I’ve been a television writer for the past 27 years. While I’ve written on some amazing shows, the work that I’m most proud of is my new book, A Paper Orchestra. It’s the funniest, it’s the deepest, and it’s the one that will hit you hardest in the heart. These are the deeply personal, true stories of an awkward, sensitive man searching for the things that are most important: identity, love, forgiveness, and redemption. It’s available now for your reading pleasure.

Show Notes

A Paper Orchestra on Website – https://michaeljamin.com/book

A Paper Orchestra on Audible – https://www.audible.com/ep/creator?source_code=PDTGBPD060314004R&irclickid=wsY0cWRTYxyPWQ32v63t0WpwUkHzByXJyROHz00&irgwc=1

A Paper Orchestra on Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/Audible-A-Paper-Orchestra/dp/B0CS5129X1/ref=sr_1_4?crid=19R6SSAJRS6TU&keywords=a+paper+orchestra&qid=1707342963&sprefix=a+paper+orchestra%2Caps%2C149&sr=8-4

A Paper Orchestra on Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/203928260-a-paper-orchestra

Free Writing Webinarhttps://michaeljamin.com/op/webinar-registration/

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

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Autogenerated Transcript

Michael Jamin:
Yeah, but the problem is they don’t help you. They design the book cover. You don’t get a choice of what the book cover is. Maybe they give you three choices, but that’s about it. They decide how they want and they decide what the title of the book is because you sold ’em the rights. So why am I giving away all this power to someone who hasn’t earned it? Why am I making them rich? Why am I giving them any creative input at all when the whole point of this was for me to have a hundred percent creative input? You are listening to What the Hell is Michael Jamin talking about conversations in writing, art, and creativity. Today’s episode is brought to you by my debut collection of True Stories, a paper orchestra available in print, ebook and audiobook to purchase and to support me on this podcast, please visit michael jamin.com/book now on with the show. Hey everyone, it’s Michael Jamin. Welcome back to What the Hell Is Michael Jamin talking about the podcast where we explore art, creativity, and writing. Oh, it’s a big announcement today, Phil. Phil’s back, big day

Phil Hudson:
Back. Happy to be back. Thank you for having me.

Michael Jamin:
Big day. We’re finally building up. This has been a long project. Phil book, my book, A Paper Orchestra Drops or dropped if you’re hearing this. It’s available, it’s, it’s already

Phil Hudson:
Dropped. It’s available yesterday, so go get it now.

Michael Jamin:
It’s called a paper orchestra and it’s a collection of personal essays. If you’re a fan of David Sedaris, I think of it as David Sedaris meets Neil Simon. And this has been my passion project for years. I’ve been working on this and I’m very excited to put it out in the world. As you can get it on print, you can get it on audiobook, you can get it as ebook, however you consume your books, and you can get it everywhere. You can go get it on michael jamin.com. You can find it on Amazon, on Barnes and Noble or Audible for the audio audiobook. Anywhere, anywhere you get Apple. If you want to get the ebook, it’s everywhere, Phil. It’s everywhere.

Phil Hudson:
It’s like you got a real publishing deal except you didn’t.

Michael Jamin:
Well, I’m doing it myself,

Phil Hudson:
And we’ll go into that. I want people to understand you chose to self-publish this at this point, but that’s not how we started. And we’ve talked a bit about that when we changed the podcast title and we talked a bit about it. We’re talking about your live shows, but I think this is like, let’s celebrate Michael Jamin a little bit today because you’re always talking to people to build the mountain, to climb. You are now at the top of that mountain, and I imagine you’re looking over and saying, oh crap, look, that other peak there I’ve got to get to now.

Michael Jamin:
Yeah, I already am. Yeah, for sure. Lot of it. And I hope this inspires a lot of you. There’s so many people who are like, I want to sell my screenplay, or I want to help me break in, help me, help me. But there’s so much that you can do. So unempowering disempowering, you’re basically hoping that someone else is going to make your career, buy my script, make my movie. But there’s so much that you can do on your own, and you may think it’s more work because you’re doing it yourself, but it’s actually less work because now you don’t have to count on someone else to do it for you. You can stop begging, you can stop worrying about all the rejection because when you’re selling your scripts or trying to, you’re going to get rejected by 99 out of a hundred people. But if you just build it yourself, there’s so much you can do. The year we live in, it’s so empowering. Everyone has a phone and you can shoot on your phone, you can make a movie. Everyone has a miniature movie studio. There’s so much we all can do and on our own. And so I’m just going to share a little bit about the journey that I’ve been on when I started writing this book.
So basically this started well over four years ago, maybe five years ago. I told my wife that I was just at a point in my life where I felt a little disheartened by, a little bored by what I was writing in television because when I write for tv, and I’m very grateful to have a job and a career, but I’m always writing what someone is paying me to write. And I’m very rarely writing what I want to write. I’m paying what someone pays me to write or what I can sell, but that’s not how I started writing when I was in college and in high school. I just wanted to write what I wanted to write. And so I went for a walk with my wife one day and I was like, I have a really bad idea. I’m thinking of writing a collection of personal essays, which is what David Seras writes. And I love his writing. I’ve read everything. He’s written multiple times. You show him your card, you got a card back there, don’t you? Oh yeah. Yeah. He actually, I sent him a piece of fan letter, a fan mail three years ago. But I’ve read him so much. I knew that he would respond. He talks about, I knew he would respond. It just took him three years to respond, but it was very kind of him.
So yeah, so I started writing. I wanted to write this project. I wanted to write what I want to write. I wanted to tell stories the way I wanted to tell them without network notes, without a partner, without. I just wanted to see what I can do on my own without having someone telling me what to do or breathing down my back or saying, no, it should be this or that. What can I do? And so I told that to Cynthia and she said, that’s a great idea. And I said, but you don’t understand even if I sell it, I’m not going to make a lot of money from it and it’s going to take me years and years to do. She goes, you got to do it anyway, because if you do, you will find yourself in the process. And I was like, okay.
And at the time, I was really in a bad place. I was just very upset about stuff mentally. I was in a bad place. I was like, okay, I’ll start writing. And that’s what I did. I remember I had listened to a lot of David C’s audio books, but I had never read him. So I was like, I better read him. And then I bought a bunch of books and I read the first one. I remember I was lying in bed. I was reading the first book and I’m about halfway through and I’m thinking, where’s this guy going? What’s he doing here? Where’s he going with this? And then I got to the end of the piece and the ending was such a wonderful ending. I was like, oh my God. And I almost threw the book across the room. I was, I was so mad.
I was like, this is going to be so much harder than I thought it was going to be. I thought it was going to be easy or natural, not easy, but just considering I’m a writer, I didn’t think it would be that difficult. So then I just started studying him and I got all his books and I read them multiple times over and over again, and the more I read, I was just trying to look for patterns and trying to learn from him. And that kind of just began, that was the beginning of this journey just to study, study what I wanted to do.

Phil Hudson:
You’re constantly telling people to study their craft, and you talk about story and story structure. You have a course on that. Most of your content you put on social media is dedicated to helping people understand that your webinars are often about resetting people’s expectations about what a writing career looks like and helping them focus on what really matters. And the undertone that I’ve witnessed over the last two, two and a half years of this process with you of at least starting the podcast and helping with social media and that stuff, it’s all based under the reality or the realization that creativity is worth doing just to be creative and that there’s value in that process beyond monetary pay or paychecks.

Michael Jamin:
Well, yeah, for sure. When I first started writing these stories, the first two, first several were not very good. I was writing in David Sari’s voice because I didn’t know how else to do it. The ironic thing, as a TV writer, I’m always writing in someone else’s voice. I’m writing in the character’s voice or the voice of the show, but this is my voice, and this is the first time I actually had to do that. And so because I’m a good mimic and because I had just read so much of him, I was kind of writing, I was kind of the writer like him, and I thought the first two stories were good. And then I set it down for a couple of weeks and I read it with fresh eyes and I thought, oh, this is terrible. It felt like a cheap knockoff. It felt like me pretending I was him and I hated it.
I threw all those stories out and then I had to figure out, okay, what’s my voice? And that was a long discovery. But the reason why, this is a long way of saying this, those first several stories I wrote, I don’t know, maybe six or seven stories, and it just take months and months. At one point, I reach out to my agent. I’m at a very big prestigious Hollywood agency. They do. They represent me in film and tv, and I reached out to my agent. I told him what I was working on. I said, Hey, do we have a book agency, a book department? He said, of course we do. What do I know? I tell him what I was doing. I said, can you hook me up with one of your agents? He goes, sure. So I reach out to their agents. This guy’s in New York now, he doesn’t have to take, just so people know, I told ’em what I was doing. He doesn’t have to take me on as a client, but he has to take the call.
I’m banging them. They got to take the call. He doesn’t have to bring me on to represent him in books though. And so I told him what I was doing. He goes, oh, that sounds interesting. Send me what you have. I go, well, I only have a handful of stories, but I’ll send you what I have. So I emailed them to him. I never heard back. I didn’t hear back for probably six months at this point. And I’m still writing more stories. It doesn’t matter, whatever. I’m thinking maybe he read it, he didn’t read it, he doesn’t like it, whatever. I’m not going to stop writing them though. And I just kept on writing all these stories. Finally, six months later, he reaches out to me. He goes, I’m so sorry it took me so long to read these. I love them. Let’s get on the phone and talk about them.
I was like, sure. He goes, and he was like, when we spoke, he said, he said, do you have any more? Because he only read whatever. I sent him maybe six stories, and I go, as a matter of fact, yeah, I’m almost done with the collection. Give me another couple of weeks and I’ll send you the entire collection. So at that point, but again, I’m writing it because I want to write it. I want to do this. I’m not thinking about how much money I’m going to make. I’m thinking about the process of writing and figuring out how to learn. I had to relearn how to write because I’m a TV writer who now is writing books. There’s a little difference. There’s some difference to it.

Phil Hudson:
Yeah. A couple things here. I love the narrative, and I don’t want to interrupt the narrative, but I think there’s some topics that are coming up here. Is it okay if we just dive into those for a second? Yeah, please. Okay. You talked about David Sedaris and you were reading this and you’re like, where is this going? And then it ended in this way. That was almost upsetting because it was so beautiful and so well done. What I’m hearing you say is something you talk about regularly on the podcast and in your social media content, which is the way you unpack your story is the job of being a writer. And that’s almost effectively what I’m hearing is that’s your craft and your tone and your style. You still have to understand story structure and you understand these things. But the unpacking, would you say that that’s an example of what you’re talking about when you say how you unpack something matters?

Michael Jamin:
Yes, and the thing is, I’ve really tried to study him. I think he’s the gold standard. I think he’s a master, a beautiful writer. There’s certain things I was able to learn and certain things I was not able to unpack. And so I learned a lot from him for sure. But some things still remain a mystery to me from how he writes. I can’t see through it, and I’m good at seeing through some stuff. So take that for what it’s worth. I do remember thinking, I had long conversations with my wife when we were about this. I didn’t want people to think that the book was written by a sitcom writer. I wanted it to be funny and dramatic, but I didn’t want people to say, oh, this guy’s, I wanted it to be a little smarter than just a sitcom, I guess. And so I was very self-conscious about that.
And we had long conversations of Is this art? How do I make art? What is art? How do I do this? So it feels like art and what I really came, it was a really eye-opening moment for me, and it came from much of what I learned about how to do this. I learned not from writers, David is probably the only writer who I really studied a lot for this book, but I learned a lot from watching interviews with musicians, ironically, about how they approached their art. And I found that to be more helpful than listening to other writers. And one of the really interesting things, I was like, well, we know there’s a market for what David Sedera says. We know people like what he does, so why am I trying to reinvent things? Why not just kind of do what he’s doing? And there’s two reasons why not.
One, I’m not him. I can’t be him ever. And that’s almost the tragedy of the whole thing is I want to write, this guy can write, but I never ever will. So you’re going to have to let go of that, which is almost tragic. But the other thing is, it’s my responsibility not to, as an artist, if you want to make art, then add, you have to bring new to the equation. You have to bring new, and that actually, I picked up, I believe I picked up from an interview with watching Pharrell talk about music.

Phil Hudson:
That’s awesome.

Michael Jamin:
Which is basically he’s saying, listen, your job is to bring something new to the conversation, is to put the youness into it. Whatever is you, that’s what you have to put into it. And that was very reassuring to hear it from him. I was like, oh, okay, now I can lean into me.

Phil Hudson:
This resonates with me. And what I wrote down here is that you can look outside of your space for inspiration. And I think this again ties to the fact that creativity is self, it’s for the self. Rick Rubin, the producer, you’re familiar with him. I think most people are at this point. I was just watched a clip of him in an interview and he said, I have never made music for a fan. When you do, it’s bad when I make it for myself or when I do it because it’s something that I like that resonates with the listener. And would you say that’s what you’re doing here is you’re writing this for you in your tone because it’s the best pure expression of your art?

Michael Jamin:
Well, yes, yes and no. Some of it, it’s very truthful. It’s very painfully truthful. It’s very intimate. I go there. I think that’s what makes it interesting. I think that’s my job as a writer. It’s my obligation as a writer is to figure out what the truth is and figure out how to tell it. But I also keep the audience in mind, and maybe that’s just because of my background as a team writer.

Phil Hudson:
Yeah, you’re an entertainer to a degree because that’s what you do, is you want people to tune in for 23, 25 minutes per week, have a good time, forget their worries, and then leave having gotten something from what you’ve done. Well,

Michael Jamin:
It’s also,

Phil Hudson:
But I don’t know, that negates what Rick Rubin’s talking about because it’s like when you read, when you’re putting out here, do you feel like you are getting the same value out of it that you would hope a reader would, or are you hoping the reader gets more value out of it than what you’re getting out of it?

Michael Jamin:
Well, I don’t know. I mean, first I keep them in mind. I picture my reader with a remote control in their hand. That’s just become from me, a TV writer. So how do I make sure this story is compelling so that they want to turn the page? But I do keep them in mind in terms of how do I make this story not about me, but about all of us. And I think that’s important because this has the danger of becoming very self-indulgent. These are true stories from my life, but I tell them in a way with art, so that you really feel like you’re reading a character in a book. I am a character. The character of Michael is in this story, so it’s not like, and then this happened, then this happened. I’m not telling you how I broke into Hollywood, although there are stories about that. I’m really telling you about the stories. These are stories of rejection. These are stories of triumph. There are stories there meant to be, the details are mine, but the stories are all of ours. So that’s how I feel I’m telling them is like, okay, so that you can totally relate to this so you can feel, okay, I had something very similar and me explaining it to you helps you understand it, hopefully.

Phil Hudson:
And not to jump ahead, I saw you last year for my birthday, do a performance. My wife and I came out and there’s a story, was it, is that what it’s called?

Michael Jamin:
The Goul? Yeah, the

Phil Hudson:
Goul. Still a year later, 13 months later, still thinking about that goul because as a new father and then hearing your perspective as a father with children leaving the home, yeah, there’s a lot of beauty and regret in that story that is paralleling the decisions I’m making now with my children who are young and what I want my life and my relationship to be like with them. So yeah, I think you absolutely check that box. You said, I’ve heard you say before, you want people to leave and sit there and think about it, have been impacted by what’s happening. And I can tell you that that’s been very true for me.

Michael Jamin:
That’s been my, because, so Phil came to, I performed this, and if you want to see me perform, you can go to In Your Town if I travel with it, michael jamin.com/upcoming. But that’s one of the stories. That’s actually one of the stories I gave out to reviewers to review the book and people, they like that story. But yeah, my goal when I write any story, and hopefully I achieve this, is people say, I couldn’t put it down. That seems to be the nicest thing you could say about a book. I couldn’t put it down. I want you to put the book down. I want you to get to a chapter and just be so moved at the end of it that you’re not ready to move forward. You just want to sit in that emotion for however long it takes you, whatever it is, just sit in it.
I don’t want you to, it’s not meant to be consumed that way. And one of the things that I tried to achieve, I made, we did an audio book and I hired whatever. I partnered with Anthony Rizzo, who’s the composer I worked with on Marin. He’s a really talented writer composer. And so for the audio book, I would send him each chapter. And then I said to him, he’s like, what do you want? I go, no, no, no. I want you to read this piece, interpret it. Tell me what it sounds like to you in music. What’s your version of, he’s an artist. What does this sound like to you in music? And that’s what he came back with. And so at the end in the audiobook, if you prefer to consume it that way, at the end of the story, we go right into the music and it forces you, or not forces you, but allows you to sit in it. It allows you to sit in whatever motion it is. The music carries you out for 30 seconds or however long it is, just so now you can experience it in music, which I love that I just love. I thought he brought so much to the audiobook. I’m so grateful he hopped on board.

Phil Hudson:
I normally listen to audiobooks at 1.5 to 1.75 speed, and then the music kind of throws that off. This is one I would absolutely listen to in real time. Just

Michael Jamin:
Slow it down. Yeah, down,

Phil Hudson:
Slow it down and just sit in it and give yourself the treat and the opportunity to sit in that. I think very often we are constantly looking for the next thing or to get ahead or checking off stuff on our list. And that’s not what this book is. This book is a sit in it, allow yourself to feel it. Think about how you can apply it. There’s just some beautiful life lessons in here as well.

Michael Jamin:
Yeah, I hope so. That was my goal.

Phil Hudson:
Yeah, I think it’s achieved. And I’ve talked to several people in your advanced reader group who feel the same way.

Michael Jamin:
Yeah.

Phil Hudson:
And you’ve got fans in there, but these are people who are very sincere with their compliments as well. And there’s some great compliments coming your way from that advanced group.

Michael Jamin:
And so thank you. Honestly, I like to do more of this kind of writing, and this is, to me is very fulfilling at this stage of my career. To me, it’s more exciting doing this than writing a TV show that might be seen by millions of people writing something that can make someone just make you laugh, but then feel something. It’s funny, I have sort of a recipe and I’m wondering, people can see through it at some point, but I don’t really care. My recipe is if I can get you to laugh in the beginning, I just want you to open up. Let’s just start laughing about stuff and it start, most of my stories start out very fun and light, and then you kind of relax into, oh, this is going to be fun. And you let your guard down, and as soon as your guard comes down, then I hit you as really hard, as hard as I can with something emotional where I talk about, and because you’re in my writing course, you’ll know where this happens, where this happens structurally. And then at that point, once I hit him in the heart, there’s no point in being funny anymore. The humor has already achieved its goal, which is to you to get your guard down. And so

Phil Hudson:
Engaged, paying attention, it’s something, some advice, I know it’s standard advice, but it advice used specifically gave me a long time ago, which is it’s easy to kill people. It’s hard to make them laugh, and so you’re almost checking the box on the humor part, so they’re completely engaged and engrossed in what’s going on, which is why the emotional impact of the reality of this story hits so hard later. Yeah,

Michael Jamin:
There were times I thought maybe I’m being too funny here in the beginning, I’m not even sure, but because I didn’t want any of this to feel silly, I just wanted it to be fun until, but yeah, tonally, there’s, I guess some stories are a little lighter than others for sure.

Phil Hudson:
Yeah, it’s good stuff. Going back to what you’re telling though, in this narrative of how we got to where you are, you said that you reached out to your agent who got you in touch with the literary agent effectively for books and publishing, and a lot of people, myself included, might be tempted to submit to the agent and then wait and do nothing. And you made a point of saying you continued to write. And the question when he came back is, do you have more? So a lot of people, I think the mistake is that they’re putting all their eggs in the basket. And we see this all the time with the questions on the webinars for the podcast, for your live q and as, when you do them on social media, whatever it is, how do I get an agent? How do I get a representative? How do I get a showrunner attached? How do I do this? And it’s like you say you’re putting all the power in the hands of somebody else and you’re saying that’s the wrong thing to do. And because you didn’t, because you’re writing for yourself to do the job, and you didn’t wait for one person to make your career, you were even more successful

Michael Jamin:
In getting, and he doesn’t care. I mean, he’s a good guy and everything, but he doesn’t care if I achieve this. What does he care? All he wants is, is he going to make money from this? And that’s fair enough. He has to make money, so my dream is my dream. I have to make my dream happen. And so yes, then turned it into him. We sent it out, and then the feedback I got was, Hey, this is really great, but platform drives acquisition. I said, well, what does that mean? It means you need to have a social media following. I said, really? It’s not good enough that it’s well written. No, not anymore. Maybe 30 years ago. But today the industry publishing has changed as much as Hollywood has changed, it’s really can they sell it? And now it’s sold on social media. You’re expected to have that.
And I was a little upset about that. I was like, why can’t it just be good enough? Everyone loved it, but platform drives acquisition. I said, all right, well, how big of a social media following do I need? This is two and a half years ago. And I couldn’t get a straight answer that no one really knew, but especially in the space of They had a good point, Phil. They really did. It’s not like this is not a novel. These are personal essays. But like I said, they’re told story-wise, not if you didn’t know me. You’d be like, oh, this is a nice story. But it just so happens that it’s true. But the point that they made was, or maybe I made it with myself. I think that’s what it was. I was like, if you were to go to Barnes and Noble and my book was on the shelf, why would someone buy it if they don’t know who I am?
Because there’s true stories. Who cares if you don’t know who I am? And that’s a fair thing to ask. Why would someone pick it off the shelf? Now, here’s the thing, as I was arguing with myself, but here’s the thing. No one goes to Barnes and Nobles anymore. That’s not where people get books. I mean, they exist, but most people just get it online. Most of the books are sold online. So why do I need to be in Barnes and no, I don’t. I need, I mean, I can be, but it’s not necessary. And so I was like, okay. And then I was like, well, if I build the platform, if I get a big following and people want to support me and buy the book curious and they like what I have to say and they think I’m talented, great. But then why do I need a publisher?
What do they bring to the equation, honestly? Oh, they can get your book in barge. Oh, well, great, but no one goes there anymore. So what exactly did they do? And by the way, they get most of the money. I’m like, okay, well, they help you design the book cover, but the problem is they don’t help you. They design the book cover. You don’t get a choice of what the book cover is. Maybe they give you three choices, but that’s about it. They decide how they want and they decide what the title of the book is. You sold ’em the Rights. So why am I giving away all this power to someone who hasn’t earned it? Why am I making them rich? Why am I giving any creative input at all? When the whole point of this was for me to have a hundred percent creative input? I remember at one point, because I had talked to other people in the publishing world and they thought your title could be better. It’s called the Paper Orchestra. I was like, yeah, but I think I like the title, but no one really knows what it means. And I’m like, yeah, you got a good point. No one knows what it means until

Phil Hudson:
I remember this conversation,

Michael Jamin:
And then it was ironically, I had a long talk with my daughter. It was on my birthday, and we went for a long walk, and she’s so smart, and she says, well, why are she said to me, I thought the whole point of the book was for you to just write what you wanted to write without anyone giving you No. I said, yeah. She goes, well, why are you changing the title? I said, yeah, why am I changing the title? Why am I second guessing myself? So I did it my way. I did a hundred percent my way, and this is my book.
This is my expression without having anyone telling me it’s wrong, it’s different. It should be this or that. Along the way. I got to say, Phil, it’s so frustrating for, it’s so frustrating to hear this kind of stuff, I think, but it’s like I understand what people want. I want this. I want a complete creative expression. And to me, that’s the satisfaction. Whether I sell a hundred copies or one copy or a million copies, it’s the process that I got so much joy out of. And I think that’s what people will enjoy. I mean, it’s like I had so many agents, even afterwards, they find me on social media, they reach out to me, go, and I tell ’em what my book is, and they go, oh, that sounds nice, but if you write a young adult novel, I can sell that for you. Or if you write a how to book, we can sell that. I’m like, if I don’t want to write those, this is what I want to write. This is exactly what I wanted to write. You got to do it yourself.

Phil Hudson:
That’s right. And that’s what you tell people. You got to basically make your mountain, create your mountain, and then climb your mountain.

Michael Jamin:
And all of it’s doable. It’s just going to take a long time, but it’s going to take less time to build your mountain and climb it than it’s for you to beg someone to make your life.

Phil Hudson:
And begging someone to make your life means you owe them and they have power over you.

Michael Jamin:
And it’s also, but you’re going to hear no so many times you’re going to get so much rejection. Who needs it? Why not just put all that creative energy into what you want to achieve instead of why are you wasting your energy hitting people up on LinkedIn? What’s the point of that?

Phil Hudson:
This is something in business I’m bad about because we’ve talked about it before. I own a digital marketing agency. That was my career path before I moved to LA, and I still operate that agency, and we do nothing on LinkedIn. And I was like, well, you got to be on LinkedIn. That’s where the businesses are. And I was like, I get that Our business is almost purely word of mouth, and it’s because I’m not out shaking my can, asking people to put money in it. We stand on the value of the work that we do, and then that’s referral work that goes out to other people. And that’s not the way to grow to a business that’s going to end up on the New York Stock Exchange or end up something you can trade. But what it is, it’s a lifestyle business that creates a way for me to do what you’re doing, which is to make my art, to be creative, to live my life the way I want without having to be beholden to somebody else dictating what I do with my time and my hours. And what I’m hearing you say is it’s effectively the same thing for your book is had you gone with an agent who sold your book to a big publisher, you would now be mandated to do things in a certain way and you would’ve lost all of the same creative control. And it almost sounds like it would spoil the whole experience for you.

Michael Jamin:
It’s hard to say. I mean, in the beginning, that’s how I thought I had to do it. And then I realized I didn’t have to who it could have been a great experience. I don’t know. I mean, we’ll never know, but I also know it’s not necessary even a little bit, not in today’s world. And if I do another book, maybe I will use a publisher, maybe not. I don’t know. But the point is, if I do, they’re going to pay me for it. You know what I’m saying? This first one’s on me. I have to prove myself. Sure. If they want in on Michael Jamin, they’re going to have to pay me or else, because now the power has shifted.

Phil Hudson:
Yeah. I can’t remember if we’ve ever talked about this, but this came up in conversation this week’s Kevin Hart, where he worked, traveling, doing standup comedy, getting names, getting emails after shows, building a fan base. And then when he got his first big deal, they were like, all right, and then we’ll need you to send this out to your email list. And he said, it’s a million dollars. And they said, what? He says, you didn’t work to build that list. You don’t get my people and mine. I put in the blood, sweat and tears on this. You did not. You’re going to pay me for that blood, sweat and tears.

Michael Jamin:
And what happened?

Phil Hudson:
They paid him every

Michael Jamin:
Time they paid him. Yeah. Pay the man and a lot of this, and you’ve helped out as well with enormously, just in terms of the podcast and help me with marketing and all that stuff and the website. Yeah, but it’s still one of these things. Build it first. This is the order in which you need to do things when you make it first and then people will join in. People will want a piece of that. They either want to help you or they’ll want part of your success or whatever. It’s not the other way around. It’s not, Hey, help me make my dream. No one wants to help you make your dream. No one cares about your dream. You build it first and then they’ll come out of the woodwork and decide whether they want a piece of you or not, because they can make some money off of it.
But it’s so much more empowering when you look at it that way. It’s like, Hey, I have something to offer here. I have something great. I’m not even offering it. I have something great here. Do you want a piece of it or not? And the answer, they know, okay, that’s fine. I will do it without you. But it’s the other, you know what I’m saying? It’s not like, Hey, help me make it out. Hey, help me. Then you’re begging. It’s the other way around. I have something great and I’m going there. I’m doing it with or without you. Up to you, you can decide

Phil Hudson:
It’s field of dreams, right? If you build it, they will come. Yeah.

Michael Jamin:
You got to build it first though.

Phil Hudson:
You got to build it first. You have to do the crazy thing. You have the lofty idea. You got to go make the baseball field in the middle of your corn field in Nebraska or

Michael Jamin:
Wherever. And people say, though, I don’t know how to do that. But if you are a creative person and you want to get into a creative field, writing or screenwriting, whatever, be creative, prove how creative you are, you’ll figure it out.

Phil Hudson:
Figure it out. Yeah, go cut your teeth. I think it’s this metaphor for life though, which is we have to do things that are difficult and hard and things that we don’t enjoy because that’s how we learn and grow and get better. And redefining failure I think was a big deal for me because failure was something I just tried to avoid at all costs, to the point that I would do nothing if I thought I wasn’t going to be 100% successful. So imagine doing that, trying to be a writer when writing is rewriting, you’re not going to be okay the first 10, 15 drafts or whatever. Oh, god. And so if you have this fear of failure and what is failure? So redefining what these things means is very important. And when you start looking at failure, a lot of very smart people have said that failure is just the fastest way to get to success. You just have to fail as fast as possible so that you can achieve your goal. And it’s just learning what not to do. And so many quotes about that.

Michael Jamin:
That’s one of the things. Another thing that I picked up from another musician, David Bowie, as I was trying to figure out what art is, and he said something very similar. He said, art is basically is taking something from within yourself and figuring out a way how to express it so that you can help understand yourself and the world around you. And he goes, but to make something really great, you have to swim in water. That’s just a little too deep to stand in. And that’s when something great can happen. When you’re in a little over your head, that’s when the art is made. And it’s the same thing what you’re saying. It’s like you got to do things that are out of your comfort zone, and that’s how you achieve things.

Phil Hudson:
Yeah. So social media, being a public persona, subjecting yourself to just some of the most crazy things you’ve told me people say to you and your comments and your dms and just horrible things. Horrible

Michael Jamin:
Internet is horrible. I don’t get a ton of hate, but I do get hate. But that’s a double-edged sword of doing this. But also then it was also, okay, I put myself on social media as a screenwriter, as a TV writer, and here I’m sharing my expertise working in the business for 27 years, but I also have show you that I have to show you that I’m actually good at what I do, so that I try to make my posts funny. Or sometimes I just do a post. It’s all funny so that you feel like, okay, maybe this guy can write as opposed to just me saying, I can write, showing you that I can write. So there’s that kind of bridge I have to cross.

Phil Hudson:
Yeah. The exercise of putting yourself out there though is just something you were hesitant to for years and years and years. I think since I met you, I’ve been telling you, you need to be on social media. You need to grow a social media following, and it was just not your thing. And what I appreciate about your story with this book is you care so much about this book and doing this thing for yourself that you’re willing to do the uncomfortable, which is be public facing person who is willing to put yourself out there almost every single day for two and a half years despite what anybody says, because that is what is required for you to make sure that you are able to have the maximum impact as you can with this thing that’s so important to you. And that is something most people aren’t willing to do.

Michael Jamin:
You are listening to, what the Hell is Michael Jamon talking about? Today’s episode is brought to you by my new book, A Paper Orchestra, a Collection of True Stories. John Mayer says, it’s fantastic. It’s multi timbral. It runs all levels of the pyramid at the same time. His knockout punches are stinging, sincerity, and Kirker Review says, those who appreciate the power of simple stories to tell us about human nature or who are bewitched by a storyteller who has mastered his craft, will find a delightful collection of vignettes, a lovely anthology that strikes a perfect balance between humor and poignancy. So my podcast is not advertiser supported. I’m not running ads here. So if you’d like to support me or the podcast, come check out my book. Go get an ebook or a paperback, or if you really want to treat yourself, check out the audio book.
Go to michael jamin.com/book, and now back to our show. I mean, I have people who go on social and things. I go on social media. There’s a lot of influencers that I follow or whatever, usually experts in their field, but many of them, or most of them don’t use their real name. They don’t because they want that anonymity, and I don’t blame them, but I can’t do that. If I’m talking about my book, you got to know what my name is. And so I end everything is Michael Jamon writer. That’s scary to put your real name out there. And so there’s that as well.

Phil Hudson:
This is scary in a real way too. I’m aware of at least two police reports we’ve had to file for people who’ve been insane.

Michael Jamin:
Yeah, there’s some insane people out there, but really insane and nothing too dangerous. I had to report,

Phil Hudson:
But its hate

Michael Jamin:
Speech. You still have to report

Phil Hudson:
It. It speech, it’s hate speech. It’s threatening. It’s angry language, and the things that you’re talking about are wild. They’re not invoking it. One of the compliments I think you get for people is how you respond to criticism. It’s like you could destroy people because you have that capacity.

Michael Jamin:
I could do that with my words. You’re

Phil Hudson:
The definition of a good man, and the fact that you are dangerous with your words and you choose not to use it,

Michael Jamin:
I would believe me, I would tear them apart and make them look silly, but it doesn’t help me any. It doesn’t actually help me. So I just, I’m getting there rolling in the dirt with them, and then we both get dirty. So for the most part, I just ignore, but I also talk to other creators how they handle the same thing. It’s this new internet fame. It’s a strange territory.

Phil Hudson:
Yeah. Well, we were just talking earlier today about how you went. Did you go into a Kinko’s or something to Prince

Michael Jamin:
And stuff? Yeah, I went to a Kinko’s. I got spotted in the wild.

Phil Hudson:
Yeah, somebody knew who you were and it was more common. Shout out Chris. Chris on the podcast, but it’s like the first time, I remember the first time that really happened to you. I remember you told me You’ll never believe what happened. I was out in this place and somebody shotted Michael Jamon Ry from their car. It’s just a weird thing.

Michael Jamin:
It’s just odd. Yeah.

Phil Hudson:
I’ve had a taste of that through association, and I’ve talked about it on the podcast as well, where we went to our wrap party for Tacoma FD season four, and one of the assistant editors comes up and he goes, dude, I got to tell you, my wife works in the industry and she’s an accountant, and she brought over her accountant friend, and they were like, oh, what Jody do you work on? And he was like, I work on Tacoma Dean. And she’s like, oh, I listen to Phil Hudson’s podcast.

Michael Jamin:
Oh,

Phil Hudson:
Wow. And he’s like, I didn’t even know you had a podcast. I was like, ah. It’s a strange feeling. And then later that night, one of our accountants, it must be accountants who listened to our podcast, they brought someone over to the party’s like, yeah, listen to your podcast. I was like, it feels weird. And I’m not even Michael Jammin. I’m just a guy who’s on there.

Michael Jamin:
Yeah, it’s strange to put yourself out there like that, but you’re doing it,

Phil Hudson:
But you’re doing it.

Michael Jamin:
I’m doing it, but I also, yeah. And also, listen, if you want to know more about me, then you’ll definitely read the book. The book is very vulnerable, but it’s still weird. I don’t know. I felt like, well, David Sedaris can do it. I can do it. But I also, I think that’s interesting about, I do think that’s interesting about this kind of writing is that as opposed to writing a novel that you’re making up and you are making up these characters, I feel like the stakes are higher when you’re reading something like my book, because you, oh, this character’s real, and he’s really going through, it’s not like when you’re reading a fake a movie or watching a movie or reading a book, a novel and the character dies or whatever gets injured or something. Part of you can still say, okay, it’s still made up. It’s not real. That’s just an actor going through something and the actor’s pretending. But when you read this, you go, oh, this is real. This is a real person. This is not made up. And I do feel like it raises the stakes, and in some way, I feel like this is my answer to ai, to what if everyone’s worried that AI is going to take writer’s jobs? This is my answer to that, which is, AI cannot do this. AI is not capable of telling a story about me. That’s real. I have to do that.

Phil Hudson:
Yeah. Someone just yesterday I saw someone posted that asking AI to write about, to write about something is having them listen to a thousand hours of people talking about pizza and then asking it to make a pizza is just like, it’s not going to come out. It’s just not going to come out.

Michael Jamin:
I get a lot of people in my comments and they’ll say things when I talk about ai, you clearly don’t understand ai, and I want to say, you clearly don’t understand writing. That’s what you don’t understand. Yep.

Phil Hudson:
It’s the human condition. I mean, we’ve been talking about this forever. That’s what Star Trek is, right? It’s data figuring out what it means to be human. The thing that comes to mind for me is this, for random clip, I saw probably when it was airing real time in the early nineties, and my dad was watching it and it’s data talking about how, oh, boy, time flies. And he couldn’t understand the expression, time flies. And so he sat and watched an egg boil over and over and over again. He’s like, it takes exactly eight minutes and 32 seconds or egg to boil because he couldn’t understand or comprehend it from the machine side. And so it’s all about that. Even machines want to be more human. And rioting is exploring the human condition. Yeah,

Michael Jamin:
That’s right. That’s right. So if you want to understand yourself and you write, and then to me getting back to the book, that’s what this process was figuring out who I am, figuring out who I, and it’s so interesting because all these patterns kept on emerging. I got write a story and I’d get halfway through it, and I’m thinking, why would this character, and let’s say this story is something that I did when I was 11 or whatever, why would this character do that? Why would I have done that? And a lot of times I just didn’t know, why would I do that? It didn’t make sense. Then I’d write something, I’d go, no, that doesn’t feel true. That feels like the TV version. What’s the real version? And then I’d have to think of another memory from that time. And I think, oh, I wonder if those two are related. And now I’m figuring out who I am. And I’m like, oh, that’s why I would do that. That makes sense. Which is so interesting to finally be able to understand yourself at the end of this book. I’m like, oh, I know who I am.

Phil Hudson:
In some of my research for one of the pilots I wrote about special operators in the Seal team, six Delta fours, green Berets, army Rangers. I was listening to a bunch of podcasts, and one of ’em was talking about this principle that your level of trauma or your level of struggle is the same as mine. Even if something I’ve been through has been more horrific. From an objective perspective, our perception of my worst trauma and your worst trauma are equally impactful. And I’m wondering, we had very different childhoods, and we’ve talked a bit about mine and a little bit about yours, but does that process of exploring, why would you do things as a child? Is that healing for you?

Michael Jamin:
And it was healing and helpful. A lot of these stories, I feel, are apologies to various people I’ve heard over my life, and it’s not written to be an apology, but when you’re telling the truth, it’s an apology. When you’re acknowledging your end of it, it’s an apology. And so I’m not writing it, Hey, please forgive me. It’s just about the truth. And so, yeah, I really, it’s so helpful, and hopefully this is what people will respond to. When you read the book, you go, oh, man, yeah, thank you for that. Thank you for putting to words what I couldn’t do because I’m not a writer. Yeah,

Phil Hudson:
Yeah. That’s the stuff that stays with us, right? It’s a metaphor for things we’re going through. And I think one of the most impactful lessons I learned in film school was the cool job effect.

Michael Jamin:
What is that?

Phil Hudson:
So it was this Russian director who showed the same shot of a man, and then he put it against a starving child or a child in a casket or food, or a beautiful woman. And at the end, everyone came up. And that actor was incredible. When he looked at the food, I could feel his desire for food. When he looked at that girl, I could see the pain of her death. And when he saw the woman, I could feel the lust. It’s the exact same shot of the same man. And it’s the subjective projection that one puts onto art that allows you, it’s an unconscious way for you to make sense of your world and import what your experience is in on something, which is why art has always been a part of humanity. It’s why it’s something that we have always, I think, sought after. It’s not entertainment from a sedation perspective where we’re trying to avoid it. Sometimes it’s that, but very often the things that impact us and mean something, they are things that we need to experience because they make sense. They allow us to make sense of our world.

Michael Jamin:
Right. That’s a good point that you point that out. Yeah. It’s like I feel like I’ve played a part of that in writing sitcoms sometimes, and there’s a place for it. You’ll come home after a long day, you just want to thrown out and laugh and really not be challenged and not go there, but for this piece. And there’s nothing wrong with that. People want to be entertained. But for this,

Phil Hudson:
People still learn from that too, that people need that, and it serves a role too.

Michael Jamin:
They need that. But for this, I didn’t want that. I wanted to go way deeper than that. I wanted to because I wanted to feel something. Because my contention as a comedy writer, and I know this is true, is that when you write that humor, write something funny. Or if you go, sometimes you’ll go see a standup who’s hilarious, but then you leave and you are hard pressed to remember one joke that you liked, or you’re hard pressed to remember what you even liked about it. You go, I just spent an hour laughing, but I don’t really remember any of it. I know I enjoyed myself, but I can’t, it’s not with me anymore. And what I really wanted to do was write something that would stay with you after this. So you were still feeling like we talked about, you’re still feeling it. And you can’t just do that with comedy. You have to mix drama into it. Because comedy, that’s not what comedy does.

Phil Hudson:
Well, I mean, your course and what I’ve seen you do in your craft and sitcoms as well, this is really key point, is why do we care about this thing? The reason we don’t care. That’s the story. And that’s the personal, and that’s the people. And so, I mean, this has been your point, and what you’ve been teaching for years and years anyway is none of it matters unless it means something. And that is the drama part of the comedy. That comedy can break things and it can move us and give us that ebb and flow and that roller coaster effective emotions. And those are beautiful experiences to have in sitcoms or dramas or dramedies. But it’s the, why are we watching this? It’s the human thing. It’s that human piece. That’s what you’re saying. That’s what I’m hearing.

Michael Jamin:
Yeah. What’s at stake here? What’s really at stake? And again, I studied other writers. Some I thought did it great, and some I didn’t think did it well at all. And so I was trying to hold myself to that higher standard of the ones who did it really well, because I knew what I, what I wanted out of this.

Phil Hudson:
And again, we’ve started by saying, you’ve climbed this mountain, and there’s another mountain.

Michael Jamin:
There’s another mountain. Sometimes people have said to me like, well, are you going to turn this into a TV show? It’s so odd. It’s so odd. Or a movie that somehow I was even watching, what was I watching, American Fiction, that movie. And there’s a line in it where this author, she had a book that was a bestseller, and then she’s giving an interview and someone said, oh, maybe they’ll a hear. They’re making a movie out of it. And she’s like, well, I can’t tell you anymore as if a movie is better than a book or a TV show is better than a book. A book could be a book, a book. What’s wrong with a book? Just being a book.
So I don’t either have any plans to turn this in TV show. If anyone, could it be me? I am a TV writer. I could have very specific ideas on how I would want to do it, and whether a buyer would want to do that or not, I don’t know. But I wouldn’t compromise how I’d want to do it. But the best way to make it happen, if it did happen, I would have to sell a lot of books first. So if anyone wants to see it happen, then get a book. And then I would actually make content behind the scenes on TikTok, Hey, look at me now I’m meeting with this studio. And now if that’s the ride you want to go on, then in order to go on that ride, I have to sell a lot of copies. But again, that’s not my goal. Show support. You can if you’re curious, but again, that’s not my goal. The goal of this was only one thing. I want to write a book that moves people was never a TV show. I can write a TV show. I write TV shows. That’s not what I wanted to do.

Phil Hudson:
And if you want to be moved, you have to buy a copy of the book because if you’re listening to this and you want to experience what Michael has put together, you have to buy a copy of the book because that is, I know the number you’ve invested significantly into just making this happen for yourself. This is not some random cousin who’s like, Hey, I wrote a book and I put it on Amazon publishing. This is the real deal. I mean, lift your book up if you don’t mind, so people can see the cover. This has been out for a minute, but even just the story of this cover and how you got this cover and found this artist and license, it is a beautiful story in and of itself.

Michael Jamin:
Yeah. Okay. That’s another thing. So I wanted to cover,

Phil Hudson:
Before we dive into this, I just wanted to point out too, when you were talking about, you looked at all these other writers and people and you said, that’s who I want. That’s the level I want to be at. You’ve done this one. Whatever you do next, you’re still going to be saying the same thing. All right. What’s the next level of professionalism or craft that I can get to? And that’s because you are a pro, and that’s what you tell people to be a professional, which is constantly striving to be better than the last time.

Michael Jamin:
Yeah. There are a lot of writers or authors, maybe indie authors, they’re cranking out books. I’m like, Jesus, I cranked this out. This took four years. I didn’t crank this out. This was worked on really, I really worked on it.

Phil Hudson:
But talk about your cover. I apologize for interjecting there. I just wanted to get that point across that you’re still going to be pursuing that. Excellent. And that’s what makes people stand out. Excellence stands out in a world, I hope so.

Michael Jamin:
Yeah, make something good and people will, okay, so for the cover, I wanted a good cover, but the book is funny and it’s also very poignant. And so I looked at other books that I thought were really good, and so I found this one guy who had actually designed some of David Sari’s early covers. I didn’t know this guy, but obviously he gets comedy. So I read, his name is Steve Snyder. I just found him on Instagram. I don’t know him from a hole in the wall. And I DMed him. I slid into his dms and I told him what I was working on, and I told him, I noticed how weird it’s for me to reach out to him. And he goes, oh, well, send me your manuscript. So I did. And then a couple weeks went by, he wrote back. He goes, I love it. I’m in. And now this guy, he’s like 80 or something, but he was retired. He goes, I’ll come back out of retirement to make the cover for you. I go, great, but just so you know, I don’t know what my budget is. He goes, oh, I’ll do it for free. I want to be part of it. I love it. I want to be part of it.

Phil Hudson:
Wow, Michael, just let that sit. I know you’ve internalized that, but we talk about to everybody. You got to own the wins and you got to celebrate the victory. He’s like, what does that mean to you that this accomplished

Michael Jamin:
Desire? It was very validating. It was very, and then I was like, alright, well, I’ll just figure out what I’m going to pay you later, but, but then as we were moving down the line, he’s retired, so he was getting, I just made plans. I’m going to be traveling from, he goes, I want to do this, but I don’t think I can get it done on time. He goes, I was like, okay, I don’t want to, okay, maybe you can refer somebody. So he recommended one of these accolades, one of the people he trained under him. And so I reached out to her same deal. And so I want hiring her, Jenny Carro. She did a wonderful job with the cover, but getting the cover. And then when we finally got the cover and I reached out to Steve again, I go, here’s the cover.
You want to see it? And he goes, oh, damn. I love it. I wish I didn’t drop out. That’s awesome. But what happened with Jenny? So she came back with a bunch of covers that were good, but they didn’t feel right. There was something about it didn’t feel right. It was like almost, and then she had one cover, and I hate to keep going back and forth with her. I was like, I don’t want to discourage her. So one was almost good, almost like right, but not quite right. And then I was intent. I was going to use it. And then for some reason I happened to see an ad on Facebook. It was an article about artists or whatever. So I click on this article and I’m reading the article, and then there’s other, I see the cover that she was going to license for my, she was going to license some artwork for my cover, and I recognize it.
I go, that’s it. And I click on it to discover more about what this artist had done. And then, which took me to his website or his Instagram page, I don’t remember. And then I discover all his other work and I go, that’s the one. So this is a licensed piece of art from this Dutch artist named Tune Juin. And I reached out to him, I want to license this art for your book, for my book. And he goes, great. It was just a boy sitting on words. And the title is a paper orchestra. And so it’s not, what does it mean? It’s just a boy struggling with words. That’s all it is. And that’s what the book is. It’s about a boy who grew up to be a man who struggled with words.

Phil Hudson:
Do you remember what I told you when you told me that story? You remember what I called

Michael Jamin:
It? What did you

Phil Hudson:
I said, that’s Providence.

Michael Jamin:
Providence, yeah. There was a lot of that. There was a lot of just, Hey, that’s the universe telling me this is what your cover should be. And once I saw it, I go, that’s it. We’re done. We’re done. We could stop looking.

Phil Hudson:
And then here’s an artist who is putting art out that I would consider to not be standard, normal art that you would think about in a normal way. And then here he is featured in this article, and then here, now you’re reaching out and his art is now supporting and improving your art. It’s a beautiful thing.

Michael Jamin:
And then the same thing with Anthony Rizzo, who did the music. When I got him aboard, I go, listen, Anthony, I’m making this audiobook. I don’t know how much I can pay you. He goes, I don’t care. I want to be part of it. So I was like, okay. And then I had a small budget for him, but then I got this brand deal from Final Draft. I go, oh, good. I can give him whatever I was going to pay him. Now I can pay him additional money from this brand deal. It doesn’t come really out of my pocket. Its money. It’s kind of found money. So I just give it right to him. That’s great. That’s

Phil Hudson:
Great. I love that, man. Your network will pay in spades if the work you do is quality and you’re a good person. I’ve seen that for you. I’ve seen that for myself. I’ve seen it in lots of other people. People want to be a part of your project if what you’re doing means something and you’re kind. And if you were Dick, imagine you were the showrunner and you were throwing tantrums and going on Tirades on Marin. Do you think anybody, I would want to work with you on this.

Michael Jamin:
Yeah. But there’s that. And like I said, there’s also build it for, if I started this by saying, reaching out to these people on Instagram or whatever, Hey, I have this idea that I want to make. Will you be part? No, come back to me when you’re done, basically. And so for everyone who has a movie they want to make or a scene, alright, shoot a scene on a park bench with your phones. They’re like, you don’t need to spend $10,000. You could do it for 50. Whatever you need.

Phil Hudson:
Jamie Kaler, who I think you’re going to have on the podcast, he just Captain Polonsky on Taco D and a bunch of other stuff. I had a long running series as well. He’s got a series that he did with another known actor called Dad’s in a Park, I think is what it’s called. It’s him on a bench with another dad just talking about dad stuff.

Michael Jamin:
And where’s that on YouTube?

Phil Hudson:
I’ll find it. I think it’s on YouTube and Instagram. But it’s so real and funny. It’s like, yeah, this makes sense. And it’s two great actors who are just doing their thing. And it plays and it plays really well. It’s very funny.

Michael Jamin:
And when you look at people doing interesting things, this is what I say, people who are just popping, who just broke onto the Hollywood scene somehow. Somehow they have a special on Netflix or somehow they’re a star of a show or a movie, whatever. Look how they did it. They did it themselves. And then Hollywood discovered them because Hollywood was like, oh, we can make money off this person.

Phil Hudson:
It’s the fable. It wasn’t

Michael Jamin:
The other way around.

Phil Hudson:
It’s a fable of overnight success that is never overnight success. There was always something before that. Every

Michael Jamin:
Time, these are people who are already building it, people like me, people like you who are already building it, and then people see go, oh, what’s that fool over there building? I want in on it. And that fool’s going to say, well, you can be in or you can either way. I’m doing it without you. So come along for the ride if you want

Phil Hudson:
Going to happen. I had love to talk about some of the endorsements of your book, if that’s okay. I don’t want to embarrass you with some of this stuff. How do you feel about telling the John Mayer story?

Michael Jamin:
Oh my God. That’s another

Phil Hudson:
Thing. I think it’s a great story. And I’ll just say this. Michael will always be very hesitant about bringing in friends or colleagues to talk about his stuff. And he’s made it very clear as we’re talking about how to help him market his book, how are we doing this in a way that’s not going to ever feel like I am using these people? And so what we have on your site that are published are reviews that people have given you of your book. And there are sincere, honest reviews of your book. And these are people you’ve worked with and some of them are people you’ve not worked with. And Mark and John Mayer I think is just this amazing story of someone you’ve never worked with, but because of this mountain that you’ve built and that you’ve climbed, now there’s this relationship or connection with John, the John Mayer. Yeah. And I think it’s worth talking about, and John May and John Mayer has this great TV show that was on VH one. It’s called John Mayer has a TV show, by the way. It’s one of the funniest things I have ever seen. Oh, really? And you talk about you ever gone to a standup comedy show or something and you laughed. And I remember bits from this thing. Oh, funny. It is that funny. I’ll send it to you after.

Michael Jamin:
But yeah, I want to see that. Yeah, I just noticed that he was following me on Instagram or I think on, I

Phil Hudson:
Think Mark Hoppel in the course, if I recall, tagged, commented and said, Hey, did anyone see? Is that the John Mayer? I think he kind of shouted it out in your

Michael Jamin:
Comments. Yeah, I had forgotten that. John. Every once in a while, someone famous would follow me. I’m like, look at that. Look at that. That’s odd. Which is nice. And then so yeah, so he was been following me, and then I needed to get a blurb. I’m like, why not reach out to John Mayer? What do I got to lose? And he is a fabulous musician and guitarist. He really can play. That guy can play. So I just sent him a dm. Hey John Mayer. I know this is weird. I got a book coming out. I’d love a blurb from you. I can just send you one chapter if you want, just one chapter. That way you don’t have to, whatever you want. And so he goes, yeah, yeah. He writes back, I just finished. I’m on way back to the hotel. He just finished a concert, right? It was by 10 at night. It was, I don’t know what time it was. It was late where he was

Phil Hudson:
Just putting Michael Jam in late night sliding into John Mayer’s dms. Everybody just keep that in mind.

Michael Jamin:
So he’s in his car going back to the hotel, and I’m like, all right. So I sent him one story, and I think it was the Ghoul, the one we were just talking about. And he was great. I’ll read it. He’s just unwinding from his show. And so about a half hour later, he writes back to me, and this is the quote I put on the book he wrote, it’s fantastic multi timbral. It runs all levels of the pyramid at the same time, his knockout punches are stinging sincerity, which is exactly what a musician would write. Yeah,

Phil Hudson:
Multi.

Michael Jamin:
Yeah. I go, this is perfect because I can write more. And I’m like, this is perfect. And so we spent, I don’t know, an hour or so just DMing each other and I’m asking him questions about art, and he’s just DMing back. I’m like, holy shit. I’m DMing John Mayer. And it was getting late, and it was later where he was. He was on the East Coast, and my wife’s like, I’m lying in bed. Are you still talking to John Mayer? Yeah, I’m

Phil Hudson:
Still

Michael Jamin:
Talking to John Mayer

Phil Hudson:
Was hilarious. You can’t write that. It’s a beautiful little thing. But he was so gracious. You’re lying in bed next to your wife, DMing someone. And it’s John Mayer. It’s John Mayer. It’s not some floozy. It’s not some random girl on the internet. It’s John Mayer. And she’s like,

Michael Jamin:
He had so many interesting things to say and I’ll continue sharing with another podcast. But I was asking him about art, about his, like I said, I learned from musicians, for some reason, what they do resonates with me and was, I dunno. He was so gracious and he did it right away. And what he wrote was beautiful. And then I was asking him about some of the songs he wrote, and he had some really good advice that applies to writing as well that I thought was just this guy’s, when you talk to him, you go, oh, this guy’s an artist. He’s not phoning any of this in. He gives a lot of thought to what he’s doing and it’s super important to him. And I just thought, I just have so much respect for people like that. It was like he not a guy trying to be famous. He’s a guy trying to make really good music.

Phil Hudson:
Yeah. Yeah. I mean, his blue stuff is beautiful. Love it. That’s great. Obviously you got quotes from Mark Marin. He said some really kind things about you. He said, Michael was essential in helping me portray myself. Honestly. Michael did a beautiful job of it with a paper orchestra portraying your authentic self.

Michael Jamin:
And that was something I learned actually from running his TV show. Mark was very vulnerable on the show and very, we break stories in the room and I’m like, boy, I can’t believe you’re admitting to that. And he almost looked, well, of course. Of course. Why wouldn’t I? And so learning how to write for him actually was very helpful. Learning how to write this,

Phil Hudson:
Kevin and Steve, I picked that up in Tacoma of D too. They, there’s no shame in the life that they’ve led. They will just tell you,

Michael Jamin:
Especially Steve. Steve will tell you everything you want to know.

Phil Hudson:
Shameless, love it. Love Steve. There you go. Steve called me out on his podcast and said, he said, not that Phil Hudson’s not an actor, but he’s not. And I was like, oh, Steve, that hurts. Oh yeah. He told me that my acting went to my head. I was like, it did a little, that’s, there you go, Steve. Shots fired. Yeah. But it’s like not having pride of that. And it allows you to be vulnerable enough to get to the things. It is what you’ve told me before, though, nobody cares.

Michael Jamin:
Yeah.

Phil Hudson:
No one cares. You think other people care. They don’t care. They’re too busy thinking about themselves

Michael Jamin:
And they’re not. I’ve said this before, is that I think one of the worries people had when I was writing this book, they go, well, this is pretty personal, pretty vulnerable. Are you worried about being judged? And I’ve responded, I’m more worried about people judging me to be a bad writer. And so because of that, I will go there. I will give it to you because that’s more concerning to me that you think I’m a bad writer. And so ironically, if you’re worried about being judged, the course of action you should take is allow yourself to be judged and then you won’t be judged.

Phil Hudson:
You and I were talking to another writer once and they said that they didn’t want to go there, and you told me, we had a conversation. Did you hear what they said? And it’s like, this is someone who has lived a life and has a story to tell and they won’t go there.

Michael Jamin:
Yeah. I’m like, well, you signed up for the wrong job. That’s the job. Sorry.

Phil Hudson:
It was beautiful. Laura Sanoma left me a beautiful Barb beer.

Michael Jamin:
She’s so sweet. I worked with her on Jas Shoot Me. It was my first job. And so I reached out to her and if you want to read, but she wrote,

Phil Hudson:
Yeah, it’s hard to see the letters I’m typing because my eyes are still Misty. Michael was a writer on a show I did, and I know he’s funny. That’s his gift and profession. I did laugh out loud that I expected, but what I appreciated the most was being led into Thoughts down the path to his deepest confessions and deepest Loves Good storytelling also leads us to ourselves, our memories, our beliefs, personal and powerful. I loved The Journey. And Michael, I don’t know that there’s any more fitting way to cap off the conversation we’ve had today than that quote.

Michael Jamin:
And she’s an artist as well. I mean, she’s an actor. I remember working with her. Laura’s with the material. She’s an artist. So I think she appreciated my journey as well.

Phil Hudson:
Yeah. Not to take away from that, I just thought if we could just talk about some of the other people who’ve read your book and Left Blurbs, and you guys can go see this@michaeljamon.com slash book. You’ve got Steve Levitan, who co-created Modern Family. He’s the creator of Just Shoot Me Your First Real Boss, right?

Michael Jamin:
Yeah, yeah.

Phil Hudson:
Judy Greer, the infamous Judy Greer. John Schuller, who co-created Silicon Valley. He worked with you on King of the Hill.

Michael Jamin:
Yeah, king of the Hill and Lopez as well.

Phil Hudson:
Yeah. Max Mutchnick, the co-creator, will and Grace, Dave Krinsky. He was a showrunner in King of the Hill. John Abel, who was a writer on Kung Fu Panda, who wrote Kung Fu Panda, the infamous Steve Lemmy from Broken Lizard Lemmy, Kevin Heffernan from Super Drew Beers Beer, fast to Co FD and Broken Lizard, and David Litt, who was a co-creator of King of Queens. And you have many more that are not listed here, but it seems to me like the people who’ve read your book at a high level, people that we look up to or know are having the same experience that Phil Hudson’s having in 2022, sitting in a small theater in Glendale, California, watching you perform your craft and seeing your vulnerability on stage. And so it really does feel transcendent and something that we will speak to everybody who listens to it on audio or reads it on digital or in paperback.

Michael Jamin:
Yeah. Yeah. So I hope all of you will enjoy it. And if you are writers yourselves, I hope it inspires you to mine your own life for stories. And that’s actually the last chapter I talk about that how I turn is a little behind the scenes of how I actually turn this idea into a story like my thought process while, so if that interests you as well, that’s also a part of the book as a bonus little part.

Phil Hudson:
That’s great. Now, I am one who will buy almost all formats of a book. I can put on audio while I’m, audio is better for me. I can remember most of that tones and things like that. But often when I’m trying to study something, I will read it while I’m listening to it. This feels almost like a performance, getting to see you live in the audio book format here, and I think there’s a bonus. Is that right? With your wife, Cynthia, who directed this?

Michael Jamin:
Yeah. Yeah. That’s on the audio book. We had a little, again, a different behind the scenes as well. Some people, at the end of the day, it is very visual because I still write it as if like, okay, what are we watching in the scene? I am still a screenwriter at heart. So you’re like, okay, it’s not very, so I try to make these scenes, I go, so you can picture it. So in your head, I think it’s part of the enjoyment. You get to see it in your head. Although, like I said, I didn’t want you to think I was a TV writer, but parts of it I think you have to embrace.

Phil Hudson:
Yeah. Well, all formats available right now@michaeljamon.com. Anywhere books are found at this stage right through set up. So if you’re interested, go pick it up. You’re doing sign copies on your website, so can sign copy. You can go to michael jamon.com/book and you can get it there. Anything else you want to talk about your book?

Michael Jamin:
That’s it. We got some merch as well. We got some accompanying merch. That’s another thing. I hope this works out by the time I have to make merch. So I have a friend who is, I hope this works out. We’re talking on Monday. He does the bumpers. He used to do the bumpers for the Conan O’Brien show. So he’s helped me with design some of the merch, and this is how it works. If people out, Hey, I want to be part of that.

Phil Hudson:
Well, it’s been a pleasure and I just want say, and I’m so proud of you as your friend and someone I look up to is beyond just a mentor, really, someone I look to as a dear friend, I am so proud of you for the work you’ve put in for putting yourself out there. I have seen, and again, you’re older than me and have lived more life than I have, but in the time I’ve known you, I’ve seen your growth as you’ve put yourself out there to be more vulnerable, to share your art, and you’re reaping the rewards of that through other people wanting to participate and the ability to impact other people. And I think you’re a great example to people of why you should be putting yourself out there. Because imagine all of the lives you’ve touched over the last two and a half years through the podcast, through your videos, through your social media content, and how many of them you would’ve never, ever been able to impact had you not started down this journey that you didn’t want to go down, but needed to. Because as we’ve heard in stoicism say, the obstacle is the way, right. Your path, this obstacle of growing, your following and putting yourself out there is the path. That journey is the path you needed to go down to have the fulfillment of getting this out.

Michael Jamin:
And thank you for all your help and your help marketing this and all that stuff, the website, all that stuff.

Phil Hudson:
Of course, happy to support you in anything you’re doing here. And likewise, it’s so mutual too. And for everybody, this isn’t something I’m getting paid to do. I’m doing it, and I’ve been doing it because it’s mutually beneficial. I want to be a part of what you’re doing, and I’ve been begging for this for years of knowing you get this type of stuff. So it’s mutually beneficial. And everybody who knows me because of Michael, thank you for that trust. But Michael, thank you for having the life experience to say what you need to say in a way that is impactful.

Michael Jamin:
Well, thank you. That’s beautifully said. That’s because you’re a writer. Thank

Phil Hudson:
You. Working on it.

Michael Jamin:
Working on it.

Phil Hudson:
Thank you, sir. Lots of stuff to talk about. Obviously the book is the most important thing right now. There’s webinars, there’s of courses, there’s free stuff. But right now, now’s the time to go support on the book and do something for yourself. Get the book and give yourself time to breathe and sit with it and feel it.

Michael Jamin:
Yeah, feel it. Go get it. Michael jamen.com. Thank you guys so

Phil Hudson:
Much. Until next time. Keep reading.

Michael Jamin:
Keep reading. Thank you, Phil.

Phil Hudson:
Catch you guys later. Bye.

Michael Jamin:
Wow. I did it again. Another fantastic episode of What the Hell is Michael Jamin talking about? How do I do it week after week? Well, I don’t do it with advertiser supported money. I tell you how I do it. I do it with my book. If you’d like to support the show, if you’d like to support me, go check out my new book, A Paper Orchestra. It asked the question, what if it’s the smallest, almost forgotten moments that are the ones that shape us most? Laura Sanoma says, good storytelling also leads us to ourselves, our memories, our beliefs, personal and powerful. I loved the Journey, and Max Munic, who was on my show says, as the father of daughters, I found Michael’s understanding of parenting and the human condition to be spot on. This book is a fantastic read. Go check it out for yourself. Go to michael jamin.com/book. Thank you all and stay tuned. More. Great stuff coming next week.

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Michael Jamin, Showrunner, TV Writer, Author

Michael Jamin

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

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