Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Office - Lost Dialogue Unrated Director's Cut Thing

My hobby is screenwriting, which can be a fun and inexpensive hobby if you work hard at it.

Because the film and television is so competitive, another new and entirely different industry has grown up around breaking into the film and television industry. If you say, “I want to be a screenwriter,” there are dozens and dozens of people who will tell you, “You can only be a screenwriter only if you pay me money so I can show you how it is done.”

If you do this, your fun and inexpensive hobby becomes a REALLY EXPENSIVE hobby. Plus the advice you get from people you pay isn’t always the best.

I was at a writing workshop one time and the person leading the discussion said, “You see on the table before me twenty books about how to have a successful career as a screenwriter. Out of all of these books, only one of them was written by a person with a successful career as a screenwriter.” It was true. The rest of the books were written by people who made a living writing books and conducting seminars on how to be a screenwriter.

But that is beside the point. Once you say, “I’m a screenwriter,” there are a million billion screenplay contests for you to enter.

Some of them are very fun but don’t have prizes, like this punchline contest by Ken Levine. (Actually, the real prize was his advice to aspiring writers, which he posted here.)

And some of the contest have thousands and thousands of dollars worth or prizes in the form of magazine subscriptions and discounts on their screenplay reading and reviewing services.

One of the screenwriting I like the most is the Scriptapalooza TV contest because they ask people to write scripts for existing television shows.

This has lead to a few awkward social situations. I remember talking about my script for Arrested Development where Gob decides to open a women’s clothing store, but all the clothes are the same size – the size of a woman whose proportions Gob considered attractive. That way, he could use the store to score.

Apparently, I got a little passionate about pitching to this guy because he responded to the whole thing by saying, “Dude, you really get into your fan fiction.”

Ugh. Hate to sound all snotty, but what I do is not fan fiction.

Here’s why:
  1. Fan fiction is almost always bad. I like to think my stuff is not bad.
  2. Fan fiction often ventures into the world of wish fulfillment, which makes it bad.
  3. Fan fiction often ventures into the world of slash fiction (sexually explicit encounters between fictional characters) which tends to make it either bad or just creepy (I’m talking to you Harry Potter fans!).
  4. I am not writing scripts to fulfill some creepy fan fantasy. I am writing to show that:
    1. I know the formula of the television show in question.
    2. If asked, I can follow the formula and do it with a flourish.
  5. Do people really write fan fiction about The Office or Arrested Development? If so, why?
In the one book actually written by a person with a successful screenwriting career, he says that you need to watch out when making a script that focuses on a television guest star of some sort. It hurts the producer's feelings if you totally ignore their characters.

I secretly believe that guest stars in your script are secret indicators that they are fan fiction, so I don’t try to use them. All elements for a successful show (premise, cast, etc.) are part of the show’s formula. That's the theory, at least.

But all of that is beside the point. The point is that I’m in the middle of a script for The Office and I thought of a good dialog exchange that is perfectly in line with the tone/spirit of the show, but doesn’t fit in my script. So I thought I would post it on the blog. And all of the blah blah blah before this section is just over-hype and set up for four lines of naughty talk.

My parents are not allowed to read past this point, because of a naughty, yet literary, word I normally refer to as "hoo-haa."

Here is the Cut Scene from my Office Script that is not Fan Fiction:

We are not going to have this discussion, Michael

Come on. We’re not like that, Jan. We’re not the Vagina Monologues. We’re the Vagina Dialogs.
(dawning realization) Then that would mean that you also have a-
Shut up, Dwight.

And if that wasn't funny enough for you, this is guaranteed to cause some laughs.

1 comment:

alex said...

I miss Dynasty.