Posts from May 2009.

Infinite Summer

My summer project (and yours): infinitesummer.org.

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Autistic Trekdom

Today in The Morning News, I have an essay about J.J.Abrams’ new film: Autistic Trekdom. Contains no spoilers, by the way.

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The Office – Personas

Just for kicks I wrote a script for The Office. You can read the whole thing at http://www.defectiveyeti.com/theoffice/TheOffice-Personas.pdf.

I was inspired by two events, both of which took place in March. The first was an eight-hour Project Management seminar that I attended for work. At the end of the day I was reviewing my notes and realized I’d been handed an Office storyline.

The second was the series finale of Battlestar Galactica. As followers of The Office know, Dwight is a huge Battlestar fan, mentioning the program often.



I half-expected a subsequent episode of The Office to note the end of Battlestar, but it hasn’t happened yet. Thus, I decided to write my own.

“Personas” is set around the time in season five of The Office when BSG ended. Specifically, it falls between “Golden Ticket” (S05E17) and “New Boss” (S05E18). In other words:

  • Andy is on staff.
  • Toby is back.
  • Ryan is missing (supposedly in Thailand).
  • No one in the office is in a relationship, except Jim / Pam (engaged) and Andy / Dwight (mortal enemies).
  • The Charles Miner / “Michael Scott Paper Company” storyline has not yet begun.

One last thing. Forty pages struck me as pretty long for a 30 minute show, but “E-Mail Surveillance” and “The Carpet”–the two scripts of The Office I could find online (at http://www.dailyscript.com/tv.html)–clock in at 44 and 43 pages respectively, so I used those as a guide. Having never before written a script for an existing show, I figured I’d stick to precedent.

Anyway, here’s the teaser. I don’t really plan to do anything with this (it was more of an exercise than anything else), but if you have any feedback I’d love to hear it. You can email me at matthewbaldwin@gmail.com.

Update: Someone asked if this contains BSG finale spoilers. Actually, it contains no BSG spoilers whatsoever, so go nuts.


The Office
"Personas"

              COLD OPEN

      INT. CONFERENCE ROOM - MORNING

      Michael is at the front of the room and the rest of the staff
      is paired up. Each group has a flipchart, on which they have
      jotted down descriptions of fictional people: names, ages,
      sexes, occupations, etc.

      PHYLLIS, paired with MEREDITH, is standing, addressing the
      room, wrapping up her presentation.

                     PHYLLIS
                Gerald's primary paper needs are
                eight by eleven white bond for the
                printer and number 10 security
                envelopes.

                     MICHAEL
                Excellent. Good work Phyllis.

                     MICHAEL (V.O.) (CONT'D)
                Personas are a top-level project
                management tool used by business
                experts around the world. 

      MICHAEL TALKING HEAD

                     MICHAEL
                What you do is you make up
                characters and pretend that they
                are your customers. And then you
                ask them for advice on how to
                improve. And that way you don't
                have to talk to real customers.

      INT. CONFERENCE ROOM  

      Dwight is completing his presentation. The flipchart looks
      like a Dungeon and Dragons character sheet, complete with
      stats on the left-hand side and a sketch of a barbarian.

      STANLEY, his partner, sits nearby, engrossed in his puzzle
      book.

                     DWIGHT
                ... when in a beserker rage,
                Rivenheart can attack twice per
                round but is unable to defend.

                     MICHAEL
                    (exasperated)
                Dwight, you -- Missing the point.
                Why does your persona need paper? 

                     DWIGHT
                He doesn't need paper. His history
                is written in the lamentation of
                his enemies.

                     MICHAEL
                Okay sit down. Just-- Sit down.

      Dwight does so as Michael wrestles with his irritation.

                     MICHAEL (CONT'D)
                Who's next? Jim and Kevin.

      KEVIN looks at JIM with a giddy smile; Jim nods confidently.

      Kevin stands and gestures at his flipchart, on which he has
      written a series of bulletpoints describing his persona.

                     KEVIN
                Our persona is "Mark L."

      His pronunciation of "Mark L." is almost identical to
      "Michael", and he pauses expectantly. When there's no
      reaction, he continues, struggling to maintain a straight
      face.

                     KEVIN (CONT'D)
                Mark L. is in his mid-40's. Single,
                no family, no girlfriend. Dead-end
                job as regional manager in a dying
                industry. This guy is going
                nowhere.

      Titters around the room as people recognize the gag. They are
      laughing with Michael, assuming he'll catch on at any moment. 

                     KEVIN (CONT'D)
                He tells a lot of bad jokes. His
                favorite is short, but he knows how
                to use it. 

      Jim hears his prearranged cue. 

                     JIM
                That's what she said!

      Michael laughs.

                     MICHAEL
                Good one, Jim! Nicely done. Okay
                Kevin, let's keep this moving.

      Kevin looks uncertain. 

                     KEVIN
                He's always walking around the
                office interrupting people's work
                with pointless stories. Or
                insensitive remarks. About their
                weight. And baldness ...

                     MICHAEL
                Ugch. Why would you even invent
                this guy?

      Kevin at a loss. Desperately trying to clue Michael in, he
      deviates from the flipchart.

                     KEVIN 
                Owns a "World's Best Boss" mug?
                Drives a Sebring? His birthday is
                March 15th? No, nothing?

      In a burst of inspiration, Jim leaps to his feet.

                     JIM
                I think Mark L.'s worst trait is
                his utter lack of self-awareness.
                He wouldn't even recognize a
                description of himself.
                    (beat; then slowly)
                Wouldn't even recognize a
                description ... of himself.

      Michael looks pensive for a moment, on the verge of
      realization. But then he shudders at his mental image of Mark
      and says:

                     MICHAEL
                And what are his paper needs?

                     KEVIN
                    (to Jim; accusatory)
                You said this would be funny.

                      END COLD OPEN


You can read the whole thing as either a PDF (best) or as HTML (with some lost of formatting). An .fdr files is also available upon request. Enjoy.

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Confidental to My Three Remaining Readers

Not a whole lot of activity, here at the yeti. Still, I’m keepin’ myself busy:

  • I was quoted in a Washington Post article entitled Forget Germs. The Real Contagion Is Our Paranoia. I have a brief bit in the final few paragraphs. Man, I gave that reporter lots of good material–I wonder why she didn’t use it. Possibly because I confused her paper with the Wall Street Journal and asked if I should send a headshot for the stipple portraitist. (True story.)
  • I am providing color commentary for Friday’s Layer Tennis match. This will be my third time in the lime-green sportjacket–the previous two installments are here and yonder.
  • Tomorrow, in this very space, I’ll be posting something I recently wrote of which I am kinda proud. Stay Tuned!
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