May 16, 2011
Apr 7, 2011
The first MP3 that I remember downloading was Julian Lennon's "Too Late for Goodbyes." My gray NEC laptop could play it, sure, almost always without skipping, but it could do nothing else at the same time. The 1GB hard-drive eventually squeezed almost 25 other songs onto it, and that was about all it could hold.
Since I'm in the middle of moving from Van Nuys to Los Angeles, while simultaneously meeting with two different producers and writing two different screenplays, Keely stepped up and wrote a blog post about me for me. (She did not actually do that for me at all). And now I'm going to violate her copyright and use it as my own blog for this week.
Mar 24, 2011
Except of course when you shouldn't.
The UltralightSome of the best comedies succeed by using a very light-weight, very natural premise. With very little plot to follow, it makes comic digressions and set-pieces easy to integrate. Nothing feels like a side-track if there's no main path. This freedom lets the characters lead the way, lets the comedy spring from common human thoughts and experiences.
A simple premise keeps the comedy grounded.
These movies aren't universally good, but they all allow the story to focus on the characters and their relationships, instead of complicated plot mechanics.
The Jumbo JetBut Hollywood loves a hook. Hollywood loves contrivance. Perhaps it started with Pretty Woman. Perhaps it goes all the way back to It Happened One Night. Hell, perhaps it goes back to Taming of the Shrew.
Particularly in romantic comedies, the stories too often spring from unlikely situations that pile on arbitrary rules to build artificial barriers and provide external goals for the players, all so the story needn't focus on those darn characters, their difficult-to-express internal lives, and their confusing relationships.
How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days is about a bet - an intersecting pair of bets! Leap Year is about an obscure Irish tradition and an unlucky plane landing. Never Been Kissed is about a woman going undercover in high-school.
What makes these movies work is that by focusing on those unusual or even outlandish premises, somehow, naturally, universal truths emerge. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is about how people take on a life of their own in our memories, about the way we play out the same roles in our relationships. The Apartment asks whether we are defined by our jobs or by the people we love, and what it means to be a mench, a human being. 50 First Dates is not only about the euphoria of falling in love for the first time, and what makes it happen, but about mental illness and chronic disease and the way that love and family can survive them.
But that's not always possible. It has to come when you cook the meat. Every offbeat premise doesn't necessarily have truth to offer, and you can't force it. That's the territory of blood and not getting it from stones.
Good Luck Chuck is about a repulsive guy who, if a woman sleeps with him, the next man she dates will ask her to marry him. The only "truth" exposed by focusing on that gimmick is the rotten chestnut that women will do anything to get married, and men will do anything to get laid. Does that feel like a surprising truth? Does that even feel true?
And not to pick on Dane Cook unfairly, but to pick on Dane Cook quite fairly - how about My Best Friend's Girl? It's about a repulsive guy who sells a service: he'll date your ex-girlfriend for you, and when she sees how awful Dane Cook is, she'll come running back to you. Is this how people work? If so, where? And why haven't we bombed that place?
|Seriously, the best part.|
The more you focus on these premises, the further you get from relatable human behavior. They're good sketch premises, sure. But they're too elaborate to feel real when you crank them up to 90 minutes long.
The Bait and SwitchHollywood recently offered us Just Go With It, a remake of a much better movie, Cactus Flower, which was based on a play, and featured a screenplay by I.A.L. Diamond, the writer of Some Like It Hot. Both Cactus Flower and Some Like It Hot have pretty elaborate, offbeat premises. In one, a dentist recruits his assistant to pretend to be his estranged wife, so he can divorce her and reassure his girlfriend of his honesty and moral-standing. In the other, two guys witness a mob murder and have to go into hiding as women in a band to avoid the mob.
Somehow, they work and Just Go With It does not. Why?
|less sex, yet sexier|
But that's not the only reason.
I think, more importantly, Just Go With It is too interested in the sham, and not interested enough in the people perpetrating the sham. Cactus Flower is about his assistant's sadness, and the dentist's blind fixation on this ditzy, well-meaning girlfriend of his. Just Go With It is interested in all the ways it can make this charade difficult and kooky. It's too much about its premise. And it didn't have to be.
An example? The Proposal is an imperfect but enjoyable movie. It works. Sure, it's full of contrivance. It has a hook that makes it easy to sell, a concept with a clear structure. The surface conflict is easy to explain. But how many people have agreed to marry their boss for a promotion, so she can stay in the country? How does The Proposal succeed where Just Go With It failed? It does it by bait and switch.
It starts off being about the deal the characters make, about the charade... but it becomes about the characters who are perpetrating the charade. It becomes about the boss's visit to her fake-fiance's family home.
|I wish this were the real plot.|
So, if your premise is contrived, if your hook is implausible - maybe it's best if you don't fulfill the promise of your premise...
Mar 14, 2011
Here's my story. I moved to Los Angeles in 2005.
On January 6th, 2005, I was in Las Vegas, taking down Christmas decorations from Caesar's Palace hallways and cypress trees (business, not pleasure). I took the Santa hat off of the mini statue of David's head.
Just as we were finishing up, I was offered a three-month internship at a small LA management company. (Let's give them the codename Dryad Management.) All I knew about the company was the address, and that's more than I knew about LA.
Dump was in Rhode Island. She and I had been waiting for this news. I got back to New Jersey on the night of the 10th and packed. Dump arrived in New Jersey on the 12th. And we started cross-country bright and early on the 13th, a caravan composed of my car and one U-Haul, with my parents, my brother, Dump, and my dog Baker.
After a few hundred miles, Baker crawled inside the lining of my convertible's top and only stuck his head out. This is how he opted to travel the bulk of the three day journey. (pictured) He has no regrets.
My roommate Dump had collected from online several potential apartments. We had a list to visit upon our Saturday arrival, but as it turns out, it wasn't much of a day. We walked into our first appointment, and that was the last. That was the the same apartment where I'm presently writing these words. We never bothered to look at another. It was 5 miles from my internship, and like something out of a dream.
It has a washer and dryer in the unit. It has a balcony, a big one. It has a fireplace. It has central heat and air-conditioning. It has two-car subterranean parking. Compared to my previous pre-War building in Harlem, which barely maintained electricity and which cost exactly the same per month, this was paradise. I had never lived so high on the hog. I was pretty much on the tippy-top of the hog. THE WHOLE HOG. ME ON TOP.
Six years later, I'm still reluctant to leave it. But I have this dang job on the other side of the hill...
The thing about LA
Here's the thing about Los Angeles. If you want to live in Van Nuys or North Hollywood, on average, you'll need to get a job in Burbank or Sherman Oaks to afford it. If you want to live in Burbank or Sherman Oaks, you'll probably need to get a job in Santa Monica, Century City, or Culver City. Of course, if you want to live in Santa Monica, Century City, or Culver City, you'll need to get a job in Beverly Hills or Malibu. And if you want to live in Beverly Hills or Malibu, you'll need to be one of those people who don't need a job.
This is why traffic sucks in Los Angeles. Almost no one can live anywhere near where they work.
Embarrassment of American Luxuries
All the same, I'm trying to make this happen. I'm trying to move to Culver City, or Palms, or Century City, or even Santa Monica or West LA. They make a big U around my place of employment, which would cut my commute time down from an hour or more each way to twenty minutes or less.
But here's what I know: there's absolutely no way I can afford a washer and dryer in the unit, with a balcony, and a fireplace, and central heat and air, and two-car subterranean parking, in a building that costs anywhere near what I paid in Harlem, which is what I've been paying in Van Nuys.
I mean, I recently got a raise. Not a huge one, but by shifting my budget around, and by reducing the amount I put in savings, and by adding the entirety of that raise to the pot, I'm increasing my housing budget by 80% per month. Yet, somehow, it's still a struggle to find anything anywhere near the business that pays me anywhere near as nice as my current pad.
Seems like a bad system, doesn't it? As a society, I mean?
But, it's time for a new start. It's time for fresh surroundings. It's time to break the routine and reinvigorate my brain. It's time to live with Beezie and her kitties. It's time to have an office. It's time to have friends over to a place that's ours, as a couple. That may mean vastly curtailing my savings for a few years. That may me sacrificing central air, or easy parking, or living space, or who knows what else.
But it's time. And when it's time, you better act.
Mar 8, 2011
Character Misleads. I want more.
I heard a great story on This American Life. A small-time Lawyer is trying to free an Innocent Man from prison. The Lawyer invites a paroled, convicted Murderer into his office (actually, his meager apartment home), so he can interview the Murderer and maybe learn something that might help exonerate the Innocent Man. You see, the Innocent Man is in prison for the same killing that the Murderer committed.
When the Murderer arrives, he's dressed like a hip-hop star or perhaps a successful drug dealer, wearing in an extravagant suit, hair perfect, fingering a firearm, driving a Mercedes. He comes shouting up the stairs an hour early, "Yo! Where's the lawyer!" When interviewed, he boldly tells his tale, acting-out how he shot the man in the back of the head, using his pointer-finger on the back of the Lawyer's neck to demonstrate the way it was done.
But then -- when the Lawyer asks the Murderer why he let the Innocent Man do time for his crime, the Murderer begins, "I was only 15..." and a dam of regret and remorse busts open. The Murderer openly weeps. He is ashamed of what he did to the Innocent man. It eats him up inside. The Lawyer hugs him.
Out of nowhere, we're blind-sided with the Murderer's humanity. We'd been lead down the garden path, made to believe that he was a crass, self-involved jerk. And sure, he very well may be a crass, self-involved jerk. But he's also a human being.
This is a great scene. I want this.
This is something that Aaron Sorkin does frequently, particularly in The West Wing. He introduces characters, and then he leads us to dislike them, before finally pulling away the sheet and revealing a vulnerable human being. For example, the White House art curator Bernard Thatch is shown to be a snob. He mocks the President's taste in a work of art he selected for display, and even belittles CJ's clothing.
But then, when he later meets the rightful owner of the same painting that he mocked, the daughter of a Holocaust victim, he is kind. He offers to continue hanging the painting at the White House -- to increase its value for her. He is shown to be good and selfless. And the fact that his true nature only showed itself in a meaningful situation makes the fact that he is good and selfless meaningful.
This switch makes it stick with us. Makes it resonate. Had he been polite from the start, there would be no depth, no sense of discovery. We'd quickly forget this stale, two-dimensional nice-guy. But we don't forget him, because he surprised us.
The question is: do we enjoy the reverse just as much? Do we enjoy seeing a charming person shown for their shallowness, selfishness, and cruelty?
Are bad surprises just as engaging as good ones?
Mar 2, 2011
In other words -- Happy Halloween 2010 to you, month of March 2011.
Feb 28, 2011
This is my friend and current roommate Dump. We met in college, lived together briefly in Harlem, and then moved to Van Nuys in 2005. She is a partner in Misplaced Planet and is presently a Production Coordinator on a new TV pilot for Fox.
This is my girlfriend Beezie. We've been dating for about two years, and we're trying to move in togethere. We also met in college, but we weren't close at the time, and then we didn't see each other for about six years. Finally, we met up again out here in Los Angeles, I gave her a small role in Zaniness Ensues, and she continued to avoid me.
This is my dog Baker. He's a Fox Terrier. He was born on January 10th, 2003, which means he is 49 years old. His whole life, he has never held down a steady job. One night, circa 2003, I drove home from Princeton, having been unexpectedly dumped. Upon waking the next morning, I was greeted with a rejection letter from NYU. In response, I got a dog. He was the only terrier present, and he chewed on my mother's ring. So, I named him after a fictional dog in one of my screenplays, and now he's lying on the foot of my bed, needing a bath rather badly.That will be all for now. More as needed.
Feb 25, 2011
It's bikini season, boys, and though it took a lot of hard work and tedious preparation, I'm proud to say, I'm finally in shape. I'm going out shirtless.
Keep in mind, now, I'm not entirely naked.
Some of my best assets are hidden. I've assigned codenames to all my most attractive screenplays. Older and abandoned screenplays remain exposed, but if they get too much industry attention, too many ogling eyes, I'll cover those up too.
I've given pseudonyms to most of my good business associates, and removed references to most of my bad business associates. Real names are never used, except in the case of friends, family, and people that I own.
Similarly, I've taken down all the intimate details and scenes that I'd previously posted from my writing projects. In the future, I will probably continue to post details and draft scenes from new and ongoing projects, but I'll take those down too if the project ever goes to market.
As a result of this policy, some posts on this blog will have a short and unpredictable lifespan. Here's a tip: if it's a scene or a detailed discussion of a particular plot point, save it to your Zip brand storage drive. Otherwise, you might lose it forever. Like everything I ever saved on a Zip brand storage drive.
So what's left on the site?
I've keep a lot of deleted and abandoned scenes from my recent screenplays. I like them, they just didn't fit. And I'm going to keep sharing that sort of thing. In fact, I'm going to make a habit of digging up and posting an old or deleted scene on a regular basis. So there will be new, exclusive, fun stuff.
I also intend to take down my old website. It hasn't been updated since 2003, so I don't expect too much public outcry. I'm going to point that old wilderworks.com domain to this blog, instead. And, just for giggles, I'm going to post some of the more unusual items from that forgotten website (and other forgotten web treasures from my past) right here.
Jun 5, 2010
Jun 4, 2010
Inspired by True Events: The Poo Flinger
May 20, 2010
We're All Sherman Oaks Adjacent, NowLast night, I waited much longer than usual to walk the dog. When I finally went out, it was dark.
I don't generally care about that sort of thing. I lived happily in Harlem, and now I live in the similarly regarded Van Nuys. Luckily, I don't believe the local news represents the world, and neither do cop shows, so I've never acquired any appreciable fear of city streets or dark alleyways. Instead, I've found for myself that “bad” neighborhoods are full of nice people.
No, it's the well-off places that you gotta worry about. Those people are monsters.
My particular sliver of Van Nuys is a little, densely-populated cityscape hemmed in by post-industrial-wasteland sprawl to the north, and suburbanized-hipster-family sprawl to the south. I'm right on the border of Sherman Oaks, which used to be the southern part of Van Nuys, until the brown people started moving in, which encouraged the white people to flee. They hit up against the south hills and changed the area's name to Sherman Oaks. This doubled their property values.
Let's hear it for the wisdom of the marketplace!
The point is, I live on a street with beautiful palm trees, nicely tended sidewalks, lawns with sprinklers and flowers. There are restaurants and civic buildings within walking distance. There's a bakery and a dojo and a dance studio. There's public transit and a bike path that leads to a beautiful lake and a vast park with vast ducks. And you can usually find parking.
It's suburban splendor in an urban arrangement.
But there are also some pure urban nightmare elements, like the proliferation of bail-bondsmen, the medical marijuana dispensaries in every cardinal direction, the unnecessarily massive number of auto-body repair shops, and those two creepy unmarked corrugated steel buildings, outside of which, at odd hours, one can find million-dollar sport-cars and battered white utility vans parked side-by-side. They're either mafia hideaways, or porn studios. Or both.
Speaking of which, there are also several “adult” boutiques in my wing of Van Nuys. Beezie and I like the one on Oxnard. The gentleman inside is from New Jersey, and the selection is very good, including costumes. It's about a two minute drive from my door, on the left just before you reach the hardware store. Can't miss it.
But there's another porn store within walking distance, right beside the no-brand gas-station. You can get there by heading to the Chinese restaurant, then going southerly down the alleyway, toward the VW dealership...
Which was where I was walking my dog last night.
The Service SectorI was passing behind the no-name gas-station, waiting for Bacon to poo, when I encountered a young man coming toward me.
He was shorter than I, which, for this region, is statistically too short. He looked vaguely Hispanic, but had a Vin Diesel thing going for him, which means he could have played any number of ethnicities. Unlike Vin, he had hair. He wore a white shirt and a backpack. He had the shoulders-back, slightly-stocky look of someone who worked out, but not too much, a look that comes across profoundly goofy on a short dude. Despite his relaxed demeanor, he looked a bit petulant, like you'd imagine Napoleon might look, were he cast in West Side Story.
In fact, he was trying too hard to be relaxed... Oh shit, he's making eye-contact. Oh shit, he's going to talk to me. Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit. Don't talk to me!
Let's be clear, now: my panic had nothing to do with his appearance, or with the dark, barbed-wire lined alleyway, far from witnesses. This stranger could have been a beautiful woman... could have been a beautiful woman wearing no clothes... could have been a beautiful woman wearing no clothes on except for a hat made of thousand-dollar bills... could have been any of those things, and still, I would have dreaded that this stranger might try to strike up a conversation.
But, before he spoke, he held his hand up to me, and he made a gesture. It was a “getting ready to roll dice” kind of gesture. You know, kind of a “shaking up a small can of spray paint” gesture. You know -
“You want me to jerk you off for five dollars?”
That kind of gesture.
Because that's exactly what he asked me. “You want me to jerk you off for five dollars?”
“No, uh... I'm good. Thank you,” I responded.
He did not laugh. He was serious. He stopped a few feet away.
And that's when Bacon decided it was time to poop. It was a perfect time to poop!
Time to Poop, Everyone!Let me tell you something about my beloved dog, whom I absolutely hate. He wants an audience. He loves to shit in front of strangers. That's his thing. He waits for it. And he can wait. Oh, he can wait.
And another thing about Bacon: once this dog begins his business, once he squats, he could anchor a battleship. He could tether a shuttle launch. He is not moving. He is part of the Earth's crust.
So. That was an uncomfortable moment.
I pulled a neon green biodegradable baggie from the dispenser, and watched the dog slowly, slowly, ever so slowly, produce some poops. The stranger stood a few feet away, gazing idly around himself, sensing it is unseemly for a stranger to study the process by which another man's dog creates doody.
Then, the stranger noticed there was another man, a man hanging in the shadows behind the porn store. It was a big black man in a bright yellow tee-shirt, and he was scowling at us all, arms crossed high on his chest.
The stranger asked the other man, “Oh, sorry – are you working here?”
Bacon finished. I grabbed it, turned the bag inside out, and started off. I was being amazingly nonchalant, you should note.
“I said, you working here, man?”
The other man nodded. “Yeah.”
“Oh, okay, yeah. Right,” the stranger said. I passed him.
He was behind me now. Behind me, and following. In deference for the other man's post, I suppose, he was following me out to the street.
He caught up. Walked beside me.
“How about for two dollars?”
In case you were wondering – he said that. Not me.
“Um... It's not really about the money,” I said. I was now getting pretty comfortable with the fact that, while walking my dog and holding a baggie of warm droppings, I was being propositioned by a male prostitute. Where would we put the dog? Where would we put the baggie?
“Okay,” he said. He considered this. “How about for a dollar? One dollar?”
We reached the street. I told him the truth. “I don't have a dollar.”
He stared for a moment. Did he think I was trying to negotiate down to pocket change? An I.O.U. perhaps? Was he going to offer to accept a credit card?
“Yeah, all right,” he said. His voice had a tone of, “Your loss man. That was a good price. You're not gonna get a deal like that back at home.”
Deep Philosophical Handjob ThoughtsAfter that, the dog and I walked the rest of our mile alone. I reflected on what had transpired. Should I have been afraid? Should I have been disappointed? Disgusted? Should I have felt guilty for having to refuse the fellow's extremely generous offer? Because that one I kind of did feel.
You tell me. Are these the sorts of events that drive people away from lovely places like Van Nuys? Are these the moments that make people pay exorbitant rents, scream for more police officers, hide in their condos after the sun goes down? Am I the abnormal one that it doesn't bother me much? That, in fact, it amuses and delights me? Do I belong amongst these people?
When I got back, I told my roommate, Alli, what had happened.
Her reaction was a little more jealous than I'd call healthy.
May 11, 2010
Irrational AnxietiesWell, the blog visits are down 65% for the last two-week period; which means I'm averaging about zero visitors a day. Why do I look at these things? I know that it can only frustrate me, and clearly the size of an audience has nothing to do with the quality of the work! Clearly! To quote Bullets Over Broadway:
*creepy religious militia settles in area*
Sometimes, a fellow can't help but wonder whether he should be taking a hint.
The Weekend ReviewBarb was away this weekend, and so, aside from spending seven hours waiting for the cable-guy to install my two new DVD-Rs (one for the living-room, and one to store under my bed, to occupy the space that might otherwise be filled by deadly ninjas), I spent the weekend recharging my spirits and smoothing the first act of the script.
Act One - For Your ReviewThe link has been removed because the screenplay is now completed and being shopped for sale...
May 6, 2010
Horror Movie ViewingI'm thinking of changing the doctor's name again. In honor of The Abbott & Costello Show, I may name him Dr. Bacciagalupe. Or maybe just Dr. Galoup.
May 5, 2010
Running Long, or Short on Gags?I'm running a page over again. I hope I can cut a page from the next segment to compensate, but I have my doubts.
As usual, there will be a long phase of painful trimming at the end of this road.
Here's the hard thing about writing a comedy alone: there is nothing more nerve-wracking and doubt-inducing than trying to guess which jokes to cut, having almost no feedback from an audience (and apparently, it's very hard to force detailed, joke-by-joke feedback from one's readership).
Nobody, no writer, no one, can ever guess what joke will play - only readers and viewers - only the sharp reality of an audience - can say for sure. But you have to make a thousand Sophie's choices all the same, without a shred of useful input from experience or fact or any sort of guidelines.
It's a time when self-delusion can be beneficial. You call it instinct, and you go with it. But it's a sickening sensation all the same. You may be cutting the punchline that gets it made. You may be cutting the punchline that is quoted for years. And you may be keeping a stinker.
Nobody, no writer, no one, ever knows.
Apr 30, 2010
Posting Has Been SlightThese are the times when one hour a morning simply isn't even in the ballpark of sufficient time to be a writer. Problem scenes take vast amounts of trial and error, and the next scenes have been big fat problems. I found them painfully boring and, for lack of a better word, domesticated. I don't want to watch nice, friendly people being nice and friendly to one another. Where is the drama in that? The comedy?
In the end, this ALL went out the window.
The Engaged Couple
Apr 25, 2010
But this is Los Angeles. If you put a sign in your tiny parking lot that says parking is limited to, say, 20 minutes, or hell, even 45 minutes, then I can't spend my morning there, working and buying your coffee and snacks, now can I? And thus, I end up at Norm's. Where the spoon is a different length every day.
You'd think they'd have bought the spoons in bulk.
Apr 20, 2010
Readers - Should I change that? Should I include this scene? Or is my affection misplaced?
Apr 19, 2010
FirstA certain someone gave me an unelaborated nasty look when she read one of the first lines in my first scene of Sick Day, a line describing the hero as someone that should be featured in a Playboy spread called "Girls of the Big Earthquake." Now I'm barely five pages into this thing and I'm already doubting my early favorite line.
I can't avoid the truth: there's something about the phrase that I like. I like both the verbal turn (trading "Big Ten" for "Big Earthquake"), especially since it comes right at the end of the phrase, and I also love the image of a Playboy spread of smiling woman covered in white dust, with cuts and bruises, standing outside of rubble.
But, I can't avoid this truth either: it's suicide to take unnecessary risks on the first five or ten pages; an early stinker can kill the whole mood.
SecondThe third act suddenly strikes me as not nearly crazy enough. Perhaps it's because I've been watching Fawlty Towers. Perhaps it's because it's true. Perhaps it's the usual over-active worry.
The fact is: I've given this sucker a romantic comedy third act, but this isn't strictly a romantic comedy; more and more, I'm trying to make it a crazier, more "me" comedy, as much as I can. So, the question becomes: why doesn't it end more like War of the Roses - deep in the midst of war? Why can't I turn the downer ending of War of the Roses on its head and give it a happy resolution, right at the end of the conflict? Why am I steering back to safe, calm harbors right when I could be rocketing into madness?
I'm not going to stop writing to rejigger - but I promise you this - I am going to worry relentlessly, and lie sleeplessly night after night, trying to think of somewhere else it can go, somewhere more insane. From the moment we return to the E.R., it could go anywhere... why is it going back to Hollywood status quo? Perhaps because that's wisest?
ThirdAs quickly as I'm setting things up - are people going to get antsy waiting for them to fight? I've been using the onset of the illness as my inciting incident. Will the audience disagree?
Apr 15, 2010
In any case, the parking situation is less than ideal. There was a metered spot immediately in front, and it was a dollar an hour, so I fed it an hour's worth of quarters. The coffee was about $4. Which still puts me at a significant advantage, financially, over Norm's. I see there is also a parking garage; I'll have to explore the parking options when my hour is up.
In any case, today is the big day. I have my outline. I'm not going to persist with the treatment. I'm going to start writing the screenplay.
It opens with my main character, Maggie, sitting in an ER waiting room, looking like a wreck. I've taken some notes for the description of her. I'm trying to find just the right detail or two to capture her looking like a wreck - but not unappealing to an audience. I have a central, persistent worry: that producers and actors will read the script, or just the concept, and think, "No one wants to see someone looking sick and horrible for 90 minutes." I want to reassure them, these characters look sick and also look sexy.
"An arousing disaster."
Can I say she has bed-head? Sex hair? A hot mess? A photo from a Playboy spread called "ladies of the big earthquake?" The CNN headline picture for "modeling school sorority house collapses?" I want a simple one-liner, but I don't want to overplay it, don't want to come across as irredeemably sexist, or hokey.
All the same, the Playboy line made me smile... Maybe I should use Maxim?
I like the word "steaming" (for her mood and her appearance). I like the word "cock-eyed," because the word cock is in there, which is unsubtly suggestive. I've written, "Flannel jammy bottoms are smeared with black ash" and "bathrobe inside out" and "the pajama top has one spaghetti-strap snipped" and "even the little bow on her pajama-top decolletage is wilted and unraveled"
I just reviewed the screenplay opening of THE HANGOVER, and, yeah, they do essentially what I'm trying to do: they underline the word "mess" and add "his aviator glasses are bent," along with a few injuries.
Man, I'm not nearly as clever as I thought I was.