Saturday, February 24, 2007

Forcing the Hand

I think that this project could be either a film short or the pilot of television show. That is to say that it’s tight enough to stand on its own, but I think far-reaching enough that multiple storylines could be traced out of it. Basically, it’s a story of fish out of water. You take two people and you put them in situations that are unfamiliar to them. But the two people are married and the situations are exactly the opposite of each other.

The husband is a writer who really wants to work in corporate America. He’s been stuck indoors so long that he has this completely glamorized idea of that lifestyle. His lovely wife actually is a suit, an ad-exec for a big marketing firm. She’s sick or waking up at seven am and working her butt off for eight to ten hours a day. There’s our intro; we’ve got two people who are unhappy with their lots in life. This unhappiness necessitates change, but first we have to establish their unhappiness in the audience’s mind.

How do we do this? Well, when she leaves for work, he’s still in bed. She eyes him jealously. After she leaves, he jumps out of bed and goes through the same motions that she just went through, but hurried, like he’s late for something. She gets to her building and immediately closes the door of her office, puts on a robe and some slippers and cuddles up in her desk chair, looking out the window. He is jamming papers into his suitcase and gets on the road. He’s cruising along frantically and then we see a wall of traffic. Far from pitching a fit, he rolls up to it and stops with a big smile on his face, “traffic!” He sees someone in the car next door and tips his coffee mug in the person’s direction. The joke, however, is that he’s not going anywhere, it’s just interesting for him to be a part of this life, if just for those few moments of traffic.

The change comes when her request to get moved to telecommuting goes through, and his application to temp at a big downtown office goes through. Now they both have what they want. He gets to go to an office everyday and she gets to stay home everyday. Trouble bubbles to the surface when they both realize that they hate it. Thus a change in their marriage occurs. He’s at work and he hates it and she’s at home and she hates it. All the rules and regulations bug him and for her it’s the opposite. Their marriage begins to suffer.

All of this is done good-humoredly. I’m thinking that the office politics that he has to get used to will be extremely funny, and the loneliness that she faces at home will also be funny. She buys a fish to keep her company and schedules meetings with pillows to keep herself awake. He grows to hate his boss and she does also. Both of them feel that the boss is riding them too hard. She’s doing practically nothing at home and it’s killing her; he’s doing far more than he’s ever done and it’s killing him.

At the end, his temporary position coming to a close, with a chance to make it permanent, and her telecommunication contract running out, with a chance to renew. Now, the story could take two directions. If it’s a short, he decides to go back to the simple but important life of a writer and she to the complicated but structured life of ad sales. The moral becomes that everyone is made for something, don’t try and force your hand. If a sitcom pilot, they both decide to stay in their current positions and hilarity ensues. I think it’s a good balance between men and women, structure and chaos, and comedy and drama.


Andrew said...

I really like the idea of the guy waiting in traffic just for the sake of being in that kind of lifestyle. Reminds me of Kramer from Seinfeld.

Ben said...

this is a brilliant idea... I'll write the first episode synopsis maybe later tonight, unless someone else beats me to it.

Ben said...

well actually I guess the synopsis for the first episode is already included in Luke's original description.. maybe I'll try to write a script.