A Conversation with Lindsay Ellis – Part II

by Kathryn Graham

Lindsay Ellis is an American video essayist and film critic with degrees in film from NYU and USC. She condenses complex critical thinking and academic theory into entertaining and humorous YouTube essays on everything from a Film Studies through the Lens of Transformers to Product Placement and Fair Use.  She is also the host and writer for PBS’s online short series It’s Lit! You can check out all of her content for free on YouTube!

For those who missed it, Part I is HERE

Where do you see the future of what you’re doing going?

L: I don’t know. YouTube is very splintered. In left leaning spaces, you’ll see more and more attention paid to things like quality of the picture and the framing devices. It’s leaning more artistic and expensive looking. It’s leaning towards highly researched videos. The consequences of that is people make fewer and fewer videos.

Meanwhile, YouTube doesn’t favor inconsistent output like that. It likes you to be like: Tuesdays, once a week, exactly 25 – 35 minutes, whatever your schedule is.

That works for the AM Talk Radio side of YouTube which is really consistent and releases a lot more often.

So there’s kind of an imbalance. There’s two cultures. One sub-culture wants to focus on higher quality and better research and use that to gain attention. The other side is just like… Cinema Sins (note from KG: a nit-picky and often inaccurate ‘movie review’ YouTube channel).

I just watched a whole video about Cinema Sins’s sins. Sustaining Stupidity by Bobvids.

L: Yes! I have made so many people watch that video. It’s not just about why Cinema Sins is bad. It’s a good microcosm for what kind of content gets consistent sustained views on YouTube. How it’s cultivated. Why it’s cultivated in bad faith. How this is bad for society at large. It breaks it down bullet point by bullet point.

Do you think a subscription service for what you do might work? Would there be enough demand?

L: I think there would be demand, but part of the deal is you want to reach new people. Ultimately, my goal is to get people to re-evaluate the way they consume media. The way they think critically and how critical thinking even works.

A lot of YouTube is really bad for critical thinking. A lot of it is very emotion driven. “Here’s what I thought about a movie, but I’m going to try to dress it up in objectivist rhetoric that doesn’t apply.” You cannot objectively review a movie.

There’s this kind of obsession with this kind of ‘pwnage’. Like “I need to crush the other side.” A lot of times ‘the other side’ is like Ghostbusters 2016.

Part of the rising tide of that is it needs an alternative. Those alternatives do exist, but they tend to release less frequently, and they tend to get way fewer views than Cinema Sins.

Another trend I’m not liking is, I talked about this in That Time Disney Remade Beauty and the Beast, where we have to over-explain everything. To preempt the objections. It’s like we’re making movies for Cinema Sins now.

A lot of stories, we do not need to know the logic of the universe. There are some universes like Harry Potter that operate on an elaborate internal clockwork. But there are other universes like Beauty and the Beast for example, where it’s a disservice to the story to try to apply strict logic to it.

People get so worked up now… I think of Star Wars: The Last Jedi and I just want to stand on a mountain going “It’s just a movie! Why is everything culture war?” Why does everything have to go to 11?

This is another thing I’m not sure I’m ever going to address. You see this phrase ‘objectively bad’. I’ve seen this phrase a lot more, especially in relation to The Last Jedi. That’s just because there’s a certain subset that has co-opted this phrase and is using it to justify their opinions. They have convinced themselves that there’s a quadratic formula for how to figure out if a movie is bad, but that’s not how it works.

I could make a good argument for contrived or poor structure. I have some issues with The Last Jedi. Mostly character arc related, but at the end of the day, there’s no such thing as objectivity. There’s some people out there who like structure-less stories. That doesn’t make them wrong. It just means they don’t like Hollywood movies.

There’s a lack of self-awareness where people can’t connect their intense reaction to some form of internal bias. They’re like “No! It’s objective! It’s bad!” If it was objective, I’d agree with you. If it was objective, everyone would agree with you.

With representation in film, do you see that getting any better or staying about the same or getting worse?

L: I see it getting better, but I think Hollywood is trailing culture. Not the other way around. The reason you see movies like Get Out and Wonder Woman is that people are open to it, and they want to see stuff like that in a way that they didn’t 10 years ago.

I think that the market is there. That’s the only reason it’s getting better on the whole.

Is there any advice you’d give to people who want to be on YouTube or start anything on Youtube?

L: The most important advice is: Do not ape other people’s voices. I think the worst thing people can do is: “I wanna be like this person!” There’s a ton of people that try to be like Red Letter Media. They’ll make the same jokes. They’ll have the same tone.

A lot of people will write me and be like: “How do I make this good?” I’m like: “Practice it. It’s your first one. It’s not going to be good.”

I think people need to learn to be okay with that. It’s a process. It’s like any skill. Most people will have a kernel of an idea of what their voice is going to be. This is a medium. It’s not the same as prose. It’s a process to find it.

A lot of people that I now consider peers had search a learning curve.
You need to figure out what you’re good at and what your voice is.

The best advice I ever saw was someone said: Don’t try to demand the attention of people who you admire. Try to elevate your peers, and rise up with them. Eventually, the people you admire will start to take notice.
That’s definitely been my experience.

Kathryn Graham has a Conversation with Lindsay Ellis – Part I

by Kathryn Graham

Lindsay Ellis is an American video essayist and film critic with degrees in film from NYU and USC. She condenses complex critical thinking and academic theory into entertaining and humorous YouTube essays on everything from a Film Studies through the Lens of Transformers to Product Placement and Fair Use.  She is also the host and writer for PBS’s online short series It’s Lit! You can check out all of her content for free on YouTube!

Video essays. What are they and what are their strengths as opposed to written essays?

L: Video essays are effectively exactly what they sound like. There’s a misconception that a video essay is just a long ramble edited. They’re incorrectly defined. To me, a video essay is an essay. It has a thesis. It has a central argument and supporting evidence.

Video essays are really popular on YouTube right now specifically for visual media, and that’s where I personally think their strengths are best applied. It’s a new type of film writing where instead of describing a scene you are able to use elements of the scene to help strengthen whatever argument you’re making. Whether it’s a good argument or not depends on the case.

A lot of the time, it’s just “How Wes Anderson Uses Colors”. Bros love that. But it doesn’t put forth an argument. It’s just a list. Those are really popular. They call themselves video essays. I would argue they are not really essays.

You work with Angelina Meehan when you write. How do you choose your ideas? What is your process like?

L: I guess it depends on the topic. We have a meeting every week. Sometimes it’ll involve brainstorming what we’re going to do for the rest of the year or the quarter. A lot of it is financial. Matching sponsors with particular topics.

There’s one we started working on and put a pin in about Walt Disney and the allegations of anti-semitism. It was like… Mm… maybe that one should not be sponsored by Skillshare. You have to be strategic about what you put out there.

For our next video, I’ve wanted to talk about Roger Rabbit for a really long time. It’s interesting and under discussed. Most people talk about the IP. Wow, Bugs Bunny is in it! Or they talk about the technology. How it was done once but never really again.

Space Jam.

L: Cool World. It was done once well.

People don’t talk about the political content of the film. That was one I was thinking about for awhile. Sometimes my writing partner will come up with ideas. She suggested ‘Death of the Author’ because we refer to it a lot, but we’ve never discussed it. We shot that one because on a whim I asked Jon Green, I was like: “Hey, you’ve had some opinions about this. Do you want to be in it?” He was like: Yeah! So we flew to Indianapolis.

Do you write scripts with dialogue or is it off the cuff?

L: We’re very careful with our words. You have to be. The trick is to make it seem informal, but all of our words are chosen very carefully. Because a lot of words that are very commonplace in academia you can’t really use on YouTube like ‘hegemony’, ‘patriarchy’, or ‘feminist framework’. So you have to write around those. It has to appear informal and accessible while still getting your point across. So I haven’t improvised anything in years, except for the Robert Moses rant in the The Case for Disney’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame video. People are like “Release the whole thing!” I’m like, “No, that was all of it.”

So you start with your idea, then you have to research, right?

L: Yeah, a lot of time the thesis will change based on the research. A lot of YouTubers obviously don’t have any professional journalism background. When you start with a thesis, you’re trying to find supporting evidence for it. But a lot of times you’ll find: “Mm, maybe when I first came up with this idea, I was not educated on a certain sect.”

A lot of YouTubers tend to fall down this hole of ignoring that and only focusing on evidence that supports their argument. The tricky thing there is being open to your thesis changing or being completely invalid to where you need to trash the project.

The research really depends. The sad truth is the really hateful angry ones get the most views. So the one I did about That Time Disney Remade Beauty and the Beast. We were like: “We need to do this now, between two videos that will probably have lower views, because algorithm. We need to keep the algorithm favorable.”

Something like the Beauty and the Beast one we went through really quickly. We already know everything about Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. We don’t need a lot of research. It’s just pure vitriol.

Same with Bright: The Apotheosis of Lazy Worldbuilding. Bright we wrote and edited in two weeks. That one was like: “We have to get it out now. No one is going to care about Bright in a week.”

Monetizing everything. How do you feel about it? You seem like you’re not the happiest about having to do it.

L: I would describe it as ‘open hostility’. It’s funny because people accept it now. These companies, they tend to be BC startups, have a lot of money for marketing, and a lot of it goes to podcasts and YouTube because you’ve found it’s an effective way to advertise. Because ‘it’s your buddy!’
The part that makes me uncomfortable is leveraging that kind of personal connection you have with your fans that you don’t see on television or in more traditional modes of advertising.

That’s something I’m never going to be comfortable with, but it’s something I have to do. If I’m going to start my socialist utopia of just me and my employees (because I do pay for 100% of the health insurance of everyone who works for me) it’s really expensive. I need sponsors to pay for that in addition to all other costs.

We’re also in the process of getting commercial space so we can expand and shoot stuff like contract work. That’s going to be really expensive. It’s one of these things like: Well, you have to do it if you want to provide these things, like new cameras or going places. Like New Zealand. Boy that was an investment.

Question about “It’s Lit!” Tell me a little bit about it and how it differs from what you do on your own.

L: PBS contracted me to write and post it and they contracted another company called Spotson to animate and direct it.

Spotson does a few PBS affiliated shows. It’s Okay to be Smart is probably their most popular one. That one has a million + subscribers. It’s a science show. It’s run by a guy who has a PhD. He legitimate. He’s nice. His name’s Joe.

It’s Lit! was originally a tie-in with The Great American Read. They hired me to write and post the first six episodes. Then, they hired us to do six more because Facebook gave them a grant. So it was like: “Oh boy, we can keep doing it!”

We’re in talks to extend it into something more indefinite in 2019. In terms of educational content on YouTube, 99% of it is science stuff. Which is fine. But there’s very little humanities, history, art. So PBS is in the process of starting a channel dedicated to that. I don’t know if It’s Lit! will be a part of it. But something like that will be. They’re looking at starting early next year.

Check back next week for Part II!

Interview with the Creators of Grosse Misconduct – Colby Ryan & Anne Schroeder – Part II

by Kathryn Graham

(Continued from Part IColby Ryan & Anne Schroeder, the actors-writers-producers for workplace comedy Grosse Misconduct, tell us all about how they put together their cast and crew and what you can do to get started!)

 

 

 

 

 

Kate: How did you go about getting financing and the directors and the post production crew?

Colby: We needed was someone on board to guide us because this is the first time we’ve done something like this. It was one thing to work on the script as new writers, but we needed someone to guide us through the process of developing a webseries in terms of crew.

We don’t have a contact list of people that we could look through to populate the crew, so I placed an ad looking for a director/producer, and Mitchell Lazar responded. He’s a fresh new voice. He’s an NYU grad. He has great ideas and a great energy.

Then from there it developed pretty quickly because he’s a writer/director/producer, and he does have a network of contacts so he could reach out. That’s how we got Daniel Sorochkin, who is our producer. He let us know what we needed to do and when we needed to do it.

Mitchell was also in charge of casting. We talked about the lead characters before, that part was easy, but we had to put out a casting call to find the best actors we could to fill out the rest of the project.

They all did an amazing job. Everyone was so professional throughout the whole shoot. It was such a great experience. We were blessed to have them. We needed that guidance.

Kate:  Was this a project where people were paid or was it because they loved and believed in the project?

Anne: Our crew was paid, but they were pretty much across the board fresh out of college. For a lot of them, it was one of their first times being in the position that they are working towards doing full-time. That was exciting.

It was a very diverse crew. We had people from all over the world. From Israel, Turkey, Canada, and Poland. France.

Not that Colby and I are old, but these kids are 21/22, and they were such hard workers and so positive. Sometimes I think the younger generations get a bad rap. They were so professional.

Colby: Anne and I are the executive producers of the project. So in terms of financing, Anne was gracious enough to allow us to use funds from her production company, Not So Artful Productions, in order to finance the vast majority of the project. We literally could not have done it without her.

We had such a tight shooting schedule. We shot four days in an office space in Manhattan called Stratosphere, then we had two other days where we did external stuff.

But it was four twelve-hour days in this office shooting eight+ pages a day. For a new crew to be thrown into this situation, it was shocking we didn’t have any meltdowns. We would happily work with them all again if given the opportunity.

Kate: Do you have any advice for anyone else who’d want to make their own series?

Anne: Just do it.

Colby: We were both thinking the same thing. Just do it.

Anne: You have to do it because no one else is going to do it for you. What works for me might not work for you, but figure out what does and just do it. I have so many actor friends that have these great ideas, but they never take the time to put it down on paper. It’s up to you.

Colby: It’s something that we’ve been hearing so much of in the industry in general. Actors creating their own content. I almost feel like I hear it too much. You can get kind of numb to it after a while. But it’s true.

You really just have to dive in. We didn’t know what was in store when we were doing it. We didn’t know each other. We didn’t know what it was like to work together. It’s like improv: Someone begins, then you just say: ‘Yes, and’ – and continue. Keep on going and see where it leads.

If you feel passionately about completing a project that’s all it takes. You keep moving forward every day. Believe me, we had setbacks. From the beginning to the end of this process was two years.

In the beginning we didn’t know that was going to be the case, but things pop up. Some little things pop up, and some super dramatic things pop up, and you just deal with them, and you move through, and you say: We’re going to get this done no matter what.

We both felt such a great sense of accomplishment once we saw the final product. We looked at it, and we were like: “Wow! We did this!”

I would wish that feeling on any actor because we have so little control over what happens in our careers. We’re always sitting back waiting for the phone to ring, waiting for casting to say “You’re the one.” And usually the answer is “No, you’re not the one.” So take control of that, of your own narrative, and score a win for yourself…

No matter what happens with Grosse Misconduct. Of course, we want the world to see it. We want people to enjoy it and for it to go some major places, but even if it doesn’t, it’s a huge accomplishment for all of us. For Anne and I specifically as the originators of it. We’re very proud of having accomplished it, and I would want everyone to have that feeling.

Check out all six episodes here: Grosse Misconduct

Get in touch with Colby & Anne and tell them what you think here:

Colby’s Website: Colby Ryan. Social: Colbyryanactor@twitter and Instagram.
Anne’s Website: Anne Schroeder. Social: aeschroeder@twitter and Instagram.

Interview with The Creators of Grosse Misconduct – Colby Ryan & Anne Schroeder – Part I

by Kathryn Graham

These two talented hyphenates (actor-writer-producers), Colby Ryan (who plays Mitch) and Anne Schroeder (who plays Sarah), told me all about their new web series: Grosse Misconduct. It’s a dramatic and absurd workplace comedy that focuses on the HR department and features two leading LGBTQ characters! We discussed their writing process and how actors are getting into the writing/producing game (so you non-acting writers have no excuses!)


Kate: Are you both actors first and foremost? Or do you consider yourselves actors and writers in equal measure?

Anne: I’m evolving. I’m learning. I’d like to be more confident in feeling like I’m an actor and writer in equal measure. I would say I’m still an actor, first and foremost, but I’m working on it.

Colby: I will always want to be an actor, but I loved writing Grosse Misconduct, and I’m definitely interested in writing more things in the future. I’m happy to consider myself a hyphenate going forward.

Anne: A hyphenate? (laughs)

Colby: A hyphenate! (laughs)

Kate: How did you come up with the witty title?

Colby: Thank you! We went through a couple of choices, and ultimately, we wanted a title that would reflect HR – Human Resources. I have an alternate career in Human Resources, which is why we ended up with that setting.

‘Gross misconduct’ is a term often used in HR. It’s the most extreme type of situation where someone’s doing something so egregious that they probably have to be fired immediately.

We thought it’d be interesting to make that the name of the department head – Mitch Grosse – using the double meaning of that word to suggest that it’s not just gross misconduct in the office, but specifically, misconduct of the boss.

Kate: What was your process writing this together?

Anne: We would brainstorm ideas first, then go off and work on our own. I need both. I need silence to focus, but in order to get the ball rolling and to get something finished, I need a partner or a group of people to hold me accountable.

Kate: When you were coming up with the characters, especially the ones you played, how did you craft them?

Colby: Obviously, we wanted to have a great time playing these characters and really be able to relate to them. I have played a lot of misunderstood jerks. Characters that are probably not as nice as I am. That seems to work for me, and I love bringing that out in myself. So I knew that was the type of character I wanted Mitch to be.

Sometimes in comedy, especially in sitcoms, you’ll see characters that are two dimensional or stereotypical. So, we tried to make all of the characters as full and complex as possible.

Anne: It’s my first time writing something for myself. I got more invested in some of the other characters than my own character. (laugh)

Once we got to the later drafts, I realized that Sarah was kind of a doormat. I feel like I was making the evolution as an actor from being the ‘nerdy best friend’ to a woman with a little more of a backbone, so in following drafts, she’s still quirky and bubbly, but we wanted to give her a backbone.

Kate: What was the inspiration for the main characters of Brian and Alicia?

Colby: For Brian, Steve Barkman was with us at the casting workshop. He is not like Brian, but he has this kind of twinkle in his eye that can be perceived as a naiveté. We were attracted to that aspect of him since that’s so different from Mitch. The idea of having him be Amish and from the farm background, that was something that Anne developed. I focused more on the Alicia character.

For Alicia, it’s important to me as a gay actor to not just have one LGBT character. I’ve certainly played characters who are not gay, but I wanted Mitch to be gay. I thought that was important.

We tend to have gay characters who are somebody’s best friend or they come on for a quick, comedic moment in a rom-com, but are usually not the central focus. And/or we’ll see a gay character who is focused on a ‘coming out’ story. That’s their reason for existing.

I knew I wanted Mitch to be a gay character who was not going through those things. He’s a lead. The boss of all of these people.

But I also thought there should be a balance in terms of LGBT representation, so we wanted Alicia to be a transgender woman played by a transgender actress.

We found Pooya Mohseni. When we looked up her website and the examples she had online of her work, we completely fell in love. We were like: “This is Alicia”. Then: “Oh, but that doesn’t mean she’s going to agree to do it.” (laughs)

We gave her the whole script, and said: “Just let us know if you’d be interested in doing this. We’d love to have you.”

She was very pleased to see a trans character whose story line was not just about her being trans. That’s not something we hid. It’s mentioned throughout the series when it comes up, but it wasn’t the main focus. She has such a strength and a presence in the series otherwise.

Kate: Is there a season two in the works?

Anne: Yeah! We’re strategizing about season 2. We’re still interested in getting feedback on season one and what people liked and where we could do better. The feedback we have been getting has been very encouraging and people are excited to see what happens after that last episode. It’s encouraging. We’ll see.

Stay tuned for Part II next week!

Check out all six episodes here: Grosse Misconduct

Get in touch with Colby & Anne and tell them what you think here:

Colby’s Website: Colby Ryan. Social: Colbyryanactor@twitter and Instagram.
Anne’s Website: Anne Schroeder. Social: aeschroeder@twitter and Instagram.

Jon Paul Burkhart Talks About Producing Short Films

by Kathryn Graham

I’m back with multi-talented writer, actor, producer, and director  Jon Paul Burkhart. He has a ton of credits to his name in all of these arenas, and he’s played roles on many popular shows like This is Us, Castle, American Horror Story, Parks & Recreation, and most recently GLOW.

His latest role is as one of the villainous leads in Sick For Toys: a psychological thriller that he co-produced with his partner David Gunning.

In Part One, we talked about his new film Sick for Toys and his role in it as both an actor and producer. This time, I talk to Jon Paul about producing short films and how we writers can make our own too!


You write and produce short films. Would you be able to tell me how you do that? How others might do it? What would you do differently?

Jon Paul: I would not use my own money for one. But I did. Well, you know when you want to get something made, and no one wants to pay for it… I never intended to be a filmmaker. I didn’t call myself that until the short right before this movie, because I thought: “Oh, I guess I am.”

I made my first short film with my now partner David Gunning. It’s about a man who tests positive for HIV. It’s his first day with this knowledge. How he interacts with people that don’t know who he sees every day. It’s called Stigma.

I wrote it because I had a friend who tested positive for HIV. I was there when it happened, and as you can imagine, it really affected me. As an artist, I wanted to say something about it. I got pushed by several friends to write it as a short. They were like: “You can write it, sure!”

So my friend, who wanted to remain nameless, he read pages for authenticity, and then we made the film. I never expected to love making something so much.

Then the film did really really well in festivals. People just wanted to see it. We played Side by Side Festival in St. Petersburg, Russia in 2015, where people were getting fines like $15,000 for showing any LGBT film or being gay. It was kind of neat, so it was like: “Yeah, take that!”

That’s what started me making films. My partner, David Gunning, he is half-Asian, and he wrote a piece about racism. So our first two films are very socially conscious. We loved doing that. We have to get back to doing that at some point soon. But right now we’re having fun with the horror genre. We’ve made a few horror short films and made a couple for hire.

For making short films: Plan. Plan plan plan plan. And get favors if you can. Also plan on spending a lot on post production.

What takes up the most money in post?

Jon Paul: I can tell you what should: editing and audio. You could say color work too, but for my money, spend it on audio and a good editor.

In terms of fundraising to create your own content, we have a lot of writers who might want to produce their own content, but they don’t know how to start. Fundraising is a big part of that. What do you do for that?

Jon Paul: We have never utilized any of the crowd-funding. Our first two films we funded ourselves. Actually, that’s not true. The second film, David used Kickstarter. But since then we have not used any crowd-funding, we have just gone to friends we have who have a little more money than us and are willing to give 2-3,000 dollars. When you’re making short films, it’s not as much. You shouldn’t spend a lot on a short film, in my opinion.

As far as features, we went to private investors.  As an actor I hear ‘no’ all the time. It’s all I ever hear. So hearing ‘no’ over money is just more of the same. But you just need a couple ‘yeses’, and you can make a movie. You just have to not be afraid to ask people for money.

A lot of the time people want to know what their money is used for, and you should, as a filmmaker be able to tell them what it’ll be used for. We’re funding another project right now, and we just had a great meeting with a new investor. It helps that we’ve made and sold a feature already. I think we’re well on our way to funding our next film.

What do you do with shorts once they’re complete? There are festivals, but what’s the pinnacle of a short doing well? Getting awards?

Jon Paul: I don’t think we’ve made any money off of them. I know you can sell them online. You can put them on itunes and there’s all these aggregators who can do it now. We more or less were just making short films because we wanted to.

It was a learning experience. We knew we wanted to get into features. We kept pushing to get into features, and when one would fall through, we’d just make another short instead. It was film school for us. I was a theatre major, so I didn’t know anything about it. I learned a lot. David did too.

What would you say to a writer who wants to become a producer? Where would you start? How did you start?

Jon Paul: If you want to become a producer, find someone who’s done it before and pick their brain. Ask them anything you can think of. Just ask them to tell you about producing. I’ve had people do that to me before, and I’m like: “Okay, I’ll just start.”

When people ask me what producing is I tell them: It’s the ability to solve a lot of problems all at once really fast.

Don’t be afraid of work. If you’re a writer and you want to get into producing, have confidence in your work. Have a lot of confidence in your work. (laughs) Even if it’s misplaced.

That goes a long way. If you believe in yourself, then other people will believe in you and want to work with you. They’ll think: “Oh, he’s going to succeed!” And they want to succeed. Because they’re struggling cameramen or gaffers, etc.

Did you mostly find friends or people you knew already or did you hire folks you didn’t know?

Jon Paul: For the short films, we started off hiring people we knew, but then there’s always positions you have to fill with people you don’t know. But most of the people we worked with have become friends and they work with us on multiple projects. I guess that means we do pretty good.

On Sick for Toys, we had our main production crew from Los Angeles. I think there were six or seven of us. Then we hired the rest of the crew from Dallas, Texas and the surrounding areas. They were fantastic. Dallas is a big market for TV and commercials and the random film. Especially commercials. So their crews are fantastic. We lucked out getting a really good crew on Toys.

I love hiring people. It’s always a chance for me to meet new artists. The first AD we just worked with, he was first AD on Sick for Toys, we hired him to work on our next project because he’s great.

You mentioned you’re used to hearing ‘no’ a lot. That’s pretty much how the business is for all of us. How do you deal with it? A lot of writers and other artists can get down on themselves. Sounds like you don’t as much.

Jon Paul: Not as much as I used to. I think that’s just time.

There’s a role I went out for a couple weeks ago. I’m assuming I didn’t get it at this point. I really wanted it. I really did. I thought it was a great role for me. There are still roles that I feel connected to that I don’t get. It upsets me, but I just try to remember that there’s always going to be another great role out there that’s perfect for me. I just have to wait. It does get frustrating. I’m sure you, as a writer, understand. It’s frustrating putting yourself out there so much and most of the time just getting a: “No. No, thank you.”

I guess no matter where you are in your career, you’re still going to hear no, huh?

Jon Paul: I worked on GLOW season two a few months ago, which comes out soon. I got to talk to Alison Brie for a short second. My call time got pushed to the afternoon. I said I was happy that happened because I got to go to an audition, and I didn’t have to put it on tape. She said: “Oh, I love going in. I hate putting things on tape.”

I looked at her and I said: ”Oh, you audition?” Her eyes got really big, and she said: “For everything.”

That made me feel really good! I just assumed she’s Alison Brie. She just gets offers. But no, she reads. It’s a struggle at every level. Maybe easier the higher you get, but still a struggle.

That is comforting. Everybody’s going through the same thing.

Jon Paul: The grass is always greener.