Would you like to have a book you write turned into a movie or TV show? This week, Michael Jamin explores this topic on his podcast. Check it out!
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Michael Jamin (00:00):
Write about what? You can make it really well written. The more personal, the more interesting it’ll be. I think a lot of people think if I make it personal, I’m narrowing my audience. You know, I’m because of my, but no, you’re actually making, you’re making your audience specific and you’re actually, that’s what’s so interesting to get a glimpse in someone’s life like that. You’re listening to Screenwriters Need to Hear This with Michael Jamin. Hey everyone, welcome back to Screenwriters. Need to hear this, the podcast where we’re branching out. We’re talking about other things not even that are only also the screenwriters need to hear in other areas. What am I talking about Phil? Phil? I don’t know. Talking.
Phil Hudson (00:40):
We’re talking about a lot of things. I think you’ve got a breadth of knowledge. And I think this is a topic that, although it may not be directly related to screenwriting, even though it kind of is tangentially, I think it still applies to writers, which I think, yeah, all of us are thinking about medium, just not just tv, but we’re thinking of other
Michael Jamin (00:55):
Things. So today we’re talking about how do I sell the movie writes to my book cuz people ask me this question a lot on social media and you know, everyone writes a book wants to write a and, and most people I ask, you know, like, whoa, well, is your book a is, you know, who’s publishing it? And it’s so often it’s self-published, which is okay, that’s fine. But it’s, it seems like it could be a, a very ego-driven question. They’re like, how do I, they’re asking, how do I sell my book as a movie so that I can become a screenwriter and I can make a lot of money? It’s, that’s what they’re asking. How do I make a lot of money the easy way or something. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. And obviously no one really cares. Like what, you know, what you want the, if you wanna sell something, you gotta give the buyer what they want, which I’ve said over and over again.
And so I think a better question is asking, what do studios look for when optioning the rights for a book? And that’s, you know, that’s a whole different question. And what they’re looking that way, you can give them what they want. If you ask the right question, you could give the studio what they want instead of saying, how do I sell you my book? And so what they’re looking for in my experience is they’re looking for a New York Times bestseller. They’re looking for a well-written book with a built-in audience. They’re looking for you know, for example the movie I just, the, the show I just watched Fleischman Isn’t In Trouble, right? That was based on a bestselling book. And, and, and so that’s how it became a TV show. And that’s how so many projects become, movies are based on books, but the books were hit books.
They were bestselling books. They had a built-in audience because the studio knows that people are gonna wanna go see the movie when it comes out. They recognize the name of the book, they’re gonna wanna see it, even if it gets ruined as a movie, they’re like, oh, okay, I’ll go, I’ll sample it. At the very least, same thing with a television show. It’ll be turned into something else. Maybe, maybe it’ll be better, maybe it’ll be worse, but at least people will know about it. It’ll be it’d be easy to market. And that’s all it’s about. It’s about marketing, it’s about money. And marketing is such a, a big battle. It’s like, you know, these invest a lot of money into a TV show, into a movie. And it’s, they’re not looking for the best written or the, you know, they’re not looking, if that were the case, it would be nonstop Shakespeare, because that’s free and public.
It’s in the public domain. They can make all these, I think it’s, it must be in the public domain. They can make Shakespeare o over and over. There’d be the channel running nonstop. Shakespeare, the guy wrote, I don’t know, something like 30 something plays. Why not just do Shakespeare all the time? It couldn’t be better written. Because it’s marketability. No one wants to watch Shakespeare, unfortunately. <Laugh>. So it’s, it’s why do they wanna watch? So, and I think a lot of people are gonna say, yeah, but okay, you’re telling me now to write a best a New York Times bestseller? That’s too hard. You’re damn right is hard. I, oh yeah. Did you think any of it was gonna be easy? Yeah, for sure. But if you can make something that has a built-in audience, and it doesn’t even have to be a bestseller. It just has, it could have a huge following on social media.
It could have, but it has to be easy to market. So here’s what you need, in my opinion, the book has to be well-written and it has to find its audience. And you don’t have control over the second part, really. You, but you do have control over the first part. You can make it well-written. And so the only thing you have control over, once again, is your writing is how good your writing is. But people don’t wanna focus on that, even though that’s the only thing they have control over. They’d rather focus on, how do I sell it? You know, how do I make money? How do I get on the best sellers list? How do you just focus on the only thing you have control over? We don’t have control either. Either start. And then a lot of people, of course, feel like they don’t have time.
And I’m inspired by the, the movie made. I mean, it was a big, it was, it was a little bit wild ago, but Stephanie Landro wrote this movie Made, and she wrote about her life, her life as a young single mother fleeing in abusive relationship. And she had to work as a maid, as a cleaning woman to get by. And so, you know, that’s not fair that she had to do that. That’s not fair. But she turned it into gold. <Laugh>, she turned her a horrible experience into gold. And then I think a lot of people were gonna say, well, yeah, but she had an interesting life to write about. My life is boring. That’s not fair. Like, I, I like, okay, I don’t know. It’s not fair that she wasn’t abused. That you weren’t abused. And she was <laugh>. You know, I don’t think she saw it that way. <Laugh>.
and so, yeah, I mean, but this way I say right about write about what you can make it really well written. The more personal, the more interesting it’ll be. I think a lot of people think if I make it personal, I’m narrowing my audience. You know, I’m because of my, but no, you’re actually making, you’re making your audience specific and you’re actually, that’s what’s so interesting to get a glimpse in someone’s life like that. And then some people of course say, well, I’m too busy to write a New York Times bestseller. Well, that’s, that’s good. It’s good that you’re busy. You have something in that means you probably have an interesting life that you can write about. If you’re, if you’re not busy, you’re boring. You’re not doing anything. Have nothing to write about. So make yourself busy. Take notes, and then start writing about it.
Get, you know, open your mind to offer the opportunities and start writing about it. Put yourself as a fish outta water in whatever opportunity it is. Write about it, because that’s always interesting. Yeah, that, that, that’s just my advice. That’s my advice. And I be, and I, and by the way, I’ve been involved in many projects where a studio says they’ll buy the rights to the book and they’ll seek writers to, Hey, do you wanna develop this into a TV show or a movie, or whatever. And sometimes the answer is yes, and sometimes no. But there are people in development that we call it, and they’re looking for books to option the rights to, that’s their job. That’s all they do. So you don’t have to find them. They’ll find you and they find you, if, if it has a big enough splash, if your book is made a splash, they’ll come out for, they’ll come seeking you. So you don’t have to raise your hand. They, they’re looking for you.
Phil Hudson (06:55):
Yeah. Immediately comes up in The Martian, right by,
Michael Jamin (06:58):
Yeah. The Martian
Phil Hudson (06:59):
Right, was a series
Michael Jamin (07:00):
That was self-published. Blog
Phil Hudson (07:01):
Series. Series of blog posts. He was just publishing on a regular cadence on his website mm-hmm. <Affirmative>. And it generated enough attention because the storytelling was so good that it compiled it and put it out.
Michael Jamin (07:11):
Well, he, he compiled it as a, as a, as his own book. He, he self-published and then it became a hit, right?
Phil Hudson (07:16):
Yep, yep. But it was a, it had a huge following on the blog, just people were looking forward to reading this thing. And then he put it out so,
Michael Jamin (07:24):
Well, there’s a guy who built something and so everyone’s asking for permission. How do I sell? How do I, and he wasn’t asking for permission, he was just doing it. He put something good out there, and then people, you know, like fill the dreams. If you build it, they will come. He puts something great out there, and people came. Now, they don’t always come, but if it’s great, you have a higher chance of people coming than if it’s, if it’s bad. I think we agree on that.
Phil Hudson (07:46):
Yeah, absolutely. I think he you know, I think they, like, he was in negotiations on the contract and it was like getting past, and Ridley Scott said he wanted to make the movie mm-hmm. <Affirmative>. And so he was like, oh. He’s like, well, I don’t know if I can make it cuz I’m, I’m worked. We still had his job. And he’d sold the rights to that because he’s still riding in away, still riding, still working on other stuff. But he also has like a whole series of like shorts. And for, you know, I remember my friend Alvi, who is he’s like a head of development at a pretty well known company, you know, production company out here in LA now. He did a short on Andy, we are and apologies if I’m pronouncing your name wrong, Andy Andy, we short story that he made free to students to make without any needing permission. And it was just stuff he’d had written prior to that.
Michael Jamin (08:37):
Right. And then some students made it and
Phil Hudson (08:39):
Oh, I was just saying like, he has a list of things, projects you can just go make without having to ask him for permission. And my buddy Avi went and did this. He went and made a short based on one of these projects that he’d already written. But the point is, he already, it wasn’t the first thing he’d written. He had written other things. That was the thing that hit. But he had, you know, sharpened his ax, if you will, on other projects mm-hmm. <Affirmative>, he’d gotten so good at the craft that that’s the one that hit. And he became an overnight success, but he still had probably hundreds of thousands of hours of writing behind him behind that book. Right,
Michael Jamin (09:12):
Right. It’s so interesting though, when people you know, they, they really, they’re, they’re trying to break down the door to Hollywood. They’re trying to, how do I get through the door? And it’s like, dude, there’s no door and you can open it yourself. You know, <laugh>, I know this doesn’t make any sense, but you could just do whatever you want. Just make it, put it out there. And I know you don’t feel like, well, I don’t have that kind of money. You could shoot everything on a, on a, on a shoestring budget. You don’t need to, you know, raise a ton of money, start small and then work your way up, like, like we’re talking about. And so, yeah. I mean, write a book. That’s a great way to do it. If you write a book and it’s a bestseller, it’ll, they’ll turn into a movie and they’ll ruin your book and you’ll, that’ll be fine. You’d be happy. <Laugh>.
Phil Hudson (09:54):
Right. Well, a couple things that came up as you were talking about this, you know, cause the question is like, how do I sell the movie rights to my book? Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. And what you’re saying is you need to have a good product that people want to buy. And this sounds oddly similar to what you talk about when we talk about how do I sell my pilot? Right. Something so good. You can’t, it’s not indeniable how good it is. And people will back up trucks full of of money for you to take it from you. Yeah. Cuz they want it.
Michael Jamin (10:20):
But it’s interesting when people say like, they, how, how do I turn my book? And then, then you say, well, has anybody read your book? Yeah. Five people bought my book. What, what? Like why would you th why would they want to turn into a movie? Why would any, because you think there’s no, I mean, you understand like, there’s only so much money that can go around and they’re only gonna make so many projects. They’re gonna choose the projects that are easiest to get high eyeballs on. They’re not looking, they’re not looking for your, you know, for, for a script issue. There’s tons of scripts in Hollywood. Correct. They’re looking to make money.
Phil Hudson (10:51):
Yeah. So you say that the one thing you have control over is the quality of her writing. Yeah. So let’s say I write something amazing and it truly is amazing. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative> and five people are like, this is great and I have no connections to Hollywood and I start putting it out on TikTok and it doesn’t go anywhere.
Michael Jamin (11:09):
Phil Hudson (11:10):
Was that, was that worthless?
Michael Jamin (11:12):
Of course not. I would say, you know, it’s interesting exercise and, and growth. I mean, did you enjoy the process? If you didn’t enjoy it, then you shouldn’t be doing any of this. If you didn’t enjoy the writing part, then forget about making money. You’re not, you know, what’s the point? But, you know, and it’s also, and not everything, of course, lends itself to being turned into a movie. It’s, if it’s not written in a visual way with kind of, that you can imagine with scenes, it’s like there’s great literature that is not would, it’s not, you can’t imagine how they would turn it into a movie. It would, it’s not easy. So yeah, it’s internal and that doesn’t mean it’s not beautifully written, but it’s also hard to, how would you turn it into a movie?
Phil Hudson (11:50):
Michael Jamin (11:51):
And Yeah. And by the way, if there’s something which is a giant hit and they go, well, they don’t know how to turn into the movie, but the name is worth something, they’ll hire a writer to figure it out. I mean, take like even Maurice Sandeck where the Wild Things Are, which I thought spike Jones directed it. Like I thought the, his adaptation, cuz the book is whatever, 20 pages long, there’s not much there. It’s like, it’s a children’s book. So there’s 18 lines, there’s not a lot there. How do you turn that into an hour and a half movie? And so he really developed it. I thought he did a beautiful job with it. And so you’ll, they’ll, you know, but that was sold because everyone knew the name. There was nothing in the book. There wasn’t enough in the book to turn into a movie.
Phil Hudson (12:32):
No. That was a, a very successful children’s book that I remember reading when I was young.
Michael Jamin (12:36):
Right. So it had a built-in audience. There’s a ton of people who, what
Phil Hudson (12:39):
Awards, people loved it.
Michael Jamin (12:41):
Phil Hudson (12:42):
I find that this kind of leads to the question of how do you build an audience? It’s kind of the question that comes from this, right? Because what you’re saying is you can control the quality. You can’t control the built-in audience. Yeah. But my background as a marketer would dictate that that’s not actually true anymore. That you can build an audience.
Michael Jamin (13:01):
Yeah. I mean the, the, the world has changed. The social media’s changed the game. It’s changed the game so fast that I think publishers are struggling. Traditional publishers are struggling to, to to, to stay relevant because you, you know, you don’t need them anymore. Yeah. You know, people can do it on their own. Yeah. All of this can be done. It’s a great leveler and for little money. So again, and this is, it’s a similar thing with, with the publishing industry. It’s like they’re looking for projects to buy for books that they think they can sell. Not necessarily books that are, are well-written or whatever. It’s like, can we make money from this? It’s a business. I understand that. You everyone should understand that. But, but you people don’t really need ’em anymore. That’s what’s the great thing about indie publishing and self-publishing. There’s so much resources out there, and you can make your own book for next to nothing and you can figure out how to market. And there are people like you who have podcasts who talk about this, about marketing and how to get your stuff out there.
Phil Hudson (14:00):
Yeah. Okay. So, so what we, we know is we have to, we have to come up with a good idea. We have to be able to write and execute that good idea. That’s what we’ve talked about that plenty nauseum on our podcast, right? Yeah. In the past. It’s not the idea, it’s the execution of the idea.
Michael Jamin (14:17):
And Yeah. You don’t even need a good Yeah. You didn’t Okay. That you don’t even need a great idea. You just need a good idea.
Phil Hudson (14:21):
Good execution. Great execution. Good idea. Good idea.
Michael Jamin (14:24):
Good job. Yeah.
Phil Hudson (14:25):
Okay. So we’ve got those. We know that there are plenty of resources online for marketing and to learn how to grow an audience online. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>, there are podcasts, there’s YouTube videos, there’s courses you can take. The end result for this question is they wanna sell the movie rights to their book. And you, you’re saying is that’s a roundabout way of being a screenwriter, a roundabout way of becoming a screenwriter. And I think that this static question stems from maybe 10 years ago, the push in Hollywood was I p I P I P I P. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. We don’t wanna make anything unless s IP behind it. Probably still largely the case. Look at the adaptations that are being made. I think you did that post.
Michael Jamin (15:02):
So bringing back Frazier, why do they bringing back Frazier? Because it’s easy to market,
Phil Hudson (15:05):
That’s all. Yeah. Finns and FERBs got 40 new episodes on Disney.
Michael Jamin (15:08):
Wow. Okay. Yeah.
Phil Hudson (15:10):
So, so it’s really like double lightning in the bottle, if you will. Right. You want lightning to strike twice in a bottle. This way you not only wanna become a screenwriter, but you want to sell a book to become the screenwriter of that book.
Michael Jamin (15:25):
Phil Hudson (15:26):
And the odds are, if you write something that good, they may not even ask you to write your book, they would give it to him. Right. Oh, you might get a pass as part of your deal. Yeah. And that’s like, go away money, they’ll pay you that and then they’re gonna hire Yeah. Chief Goldsman or someone else to go write your book.
Michael Jamin (15:39):
Almost certainly. Or if or if it’s a TV show, they’ll team you up with a, a showrunner who knows how to turn because it is a different skillset who had to turn the require, how to deliver the requirements of a television show to keep the audience coming back episode after episode. So they’ll probably team you up. But yeah, I mean, but at the end of the day, it’s just, it’s all, it’s always just writing. You gotta look, gotta write. The writing has to be
Michael Jamin (16:02):
Michael Jamin (16:05):
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Phil Hudson (16:30):
And we’ve talked about how to do the good writing, right? Which is, you know, even just one of our q and a or ask me any episodes we talk about craft, it’s how do you outline, how do, what is story? Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>, what are the, what are the things every screenwriter, basic things, screenwriting we should know? We talked about a bunch of those things. Yeah. do you feel like the lessons in your course on storytelling in screenwriting carry over to this?
Michael Jamin (16:52):
Yeah. I mean, I think cuz story at the end of the day story is story. It doesn’t matter whether you’re putting words on the page or you’re putting on a, on a big screen or a small screen. What difference does it make? It’s, it’s still a story. A comedy’s a funny story. Drama is a dramatic story. So so yeah, I mean, it’s all, and even as I was doing my, my cl my my personal book paper orchestra, you know, when I, because I’m a TV writer, I think very visually, so as I was writing the each story in it, I’m always thinking about what is the audience imagining? What do I want them to imagine? What do I want the picture? And I don’t make them picture more than necessary. Like if there’s a scene in a room, I don’t have to describe the wallpaper unless I think it’s important that they know the wallpaper.
If not, I can just put ’em in the room, give ’em an image. It’s the air is stale and it’s dimly lid. And, you know, I could, I don’t have to go overboard in describing things that they don’t need to know. And then everything I write is about how do I, I I really see things as a television show. And even after I did my show, my one man show, I had a q and a afterwards and people were like, are you gonna turn this into a TV show? I’m like, I dunno, may maybe. But that’s not the goal. And I know if it does turn into a TV show, if changes will have to be made. And I kind of don’t want to compromise. But on the other hand, I wouldn’t mind a big bag of money if they sold, if I sold it.
But I don’t know. It’s not, it’s not even the intention. The intention was to do something have a creative outlet to do, express myself in a way that I hadn’t, which, which is interesting because un as a TV writer, I don’t really get to do what I want to do. I very rarely I get to do what I want to do. I’m, I’m playing ball, I’m playing ball to get that paycheck. So this was an opportunity to just write something for me. And that’s why I thought, I think it’s some of my best work. But, but anyone can, you know, at anyone at home, anyone listening, you can, you can write, you can make, you don’t have to. You write what you wanna write. This is the wonderful opportunity. Write your book the way you want it to be written and make, make no compromises.
Phil Hudson (18:55):
I know a lot of screenwriters who choose prose and storytelling in novel form or book form as an outlet for creative endeavor because they’re so mired in the structure and network notes and all that stuff that has to happen.
Michael Jamin (19:10):
I was talking to my friend Christina, she actually did a, she was a guest on one of these, you know, our podcasts here. And she knows, I’m not gonna mention any names cause this is all thirdhand. But she knew a very successful screenwriter who worked on these franchise movies. Big, big, big franchise movies. And he was making a ton of money and he was miserable because, you know, you’re really boxed in, you’re getting notes from a thousand different directions cuz they’re protective of this franchise characters. And he made a lot of money, but he was miserable. It wasn’t a fun experience and it was golden handcuffs. He had a big Hollywood house and it was golden handcuffs. That’s all.
Phil Hudson (19:48):
Yeah. Golden handcuffs for everybody listening or the handcuffs. It’s the shackles that binding you, but they’re meeting gold, so you can’t walk away from, you don’t wanna walk away from
Michael Jamin (19:56):
‘Em. Y yeah. You, you’ve grown accustomed to the life. You have an expensive house now, now you can’t leave. And you’re just looking at people like me making a fraction of the money and you’re like, and they’re and you’re jealous. <Laugh>. Yeah, because I don’t, I’m not miserable.
Phil Hudson (20:09):
Mark Madson is the author of the New York Times Best Subtle Art of, of Giving F and everything is f and he’s got a bunch of, bunch of that. He had a, a ebook. I found him through like a random audible giveaway for a free audiobook. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. And then I would listen to his, I mean this tangentially applies to this conversation, but we list, I got this free audible book that he put out. Then I went to his blog subscribed. Then when his book came out, I bought every book he ever put out because this free piece of content mm-hmm. <Affirmative> was so valuable to me. And there’s an essay in there where he talks about how it, it’s effectively a, a story to tell you that everyone is never satisfied with where they’re at. Right. Yeah. He says, you know, you’re on the, it’s Rio de Janeiro and the guy is there with his girl, his sister, and her friend wondering, why can’t I be over there with those guys playing volleyball instead of taking care of my little sister?
And those guys over there at volleyball were like, man, what would it be like to be that guy with those two cute girls? Right. Right. And then you go to the next one and like everyone’s wishing they were somewhere else, doing something else with somebody else. Yeah. And it’s just kind of a appreciate where you’re at with the process and enjoyed that mm-hmm. <Affirmative> that part of the process. Yeah. you mentioned a couple things where we were going through this, through this. I was wondering what you meant by well written and it built an audience and I was like, what does that mean? I, I think you addressed that. You said it’s effectively, it’s a piece of intellectual property that has a following. There are people who liked it enough that they bought it enough that they believe that they can hedge their bets. Is there anything you want to add to that?
Michael Jamin (21:40):
No, but I mean, honestly, and like I said, I think it’s better if it’s well written, but there are, we know of plenty of movies that were not well-written books, but were trashy enough to get a following and return into very successful books and, and, and movies. So it’s not necessarily the qualities,
Phil Hudson (21:58):
The writing three franchises come to mind right now.
Michael Jamin (22:01):
Yeah. We could all think of. We don’t have to bash them, but yeah, there’s plenty. I do think it’s better if it’s well-written, obviously. But you know, there’s more to get out of it. But you know, it, it’s really about marketing. It’s about selling it. So if you have a book, so what, unless you, unless they think they can make money off of it,
Phil Hudson (22:18):
I think that means you have to go places you don’t want to go. And you talk about the maid and Stephanie land, right? Yeah. You said that it’s not fair that she had to speak CE and it’s also, she might think it’s not fair she had to go through all that abuse.
Michael Jamin (22:32):
Right? Yeah. It’s not fair that she had an interesting life and worked as a maid and now gets to sell her her TV rights and get her movie rights and become rich. That’s not fair
Phil Hudson (22:41):
Michael Jamin (22:42):
She wasn’t saying that when she was ducking punches.
Phil Hudson (22:45):
Sure. You know, but you’ve also mentioned on the podcast that trauma trauma and challenge and the struggle you go through in your life is effectively the gold that you’re gonna get. Right. And we’ve addressed that on many podcasts. We’ve talked and, and this is for whoever’s trying to sell a book or write an interesting screenplay or pilot, you have to go there. You have to be willing to explore the things. You don’t wanna look at the emotions you’re avoiding. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>
Michael Jamin (23:12):
Phil Hudson (23:13):
When you’re procrastinating. It’s because there’s a feeling you don’t want to feel when you feel a really heightened emotion like anger or frustration. It’s cuz there’s another emotion you don’t want to feel. And you’re using that to hide those. And the work of being a writer, as I’ve learned from you and from just life, is you have to go there.
Michael Jamin (23:34):
Phil Hudson (23:35):
Your job. You have to explore.
Michael Jamin (23:36):
If it makes you uncomfortable, don’t become a writer, then do something else. Yeah.
Phil Hudson (23:40):
Michael Jamin (23:40):
Know, and you know, someone posted, and I haven’t answered this, I was gonna make a video on this so you’re getting a sneak peek, but I guess, I don’t know if it’s true or not, but they, he, this person said that David Lynch said you know, the great filmmaker that he, he won’t go into therapy cuz he’s worried it’ll hurt his art. I don’t know if he ever said that or not, but that’s what this person said, which strikes me as a load. You know, it’s like that’s just an excuse not to go into therapy and to study yourself. Cuz if you don’t under, if you don’t understand yourself, how are you gonna understand characters? How are you gonna understand what those characters are doing? Yeah. If you don’t know what you do, what makes you tick and all your, you know, and I, I do think therapy and writing go hand in hand. And I know plenty of writers who are in therapy and is not embarrassing. It’s just like, hey, yeah, this is what I’m doing to help me be a b you know, either be a better person, stop hurting myself or stop hurting others.
Phil Hudson (24:33):
All therapists have their own therapist by the way, because
Michael Jamin (24:36):
Oh, they have to. Yeah.
Phil Hudson (24:37):
Yeah. Cuz they have to sort through all that stuff they’re dealing with. Yeah. My brother is a family counselor, marriage and family counselor graduated from Johns Hopkins and yeah, he, he doesn’t ever divulge anything specific, but the stuff he deals with on a daily basis, I have to imagine is insane. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative> and we had a pretty insane childhood. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>, you know. Right. But he’s doing that because he wants to help people sort through the things that we went through as kids. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>, I’m doing that through story effectively. And my writing took a turn when I realized, oh, I have to help, I have to put this, I have to be honest and I have to serve this story because it’s meaningful and it can affect people. That’s why I liked TV when I was a kid. That’s why I liked film, that’s why I liked good books cuz it allowed me to step out of whatever problem I was in and learned lessons about it through a metaphor of story, which is what storytelling is.
Michael Jamin (25:31):
But also you may think, well, it’s just my life. It’s not that interesting. You know you know, it’s very easy to think my life is not interesting, it’s just, I just whatever I had to go through it. But for other people on the outside who didn’t have to go through it, it’s extremely interesting. And that plays to every single person. Like, you know whatever you were in the Air Force, you did three years in the Air Force you know, and you did it to, you know, get through, pay through college or whatever. That’s not interesting for someone who’s not in the Air Force. It’s very interesting. Yeah. But I didn’t fly jets. I just mopped floors. Okay. Let, it’s interesting. Tell me about that. You know, tell me what that’s like to just mop floors when they’re in an aircraft carrier. What’s that like? Yeah. You know.
Phil Hudson (26:09):
Yeah. I don’t know. You’re dealing with your own stuff there.
Michael Jamin (26:13):
Know everyone has interesting stuff to tell.
Phil Hudson (26:15):
Yeah. David Goggins put out a new book. You’re familiar with David Goggins?
Phil Hudson (26:20):
No. Former Navy Seal. He wrote the book can’t Hurt Me. He’s got another one that just came out recently. Former Navy Seal, former Air Force tried out to be Air Force Special Forces and he was talking the story about janitor who was at West Point cleaning up the floors. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. And one of the students finally put together this guy was a medal of honor hero. He, in World War ii, he like charged a machine gun, asked through Grenade mm-hmm. <Affirmative>. And he’s like, you know, that’s a fascinating person. But it’s also fascinating to be the guy at West Point discovering that the janitor has a medal of honor. It’s the guy you want to be. Right. Yeah. So that stood out to me from what you just said. And I’m blanking on the next thing I was gonna say, so, we’ll, I’m sure it’ll come to me in a
Michael Jamin (27:04):
Second. But yeah, whatever life you’re living, you know, it doesn’t, it’s not interesting to you because you have to suffer through it every day. But it’s interesting to the rest of us.
Phil Hudson (27:12):
That’s what it was. And I might have mentioned this on the podcast again, I guys, I apologize. We’re, we’re over here in now, so my brain works way where I remember certain details, very specific details, but I apologize, this is repetitive, but I had an interesting experience where like in one week I had like three friends from high school tell me that they live vicariously with Through me, through you. And I was like, what? And I was like, in my world, it’s like, well, I wake up four 30, I do some writing, maybe go to the gym if I feel like it, eat whatever I’m going to eat. Go be a pa, get coffee for people. Right. Go home, do something, go to bed. That’s my life. But to them, they’re like, you’re in Hollywood. Like you’re trying, like you’re working with movie stars, you’re doing all this stuff. Right. And it’s just, they wanna know every detail and it’s just become monotonous to me cuz it’s the same stuff. Yeah.
Michael Jamin (28:00):
Right. But it’s interesting to them. Right. Yeah. And, and that’s an interesting story to tell even your point of view of how even though you’re not where you want to be, your perspective on Hollywood is interesting now because it’s a different, it’s just different viewpoint.
Phil Hudson (28:12):
Sure. You know? Sure. So, so just kinda wrap it up, what I’m hearing you say in the conversation of how to sell movie rights to a book, how to sell a pilot, how to sell a screenplay mm-hmm. <Affirmative>, just write something so good. People can’t deny it. And that will spread because people will want to share it with other people.
Michael Jamin (28:29):
Yeah. Right. They’ll wanna share it. And so Yeah. Yeah. I it’s not the, it’s not the easy answer. Everyone wants to hear. Like, they think, oh, isn’t is there a list I need to be on? Is there a competition that I need to enter? No. No. Unfortunately, you know, is there a pitch fest? No, there’s not a pitch fest, you know. No, it’s, it’s, it’s writing good <laugh>,
Phil Hudson (28:50):
None of that matters. And plenty of those don’t go anywhere because the writing’s not good still. Yeah.
Michael Jamin (28:55):
Phil Hudson (28:56):
Michael Jamin (28:56):
Shortcuts, unfortunately. No shortcuts.
Phil Hudson (28:59):
Awesome. Well just kind of some reminders. Anything else on that before I move to kind of reminders?
Michael Jamin (29:05):
That’s it. Reminders, Phil.
Phil Hudson (29:06):
Yeah. if you want to tell a good story, two recommendations, and again, these are my recommendations to you individually. Number one, go send it for Michael’s course at michaeljamin.com/course where he goes into detail on storytelling. And I absolutely believe it carries over. I think, and we’ve talked about this as well, people really like this section on personal essay that you talk about. Yeah. Because, and minding your life for stories, which is a mm-hmm. <Affirmative> live zoom that you did with students and kind of talked about this and there’s expanding on some of the sections in there. It’ll help you learn how to make, look at your life and say what is interesting in my life? And that will help with your storytelling in infinitely and exponential. So go do that. If you are just wanting to get your toes what in this and learn a little bit more.
We talked in previous episodes about your free lesson, michaeljamin.com/free. It’s that first lesson you talk about story and what is that definition? Watch list, michaeljamin.com/watchlist where you go through the top, you send the top three videos or creative inspiration pieces for the week, just lines in your inbox. You can go watch them, think about some things, meditate on on ’em throughout the week and see how you kinda plug in your life. And then paperwork orchestra, which you’re not touring yet, but you will be soon. Michaeljamin.com/upcoming. Mm-hmm. <Affirmative>, where you go skid on the list to let bank know you want to be in discount. I had the pleasure of seeing this in December on my birthday, and I was deeply moved by one of the stories you told and I’ve talked about that as well. But I still think about that story and it has impacted the way I act with my children and my wife Yeah. And every part of my life. And so Michael, thank you again for that. But it’s absolutely worth it. So if you’re interested in Michael’s writing or the upcoming tours, go sign up for that. Michael, anything you want to add to that?
Michael Jamin (30:49):
That’s it. Thank you all. Thank you all. Yes. Stay tuned. We have more guests coming up on the podcast and more information. Yeah.
Phil Hudson (30:57):
Great. That’s it, Michael. Thank you so much. Thank you everybody. Keep Thanks writing,
Michael Jamin (31:01):
Phil Hudson (31:03):
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 @MichaelJaminWriter. You can follow me on Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok @philahudson. This episode was produced by Phil Hudson and edited by Dallas Crane. Until next time, keep writing.