Liz and Craig, Executive Producers of Salvation


Cool Tools Show 168: Liz Kruger and Craig Shapiro

Our guest this week is Liz Kruger and Craig Shapiro. Liz and Craig have been married for 26 years, writing together for 20. Most recently, they were the executive producers and showrunners of the CBS sci-fi thriller Salvation. Together they’ve written and/or produced, dozens of projects including the sci-fi thriller Extant starring Halle Berry, Necessary Roughness on USA network, and Girlfriends Guide to Divorce on Bravo.

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Show notes:

Artemis Prime Directer’s Viewfinder App ($30) (iTunes, Google Play)
For the first time, I just directed an episode of television. I was terrified, and someone turned me on to this app, it’s a director’s view finder for smart phones. You’ve probably seen this, where cinematographers will hold one of those little view finders to their eye, or directors will where those around their necks, and they walk around looking through it, and adjusting the lenses to line up a shot. What this allows you to do is you can input into your phone whatever camera your DP’s gonna use, all the lenses that he has in his camera that are available to him when he lines up shots, you can have those lenses input through this Artemis Prime app, so when you go to a location, for example, your scouting location, and you’re looking, you’re trying to see what shots are there, where am I gonna put the camera. This is all in the prep stages. You’ve got all the lenses on your phone, and you can line up shots, you can see different lenses, and you can be prepared much better on the day that you show up, as opposed to having to use other peoples’ view finders, you can actually take photos of a location, you can make videos of the location. This really gives you so much information about what you’re looking at; it gives you so many different ideas, and it really educated me on what different lenses look like.

Dry Erase Magnetic Strips ($2 each)
The charm of these is, because it’s dry erase, it can be written and rewritten over many, many times. But also because they’re magnetic, they can be put up on this special magnetic board, and quickly moved, rearranged, erased, rewritten … because when we’re breaking stories for shows, the whole idea is to keep it as loose and as in the flow as possible, and you don’t want to have to stop every single time an idea is changed or an idea is moved, and rewrite the whole card, or unpin it and move it. And this gives you a flexibility that within the writers’ room, everything flows so much easier and faster.

A Guided Sleep Meditation by The Honest Guys
So how many people out there have trouble falling asleep at night? I know I do, and I searched far and wide for something that would knock me out, other than just a club to the head or sleeping pills … I’m not into that kind of stuff, so I found, I was just listening to various things on the internet, and I found these guys, they call themselves The Honest Guys, which of course makes me very suspect. However, they had these guided sleep meditations. And the first time I listened to one, I fell asleep before I even got through minute three. And I thought, this is crazy miracle. But the voice on it is very quiet, I think it’s a little British; it’s really hard to define the accent, but what I am most concerned about, and I can’t be sure, is it might be turning me into the Manchurian candidate, because I never get to the end of this, so I don’t know what they’re actually telling me while I’m asleep. But it’s 30 minutes, and I am definitely asleep by minute three or four. It’s pretty amazing. But I did one time try to stay up to the end just to hear what they were saying at the end, and if any political assassinations occur, and I’m somewhere in the vicinity, I am going to be a little concerned, but for now it seems to just be knocking me out cold, so I definitely can recommend that.

Respironics DreamStation CPAP with Humidifier ($900)
This changed my life. This is the coolest tool out there, even though it is about as unsexy as a tool can get. I actually couldn’t breathe. And also, several times, I also realized that I was so tired all the time. So I went to the sleep clinic, they show me my EEG and all my work, and they go, well look at this, the first four hours you are sleeping, you have zero REM sleep. Zero. That’s bad. …. The doctor said to me, after I did the testing, he said, “You wear the CPAP machine, you will feel different tomorrow morning.” And I said, “How can that be?” He said, “One day, it’s gonna make all the difference.” And he was so right. I obviously was waking up dozens of times in the night; I wasn’t getting enough oxygen; and not only do you feel tired, but it really negatively impacts your cognitive abilities, and so anyway, one day later, not only does it stop the snoring completely, it has a kind of a quiet little hum about it that I actually kind of like, it helps me sleep. But most importantly, I don’t wake up anymore in the night, and I’m never tired anymore; it really, really did change my life, and so there you go. That’s the CPAP machine.

Also mentioned:

Derri-Air Bicycle Seats
I had an exercise bike at home, which when I bought it, had this big, cushiony seat, and I thought, oh, isn’t that amazing, it’s so comfortable, only to realize, it’s enormous, it’s meant for someone who’s probably 7 foot 6 and weighs 800 pounds. And so when I would ride on it, not only like was it uncomfortable, but my butt would go numb. … And so, I got on the website …and they delivered exactly what they said they were going to deliver, Craig figured out how to put it on to the bike, and it really has been a life changer, like, I couldn’t ride the bike before, and now, no more butt numbness.


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