Scriptnotes Episode 299: The Vision as a Writer/Director and Handling Rejection

On May 9th, 2017, Craig Mazin hosted a live Scriptnotes podcast at the Arclight Theater with special guests Diana Fox, Rob McElhenney (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia) and Rian Johnson (Looper, Star Wars: The Last Jedi) where they discuss breaking into Hollywood, handling rejection, and keeping the vision as a writer and a director.

The podcast began with Rob McElhenney, who writes, “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”. He mentioned several times throughout that he absolutely hates writing and notes that desperation helped him get through the sluggish lulls. “I was working in every bar and restaurant in New York City… I was not getting any jobs, so, I was encouraged very aggressively by my agent to stop bitching and write something myself” (Mazin, Fox, McElhenny and Johnson 2017).

Rian Johnson meanwhile spoke of keeping a vision as a director and he hinted that sometimes when you’re trying to break into the industry and someone hands you an opportunity for a script that you’ve written, but, they wish to change things, sometimes your gut may tell you to leave that opportunity alone  and wait for the right one.

At the end of the discussion, there were questions from the audience. Diana Fox noted that when it comes to writing a screenplay and dealing with strikes: “A little practical advice too, take your pajamas off, because if you don’t look like you’re at a job, you won’t feel like you’re at a job, and if you don’t have real pressure, create fake pressure that’s so fucked up that you actually start believing in” (Mazin, Fox, McElhenny and Johnson 2017).

The main take away from the podcast though is this: it is always best to follow your skill set instead of your dreams, because sometimes your dreams don’t transcend into reality. Sometimes you have to wake up and live a life and whatever you life you choose, be sure to be good at it. That’s probably the best advice most of us will ever hear.

Work Cited

Mazin, Chris, Diana Fox, Rob McElhenney, and Rian Johnson. “Scriptnotes 299 – It’s Always Sunny in Star Wars.” Audio blog post. Scriptnotes. N.p., 09 May 2017. Web. 10 May 2017.


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