The comedy and tragedy of writing in Hollywood

What's it all about?

We're two writers trying to find our next break. Our show is about writing, Hollywood and our experiences on the way to...we wish we knew what.

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Sam & Jim

Our Scripts

Our West Wing script, the first TV drama we ever wrote (and it almost got us a Diney Fellowship). It dates from the start of Season Two. Enjoy.

The West Wing: I'm Just a Bill

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Sam and Jim Recommend

Our long-promised text blog of books & whatever else we think our listeners will enjoy. Click to visit

Sam and Jim Recommend









Favorite Podcasts

The Hollywood Podcast

KCRW's The Business

Behind the Scenes

Verge of the Fringe

the Screenwriter's Podcast

Favorite Websites

Alameda Writers Group

the Artful Writer

Screenwriter? WORDPLAY!

Useful Links

Podcast directory



The Big Thank Yous

Andre Fratto & Dustin Cook composed our theme music

Rob from My Silver Mount Zion shared site-building tricks that kept Jim from killing himself.

Where the #@$% have we been?!

...Scouting out the new landscapes of business in Hollywood, among other things.

Direct download: SamandJimshow44.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:30pm PDT

Ageism?  Sexism?  Racism?

That's the big listener mail topic this time.  There's more mail, of course, and the inevitable career update (hint:  we're being flown to Seattle!  Woo-hoo!)

Direct download: SamandJimshow43.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 5:12pm PDT

That's a good time for things to happen in a screenplay.

In real life, though, it's a good time to do a podcast.  While we're waiting for, well, anything to happen, we do a quick career check-in and answer MORE listener mail. 
Direct download: SamandJimshow42.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 4:04pm PDT

That's what they call it when you're up for a staff job...

...but they haven't called your name yet.  A little career update and lots of listener Q&A, including our thoughts on videogame writing.

Direct download: SamandJimshow41.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:36pm PDT

Three years of podcasting, forty shows in the can...

and finally, we listen to our audience.  This episode:  listener mail, and some overview on what we've learned so far.

Direct download: SamandJimshow40.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:26pm PDT

At long last, the WGA strike is over. 

What does it mean for the future of Hollywood?  More importantly, what does it mean for us?

Direct download: SamandJimshow39.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:02pm PDT

TV is in BIG trouble.

We applied for a WGA program to train future showrunners -- and damned if they didn't accept us...

Direct download: SamandJimshow38.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 4:29pm PDT

The WGA strike is all about the Internet... 

Why?  Because it's the future -- for all of us.  An inside take on what's going on and our thoughts about where Hollywood is heading.  Get ready:  everything you know is about to change.
Direct download: SamandJimshow37.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 2:36pm PDT

Still walking and waiting...

An update from the picket lines, some thoughts on the latest contract offer, Sam's mom is finally impressed, and a shout out for help on our new projects.
Direct download: SamandJimshow36.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 5:26pm PDT

The second installment of our strike series.

The deadline passed.  Now we're on the picket lines.  The latest updates, and why you shouldn't even think about scab work.

Direct download: SamandJimShow35.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:11pm PDT

The Stephen King pilot is turned in...

...just in time for a strike.  What it all looks like through the smoke as California burns...

Direct download: SamandJimShow34.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 5:16pm PDT

...You might get another podcast

Or, in our case, find yourself pondering more career options than you ever expected.  Each with complications you never anticipated, too.

PS:  in big bold letters, let us say here and now, WE'RE SORRY it took so freakin' long to get this episode made.  As we'll explain, we've been, well, kinda busy.
Direct download: SamandJimShow33.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:40pm PDT

A nice place to visit...

...which is good, cause we sorta live there.  Further reflections on this whole "being on staff" experience as we write our first episode of The Dead Zone and prepare to send it into production.
Direct download: SamandJimShow32.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:34pm PDT


Reflections on finally getting to the place we set out to reach so long ago:  the writers' room.
Direct download: SamandJimShow31.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:21pm PDT

Our journey enters a new phase...

...or so we hope.  This is a big (and much-delayed) update on developments in our career -- and our personal battles with our own hearts and minds.
Direct download: SamandJimShow30.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:49pm PDT

Do you need one?

Of course.  But when?  And why?  Just what DO they do?

Direct download: SamandJimShow29.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 2:29pm PDT

His book sold a million copies...

but can we sell one TV show based on it?  Months of hard work are put to the test as we start making the rounds to the networks.
Direct download: SamandJimShow28.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 3:24pm PDT

Moving your story to the next level...

it ain't easy, but it has to be done.  We've got a few thougths for you that might help, and, as always, a career update.
Direct download: SamandJimShow27.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 2:05pm PDT

Perseverance is the key... getting through the door in Hollywood, despite the rejections.  But getting in isn't the end:  you still have to find inner strength to push ahead.  We talk about some books and experiences with this struggle, and share our own tips.
Direct download: SamandJimShow26.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 2:01pm PDT

Talk is cheap...

but getting people to listen means investing in your idea. You need to take your time, groom your message and learn to spend your words wisely.  For TV, film or even a podcast, the pitch is crucial.

Direct download: SamandJimShow25.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:07pm PDT

Yes, it's "A Very Special Episode."

No, Sam hasn't gone suicidal on us.  But instead of talking Hollywood, we're asking for your help.  We're plotting a new podcast with skits and song -- hell, it might even be funny.
Direct download: SamandJimShow24.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:07pm PDT

...and Jim is Half Full

We wish we were talking about a glass, not our uncertain job prospects.  It's staffing season in Hollywood, and there's lots of jobs out there -- or not many at all.  It all depends on how you look at it (and just what's in that glass you're drinking).
Direct download: SamandJimShow23.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:33pm PDT

Friday April 7th

From a big studio meeting to our first gig on a panel of experts, it was one helluva ride...
Direct download: SamandJimShow22.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:24pm PDT

Is the whole idea a contradiction?

Can you trust anyone out here, or is jaded cynicism all there is?
Direct download: SamandJimShow21.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 5:07pm PDT

It's showtime

After all these years, we've finally got the whole package for the first time. We've written our scripts. We have our team in place. Staffing season is coming...
Direct download: SamandJimShow20.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:47pm PDT

Or are you just deluded?

How can you tell? We risked it all to come to Hollywood -- but was that really a smart move? Is facing an American Idol style train wreck the only way to find out?
Direct download: SamandJimShow19.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:36pm PDT

Reality TV messed up our career

...but became a full-time gig for our friend Dan. So what's it like writing shows that "don't have writers?" And just how fascinating are those celebrities, anyway? Listen up, he'll tell you.
Direct download: SamandJimshow18.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 4:01pm PDT

The verdict is in...

...But what is it? And what have we been sentenced to?
Direct download: SamandJimShow17.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 3:49pm PDT

Is our pilot dead?

Or will the ABC grant clemency? What do we write next? Where does our next paycheck come from? How will we clothe our children? What's for lunch? So many questions hang unresolved...
Direct download: SamandJimShow16.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:00pm PDT

...TV people and TV plots, that is...

A little news on the pilot front, then we address the class struggle on your TV set -- the one that isn't happening. Rich people are BORING! How about more TV characters people can actually relate to? Besides the Cylons?
Direct download: SamandJimShow15.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:18pm PDT

You'll never write alone

At least, not once your script is sold. No script is too good to need notes. Lots and lots of notes...

Direct download: SamandJimShow14.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 4:17pm PDT

Hollywood is quite a ride...

...and there's no shortcut to the front of the line. Well, not for us mortals...

Our apologies for the long delay with this one.

Direct download: Samand_JimShow13.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 5:22pm PDT

Our TV pitch finds a buyer...

What more is there to say? A lot, actually...
Direct download: SamandJimShow12.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 4:44pm PDT

...and on the page

We've got some career updates first, and then we tackle a tricky question: what the hell is "voice" in a script?
Direct download: SamandJimShow11.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 4:49pm PDT

Bring on the body bags..

...'cause there's a war of ideas going on, and the casualties are piling up.
Direct download: SamandJimShow10.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:54pm PDT

You can count on 'em when you pitch

A good meeting is about more than picking the right mineral water.
Direct download: SamandJimShow9.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:13pm PDT

What makes a writer?

Writing, of course. And you'd better love the painful, frustrating act of creating for its own sake, 'cause that's what it's all about.
Direct download: SamandJimShow8.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:52pm PDT

It's crunch time

The networks start buying TV ideas in a couple weeks and we're feverishly pumping out more pitches. Which begs the question: what makes a show really work?
Direct download: SamandJimShow7.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:15pm PDT

There's always a ray of hope...

...but it's usually shining down through a sewer grate.
Direct download: SamandJimShow6.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 3:53pm PDT

So you think you've got a great idea for a movie?

So did we...
Direct download: SamandJimShow5.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:05pm PDT

Okay, we're all caught up on how we got here.


Now we're pitching our TV show idea to Showtime, FX, and HBO.
Direct download: SamandJimShow4.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:28pm PDT

The first of 3 podcasts about giving up our old lives to become writers in Hollywood.


In this episode, we decide to try writing, even though we have it pretty good in Minnesota. Then we got a call...
Direct download: SamandJimShow1.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:27pm PDT

The second of 3 podcasts about giving up our old lives to become writers in Hollywood.


We land in LA. And while having a job on the Disney studio lot is pretty cool, it ain't easy to starting all over again.
Direct download: SamandJimshow2.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:26pm PDT

The last episode in our "how we got here" series.


We finally sell a script. Then another. And another...
Direct download: SamandJimShow3.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:24pm PDT

Thanks for listening!