Lady GaGa and the Pretentious Peers Pt. 2

By Leroy James King · July 21, 2010


Pretentions are running high these days, especially with the likes of Lady GaGa, and other image shifting cultural deviants that drive my Hipster rooted mainstream apathy bonkers.  A refresher from Part 1 of this post…

As preface to Part 2, I was accused of being an "asshole" for writing an entry that had "nothing to do with screenwriting."  I'm received a number of emails over the past week telling me that I'm "slipping," that I've "betrayed the readership," and that I am full of "the swill you consistently expound upon."  Wow.
Maybe I prematurely shot myself in the foot by pointing the pretention finger at others too quickly, while I am in fact being pretentious myself.  Neither here nor there really, though.  Here's the screenwriting part of the entry…
All of that Lady GaGa bullshit – going through consisten public image schizophrenia, etc. – is a trend I've been noticing in my writing peers lately, and one of them in particular is calling it "Method Writing."  I work with this guy, so I'm not about to name names, but recently I proofed an article of his and it's essentially the first time I'm POSITIVE I've READ someone give himself a deepthroated, multiple orgasm blowjob.  Please pardon the graphic nature of that last statement, but it's seriously the only way I could describe it and feel like I was being completely truthful.
In this article my peer brags about the fact that while working on assignments, he "completely immerses" himself in whatever he's working on.  An example he gave was that while working on some sort of shooting script for an overseas commercial featuring Robert De Niro, he shut himself in his apartment in the dark for 3 days straight wearing only a bathrobe, and only watching the more "disturbing" work of Bobby D: Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, The King of Comedy, Cape Fear, Goodfellas… essentially almost all of his Scorsese films.  Now, he didn't go on to explain how this benefited him other than the fleeting statement of "it got me to that place."  What the fuck are you talking about???
Apparently we're living in an age where experience, research, and conceptual conversations mean nothing.  Shut in, hermit-like behavior is now synonymous with genius, and even more so if you're assuming a different persona every time you write something.  The only reason I say this is that he gave a few other anecdotes describing his process.  Here they are in bullet point form:
-He once drank a fifth of whisky in one night and begged for change to "get in the zone" for a Johnny Walker commercial treatment
-He cruised for pussy all night at strange clubs he'd never been to when writing a commercial treatment for a safe sex PSA
-He cut up all his credit cards and IDs to feel more alone when he was doing rewrite work on an in house promo film about identity theft
Now, I have mad respect for the different processes people go through to get a writing job done, especially if they're working on their own material – you have my blessing to do whatever the hell it takes to make your script sing "Ave Maria."  God knows that for the original I've been working on for some time now, I've spent way too much time at sweaty, nasty punk venues, have yelled obscenities at strangers on Hollywood Blvd. just to see what legitimate reactions look like, and have puked in public to gauge said legitimate reactions.  Yeah, it's vulgar, pretentious, and irresponsible.  But the shit's going in the movie, so I figure I need to test the authenticity waters here and there.
Anyway, where I don't get doing this kind of shit is when it's work-for-hire, super fast turnaround jobs.  Reason #1 is because… they're super fast turnaround jobs.  Reason #2 is that the money isn't that good.  And Reason #3 is that there's no way this guy actually does this stuff give how fast the turnarounds are.  Seriously.  If you have enough time in your waking day to watch all the De Niro movies and write a 5 page treatment without any sleep, then more power to you.
The reason this irks me so badly is the simple fact that once this guy posted this article, he's booked a lot more work.  Clients are astounded at his dedication to the job, and upon speaking with him further, he did indeed embellish about 95% of what he said.  Granted, I'm aware of the need to market one's self hardcore, and to even tell a fib or two in the process to get jobs.  BUT, what I can't get over is how obsessed our clientele is with this notion of cultural, "method" immersion, and transferrable identity.  That's what they're saying they're attracted to, and knowing this just kind of discourages me for ever wanting to write for hire again.
Apparently the pretentions of persona flexibility are the big obsession(s) right now, and I by god will not abide it.  It's one thing to be able to manipulate your writing voice, or your musical style, or even the way you present yourself, but to completely stick your head in character oven every time you have a gig or new album coming out or whatever… that's just so excessive and soul sucking to me.  I think the industry at large (namely the commercial industry) have fucked up, whacky expectations right now due to the recession and lack of commercial jobs right now.  It just disturbs me to see this transfer of pop/mainstream trends into business strategy.  Everyone is apparently expected to be an actor now, and Christ Almighty, that's definitely not why I'm.
So maybe it's a huge paradigm shift and I'm just too mentally antiquated to adapt.  Maybe I'm in the wrong racket.  Regardless, my pretentious peers are getting on my nerves, and I'm realizing that I may not want any such part in this kind of write for hire bullshit in the first place.  Or last place.  Or whatever.
Maybe it's time to focus on me, or for you to focus on you…