The mailbag gets a little backed up here. I thought I’d reach back a few years to look at two unanswered questions.
I am working on a romantic comedy and much of the comedy is situational, physical comedy. Is it appropriate to specify in the script a generic location and the physical actions of the characters? For example, if someone was going to jump out of his chair and run to chase a dog only to grab the leash and be taken over the hood of a car as the dog jumped for a Frisbee (whew!!), would it be okay to specify all that? I have been under the impression that, as the writer, it isn’t my place to dictate specifics…that is for the producer and the director.
— Ryan O’Donnell
January 18, 2005
As the screenwriter, it’s your job to give readers the experience of watching a movie. If you’re writing a movie with a lot of physical comedy, that means writing a lot of physical comedy. The same holds true for car chases, dance numbers, fight scenes and every other kind of cinematic moment that a layman would assume “aren’t really written.” They’re written. By writers.
Might some of those beats change based on directors, actors, choreographers and stunt people? Certainly. But your goal is create moments so funny and original that all parties involved want to do it your way. (Or at least, try to top it.)
I know this might be a little strange but you’re obviously in the loop. What’s going on with the movie “Stay” written by David Benioff?
Additionally your commentary on CA: Full Throttle was interesting. What are the Wibberleys like?
— Sean Sullivan
January 25, 2005
Unfortunately, Benioff’s once-promising career was killed by Stay. (Too many people thought it was a downbeat follow-up to Go.) Last I knew, he was making a good living writing those things you get in the stores with the covers, and the words and the pages…
Instruction manuals. He’s writing instruction manuals. Mostly for vacuum cleaners.
As for the Wibberleys, they’re lovely people. If only a producer could convince them to write something commercial, as opposed to the high-minded literary fare they’re known for.
(In truth, David and the Wibbs are great and busy. One of the best developments since 2005 is that name-brand feature writers know each other better than they used to. The strike and the internet are equally responsible for this.)