This week's 3rd & Fairfax podcast from the Writers Guild is a bit different from the others. I's a panel discussion form the "Sublime Primetime 2017" roundtable the WGA held with Emmy-winning and nominated writers shareing their behind-the-scenes stories. The participants include Steven Davis & Kelvin Yu (Bob’s Burgers), The Duffer Brothers -- Matt & Ross Duffer (Stranger Things), Jo Miller (Full Frontal with Samantha Bee), Gordon Smith (Better Call Saul), and Lena Waithe (Master of None). And the panel is moderated by Guild member Larry Wilmore (Black on the Air).
The guests on this week's 3rd & Fairfax podcast from the Writers Guild of America are screenwriters Liz Hannah and Josh Singer who co-wrote the acclaimed film, The Post. They discuss the script's origin, their uncommon collaboration, and working with Steven Spielberg. The screenplay recently was given the WGA's Paul Selvin Award, for "a script which best embodies the spirit of the constitutional and civil rights and liberties which are indispensable to the survival of free writers everywhere." Last year, Josh Singer won an Oscar for co-writing the screenplay of the Academy Award-winning Best Picture, Spotlight.
On this week's 3rd & Fairfax podcast from the Writers Guild of America, the guests are screenwriters Virgil Williams and writer-director Dee Rees who talk about their collaboration on the acclaimed Mudbound, nominated for a Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar, which currently streaming on Netflix.
The guests on today's 3rd & Fairfax podcast from the Writers Guild are the team of Alexander Payne & Jim Taylor. Together they wrote (and Payne directed) such films as Sideways (for which they won the Oscar for screenwriting), Election, About Schmidt and the current Downsizing. Separately, Taylor co-wrote Jurassic Park III and I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry, and Payne co-wrote and directed The Descendants (for which he won the Oscar for screenwriting) and directed Nebraska. (Okay, do you have that straight? There will be a test later.) To make it all the more clear and entertaining, they discuss their writing career, collaboration, and their process.
The guest on this week's 3rd & Fairfax podcast from the Writers Guild of America is screenwriter Stephen Chbosky, whose most recent work is the upcoming film, Wonder, which he co-wrote and also directed. Among his other movie credits are the live-action Beauty and the Best, Rent and Perks of a Teenage Wallflower, which is based on his novel and he also directed.
The guest on this week's 3rd & Fairfax podcast is acclaimed screenwriter Scott Frank, who received an Oscar nomination for the film Out of Sight (that starred George Clooney and Jennifer Lopez), as well as Get Shorty, Minority Report, and Marley & Me among many others. He also created the new Netflix mini-series, Godless.
This week's 3rd & Fairfax podcast from the Writers Guild of America has a disclaimer on the Guild site, so I'm just going to quote from it directly --
WARNING: This episode contains course language and potentially offensive jokes. It is also the closest interview in tone to a sitcom writers' room you are ever likely to hear on a podcast.
Comedy writing duo Justin Halperin & Patrick Schumacker talk about their career and upcoming projects with Steve Trautmann. Justin and Patrick got their start in TV on the sitcom $#*! My Dad Says, which they created. They also created Surviving Jack, and were producers on How to Be a Gentleman, Cougar Town," iZombie and Powerless. They recently sold a multi-cam pitch to Fox entitled Suspended.
This week on the 3rd & Fairfax podcast from the Writers Guild, the guest is Bruce Miller, who created and is the showrunner for the series, The Handmaid's Tale, which won nine Emmy Awards including Outstanding Dramatic Series, and he himself won an Emmy for Outstanding Writing. Among the many other series that he wrote for and was an executive producer of were Alphas, The 100, and Eureka, and he was supervising producer of Everwood and E.R.
"The poem you are referring to is not part of the original Statue of Liberty. It was added later.”
-- Stephen Miller, White House spokesman, dismissing "The New Colossus" poem about immigrants
To paraphrase the great Molly Ivins when she wrote about Pat Buchanan's culture war speech at the 1992 Republican National Convention, Stephen Miller's press conference yesterday probably sounded better in the original German.
A quarter century later, they haven't changed, still battling against immigrants. Not even illegal immigrants, but in this case, legal ones! Just as a starter, this position he made above trying to rewrite reality about the Statue of Liberty is one taken by many white supremacists and passed along on their websites. Just a very quick historical note to Mr. Miller and any of his like-minded friends on the point of the words being "added later." So too was "Under God" to the Pledge of Allegiance.
(The words "Under God" were "added later" to the Pledge of Allegiance nine years after it was adopted. So, perhaps by the standards of Stephen Miller and pals, God can be ignored in the Pledge of Allegiance, and the Almighty has no meaning to its intent.)
And as long as Mr. Miller and his white supremacist followers -- unless it's the other way around -- are so concerned about the lack of importance for anything "added later," it's worth noting that the Bill of Rights and all 27 Amendments were "added later" to the United States Constitution. These include the Second Amendment which so many on the far right and white supremacists swear by, and also the First Amendment which allows them to say such stupid things without fear of incarceration or being thrown into the loony bin. Moreover, as the inveterate Chris Dunn pointed out, 37 of the 50 states were "added later" to the United States As was Washington, D.C. as capital of the nation.
By the way, so is water when you make Cup o' Soup. Man, if Stephen Miller thinks the concept of "added later" means you can dismiss its importance, I'd like to see him try eating that dry mixture on its own. Maybe in white supremacist world, but not in any delicious culinary universe I know.
Of course, given that the Statue of Liberty was a gift from France, its "intent" is not from the Founding Fathers or the U.S. government in the first place, but rather...France. When the words of Emma Lazarus were added to the Statue, that in and of itself is a specific act and absolutely clear intent of the government. Besides, why do Miller and his merry band of white supremacists think it was put on the water's edge to greet incoming ships in the first place? If it wasn't to welcome immigrants, they could have just put it in Nebraska, which needs a tourist attraction a whole lot more than New York.
And as long as we're dealing with history, reality and facts, the poem "The New Colossus" was written as a donation of artworks at an auction raising funds that would allow for constructing the pedestal under the Statue of Liberty -- three years before the the Statute itself was dedicated. So, in fact, it is part of the history of the Statue of Liberty pedestal on which it is engraved, before the pedestal even existed!!
Alas, all of this is really pretty much for naught. For all the Sturm und Drang from the White House and the belligerent Stephen Miller yesterday on this anti-immigrant bill, reporter Sam Stein of the Huffington Post commented on The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell that the proposal has NO chance of passage. And every other panelist agreed. But at least the administration got its dog whistle out to the base, and its white supremacist wing. However many dwindling dogs there are.
But still, just as a reminder --
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
On this new 3rd and Fairfax podcast from the Writers Guild, Monique Sorgen has an hour-long conversation with Erin Cardillo & Richard Keith about their new series Life Sentence. They talk about being a writing team, acting, and improv. The show stars Lucy Hale (formerly of Pretty Little Liars) and tells the story of a young woman who has been living for years with the knowledge that she has a terminal illness -- and then discovers that she's not going to die soon, but has her full life ahead of her, and she has to adjust everything she has prepared for, and hasn't prepared for.
I post this also for a personal reason. One of my oldest friends since childhood, John Kretchmer, was hired to be a producer and director on the series. So, there you go...
Robert J. Elisberg is a two-time recipient of the Lucille Ball Award for comedy screenwriting. He's written for film, TV, the stage, and two best-selling novels, and is a regular columnist for the Huffington Post and the Writers Guild of America. Among his other writing, he has a long-time column on technology (which he sometimes understands), and co-wrote a book on world travel. As a lyricist, he is a member of ASCAP, and has contributed to numerous publications.
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