Friday, November 10, 2006

Here's a writing assignment for you

Pussycat, pussycat, where have you been?
I’ve been to the cinema to take in The Queen.

Helen Mirren channels ERII in a well-made film. We laughed. We cried.

But enough of the movie review. Here we were in a perfectly civilized theater, one that caters to adults and takes film seriously. Half or more of the audience were Yale students, who one would presume were brought up with some sort of indoctrination into behaving in a civilized manner in a public venue.

The first assault was the stinky sneakers of the guy one row back and one seat over, interjected between two seats onto the armrest next to me. The second assault was the ringing of a cell phone one row ahead of me about two minutes before the end of the movie. Embarrassed fumbling to silence the phone? Don’t be silly. The guy answered it. The third assault was a young woman a few rows up flipping her phone open and punching in a number about a minute later.

So here’s your assignment: Write a script for a thirty-second trailer to play in the theater before the movie. It has to convey, in a humorous but effective way, the basics of being part of an audience of strangers.

Don’t send me the script, as I have no power to get it produced. You’re on your own for selling it to theater chains. I’m just suggesting the concept.


Anonymous said...

Loewes actually did this a couple of years ago. They would run one every time they screened a movie. Wonder of wonders, it did seem to help a little.

Momma said...

Oh, Dick, your post makes me ask once again, "what's wrong with people?" I've been ranting on much the same kind of thing over on my new (non-editing-related) blog (


Dick Margulis said...


I'm not sure anything is wrong with people. Biology is destiny, and twentyish people are supposed to be narcissistic. It takes a concerted effort on the part of parents and teachers to inculcate in them a set of rules for pretending to be considerate of others and respectful of their elders while their frontal lobes continue to mature to the point that they can carry it off on their own.

However, that sort of indoctrination fell out of favor, for a number of complex reasons we don't need to discuss here, and the result is boorish behavior until someone slaps these kids upside the head and teaches them something about living in society. But I see them as victims, and I don't blame them.