Thursday, September 24, 2009

Trying to avoid two particular words.

I'm writing a spec horror screenplay at the moment (mainly because my agent said 'could you do a new film script for me? I know they don't take you long to write'), and at some point I'm going to have to find a new way of dealing with what is becoming the cliched line of dialogue of this particular genre:



From Movieline

26 comments:

Boz said...

...and no bugger has a landline these days.

Would it be less cheesy to make something bad happen to the actual mobile phone. Or encounter the problem head on by making mobile phone reception the central tenet of the plot.

Also hiring people who can act might help.

I'm waiting for the fax machine to make a reappearance.

Gary Bainbridge said...

Sort of lost count of the number of times I've left the house either without my phone, on the last bar of charge or with 2p left on my pay as you go account.

Or you could just ignore mobile phones altogether.

Fraudulent Little Tart said...

Buck the trend, have a fully functioning mobile phone complete with ample signal and battery life. Granted it may not be conducive to the plot, but it would be original!

You could always set it in the days before mobile phones . . . . . .

PDoolan said...

There's a good chapter on this particular problem in 'How Not to Write a Novel'. Can't remember the details though, I'll have a look by going online on my ph-- tsk, no signal.

Neil said...

- No signal (beat) Wait! I have signal!

- Well by God son, call for help!!!

- No wait, lost it

- (sigh)

- It's back! I'll call...(beat)...NO! No credit! Oh...Ill just top it up. (he tops up the phone). Whoops!

- What...?

- Only had enough battery for one call...

- (sigh) Fine, just use mine! (takes out phone, looks at it) Oh, no signal...

Bingethink said...

What they^^ said.

Why not have a signal, and write round that? You can make that work.

Hannah said...

You could always have running-out-battery issues instead? Although admittedly you can charge phones from the cigarette lighter in cars now. I guess forgetting to top up could be an issue, although you can still make emergency calls so that doesn't help!

Huh. Phones are quite resilient aren't they? Unless you forget them. Or break them. Or lose them.

But that montage was hilarious anyway. Originality rules okay in Hollywood.

james henry said...

Of course, rural cornwall, where the story is set, really does have rubbish areas of reception, so you could justifiably have phones fading in and out when it was useful - but yes, I think it's potentially more interesting to have the signal working fine - but have that take the story in a whole new direction...

Hmm.

Jayne said...

You never have this problem with carrier pigeons...

nanga parbat said...

A selection from my own life.

1. Phone broken due to washing phone in trouser pocket in drunken laundry incident.

2. "What does this freakin' error message actually mean??"

3. Some joker has set my mobile language as Hebrew and I don't have a teenaged boy to hand to change it back for me.

4. "It just peeped weakly and then died"

5. It's in my other handbag.

6. It's still charging on my bedroom floor.

7. Everybody else in the entire world is either dead or a bastard who never answers their damned phone.

8. I did actually get through to soneone but there was one of those "If you are trapped in a horror film scenario please press the # key" doodahs and by the time I actually got to speak to a human I had already died of old age.

9. I can't remember how to use my phone as a phone.

10. I have all five bars but all I can hear are intermittent chicken noises in the style of olden days comedian Norman "broken microphone" Collier.

And I'm not joking about #9.

Phill said...

Heh. Perhaps you could have the mobile phone be fully functioning, and the story told in the form of live tweets made via Twitter mobile.

There's got to be mileage in that idea somehow.

Fat Roland said...

'The Gingerdead Man' looks *amazing*.

No signal? There's a joke about toothpaste here somewhere.

Maud said...

No one in films ever drops their phone down the loo. In my experience that happens significantly often.

What if someone's iPhone has been hacked and just shows horrific images every time they try to make a call?

Flic said...

What if your phone works, but the address book has deleted itself?

You could always just blame the intended recipient: Maybe they just have the wrong number saved? Or they've left their phone in a different room? Or THEY don't have signal? Or they can't hear it ringing in their bag? Or they've left it on silent? Mobile phones are pretty rubbish. I never answer mine, and I have many many excuses for when people think I'm dead/abducted. My mum always leaves hers in the glove compartment, and only learnt how to put a question mark in a text message yesterday.

Alternatively, your killer works at a phone company and has cancelled the victim's account. O2 customer service leaves a lot to be desired...

Ruth Newman said...

Make the terrorised character Amish?

worm said...

"Being chased by a rabid axe-wielding psychopath?

-we've got an app for that"

Terri Nixon said...

If it's a horror story, have the phone perfectly functional but only able to connect to ...

the UNDERWORLD ...mwahahahaaaa.

Or not.

davidmelkevik said...

I'm writing a horror at the moment where a group of couples go away for a weekend of peace and quiet so they all agree to leave their phones locked in a car boot.

It's cheesy but so is the "no signal" line. Now I understand why all those new Texas Chainsaw movies are period pieces.

PK said...

My agent has told me not to bother writing screenplays at the moment. "The current climate, blah, blah. No one has any money to make anything..." How do you reckon things are going in the industry in that respect (and why was that previous sentence so clumsily phrased)?

Also, I've never heard of The Evil Woods. That sounds cool. Visions of James Woods and his wife popping out from behind some trees to greet some campers.
"Hi, I'm Hollywood actor James Woods. This is my wife Darlene, and these are our kids, and we are (CACKLES MADLY WHILE WAVING A BLOODSOAKED AXE, HIS FACE LIT UP BY LIGHTNING FLASHES) the evil Woods!!!!"

Anonymous said...

Just do 'Ring', but with iPhones. In Cornwall. Or is that too Orange Ad?

PDoolan said...

Just watching jaws. The bit where robert shaw destroys the radio seems quite apt. As long as there's a character driven reason why they can't use phones then surely that's ok?

Anonymous said...

Or something that happens to me quite frequently- you get through, but you can't hear the other person, just your own voice repeated back to you with a half-second delay

The Modern Prometheus said...

I've probably missed the boat on this one but - they get through: "Where are you!" "I don't know we were chased by a big man with an axe and got lost etc, etc." "We're going to put a trace on your phone, don't panic. It'll take a while." Hangs up in relief. Phone is then stolen by a piece of Cornish wildlife and the whole rescue operation is mounted in the wrong place whilst our heroes are carved into tiny bits by mad axe-man.

patroclus said...

Actually that reminds me, there was a v. gripping episode of The Bill in which the copper has been stabbed in someone's house, he's on his radio trying to tell the station where he is but he doesn't know, as he chased the villain through alleyways and gardens and ended up following him in through the back door. Tries to find a bill with the address on, but no post to be found. Finally struggles out of the front door on to the middle of an empty street, still no idea where he is. He's still on the radio to the station when he finally carks it in the middle of the pavement.

I always like it when the plot takes technology into account, rather than contriving for it not to be working. Veronica Mars is very good at this too.

The Modern Prometheus said...

Now you mention it - there may have been an episode like that in the Bill - but that was the series end (and Christopher Eccleston's end) in Cracker in the episode with Robert Carlyle as the aggrieved Liverpool fan getting revenge on society for the Hillsborough disaster. That was good stuff!

patroclus said...

Aha, maybe it *was* Cracker - I thought it was the Bill, but could well be wrong.