Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Where do baby ideas come from?

I wasn't planning on going back to TV writing for a while, but sometimes you can't help when the story hits you.

The other night, while having dinner with a few excellent writers from around town, one of our group told us about her teenage job working at a mortuary. One of her stories was about a Samoan funeral she worked on and the peculiar way in which Samoans grieve.

Well I began to have all kinds of ideas about Ned the Piemaker touching a Samoan lady and her getting up from the slab and attacking him and then dropping to her death on the floor where they would all have to figure out how to get her enormous body back up on the slab.

But then I couldn't figure out a way to not make it a series of fat jokes. And I don't particularly like fat jokes. So I decided not to write the episode after all.

But then last night I was thinking about ways you could make Samoan death funny without making fun of their size - I'll give you a hint: There are none - and I remembered a screenplay idea I'd been simmering on the back burner for a couple of years. It was an idea that lends itself to nothing but comedy. Trying to turn this into a drama would destroy its integrity, but I was determined to make the story one day.

Of course, as we all know, Emily does not write comedy. I do dark, biting sarcasm and repetition and a few other categories of humor, but I do not do "jokes" per say. So I'd never fleshed out this particular idea and there it sat, together with about three dozen ideas I've never found a way to use.

And suddenly I realized that idea would never work for me as a feature, but it would make a fantastic Pushing Daisies story. I told the story to my friend who works on the show and he nodded. A very good Pushing Daisies story indeed.

I've got to finish my current project first because dammit, I said I was going to and I'm tired of leaving shit half finished and it's got some potential as a good spec. But while I work on the feature script I will think about Ned the Piemaker so that by the time I'm finished with the feature I'll be able to dive right into the TV spec. Then there's the pilot and my portfolio will be complete. For now, anyway.

This is the plan. I will stick to the plan.

And if you want the Samoan thing, knock yourself out. It's all yours.

1 comment:

  1. But would it work if it were a Somoan male? Big jokes aren't bad, fat-jokes can really be, but big-jokes aren't.

    In the meanwhile, a different comic with a angry panda.


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