080 – February Webinar Q&A

080 – February Webinar Q&A
On this week's episode of the podcast, we tackle your screenwriting questions from the February Webinar, "Becoming a Professional Writer: 4 Things You Must Know."

Show Notes

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Automated Transcripts

Michael Jamin:
That's the thing some people think because there's so much bad stuff on the air. Well, I can be bad. I can be just as bad as them. There's so many reasons why a show might be terrible. Some, not all of them come down to the writing. Sometimes you'll have a star and the star. This is what the, this is what they wanna do. And writing be their writers be damned. Sometimes it's coming from the network or the studio. This is what they want. And so they're paying for it. Sometimes there's so many chefs in the pot, executive producers giving notes. You don't even know what you're doing anymore. I mean, to me, it's almost like the business is designed to make mediocre shows. And only occasionally something breaks through. And god bless when that happens. You're listening to Screenwriters. Need to Hear This with Michael Jamin. Hey everyone, it's Michael Jamin and welcome back to another episode of Screenwriters. Need to hear this. I'm here with Phil Hudson. He's back. Phil is back. I, Phil.

Phil Hudson:
Hi. Good to be back. And I got a new microphone for all of you concerned about my audio.

Michael Jamin:
That's a good looking microphone. I gotta say, Phil, if you looked better than mine, that's the one real podcasters use.

Phil Hudson:
It was very expensive.

Michael Jamin:
I feel like mine is like a tin can. Yeah. <laugh>. Yeah. All right. It's fine though. So here we had a special episode. Yeah, I always say that, but I always mean it. Cuz we've been doing a lot of free webinars. Phil and I have been doing once a month. And, and so we get a lot of questions and so we couldn't answer all the questions. It's about an hour long. And we choose a topic we really dive in. The past ones have included, what are they included, how to write a good story

Phil Hudson:
For things you need to know to become a professional screenwriter. There was a, yeah, one we got leaving me.

Michael Jamin:
We got Mon Mo. We got one once coming up as well. Kind of like how to get past in industry gatekeepers, how to get your material seen by Hollywood Insiders. All this kind of stuff. Each, each topic. One week, it's each month it's gonna be a different topic. And if you'd like, if you'd like to be invited you can go to my website, MichaelJamin.com and, and just sign up for there. We, you know, we do it once a month and it's free. Why not? And, but one thing I've noticed, Phil and I've noticed is that we do these things. We get a ton of signups and maybe only a quarter or so of the people actually show up, which is so interesting cuz it's free. It's not the money. It's, and, and I, and I know I'm preaching to the choir cuz anyone who's listening to this podcast is not someone, <laugh> is the same kind of person who show up to a webinar. So I know I'm preaching to the choir, but I say this because there's so many people who definitely want to make screenwriting a reality. They wanna sell their screenplay, but they don't put the work in. Like, if they don't, like, if you're not gonna show up to a free webinar from a hosted by a guy who's telling you what you should do, then how are you going to make it? It's just not gonna happen. Phil. Like, what are you doing?

Phil Hudson:
I 100% agree. And it's also, it's interesting, right? But I think it highlights what I've been saying is there are a lot of people who are seamers. I think that's a term we talked about early on in the podcast. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative> people want to seem like they are a screenwriter. So they go to the coffee shop, they have their screenplay open, they talk about their screenplay. It's the same screenplay. They never finish it. They never move on. I can't go do that. I'm working on my screenplay and they don't show up. This is an opportunity to sit with a working showrunner telling you exactly what you need to do to break in the industry and how to write good stories, all of these things. And they're just nohow.

Michael Jamin:
But it's also, it's like, all right, so you wrote one screenplay, but that's not enough. Like, and, but for the people listening, if you are doing what I'm telling you to do or are suggesting, at least you're writing more, you're writing more, you're taking classes, you're writing, you're getting feedback, you're going to event like you're non, this is nonstop until you break in. And then once you break in, it's non-stop again. Because it just doesn't end. You don't, the doors, you know, I don't know. So anyway, I commend everyone who's listening to this. If you want to come to the webinar, you're more than welcome. Go to michael jamen.com and you'll see the

Phil Hudson:
Free webinar, MichaelJamin.com/webinar

Michael Jamin:
Webinar. And yeah, you'll get an invite and then it's free. And then we send you a replay within like 24 hours. It's also free then if you miss it after that, I think, we'll, it'll be available for a small purchase fees because there's, there's work involved in putting these things up. But yeah, go get it. It's free. It's free. Okay. Are we, are you ready, Phil? So we got a lot of questions. I couldn't answer all them cuz there's a time limit. So here are the ones that that I couldn't answer.

Phil Hudson:
Yeah. And, and this is for the February webinar because we've had, you've had a lot of great interviews coming up and we didn't wanna hold those back. And you got some good ones in the pipeline too. It was pretty exciting. Oh yeah. So February q and a, again, if you do get on that, we will answer your questions. Now, there are some questions that we've answered in previous q and a, so I'm gonna skip some of those. Some of them continue to come up, Michael. Yeah. And for your new audience members, I think we'll address those because they're important questions. And I think you're gonna prevent a lot of people from struggling and spending a lot of money in places they don't need to to be writers.

Michael Jamin:
Yeah.

Phil Hudson:
One other note that I thought was pretty cool feedback for everybody. We did have someone sign up for your course and it was because they've attended three of these webinars and I thought it was pretty cool. He said he'd spent $4,000 on direct mentorship and your free webinars were better than that. And that's why he signed up for your course.

Michael Jamin:
That's, that's the problem. Where's he getting the, where's the mentorship? Like who's the

Phil Hudson:
What? We don't know. Four grand

Michael Jamin:
4K guys. So yeah. Come to these webinars, you'll get, you'll save $4,000,

Phil Hudson:
$4,000 value guaranteed. All right. I can't guarantee anything for Michael Jamon, I promise. Anyway, Norwood, let's go to question oh one, Norwood Creach, ask copyright. What is the status of writing a screenplay if it has a copyright?

Michael Jamin:
I don't know, <laugh>, but here's the thing. I don't give legal advice on my at all. I guess it protects you in some way, but I don't, I don't, I've only registered one script I ever wrote with the writer Guild of America. That was the first one I wrote. But after that, every script that I make is copywritten by the studio that I sell it to. So there, it's their, it's their legal headache if someone wants to steal it. So if you want to copyright, you can. And, but I, I've done talks about, I don't know, your biggest problem is someone should wanna steal you. Your biggest problem is if your, your work is so good. Someone wants to steal it. That's usually another problem you have. Right? Here's the problems. Your work is so terrible, no one wants to steal it, so. Right,

Phil Hudson:
Right. Cool. And then are you concerned, there are a couple follow up questions. Are you concerned with AI screenwriting?

Michael Jamin:
You know, not right now. I, I, I'm concerned. I have bigger pro, I have bigger concerns with ai and that is destroying the world. That's why they want to do this pause on it. Of all the writing that AI is gonna take away, I think, I think creative writing will be last on the list. They will take away technical writing. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative> instructions and stuff like that. And maybe some forms of copywriting.

Phil Hudson:
Marketing writing is going away. I mean, I, that's a search engine optimizer for most of my digital marketing career. That's a real concern for us. And Google is leaning towards allowing that type of copy.

Michael Jamin:
Oh, okay. But

Phil Hudson:
In terms of, so it would be authoritative and you have to know how to communicate with the machine. But anyway, Uhhuh <affirmative>.

Michael Jamin:
But in terms of ai, you know, I'm not, I'm not worried yet. Maybe I'm being Pollyanna, is that what word? But I'm not worried yet. Cause it's not, it's certainly not there yet. Maybe in five or 10 years, but right now it's not there at all. And it's not even close to being there. So, yeah.

Phil Hudson:
Okay. Awesome. And then do you have any suggestions for writing narratives for young writers?

Michael Jamin:
Yeah, I mean, it's the same suggestions for everyone else. I, I, I have that free lesson at michaeljamin.com/free. It's a, it's the same lesson I would give an older writer. There's no difference. The, the, the advantage that older writers have is that I think when you're writing, you have any two things, and I've said this before, but you need to have something to say and you need to know how to say it. And I teach people how to say it. That story structure, how to unpack it and having something to say that comes with, unfortunately that comes with age and wisdom and that, you know, it's not, it's, it's unusual when someone young really has a, knows what they want to say. My daughter, who's only 20, she's got something to say and it shocks me. Cuz when I was her age, I didn't have anything to say. So, but but don't, you don't have to worry about that yet. Just continue writing.

Phil Hudson:
Awesome. Annie k ask, what's the best way to know if your script is ready to be passed on or get you a job? Is it competitions, is it a mentor? Any other suggestions?

Michael Jamin:
Well, we've talked about competitions. I'd say there's, and you may know more about this than I do. I'd say about three of them that are probably worthwhile. Right. Yeah. And Austin Nichols and, and Sundance Sun.

Phil Hudson:
Yeah. Sundance has different labs. They shifted things a little bit prior to the pandemic where they're doing not just strict screenwriting labs anymore, but they have lots of different things. In fact, I'm, I'm attached to a screenplay coming out of Ecuador now because they have a fund Okay. Working with several fellows and things. And that's you know, I'm not writing the screenplay or anything, they're just attaching me as a script consultant because I have background there and been in the laps. But those are the only real ones that do anything. I mean, there, there are some other ones, like Big Break I think is a really good one that's on my final draft

Michael Jamin:
And you get to meet. Oh, okay. I hadn't even heard of that. I hadn't even

Phil Hudson:
Heard of that one. Yeah. So there are some, and we've talked about that in other podcast episodes as well with what the list is. But I can tell you, and we did talk about this a little bit on our webinar this month, the lot of that is a, is a way of funding the rest of the film festival. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>, it's getting the judges to attend. I was working with a guy who ran some film festivals and he actually had me reading the scripts and giving my opinion and deciding who would get the best and Right. You know, I was a student

Michael Jamin:
And that's the problem. I mean, and if you're gonna, people say, whoa, I placed in the, like, you gotta, you gotta win or come in second or something. I don't think placing and then they still think it's gonna change their life. It rarely does. You still have to continue the hustle, you know? I was gonna do another

Phil Hudson:
Hmm. Go ahead, go ahead.

Michael Jamin:
Well, I was gonna do another talk about this. Some woman made a post, she's like, yeah, I've one, I placed at all these contests and I still can't get an agent. I'm like, even if you did get an agent, it wouldn't change. Move the needle. You gotta do all this yourself. So mm-hmm. <Affirmative> and I, and I'm gonna do a whole webinar on that. I did, and I actually did that. I did one where we talked about it to some degree, but I'm gonna lean into it a little bit more. It's like, nah, you got, you're not doing enough, you're not doing enough.

Phil Hudson:
This is anecdotal, but someone in the chat in your last webinar said that they had a friend who placed on the blacklist mm-hmm. <Affirmative>, and they were promised all this industry connection. Nothing happened.

Michael Jamin:
They didn't even get a meeting or, or what?

Phil Hudson:
No, nothing came about. Nothing came of it.

Michael Jamin:
Yeah. So, so it's, it's not enough. Like Winnie, you know, these contents are relatively new. They weren't around when I broke in. But then again, the industry's changed so much and things are, you, can, there are things available now that would help you that weren't available then? Namely the internet, namely making your own stuff on your phone name. I mean, namely, like learning so much from people who are around industry. When I broke in 90, well, I moved outta, I got outta college in 92. There was no internet, there was no, how do I get a job? I had to drive out to Hollywood just to meet people to ask the questions. Now you can find out the answers on the internet, you know, so there's way more access now. So it's not, I wouldn't necessarily say it's harder now, it's just different. Yeah. And in some ways it's easier.

Phil Hudson:
Yeah. And you've, you give out tons of free resources and most of your audience knows this by now, but you've got the free lesson. You've got your social media, which is great @MichaelJamin, and yeah, there's lots of good stuff out there that you put out that just didn't exist before.

Michael Jamin:
Yeah.

Phil Hudson:
Alright. Daniel will ask, what's the ideal job to pay rent and have the time to pursue screenwriting?

Michael Jamin:
The ideal job would be assistant to an executive producer. Perfect job. Because you're basically sitting at their desk answering the phones that don't ring. That's what I did for a couple years. And so during that time, I wrote, and I would ask them questions, and that's the ideal job. The next best job would be a writer's assistant. So you're in the writer's and you're, I mean, in some degree, in some sense, that may even be a better job. You're in the writer's room and you're listening to these writers. You're learning how they break stories, but then you don't have the time to write or you write, you have to write it on the weekends or at night. So the, the both are great jobs,

Phil Hudson:
But you're learning so much through osmosis just being in that room, listening. Yeah, yeah. And seeing it happen.

Michael Jamin:
Yeah. So that would be a fantastic job.

Phil Hudson:
All right. Follow up. How can I stay home and write while not making my girlfriend think I'm a bum ass?

Michael Jamin:
Your girlfriend isn't into you anyway, so you don't have to worry about it. How can you stay home and write? You know, you're gonna have to, you're gonna have to make priorities. That's the, that's the thing. That's the, I I feel because you know, my my writing partner, I don't wanna talk about him. Well, it's not really, I don't wanna tell his story, but he, he was going through similar things. You know, he had a girlfriend and he had he had to write on the side. And it was, it was the struggle. How do you, how do you balance? Oh, you're just gonna have to make that happen. I didn't have a girlfriend at the time. I don't have to worry about it. Yep.

Phil Hudson:
For me, when I was dating, I had what I call the red carpet test. I, I was so fixed on knowing exactly what I wanted to do with my life, which is be a professional writer. Yeah. That when things started getting serious with a a girl, I would ask them, how comfortable would you feel on a red carpet? Correct, mm-hmm. <Affirmative> and no girl passed that test. They were all, they, I'd feel really uncomfortable. And then I asked my wife and she said that, and she said, oh, I, I wouldn't have a problem with that. And she's so supportive of me, like, so absolutely supportive of everything I do, that she understands that that's what I want to do. And she, I, I also prioritize what she wants though. It's, it's a give and take and a balance. Yeah. And, but that's, you just gotta find the right relationship. I think that handles that.

Michael Jamin:
Yeah, you're right. And if you're in the wrong one and they don't like you, then resentment's gonna your're bo 10 years from now, you're gonna resent her if she's gonna resent you. So, yeah.

Phil Hudson:
That, that's hard, hard advice to hear. But it's important advice is oftentimes your relationships, family and romantic will be the thing that holds you back from achieving your goals.

Michael Jamin:
Yeah. You know, my wife, she ran a, a, well, you know this for the girls. She ran a, a, a girl's clothing company and I, for, for it's 15 years. And I handled all the marketing and I wrote all the commercials. And then, then when she stopped doing that, she threw herself into helping me doing what I'm doing now. And she was like, I was like, well, you know, thank you for your help. She said, well, you, you supported me just as much, so now I'm just doing it for you. So it, it's that kind of thing. You, if you're not in a supportive relationship, you've got a problem. Yeah.

Phil Hudson:
Breakup. That's the answer. Yeah. Michael's not telling goes

Michael Jamin:
Back to, I told you she wasn't into you. <Laugh>.

Phil Hudson:
Alright. Delara, Casey, what would you consider a giant following on social media isn't requiring somebody to have a car? Oh. And then there's a follow-up question. So let's go with what would you consider a giant following

Michael Jamin:
<Laugh>? No, I have no freaking idea. I have no idea. And I asked this of my agent on my book agent. I said, Hey, how big of a following do you need to have? I don't know. Okay. I don't know. I, I don't know. I don't know. I have no idea. And I asked my you're gonna have to ask a kid. I told, I had a, I had lunch with my nephew a couple weeks ago, and his friends, you know, they're young kids. They're, they're twenties, they're in college. And we were talking about TikTok and I told him, he said, yeah, we had a, a visitor, a lecturer come guy had a lot of followings. He had like 800,000 following followers. I'm like, oh, okay. That's a, i I got I got 412 and they thought, <laugh>, they thought I'm meant 412 <laugh>, right? Like 412 followers. And I said, no, no, 412,000. And they're like, oh, that's a lot. <Laugh>. So I don't know what I,

Phil Hudson:
I have an answer for this.

Michael Jamin:
What is the

Phil Hudson:
Answer? So, so because of my, what I'm currently doing, and you know, I'm, I'm now posting things professionally on my social media about being a, a writer or a, an associate producer or an assistant to these guys. And they're currently having me help them run their social media and do the promotional stuff for them for their new film. Quasi comes out on April 20th on Hulu, and that means I'm traveling with them and I'm sitting with a, a publicist from Searchlight Pictures and their publicist, who is the publicist for about half of the top comedians standup comedians, 50,000 followers.

Michael Jamin:
50,000 is considered an influencer in that space

Phil Hudson:
That allows you to, they want to engage with you to selfishly promote their product or their people. But

Michael Jamin:
What platform, cuz 50,000 on TikTok is said, it doesn't an Instagram,

Phil Hudson:
She said it doesn't matter. So anybody who has over 50,000, she wants me to write 'em down so that they can engage them about helping promote the film.

Michael Jamin:
It doesn't matter. She says.

Phil Hudson:
Yeah. So I'll confirm. I mean, I'm going back on the road with them, you know, in a couple days and I'll ask that question as a follow up, but 50,000,

Michael Jamin:
But I wonder number because reach has really changed. I wonder if they're aware of, of there's no reach anymore. Yeah. <laugh>,

Phil Hudson:
It's, it's a numbers thing for sure. Yeah.

Michael Jamin:
Okay. Interesting. There's your answer. 50,000.

Phil Hudson:
All right. Follow up question from Delara isn't requiring somebody to have a car, a form of discrimination to be a production assistant?

Michael Jamin:
You know, is it required? Is is is having two arms form of discrimination to be a baseball player? Well, that's the, you gotta swing a bat. So, you know, I don't know what to say. I mean, I don't know what to say about that.

Phil Hudson:
There, there have been people, by the way, there have been famous pitchers with one arm who have done the job Yeah. And done it. Well, the, the, I think this is just my opinion, a hundred percent Phil Hudson's opinion here. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>, I think that we're too focused on discrimination and less focused on what is the requirement to be able to do the function of the job. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>, if you have to get from white Woodland Hills, California to Pasadena to hand a script to an actor, and that's an hour and a half in your car in traffic, you can't rely on a bus to get you there to do that job. No. No. And that is a function that is a requirement of the job. And so having the vehicle is, and, and they don't say quality of the vehicle, by the way. And they, they cover your miles for the car, which is the wear and tear and the gas in the vehicle. Right. So that you get compensated for those things, but you just have to be able to do the function of that job.

Michael Jamin:
I mean, it would great if the studio had a car, a beater that, okay, you gotta drive the car. You here's the car, here's the, here's the studio car, and now you gotta run errands with the car. That'd be fantastic. But you know, there's, they, I don't know. You still have to get to work, you still have to find a way to get to work. You still have to know how to drive. Yeah. There'd still be obstacles in your way. So

Phil Hudson:
No, no. If you're set PA and you're on set all day, that's a different story. Cuz you can get two set on time. Someone can drop you off, you're there for 12 to 14 hours and then somebody has to pick you up and take you home. Yeah. It's a different story. You can carpool with other people at work, if you're in the camera department colliding, whatever those are, you can do those jobs. But to be like an office pa or writer's pa you're getting people's lunches. You're, you're like going out and running errands. You gotta have a vehicle to do that job. So I don't think it's discrimination.

Michael Jamin:
I mean, the at the bottom line is like, people who have some money are always gonna have it easier than people who have absolutely no money. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. And so that's just the way it is. Is it fair? No. It's just the way it is. So I, I don't know.

Phil Hudson:
Yep. Until the machines start picking us up and we just get in the car without knowing why.

Michael Jamin:
Yeah. Maybe that'll happen. That's right. They'll have self-driving cars and PAs will be outta work. So

Phil Hudson:
I don't know. Yep. There you go. They just throw stuff in the back.

Michael Jamin:
Yeah.

Phil Hudson:
All right. Ariel Allen asks, do you recommend starting with short scripts and just working those before moving to full length?

Michael Jamin:
Well, short, I mean, that's what I do as a TV writer. I, I write short scripts. They're 22 minutes long. I don't write features. So, and I think writing a, you know, a short script, a 22 minute script is takes much less time than writing a feature. So I recommend Sure. You know, that's why I write fe To me it's more interesting. I like the, the pace, the change than spending all this time on a feature, which could take a couple years in the same amount of time. I could bang out several epi several or, you know, on half dozen or so episodes of television. So,

Phil Hudson:
Yeah. And I think, and this is old data, so it might have changed, but I doubt it. The timeframe when being offered a script assignment for a feature is six months to turn in your first draft.

Michael Jamin:
Uhhuh <affirmative> probably defense. They want it yesterday, to be

Phil Hudson:
Honest. Right. But, but I think you have six months to get in your draft is, they'll push you for it. But that's what the Writer's Guild has is the timeframe Okay. To get in draft one. And then there's a time for the, for draft two. So that being said, how many pilots can you write in six months of tv?

Michael Jamin:
Me personally?

Phil Hudson:
You personally, as a professional

Michael Jamin:
Screener. Oh. Oh, I don't know. I, I mean, I don't try to write that many pilots. I, you know, we write, we might do one a season, you know, one a year, you

Phil Hudson:
Know, because you, you're working writer two, so we gotta consider that.

Michael Jamin:
Yeah. But you could write, it's, it takes less time to write an episode of television on, you know, spec script than a, than a pilot.

Phil Hudson:
Sure. Okay. Another follow up question. I live in Texas and I'm nowhere near. Oh.

Michael Jamin:
But you know, hold on, Phil. One, one second though. I don't, I say yeah, if, if I find it very hard to tell a compelling story, that's if it's too short. If you don't have enough time, if you're only doing like five minutes, if you wanna write a short that's a five minute short, I would have, I would've a hard time telling a compelling story that amount of time. I think for me it's like 20 minutes is kind of the sweet spot. Maybe 15. But any shorter than that, it's like I, I, I don't know. I need time to get the plane up in the air. You know,

Phil Hudson:
When I was in film school, the assignments were your scr, your short could be no longer than like five minutes or three minutes depending on the professor. And yeah. Some of the professors were my age cuz I was a, a, you know, an older student and I talked to them after and they're like, yeah, it's just because I don't wanna sit through that much boring content.

Michael Jamin:
Yes.

Phil Hudson:
Right. Cause they couldn't tell a story. And, and that was, I've talked about it before, amazing cinematographers, great camera work, but nothing happening and it's just boring to watch, even if it's pretty. Yeah. So they would have those caps and then I had to hit that restraint for my final project. And because of your mentorship and the work that I'd been putting into writing, I knew that my script needed to be 12 minutes long and it was a 12 minute script and I cut it down to a five minute. And after my professor in my directing class was like, yeah, you, that story needs to be longer because there was not enough time to breathe and to fill those moments. And so, yeah. Yeah. I, it's definitely, and the formatting was very different too. Writing a short, we, we talked about that all the time as students is there's just not a lot of ramp up time to get across the information you need. And when you talk about those three fundamental things you need to know in a story in your, you talk about that in your free lesson. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative> hard, hard to get that across super fast and finish that plot in three minutes.

Michael Jamin:
Well it's also cuz you wanna make that end, if you want that end to be impactful, to really hit somebody, it's like, it's not even so much about getting all the exposition out. It's about like, what do I need to do to make that ending feel like a payoff to really feel emotional. And like, if you don't have enough time to do all the other stuff, the ending is just gonna feel unearned. It's gonna, you know, it's gonna feel un unearned, which is the, you know, bad writing.

Phil Hudson:
Right. Alright, follow up question from Ariel. I live in Texas and I'm nowhere near quote the industry. Yeah. How do you actually gain connections in the film or TV industry?

Michael Jamin:
Well, I think, I think the problem is you need to be in Hollywood. You, you, you're Ariel's saying, I wanna work in Hollywood, but I don't want to work in Hollywood. Yeah. Like, well, there's a problem. Yeah. And so, and

Phil Hudson:
There is an industry in Texas. There are a lot of filmmakers in Austin and a lot of people are moving to Austin. But what do you want to do in the industry? And this is the question I have from a lot of people. Would you stay in la Why are you in la? It's cuz this is where the writing happens. Yeah. If I could live in another state and do it, I probably would. Yeah. Taxes are better, A lot of reasons why. Less traffic, less pollution, all those things. But yeah, this is where the writing happens. And so this is where I am until I achieve that. Or I'm at a level where I can move somewhere else and then, you know, do the job from elsewhere. And, and I know that's like feature writers at a really high level, like in years in, in Academy Awards mm-hmm. <Affirmative>, it's not something that's,

Michael Jamin:
And even they have to come back in for meetings. Although maybe with Zoom it's less and less, but they have to, you know. Yeah. But that's the, I mean that's the thing. It's like, I know she doesn't wanna leave Texas for whatever reason cuz she likes it there. She has friends, family, she, you know, whatever reason she doesn't wanna leave. But there are people who will leave and those people are gonna have a leg up. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. Those people want it more. No one wants to move away from their friends and family. No one wants to. And so the people who come out here like yourself are hungry because they're uncomfortable. They wanna make it happen because they've already sacrificed. So those people have an, have an advantage. And to be honest, I think they should because they've already given up more. They want more.

Phil Hudson:
Yeah. Sacrifice.

Michael Jamin:
Yeah. Yep.

Phil Hudson:
Justin, via, you mentioned early in your career you started working under a working writer who helped show you the robes. How did you approach that relationship? I think this referring to the the book writing for Doe what's his name?

Michael Jamin:
Oh, well I had Bill Addison mean, I had, I had a writing teacher and he was a retired guy and he lived in the Pacific Palisades and he had a class once a week in his, you know, dining room. And we all drove there. That, so yeah, I studied under him. He gotta study. You gotta, I always felt like you gotta study. There were, there were classes offered. I could have taken a class at UCLA Extension or something like that, but I wanted to be sure of who I learned from. And I found him a guy I wanted to learn from, the guy who had the job that I wanted. And so he was retired sitcom writer. Perfect. I didn't wanna learn from professional teacher, which many of them are, some of them are not, but many of them are. So

Phil Hudson:
This is a question leader. How did you find him? What did you do to find that?

Michael Jamin:
You know what I, I heard, I don't remember who told me, but I moved to la moved to Hollywood. Now I'm in the circles, now I'm hanging out. I'm, this is where everyone comes here because they wanna become a screenwriter or actor or whatever. And so you're meeting people at parties who wanna do, who want the same thing that I want. And then you're talking, and then someone mentioned this guy, someone, he, he wasn't in the phone book, he wasn't on the internet. There was no internet back then. Someone mentioned his. And then I, I met, I learned it from someone who I was talking to. This is why people come to Hollywood. And I was like, great. Gimme his number. And then I went. So I, I don't remember who told me, but that's how I found out.

Phil Hudson:
Did you develop any kind of relationship with him? I think that's ju Justin's second part of that question. How did you approach that relationship? Or was it really just a teacher-student relationship where you show up, you kind of listen, he dictates down that kind of thing, or

Michael Jamin:
Yeah, it was teacher student. He told me, I, after reading some stuff that I would never make it as a professional writer. He thought he was doing me a favor cuz he thought, well, don't waste your time trying to do this. Do something else with your life. He, he wasn't trying to be mean. He was trying to do me a favor, but he didn't know me well enough. He didn't know me, that he didn't know how hard I work and how I tenacity

Phil Hudson:
There, there's a tenacity there that most people don't have. And so he saw where you were and said, this is as far as you will go, not knowing Yeah. You'd hit the wall until it broke down. Yeah.

Michael Jamin:
Right. So

Phil Hudson:
Huge lesson in that for everybody listening by the way. Like, that's what you have to do. Yeah. Hit the wall until it falls down.

Michael Jamin:
Yeah. In, in college I wanted to be a creative writing. I just wanted to study, wanted to be in the creative writing program. I was good enough to take classes, but I wasn't good enough to get into the program where I, that was my major. And so they told me I wouldn't be a writer either. Yeah. Who cares? No one's, no one's gonna tell me what I get to do with my life.

Phil Hudson:
Look who's laughing now?

Michael Jamin:
No one's laughing. <Laugh> not even the audience.

Phil Hudson:
Michael doesn't make anybody laugh.

Michael Jamin:
<Laugh>

Phil Hudson:
When you say, okay, and then follow up, when you say it doesn't matter whose hands your script gets into, would you go as upload your script to online?

Michael Jamin:
I I, I, not necessarily. I I would be really, you know, I wanna know who I was giving it to. Not, but, you know, I wouldn't upload it to the, to the interwebs. And I, I meant it in terms of a great script. Ha has legs the same way a great show has legs. This like, here's the thing. I saw this great show, and I was gonna talk about this in one of my upcoming webinars and made a note of it. There's this guy named Derek Delgado, and he put on a show, he had a one-man show, it was on Hulus called in and of itself. Someone told me about it and I watched it and I was blown away. It was so original and so creative. I was blown away. I stopped when I was done. Let's go back to the beginning start. I've never do this.
I never go back to the beginning when I just finished it. Let's watch it again, forget it. But I did that. And then afterwards I started telling everyone, you gotta watch this show. This is amazing. And and, and, and I was doing it. Like no one asked me to share it. I was sharing it because I was giving a gift. Like, go watch this. This is amazing. You're gonna love this. And I would look good in that person's eyes because I was the one who discovered this precious gem that no one else was talking about. I'm the only one who's, this is my little thing and now I'm giving it to you. And I felt like a gift. And that's what a great script could do. Like, you show it to someone and they're blown away if they're like, oh, it's okay. You're, nothing's gonna happen. But if they're blown away, they will tell people, not because they're trying to help you, but because they're trying to help themselves and make themselves look good to the, to their friends and family. And, you know, look what I just gave you this great recommendation.

Phil Hudson:
You might have literally just equated it to this, but could your audience equate it to finding that, show that water cooler talk, the one everyone wants to talk about and share with their friends?

Michael Jamin:
Yeah. Right. It's, and it's not, it's not like, you know, at the end of the whatever water cooler, white lotus or whatever, whatever's big right now, it's probably not white lotus anymore. But no one there wouldn't say, Hey, did you, no one says, Hey, if you enjoyed your show, this show, please share it with your friends. There was none of that at the end of HBO's episode of White Lotus. It was, people loved it and they just went to work the next day. You gotta watch this show. Yeah.

Phil Hudson:
So what, what was that moment for you, for the audience? What is that moment for you when you were watching a show and that's the level you want to be at to be a pro.

Michael Jamin:
Oh, well, but when you, when you, what, what are you saying? When you get,

Phil Hudson:
What I'm saying is for the audience member, think about a time when you watched a show and you well felt this is something I need to go tell Joe about or Mike about.

Michael Jamin:
Yeah.

Phil Hudson:
That moment, that quality, that's what you're striving for, to work at a professional level at the upper echelons of Hollywood. Yeah. And when someone has that experience with your script, that is what's gonna happen in script format.

Michael Jamin:
Yeah, exactly. Exactly. They'll, that's, that's when I say give it to, it doesn't matter who you give it to you, if you give it to someone and it's amazing, they will give it to someone else and they're not gonna give it to some idiot on the internet. They don't know they're gonna give it to a friend who can help someone who's further up the ladder. They're just gonna pass it along. You know, they give it to someone who knows someone who knows someone in the industry. And if it's great, it'll find, it'll, it'll, it'll start walking. Cuz little good scripts have legs. Yeah. And if it's not, if it's mediocre, it won't.

Phil Hudson:
Yeah. I, I put a script online, but it was also very well documented here on this podcast with you giving me notes that I wrote that script. So there is a paper trail of authority and ownership that goes back to me and logged IP addresses when you download it so that if someone stole it, I feel legally protected enough to do that. And it's of service. And I got great notes from a professional writer, Michael. So it was absolutely worth me doing that. I don't think either of us are suggesting you do that.

Michael Jamin:
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:
The question you've answered many times before but continually pops up because everyone focuses on this. At first, do you need an agent?

Michael Jamin:
Well, you do need an agent to get submitted to a TV show, to get the meeting, to get a pitch meeting. You do, you do need an agent, but an agent, an agent is really not gonna get you work. Mostly agent's, field offers agent will do the 5% of the work that you can't do. You still have to do 95% of the work. And so yes, you need an agent, but the agent is not the answer to your problems. And there's a lot you can do without an agent. So. Yep.

Phil Hudson:
And you've said before, any script you get when you're staffing a show, those people have come from someone with an agent. Yes. And you're still hoping for a good writer out of that batch.

Michael Jamin:
Yeah. If I get, if I'm staffing a show, and let's say I got three dozen scripts to read, which is not an exaggeration. All of them come from agents, all of them come from managers. You know, you can't submit to me, you can't, I won't touch it. So it all comes through a rep, a rep, and of those 36 scripts, maybe only one or two are any good. So

Phil Hudson:
Yeah. Okay. this was a comment specific to the time, but I think it addresses something that happens on your website. Jeff says, so I'd love to take Michael's course, but it's currently closed. Sad face.

Michael Jamin:
Oh,

Phil Hudson:
Sad face. So the course is closed now. Yeah. you are now doing an enrollment period on the course. Do you wanna talk about that?

Michael Jamin:
Yeah. So once a month we open it up and it's brief. It's like three days or something fell, right? It's, it's like three or 40 or something like that. It's not a lot.

Phil Hudson:
A lot of people join which is great and a lot of people are getting a lot of value out of it, but we close it down so that we can provide a better experience to those people. Because when it's open all the time, it's a little crazy for both of us.

Michael Jamin:
Yeah. It was cra Yeah, it's, so we got on a row par, we onboard everybody, shut the door, take a breath, do it again next

Phil Hudson:
Month, answer questions in the private group, the people in there help you out. All that stuff. So if you're wondering why the course is closed here's a hint. Maybe attend the live webinar.

Michael Jamin:
Yeah. You'll get a better, actually, if you attend the webinar, we, we give you a better deal. <Laugh>. Yeah. So come the webinar, you got a special deal. If not just get on my email list and you'll know when it's open. And when it's open, get in. And then if you miss it, get in the next time. You know, it's every month.

Phil Hudson:
Yeah. Got it. PJ works, and we've addressed this as well, but I think he phrases it really interestingly. Just curious, how do we have bad movies and TV shows if you have to be really good to be in the industry?

Michael Jamin:
That's the thing. Some people think because there's so much bad stuff on the air. Well, I can be bad. I can be just as bad as them. There's so many reasons why a show might be terrible and some not all of them come down to the writing. Sometimes you'll have a star in the star. This is what the, this is what they wanna do. And writing be damn writers be damned. Sometimes it's coming from the network or the studio. This is what they want. And so they're paying for it. Sometimes there's so many chefs in the pot, executive producers giving notes. You don't even know what you're doing anymore. I mean, to me it's almost like it, the business is designed to make mediocre shows. And only occasionally something breaks through. And god bless when that happens. But you know, why, why?
Just because that's how it, this is the, the business. This is the, it's a business. So everyone wants through chasing the same thing. I read a book, but I think it was Charlie Hawk, he described it as everyone wants to make a hit show. Everyone's in a, in a life raft. And so you have the director, the actor, the writer, the studio executive, the production company, everyone. And everyone's got an org and they're paddling as fast as they can, but the raft is circular. And so everyone's paddling, but the raft is going around in circles because, you know, that's what the problem is. When you have all these, they all want the same thing though, which is to get to the other side. But they're paddling. And so that's what happens. You start spinning around.

Phil Hudson:
Yeah. Yeah.

Michael Jamin:
Unless you have a, you get lucky it's lightning in a bottle or you have a really strong showrunner who has enough f you minor to say no, but, and that's, and by the way, that's not me. So it's some people who have the clout,

Phil Hudson:
You know, there's a really good book on this called Difficult Men. And it's about the showrunners, A difficult man behind scenes of a Creative Revolution from The Sopranos by Brett Martin. And it talks about this, these showrunners who were those guys and they wrote Mad Men and mm-hmm. <Affirmative>, all these shows that you know and love. And it, they just had the chops to do the job and the attitude to say no. But the chops were so good. They HBO and these companies just let them do their job.

Michael Jamin:
Once you start making a successful show, they usually back off. Once they learn to trust the showrunner, they back, they usually back off. But in the beginning, everyone's scared. And the bigger budget, the budget is every, the more scared everyone is.

Phil Hudson:
JJ Abrams just had a show canceled on h HBO this year.

Michael Jamin:
What was it?

Phil Hudson:
I, I can't remember the name of it, but it was like a massive budget. It was like one of the first things Discovery chopped. Like they just cut the

Michael Jamin:
Budget. Oh yeah. Well, because

Phil Hudson:
They were cutting budgets everywhere. So, yeah. Two questions similar, gonna combine them. So she, Shea Mercedes and Leonte Bennett. How do we learn, or how can I practice screenwriting every day when I don't have an idea for a screenplay? And let me combine it with another, yeah. Bark bark 4 35. How can a beginner start to be a screenwriter? What are the first steps? So what, how do I write if I don't have any ideas? How can I learn to write and, you know, what are my first steps if I want to be a screenwriter? These feel very new to me.

Michael Jamin:
Well, if you don't have an idea, you're screwed. I mean, you know, but you don't have to have a good idea. You have to have, you don't have to have a great idea to have a good idea. And there's, it's the execution, which is which matters. I talk, one of the modules we have in the chorus and I, and trying to through one of the most popular ones is minding your life for stories. How, how to mine your life. Cuz you all have stories. People wanna, I think new writers think that let's create a world and let's create all the characters in this world. I'm like why bother? Why not just write what you know? And that way you, if you come, you take the story from your life. You don't have to create a story cuz it ha already happened to you. You don't have to create a character.
You're the character. All you gotta do is figure out how to unpack the details of the story and that story structure. And that can be learned, that can be taught. That's what we teach. And so that's what I would do. I, you know, that's what I would do. Start writing what, you know, and what, you know, there's a misconception. You know, this guy on Paul Guillo, he, you know, he's a another writer on, on, you know, on the internet, on the social media. And he, you know, he talked about this the other day and I was like, he said it perfectly, which is people say, write what you know, but they don't really understand what that means. They think, well that means if you're a plumber, write about plumbing. Right. About a, your character is a plumbing plumber. No, no, no. Right. What you know means the internal struggles that you face.
So if you are insecure about your education, your character write about a character who's insecure about that. If you're insecure with, about your looks or if you were abandoned as a baby, write about that. I mean, so it doesn't have to be the outside, it's the entire, it's the internal struggle. What you feel on the inside. That's what you know. And, you know great the Great Gatsby, you know, a great American novel, F Scott Fitzgerald wrote it. And so that's, that was about a guy who felt poor. He felt poor. And and he wanted the girl. And he, he always felt he would never have any self worth until he was rich. And then he'd be worthy enough to get the girl. As much as he loved the girl, being rich was more important to him cuz he always had the emptiness.
And if you know anything about f Scott Fitzgerald's background, that was him. That's how he felt. And even when he had the, even when he earned money as a, as a novelist in the screenwriter, he couldn't keep it in his pocket. He had to spend it because that's how he felt. That was, that's how he felt whole on the, on the, you know, on the inside. And that's why he had a drinking problem. That's why he died at the age of 40 something because of an of alcoholism, because he had that hole. But the character of Great Gatsby's pretty close to him.

Phil Hudson:
Yeah. Yeah. Episode 39 of this podcast, A great writing exercise. There are some ideas in there and some other things that you can do to learn more about how to practice your skills and, and develop those things. But the other thing we talk about on this podcast often is being okay with yourself and being okay with your emotions and being okay. Being vulnerable. But you also talk about the dichotomy of when's, what's too far, what's oversharing. Yeah. So dive into the podcast a bit more if you're new and there's maybe we'll

Michael Jamin:
Do, actually that's a good point. Maybe we'll do a whole webinar on oversharing and stuff like that.

Phil Hudson:
Yeah. All right. So, so again, lots of questions about do I need to live in LA to be a writer? How to make connections with people outside if I'm not there. We've already addressed these LA's where the writing is, but you can make connections in your area and online. Your, your screenwriting course is a great place to do that. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>, outside of that, there are Facebook groups. Lots of really

Michael Jamin:
Popular. Yeah. We have a private face. We have a private Facebook group just for the students and those guys. I gotta say Phil cuz I don't do this. Those guys are, they're, they're hitting it hard. They are having table reads. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>, they're having script swaps, pitch sessions, pitch set, and like what? And like, I'm not in charge of that. They are. And it's because they're freaking focused and they just wanna

Phil Hudson:
Make happen. Like they're beginning guests too. Like one of, one of the writing members, Laurie, her, her husband is a pretty well known writer. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. And he came in and did a guest pitch session where people, writers pitched to him and he gave feedback.

Michael Jamin:
Good for him. Yeah. He,

Phil Hudson:
He's, he has famously one of the, I think it's the most valued script sold. And he came in and he did it to help you because that's a student. That's not a connection you or I have.

Michael Jamin:
Nope. Nope. There's a connection with another student. So like, I'm impressed and that's why we, and you know, we keep a close. It's like, you can't join. I get, we get people every day they want to join. Like, no, no, no, no, no. It's only for students because I don't want this turning into a cesspool of of trolls and, and idiots. Yeah. Like every other screenwriting group on, on Facebook where the people are just mean and stupid and and awful to each other. It's not what's going on in there. So Yeah.

Phil Hudson:
Absolutely. Cool. Gary Hampton, what would you say it's beneficial to volunteer to be a writer's assistant or producer's assistant to gain some practical experience?

Michael Jamin:
Well, you can't volunteer. I mean, it's a paying position. It's not an internship

Phil Hudson:
And you can't intern anymore because some interns sued. And so no one wants to do that anymore.

Michael Jamin:
Right. So it's a paid position. It's not a, it's not a well paid position, but, you know, so you can't volunteer

Phil Hudson:
For it. That, that being said, personal experience with this. You, I remember I got a text, I was sitting in my office and you were like, Phil, there's a PA job on Tacoma fd. Do you want it? It pays horrible and the work sucks. And I said, I would do that job for free. And you said right answer and you told me that's exactly what you did. Like you volunteered. Isn't that how you got your job? You or your first one of your first Yeah, my

Michael Jamin:
First job, this was on a show called Evening Shade. This was a long time ago with Bet Reynolds. And and who else was in it anyway? Mary Henry. But I sent out resumes. I'll do, I'll please, I'll work for free. Finally, some someone said, fine, you wanna work for free, you can start tomorrow. We'll give you $300 a week. And I was like, 300, you know, now $300 a week is nice. Nothing <laugh>, but I jumped at it. It's better than free. I jumped at it.

Phil Hudson:
Yeah. but

Michael Jamin:
It's only because he only offered me the job because I said, I'll work for free.

Phil Hudson:
You were willing to do it. Yep. So you had the desire follow up question. What's the best way to get into a writer's room? And I know that's a crap shoot.

Michael Jamin:
Get as a Well, the best way to get in as a writer's assistant, you know, but you, that's hard. You have to get in first. You get start as a pa.

Phil Hudson:
And the, and the answer to this, having done basically all of this over the last several years is bust your butt. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>, serve, serve, serve. I remember. And I think I've, I think Seavers aware now. I remember there was one point where Seavert was like, yeah, Philip Burnout. And you were like, no, he won't. Cuz you've known me long enough. But

Michael Jamin:
Did he say that? I conversations

Phil Hudson:
There's a level, there's the level at which I was like putting out in the writer's room and I, I remember I overheard that conversation. You're like, not fell. I appreciate you having my back. But it gets, it gets exhausting at a certain level and you just have to keep putting up it.

Michael Jamin:
It gets emotionally exhausting too. That's probably the, that's probably even harder than the physical. It's like, cuz you're so close, you're five inches away from the seat that you want to sit in.

Phil Hudson:
You're sitting outside the room.

Michael Jamin:
Yeah.

Phil Hudson:
Yep. I, I would literally have to remind myself when I would get overwhelmed with like those thoughts. I'd say, this is the job I would've killed for two years ago, is

Michael Jamin:
The job. That's exactly

Phil Hudson:
Right. I killed for three years ago.

Michael Jamin:
That's exactly right.

Phil Hudson:
That's how I kept going. It's not fun. And a lot of people are like, oh, isn't that beneath you? Like, nothing is beneath me as long as it helps me progress. Nothing.

Michael Jamin:
Mm-Hmm. <Affirmative>. Yeah. So.

Phil Hudson:
Alright. How do you so love Leah Ann Clark. How do you stick to your story when people tell you that is not sellable because they have not lived through the events?

Michael Jamin:
Well if it's not sellable, like, I mean, I don't know who's telling you It's not sellable. No story sellable, just to be clear. You know, even if you pitch a two of i, I pitched stories. That's like, that's, I can't sell that. You know why? It's only the minute it sells, it's sellable. But if you tell a story authentically and truthfully, that's the only thing you can hope for, is to write a great story. That's what I say. I if you're gonna look for the, the market, oh, this is what the market's looking for. What's the market looking for? Forget it. That's a moving target. The minute you fire that hour, the target is gone. It's two

Phil Hudson:
Years old too, so

Michael Jamin:
It's always changing. It's just like, you know, so, but all you get, all you can do as a writer is write a great story. That's the only thing that you have control over and not worry about selling it. Can you write a great story? And if you can, then it becomes a calling card. People will hire you to write something else. Just focus on writing a great story.

Phil Hudson:
Yeah. Another really good piece of advice in the industry is if there's a story that you feel in your soul you need to tell, don't put that one off. Write that one.

Michael Jamin:
Yeah. Write that one immediately,

Phil Hudson:
Right? Yeah. Yep. Jeff Rice Studios ask, could you talk about some of the staff management process of Showrunning or being the quote captain of the ship quote?

Michael Jamin:
Well, as the showrunner, you know no one becomes a comedy writer or even any kind of writer to even drama writer because they want to be a manager. They don't become, they don't, that's not why we go into it. They, if you did, you go into middle management, you get a job in the corp in a corporation. So you're, we all do it because you want to be creative. Then you rise to the level where you have your own show, or you're running someone's show for them. And and now you have to keep everyone motivated. And so the way you keep motivated, you know, is not by shutting people down. You have to lead, but you also have to make 'em feel like they have a voice. And this is tough. It's like, it doesn't make me comfortable at all. It's not why I went into it anyway, so I was to, was to do this. So, but you have to just be a decent human being and hopefully you know, but, but your job, by the way, is when you're on staff, your job is not to be creative, per se. Your job is to give the showrunner what they want. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative> is to help them make their show.

Phil Hudson:
Yeah. Awesome. Raven Wisdom when in a groove riding a scene and as happens, life interrupts the flow and you lose the moment. What has helped you to return to that moment or scene and continue that thought?

Michael Jamin:
You know, I, I, I guess, I dunno how long life is putting you on hold, but you should be, be, hopefully you're making time every day, even if it's only 15 minutes to, I mean, we all have 15 minutes. Right. You know? Yeah. I hope

Phil Hudson:
Famously, I think it was Hemingway would stop purposefully mid-sentence mm-hmm. <Affirmative> so that when he sat down at his computer or his typewriter, he could pick up his thought. Yeah. And so I think that's something you just have to train out. And it's actually a good thing cuz facing a blank page, not knowing where you're gonna go next is far worse than reading the last sentence and then continuing typing.

Michael Jamin:
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Okay.

Phil Hudson:
All right. We've got a lot of questions here still, Michael. So we're gonna get through a couple of the last ones, and I think couple more. A lot of this is repetitive, so I'm just gonna pick probably four or five more, and then we'll wrap it up. Does that sound good to you? Yeah,

Michael Jamin:
That sounds good.

Phil Hudson:
Okay. If you're a writer hoping to staff on a traditional network, procedural style show, do you specifically need a procedure, procedural style sample, or just a great sample that shows your unique quote voice?

Michael Jamin:
I've never written on a procedural. Don't even don't like 'em. I don't watch 'em. I, I would assume it's probably both. They're gonna want more than one sample. They're gonna want a sample of a procedural, and they're gonna want a sample of something else.

Phil Hudson:
That's always the case though. It's always two, right? Yeah. You need a, you did it and it's not a fluke. You can do it again. Yeah.

Michael Jamin:
So I have won Beach. Yeah. Yeah.

Phil Hudson:
Yeah. Okay. All right. And Kay Films, do you remember shadowing a writer that is currently in the film industry?

Michael Jamin:
I don't know about shadowing. I've worked for many writers. I never shadowed anyone. I, I i that like, there's no such thing as shadowing a writer. A writer is just in front of a computer, and if you were to shadow them, you'd, you'd be standing over their shoulder watching them type, like, it'd be horribly uncomfortable for everyone. It's not like a, it's not a visual job to How do you open, how do you open final drafts? Like that's what you'd see. Yeah. but I, I, I've worked for our writers and I've talked to him about story. I've had conversations, I've worked for a guy named William Masters Simone, this is when I first breaking in. And he wrote a great movie called The Beast. He wrote called another one called Extremities with, I think it was Farrah Faucet. He was a playwright. He was a playwright out of New Jersey who worked as a grave digger. He was a grave digger, and he write plays, literally. And brilliant writer. That's

Phil Hudson:
Fascinating. Like, I want to Yeah, that's a fascinating backstory right there.

Michael Jamin:
And he was such a sweet guy. So down to earth. And then he got brought on, I was working on a, I was the writer assistant on a movie called What's Love Got Love What's Love got to do with it? The Tina Turner story. And so he would come and he got, he flew in for I think three or four weeks to rewrite the script. Then I don't think he, yeah, I don't think he got any credit for it, but he got a boatload of money, I'm sure. And he came down to LA and he type up the pages on his old typewriter. Then I'd retyped them and put 'em into the computer and format it correctly for for the movie. And such a sweet man. He's like, let me buy you lunch. Here's pizza. What can I do? He was just so nice. I, I really loved his attitude. He was kind very down to earth. That's it. But

Phil Hudson:
You've adopted that attitude too. I mean, I've, I've done things to, to help you because I want to help you and you've Yeah. Repaid in kindness beyond what I feel I've done for you. Well, thank you. I've seen you do that for other people as well, so,

Michael Jamin:
Yeah. You know, because no one, I don't, no one goes into screenwriting cuz they think it's gonna, they're gonna be in charge of the, the world. Yeah. You, you take another profession if you have a giant ego. But yeah, he was, he was a super nice guy.

Phil Hudson:
On those lines, Aaron ha has asked, what is the best way to approach someone who you want to mentor you or learn from them? Is there any specific things you did in that relationship or others?

Michael Jamin:
I don't know. I, I would imagine that's a question probably for you. I think what you do is you give first. Yeah. That's what you do.

Phil Hudson:
Yeah, a hundred percent. And, and that does two things. One, just naturally I feel of, I feel good and feel of value when I serve other people. Yeah. Like there's a, there's a feeling. For me it's very physical. It's like a kinetic, kinesthetic, like tingly feeling of good, right? When I do something for other people, it's a selflessness that I just, I think it comes from being very poor and not having, and knowing how valuable that little bit of help really moves the needle for people.

Michael Jamin:
And that's, so that's, that's the point then. So it's like when you approach someone as a men, when you want someone to be your mentor, you're basically saying, I, I want you to gimme something. I what you have. I want, can you give me what you, what you have? And so that's not the attitude. The attitude is what can I give you mentor to make your life better. What can I give you?

Phil Hudson:
I'm in the broken lizard social media right now, helping them with this thing. As we talked about, and I just posted this on my TikTok, like, like every email that comes into that inbox is, here's a script that I've just written. Hey, I want to talk to you about a business opportunity. Hey, here's this thing. Every, there are a lot of fans that comment, but anything industry related is put me in your next film. Hey, can I be a guest star in your film? Hey, can you get me to the q and a? Hey, can I, can I sit next to you at the q and a? It's never, Hey, I noticed this thing on your imdb and I just wanna let you know I went ahead and fixed it for you. Thank you so much for what you've done for me. It's all, it's ask, ask, ask, ask, ask.
And, and these people, that's all they get. And you know, I don't know if it's just personal, just me, my personality, I have never approached anyone and just asked for something that makes me feel really uncomfortable. I've always stopped and asked, what can I do to make that life guys? And I, I I, it might go back to this specific moment when I was asked to come in and not guest lecture, but just be in a class at a business school because I was managing this deli, this chain of deli's. And my friends asked me to go in and I remember the teacher saying, one of the best questions you can ask in any interview is at the end they'll ask, do you have any questions? And the mistake is no questions. You should have questions prepared. But the best question you can ask is, in this position, what burdens can I remove from your shoulder? Yeah. Or what can I do to make your life easier? This is a better way to ask that question. Yeah. And instead of asking that question, think about it, figure it out, and then proactively do it. That's, that's the best approach.

Michael Jamin:
Yeah.

Phil Hudson:
With, with zero expectation of return. Yeah.

Michael Jamin:
Zero with zero expectations. If

Phil Hudson:
You have, if you were doing it for return, that is manipulation and that stinks. Intention has a smell, I think is a term I

Michael Jamin:
Heard before. That's right. People can sense that for sure.

Phil Hudson:
Cool. final question here. Yeah. and I had a good one here. Hops kiss, tips for building discipline around working consistently on your specs scripts.

Michael Jamin:
I think the problem is this person is losing interest in their own work. They're getting bored by their work. They don't know what the characters should be doing next. And that's hard. And so they're not looking forward to working because they don't know how to, and so I wouldn't, you know, if you suck at it or you don't know how to do it, you're not gonna, why would you want to sit down as a typewriter and do more of it if it's, if you don't know what you're doing, it's gonna be too hard. It's gonna be distasteful. You're gonna want to procrastinate. I think the a the answer is you have to learn how to, how to write. Once you learn how to do it, it doesn't become easy. But at least there's a path. At least you go, okay, I know what to do here when I'm sitting at the, I know what to do. It's doing It is hard, but I know what to do at least.

Phil Hudson:
Yeah. Ryan Holliday, the author behind the New STOs is a movement that's out. Many New York Times bestsellers he put up on his social media the other day, it was Jim Halvert from the Office on the right board. Yeah. Stop wearing what other people think. They're only thinking about themselves.

Michael Jamin:
That's true.

Phil Hudson:
Yeah. No, and you gave me that advice. You said, no one cares. You're worried what everyone else thinks about you. The truth is, no one cares cuz they're just thinking about themselves.

Michael Jamin:
Yeah. And that's, I I believe I took it from Oscar Wild who said, you know, you'd worry less about what people think about you if you realized how little they did. Yeah. They don't, they're not thinking about you or they already think you're garbage anyway, so what's the difference you make? Yeah.

Phil Hudson:
So who cares? So get out of, get out of your head is the other way. Don't worry about what other people think about you.

Michael Jamin:
Yeah. Oh yeah. Get outta your

Phil Hudson:
Way. There's a lot of, yeah, there's, there's a lot of questions we didn't get to, but, but for those of you who did attend the February webinar, I went through all these questions and a lot, a lot of these have been answered both on other webinars that we've done, other podcasts that we've done, or some of your social media content. So the content is out there. For those of you who did ask questions, you got your answers, questions answered today. Apply these lessons. I mean, I think one of the other things that's important in progression is not just learning, but applying. You have to app, you have to apply the knowledge that you're getting and then that becomes wisdom. And so make this wisdom by going out and applying this information.

Michael Jamin:
Yeah.

Phil Hudson:
Okay. Anything else you wanna add, Michael?

Michael Jamin:
That's it. If I hope to see everyone at my next webinar, just get the, come on, just pile in the link is michaeljamin.com/webinar. We have a lot on social media post every day on, on Instagram, TikTok, Facebook

Phil Hudson:
At @MichaelJaminWriter. For those of you who

Michael Jamin:
Are succinct, thank you. We have, we have a newsletter goes out once a week. We call it the watch list. You go to michaeljamin.com/watchlist. We have a free lesson, michaeljamin.com/free. What else? Phil,

Phil Hudson:
You have your paper orchestra, your one-man show in the new book that you're, you're working your booking on Volume two, I think you said.

Michael Jamin:
Yeah. I'm writing away. I'm plugging away and I'm, and I, I, I have struggles too. I, I'll start writing and I'm like, ah, where's this going? Where, where's this

Phil Hudson:
Going? For people who are interested in learning more about that, what is that? Is that michaeljamin.com/upcoming? Is that right?

Michael Jamin:
Yeah, if you want to, that'll, then you'll get notified when my book drops, which will also be an audiobook and an ebook. And then hopefully when I start touring, hopefully I'll get to your city and you

Phil Hudson:
Come see me. You have to go to that show. Have to go to that show that, that's been in my head since December 10th, 2022. Thank you two. It's incredible.

Michael Jamin:
That's a, yeah, it was about, it really is about putting an experience on it was really about, and, and I, that's gonna be, I'm gonna talk about that in the next webinar that I'm doing. Cuz someone had a question, her question was, how do I get people to attend my, my stage reading? And I'm like, oh, that's a great question. We're gonna talk about that in the webinar. That's what I'm gonna talk about. So,

Phil Hudson:
Yeah, it's amazing. And, and you, you talk to people, you like meet with people and you give feedback too. So it's another great way to meet you.

Michael Jamin:
Oh, oh, at the show? Yeah. Afterwards, it's a q and a at the show, so you have people like that.

Phil Hudson:
Michael jamma.com/upcoming if you're interested in the P orchestra or any of that stuff. And

Michael Jamin:
You're posting and you're posting out too on TikTok?

Phil Hudson:
Yeah, I'm posting TikTok and Twitter and Facebook. Instagram's still a little personal with family stuff, so I've gotta migrate that one eventually. But yeah, I'm posting stuff because I'm, I'm just running into a lot of the same thing where I am having experiences that I wish other, I wish I had information about when I was trying to break in mm-hmm. <Affirmative> and, and still trying to break in. But, you know, I'm meeting with publicists. I'm, I'm hanging out with the executive producers and the directors, and I'm talking to the marketing departments of these films and I'm on set and I'm, you know, working on, I'm looking at budgets now. There's a lot of things I'm looking at, and I just figured that, yeah. Might as well start putting, there's a

Michael Jamin:
Lot of stuff that, you know, that I'm not familiar with. It's been working with publicists and all that stuff. So Good for you. That's Phil Hudson your handle, right? Yeah. Yep. Okay.

Phil Hudson:
So, all right, everyone, everybody, thank you.

Michael Jamin:
Thanks so much. Until next time.

Phil Hudson:
Keep writing, keep running.

Michael Jamin:
Yeah. Yeah. Ready.

Phil Hudson:
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 riding.

Author Details
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.