Rob Edwards has written two classic animated films for WALT DISNEY FEATURE ANIMATION, the Academy Award-nominated Treasure Planet and the Academy Award and Golden Globe-nominated The Princess and the Frog. He also consulted on Tangled, Wreck-it Ralph, and Frozen. He penned AMULET for Warner Brothers and ANIMATED AMERICAN for Disney.
Rob is currently writing projects for SHOWTIME, SONY, PARAMOUNT, and Chris Rock. Rob is also known for his work on the television shows “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” “Full House,” “A Different World,” “Roc,” “In Living Color,” and as the creator of “Out All Night.” In 2012, Rob launched robedwards.net, where he shares the tools he has developed over 30 years of writing professionally.
He has taught and/or lectured for UCLA, Tisch School of the Arts at NYU, Syracuse University, Boston University, Howard University, The Organization of Black Screenwriters, CTN Expo, LMU, Digital Hollywood, The Scriptwriters Network, The Writers Store, University of California Riverside, Le Moyne College and others.
Alex Ferrari 0:28
Enjoy this episode with guest host Scott McMahon.
Scott Mcmahon 1:58
Okay, today's episode I'm super excited by today. I have screenwriter Rob Edwards on It's bonkers. It's like over two hours long but is just packed with such great information. I wanted to dig deeper into one area that I have a particular interest in is the Pixar brain trust storytelling meetings. So how does Rob fit in? But here's a quick bio of Rob's work. Rob grew up in Detroit moved out to Los Angeles and had an agreement with his dad that he would find work in the industry within the first nine months he was there. Now, here's where Rob's hustle is on full display. Now this was back in the mid 1980s. He would call every production company in town and ask the person on the other line if they wanted to hear a joke or piece of gossip. Most of the time Rob was able to get a laugh from them with his jokes. While those who pick the gossip will share even juiciest stories with Rob of their own. Now all the people at these production companies would ask what Rob wanted. Now Rob didn't ask for anything return. He just said that he would call back and let them know. So when he calls back the people at these production companies, they remembered him and when he asked for work, they were more inclined to hire him because the fact that at least there will be a guy around the office who could tell jokes all day. Robert worked these production gigs during the day and at night write his scripts. Now the hustle paid off because he was eventually hired as a writer for television before he was 21. That's crazy. Since then, here are Rob's credits. He's been a writer on Full House in living color, the Fresh Prince of Bel Air, which most of the stories are based on his own experience while attending prep school in Detroit. In fact, Rob went to the same school as Aaron Sorkin, who rob works with on studio 60 later on. Now, we didn't get a chance to go into detail about working with Aaron Sorkin. But I do hope to have Rob back again one day. So there's talk about more stories. You know, Rob's work eventually landed him over at Disney where he wrote Treasure Planet and the Princess and the Frog. Rob was there at Disney when the Pixar guys took over story development. And that is where we pick up the story. I've always been fascinated by how Pixar continually knocks it out of the park with their stories. In the book creativity inc by Ed Catmull, who was one of the founders of Pixar explains how the development of this brain trust group has been proven to be invaluable to the storytelling process for Pixar. So I'm thinking how does it work? What happens in those rooms that is different than getting studio notes or working in a writers room. And now here today, we need to find out because Rob worked firsthand in these brain trust meetings for the princess in the frog. What I hope you get from this episode is some real world strategies of how to make your stories better. I mean, after all, it's not every day you get to sit in on a Pixar Storytelling meeting. So sit back and enjoy my conversation with Rob Edwards. With film Trooper The goal was to try to help sort of the Uber independent filmmaker, the one that things have changed so much in the filmmaking landscape, obviously of the studio system you have sort of like the indie Hollywood, like people that have one foot in the studio system, one foot Yeah, but in like the film, International Film Market, and there's probably like 90% of everybody now that has a camera and can edit movies on their laptop. Right now they've entered the scene. But there's, there's a different sort of business economics for them. And, and you know, we're just sort of discovering it. And but at the core of all this is still telling a great story. So, because I also came from the video game world for like 12 years, I worked at Sony PlayStation, and I was a Cinemax supervisor. They're making you know, movies for video games. But our department was considered fluff, because at the heart of all video games, is the gameplay. So if movies and television is if story is king, then in video games, gameplay is king, because you can have amazing graphics on your video game. But if it's sluggish, if it's not fun to play, right, people put it aside. So I wanted to, if you would indulge me just like imagine this setup, where we have these Uber independent filmmakers that they are learning the skill sets as a filmmaker to shoot, edit, you know, direct what what it may be, but we do sees a lot of it fall short, in terms of the storytelling aspect of things. And with your history with your experience, I'm really curious about what you saw on the transition. One working in writers rooms, we're gonna collaboratively But then on top of that, working with Disney, especially on that transition when Pixar, you know, came in, and I would really love to know more about, could you take us through a little journey of like, how the brain trust meetings work? Or oh, sure, is. Because if what I'm trying to do is if there's something there, there's these nuggets there that we can then identify and say, okay, so if you're like an Uber independent filmmaker, and you're writing your story, right now, how can you simulate on your own by we were talking about the accountability group, you know, our mastermind? Can you create something like that? That's very specific to creating your own version of a brain trust group? And if so, what would be those inner workings that that we could apply? That'd be like, oh, like, how do you get in a room where people can be free to be, be have candor without being insulting?
Rob Edwards 7:30
Well, that's the that's the thing. The question is, is kind of the answer. Because it's, that is the, for me at Disney Pixar, I saw the pre John Lasseter, Disney, you know, Treasure Planet, that was all, you know, the old regime, where there were levels, levels after levels of middle management, and, and everybody, and, you know, sometimes a note would come down from on high, you know, whatever. And it would get some something simple, like, somebody would just read something and say, Hey, I wonder if we could do this. And then middle management, which is pound us and say, This has to happen? You know, there is no, there is no other version, and we would look at it and we would say, hey, look, we've tried this, it doesn't work. It makes the movie bad. And they would say, No, we got this note, and you have to do it. And then we would do it. And it would go back to the person, you know, the voice on high and he was like, What is this? This is This is crap. I said, Well, this was your note, this was an, you know, this addresses your nose like No, no, no, that was just a thought. That didn't work, you should have thrown it out. And that's what you know, middle management kind of does to kill you. What's great about the brain trust is that it's it's two things. One is I'll say the impossible part of it, we'll start there. The Impossible part of it is you're never going to find yourself in a room with Brad Bird. And you know, and yeah, yeah. And that these guys are going to say, hey, it's very important that your movie is good. And, and we'll invest in it with with an artist's heart. And, you know, that's very tough. Having said that, you can construct rooms of filmic meet before they were Pixar. They were just a bunch of guys who almost got shut down. You know, for Toy Story. poster was a mess. The first draft of Toy Story, the first version for a set of reels of Toy Story was a mess when he's yelling at everybody. You know, everybody was cowering in fear. It was the most by their admission, the most unlikable film ever. And then what Peyton Bob said was that Pete doctor said that Andrew Stanton kind of went into a room and figured it out.
Alex Ferrari 9:58
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Rob Edwards 10:07
You know, he went into a room with all of the techs, you know, Dr. Ruby, whatever. And Robert McKee has all the notes for everything along with his own thoughts about, you know, movies that he'd like, the note that they had gotten, you know, why wasn't Pixar here? Why wasn't Toy Story working? And how had they arrived at this place where even Steve Jobs was saying, like, Okay, guys, maybe it's maybe this isn't, maybe this isn't the right, the right fit. And he came out and said, I got it. It needs to be this and this. And this. And those are the rules that you always see, you know, and their TED Talks and stuff like that, you know, of what they do, which they frequently break, by the way. Guys, in every movie, they have happy villages, they just don't call them happy villages. There is a you know, there is an eye once on, everybody has to state what it is they want. But those rules, basically what they do is they enforce the rules. And the way that the the Brain Trust works, at least what I saw is that they start off what you don't get that you do get sometimes from your buddies, is a great movie. And that's, that's the worst thing in the world. You know, it's just, it's the, I would say savagery of low expectations. This is very good. Yes. Don't change a word of it. That's awful. What you say is, okay, what is the biggest problem? That's where That's where Andrew Stanton would usually start to okay, what is the biggest problem? Let's start there. And then let's let those things filter down. Because some of the smaller problems that people have may be things that started with the bigger problems.
Scott Mcmahon 11:52
When you say, when you say big problem, is that the actual What's the biggest problem of the story not working? Or what is the biggest problem in the story? Or like what is the protagonist is probably
Rob Edwards 12:02
The biggest problem with the story not working. Okay. And it is, it is your buddy will say, Oh, it works. It just needs this. A Brain Trust says it's not working. You know, the, the, the the default is, it doesn't work. These movies just don't work, you know? And if they are, if they're good, it's still not good enough. You know, they're not great. They're not everybody's favorite movie. You're not gonna you're not gonna turn style, you know, you're not gonna leave the theater, buy a ticket and come right back in. Yeah. Yeah. Especially in the first second draft. A lot of people will stop there. That's a that's a major problem I see a lot is it writers will say, they'll do a draft or two. And they'll say, oh, great, you know, this is good. It all works. And then they'll stop. You can't you have to say, Okay, well, what you had to plus it, you have to say, Okay, what's the next level of this? You know, we have a really great animal has his has a has a great scene, she's auditioning the costumes for the new Incredibles. Okay, that's fine. But what's the next level of it? You know, Oh, great. Let's put her in a chair. And the chair goes back and forth. And we have everything, you know, we show everything as it's happening. Okay, awesome. You know, now it's plus, you know, and then can you plus it even more the reactions to it, all that kind of stuff.
Scott Mcmahon 13:21
Because, yeah, I'm sorry, that's definitely like a flaw within, like, this world of the Uber independent, like, they, they kind of work a script a little bit, but they just get it to good enough. They're like, I think I can make this
Rob Edwards 13:34
You know, and you can make a really, you can make anything and then sometimes that's the best thing a professional can do for you is to say, Okay, this, you can make this this is fine. You know, you can roll the cameras, it'll all it'll all shoot well, but you're gonna get creamed by the, by the critics. You know, you're it's good enough for 44 or 40%, ripe tomato. But you're not gonna get that 99 Unless you super super PUSH IT. And especially with independent films, there are fantastic independent films. And then there are some that you just say like, oh, you know, I can Yeah, I get when they when your friends send you the links. Yeah, everybody knows. You're watching it takes you four four times to get all the way through it because you're just kind of like okay, well this is this is okay. But nothing is really gripping, you know, getting the grip to the screen. On the other hand, you'll see like, you know, the Marvel films the new you know, the the new Marvel films, the obviously the Pixar films, films that are well told, they drive you, you know, you instantly have a character that you understand that you really want them to achieve their goals. And then the the opposition is just monumental. And then you're just watching them be clever and cool and wonderful and, and make their way through the story. Yeah, well, then that is that is a school of storytelling. And the way that you get to that is that thing where you know, somebody's at the table. Hopefully everyone at the table says, look, let's start with protagonists. What is the protagonist want? And how much do they want it? Straight up? You know, first question, I'll see dozens of script stacks and stacks of scripts. And I'll ask them, but I will say I'm 20 pages into this, I can't tell who you know, what the protagonist was, I if I can tell who the protagonist is, I can't tell what they want. And that just sucks. You know, that means that you have terrible friends. Read your script, you know, with any honesty and told you, you know, look, it is a chore to turn the pages of the script.
Scott Mcmahon 15:43
Can I ask you what the I know, that was, you know, obviously, Pixar. Disney is and it is animation. And in the pitch process, like when the brain trust group comes together? Is it just is the initial meeting just a script phrase? Or do they come like, here's the script phase with some storyboards? Or, you know, they put up a board and somebody acts it out? Or like, how does the how does the other members acquire the story? Or the is it presented to them? Or do they actually read a script come into the meeting? And I guess the second part of the question, is there like a moderator? is, you know, all right, or is it more of a loose like, Alright, everybody, this is a story we're making, you know, Rob's new story. He's the director on it. We read the script, or we've seen the pitch already for their pitch, or like, how does that how does the room work? Then? I was just curious, because if I'm going to do something like Uber enter, independent level, yeah. Should I come to the table with some storyboards and present it as much as possible? I'm, I'm just trying to figure out how I can the best I can to simulate what they're doing in the brain.
Rob Edwards 16:44
Yeah, exactly. Yeah. Well, Andrew Stanton has this thing. He says A B, be wrong as early as possible. Yeah. You're gonna be wrong, you know it. And again, that's always the assumption it is broken. It is broken until the last possible second. And even Ron Clemens or John Musker princess in the frog and your planet, and Treasure Planet and you know, little thing called Little Mermaid. A little thing. Those guys, what Don Hall the head of story, he would say they like to leave the paint wet. That meaning that you're always developing, you're always you're always coming up with ideas. You're leaving that door open for that new wonderful idea to come in. Even when I was working with Aaron Sorkin on Studio 60. He would, we would talk about you know, it was kind of a paperless office. You don't write it down. Don't lock any idea down. It's just you're just talking out stuff. So when you start off with with with with John Lasseter, and I was working on a project called King of the Hill, it's based on a Philip K. Dick short story. Okay. And what you do is you start talking about who the main character is going to be, you know, and in this case, it was kind of like, I wanted to just for me, as a writer, I wanted to address some of what I was going through with my I have two sons. And and just this idea of what is it? What are you looking for a son to do? When do you know that a son has is ready to go off to college is ready to you know, has become a man. As a father, you're always searching around for stuff you're trying to figure out fatherhood as you go. And so what is it? You know, what does that look that you want to see in your son's eyes that says, I'm ready? And how do you get there? And can we do that in the in the, in the course of this story, which is essentially about these, which is essentially about these elves and this guy who essentially inherits inherits this elf world. So yeah, so so so you start there. Okay. Well, these are, this is the emotional palette. This is what I think is going to be fun. Let me kill that thing. Sure. Sure. Go ahead. Sorry about that. Oh, you want to clean? When did I start?
Scott Mcmahon 19:04
When you're talking about you're you're wearing a story about you have two boys? When do you get that moment? How do you how do you capture that moment when it's in their eyes that they're ready for manhood are ready to leave the nest or whatnot? Yeah,
Rob Edwards 19:16
Exactly. Yeah. And so yeah, so for me, that's what I was. That's just what I'm exploring in life. And I thought, Okay, this is a great way to, to, to write it and kind of, you know, share it with people. I'll have a lot of insights on it. It'll, it'll be informative to me, it'll be a movie that I would want to watch. We start. And then I was talking to John about it. And John said, Oh, man, my son is 16, too. And there's this look they give you and then everything. We just started sharing stories about, you know, just how do you get through to them and what do you give them and you know, just how do you raise a boy? And we're sharing stories, sharing stories, sharing stories here and I said, Okay, excellent. I know, I know what I'm going to do.
Alex Ferrari 19:59
We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show.
Rob Edwards 20:08
So I go off from that basic conversation, because I know Okay, good. He's an audience. I'm an audience member. And that's another one of the Andrew Stanton. Yeah, that I claim to, which is be a film goer, first a filmmaker second. So I go, I set out to look at the story, which is very light, and say, Okay, what can I do? Basically, how can I get a rise out of John, I'm gonna story, what I do is going to get a rise out of John, what are going to be those real great honest moments that we can do. So I go through what real story team, we we kind of plot and there's it's fantastical, and it's all kinds of stuff. But at its core, it's got this really great emotional emotion to it. Just like Princess in the frog or any votes. Yeah. Yeah. And, and then, and then you are pitching kind of a wall of drawings. You know, first act is on one wall, actually, second act is on two walls. And then the third act is on the is on the next wall. You know, because for a second act is always in two parts of two. Yeah, with a midpoint. And then, you know, and it's funny, because John will, and I use this method all the time, John walks in, and he goes, third act, he walks right up to it. And he's okay. Where's that moment? Say, Well, you know, it's, it's there. And what he's looking for is, what's the epiphany? What's that little thing? You know, where the, the where you know, where he is going to turn into a star? Or when you know, both Tiana and Naveen are going to decide, you know, to that they're to trade their journey for their relationship, all the things they want. What is that? What is that moment? Like in in, in every, you know, when Luke I was eight, when when Luke chooses the, you know, the force over the over the right, right? You know, what is that and what is the and then you go back and you say, okay, great, well, what are the elements? I need to tell that that story? And so he's looking at that point at the mechanics, and then you go through it, you pitch it. Once he once he has bought off on that that moment working? Great. Oh, yeah, I can see that. I can see crying at that moment. Then you go back and he says, okay, you know, he sits down in his chair and you say, okay, Act One, scene one. A flaming ball of fire comes in from space, or whatever. And you're trying to give it as good a look as you can. Yeah. You know, it, it doesn't help you to soft sell a pitch. You know, even if it is rough, even if you just have little heads with smiley faces on it. Yeah. You pitch it. You know, it's your favorite movie. So you're, you're you're going with it, going with it going with it. You sell out and go and then he says, Okay, great. I see. It got slow here. It gets low here, whatever I bought off on the ending, but and then you start doing your story map, right? If you're gonna if you're gonna have Luke, use the Force to set you know, to to shoot down the Death Star, there should be a scene in the middle of the movie where he realizes that the force is stronger than you know, than than just any mechanical concerns. What if we put a helmet on him or something? Right? Oculus happened and that'll be that. And then how do we get him there? Well, okay, cool. He should be a kid who wants to auto he wants adventure. And how many of these movies start with you know, I want I want to live more than the provincial life or I wanted to you know, whatever. Yeah, but looking out of the window. Harry Potter wanting something you know, something better than living under the stairs. Exactly. And you know, we're PO is looking at his shelf full of things going oh, man, it would be so awesome to be a kung fu master Neo looking you know, seeing the rabbit you know that that that there's that call? And then you say no. Because yeah, just whatever jump on the thing. You have to say no to that call and then you go through like I say the story math. What's going to get him into the second act? How is he locked in? Well, for Luke, you're going to burn down his family. His family's anything keeping him in this world is Uncle it says no, you're gonna stay here. You know, Greenville can be a good boy. And and so you burn that down because Luke's first intention is just to is just to get the old man to the bar and be done with Yeah, look, I'll get to that far but I you know, you're all this other stuff is crazy talk. And, and by the time he gets to the bar, he's kind of in it. And and then off they go on the adventure or whatever, you know, and the first part of the adventure is, is impossible because the planet has been destroyed and then You're just going, getting him deeper and deeper into it. All you're doing is looking at that endpoint like when is he completely bought it? When is he going to sacrifice his life take on this as role as you know, Jedi Master and whatever, and embrace the ways of the force of that, yeah, force. That that's the whole thing. And you're gonna make it difficult for him all along the way, you're going to build up the opposition as much as you can. So going back to the brain trust, those are the elements, you're looking at it and you're saying, Okay, you're telling this type of story. And a lot of times, it's straight up film theory. I don't know if you're a film student or whatever. Right? All you do. And film school that is wonderful, is you watch a ton of movies. Yeah, watch, you know, musicals, you're watching whatever, you know, for me, when I start a movie, I'll go, you know, I'm gonna watch every spaghetti western that ever wants, boom, you know, and I'll just, I'll just go through my Netflix queue is just flooded with stuff. I'm gonna watch every kung fu movie, every crazy kung fu movie that I can find. And I'll just go through every single everything single weird one, I'll do all of my research, I'll just kind of become a bit, you know, just completely embedded in this stuff, let it seep into my DNA, and then I real and then I'll see the matrix, I'll see. Okay, this is how these types of stories are told. If I can stay on this path, I think I'll be fine. And I think also, I'll be satisfying the audience that that enjoys this type of movie. So yeah, and then off I go, then I know, like, I'm working on a project right now. There's air for for the studio, I'll say Oh, studio. Yeah. But it's, you know, completely mainstream, but it's one of the things I said was, was, the audience has seen a ton of movies like this. And the, it's in the category of the, of like Maze Runner and insurgent and those kinds of things. And the audience of that, of that genre is often like, they're really super skeptical. You know, if you if you show them like, what is it, there's a ton of these kinds of Percy things, you know, they're, they're a bunch of these movies that come out and the audience is never absorbed, you know, just never takes them in, and then you're done. And so there are things that you need to do, there are tropes that they want to see, but they don't want to see the same tropes that they've seen in the other movies. So you have to mess with them. And mess with them in a very clever way. So that it says are very early signal that okay, this is cool, you know, forget your popcorn, lean in and enjoy the movie. Yeah, that's the plussing. That's the extra, extra extra. And hopefully, like a bad room would be a room full of people who don't all like making the same kind of movies. You know, they're gonna pull you in every direction. Good. I say, you know, you go into Marvel, and all those guys have read every single comic book. If you throw off a reference, they will all go Oh, yeah. And this and this, and then you could do this. And then the room just explodes with everything. You know, all the minutia. Everybody will go, you know, what's great about that issue was this and this, and this happened? No, here's what I think. I think this is what made it great. But this, you know, this episode is issue, this issue, this issue didn't do well, because of this, and everybody will have their theory and great if you can move towards this and away from that, you'll be fine. And that's generally what happens in the brain trust meetings is it's a yes. And kind of table.
Scott Mcmahon 28:58
That is That is literally the same principles of improv. Yes, exactly. The whole teaching is an actor will give you something and the other actor has to say yes. And yeah, that's literally that's what it is. I had act up here in Portland, so you know, just my acting friends and stuff like that. So it's one of those things. It's funny that you brought that up. Yeah.
Rob Edwards 29:24
Do more of that because it becomes for me, yeah, I did a lot of Providence College and I did some instinctive as well. And improv Yeah, after. And even in my standup, I would leave. I'd always I consider it in quarters, right. I would do my introductions and kind of get everybody into like, This is who I am. This is where my comedy is gonna come from guys. So
Alex Ferrari 29:53
We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show.
Rob Edwards 30:02
You set up and that, yeah, exactly 10 jokes in this area. And then I would kind of like, okay, now that we're friends now that we know each other, here we go, you know, we're gonna go into this and then third quarter, I would just kind of kick back and I'd say, hey, let's talk about something. And I would just riff and, and, you know, I just would ask the audience a question, or else, you know, or whatever, and I would just go on whatever I was given. Just lean into it and fly. And then I'd Of course, wrap it up with some, you know, some stuff that was money. Night and you know, whatever, dropped the mic and take off. But that, that, and frankly, it's also the same kind of thing that happens in a TV room, like you had mentioned before, you know, in sitcom rooms. That's exactly what happens. Because literally, you cannot afford in a sitcom room for somebody to go, yeah, no, no, no. So when I was running tables, I would always say buy it or beat it, you know, being okay, there's an idea on the table, that I believe to be very good. If you think of a better idea, pitch it now. Otherwise, we're gonna build up with the idea we have, but we're not going to spend an hour and a half, just kind of shooting, you know, just telling everybody why it's a bad idea. So. So it winds up being really, really great. So that's exactly what you find in in Pixar. Somebody will say, Well, what if you know, that's the first thing? What if? And anytime anybody says, whatever? Whatever, the room gets really quiet. Even if you have even if you have your own? What if you're like, Okay, great. I'm just gonna get in line. Yeah. What if we turn the whole thing upside down? And this happens, and then this happens? And instead of everybody going, Oh, shut up. Yeah, yeah. Okay, if that happens, then this would also happen. And this, and this, and then this would happen. And this and this, all the energy winds up around that, that idea, boom, boom, boom, and you're just building a mountain off this idea. And hey, you know, what's a great sequence with that, you can do this and this and this. And then somebody else will say, hey, and that will fix this scene, because you can do this instead. And they'll start pitching the dialogue, and I'm really cracking up jokes and all that. And then sometimes you get to the top of the of that mountain and you go, I don't know, this whole thing, and you say, it's good, but it's not necessarily better than what we had before. Or it's good, but it's a whole other movie, or whatever. And then it gets quiet, and everybody digest what we had. And then the next person says, what about this, boom, and then you start, you build again, same energy and everything, everybody gets into everything. There is no there is some negative and like, some people will say, Oh, ag you know, we try that and blah, blah, blah, but if you're going to make it work, here's what you would do. I say, so everybody is looking at it in terms of their making the movie, and that you get to which is you know, which I think is wonderful because Brad Bird is going to have a different idea in his head. And Pete Doctor Yeah, and Pete doctor is going to have different ones and then to mark off you know, then then even even John, you know, and John's gonna have any, you know, whatever and everybody's gonna it's an orchestra right? So John is John's got a big heart at chodzi or whatever. And he's he's a big kids who he's going to love the you know, a big blockchain Andrew is looking to make sure it's, you know, you're checking the boxes. Pete's got, you know, Pete's got his take, you know, Brad's a cowboy. He's, he's, he's doing his thing. And and in that symphony, you have like, okay, great. This is wonderful set of ideas. Even what is it Michael aren't you know, who wrote horses? You know, Little Miss Sunshine. Key comes in and he I love the way he thinks because he thinks a lot like me, I'm a I'm a structure guy. You know, when when I started doing sitcoms, there were two rooms were three rooms there was there was the room of guys who would think about the stories there was the story guys, you know, who would who would as you were breaking the story, they would sit down and say well, it should be this and then this and then this, you know, just plot out the plot out the story, knowing where the jokes were going to come. And then we would invite a larger group in and then those would be the joke guys would come in and say, oh, yeah, and then this this, you know, they would have great dialogue. And I saw very early you know, they were like, well, which room do you want to be and I was like, I want to be in the room with the exec producer. And that's a story room but those guys seem to be those guys are working all the time. And those guys anytime stuff was wrong. They would kick the joy joke guys out of the room. And a very small group of story guys would work would work through it. Fascinating story, guys were the guys who would hold the pencil, meaning they would make the last decision, they would write down, whatever the choice was. And, and so I like that a lot. And even now, as I'm working in features and stuff, it's always the story guys who are kind of called in when things are really wrong. They'll say, Okay, please help us. What's wrong with it? And you go in with your toolbox, unmotivated character, the third act moment doesn't work. Let's build back from that. What are the values that we're doing here? And go through.
Scott Mcmahon 35:41
Before I go to the, I just want to kind of recap sort of like, make sure I'm grabbing the essence of everything you're talking about. There's a sounds like, there's a little bit of a, I think your cable might be hitting,
Rob Edwards 35:53
I think it's hitting my short.
Scott Mcmahon 35:56
You get you get loose, or just just you and I Yeah, there you go.
Rob Edwards 35:59
Okay, good. Is it going clean, clean, clean?
Scott Mcmahon 36:01
Yeah, that's it not too bad. It's but I just use such great information you have, and there's just you and I on the video, so it's all good. Looks like a prison shirt. That's perfect. So the what we can, what I can gather from here is I like this concept of one, make sure that the room that you create the the group that you create, if you're going to create your own brain trust group. You know, if you're writing a horror genre, you know, make sure you have people that like it.
Rob Edwards 36:36
That helps have studied up on it. Yeah, exactly.
Scott Mcmahon 36:39
That know that know, the genre, the know the tropes, that have a passion for it, that that can gel with you, as well, as I liked this idea that you start from the end, what is what is that one thing? Or just have that conversation? Like? What is the one thing you want out of this film the story? Is it the moment what is that magic moment, that third act moment that makes it the payoff all worth it, and then reverse engineer go back from the beginning and work towards that I like all that I love this little note you gave about the second act, the midpoint of like, if the payoff and the third act, then that magic moving moment is that it works, you have to give us a little taste of in the midpoint, which is great, you know, and it totally makes sense. But then obviously, the people that you put together, have to know, you know, their story structure or you know, that they're just, they're film geeks or other filmmakers themselves that are that have an opportunity to contribute to the storytelling process where, you know, we all seem to do it anyway, after watching a movie, and we're like, Why did it not work? You know, like, I think my wife, my wife, and I just rewatched the remake of poltergeists last night, Zach, and we are huge fans of the first one. I mean, watch that many times over and seeing what happened, you know, our own analysis of taking away and it's interesting, the conversation you have just saying, What Why didn't it work? Because you're trying to figure out like, what's gut wise, what's what's right, but something's off Biden isn't working for us. And I think it was, I think it was like, it took an hour, like originally a two hour movie into an hour and a half. And it was like, go time from the beginning. Like, there, there is no one it was just like, bang, bang, bang, there was no time to catch your breath. And it felt it definitely felt rushed than all the wonderful, cinematic, you know, visual visions of the stuff, but it was, there was some soul aspect missing.
Rob Edwards 38:29
I think, see, that's the thing, because that and because I was gonna ask you okay, what, what did you think was was was missing? So in? What part of the movie do you think it was missing from? I think if you if your conclusion was that it was soulless? Yeah. And we're, and we're in the brain trust meeting right now. So yeah, this conclusion was it poltergeists was sold was were how do you fix that? What, what? What had they taken out? Because you have, in this case, it's empirical. Right? You have a movie that works and a movie does not that does not work. Yeah, that are the exact that are supposed to be the exact same movie, right? So you can kind of look at them side by side, you know, and I'm notorious for this. I'll get iTunes, and I'll just, I will watch five minutes of one movie five minutes of another person next five minutes. In that next, and I'll just completely go go through because a lot of movies will have if you watch Point Break and Fast and Furious, they're the exact same movie, right? Yeah, they will tell you they're the exact same movie and every, you know, in every way, you know, and, and so the question is, okay, great. Well, those two work. Now this one. Okay, great. So we're back to its soulless. That's our problem. Where did that come from?
Alex Ferrari 39:48
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Scott Mcmahon 39:57
Definitely, I think from watching The remake in Bing fan, like you said, being so well versed in the first one and seeing how many times over, you know, all the nuances, you know all the scenes, but mostly from the from it was, there's a sense of wonderment and awe and sort of respect for this. This deeper conversation about the paranormal was existed in the first one, again, we're talking about somebody remaking Spielberg.
Rob Edwards 40:29
Yeah, but Spielberg has got a bag of tricks. That is very interesting. And when I look at Spielberg, I always look at, man, I just had this conversation with
Scott Mcmahon 40:41
Rob Edwards 40:44
His daughter went to school with my son, so no, we got and as, and his other son took karate class with my older son, so Oh, wow. Okay, so there's always crossover. But, but we never like, Hey, tell me about jaws. But I did get a chance to meet the writer of jaws. I had dinner with him a couple nights ago. And, and we were talking just about those things about OSHA, all of that stuff. And then when I look at Spielberg, I always look at when I'm analyzing a filmmaker, the first couple of films, the first two films, I may have mentioned this earlier, but that, that I always look at them when they're in their infancy when they're trying to put together their bag of tricks. And then I try to find what is their worst film? Yeah. And for Spielberg, it's 1941 right? There. And in 1941, he is doing he's showing his bag of tricks, but he's doing everything wrong. And you can tell like, Oh, this is what he, what He does great. Everything that he does great in those first couple of movies, he does really poorly here. And everything that he did great like an E T. And this gets to the answer of what I was digging at, with the two poltergeists is that it's the first it's a first act problem, that that you when you buy into something emotionally, it's if you don't feel it emotionally, it's because when we met those people, we didn't care about them. Exactly. You know, if it's a roller coaster ride, if they're thinking, well, the best thing about what we told you guys, is the little girl gets sucked into the TV. And whenever there's a closet and all that stuff, like that is not the best thing. It's about this family. It's about this guy who is who is, you know, he's moved his family into this into this new environment. He's worried that there was something wrong with the area. There's this drumbeat of weird things that have been happening around the area, and you're filling in the character. It's like, it's like Jaws, it's like a tea. It's everything. The conversation that they have at the, at breakfast, in a tea before et shows up is the most important conversation you have. Yeah, I remember in princess in the frog, there was this whole thing of, we were just, we're trying to get them into the bayou as quickly as possible. And the note, we kept getting back in the brain trust, because that's the other part of the brain trust, right. As you screen the movie, you're showing the movie to a lot of people. And they're giving you notes back everybody in the building everybody at Disney, everybody, Pixar, you get reams of notes. I didn't think you know, this is a problem. This is a problem. This is a problem. And then they put the notes into sections. So someone's about, you know, the main characters about, you know, the story itself. And then we were getting all these notes. I you know, the story seems funny. I just don't care. I don't care about the journey. Yeah. And I said, Well, that's the first act problem, same thing. And you didn't care because she wanted to have a restaurant. But she didn't care why she wanted to have a restaurant. So I said, Well, hey, I saw this drawing of a dad. I love this story.
Scott Mcmahon 44:01
Yeah, the Yeah, this keep going on. This is a great one.
Rob Edwards 44:05
There was a dad portrait drawing of a dad. And basically they were trying to figure out what the mom looked like. So they had drawn a dad just to figure out, you know, what were the features that that Tiana had gotten from both of her parents, and then that would be the mom. And there was just a drawing. And I asked the character designer, what you know, what is this? Like? Oh, he explained it and I said, Well, this is can I borrow this? I took it back into the room. I said, this guy is the most important person in the movie. Because daughter is that relationship between daughters and fathers. And we've been looking driving so hard to have a person to have an emotional reason why she wants to have this restaurant. Why not? Why can't it be the daughter the dream of a daughter and her father and and the legacy of that once the father passes away. She wants to continue that dream and you then there is no way the thing can have a motion. It's a woman holding, you know, it's what they did in up, right, the house at a certain point becomes, you know, that call is trying to continue the dream that he had with his with his wife. That's, that's the inaccurate mention probably 50 other movies that are fueled with that kind of emotion. There is a reason why we tell stories in that way. And so once that happened, it was a tiny adjustment was about three pages. And in the beginning of the movie, and everybody said, Wow, what did you do? Did you rewrite the entire movie? No, we just gave every time you know, she says the word restaurant, you know what it means? And I had to hit it. I think in the middle at the midpoint when they're drunk right before they dance. And then at the end when they're on the riverboat, and they're looking looking out at the restaurant itself. And it's what gets Naveen to back off, he wants to propose to her. And it has such huge emotional weight that like Okay, great. My job here. My job here is done. The mechanics, the rest of the mechanics of the storytelling were I want I don't want to say inconsequential, but they were less consequential because we had launched the story correctly. You watch a movie like man on fire? We spent a ton of time I don't think anybody dies until the midpoint of that movie. Yeah, the whole movie is about this broken guy's love for this little girl. And how this girl redeems has his soul and makes him stops him from committing suicide. Yeah, the bullet doesn't go off there is something you know, the God of the story has a larger plan for this guy. And it's about this it's about this relationship with this little girl. And you know, he starts coaching her about don't be afraid of the gun and and all that and they have this wonderful wonderful relationship. So at the point when she's kidnapped you're like, oh no. Yeah, go down. Because now this guy has license you know is he is fired and if you look at I'm sorry when I say one last example but you look at taken taken follows the exact same model. That girl doesn't get kidnapped so deep into that movie Yeah. Heartbreak heartbreak the pony versus the you know, karaoke machine all of those scenes if you're looking at it from an executive standpoint, you'll think oh god you know, the movie is really about it's a shoot 'em up. And why is it taking 60 minutes before the guy fires the first shot you know? Yeah, well like we can't we just condensed this and and you have to as a writer, as an artists say no people don't watch buildings burn. They watch people saving the people they love that are in the building that is on fire. That's drama.
Scott Mcmahon 48:00
Yeah, it's interesting. You brought that up. I got me excited because you were saying like, how important to set up how poor in the first act is. And if you look at some movies back in the in the 70s. Like even Exorcist, literally, I think the first hour like nothing major paranormal, like happens. I mean, the priests doesn't show up until after the hour mark, like, like, all the stuff that we remember about the exorcist doesn't happen until like, almost after the midpoint. You know, it's like yeah, and because the even like, Rosemary's Baby, same thing, yeah. Very, very shiny, Mike.
Rob Edwards 48:35
Yeah, exactly. Shining. You're just watching girls and bikes and yeah. Yeah, it's just and they're a little creepy things that happen. There's always got, you know, a cat jumped out a box. I was watching alien. Like, same thing. It's just the day to day workings of, of space. Space Teamsters. Yeah. And then midpoint, the thing leaps out of the guy's chest and your is off, off and running. Exactly what we've been setting up before that is nobody listens to Ripley. You know, these guys are in it for a paycheck. You froze up.
Scott Mcmahon 49:20
Do you see me? Yeah. Okay. Sorry.
Rob Edwards 49:23
Yeah, that nobody listens to her that that, you know, these guys are in it for a paycheck. And that something is wrong with the science officer. Yeah. And there's all these kind of you're you're just setting up the dynamics. And it's getting your heart is kind of in your chest, you know that something's got to happen. Yeah. And then when it does, it's just like, bam, bam, bam, bam, bam. And then your left. The best thing about looking at the third act versus it, it's the thing, it's the thing that you are, you know, the lights go up, you walk to your car and you go Oh, man, that was awesome.
Alex Ferrari 50:04
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Rob Edwards 50:14
And that's the thing, you know if that through that moment works, then it's all worth it. If it doesn't work, it doesn't matter what you did up until that point. Nobody's going to end the audience coming out of the seven o'clock show. I talked about this. Because it's what it's what makes movies great. It was what makes the business of making a movie, even if it's an independent film. It's the audience coming out of the seven o'clock show their reaction as you're in line for the nine o'clock show. Everybody knows that thing of like, people are going Oh, snap. Yeah. And they're like crying or they're like, high fiving or stuff. And they're nodding at you. Because they know like, Oh, this is gonna be, you know, you are in for a treat. This is gonna be magnificent. Right. And, and it's that thing. That's what makes movies Great. That's what makes movie going great. You know? And every, you know, yeah, go ahead.
Scott Mcmahon 51:16
No, we're gonna say it's fascinating, because we were talking about the long setup. And then we have gave some examples, but you did mention even like the movie Up, and I think it's one of the greatest examples of the shortest, most heartbreaking setups ever, you know, it's within your in tears within the first whatever, five minutes of that story of Carl, you know, sort of
Rob Edwards 51:35
Suitable and they're just, it's just building up. You know, remember, they're building up for the moment when he ditches the house to save the boy, you know, and, and so, and that's the whole you know, that John was, you know, walked into the room. Okay, what happens? He trashes the house, he throws all the stuff out, you know, to give it ballast, he's run out of balloons. And you know, and he goes and saves the boy. And that's, that's his Luke Skywalker moment. Right? Right. And so so in the beginning, you want to say, what if the house doesn't mean anything? Right? Again, story math. If the house doesn't mean anything, that moments not going to mean anything. Everybody's gonna go so what? It's a house. Yeah, get another house? Like, no, no, this house is very special, because it is the embodiment of, you know, his relationship with his with his wife, Ellie, I think yeah, yeah, exactly. And, and I believe, at various times, he calls the house Ellie. And it's the he's working towards the picture of the house on the on the mountain. Yeah. And so you're gonna give him that, and then you're going to take it away. You know, it's, he's gonna get all the way there realize it's, it's not worth what he thought it would be worth. And then he's gonna go save the boy. Great. So you need and I forget who there is a, one of the co director of inside out, Ronnie del Carmen, I want to say, okay, he that I believe that was his sequence. And that put them on the map as a star, or, as he'd been on the map as a story anyway, because he's, he's fantastic artists. But he was the guy who walked through that sequence and said, it's stripped it of its dialogue. He had temporary music that was That was wonderful for it, this this kind of very valid kind of thing. And it was amazing, you know, just the process of how that sequence came, came to be. Because, you know, obviously, the first 20 drafts of that sequence, were not that sequence. You really had to kind of work on it, work on it, work on it, and so it just wasn't it it would make you cry, and I believe it's five minutes and 30 seconds long. It is not very long and impure movie movie terms. But by the end of it, when you know, just that pan across a doctor's office, oh my god, you know, it just every one of those moments is completely iconic. It's just it's truly wonderful. And then it gives him license to do everything that he does, which is he won't sell the house smashes the guy on the head when he you know when he's when he's threatened. And now he's going to you know, go live this dream and go to you know, this this waterfall.
Scott Mcmahon 54:39
Great its amazing. The I'm just curious you with your extensive history of like writing on your own working in in rooms, you know, and television and now working like, obviously last few years and animation is the advent of visuals like, because I don't know if you have an opportunity with Princess in the frog. Have to go down in New Orleans to Are you part of the crew? Because, you know, you were mentioning like how Lasseter was such a huge proponent of research, like just getting absorbed into your DNA like that you probably already done prior. But I was curious. You know, we have the TV room. And we're seeing like this explosion of golden age of television. Just amazing shows left and right. And I can only account like, because the power the writers, they're, like, in writers together, pushing each other to make it great. And then you have animation, which allows you to I mean, my past working with Sony PlayStation, we're convinced effects we've always had to learn was visuals. We always had something to draw from to try to make, you know, better. And I'm wondering like, because now you have visual cues, like you mentioned, them purchase the frog. Here's a drawing a sketch drawing about the Father as like, that is huge for me. And yeah, I was wondering, have you seen? I guess, like how could like an independent, you know, borrow from this concept of like, should they just inundate themselves with so many look frames, or drawings or initial sketches, anything like that to like, integrate themselves and what their world would look like? So if they brought in their own makeshift brain trust group, so everybody could connect to like, Oh, what's that? What's this? Or, you know, how's this fit the story? I don't know, from your any like stories you could share of like, just like you said, you're walking around, you're seeing artists or somebody, pretty much the film made in like, visual format before it even like even one written word is put on an actual traditional script, I guess? I don't know. Right?
Rob Edwards 56:39
Well, that's the that's the fun of the new, the new tools, we'll call it is. It's, I know that Robert Rodriguez, his his process is very similar to the Pixar process, which is interesting, he kind of pre shoots his movies. And he will just with a handheld camera, or I don't know, a cell phone or whatever, he'll get his actors in a room and he films his rehearsals. And he takes him back in I don't know, if he's using, you know, whatever, you know, whatever it is, but you know, as easy it is, as it is to edit something, he just edits it at home. And then he goes in the next day, if they're shooting the next day, and he'll show it to everybody like this is, this is what this is. And here's what I think is wrong with it. Here's what I did to rewrite it. And and here we go, you know, so the second thing you see will be that Woody Allen shoots an entire movie, edits it. And edits it shows it, you know, takes a look at it. And then I don't know if he gets outside feedback or anything I assume he does. And then reshoots, the entire movie, it's always in his budget that he will shoot it twice. So you do it. And obviously, the you know, the first version is not just everybody kind of slogging through not wearing their costumes and stuff. It's an actual movie. And then he shoots it again. So I think that that that is a great way to go. If you can a Ridley Scott storyboards his own movies, top to bottom, and I believe shoots have storyboards and show, you know, shows shows those? Yeah, so that the the first draft, the way I look at it is, you know, from a Disney perspective, is that when guys are drawing, right, they take a blue pencil with very light, you can barely see it. Yeah, and they just start drawing and whatever. And they're just, and the lines are everywhere. It's a complete mess, and they're drawing over themselves, and they're doing whatever, and then they start to see it and then they'll, they'll they'll take out a black pencil and they'll start tacking it down. And they'll say, okay, great. Here are the eyes. Here's where the eyes go, here's whatever, because you're kind of trying to see it on the page. And only a handful of people can just start drawing with a black pencil and go, you're sketching, sketching, sketching until you see it. If you if you listen to a band, right, the band will go, you know, it'll sound terrible, the first and then they'll kind of gradually, you know, come down to whatever they're doing sculptors the same way. It's a blob of an amorphous blob for so long, and then they start to take down little sections. And writers are the only ones who don't do that. Writers. I'll see them go oh, I have an idea. You know, faded. Colin, you know. And like, who does that? Nobody does that. You don't think that way you say I want to make a movie. I think it should be kinda like this movie that I loved when I was a kid. Or it should be I want to make the best, you know? Badass six year old, do whatever magical power movie that I can
Alex Ferrari 59:59
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Rob Edwards 1:00:08
Here is a precedent of other, you know, badass six year olds. Here's where some have gone right and others have gone wrong. And, and this is what moves me about this kind of movie. This is why these kinds of movies are my favorite movies. And this is where others have fallen afield. I think my movie is somewhere in here. And, and then you get out, like, I'm old school. So I have like, yeah, I have, you know, just a clipboard and a fountain pen. And I will sit down and I'll just start writing. And it's rarely dialogue. It's just what do I love about these kinds of movies. I love this. I love this. I love it. Hey, my favorite scene, in one of these things was bla bla bla bla bla. And, and my least favorite scene is blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, excellent. I like to eat my dessert first. So if I'm writing, I will say, well, here are scenes that should be in my movie. These are great scenes. And if I can just string a clothesline between the scenes, I think I'll be okay. Because these are the classic scenes, there should be the mentor scene, and so and so. And the equipment, you know, the badass piece of machinery, you know, or the, you know, the great gun, or whatever it is, you know, a cool monster a, you know, fantastic spaceship a you know, always I'll put those in, and then I'll say, Okay, well, great. Now I'm gonna make try to make myself crying the third act? And yeah, and that's it. Yeah. But it's always starting from like a amorphous, a amorphous, you know, the, the, the, you know, the paint is wet, the there is no paper, I'm just freestyling until I find like, it should be this. And then I'll start to give it shape and tack it down. And then only last the last. Like, it's, I often will write the entire thing by hand, and then, after I've gone through the whole thing, then I type it into software.
Scott Mcmahon 1:02:17
Interesting. Do you know is there a difference for you between like, plot and character? Or is it the same like because I can see, like doing an outline, constructing like the logic of the world of where you want this moment to go for the protagonist. And maybe the protests, like you, you see, like a major change is going to have to happen for this character. But once you kind of maybe have like, the simple idea laid out attendees, do you go in and start like thinking like, okay, the dad character a lot right now, my early drafts are serving exposition. But then how do I make that character more interesting? Because there was this whole? I think you were talking about, like, in Jason buffs, podcast about how, like in Finding Nemo, there was all these wonderful characters, all the supporting characters, even no matter how small the character is, like, each fish has some interesting story. One scar one, like was nervous or I don't know, it was it was Yeah. Just rich with content because or context because it was so each character was so unique that way, as opposed to just being serving exposition. Do you see that within those group meetings? You have? Or, or sometimes somebody goes, I have, this is the character. I don't know what story was going to happen with them. But I don't know how, like, do you see it go both ways.
Rob Edwards 1:03:39
Right. All right. Now that, that it's the interesting thing is and it's it's it's fantastic question, because it is, I think at the crux of most, I'd say a good 90% of filmmakers don't understand this one specific thing, which is that there should be no difference between character and story. But there is a huge difference between character and plot. Ah, okay. The plot is just, I was in this. It was a masterclass in in France, in Marseille, and this there was a guy who had done this with these webcasts and stuff like that it was really charismatic guy really energetic, we great storyteller in quotes. And I done this thing, and I'll, I'll talk about a little later because they remind me to tell you this thing, because I think it helps all writers, everybody that I've done it with, with writers, it makes them a lot better. But, but this guy is telling the story. And he's going on he's pitching me this this movie. And he says, oh, and then an alien comes in and buys pitching, pitching more and more Italian guy, right? He was like, yeah, and then this happens. It's And then they fall into an abyss. And then a guy has a gun and whatever. And he shoots his grandma and whatever. And he's just going through going through and going through. And I'm watching the audience and I stopped him for a second. I say, watch the audience, as you're, as you're doing this, keep going. And he's thought, what if this happens, it was a big explosion, and whatever. And I said, I said, What do you think I saw? And he says, after about two minutes, everybody started talking to each other. Tuned him out, there were a couple of his friends in the back that were kind of smiling. Really, towards the end, everybody was just everybody was just hiding from the thing. Because he was because it was. It was mostly sorry, me do something to screenshare I have, I have a flux. And I didn't realize it. It's been it's been kind of making the image. More sleepy as we. But yeah, so I look at the audience and the audience is completely tuned him out. I said, why? As well, it couldn't figure it out. So well, because you lost your character. First, you didn't make me care about your character. And second, as it's going on, you were just it just getting more and more, you were using plot to try to save you from character. And I said, okay, and I pitched his own his story the same way. And I pitched it all character, you know, this guy comes in and more than anything else in the world. He wants this. And oh, you know, this guy also wants it and blah, blah, blah, and he wants it even more. So in the very beginning, the guy boom, whatever, he takes it from him. And now he's sitting there going, Oh, no, what am I gonna do now? Aliens Attack and blah, blah, blah, whatever. And everybody's leaning in as I'm, as I'm telling the story, because you care, you know, you give a crap about the story. Before he was doing plot, what I was doing was character. And, you know, if it's if it's Finding Nemo, every character that that Marlon passes should develop him as a character, you're going from the journey of a guy who is overly cautious to a guy who's going to let his kid do the same thing. In in The Incredibles, everything that passes Bob Pars, you know, we set him up as a guy who will save everybody at any time, you know, whatever, you're doing the whole thing. Everybody that he passes, every experience that he has, is, is basically kind of, to show that his addiction has gotten out of control. And until he even finds an enabler in the innate, oh, great, excellent. I'm gonna go up and do this thing. And I'm just gonna completely ignore my family, right? Because those are the two values that are at stake. It's Do you are you going to reclaim your your glory, at the expense of the thing that you that you know, your future? You know, your family? You were once this guy now you're this guy. You need to be more than Mr. Incredible. She says yeah, pointedly, automatically, in order to do it. So every single scene is going to be him desperately clinging to his former life. He's in the meeting with his boss, and he's looking outside, and he can't can you know, and he's just seeing a guy getting his pocket picked. And he can't give it up. You know, he's, he's there with the old lady, my old lady is worried that she's gonna lose her thing. And he can't you know, that is new life, he just won't do it. Everything, everything he's doing is kind of these things, buttresses buttressing against each other. That's the Norio nature of storytelling, that is character, you're developing that character to the point where the character has to make this decision of like, you know, I can either go and try to save the you know, save the city by myself, which I know I cannot do or I can trust my family to help me I can do this as a family and off you go. Yeah, you know that that's that that in that way as you're telling the story? It's very clear what's muscle and what's bone, you know that what's wheat and what's chaff right that that any scene that doesn't have him moving towards either on the upside where he's he is completely like yes, regaining your former glory is the most awesome thing in the world you can do Yeah, that's the bill to the midpoint. He's and then at the midpoint, haha, I've killed all these people and now I'm gonna kill you and he can't get out or whatever. I can't get out of the room and he's, you know, those those little nerves are gone. Yeah, whatever. Whatever, whatever. And now Oh, no, this is where it's gotten you to the, you know, to the terrible, terrible midpoint
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Rob Edwards 1:10:10
And then it's the family is gonna go rescue. Right. So now you're on the downslope. And so everything that happened from that point on is, look how cool this family is when the family is unrestrained. Yeah, until you get to this point where it's, he's bemoaning the fact that you know, it's almost a false act to write the the rocket is headed towards the city. And, and Bob is sitting there saying, Oh, I can't believe what I've done. You know, you guys, this is really terrible. And his daughter says, yeah, yeah, blah, blah, blah, whatever. And she saved them all very easily. Because he's not thinking about family. He's thinking about himself. Right? We're driving, driving and driving for that moment. And that's all character. You know, every scene in that is a scene that you absolutely need. And none of it is, but none of it should feel like plot. Yeah, it is all to drive the guy towards making that decision.
Scott Mcmahon 1:11:10
It's really interesting, because we started our conversation about talking about mastermind groups, or accountability groups, and like how it's so much easier to look at somebody else's problem or look at what they stand for. Because we can see from an outside perspective, what's in front of them. But we as individuals are so wrapped up in our own stuff, we can't, like you mentioned, we can't see your own path or get out of our own way. It's, and we were talking about, there's so much things that we have to unlearn to be able to be and then we're here we are talking, you know, character, and story. And all these characters are in the especially with the Pixar stories we were talking about. And in, you know, the stories we were mentioning, there's there's this aspect of baggage, or there's these known beliefs that they hold on to for so long. But that third act moment that John Lasseter moment he's talking about, has to be this let go of all that, in order to have that transformation at the end. But it's funny because we were talking, we started talking about it in real life. And we're seeing it happen in stories. It's like, oh, wow, that's fascinating.
Rob Edwards 1:12:19
And really, that's why I think that is why like, I like to look at, well, screenwriting, everybody, you know, it's the technology of screenwriting. But really, we're storytellers, right guys in rocking chairs, you know, saying, Hey, here's what's this is what's important. And that's why it's because we always when we make the same mistakes, all the time, as human animals and machines, whatever that we are, we, we make the same mistakes all the time. And so we tell ourselves, these stories, like let go of that and embrace the new. One of the things I'll say like in masterclasses all the time is, you can learn how to speak French without learning without forgetting how to speak English. You can accept a new philosophy, a new way of thinking, just try it out. And then if you want, you can go back to what it is, is you do but a lot of people will say like, well wait a minute, I don't like you know, I'm not such a big fan of Disney movies. And you guys are you know, you guys, it's all a factory and blah, blah, blah, and I'm not gonna make movies like that. I'm like, Okay, well, let me see what what it is you've done. Yeah, it's amorphous, horrendous kind of way, like, what are you doing? You haven't, you've so resisted all of the kind of rules and not just necessarily like, the Disney rules or the Pixar rules, but just the rules of general storytelling. Like, Oh, that 50 characters 50 main characters is not a good way to go. Yeah, you know, that, that a film without conflict is not is probably not going to work. All that well write a film that is about something that nobody in the world cares about. Is is not going to be is not going to be enjoyable. There are but a film a terribly constructed film about something I really care about. And a PERT you know a person who is who is wonderful, who I want to see more of. And you know, that that film was gonna go through the roof. It's gonna be I'm going to enjoy it. I'm gonna, people are gonna say like, what was that that you were? You kept talking about? You know, I'm gonna go on social media and say, oh, okay, look, I'm gonna go out on a limb and just say this movie was the best movie I've ever seen. And, and that's, especially for me any side. That's what you really want to you know, that's what we want to start with. Is Yeah, I'm not. I'm gonna make my favorite movie. I'm gonna make a movie. That is that is the favorite of all my friends and And, and here's, here's how I'm going to sit down and do it.
Scott Mcmahon 1:15:04
Because you mentioned to about, you get a lot of screeners, like the crazy question of like, hey, what software we use? You know, like, that's like Yeah, the last the last question you need to know because it's you need to know story or just tell story and write story. And that's the same plague that's technology is having right now, I guess on the independent side, which is every he's got a camera and editing tools. And they're just so it's like, what are you shooting on? What are you shooting on? As opposed to who? Who cares what you're writing? What software used to write? Who cares what camera uses? Shoot? Because the bottom? The, the essence, the core is everything we talked about here is really, I love this whole thing, like, how do you level up? How do you push beyond and building a system of the right kind of people around you? And having that kind of system in place to you know, push, push the story? Like take yourself out of it and push the story further.
Rob Edwards 1:15:56
I often say like animation is not a genre, you know, it's just it's just like a different camera. It's just like black and white is not a genre. Yeah, it's it's just a way you know, you still have to tell great stories, they still have to connect with people. Just animation is a way that you're that you're that you're doing it. The rules are always the same.
Scott Mcmahon 1:16:16
Yeah, definitely. This I want to keep you I know, we're a little over an hour, but
Rob Edwards 1:16:20
I did have one other Yes, there's one other thing and this is just like, it's been my soapbox for a couple weeks, because I keep I'm sure your listeners will get what should get some value out of it? I was I've been because I'll do these, these, these master classes. And a lot of times the format of the master class, when I can do on money, I do maybe one a year just to kind of like get gone, right but but a lot of times what I'll do the My Favorite versions of them and I just revised it is the writer will come in, they'll sit next to me and they'll pitch their movie to the to the rest of the group. And then we'll go through it and we'll say okay, what's right about it? What's wrong about it, we'll kind of do a Pixar row with it. And what I keep discovering is that sometimes the the writers ability to pitch can severely impair the experience. And so what I started doing is I said, Okay, let's let's the first day like, let's not even think about don't think about your movie. I'm gonna give you two movies to work on. Because if you're and I see you're into guitars, I love guitars. Now, the first thing you do if you're learning piano or guitar is you learn like Mary Had a Little Lamb, you know, you just Yeah, flunk out the easiest song in the world. And then you go to, okay, great. Now I can learn C and A G and an F. And I can out of that I can play a bunch of bunch of different songs, I can play a bunch of other people's songs. Until I get really good at it. I can play most of you know Simon Garfunkel. But I can offer the Alpha three or four chords I can I can make my way around a bunch of different songs. I am not composing at that point. I'm just learning how to play guitar. And I'm learning the dumbest songs. I can first the simplest, the two chord song, moving into threes, and then I'm and then eventually I'm gonna start. Oh, okay, good. Here's a little riff and stuff like that, and until the point, but it's gonna take me a little while before somebody says, Wow, you really did a good job. So the same is true of, say, a painter, they'll go to a museum, they will set up their easel. And they'll just look at you know, you'll see these these painters, repainting the painters of other painters. they'll go and they'll go stroke for stroke that walk up to him and go, Oh, that's what he was doing. That's the brushstrokes in this little section. That's how he made the sunset look particularly bright. Excellent. And I'm not sure if I've mixed my colors, right? The same way that that guy did. That's it. Oh, that's what he's doing. The composition of this thing. Oh, great. I see four or five paintings that have the same kind of composition. These guys must have all studied each other. That's awesome. Now I have a greater understanding. I'm still not painting my own stuff. You know, I'm just learning about what what people do. So what I say is, okay, tell me one of two stories. I'll say the three little pigs or the or Goldilocks and three bears. Yeah. And you know, always my first question is what who's, who's the protagonist of Goldilocks and the Three Bears?
Scott Mcmahon 1:19:30
I know this only because I've heard you before if I go ahead,
Rob Edwards 1:19:36
Oh, excellent. Oh, I didn't know if I did it.
Scott Mcmahon 1:19:38
But this is good, but people please go ahead. Because this is such such. This is such a great aspect of your masterclass do I know but go ahead.
Rob Edwards 1:19:49
Yeah, right. And most people will guess Goldilocks, because the stories don't go like No, no, it is a it is a crime. Detective Story
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Rob Edwards 1:20:09
Yeah, Billy logs goes in, breaks into a house, eats porridge sits in a chair. It eats all porridge, sits in a chair breaks it, and then sleeps in a person's bed. Yeah, so it is an active crime going on. And then three people return, three characters return. And, and one is eating well, one is eating one discovers something is wrong. Once it's down once it's down, one is oh my god or whatever. And then they they go pursue it. So the Baby bear is the is the protagonist of the story. Now go tell the story. But tell the story in, you know, what are you going to do with the story? Now, you know, now you have your own edge to it? Are you going to tell a story about a boy who really wants to go to sleep? Are you going to tell a story about a kid who's really hungry? Are you gonna tell a story about a kid with anger issues? Who is trying to hold it down? Whatever that angle is, you know, you have you now have the formula, you know the format. And you can go and tell tell that and then get good at that get good at telling that story of doing your cover of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Then once you're feeling that, now go start pitching your own stuff, you know, get that. And the way I look at it is you've just seen you just saw Star Wars you just saw, you know the JJ Abrams Star Wars. And as you were leaving the building, it burned down there was an oil fire the whole thing burned down. You know, all everything. And now everybody turns to you and said Oh, what was it? You know what happened? Yeah, a lot of people when they pitch they'll go, Okay, well, there's a ship, bigger ship. This kid comes in and he's taking out garbage. And then his kind of hipsters really mean soccer ball that, you know, does die, whatever. And it's like, no. How do you tell that story? You are the last lifeline of this of the greatest movie ever made? Yeah. How do you tell it and and have that behind you. But with a story that you already know, get comfortable with that if it's your tape, recorder, whatever, and then go, then you have that set of skills, and you're not pitching garbage. And you also are learning from those reps. This pitch is well, this does not pitch well. You know, this is the essence of storytelling. Most of the time, and I mentioned it before, most of the time, like right now I'm doing a little superhero thing. And I watched everything. It's everything. And I rewatched everything from the point of view of me making this new movie, and I'm taking notes on it like oh, great, you know, they spent a good Ironman spends a good long time, in the middle of the movie just becoming Iron Man. Yeah. Oh, yeah, man spends a good long time in the middle of that movie. In both, you know, first versions, you know, when, when Uncle Ben dies, spends a lot of time on the suit and the web and the thing, you know, the mechanics of becoming Spider Man, that's a big part of our enjoyment. They don't just put on the suit. Oh, here I go. It's, it's a big part of the journey. So great, I have to have that in mind. You know, and just kind of going through it, understanding it. And then when I pitch it, I'm pitching it like it's Star Wars. I just had this meetings a day or two ago. And I'll get up I'll run around the room. You know, I'm shooting stuff down or whatever, you know, I have this, this this total enjoyment, because I love these movies. You know, I want first I want them to make my movie. Bigger. But second, I can't wait to see my belief. You know, I can't wait to be in line, you know, for the nine o'clock show when the seven o'clock comes in. comes out. So I love that. That's my little soapbox. i i I'm glad I said it. And hopefully, like I say I hope it's valuable to your
Scott Mcmahon 1:24:25
It actually is extremely valuable because I have you know, with my podcast, I have just people will email me you know, occasionally and just this is asking advice or opinions. And I made a point to a young filmmaker. I said, if you kind of want to test yourself as a filmmaker, that whether or not you're a good director or not make a short film based off of some very famous short story that's in public domain. Something that has proven like that exists like an Edgar Allan Poe story. That's something that's like, Okay, this exists. This is a Historically, well known story, that it has all the elements in there that make it successful. So if you can, one write it, the Adapt adaptation of it. And then to if you're a director, you can test your directing chops that way, because it's all the elements are there, you know, the story's solid, you know, it's, uh, you know, short enough that you can make it within your means. And then if it falls flat, then you can go back and figure out why it fell flat because it then it puts you because you can't blame anything. Like, I can't blame this the story didn't work, or the screenwriter didn't write it right, or something like that. It's I mean, there's all these elements there of like you really, really want to test yourself as a director.
Rob Edwards 1:25:42
That's a good bet. And look at the look at the success out of Sundance right there. The birth of nations sold for 1474. Right. And that's, that was a take on the already established movie. You know, it's his riff. Yes. On this movie.
Scott Mcmahon 1:25:58
Can't wait to see it, because it's definitely a long overdue take on that movie.
Rob Edwards 1:26:02
Yeah, exactly exactly. Yeah. And it should, it should be fun. And that enhances the viewing of the movie. And I think too, yeah, with a lot of short films that I see, I'll always say like, what short films did you watch to inspire you to do this? Because most of the short films I've seen, especially the, you know, the, the good one, you know, the Pixar ones, and also the really good live action ones are very, very simple. One, one person or two, you know, in a relationship, and then that slowly evolves over time. There was a, you're talking about riffs on there was this YouTube thing that happened that I thought was great. Was the Power Rangers thing with a mafia? You saw that at the fan film? Or which one? Yeah, a fan film the Power Rangers fan film. I guess they had to take it down. Yeah, but it was fantastic. Oh, it was like, I'd never you know, this guy's take on Power Rangers. You know, the wink is of course, its power. Right? But it's a series Yeah. Vanderbeek and seven, like, Oh, this is, this is seriously enjoyable. This guy can, I can't wait to watch this guy make a movie, you know, the Deadpool trailer, you know, the little sizzle off of that, you know, that's a first time director. And now of course, the biggest the highest grossing, I take my first time director, it was, you know, it is something that we've seen before, you know, it's a thing. And the way he did it was just fantastic. And obviously like it because the other thing that I would put to that is the short story that you adapt should be one that you absolutely love. And the way that you do it should be you should be showing everything that you do great. You know, if you are a great cinematographer, it should be a beautiful movie. If you are great with character, it should be whatever if you're funny, you know, don't try to like funny if you're not funny, in a way, by all means, because one bad joke will kill you, you know, as far as the enjoyment of it. But yeah, if you can work if your best friend is a fantastic actor. Yeah, go? Do you know, get on him. Oh, call it every favor. You know, I give the speech at your wedding. Show up for do for an hour and a half and help me help me in my movie. Robert Rodriguez, we'll talk about that. Like don't do anything that you know, I have a friend that has a bar, I have another friend who owns a bus. Great, there's going to be a bus Chase, and part of this is going to take place in my friend's bar. Oh, awesome, then you know, production value goes through the roof. And you're on the map as a as a serious filmmaker?
Scott Mcmahon 1:28:53
No, yeah. And definitely like all those processes helps. The idea is to kind of keep yourself in check to keep humbled. So that, like you said, if you're to put yourself out there as a writer, as a filmmaker, as a storyteller, to utilize a brain trust kind of concept. Yep. You have to be willing to accept like to let go of what you've created, and know that it's not yours anymore. I think last year talked about that. He said that when they created Buzz and Woody, there was a point where they realized is no longer theirs. It's now they they have a responsibility to serve those characters. Honestly, and, and truthfully to the audience. You know, we're
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Scott Mcmahon 1:29:47
And I think that's a concept very,
Rob Edwards 1:29:50
Very important because you have to, you have to listen, that people don't just give notes just for the sake of giving notes. Yeah, they're addressing their Pressing a problem, sometimes a problem took place pages before what they're addressing, you know, sometimes the wheels were off the wagon way before that was seen that drove everybody nuts. You know, it was a setup, it was the amp up to it. And, and you have to be open to that. I was giving notes to a writer who sent me something and said, Oh, I just want to hear your input. Okay, I'm gonna be tough. Oh, yeah, it's okay. And I gave him the notes. And it was, and you know, me, like, I like to talk. But it was, it was, I would say, four fifths him defending the thing that he had done. And only 1/5 of me giving the note. And I was like, Look, we're not gonna get anywhere with this. Because I'm not just giving you notes, because I want you to talk me out of it. You know, I know, your intent is on the piece of paper. If it is not clear, yeah, you work with it. You know, it's not just, you know, I will give this note but probably, you know, everyone that you give it to, will probably give them the same notes. And if they don't, they're not doing you any favors. But that but part of the process, when you're a when you're an artist, it hurts to get notes, it physically hurts you, you know, it's like somebody is roughing up your baby. And, and you just have to, I think was David, the guy who created family ties. He said, You just write down the note. That's all you need to do. Understand it, write it down. Then, you know, conclude the conversation, punch the pillows or whatever, you know, cry in the shower. And then and then go and look at the notes and say, Okay, what did i this will ultimately make it better. Some you'll just cross off and say, I don't care. I'll get this note nine times out of 10. Most of the time, it's like you don't want I didn't sell it. I just there was something you know, I My intention was to do this. I didn't. That's what threw him off. And in this spot, of course, you have to start off with the intention. Right? You have to start off with a strong motivated character. It has to be very clear what it is this the story that you're telling people get bored with plot they are excited with story with, you know, with the drive and the conflict. You know, even Aristotle talked about, you know, intention obstacle. Anyway, I was I was watching Downton Abbey, right? Because the last episode was on it. Oh, just into your committee do black kid from Detroit main demo. But it made me go back to the first episode. And watch that. So I'm watching that in the first three episodes on iTunes. And, and it's all there, you know, and Julian Fellowes in an interview, he says, Well, I was watching Westway. And I saw that how Aaron Sorkin crafted the characters in the pilot of West Wing. And I took that as my template. And then that's what I did in Downton Abbey. Interesting. Now, you would think those two shows are completely completely different. But as much realist as a writer who knows craft and love crafts, it's the same thing. So the flirtation between the you know, Carson, you know, this is, that's, that's there and, and the the little dynamics and just the sisters, all of that their, you know, progress is coming. I mean that the opening event is the Titanic, you know, goes down and kills dozens who would were set to inherit the estate and now it's, you know, this this other guy, so, like tears, right, this person is coming in. But he's lost the the waitress, this new person comes in, you know, it's it clocks along, but it's all still you know, it's all story. You're you're driving towards this thing that the world is changing. And the you know, the maid the head Butler in the in the Lord of the state are saying, Oh my God, I don't know what's, you know, what are we going to do? Yeah, and that's the tension in every episode. That's great. This is great storyteller. Right. And, and those are the tools that has nothing to do with the software. Yeah, exactly. Has nothing, you know, I don't care what method what if he's a movie magic that Julian Fellowes is writing? was writing it with a quill, you know, it is? It is it is great storytelling and, and that's what's going to, that's when it's gonna save you. You can film that thing, you know, with a cardboard box and it will be compelling television.
Scott Mcmahon 1:34:55
Yeah. Yeah. You know, you mentioned some things like clear is It is, you know, when you're giving notes or feedback or accepting that I don't remember where I heard this before, but I wanted to implement because somebody had asked me, like, just advice like me to give advice, like, when you're giving, like, when somebody read your script, I said, Well, one thing you can do to get constructive feedback. I don't I really don't know where I heard this before, but I thought was great was simply was simply, when you read the script, can you read my story? Can you tell me one? Is it clear? To if it is clear? Is it interesting? Maybe you did that way. That way? You're not there's no, there's no, like, you can't be defensive about it. It's just like, well, I read it. I wasn't sure about what happened here, or why the character did this. He goes where it is clear, but it felt like stuff I've seen before, you know, that way, it's not a personal attack on you like, okay, so that I can work on that note,
Rob Edwards 1:35:57
And that you can kind of police yourself on right? Yeah, that you I was working with Dan Fogelman, who had who had written cars, and love. And we were working on a dress up for Disney, live action animation hybrid. And one of the things that he said to me, which was great, he says, on every page, assume that the person reading it might be on a treadmill. And and that that person, you know, you have to make the intention, very clear, the obstacle, very clear, tell the story that you're going to tell clarity, clarity, clarity, because you don't want the note, that's one note that you can easily take off the table. It wasn't clear like one of the things that I I love to do, I'm there who likes to study writing, I like I'll listen to anybody who's talking about how they're how they you know, every everybody's lectures, everybody's series, I love that stuff. And one thing was this guy, the guy who wrote for weddings in a funeral, whose name is escaping. It also written Love Actually. And before that, he wrote this great series called Black Adder. And he was Rowan Atkinson's like kind of main guy. And, and one thing that he said is, you know, don't be afraid of riding on the nose. And he says one of the most famous lines and I think it's Love Actually, he says, he says he's sitting there, he's riding around it around and around it. He says, I'm just going to say what it is. It's habit. And he wrote the line. I'm just a woman talking to a man. Talking to a boy.
Scott Mcmahon 1:37:48
No, that's, I think average. Notting Hill, right with Julie Ross. Exactly. Yes. Oh, guys, you're right. Don't be afraid to write on the nose. It's such a great like simple advice. Like,
Rob Edwards 1:37:58
Yeah, then if it's, then if people don't like it, then fine, then that's a that's a whole separate conversation. But they won't go what what's going on? Age. I was like, they're kind of talking around something really good, whatever. And then it just lost me. Like, no, you know, that what is it? Like, you know, Darth Vader states his intention is pretty bad, you know? Yeah. Lions. Yeah, he's like, you know, I will probably, you know, he states his intentions. That's why that's one of those things that you know, you can dance around but you really have to hit at some point or another is, you know, what Pixar would call the I one song, you know, that nobody does. Everybody. sings and I want song in some way or another. Go.
Scott Mcmahon 1:38:45
I like that. Singing I one song. You know, I can't I talk to you for there's so much. I would love to. I would love to have another opportunity to have you come back on tubes. We could talk more. You know, the you're working with Aaron Sorkin and just other writing. You have your master's classes coming up? I mean, definitely make sure you have everybody has the links, and promote you know, Rob edwards.net. I know you're you're starting. That's the community.
Rob Edwards 1:39:11
And you can find me at I am Rob Edwards on Twitter.
Scott Mcmahon 1:39:17
Okay, great. Yeah. Let's do Oh, that's brand new. Perfect.
Rob Edwards 1:39:20
I was terrified of what I would do on Twitter. And finally, I said, okay, just put it away at 3am Yeah, don't don't I try not to Twitter too much. But But I most anything that happens it's of interest will be on there. Oh, fantastic. Okay. Yeah, all the blog posts, all that stuff.
Alex Ferrari 1:39:44
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Scott Mcmahon 1:39:53
Well, you know, as we wrap up, wrap all this stuff up. I can't thank you enough for Take your time, your generosity to share with me your knowledge, your experience and this aspect of the brain trust the or you have any sort of communal like writing group that has affected this, like that was really important to me because I'm trying to show to my audience like, I want to apply this stuff. So like, literally, I think the next episode I'll be doing for my podcast is a video hangout with some people I bring together to illustrate like, here it is, you know, a brain trust the my own version of a brain trust group put together on this trip that then working on?
Rob Edwards 1:40:40
I don't know. Yeah, exactly. With those improv, you know, yeah, the rules established the rules are clearly you know, yeah, hit the bigger problems first. It's a yes. And you know, what, if and, yes, and, yeah. And piling on and, you know, best idea, you know, no bad ideas. Just build, build, build, right? Um, yeah, that's, that's awesome.
Scott Mcmahon 1:41:04
I think just something so the people who see it, like, Oh, I see how that's working. And maybe they can stop before they settle on their story. Like, they can push themselves and it's really just, it's a call, it's a cry out a call to the rest of the independent filmmakers out there. Like, just because you can make it just don't make it just yet. You know,
Rob Edwards 1:41:25
Use the right tool, you know, don't always say what to say you're using the wrong tools, you know, just stay stay stay with you know, three about you know, index cards and post it notes and, and stuff and work the story. Don't lock it down sore and so early. It's like you don't shellac, a painting after the first stroke. Yeah. And use use other people. It's a told, we tell stories. A big part of apprentice in the front. We were pitching that thing all the time. Yeah, I love to pitch I will pitch people say, Hey, what are you working on? I will, you know, I'll just take over the party.
Scott Mcmahon 1:42:08
And well, let me tell you this.
Rob Edwards 1:42:10
Once upon a time, because I want to see if people are going to appeals eyes are gonna glaze over. Yeah, if people's eyes are gonna glaze over, I want to see him glaze over. If people are if people are leaning in. If people laugh at something, then the next time I tell that thing, I'm going to tell it's going to be twice as long to a Coliseum. And I'm going to avoid you know, just like the plague the part where people's eyes glazed over. And I can probably tell why their eyes his eyes glazed over. Yeah, it's that second question. It's, yeah, it was clear but not interesting.
Scott Mcmahon 1:42:50
Into okay. Yeah. It's, this is amazing. That's something.
Rob Edwards 1:42:55
Yeah. So, so awesome. So yeah, no, no, yeah, let please let me know when that happens. I can't wait to
Scott Mcmahon 1:43:00
Yeah, I'm putting together actually, it's funny because I wrote a book as an experiment, I was telling my audience in the podcast like, Hey, if you know, filmmakers are just we're making digital products. And a lot of authors for the longest time I've been writing digital products for Amazon. You know, you're just selling a digital product. So what are the mechanisms of like writing or creating something digitally? And then selling it? What are the marketing mechanisms of selling? So I said, I'll write a book and put myself as a guinea pig. So I did that last year, and put it on Amazon. And I've been selling it and seeing what works and what doesn't work. But part part of that process of writing the book, I also recorded an audio recording version of an audio book of it. And I was like, wait a minute, this is, I've seen this happen, because I know the blacklist has a podcast. And so I did an early version of my script, by recording it as an audio basically play by who's reading like, it's like an audio table read, but it's, you know, the listen to it. So the next I'm rewriting during the rewrites, and I'm going to read, I'll record it. And that's sort of my way of like, inviting my guests on who will be part of this makeshift mass. Sorry, brain trust group is like, you can either read the script, or you can listen to it, all the bells and whistles with the actors I've put in place and the audio cues and the music so you can have like an audio experience of it. And then that way, it's easier for them. Like you said, they're on a treadmill, they're in traffic, and they can listen to the story. And then that way, when they come to the table, they can tell me like, what worked what or what wasn't clear, or what was it and then we can take the brain trust meeting to the next level because hopefully, I have to do something to create that visual experience or an emotional experience. That's just not just the written word. That's my intentions.
Rob Edwards 1:44:49
Right. Exactly. And starting Yeah, starting with yourself. What I love about that is that you started with yourself as an audience. You know, what is the book I most want to read? And then you know, yeah, and then You started there. So so you know what it what it needs to be. You also did that, you know, kind of what I love the Tim Ferriss thing of like I'm a I'm a guinea pig. Yes, yes, I'm just gonna throw myself into this and see what happens. Which I think is a good life experience, like get used to getting bruised. Say it all the time to embrace the suck. All sucks, you're always going to hear somebody going like, oh, that's stupid. And, and you have to just say, No, it's stupid now but you know, in a couple of months, it won't be Yeah. If you tell if I if I get the right you know if I get the right stuff. So So yeah, so So put yourself you know, putting yourself in the in the mouth of the lion is a great idea. Yeah, that's gonna be a lot of fun. And you will, you will probably learn volumes from it because you'll have that that delicious legacies flops. Yeah, that's like, oh, no, this is embarrassing. And then you know, you always pull yourself out of the ashes. Everybody does.
Scott Mcmahon 1:46:00
Very, very cool. Hey Rob Thank you. Thank you so much. I can't thank you enough really.
Rob Edwards 1:46:06
Thank you for having me.
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