Keep the recent past in the past.

Picture by Tumisu on Pixabay

Honestly, babe, we both have our flaws. I can be overly sensitive, I don’t always clean up after myself, and I banned you from ever speaking to any of your old high school friends. And then there’s your flaw, which is that you’re constantly reminding me of all the horrible things I’ve done.

You keep saying, “a large majority of the horrible things you’ve done happened yesterday”, and I’m no expert on time, but “yesterday” sounds like the past to me. …


The previously unreleased transcript.

Original (Non-Hamburglar) Photo by Bill Oxford on Unsplash

THE JUDGE: We are now ready for the sentencing.

HAMBURGLAR: I’m just glad the lawyers are through with me, I’m tired of being grilled!

(WHEREUPON THERE IS A NOTABLE LACK OF LAUGHTER FROM THE AUDIENCE.)

THE JUDGE: The Jury has found you guilty on 500 counts of hamburger thievery. I have chosen to sentence you to the maximum amount of time that can be given for a crime of this nature, 4 months of community service.

HAMBURGLAR: This is an outrage!

THE JUDGE: I assure you, it is a more than fair punishment —

HAMBURGLAR: A fair punishment!? You’re giving…


What if you found out Laura Dern owned you?

Photo by Seaq68 on Pixabay

Dear Ms. Laura Dern,

I’m afraid I’ve been a bad boy. It’s not that I believe I am a bad dog, I am a perfectly average dog. But, that is the problem. I have spent my life believing I was an average dog belonging to an average person. A regular, worthless, human who deserved nothing better than a mutt like me.

Then I found out that I belonged to 3-time Oscar nominee Laura Dern.

That brings me to why I’m writing this letter — to inform you that I will be…


Staying safe from the otherworldly has never been easier.

Photo by KELLEPICS on pixabay
  1. Don’t buy a house, only build.
  2. Don’t build a house that looks spooky, that’s almost as bad as buying. A ghost might get confused and move in.
  3. If you have the means, build two houses. One normal house for you, and one decoy spooky house for the ghosts.
  4. DON’T pay attention to ANYTHING around you EVER. If you don’t pay attention to where you left your keys, or to whether or not the bloody writing on your wall has always been there, you won’t know if a ghost changes something! …

Is your screenwriting riddled with cliches? Try these on for size.

Photo by Mohamed_hassan on Pixabay

“You missed.” // “Did I?”

  • Replace with: “You missed.” // “DAMNIT!”
  • Your characters should be PISSED when they miss. Missing sucks!

“He’s right behind me, isn’t he?”

  • Replace with: “SHE’S right behind me, isn’t SHE?”
  • Come on guys, it’s 2019. Women can sneak up behind your characters at inopportune times just as easily as guys can.

“We’ve got company!”

  • Replace with: “We’ve registered as an LLC!”
  • Stories are all about surprises! How would it change your plot if one of your characters suddenly incorporated before the climax??

“I could tell you, but then I’d have to kill you.”

  • Replace with: “I could tell you, but then you’d know something I don’t want you to know and that would be upsetting for me.”
  • Why be hyperbolic…

I’m a painfully unsuccessful screenwriter, and I’ll be your professor this semester.

Photo by Felix Mooneeram on Unsplash

Hello, and welcome to screenwriting 101. I’m a painfully unsuccessful screenwriter, and I’ll be your professor this semester. Here are my top tips.

  • Try writing about what you know. You’re currently a college student that wants to be an artist, so maybe make a short film about that? I’ve definitely never seen a short film about a young troubled artist, so you’d have no competition in that market. If you want, you could even trick your audience into thinking it’s artistic by making it black and white and posting it on VIMEO.
  • Make sure you don’t bold your slug lines…

Jake Brian Williams

Writer in LA. You can find more of my writing at McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Hard Drive, Ranker, Points in Case, or all in one place at JakeBrianWilliams.com

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