Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Office Space’

When you have a clear idea of a plot, write out the entire story as interestingly as you can. Keep in mind that the audience is not interested in seeing actions which people do generally, but in seeing what specific actions specific persons do in specific circumstances.”
Screenwriter Frances Marion 
How to Write and See Film Stories (1937)

Moneyball is a movie I adore and return to often. Here are two scenes from that movie that show something specific about the game of professional baseball. But they are also  scenes that are universal. Since people throughout time have had to do some kind of work to survive and be productive in this world —getting fired or firing people is a part of life.

And Office Space is another work related movie that comes to mind as unpacking specifically what Peter (Ron Livingston) does in a given day to avoid being fired. It’s a great scene because of the twist at the end.

And another scene that comes to mind dealing with specificity is from Breaking Bad.

You don’t have to be a fan of baseball, work in a cubical, or have an interest in chemistry/meth to enjoy the stories of Moneyball, Office Space, and Breaking Bad because the writers drilled deep into the specific aspects of the characters.

P.S. Speaking of work . . . over the weekend I made significant progress on lining up details for the release of my book this month.

Scott W. Smith

Read Full Post »

I wanted to find a quote for St. Patrick’s Day from a screenwriter with Irish roots. The quote I found isn’t about screenwriting but I got a kick out of it and I did find a way to tie it into what this blog is all about. It’s from actor/writer/director Edward Burns (Saving Private Ryan, The Brothers McMullen). I’m not 100% sure of the context but it appears to be in a reference to actors who are bothered by paparazzi popping up around every corner.

“If that stuff really bothers you so much, you should go do regional theatre. Go do Chekhov in Iowa. No paparazzi will be following you.”
Edward Burns

See Iowa is always the bench mark for obscurity. (Hence, the title Screenwriting from Iowa.) And speaking of theater in Iowa, congrats to Theatre Cedar Rapids for the renovations they just completed on their historic theater following the flood of ’08 that had the water as high as seven feet inside. It took a lot of time and money to restore it to its original state.

Fans of the movie Office Space may be interested that Ron Livingston was born in Cedar Rapids and has performed on the stage at Theatre Cedar Rapids.  A visit there as a teenager helped give him inspiration to become an actor.

“I remember being in 10th grade and being a part of Marion High School’s job shadowing program and being asked to pick something that I might want to do for a living. I told them I was thinking about being an actor—and in a lot of parts of the country they would have looked at me and laughed and told me to pick something else—but my guidance counselor was able to pick up the telephone, and a week or so later I was able to follow Richard Barker around as he held auditions and gave me a tour of the theater and told me what it would be like to be a professional actor…I’ve very proud to be a part of Theatre Cedar Rapid’s history.”
Actor Ron Livingston

While  paparazzi may not be following you while you’re writing or performing for regional or community theaters in Iowa (or wherever you live in fly-over country) but it sure could lead to bigger things. In fact, just to tie this back into St. Patrick’s Day, the Provincetown Playhouse (on Cape Cod in Massachusetts) not only had a part in the spread of the “Little Theater” movement 100 years ago, but they helped launch the career of  the great playwright Eugene O’Neill.

It would be fun someday to do a screenwriting seminar at the Provincetown Playhouse or Theatre Cedar Rapids and to tap into some of that history and hopefully inspire the next generation of writers and actors rising up from seemingly obscure places.


Scott W. Smith


Read Full Post »

One things movies often lack is actually showing people working. I think there is a few reasons for this ranging from work is seen as uninteresting and writers lacking knowledge of work outside of writing. But it has been said that every job you’ve ever had should provide you with ample material for one book or screenplay.  Yet time after time it seems like few characters really have  a job or they have the ever present interesting job in advertising.

One writer who has delighted in showing every day jobs is Mike Judge who is best known for his film Office Space. Judge’s most recent film is Extract that takes place in an extract factory. Judge told Carl Cortez of iFmagazine that he’d worked a variety of regular jobs and that he remembers thinking that Hollywood “sometimes out of touch” with the workplace.

“I also used to feel like a lot of characters in movies and TV seemed to have endless cash and free time and you either didn’t know much about their job or they didn’t seem to have to have one. Finding the humor, while still having some dignity to the characters is something that is also important to me. I don’t think about it that much. I’d like to think it comes naturally. To me it’s just like when I would sit around with my friends telling stories about people I work with and doing imitations of them and that sort of thing.”
Mike Judge
iFMagazine.com

Scott W. Smith


Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: