet to present your work to gain potential opportunity? That’s nine. Nine Jack. And then I’m gonna do Kimmy, Naomi, what are the best ways to get your writing out there and known to attract bigger opportunities these days? And she talks about how it used to be blogging. Is it festivals? Is it shorts? Kind of smashing ’em together, right?

Michael Jamin (39:03):

Yeah. But it’s, it’s anything. It’s like, sure, you can apply it to some of the bigger screenwriting festivals. The big ones, not the little ones. The ones who’ve heard of are, you know, they might be worth something, you know, Sundance or Nickels or

Phil Hudson (39:16):

Austin Television.

Michael Jamin (39:18):

Austin, yeah. Yeah. Those are good ones. But the smaller ones are, you know, they’re just money making operations. So that’s what you could do that. But also just put your wor anywhere you put your work out there short. Sure. Make a TikTok channel and put your work up there, you know, in three minute. Make a name for yourself learn every time you create something you know, is, is a good experience, you’ll learn from it. You know, a lot of people think it’s about networking with people like me. And it’s not, you don’t have to network with people like me. You can network with people like you. And so you could find fellow filmmakers just outta college or people in college or you know, students or whatever, and just start making stuff together. Get a group of actors. Writers may build a community because those people are gonna rise up.

(40:05):

If they’re serious about it, they’re gonna rise up. They’re gonna have little opportunities. Hey, I just booked an actor’s gonna say, I just booked a commercial. Or a writer’s gonna say, oh, I just got, I just, you know, a tiny little thing for somebody. I wrote the, and whatever it is, it’s gonna look. Whoa. That’s interesting. That, and you’re going to surround yourself with these people and all these little opportunities. You’re gonna learn about their opportunities and maybe they’re gonna bring you in on stuff or maybe you’re be inspired. Oh, I could, I could write something like that. I can stage a play and you’re building your community of people and someone’s gonna pop and you’re gonna pop. You know, and that’s how you rise up. You don’t have to start at the top. You don’t have to get your hands in Steven Spielberg’s lap to make it in Hollywood. You, all you gotta do is get, build yourself a little community and that’s whoever you wanna be with. And that’s, that’s why I encourage people to move to LA because a lot of those people happen to be in la. Right. If you, you people come to LA to make that dream happen, can you do it and stay where you are, I guess. But you’re gonna find more people out here trying to do it.

Phil Hudson (41:04):

Yeah. LA is also a great sift. It’s a sifter of people. A lot of people are gonna move here. A lot of people are gonna fall out. There’s a lot of attrition. People are gonna leave and they’re, they’re not gonna make it. You know, I moved here with a bunch of people from film school. Most of them have left the business or have moved back home cuz just didn’t, they didn’t have what it took or they didn’t feel like they could devote the time or just,

Michael Jamin (41:27):

Or how serious did they take it? Did they make it, did those stu film students, did they ever actually try to make

Phil Hudson (41:32):

Anything? No, the

Michael Jamin (41:33):

Answer’s no. No. Right. The answer’s no.

Phil Hudson (41:35):

Right. Because it’s, it’s easier to dream about something. It’s zero risk to think it or dream it or say you’re doing it. It is a lot of risk personally and financially and professionally to go out and try to do something. But I don’t know anyone who’s ever knocked someone for trying. I hear a lot of people, it, it’s people want to save face with family and friends or relationships they have back at home or wherever it is who said you’re never gonna make it. And so that it’s easier to say you don’t wanna do it. Like I have a friend really tell a writer puts in more effort than anyone I know writing, he writes all the time, but he never finishes anything and he never submits anything. He never sends anything out. He, he’s turned down pa jobs. I’ve tried to give him, he’s done all these things because, and this is like super deep. He’s afraid of failing his father. Like his father told him he’s not gonna make it. And so any tertiary job related to film that is not film counts because there’s zero stake in it.

Michael Jamin (42:31):

Yeah. But I, you know, it’s sad, but you have to start like success doesn’t look like what you think it looks like. Success doesn’t look like a giant check from a studio to make your movie. It looks like some opportunity that’s beneath you. It looks like you making a student film shooting and on your iPhone and posting into YouTube and what’s the budget? $30. I mean, that’s what it look, I mean, there’s no reason why you can’t do that. You know, you need better sound, maybe more than $30, but you don’t need $50,000 to make your movie. No, you could do it on your phone. You need good sound and you need pay people and pizza. That’s how you do it.

Phil Hudson (43:05):

And people will happily do it from pizza. People are starving in LA man, it’s expensive. It’s actually cheaper right now by the way, to eat out than it is to buy groceries. So just keep that in mind. That’s the inflation world. Yeah. All right. Last question here and then one in general is writing and directing the best way to get your name out there.

Michael Jamin (43:22):

Well, a any way to get like whatever you’re doing. What, whatever, like making afil film with your neighbor already. You, you’re exposing yourself to more people than just staying in your basement and doing nothing.

Phil Hudson (43:34):

Yeah. And the short answer, the reason I separated this one, the short answer is what do you want to do? Do that, do that as much as you can. Do it every chance you can put it out there as many times as much as you can no matter what. And embrace the fact that you’re gonna suck at it. Like that’s new. It’s not meant to be easy for you. Suck it up. And there’s zero stakes right now. Cause nobody knows who you are. And that’s great.

Michael Jamin (43:57):

You know what though? I, I’ve told this story before, but like a couple months ago, a a stu I know this girl, girl I went to high school with, her son is now a student at a film school. And he lives in LA and they were ca they needed people to be in her student film. And they asked if I wanted to do it and they’re like, I’m not an actor, so I didn’t want to do it, but, but if I was an actor, cause they needed a guy my age, if I was an actor, I would’ve done it. Why? Because those kids, that crew of five people, you know Sure. They’re just dumb students at us film school. No, they’re going to, someone is gonna rise up and become, make a name for themselves. And so why wouldn’t I not want to, you know, get to know that person? And so it may feel like, well, but yeah, but that’s an op that’s an opportunity for five years or 10 years from now. You know, get into, get built a circle for yourself. There’s no reason like, I didn’t wanna do it cause I don’t wanna be an actor, but there’s no reason. If I wanted to, I would’ve done it.

Phil Hudson (44:52):

Yeah. speaking of that, and we haven’t talked about this much, I just let you know this last week, but I actually have a couple producers who’ve hired me to write a spec feature that’s just in any feature. It’s not anything guild related. It’s my first paid work. It’s amazing that opportunity. Yeah, it’s huge. And that opportunity comes from, they needed help producing a sizzle reel in New Mexico in 2015. And I showed up and I devoted all my time for a weekend to them. I spent tons of time, I spent some of my own money taking care of people, getting things done and impressive enough that, that, and with the help of your course and your mentorship, and the time I put into being here in Hollywood and working in mm-hmm. <Affirmative> as a piano, these things I finally have writing samples that impress them enough. This is, yeah, you can hit a budget. It’s producible and it’s good enough writing. Right. They’re gonna send it off, you know, so they’re gonna take it and they’re gonna submit it to production companies to try to get made as an Indy film.

Michael Jamin (45:48):

And that’s fantastic. Right. And that’s because you put yourself out there and you didn’t, and you know, nothing was beneath you and you didn’t think you had to start at the top

Phil Hudson (45:58):

Because you don’t, you can’t. Yeah. So you can’t, and I apologize, I missed one question here. It’s from Hershey Bar, v a r r. How do you know when you’re, you’re ready to sell your script? Another one, you,

Michael Jamin (46:11):

When someone offers to, when someone offers you money for it. But it’s kind of, I think we kind of hit on it a little bit already. It’s like, if you give your script to somebody and people enjoy, they want to turn the page, you might have something. If it’s, if it’s a not, you know, if you can’t get even your best friend to say it’s good, then it’s not ready. And again, your goal is not to sell it. Your goal is to impress someone with your writing so that you have other opportunities. So don’t even think about, it’s not about selling your script. Everyone wants to make money. How about you just learn how to become a good someone that people that you, you know, that you’re in demand. If you’re a good writer, you will be in demand. Learn how to write first and then doors will open. But if it’s all, if it’s only about lining your pockets, you know, what do you think’s gonna happen?

Phil Hudson (46:53):

Yep. So, all right. That wraps that up for the aspirational section. One question in general, it’s from Christopher Rings. Do you have a favorite meta description of screenwriters in media? I think of the, I love Lucy Writer’s Room and being the regards, oh, this is a more personal question for you. It’s not about your own.

Michael Jamin (47:10):

Yeah. I, I, yeah. I watched that and I enjoyed that. That’s funny. I mean, Aaron Sorkin is a fantastic writer. I was a little surprised when I watched that. And Aaron Sorkin knows what a writer’s room is. I mean, you know, he’s run writer’s rooms. He’s been in writer’s rooms. I was a little surprised about when I watched that. It was the Char, I don’t remember the character but sh she’s a female writer on, on Lyla Lucy. And she was given it to Lucille Ball in the, in the movie. She was given it to her. And I’m like, whoa. I’ve never been on a writing staff where a staff writer talked to the star that way. <Laugh>. Now that’s not to say it didn’t happen, because maybe it did, you know, may you know, I don’t know about the past, but I was surprised when I saw that.

(47:49):

I was like, whoa. In, in, in general, we don’t, we don’t talk to actors that way. We don’t yeah, we don’t yell at them. We, especially the star, we don’t call ’em out. Cause they’ll fight you. They’ll get you fired <laugh>. So no one wants to get fired, <laugh>. So I’m not sure if that’s a, an accurate, although I totally enjoyed that movie and I, and I watching it and I was like, oh, I wonder if that’s how it was. I, you know, I don’t know. I wasn’t there. So is there an accurate depiction? I thought it’s really

Phil Hudson (48:17):

More your favorite. I think the question is favorite, not necessarily accurate. Oh, okay. It could be, could be accurate. It could be both.

Michael Jamin (48:23):

I always liked on the la and I haven’t seen it in 20 years, but on the Larry Sanders show, I always like the way the accurate Jeremy PN was pur portrayed on the la as the writers, because those guys were never happy <laugh>. They were joke writers and they were never happy. And they always aspired to do more, sell the screenplay or whatever. And I, that felt real to me. Or it felt funny to me. I, and I haven’t worked in late night television, so I don’t know if it’s accurate, but I thought that was hilarious.

Phil Hudson (48:49):

That’s awesome. I really love, was it Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, which I brought it before to mm-hmm. <Affirmative>, I think it’s Aaron Sorkin as well. And it’s like a Saturday Night Live type show behind the scenes really moving, really moving one of the most beautiful Christmas episodes of anything I’ve ever seen really touching. So

Michael Jamin (49:04):

And then there’s 30 rock portrayed actor writer, the writing stuff, but not really they quickly ditched that because they’re, the gold was not in the writing stuff, isn’t it? Watching people write is not interesting. Watching actors become idiots. That’s more interesting than watching writers at a table, so.

Phil Hudson (49:21):

Awesome. Well, that’s the end of your ask me anything, Michael. Two, two parter. Done. any other thoughts, questions, anything you want to put out to the, to your audience?

Michael Jamin (49:31):

Just the normal stuff. We got lots of free resources for people who want to go get it. We got free downloads of sample script.

Phil Hudson (49:38):

We have, we should, you know, one thing we don’t talk about is you have your you have a bunch of free samples that you have available of your writing. I’ll pull up the URL here if you want to start talking about the other one. They probably don’t have that

Michael Jamin (49:51):

Ready. Yeah. That we have that we have a free lesson on, on screenwriting at michaeljamin.com/free. Definitely get that. We have a, our watch list, which is our weekly newsletter with tips. You should be on that michaeljamin.com/watchlist. I post daily on Instagram and TikTok and Facebook at @MichaelJaminWriter. This is all free guys. And then of course, there’s some downloads for scripts that I’ve written. If you wanna, you know, study those or look at the formatting I know it’s on our, I know it’s available on the website, michaeljamin.com. I know you can. Phil’s gonna give you the right

Phil Hudson (50:25):

Url. Yeah, I’ll get it. And you know what I’m gonna do, I’m gonna put a link in the show notes here, so just go check that out. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. Cuz it’s gonna be a, it’s gonna take me a second to pull this up. I’ve done a poor job of making it really accessible, so I will get that fixed today. Yeah, we’ll you can always go to michaeljamin.com/ there’s a free stuff tab at the top mm-hmm. <Affirmative>. And you can just hit that and it’ll be in there. So yeah, that’s it. Cool.

Michael Jamin (50:48):

All right everyone, thank you so much, Phil, thank you for joining me here.

Phil Hudson (50:52):

My pleasure as always. Lo love what you’re doing with the interviews, by the way. They’re great. I’m learning a ton from, from listening to those some good stuff. This podcast is evolving. It’s pretty cool to, to be a part of it and see what you’re doing and have those behind the curtains with some of those pretty powerful and interesting writers that I don’t think people want people thinking about. So, yeah. Alright. Thank you everybody. Keep

Michael Jamin (51:16):

Right. Thank you. How’s next time?

Michael Jamin (51:19):

This has been an episode of Screenwriters Need to Hear This with Michael Jamin and Phil Hudson. If you’d like to support this podcast, please consider subscribing, leaving a review and sharing this podcast with someone who needs to hear today’s subject. For free daily screenwriting tips, follow Michael on Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok At @MichaelJaminWriter.

Phil Hudson (52:35):

You can follow me on Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok at @PhilAHudson. This episode was produced by Phil Hudson and edited by Dallas Crane. Until next time, keep writing.

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Michael Jamin, Showrunner, TV Writer, Author

Michael Jamin

For the past 26 years, Michael Jamin has been a professional television writer/showrunner. His credits include King of the Hill, Beavis & Butthead, Wilfred, Maron, Just Shoot Me, Rules of Engagement, Brickleberry, Tacoma FD and many more.

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