Sunday, July 09, 2006

You might say I'm schizo, but so am I

I called a meeting tonight with the character I've been toying with.

I'm fascinated by other writers' processes and decided you probably are, too, so I'm sharing the transcript. Here goes:

Okay, Bill, if that’s even your real name – tell me about yourself. Let’s start with the ego. What gives?

“What gives?”

I’ll rephrase – why are you such an arrogant bastard?

That’s better. I am an arrogant bastard because other people are idiots.

Why do you say that?

Because just when I think my expectations can’t get any lower, I'm disappointed again. After 30 years of this, I figure I’m just the odd man out.

So, everybody but you is an idiot?

Mm… yeah. Everybody I know, yeah.


I know we just started, but I gotta go take a leak. You can wait if ya’ want.


Bill smirks, looks at me like I’m an idiot, and heads for the men’s room.

I wait… Bill takes a longish time out of disrespect for me. When he returns, he makes no attempt to hide his glance at my chest.

You really are an asshole, aren’t you?

You’re welcome to think so.

I think it’s a put-on.

Bill shrugs.

You gonna drink that?

No, I don’t really like Jack and Coke. Thanks, though.

Bill takes the drink and drains half of it.

It's two for one. I didn't buy it for you.

So, back to work. Tell me, what are you passionate about?

I knew it. You want to have sex with me.

Not hardly. Are you gonna answer the question?

There was a question?

If you want to be in this screenplay, I have to get to know you. What are you passionate about?

The hell kind of question is that?

What do you like to do? What are you into, besides being a schmuck?

Oh yeah. You so want me. It’s sad, almost…

I deadpan.

Are those real?

Know what? Forget it. No audience will ever care about you and I’m shopping for a protagonist, here. Sorry to waste both our time. I wonder if it’s too late to catch up with the reclusive megamillionaire…

Oh, him, huh? I hear he’s a real dick.

Can’t be any worse than you, Bill.

Pretty similar, actually… You might even say… identical.

What? What are you saying? You guys are twins?

No, brainiac. I’m him. He’s me. We’re the same guy.

Oh. You said “identical.” Not the “very same.” “Identical” implies two distinct yet perfectly similar—

Christ, and you wonder why I’m arrogant…

Hang on. You’re the megamillionaire? I had no idea. Do you still live in the penthouse at the Ritz?

Weekdays, yeah. Shorter commute.

And weekends?

I stay down by the yacht club.

Ah, so boating is your passion?

I like boating.


I’m good at it.

What kind of boat? Powerboat? Sailboat?

You obviously know a lot about the subject.

Sarcasm. What a surprise.

I have different kinds of boats for different kinds of boating. I’ve got a 36’ Cigarette – goes 200 mph. A 62’ sailboat that I live on most weekends. Some others.

Which is your favorite?

Grandma, no question. That’s her name. She’s a 26’ Hackercraft Dolphin – over 80 years old and gorgeous as anything.

Hackercraft? I’ve never heard of—

Grandma’s one of only about 15 Dolphin hulls left in the world.

Bill pulls out a wallet photo...

She’s beautiful.

Yeah. I know.

Hey, Bill, this has been cool, but it’s getting late. I think we’ve made some good progress tonight. Let’s get together again tomorrow, okay?

Sure, but I’m not gonna bang you.

I think I’ll live.


Blogger Dave Olden said...

Look, maybe this is just me.. but I noticed something with the fonts.

All of your questions were set in Humility Italic Light, and all of Mister Bill Ego's were set in Memyselfandi Extra Bold.

Which then led me to wonder whether the Writer is feeding the Character's ego by doing this....

Which further led me me into an existential quandry:
If the writer feeds the character's ego, is it even an ego if someone else has to feed it?

(made ya blink!)


4:34 PM  
Blogger Julie O. said...

Ah, but the conversation took place in a Word doc, single font with no italics or bold. I only added those after pasting the text into the blog.

But if it makes you happy, you did give me a brain cramp. ;)

4:55 PM  
Blogger Brett said...

I like Bill.

2:30 PM  
Blogger Chesher Cat said...

I'd sleep with him...if you change his name.

2:26 PM  
Blogger wcdixon said...

How do you feel about Bill now?

6:29 PM  
Blogger Julie O. said...


I like Bill a lot, actually. Now, I've just gotta excavate his story and hope my manager digs it.

(Snerk! -- accidental wordplay, there.)

Also, I may have found a female love interest or possible co-protag whom I think Bill will hate to love -- and of course, the aversion is mutual.

10:11 PM  
Blogger Spanish Prisoner said...

Bill could be a real cool antagonist. I believe antagonists move the story as the protagonist has to prevent the antagonist doing bad things and as I notice in many good scripts and movies the antagonist is the more interesting character.

Anyway, I think Bill can be any of the leading characters. He's interesting.

5:02 PM  
Blogger wcdixon said...

Accidental? I think not oh word mistress...

A great exercise at any rate.

11:10 PM  
Blogger mstarr said...

Bill asked a question I've wanted to know myself.

If you guessed "Are you gonna drink that?" you guessed right -- I mean wrong.

6:33 PM  
Blogger Unknown Screenwriter said...

Bill does want to bang you... I can tell.


12:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You interview your characters? I just let mine blog. For example, here is where my current antagonist spills his backstory...

-C dubya

9:14 AM  
Blogger Grumpy O. Selznick said...

This post shows why writers have managers and producers have shrinks (although I don't have one anymore)!

10:24 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home