January 15, 2006
I'm "actually" doing this ... my way
I can't stand internet memes. I think they're dumb. I hate reading entries that are nothing but list after list with no explanation or story attached. I became particularly annoyed with them during Holidailies because so many participants relied on that kind of entry on slow days.
Having said that, Pooks tagged me for a meme for screenwriters, and I fear that if I refuse, she might stop blogging entirely. And I'm quite enjoying her site. Also, it's related to movies and movie writing in some way, so it does fit in with the general theme of this site.
Therefore, I will attempt this here meme thing, but I'm doing it my way, with my rules. I will not resort to single-word lists. Also, do not think that the rest of you can tag me with your little memes. I do not intend to do these things more than once every six months, so this is it until July.
1 early film-related memory:
See, this is a good question, because you can't answer it with a list. You have to write at least one sentence. If more meme questions were like this one, the internet would be a better place.
My earliest film-related memories are of a movie theater in Dodge City, Kansas. It was probably a single-screen theater and let's face it, probably the only movie theater in Dodge City in 1972-74, when we lived there.
I can't remember a specific moviegoing experience in the theater, though. I feel like we saw several long movies there, like maybe The Sound of Music or My Fair Lady, but that could be because I was four years old and all movies seemed long. I was very well behaved in movie theaters and never made noise ... but I always fell asleep halfway through the movie. Doesn't sound like a promising start for a film geek, does it?
2 favorite movie lines:
I'm going with the quotes that just popped into my head. There are more than two. What're you gonna do, send the Meme Police after me?
- "From the moment I saw you, I had an idea you had an idea." —Midnight (1939, dir. Mitchell Leisen, scr. Billy Wilder and Charles Brackett)
- "Now it isn't that I don't like you, Susan. After all, in moments of quiet, I'm strangely drawn toward you—but there haven't been any quiet moments." —Bringing Up Baby (1938, dir. Howard Hawks, scr. Dudley Nichols and Hagar Wilde)
- "Don't tell me it's subversive to kiss a Republican." —A Foreign Affair (1948, dir. Billy Wilder, scr. Wilder and Charles Brackett)
- "And to all you good people in the Midwest, sorry we said 'fuck' so much." —Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005, dir./scr. Shane Black)
I better stop. I could do this answer all day long. I haven't even mentioned the 1968 film The Producers, which we watched again last week. However, the 2005 version made me realize quite forcefully that it is not just the written line itself, but the actor who delivers it, that makes a movie quote so memorable. Okay, next question.
3 jobs you'd do if you couldn't work in the business:
Do I even work in the business? I am writing about film, and I'm not sure if that counts to the kind of people who use terms like "the business" with a straight face. I prefer to stand at the edge and mock the business a little.
Besides, any job I've ever had that has paid me a living wage or salary has not been in anything near "the business."
All right, I'll change it slightly. Three jobs I would try to do if I couldn't write or edit anymore, for whatever reason:
- Personal trailer/gym class instructor—Sometimes I am tempted to look into part-time work as a personal trainer at my gym, perhaps teaching spin classes or aerobics. My sister teaches Jazzercise and loves it, and has never been in better shape. On the other hand, I am not sure that I am enough of a "people person" for this kind of job.
- Web designer/developer—I can already do a limited amount of this type of work. However, if I had no chance at all of writing work, I might consider taking classes in specific, advanced areas of Web development, such as PHP and maybe Flash.
- Film archiving and restoration—I think about this possibility all the time anyway. However, I can't tell if I would like the day-to-day work, I would have to go back to school (probably for a master's), and the odds of my getting to stay in Austin to do this kind of work are extremely slim.
Who the hell wrote this one? "Actually held" has a snotty ring to it, as if the author cannot believe that real screenwriters can ever devote themselves to another kind of job. Also, we've now gone from "the business" to "the industry," which is worse. (Pooks, you know I'm not picking on you, right? You're just the messenger.)
All the jobs I have "actually" held (as opposed to virtually?) have been outside the film industry. Therefore, I'm changing this one too, to four types of jobs I've held, period.
- Technical writer—I thought that writing and editing for a living would be enjoyable no matter what type of writing and editing it was. To a certain extent, this is true ... I love editing just about anything. On the other hand, after five years of working on the same projects, I burned out temporarily.
- Graphic designer—I've done graphic design on and off as part of various writing/editing jobs. I love working on layout and design even though I'm a lousy illustrator. I'm particularly fond of photo editing. At some point, I hope to get a better digital camera and learn how to use it better, too.
- Secretary—I worked as a secretary for a state lottery vendor about 11 years ago. Believe it or not, I was extremely good at it. Some of the work was fun (the travel planning made me consider becoming a travel agent) and some of it was tedious, but the real problem was the way that secretaries are treated, even when you call them "administrative assistants." I felt depressed and frustrated all the time. For years afterwards, I kept a coffee mug from that company on my desk to remind me that no matter how bad things got, at least I wasn't being treated like a secretary.
- Reporter—I don't know if this counts as "actually" because it was an internship, but I was paid and worked 40-80 hours a week, so it counts to me. During my last year at LSU, I assisted a Capitol-beat reporter in covering the state legislature, state politics, and anything else going on in Baton Rouge that might affect or interest people in north Louisiana (the location of the papers for which we reported) or nationally (for the company's wire service). I decided that I didn't like interviewing people, a dislike that I am still trying hard to overcome, and that La. politics made me sick to my stomach, which is also still true.
I am tempted to digress here and share a list of bizarre jobs I've inteviewed for but didn't get, but I will save that for another time.
3 (current) book authors I like:
Why is "current" in parentheses, and what does it mean anyway? Does the author have to be writing a book right this very minute? Or does it simply mean that the author can't be dead? Also, the "authors I like" wording is vague: am I supposed to like the authors personally, or like the books they've written? If it's the former, I suppose I can include only published authors I've met, like Gwen Zepeda, but would not include Florence King even though I like her writing from decades past, because her National Review columns are hatefully nasty.
(Not to mention that the meme author has gone from using "you" in the questions to "I". Am I supposed to find out which book authors he/she likes? Bear in mind that the author is theoretically a writer of some kind. Shame, shame.)
I don't understand why I can only pick living authors, because that rules out Nabokov, Robertson Davies, and Noel Streatfeild. I also don't understand what this has to do with screenwriting. Why not ask us for a list of our favorite screenwriters, with dead ones allowed so I can write glowing paragraphs about Billy Wilder teamed either with Charles Brackett or I.A.L. Diamond, Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur, and maybe Paddy Chayefsky? Or how about a list of three female screenwriters? I mean, you might as well add a challenging aspect to some of these questions.
You're going to tell me that the point is not to challenge me, it's to provide readers with insight into my personality based on my reading list. Of only live authors. Whom I "like". A list of three authors, with no explanation, is going to reveal wonderful things about me. This is why I think meme lists are so damn stupid.
Fine. I'll answer the question exactly as directed, with the generally implied meaning that others have used.
- Florence King
- Harlan Ellison
- Terry Pratchett
This is why I hate these damn meme lists.
2 movies you'd like to remake or properties you'd like to adapt:
I like this question better than the previous one. Even though I no longer write screenplays, of course I occasionally imagine how I would adapt a certain book into a movie.
- When Sisterhood was in Flower, by Florence King—The Seventies nostalgia is still around, and I think this book would make a charming little movie. It would be a tough adaptation: I'd want to keep the tone intact of an irreverent look at the feminist movement, but without sounding at all anti-feminist. Also, I'm not sure how some of it would transfer visually, like the porn writing, but I think it would be a fun challenge.
- Any of Noel Streatfeild's "Shoes" books—We never seem to have enough good movies for children, especially older children, and I think some of the "Shoes" books would work well as films. Ballet Shoes would be difficult because it covers such a wide range of the girls' ages; you'd have to use two sets of young actresses or compress the timeline considerably. Theatre Shoes would be more fun to adapt and has enough action to sustain a movie. The Painted Garden (aka Movie Shoes) might work well too.
1 Screenwriter you think is underrated:
(Digression: Can you imagine Casino Royale having been directed by Hawks and adapted by Brackett? This Web page claims such a film was possible and speculates on how it would have worked. It sounds like a movie I might have enjoyed.)
3 people I'm tagging to answer this meme next:
I couldn't possibly do such a thing to any of you. If you want to post your own answers on your own site, that's between you and your blog. But I will not be responsible for actively promoting the perpetuation of a meme.
In six months, however, if I do one of these again, I am going to make Pooks do it too. Or maybe I'll write my own meme and inflict it upon her. You've been warned.Posted by jette at January 15, 2006 01:29 PM