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What's a humorous way for someone to recognize an out of work actor in a screenplay I'm writing?

 
 
Muarck
 
Reply Mon 30 Jan, 2012 11:06 am
What's a humorous way for someone to recognize an out of work actor in a screenplay I'm writing?

Sorry, for the question: but I have a deadline I have to hit and I'm totally stuck on this: I have an out-of-work actor in with a group of people. He's introduced himself by this full name, but nobody recognized either him or his name. Later one of the people in the group has to figure out who he is. How can that be humorous? If you give a great answer I use I'll get you a special thanks in the film credits.
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Type: Question • Score: 9 • Views: 4,986 • Replies: 30
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boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Mon 30 Jan, 2012 11:20 am
@Muarck,
Is the out of work actor someone who has been in the story up to this point or is he just being introduced to the group at this point?
wandeljw
 
  1  
Reply Mon 30 Jan, 2012 11:20 am
@Muarck,
The actor has gained weight and the people encounter him at a Weight Watchers meeting.
0 Replies
 
Frank Apisa
 
  2  
Reply Mon 30 Jan, 2012 11:25 am
@Muarck,
I have no specific suggestion, but let me at least suggest a line of thought that might light up a light for you.

The name of the characters might provide the vehicle you are seeking. There might be a humorous way to have the name be the function that causes the ultimate recognition…and a line like, “Oh, you are that J…J…” may have some irony…and be the source of the humor you are looking for.

I’ll pass this question by my sister, who does lots of great humor writing. Maybe she can come up with something more specific.

Good luck.
0 Replies
 
Muarck
 
  1  
Reply Mon 30 Jan, 2012 11:47 am
@boomerang,
Quote:
Is the out of work actor someone who has been in the story up to this point or is he just being introduced to the group at this point?


Excellent question: this character is the lead. So no he's not a new introduction.
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Mon 30 Jan, 2012 11:50 am
@Muarck,
How much backstory do you have? As in, when he was an in-work actor, what sort of work did he do?

You can structure it around that in a way that could be humorous.

For example:

Action star: anger management meeting, he gets frustrated and does some sort of signature move in a destructive way (kicks in the wall maybe). Think Ralph Macchio and the crane move (you can make up a move).

Former child star: Had a stock phrase, for some reason needs to actually say it. (Think Steve Urkel and "Did I do that?")

etc.
0 Replies
 
Butrflynet
 
  1  
Reply Mon 30 Jan, 2012 12:06 pm
@Muarck,
Scenario 1:

The group is out at the movies, afterwards some of them are talking about a funny scene in a comedy movie they've all seen many years ago. Suddenly, one of them realizes the actor that was in that funny scene is sitting across the table from her.

Scenario 2:

The out of work actor takes his car in for an oil change. No one at the auto shop recognizes him, but when he returns to pick up his car, another customer does the crazy fan thing and he's suddenly surrounded by greasy mechanics wanting his autograph. Try as he might, he just can't get the pens to work due to the film of grease on anything they've handled him to autograph.
0 Replies
 
PUNKEY
 
  1  
Reply Mon 30 Jan, 2012 12:37 pm
At the WW Group meeting, several people are sitting around and they all begin to stare at him. They start brainstorming about how he looks so familiar. Suggestions include bag packer at the local grocery, their kid's coach, saleperson at the local Best Buy which would then move into discussion about TVs and then - wham - someone makes the connection, but gets it wrong, of course. The person has to admit that, 'I'm Joe Blow, you know, from XYZ series that ran in the 80's - just 75 pounds heavier." Everyone stares at him and then someone says, "That was before I was born, dude.'

Character's voiceover: "I realized that I can't return to yesterday. I was a different person then.'

0 Replies
 
MAH
 
  1  
Reply Mon 30 Jan, 2012 01:31 pm
@Muarck,
I'm Frank's sister. Nice to know he thinks I'm funny when I write. Trust me, my family has provided material that would make any humorous covet my genes.

Anyway, a thought: You could switch it around a bit. Make the actor have to do a self-introduction...you know, those go around the room, everybody says a few words thing. Well, by his turn he is well aware that no one recognizes him, so he gives his name, says, I'm an actor, and mentions something they might have seen him him. Dead Silence. Then the group starts laughing and someone says something like...yeah, I bet you get that a lot and someone else says something like, yeah, you could be him, if he swollowed an air pump...you get where I'm going.

Good luck
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Mon 30 Jan, 2012 01:57 pm
Riffing off soz's "tagline" idea.....

What if someone else in the group says the tagline and everyone starts making fun of the show this guy had been on. Then someone says, "You look just like that guy who played _____ on that show!" and everybody starts laughing but then looking him over and agreeing that he does look like that guy.

Or

What if he somehow gets roped into having to make a career day type presentation to a bunch of bored high school students When he mentions the show he was on the kids are all like "I think my grandma watches that show" and otherwise making fun of it.
Gargamel
 
  1  
Reply Wed 1 Feb, 2012 11:02 am
Looks like the humor in a few of these suggestions is based on the contrast between the actor's self-perception and public perception, which I think is a good bet. Those who take themselves too seriously are the easiest to mine humor from.

Just to expand upon Boomerang's approach, here's a real-life example you might repackage. I have an acquaintance who for years dated a complete bitch, an actor, because he was a pussy with low self-esteem. Anyway, she was mildly successful here in Chicago and, after dumping my acquaintance in evil fashion, she moved to L.A. As she was out of gossip range, I had no idea how she was faring on the West Coast, though I imagined a shitty life for her. Some time later I saw her on TV. She was in a commercial for diarrhea medicine, playing a girl afraid she's going to **** her pants at some party. ******* hilarious, particularly considering this was the kind of girl who wore shorts with writing on the ass.

Oh, also, consider Ned Beatty. Very talented, distinguished actor, who will forever be remembered for the scene in which he is sodomized by a redneck in Deliverance. Obviously that's a very disturbing moment, but you might saddle your actor with the same predicament, using a more humorous but equally indelible scene.
parados
 
  1  
Reply Wed 1 Feb, 2012 11:04 am
@Muarck,
An out of work actor would be someone that is NOT in the film.

You would NEVER see him.
Muarck
 
  0  
Reply Sat 3 Mar, 2012 09:58 am
@parados,
Quote:
An out of work actor would be someone that is NOT in the film.


Okay, parados, this behavior from forum trolls is just irritating. Honestly, you couldn't find something better to do with you day than knit pick over phraseology?

Everyone here knew what I meant: an actor who just wasn't getting the jobs he needed to support his career, maybe totally out of work, maybe he had one crappy commercial last month. But he was "out of work".

Ironically you were not only irritating, but you just plain stupid.

The character being played is an out of work actor.
The fact that the actor for the character has a job playing the character is absolutely irrelevant to the character!

If you're going to be a smart-aleck at least be smart!
Muarck
 
  1  
Reply Sat 3 Mar, 2012 10:00 am
@Gargamel,
Gargamel, sorry for the delayed response. I like the real life story those usually seem to be the most powerful.
And ironically, I think I met that actress! At least if she's in porn now.
0 Replies
 
Muarck
 
  0  
Reply Sat 3 Mar, 2012 10:03 am
@boomerang,
I like the idea.
Sorry I haven't been back on Able2Know in about a month.
Fortunately, my deadline was pushed back so I haven't had to turn in the final yet. I'm still hoping for something pure genius. I like yours but I think it need more zing. I also look for the one line hook that starts a conversation. I haven't found it yet.
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Sat 3 Mar, 2012 10:24 am
Okay...

What if the group has gotten together for a trivia competition at a bar and his name comes up as one of the answers to a question.

Muarck
 
  1  
Reply Sat 3 Mar, 2012 11:55 am
@boomerang,
That's really creative. That could be funny! I'll have to think on that one.
0 Replies
 
parados
 
  2  
Reply Sat 3 Mar, 2012 12:12 pm
@Muarck,
Quote:

Okay, parados, this behavior from forum trolls is just irritating. Honestly, you couldn't find something better to do with you day than knit pick over phraseology?

Your lack of creativity is your problem, not mine.

Obviously you aren't familiar with many films, theater etc. A character that is often mentioned but the audience never meets. (Waiting for Godot would be an example.) A character that has always just left or is in another room.

In this case, you build the entire movie around an out of work actor we never meet. Heck, they just granted an Oscar to a character where the entire premise of the movie is he doesn't speak. Take it a step further. It's an extra layer, an actor that can't get work and isn't in the film about him not getting work. The critics could love it. Of course the car crash crowd wouldn't get it.

I thought perhaps saying it briefly would spark something in your mind but obviously there isn't much there to spark based on your response so I have laid it out for you in a manner you can hopefully understand now.
Muarck
 
  0  
Reply Sat 3 Mar, 2012 05:50 pm
@parados,
Quote:
Take it a step further. It's an extra layer, an actor that can't get work and isn't in the film about him not getting work. The critics could love it. Of course the car crash crowd wouldn't get it.

There's a difference between creativity and too much pot. You crossed that line.
CalamityJane
 
  1  
Reply Sat 3 Mar, 2012 06:15 pm
I like boomerang's idea too! "Haven't you played in Heaven's Gate?" could be one of the questions. (that's probably the worst movie next to Ishtar)
0 Replies
 
 

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