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.

* * *

54 comments.

  1. From this teaser,I would say that you have nailed the Office characters. I guess I’m going to have to put off doing anything constructive this morning, and read the whole script. I also thought that Micheal’s “What are his paper needs” at the end called for an aside from Toby (“a pallet of toilet paper”); he deserves a punch line every now and then.

  2. I really liked that cold open. I’m gonna read the rest of the script now. Awesome work.

  3. That script is one of the funniest things … no wait … THE funniest thing I have read in a very long time. It helps that I’m a fan of the Office, but now I’m also a fan of the Yeti. I hope the producers of the Office pick this up because I can hardly wait to see the Nuclear beet costume. Well done!

  4. Completely awesome. You have them nailed! Off to read the whole thing…

  5. I have a long standing fear of fan fiction, which you have now broken. Thanks!

  6. A really really excellent script. I’d say you captured the characters and the spirit of the show perfectly, though I was a little thrown by the scenes with Pam and “Carl” and Jim and Carl. I can see Kelly talking to a standee, and possibly Andy, but not Jim or Pam. Also Pam’s flare up at Jim seemed out of character. It’s possible I’m overthinking this. It’s 4am.

    Anyway, it was great. I love how you tied everything up at the end!

  7. Hysterical. Well done.

  8. This is like…worlds colliding! My favorite TV show paired up with one of my favorite bloggers! The script is brilliant! Dead on Matthew, dead on.

  9. That is an incredible spot on, fresh and heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeelarious script! I really want to see the characters say everything of the lines you wrote for them. In my mind, you need to pitch your script to the producers. It’s that good (actually, it’s better).

  10. That made me laugh so hard I cried! BRILLIANT.

  11. I came over here for the layer tennis and stayed for the office script. Well done.

    Good luck today in your match.

  12. I really, really enjoyed this — some moments in there that I’d love to see on screen. Excellent work!

  13. I’ve only read the cold open so far, and am afraid to read much more since I’m currently only up to Season 4 in my netflix viewing, but I can’t wait to read the rest when I’m at the appropriate point in Season 5. What I’ve read so far is so spot-on that I will consider this a “bonus” episode! Send it to the producers–who knows?

  14. the office is one of my favorite shows of all time. you’re one of my favorite bloggers of all time. so, this is pretty much, oh, i don’t know, THE BEST THING EVER.

  15. you nailed it…everyone was really in character, and the end was the BEST.

    one thing though: in a deleted scene, from the episode where Dwight gives a speech (i don’t remember what it’s called, sorry) he pretty much says that he’s in love with girl!Starbuck.

    also, BATTLESTAR RULES!1!!!

  16. Nice timing, especially “and what are his paper needs?” Send it in to the network already!

  17. Absolutely made my day. The whole episode played in my head as I was reading. Spot on.

  18. I was literally laughing out loud through the entire thing and stood up at the end and clapped. For serious, PLEASE submit this to NBC.

  19. I feel like The Office has been hit and miss lately. That said, I definitely think you’ve got a hit here. Great concept!

  20. This was pretty good, and by that I mean, like pretty good to be made by the office crew. I think the superhero thing is great and the BSG tie in. There were a few places where characters were saying things that were more your humor that indicative of them. And I’m not sure, but have the “documenters” ever spoken or come in front of the camera? The Pam and Jim stuff was right on, I love the Beaseley! exchange.

    I think the length was good, it took me about 22 minutes to read it so that’s right in there. Good work, I wish I could sit down and do that.

    “beet down” OMGOMGYG. Cracked me up.

  21. This is hilarious. Your characters are spot on. I especially love Michael’s Toby smack-downs. Very true to the show. Bravo Mr. Baldwin.

  22. “She was a midwife.” I just about crapped a baby.

    Bravo.

  23. long time lurker here…. i’m a big fan of the blog, but this script still surpassed my expectations. i demand another script!

  24. First time here, referred by another blogger. Holy Moses, that was funny. I’d love to see it produced.

  25. This was amazing. I could see it all happening in my mind. I’d love to see it for real on my TV! You nailed the characters perfectly.

    I love the part with the camera-man getting upset with Carl.

  26. LOVED IT!

  27. soup
    or
    gyro

  28. Can you submit this to NBC? Because it’s completely freaking hilarious—I ended up reading it out loud to friends and we are cracking up the entire time.

  29. AMAZE

  30. Fantastic! Brilliant! Hilarious!

  31. Very good job! I laughed heartily throughout! Damn, you’re a talented man, Baldwin.

  32. *heart* for the opening alone

  33. You should submit this to the Austin Film Festival TV writing competition. I submitted my own ‘The Office’ spec script two years ago and made the semi-finals. You could win some money and possibly a free trip to the AFF.

    http://aff09.blogspot.com/search/label/SCREEN%2FTELEPLAY%20COMPETITION

  34. Niiiiice.

  35. Great episode. You nailed the characters and the timing. Well done sir.

  36. Quite fabulous! If this sort of writing keeps you from posting, it’s a great tradeoff!

    Would Beet Boy carry his crime-fighting tools in a Beet Box?

  37. Hilarious! Your posts are always worth the long wait.

  38. Oh, you’ve got to redo the Conan quote. Dwight wouldn’t miss that! Perhaps “Written in the lamentations of his enemy’s women.”

  39. Perfect! U hope you try to get it in the air.

  40. Perfect! I hope you try to get it in the air.

  41. So awesomely hilarious. They need to make this a real episode!

  42. Wow! It was like watching the show…Only funnier. I’m not even a huge fan of the (American) Office, but I would love to watch this episode. Reading the script I can HEAR the characters’ voices. Nice work!

  43. “Marriage is going to be fun.”

    That rocked. You are awesome.

  44. Brilliant work Matthew ;-)

  45. OK. That was weird. I don’t even like that show and I couldn’t stop reading your script. I just meant to look at it and see what it looked like…and then I couldn’t stop reading it.

    Don’t you think they would make this script? Will you get tons of money?

  46. Just read the cold open and I was CRACKING UP. Well done! It’s obvious that you know the characters and their unique relationships with each other very well. Can’t wait to read the whole thing. Can’t print it out yet. Must be mindful of paper and ink costs. Oh recession woes…

  47. I had a dream last night that this was a real episode, and it was amazing.

  48. Really good Matthew. Tip ‘o the hat.

  49. I like that you minimized the Michael Scott antics and focused on the funny characters instead

  50. Three words:

    hilarious, genius, hardworking, and jackhammer

  51. I thought the script was outstanding. It’s unfortunate that the nature of network TV means it won’t become an actual part of the series (the timing for when it would have to air has passed and the networks are so reluctant to accept non-commissioned scripts, understandably.) But it was a real treat for fans of you and the Office.
    My two minor quibbles are: 1) For some reason, Dwight’s comment about “indie rock” didn’t feel right. 2) I agree with the previous commenter who said the documentary crew shouldn’t be heard from. But I think it’s even funnier if the talking head is just five seconds of silence with no comment.
    Thanks Matthew, great job.

  52. I really enjoyed that– coincidentally I had fallen behind on the show (stopped watching as Michael was travelling to the other D-M branches to give his motivational talk), and so this had no spoilers for me.

    Spot on, I really enjoyed it. What you shouldn’t do is send it to NBC– their lawyers will make sure they round-file it unread, because they don’t want to get tied up with “you stole my idea” lawsuit.

    If you could get it in the hands of an Office writer, though, with a personal recommendation, that would be great, evne to share writing credit with some of the heads. Great job!

  53. Really nice spec script.

    Pam’s voice was a bit off, and even Jim’s voice was off sometimes.

    And there were a couple things that seemed to serve only as bridges from one joke/scene to the next without any real purpose or motivation.

    Overall, though, this is a superb Office spec script.

    Definitely the best I’ve found online.

  54. Really nice spec script.

    Pam’s voice was a bit off, and even Jim’s voice was off sometimes.

    And there were a couple things that seemed to serve only as bridges from one joke/scene to the next without any real purpose or motivation.

    Overall, though, this is a superb Office spec script.

    Definitely the best I’ve found online.