May 31, 2008
I don't even know what to say....
But this is hilarious.
And in honor of our grand tradition of funny animated gifs:
May 30, 2008
2nd Draft of My Office Spec
Here it is, rewritten. I think this version is much improved, much tighter. It also removes Ryan from the scenes (since he's been arrested), and trims 2 pages off the page count, which is important.
If you'd like to read it, here it is.
"Just Marry Him" treatment update
I handed it in, and they really dug it a lot. However, that project is currently stalled, as Warner Independent was dismantled when Warner Bros took on New Line Cinemas... and the project was set up with Warner Independent. They are still waiting to here back from WB on the exact status of a number of projects. But they said once they know more, we can talk.
May 29, 2008
My "Just Marry Him" Treatment
Tomorrow I'm submitting my full treatment (which is like the story told in a summarized, prose form) to the people at Maguire. Hopefully they'll like it! I think it's a very solid idea, and will probably write the screenplay regardless. It's got great roles for a guy and a girl, and it's very different kind of romantic comedy. Most romantic comedies act like the wedding day is the end, when really it's the beginning...
If you want to read the treatment, click through....
“Just Marry Him”
Young Christine and Tristan (ages 8) share a bonding moment of
pure kindness among a group of mean children. They are now BEST
FRIENDS FOR LIFE.
CHRISTINE RICKER (38) always believed that she should make the
most of herself and it showed. As one of three partners (who are
also best friends) in the top event planning company in Seattle,
Christine is at the pinnacle of her career.
However, she always had even higher standards for her one day
husband. And because numerous boyfriends had come along and
failed to stoke her flames of passion, Christine now finds
herself pushing the snooze button on her biological clock and
(though too shamed to admit it) terribly lonely.
But at least Christine didn’t settle, like the bland, lame
parents attending Fisher Price’s Noontime Jamboree (To her great
displeasure, she drew the short straw and was now in charge of
it.) Of course... damn, that kid is cute. Oh, and that one too.
And, look... that was kind of nice how that woman’s husband
played with the kids so she could have a couple minutes alone to
eat her lunch.
But still, do their toes curl when they look in each other’s
eyes? Probably not. They look like they settled. Just like her
business partner and best friend, Robin was about to do. Robin
had found a man who met only 4 of the key 15 points of
compatibility, but was about to get married to him because he
Christine had to put a stop to it.
That evening, she waits in her immaculate, modern, sparkling
clean condo for “the girls” to show up for cocktails. First to
arrive is JOCELYN SUTTON (38), a hard-charging woman who wears a
diamond the size of a gumball. She bought it for herself as “a
lifelong commitment to supporting” who she is. Jocelyn is also
Christine’s co-conspirator in the evenings Intervention.
The victim of their plans is ROBIN BINKLEY (38) a quiet,
brilliant yet oblivious savant who harbors a deep deep
unquenched thirst for men (ie this mousey woman is actually a
freak about sex). Yet, damned if she doesn’t have a traditional
streak. She might pretend to a power hungry go-getter, but what
she really pines for is someone to make a savory meatloaf dinner
One thing these ladies share is that they are fabulous, yet
Their night grows longer, and the alcohol takes affect. What
starts as a carefully crafted confrontation turns into a teary
support group, where they all confide that they want to get
married and have children, but Mr. Right hasn’t come along yet.
Where Christine and Jocelyn thought they were the ones laying a
trap for Robin, she actually makes them see the wisdom in her
Finally, Christine points as that as businesswomen, when they
need a supplier, they don’t wait until “Mr. Right Supplier”
comes along, they find the best supplier and move on, satisfied.
They all agree that maybe Robin has the right idea... What they
need to do find the man that they’re already most comfortable
with and marry him. No questions asked.
They think it’s a great plan, while still inebriated. But the
next day, in the cold light of day, it seems like foolishness.
Christine can’t help but wonder “What if right after I settle I
meet THE ONE, the perfect guy, the full package... and now I’m
trapped with Mr. Comfortable Enough.”
Yet then Christine sees it. The comfortable familiarity of a
couple who have been together forever, and their darling little
family. It’s enough to drive her over the edge.
Christine convinces them to take a vow to just “Marry him, to
settle for good enough.” Then they each mention the nice,
unassuming guy in their lives that they’ll marry. The one
they’re already most comfortable with. When it’s Christine’s
turn to say the name, the other’s start laughing immediately at
the very thought. They say in unison... “Tristan?”
CUT TO: Tristan. He’s a grown man-child. Sweet but disheveled.
Eating sugar cereal. Playing video games. Playing Dungeons and
Dragons. Thick glasses – but just for the looks, his vision is
20/15. He reads foreign language philosophy. He writes foreign
language philosophy. His house is a MESS. But it oozes
character. He works for the Seattle Museum of Natural History.
He’s the one who writes the plaques that go alongside the
exhibits. He takes it very seriously. He’s an artiste when it
comes to these plaques.
He goes to get the mail (in a BATHROBE, at 3 in the afternoon),
and sees his neighbor’s young son. The boy looks sad because he
failed an algebra exam that day. Tristan’s eyes light up. He
LOVES algebra. He makes plans to come over after dinner and
tutor the boy, but only in the boy’s mom makes dessert.
Christine meets Tristan at the mailbox. To his great surprise,
she PROPOSES to him while he’s wearing his bathrobe (leaving out
the part about her settling). He accepts. He thinks it would be
fun, and hey... Christine is his best friend.
At the courthouse, the trio of friends each have their
respective “Good enough”s. They go into separate courtrooms.
Christine and Tristan leave the courtroom MARRIED. Robin and
Jocelyn got a sudden case of COLD FEET, leaving Christine as the
only one who went through with the pledge.
As they celebrate Christine’s and Tristan’s marriage, the three
friends are approached by three men who are seemingly “perfect”
in every way, meeting every criteria on the list. Jocelyn and
Robin start passionate relationships with their Mr. Perfects.
While Christine’s – he’s a freaking Baron for Christ’s sake – is
heartbroken to hear that she just got married... but encouraged
when Jocelyn confides that it’s a passionless marriage, made
just to fulfill a drunken promise.
Still, Christine can’t bear the thought of breaking her best
friends heart – and she’s oddly old-fashioned about the idea of
divorce – so she determines to make the marriage work.
Christine and Tristan must go through the difficult process of
learning to live together. And while she was comfortable with
Tristan when they were just friends, their incompatibility is
now sorely testing her theory that “Mr. Good Enough” is better
than no one at all. Dungeons and Dragons Game Night seems so
much more adorably harmless when it’s not held in your perfect
condo while you’re trying to impress clients.
It certainly doesn’t help things that Baron Von Perfect
continues to woo her, yet without admitting his true intentions.
And Tristan is so sweet that he isn’t suspicious, he’s just so
Also, both Jocelyn and Robin are embarking on their own
whirlwind romances, the likes of wish women only dream of.
Weekends in Paris. Moonlight canoe rides topped off with catered
picnics. Meanwhile, Tristan has taken to drawing Egyptian
Cartouche names as his latest obsession, and surprises Christine
with a trip the Cartouche Convention in Hoboken.
Jocelyn and Robin’s men write them achingly beautiful sonnets.
Tristan leaves Christine messages written... In German. And
French. And Farsi. She doesn’t even bother getting them
Oh, and the ultimate embarrassment... Christine and Tristan
haven’t even had sex yet. They tried to kiss once, it was very
awkward. No one’s mentioned it since. Jocelyn points out this
isn’t such a bad thing... they haven’t consummated anything yet.
It’s not too late for the Baron.
Christine starts going out to “coffee” with the Baron. He’s more
than advertised, he lives up to the hype, and he’s everything
Tristan isn’t. Christine falls for the Baron, with the
relentless encouragement of her feverishly in love friends.
And yet, damn Tristan. He really is so nice to her. Too nice.
She doesn’t have to pretend to be anything she isn’t when
With the Baron, her friends, her clients, everyone... she puts
on heirs... it’s actually exhausting.
Tristan and Christine both skip their work, and Tristan takes
her to “his most secret place in the world. NO ONE knows about
They infiltrate a sub sub sub sub basement of the Natural
History Museum. There Tristan opens up a storage room that
SPARKLES with GOLD and JEWELS and... stuffed elephants and just
about every random thing... “I love this place because it just
proves to me that deep below the surface, where you can’t see
unless you really really try... there’s always treasure.
Treasure that only people who have seen it can even believe.”
There and then, they make love, and it’s INCREDIBLE.
They begin to change for each other, just a little, working to
make the other happier, doing things the other is interested in.
Christine joins a game of D&D, and she’s AWESOME at it. Tristan
dresses himself up and goes out to a club with Christine,
completely impressing everyone... maybe a little too much,
because it drives the Baron mad with jealousy.
Jocelyn and Robin decide they need to push things a little. They
inform Tristan that the only reason Christine married him was
the drunken promise.
Tristan is angry. And heart-broken and betrayed. He and
Christine argue. Christine breaks up with him.
Christine throws herself into the “perfect” relationship with
the Baron. It seems like she should be happy, and she pretends
to be exactly that.
Tristan, meanwhile, had completely fallen in love with
Christine, and now mourns the loss of both his best friend and
the love of his life. He loses much of his zeal... writing truly
uninspired museum plaques, unable to help his neighbor’s boy
Things come to a head when Christine and the Baron are on a date
at a fancy restaurant and she learns that her Grandmother has
died. The Baron has a complete lack of empathy, and is actually
angry that she wants to cut the night short. She has to take a
Tristan meets her at her house, and he’s in wonderful supportive
best friend mode. Christine starts to ignore the Baron, and
spend more time with Tristan. But Tristan rebuffs any of her
advances, preferring to preserve their friendship.
But oh no, the Baron’s not happy to have his calls go
unreturned. He threatens to expose their relationship to
Tristan. He DOES exactly that, showing Tristan notes and
voicemails and pictures that imply that Christine loves the
Baron, not Tristan.
Tristan, heartbroken and ashamed, demands a divorce and MOVES
OUT. Christine is heartbroken, too.
Tristan goes on a vision quest, determining to fast without
sleep and live in the 350 acre Magnuson Park until he receives
his new life purpose, now that he has nothing to live for...
Robin and Jocelyn see this as only good. Now they can all marry
their Mr. Right and move on with their fabulous lives.
Christine, however, can’t let it go.
Christine’s friends surprise her, and set up a meeting with the
Baron. He proposes to her. Dear Lord, it’s the perfect fairy
tale proposal. At Magnuson Park. A symphony orchestra. A movie
screen set up with pictures of him... lots of pictures of him.
Oh, and some of her, too. So happy together.
Christine tries to play along, accept what she thought she
always wanted. Robin and Jocelyn’s “Mr. Rights” are arguing with
them, the passion seeping from those relationships. She can tell
those relationships are flaming out.
Christine REJECTS the Baron, and runs.
She ends up at the Seattle Museum of Natural History, and sneaks
into the sub sub sub basement.
Tristan is there, the culmination of his vision quest, waiting
for the answers to emerge. He sports a beard from his days spent
in Magnuson Park. He smells. He’s dirty.
She confesses that she missed the treasure, missed it so badly.
Like her life would be over without seeing the treasure. She had
to see it again.
In the last scene, we have another Fisher Price event, only this
time Christine and Tristan are two of the dorky lame parents
that settled, and they couldn’t be happier. They picnic with
Jocelyn and Robin and their two “Mr. Good Enough’s”
the 400 blows
Another French film, also from the late 50's. And this is another one where there isn't much story. A boy has trouble at home and in school so he decides to run away and steals a typewriter from his father's office to make some money. He gets caught and goes to a delinquent school.
That's it. That's the whole story. Not a bad setup, but that's exactly it. It's a setup. Not a whole film. That's the end of act one! Now it could be the whole story if it were filled with great character studies, or amazing dialogue, or compelling relationships. But it's not.
Now I criticize, but as always there is much to like. It's shot very well (it's beautiful), it coaxes great performances out of children, and as slow moving as the film is, there was always something that kept me wanting to watch. But really, you have to have a fairly deep appreciation of film to actually want to watch this film.
2 out of 4
Another foreign film from the late 50's, this one is French. I'm starting to suspect that I don't like French films so much. Now I actually kind of like "Shoot the Piano Player," but I had to watch the last hour of "Wages of Fear" in fast forward. French movies feel like they're more about mood and editing then they are about an actual story or character. This may be an unfair accusation, but it's how I'm feeling.
The basic storyline is of a man who is a criminal on the run after shooting a cop. He shacks up with an American girl in Paris while he hides from the law. Ummm... that's it. That's the whole story. There's not action. Every once in a while cops show up somewhere and ask questions. Then they go away. In the end, the American girl dimes the criminal out, and he is shot in the back and dies. (It's a french movie, of course he's going to die.)
I did not hate this movie by any means, there was a lot to like. I actually dig the editing style of the french new wave movies, the jump cuts work for me. But it's just annoying to me when I read the movie's description on Netflix and then learn nothing more by actually watching the film itself. No twists, no funny dialogue, no surprises that build on the basic premise and keep you satisfied.
2 out of 4 - I doubt you'd like it very much.
May 28, 2008
More Good News
I found out today that I won the Harmony Gold Award for Screenwriting Excellence, which is a $3,000 prize awarded on the basis of "artistic merit" to 3 UCLA grad students, selected by the faculty. So yeah, this is a good week!
These things, good and bad, they come in waves.
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
I really hate to say this, but I was disappointed. It just didn't feel right. It felt like fan fiction, not real Indiana Jones.
It proved a theory that I've been preaching for a while now. Great Indiana Jones movies need two things: biblical relics and Nazis. This movie had neither, and it suffered from that. Temple of Doom, same thing. Raiders and Last Crusade had both and rocked.
Here's another problem. The world of Indiana Jones and the world of space aliens are both cool, but they are completely seperate worlds. It felt all wrong mushing them together. I loved Stargate, I love the X-Files, but not in an Indiana Jones movie!
And the ultimate problem... Indiana Jones is about faith, and belief and hope. About obsession and searching and seeking and finding. This new one... it's about science. Aliens are science, and even Indy didn't seem all that interested in his journey. He was obsessed with the Ark and dreamed of the Holy Grail, but the Crystal Skull? (NOTE: My friend Joe points out to me that the Grail was more Indy's dad's thing, not his. And he's right. But at least there, it's a very close personal relationship to Indy, his DAD. Who exactly was Moxely, and why should I care about him?) Eh... he said he was obsessed with the Crystal Skull when he was younger. Now, not so much. So why should we care?
Why has Lucas taken faith and trampled it into materialistic science? With Star Wars, he took these great concepts of the Force in the original trilogy and reduced it to his wacky medi-chlorinates or whatever in the blood... (something I can't just reconcile at all, it ruins too much for me. I pretend it doesn't exist!)
And now where there is the sense of wonder in something spiritual and bigger than ourselves in Indy 1 and 3, in this one it's just aliens, which is just science. Lucas, keep your crisis of faith away from our beloved franchises!
It's not like it was horrible. I'd give it 2.5 stars out of 4. It was entertaining. Just disappointing. A slightly sour note to go out on.
One last thing. It takes a ton of familiar things in American mythology: Area 51, Nuclear Testing, Aliens, Spaceships, etc... and fails to give any kind of twist or new take on any of those things. I came out knowing the same amount about all that stuff that I knew going in.
That's not right.
May 27, 2008
8 and 1/2
This is my first exposure to famed Italian director Fellini's work. The film is not a conventional story by any means. It's really a semi-autobiographical meditation on filmmaking, and any artistic endeavor. The basic story is that a famous director wants to make a completely honest, ground-breaking film. The film itself is surreal as he works through his issues with self-deception, religion, women, his relationships, his mother, the devil and his wife.
The film is interesting to look at on a purely ascetic level - it's great to look at. But I was only so-so on it until the very end, which saved it for me and made me like it very much. In the end, the director decides to give up film-making all together, he's so full of falseness and pretension, he decides.
But then (through a discussion with a very critical film critic who supports this decision, supports any time artists decide to stop creating) the director realizes that all artistic achievement relies on the "conceit to believe that others may find something of value in our personal catalog of failures." That our imperfect works of art, as flawed as they may be, are better than no art at all.
In the end, it won me over.
3 out of 4.
My Office Spec Script - 1st Draft
For those of you who are interested, it still needs to be re-written, but there's a lot of funny stuff in here and I think it captures most of the characters very well.
In the re-write I have to take Ryan out (since he was just arrested) and add in Toby's replacement in HR. I also have to just work on it some more, make the rhythm of it move along more quickly, stuff like that. But it's in pretty good shape for a first draft.
May 26, 2008
Finished the First Draft of my Office Spec
Well, there's one weight off my shoulders. I have finished the first draft of my Office spec. Now I can focus on my Tovenray screenplay.
It's funny. Once I re-write a little I'll post it here so you can read it. It's basically unchanged from the outline in it's overall structure, but there have had to be some adjustments based on actual things that have happened in this past season of the Office.
plus there are new jokes, and taking out old jokes that didn't feel right in the actual screenplay.
Last week we had professional actors into our class and they read the first 18 pages. it was awesome hearing truly talented people take on the characters. It really worked as an episode.
May 24, 2008
The Suite Life On Deck
Because I'm in the legendary Fred Rubin's comedy spec class, he did an incredibly kind thing for me and my family and arranged a visit to the set of The Suite Life on Deck (formerly known as the Suite Life of Zack and Cody, on the Disney Channel.) Fred's good friends with one of the creators of the show, Jim Geoghan.
It was awesome. We got to see them filming a scene for the upcoming season. Jim was incredibly kind. He brought us cookies, and got the kids a signed script and pictures from the cast. Another writer on the show , Billy Riback, was also so gracious and treated us so well.
One thing that really stood out to us was how well the cast and crew treated each other. They were behind schedule and stressed, but everyone was incredibly professional.
Jessica in "A Chorus Line"
I am very very fortunate that one of my sister's first stops on her national tour of "A Chorus Line" is good old LA. I got to see her Opening Night, and attend the after party, too.
The Ahmanson Theater is a world class venue, and the 2000 seats were packed with eager fans. I was so proud, because there was my sister, dancing and acting and singing at the very highest level of musical theater, and she obviously fit right in, because she shined up there. She really was, as Variety said, "delightfully kooky" as Kristine, the nervous dancer who can't sing (and we all know, Jessica can sing, so pretending to not be able to sing is quite an acting feat.)
It helps that I really like "A Chorus Line." It really is a great show, and seeing Jessica up on the stage in front of thousands of people just really made me so happy for her. She's worked for SO long for this dream. it's fitting that she's in A Chorus Line, since it's main story is exactly her story, someone who's given up so much for so long in the pursuit of dancing at the highest level. To see someone make it, and not give up, and just bashing at the door until her sheer talent and discipline knocks it over is very inspirational.
After the show, I got to accompany her to a party, where she was a total rock star. Countless people, including Amy Adams from Enchanted (the "hot girl" from the Office, she's an amazing actress), came up to her and gushed about her performance. It was so nice to see her get the recognition she deserved after years of auditions gone sour... And to have someone of Amy Adams' caliber approach you and want to talk to you about the job you did, you know it's just your night.
One last note. I never realized it, but the next generation's Barbara Streisand has been determined, and it's my sister Jessica. Gay men LOVE Jessica. They absolutely adore her. They can't talk to her enough. They can't look at her enough. They love her style, her pixie hair cut, her long legs. It's really quite a phenomena, one that Jessica can parlay into a very long, successful career in Broadway and beyond... Their devotion for Jessica even overflowed towards me, I was asked if I had long legs, too.
I said only when I wear a unitard.
May 23, 2008
On the heels of last week's setbacks, it looks like this week is looking up. I just learned that I placed as a Quarterfinalist in the CineStory Mentoring Competition.
With CineStory, if you make the top 16, you get to attend a weekend of screenwriting mentoring where industry professionals work with you to make your screenplay top notch. Pretty cool, right?
(Eat it, anonymous. LOL)
May 22, 2008
A week of losing
Well, you know I had a very good week a couple of weeks ago.. and you have to roll with the good times and the bad times. This past week was especially... annoying.
That Sidney Sheldan Award where I was the finalist, I lost. SO CLOSE! Oh well. I'm very happy for the actual winner, but it's hard to know I feel just short and see all the recognition she's getting. I mean, things were so close that it took them an extra 6 months to make a determination on the winner.
And then, this past week I learned that I placed just outside the winners for UCLA's Screenwriting Showcase. Like again, SO CLOSE. Someone on the inside of the contest said that many of the judges (who are execs and agents and stuff like that) really really liked my screenplay and I literally feel just a few points short because it was all averaged.
Again, so close but just falling a little short.
Such is life sometimes. One of the best things you can be good at is taking a punch and not giving up. So these things are all good practice.
May 20, 2008
There Will Be Blood
I'm not really sure why, but I avoided this film for quite some time. I just thought I would find it boring. I knew it was very long, and I knew that it didn't include much plot.
But I was wrong. I found the flim fascinating and engrossing and hard to forget. Obviously, the acting is incredible. Daniel Day-Lewis deserves every award and accolade he received for this role.
What I didn't expect was coming away with such lessons about unbridled greed and competition, and the affect they can have on your soul. The way Daniel Plainview destroyed all of his relationships one by one as he descended into a certain kind of madness was completely preventable and tragic. While the portrayal of religion was far from positive, it's telling that Plainview's antagonism with Eli, the town pastor, culminates at the same time his madness becomes truly unfurled.
And sadly, what truly sets Plainview off is the stark realization that Eli, in the end, chooses money over God. At this point, when the idol Plainview has sought his entire life wins over the most holy man he knew, there was nothing to hold back his final drop into darkness.
May 19, 2008
Well, it appears that my fascination and fear of aliens is a genetic trait that has been passed on to my son. Look at the drawing he brought home from school last week.
The way he phrases what his aliens do is actually quite poetic.
My sister (and Drew's wife) is now keeping a blog about her life on the road. (Which, fortunately for me, has brought her to LA for 7 weeks starting yesterday.)
Check it out. She PROMISES to update it regularly.
Wowza, this was an intense movie. It was a much more emotional, darker, difficult-to-watch-film (in places) than the first... And I think better. Really, if you've seen it I'd like to know your thoughts. I very much enjoyed it, and am continually pleased with how well Walden and Disney and Andrew Adamson are bringing these books to the screen.
Hope it does well. I want this team to make all the books into films.
May 17, 2008
Show me that smile again...
Yesterday I attended the Pacific Pioneers Broadcasters Luncheon. I was invited because I'm in the UCLA film program.
The luncheon was honoring... Alan Thicke, (Mr. Seaver from Growing Pains). I had the chance to talk to him afterwards and he was very nice. I also met Garry Marshall (creator of Happy Days, Laverne and Shirley, etc), Larry David's dad from Curb Your Enthusiasm, and an actor who always thoroughly entertains me in Christopher Guest movies, Fred Willard.
Everybody was very friendly and down to earth, just normal dudes. Pretty cool.
May 16, 2008
Congrats to my sister, Jessica
She got a good review in Variety (yes, VARIETY)!
You can read it here.
Clyde Alves kicks things off with an energetic "I Can Do That"; Emily Fletcher stops the show early with her magnetic take on statuesque Sheila, the over-the-top femme fatale; Kevin Santos breaks our hearts as shy, gay Paul; Jessica Latshaw finds the perfect quirky pitch as tone-deaf Kristine; Natalie Hall turns up the heat in "Dance: Ten; Looks: Three"; and Nikki Snelson bares her soul as Cassie, the out-of-work former lead and onetime girlfriend of the director. And then there's that glorious finish!
May 15, 2008
I don't pretend to be too cool to enjoy the Narnia books, and I think the Walden Media release from 2005 was very faithful and a great film. I can't wait until Prince Caspian, which opens this weekend. So far it has a very high 83% fresh rating on RottenTomatoes.com, so I have very high hopes for it.
We're going to be seeing it in the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, a grand old movie theatre (think decorated like an amazing playhouse, but for films) that Disney owns. They premiere all their family films there, and will often do something very special along with the film. For Caspian, they'll have a ton of the costumes and props set up for us to see.
It's going to be a grand time.
By the way, when your kids are old enough to go to a movie with you... it's AWESOME.
May 12, 2008
Collin in Africa
In the interest of keeping everyone up to date with things bandmembers are doing... check out Collin and Lindsay's weblog about the work they're doing in Africa right now.
Pretty awesome stuff.
It's wonderful to have kids who remember and care to make their mom's day special. Ollie and Lyric were both extremely interested in how they could make today awesome for Darby. Ollie wanted to throw her a surprise party when she woke up, so we got party horns, and blew up balloons, and hits behind the couch and shouted surprise when Darby woke up. Ollie was so excited about the whole thing that he told me that we would have to wake up in the middle of the night on Saturday to get everything ready.
Lyric took a ton of time to write a bunch of really nice little messages to Darby.
Overall, it was so sweet.
What was sad was not being on the east coast to be with our own mom's in person. But I did send my mom a couple of Wii games, so I tried to make up for it at least a little.
One thing that stunk was that I didn't get much sleep last night. There were two parties, both of which made sense for me to go to (and I wanted to go to), so I was out late.(didn't get to bed until 2.30) and Ollie was up before 6... so... yeah.
We went to the California Renaissance Faire today. I prefer the Pennsylvania one. While it is smaller, it is also more charmingly designed, the building are permanent, and the surroundings are beautiful. It's also laid out much better, so you can easily get to any area in a fairly short period of time.
Conversely, CA's Faire has temporary, cheaper looking buildings, was set up on what was basically just a large DUSTY field, and was one long serpentine path that didn't even loop.
One the other hand, the CA Faire had an awesome reptile exhibit, more games, less "hmmm that guy is so creepy he could actually be a serial killer" factor, and a much better set up for watching the jousting.
But the PA Faire has an elephant you can ride. But the CA Faire has box turtle races you can bet on.
OK, they're both good. But I like the PA Faire better. And that's that.
May 10, 2008
A moment of mac glory
Watch this music video. It's very clever, and a fantastic display of why people love to use Mac's OSX operating system.
May 09, 2008
Another Day at the Internship
I'm starting to think that one of the most valuable parts of my schooling here will be taking advantages of the internships. It's just such a great education to be in a production office, hearing how they view the business, getting comfortable with the scene.
Today I was fortunate enough to be able to share notes with the assistant there. It was a great conversation, and I think he enjoyed it as much as I did. Many of my suggestions were very well received. One of the head execs there overheard much of our discussion and stepped in to tell us he thought what we were talking about was great.
Anyway, the most intriguing part of the day came when I was asked to read a magazine article that they have optioned. Yes, that's right, a magazine article. This company paid a large sum of money to the author of a two page magazine article for the right to use her article (which has no story and no characters, but just a general opinion... and yes that opinion is interesting and thought-provoking) as the basis for a feature length film. I love this town. I really do.
Anyway, it's very short, and there is no story, just a general point of view. He wanted to know if I had any thoughts on it, and I shared some. Then I asked about the script development process when it comes to an article without any story or characters or visuals or anything. He said they have been listening to pitches for some time now but they've all been wrong.
Now I happened to get a pretty good idea when I was reading the article for a comedy that could demonstrate what the article was saying while being entertaining and funny and heart-warming.
One thing I've learned out here is that no one ever offers you anything. They wait for you to ask for it. And once you ask for it, quite often they are happy to honor your audacity. So I thought "What the heck" and said, "Well I had a story idea, mind if I pitch it to you so you can see if it has potential?" He said... sure, that would be awesome.
I shared my story idea and he was really taken with it, saw the potential, and said that could really work. So now I'm writing a more fleshed out treatment of the story for him to review next week. Not sure exactly where that will head, but you never know. And I have to say, the story could really work.
One last bit to share. I'm learning and developing the skill to really think strategically. To not let everything "just happen" but to use the things that do happen to my further advantage. In that way, I learned in a class about the power of "triangulation." Meaning, when you've got one thing going for you, use that one thing in another arena so now you have two things going for you.
I made sure to tell Trevor about my exciting situation over at the movie studio that shall remain nameless, and how agents and execs are reading my stuff right now. He was suitably excited for me, and then... "You know, any scripts you'd like to bring in, I'd love to read. Especially stuff that might work for Tobey." Because in life, but especially in Hollywood, when people know that other people like you, they think, "Oh well maybe there is something here to really like."
So now I'm bringing in a treatment for an optioned article and some scripts for him to read. This really has been a very good week, professionally speaking. And again, it's not like any of these opportunities will automatically translate into a sale or work, but it's great to just be learning the ropes and experiencing these things already, in just my first year in school.
May 08, 2008
I can't get into a ton of details... but the upshot is that an exec at a major movie studio called me to tell me he read A Well Adjusted Boy and absolutely loved it. He said the characters were so deep, the dialogue so perfect, and the story was endearing and touching. He asked if I had representation and if it would be ok if he started showing the story to some of his agent friends and other studio execs because he could really see it on the screen.
I said yes!
Not sure this is BIG break, but it certainly seems like a break of some kind.
May 05, 2008
Movies are made of awesome moments. Of course a compelling story, and characters that you care for, and overall structure are an absolute baseline that you need... but if you have a number of moments and scenes in your film that people remember the next day, the next week, and even years later... then you know you have pure gold.
Think about the movies you love. I'm sure that immediately, moments come to mind. Indiana Jones - the big ball rolling after him. The light shining through the staff and showing the location of the ark. "Snakes, why does it always have to be snakes." I'd bet that every movie you love has a number of these scenes that made an impact on you.
When I'm writing, these moments keep me going. Sometimes I'll have a great moment, one that I want to see on the screen, and it just gives me this energy to make the story and everything else awesome. It's when I've stumbled across enough of these moments that the story really comes alive for me.
All this to say, I wrote an awesome moment in Tovenray's Curse today. Lyric has just entered this mysterious world. She's been swooped up by a flying Kitty, riden by a boy named Torin. As they fly towards the woods, they are followed by a Spidersus - a flying spider. It's a WW2 dogfight in the air between a flying kitty and a flying spider... who wouldn't want to see that on the screen? It's crazy awesome. The spider is dropping webs on the kitty, constricting the kitty's wings, sending it into a nosedive. Torin is frantically cutting the webs with his sword while Lyric tries to ready a bow and arrow to shoot...
I want to see it on the screen!
May 02, 2008
I have a class about presenting and controlling a room. Our instructor was talking about each one of us having a "tell," something that we carried with us that was uniquely ours and that could be good or could be bad, but that we needed to be aware of so we could use effectively.
After class I asked him what my tell was, in his opinion.
He said... "It's hard to explain exactly, but there is just this... holiness to you."
What in the world?
He continued. "Like you're a preacher delivering a sermon."
You can take the son away from the pastors, but I guess you can't take the pastors away of the boy....
He finished saying that it's not a bad thing at all, and there's definitely an energy and a conviction, but that I should be sure to calibrate because sometimes that energy is appropriate and sometimes it isn't.
May 01, 2008
My spec episode for the Office - the full outline
OK, so this was the latest step in writing this episode. I have to say, after writing this, I feel like I've just about written the whole episode... it's just not quite in the right format and some more dialogue as to be filled in. Read it if you want. It's long. but I'm including it just in case people are curious about the creative process for this... from short story pitch, to beat sheet, to this.
Show: The Office
Title: Going Green
by Jason Latshaw
SCENE 1 - TEASER - INT. OFFICE - DAY
Jim enters, a metal briefcase chained to his hand. Jim acts like nothing is unusual. Dwight is, of course, intrigued. Dwight, “What’s in the briefcase, Jim?”. Jim: “I would love to get your input on my situation, but this is classified. Level 25 Clearance, if you can believe it.” Jim’s cell phone rings (“24” ringtone). Jim (Jack Bauer intense): “What have you got for me on Chevensky? You are going to tell me what I want to know; it’s just a question of how much you want it to hurt. No, that’s not possible. You’ll have to upload the schematics to my phone.” Jim leaves. Dwight looks around.
DWIGHT TALKING HEAD:
“I’m the founder and sole member of the Scranton Domestic Disturbance Task Force. The last time I intercepted a parcel, which was cleverly disguised as an Amazon.com box, I seized a Terrorism Training DVD called “Fight Club.” And a copy of Halo 3. I kept that for myself. I have to find out what’s in that briefcase.”
JIM TALKING HEAD:
Jim opens up the briefcase and reveals the contents with a smirk. It’s his bagged lunch and thermos.
END OF TEASER
SCENE 2 – INT. RECEPTION AREA – DAY
Pam calls Michael. Ryan wants the agenda for their monthly meeting which is scheduled for the next day. Ryan has been calling all day. Ryan wants to see it before meeting in person the next day so there are no surprises.
PAM TALKING HEAD:
Pam talks about her frustration because Michael sends all his calls from Ryan directly to her. And she never knows what’s going on. And Ryan gets annoyed at her. And he also flirts with her. “Ryan told me I’m the least competent office manager in the whole company. Then he added that seeing me is the highlight of his visits.” Kelly’s walking by... “What did you say? Did you say what I thought you said? The highlight?” Awkward. Pam: “ I don’t like Ryan very much.”
SCENE 3 – INT. RECEPTION AREA – DAY
Pam on the phone: “I know, Ryan. It’s coming very soon. He’s working on it. No, you can’t talk to him right now... No, he’s not in a meeting. Yes, he’s in his office. OK, I’ll transfer you to him.” She punches the appropriate buttons. She sees Michael in his office, his phone lights up and rings. Michael pushes a couple of buttons and transfers Ryan back to her. Pam: “Hello, Dunder Mifflin... Oh, hi Ryan. Yes, I transferred you to him. He transferred you back.”
SCENE 4 – INT. MICHAEL’S OFFICE – DAY
Michael’s distracted while he’s on the phone with Pam. He watches the “Cute Polar Bears dying” scene from “An Inconvenient Truth” on youtube. Michael, “Yes... yes... Pam. I hear you, but... this may be hard for you to understand, but there are more important things in this world than Ryan’s agenda.” He hangs up. There are tears in his eyes.
MICHAEL TALKING HEAD:
Michael explains that when he has a stressful day – like how Ryan wants an agenda for a meeting – he likes to do a google search for pictures of adorable animals to get him in the right frame of mind. It’s a trick he picked up in High School, and it’s much easier now that there’s an internet, saves him a trip to the library. It backfired, and now the weight of the world is on his shoulders. Ryan sent an example of what he’s looking for, which Michael holds up. “How am I supposed to prepare something as involved as this in my vulnerable condition?” It has three bullets of lines. On each line, there are just two words.
SCENE 5 – INT. OFFICE – DAY
Michael orders everyone into the conference room. “It’s time we change our world, everybody! Come on, let’s start a revolution.” He sings the Beatle’s “Revolution” and comments, “Best sneaker commercial ever.” People ignore him. Stanley: “We have a sales deadline to meet at the end of the week, Michael.” Michael belittles it, “That doesn’t compare to what we have to talk about.” Kevin: “You told us yesterday that we needed to treat these sales as if our lives depended on it.” Michael: “I was just being motivational! It’s like some of you have no idea what it means to be a leader.” Everyone ignores him again.
SCENE 5.5 – INT. UTILITY CLOSET– DAY
Michael opens the circuit breaker and reveals a huge amount of levels and switches. He vamps to the camera. “Time to power down the tractor beam.” He makes the “power-down” noise and switches off a number of them.
SCENE 5.6 – INT. UTILITY CLOSET– DAY
ALL the computers lose power. Dwight stands up, intense. “Everybody down! We have a situation!” He strikes a karate pose and slowly turns, checking every door and window for attackers. Michael: “It’s not terrorism Dwight. It’s eco-terrorism. The good kind of terrorism.” Every one loses what they were working on. Michael: “You shouldn’t keep electronics powered while you’re in a meeting anyway.” Andy hits the desk loudly. “I lost the sales spreadsheet I spent all morning on!” Michael: “That’s why I back up my files. You gotta back that thing up!” He dances for second, then stops himself. “The time for hilarious jokes is past. Important meeting time!”
SCENE 6 – INT. CONFERENCE ROOM – DAY
Michael lectures, “Now I’m going to open your eyes to a threat you probably don’t even know exists. I’m going to warn you now, it’s scary. And you’re not going to be able to look at the world the same way. There is a threat to all of us...” Dwight nods along, punctuating Michael’s talk with agreement. Finally, he cuts Michael off, “Domestic spies, right Jim?” Jim looks around like he doesn’t have the slightest clue what Dwight is saying. Michael: “No, Dwight. I’m talking about... Greenhouse Gases.” Everyone moans and gets up to leave. Kevin, “Everyone knows about that already, Michael.” Michael closes the door and tries again. “But do you know that they’re making everything warmer. Things are melting!” Angela: “We’re getting a new heaven and a new earth very soon. This one is disposable, anyway.” Michael asks them to view the tiny clip on his laptop, and no one can see it. Michael says, “You’re all going to have to crowd in closer because it’s so small,” and then can’t help but adds a “That’s what she said.” Of course, Jim picks up that this particular “That’s what she said” isn’t so complimentary to Michael, so he asks, “She said it’s so small, to who? You? What were you doing? Why were there a bunch of people there?” Michael: “I don’t get it, Jim.” Michael’s shocked and upset to find out that this impending environmental calamity is news to no one, that everyone knew about “An Inconvenient Truth,” and that no one seems to care. Phyllis says she’s already living a “Carbon Neutral lifestyle,” and that she and Bob Vance “have vowed to have as light an impact on Mother Earth as possible.” Michael suppresses a laugh. “Right, Phyllis. Right. There’s a lot of things you are. Jolly. Matronly. Punctual. But a light impact on the earth isn’t one of them.” Phyllis: “Doesn’t have anything to do with weight, Michael.” Michael mentions that Phyllis’s carbon footprint must be huge. Jim work on a cryptic sudoku on his cell phone and Dwight tries to decipher it for clues.
CREED TALKING HEAD:
Creed cared about the environment until he had a revelation that all pollution is just fake and purposely orchestrated by world governments to distract people from the larger Illuminati conspiracy. Just like the Superbowl. And crossworld puzzles.
SCENE 6 – INT. CONFERENCE ROOM – DAY
Michael decides they must make pledges. He bought sneakers made of recycled materials. But he learns, to his shame, that everyone recycles already, (he doesn’t – and won’t – because it’s “annoying.”) Toby drives a Prius. Michael instinctually blurts out “That car is so gay!” Then immediately, he realizes what he said, and turns to Oscar, “Which is why I want one. And why I affirm and respect the lifestyle choices it has made.” Michael promises “real lasting changes. Recycling is just temporary, because then you have to do it again, and again, and again. Blech, that’s boring. We’re going to make a difference that is forever. ”
MICHAEL TALKING HEAD:
Michael asks what kind of world it would be if you were walking down the street and you didn’t see Polar bears. That’s not a world he wants to live in.
END OF ACT ONE
SCENE 7 – INT. MICHAEL’S OFFICE – DAY
The air conditioner is cranked up and Michael is visibly cold. Print-outs of polar bear pictures completely plaster the walls. Michael types furiously. Pam brings in more polar bear pictures from the printer. “These print-outs are taking up a lot of paper, Michael.” The pictures serve to remind Michael “what’s at stake.” The room is cold as a tribute to the way things should be in Antarctica. Pam: “You know, there actually aren’t any Polar Bears in Antarctica, they’re in –” Michael cuts her off, “Yes, exactly, that’s what we have to change. If we all chip in and make a difference, there can be again” Pam watches him start typing furiously. “Oh good, so that’s the agenda for Ryan, right? Because he keeps calling me. I mean, he’s calling you. But you send the calls to me. So I have to talk to him.” Michael nods and she leaves.
MICHAEL TALKING HEAD:
Michael looks disheveled. He talks about being a creative person, a writer, and not being able to turn off his creativity when it possesses him. It’s like he just gave birth. And he has a message to deliver, like Moses. He’s like Moses, if Moses ever gave birth. And Ryan couldn’t expect Moses to write an agenda right after having a baby. Because Moses would be on maternity leave.
SCENE 8 – INT. RECEPTION AREA – DAY
Michael drops a 200 page tome on Pam’s desk, his “Mother Earth Manifesto.” Michael wants copies made for everyone. Pam suggests that it might be a waste of paper and recommends emailing it. Michael says “that the environment is a higher cause – if they waste paper to save it then so be it. If we learned anything from Vietnam, it’s that sometimes you have to burn the village to save the villagers. Sometimes you have to destroy a tree to save a tree. Plus email takes too much electricity because it’s ‘electronic mail.’”
PAM TALKING HEAD:
Pam flips through the 200 page document for the camera. Many of the pages just contain clip art or one word.
SCENE 9 – INT. MICHAEL’S OFFICE – DAY
Dwight informs Michael of the mysterious spy game Jim situation. “Until I have a firm handle on the threat, I ask that you authorize me to suspend personal liberties in the office.” Michael responds that no one in the office has any personal liberties anyway. Dwight: “Michael, I’m going to need you to grant me Executive Wartime Powers for Extraordinary Situations. We have to crack down on gatherings of more than two people in the break room. The hallways are insecure. And Oscar doesn’t shred all of his documents.” Michael wants to get back to his environmental plans and end this distraction, so Michael signs the document Dwight provides. Dwight, drunk on his power, demands access to all phone calls, email, internet use, Close Circuit video, and computer keystrokes. Michael informs that he doesn’t know that information because corporate doesn’t trust him with it anymore.
TALKING HEAD MICHAEL:
Michael: “I still doesn’t understand how they could have said I misused the surveillance technology. The whole purpose of the stuff is to spy on people. And that’s all I did. So now I know that Meredith writes “fantasies” featuring her, Jim, and yours truly. (He holds up handwritten letters) Who does that hurt? If anyone, it’s an ego boost. I mean, that’s not bad company.”
SCENE 10 – INT. RECEPTION AREA – DAY
Pam calls Jim’s phone. She disguises her voice, speaking in fake russian german hybrid.
SCENE 11 – INT. JIM/DWIGHT’S WORKSPACE – DAY
Jim puts it on speakerphone. Jim: “Don’t listen to this. It’s classified.” Dwight listens to the Russian as Jim jots something down. Jim gets another mysterious call and leaves the room. Dwight takes the notepad and photocopies it.
SCENE 12 – EXT. PARKING LOT – DAY
Everyone is gathered outside. Michael rides up sweating and exhausted on a bicycle. He carries an enormous backpack. His tie looks like burlap. Toby: “Michael, the electricity isn’t working in the office, I called...” Michael cuts him off. “Ten minutes off the grid and you’re already reaching out for the fossil fuel teat, Toby? I cancelled our electrical account with Scranton Power. We need to be serious about earth friendly work habits. It was all in my Mother Earth Manifesto, did you read it?” Stanley: “No, It was dark.” Micheal: “Oh Stanley man up, your brothers in Africa don’t even know what electricity is. And they still manage to be warriors and hunters and gatherers. And you can’t even be a salesman.” Stanley: “I need a phone and a computer.” Michael beams and pulls out a small solar panel. “My phone will charge by the power of Ra, the Egyptian Sun God, in tribute to Kelly!” Kelly’s offended: “I’m not Egyptian, Michael.” Michael snorts, “OK PC Police, Egyptian-American, whatever.” Angela complains, “We can’t work in the dark.” Meredith, who wears sunglasses, disagrees. “I like the darkness, Michael. The bright lights give me a headache.” Angela: “What are those of us who don’t have hangovers going to do?” Michael opens his pack. “I’ve selling “Candles by Jan” for $30 a pop. A discounted price, and a steal, if you ask me.”
MICHAEL TALKING HEAD:
He holds a candle. “I know we’re not together now, but as the principle investor in her business, this is my retirement. So I hope you like Bonfire.” He looks more closely at the cameraman. Holds out the candle. “No, I’m serious, I hope you like Bonfire. Smell it. Isn’t that great? Only $30. You interested?”
SCENE 13 – INT. OFFICE – DAY
Each workstation is dimly illuminated by a candle. Angela: “It looks like we’re setting up for a seance, Michael.” Michael: “You’re right.” Michael takes a folded up piece of paper from his wallet, it’s a picture of the chair model from the catalog, “Does anyone know how to conduct a seance, I want to talk to her!” Workers use their cell phones, not being able to hear people well, losing connection. Oscar puts his phone against him and shouts “I gotta take a confirmation number. It’s accounts receivable. Pam, where are the notebooks?”
SCENE 13.5 – INT. SUPPLY CLOSET – DAY
Pam looks at the shelves. They are empty. Michael enters, looking proud. “No pens, no pencils, no paper, no toxins, no lead, no dead trees. I threw it all away. Actually, I threw it in the river so nature could wash it away and bring purity.”
SCENE 13.75 – INT. OFFICE – DAY
No one can really do any work. Oscar’s phone dies before he can get the confirmation number. Pam’s cell phone rings. She doesn’t recognize the number. She answers. It’s Ryan. Ryan: “Pam, I never got Michael’s agenda. We’re on our way but I’d really like to know what we’ll be discussing. Oh, hey... is this your cell phone number? Nice. Let me add this to my contacts.” Pam wants to end the conversation: “Oh no looks like my battery is dying and we can’t plug our phones in to charge them and...” and Pam hangs up. Pam asks Michael how Ryan got her number. Michael: “Pam, I explain this to you every day. You’re my assistant. I forward my calls to you. My phone died. I don’t know why, I plugged it into the solar charger all night.” He points at the darkened table, where it’s plugged into the solar charger again. “And it’s not charging now either for some reason.” Michael holds the Manifesto out to her. It’s opened to a page which says simply: “Don’t WAIST Paper!” next to clip art of a tree crying. “Did you know there are two ways to spell Waste? Tricky. I need you to reprint all of it. The Mother Earth Manifesto has to be perfect or no one will take the cause seriously.” Pam, “But can’t we just reprint that page and -” Michael cuts her off. “Don’t cut corners, Pam. How does Jim like it when you stop without... completing the job?” Pam doesn’t know how to answer. Michael continues: “I already ordered the re-prints. Pick them up at Kinko’s before Corporate gets here.” Pam has to drive across town to do it.
SCENE 14 – INT. TOBY’S WORKSPACE – DAY
Michael waits for Toby to open his desk drawer, which is packed with aerosole hair spray bottles. He makes a big deal of the discovery, calling out to everyone in the office. “Oh, look at what Toby has in his desk! Have you ever heard of the Ozone Layer, Toby? Do you think about the holes you’re punching in it when you drive around in that... happy little Prius?” Michael reaches into the drawer and pulls out plastic 6-pack connectors and grocery bags. “Don’t you know turtles mistake these for jelly fish and eat them and die because they can’t regulate their buoyancy? Sea Turtles tremble at the sight of you, Toby the Destroyer! The Scourge of the Oceans!” Michael gives Toby a trophy made of trash for being the worst polluter in the office.
TALKING HEAD TOBY:
Toby points to his balding head. “It’s pretty obvious I’m the guy who bought all that hairspray, right? I mean, how else could I maintain this style? Right?”
SCENE 15 – INT. DWIGHT’S WORKSPACE – DAY
Dwight’s desk is piled 6 feet high with mounds of huge crusty old volumes about cryptology. He looks at his photocopy of Jim’s writing from the notepad. Then thumbs through a book, looking excited, like he’s on the verge of a great discovery. Then.... frustration. Nothing.
TALKING HEAD DWIGHT:
Dwight: “I’ve cross-referenced this with some of the greatest cryptology ciphers known to man. Navajo code talkers. The Caesar code. Even the legendary Rachmonchof Encryption. Nothing. I don’t want to alarm Michael, but we’re dealing with a highly sophisticated foe.” Dwight holds up the photocopy and says, “Yspay Owdownshay: Arehouseway atway Oonnay.” It’s pig latin.
SCENE 16 – INT. OFFICE – ACCOUNTING AREA – DAY
Michael makes the rounds through the office, stopping at the different workstations to see if anyone has read his Manifesto yet. “OK, that’s actually good that you haven’t because I have a new updated version.” He replaces the old drafts with new drafts. People put it aside, don’t read it. Angela stands up abruptly. She gets a headache from the smell of the candles, and threatens to go home. “It smells like incense in here, Michael. And incense is only in the air when people are smoking pot, being Catholic, or worshiping whatever the hell Kelly worships.” Michael forbids her from leaving and forces her to read the Manifesto outside. Creed sniffs in the air like a blood hound, and ends up with his nose right against Michael’s burlap looking tie. Creed: “Flying Dutchman. I haven’t smelled this blend since that summer in Amsterdam.” Michael: “Finally! Someone noticed my hemp tie. You think I want to wear this hideous thing? I wear for Mother Earth.” Creed snips off a bit of Michael’s tie and smokes it. Kevin: “Dude, that’s awesome. You spent a summer in Amsterdam?” Creed: “No, why do you ask?”
SCENE 17 – INT. OFFICE - RECEPTION AREA – DAY
Ryan and David Wallace (the CFO) arrive for their meeting with Michael. Pam informs them that Michael will be ready in a moment. David asks Ryan for an agenda “You know I hate walking into these meetings blind.” Ryan has to admit he doesn’t have anything. David is displeased. “You really need to get an agenda from your direct reports, Ryan.” Michael overhears Ryan being reprimanded: “Still learning the ropes, huh? Not so easy making the jump from Business School to running with the big boys, huh? Hey, if you need a mentor, the offers still on the table. I’d be happy to take you under my wing.” Ryan: “Technically, I’m your boss, Michael.” Michael: “Lesson Number One, Ryan: Try not to run your business based on technicalities.”
END OF ACT TWO
SCENE 16 – INT. CONFERENCE ROOM – DAY
It’s loaded with candles. Michael, Dwight and Andy meet with David and Ryan. David: “Someone holding a seance, Michael?” Michael gets serious. “No, do you know how? Because I’ve got this girl...” he reaches into his pocket. Ryan shakes his head “no,” and Michael picks up on the signal. Michael hands them his Mother Earth Manifesto. Ryan: “Michael, why isn’t there any electricity in the office today.” Michael tells them to be patient, all will make sense. Michael and Dwight act out being a polar bear cub and mother with their home melting (while Andy does narration and music.) The skit ends, to stunned silence. Andy claps at the performance, then stops and no one joins in. David turns to Ryan: “Do you see why I need an agenda for every meeting, Ryan?” Michael laughs. “Sooner or later, we all have to learn in the school of hard knocks, Ryan.” Ryan tries to take control of the meeting. “So, we wanted to talk about third quarter sales projections -” David cuts him off. “Ryan, could you and the rest leave Michael and I alone for a moment. I have something I want to talk to him about.”
SCENE 17 – INT. OFFICE – DAY
Pam purposely speaks Pig Latin in earshot of Dwight. Dwight, invoking his Wartime Powers, forces her to divulge the code. “I promised Jim I wouldn’t break, but... we’re acting on behalf of oppressed people in our region, and I know you can help. It’s a highly complex code called pig latin.” Dwight: “Pigs, huh? I knew they were Communists. Or maybe... Liberals.” Pam: “It’s hard to explain exactly how the code works, but the initial consonant sound is placed at the end and an ay is then added.” Dwight rushes back to his desk and can’t quite figure it out. Pam walks up behind him and helps him out... he still doesn’t get it.Pam basically gives him the whole message: “Spy Showdown in Warehouse at Noon.” Dwight checks the time, grabs his night vision goggles from his desk, and bolts towards the warehouse.
SCENE 18 – INT. WAREHOUSE – DAY
Dwight hides and watches a showdown between Jim and a large figure dressed in black. Jim dials his cell phone and horribly over-acts into the phone: “I’ve got six hostiles wearing explosive vests. Four of them are staying near the hostages; I expect their orders are to detonate if we make a move. The other two are roaming. I’ve got two security doors on the north east side of the concourse; both are chained but are currently un-guarded.” The figure overcomes Jim mid-sentence. Jim drops his phone. Dwight attacks, injures the figure. The figure runs off. Jim: “Dwight, you have helped avert an international incident. But promise me, you won’t tell anyone. This was all absolutely classified.” Dwight solemnly promises to keep it a secret.
DWIGHT TALKING HEAD:
“I can’t go into details. Because it’s all classified. It’s classified because it involves dangerous people who were subdued by a smarter, more dangerous person and if people realized that they worked in the presence of such a lethal hero, they would not be able to get much work done. So it’s highly confidential. Most heroic actions of this magnitude are.” Dwight smiles.
JIM TALKING HEAD:
“Dwight’s feeling pretty good about himself, which is nice, he’s been going through a tough time.” He’s facetious: “Pam and I were just trying to have some fun with him... that certainly wasn’t the plan all along.”
KEVIN TALKING HEAD:
Kevin has a scratch on his cheek. “Jim promised it would be safe, and it seemed like an easy twenty bucks....” He traces the wound with his fingers. “Dwight should really be a spy.”
SCENE 19 – INT. CONFERENCE ROOM – DAY
David: “Michael, that was... terrible and embarrassing. But that you would sacrifice your dignity like that tells me you have passion for this. My wife has been bugging me for months about this, and as much as I’ve asked, Ryan won’t put together an environmental strategy.” Michael: “If it’s not a website or a woman, Ryan doesn’t care.” David: “I’m afraid that might be true, Michael. But you have conviction.” Michael: “That’s something that can’t be taught.” David picks up the Manifesto. “I’m going to pass this around back at corporate, but you’ve really laid out a roadmap for us here. Thank you.” David stands and starts to leave. “Oh, and... what is that smell?” Michael: “Bonfire.” David: “Where did you get those candles, if you don’t mind me asking.”
SCENE 20 – INT. BREAK ROOM – DAY
Ryan waits. Kelly comes in. They stare at each other by candlelight. Kelly: “Remember the last time we gazed at each other by only candlelight? Remember what you promised, Ryan? Did you mean it?”
SCENE 21 – INT. OFFICE - RECEPTION AREA – DAY
Michael asks Pam to rent him a car to get home – the bike ride exhausted him. Dwight offers to give him a ride. Michael: “Oh, no. No! Only Wussies bum rides like that! What kind of example would I be setting? An environmentalist can’t drive his own car, all by himself, he always needs a little driving buddy because “it scares me to drive all by myself... look at me, I’m the wimpy little treehugger.” No, I’m going to show them that you can love the earth, and drive a big, beefy, manly car. And Pam, I do need a a bigger car, to carry the bike.” Dwight reminds him the Avis at the train station rents that Hummer. “Yes! Exactly. A Hummer. Now there’s a car that will say, “I’m an environmentalist, but I’m still cool.””
ANDY TALKING HEAD:
Andy hits the wall in frustration. “Ugh, shut out. Goose egg. Shooting Blanks. Swing and a miss. Not one. Not one sale.”
MICHAEL TALKING HEAD:
“We learned that a good green policy helps, not hurts, business. In the end, it all comes down to a little phrase my mother used to whisper in my ear when she tucked me into bed. “What would Jesus do?” Jesus didn’t use electricity. He never drove a Prius. And he rejected all brands of hairspray. And I’d like to add that Hitler... did all of those things. So, you figure out which side you want to be on. Jesus. Or Hitler.”