Wednesday, June 08, 2011

What the Room taught me about writing

 What The Room taught me about writing:

Characters.  They have to be real.  They have to be realistic. And they can't be creepy as hell.

Ok step 1 watch this:

Now there's a lot of things wrong with this scene. In fact you could probably write a doctoral paper on all the errors in this scene.  But we're going to focus on DENNY ( or is name MIGHT be Danny- it changes depending on who says it)

Denny is super creepy.  He likes to watch. He walks right in to a private moment because apparently Johnny and Lisa don't know how to lock a door.   He asks SUPER inapportate questions like "How much was it?"  refering to a red dress that Johnny bought Lisa.  Then he sneeks into their bedroom and here's where it gets SUPER gross, he has a pillow fight with him.

WOW. I mean WOW.
But here's the thing, I know why Denny does EVERY ACTION.
He walks in to show the viewer- he's comfortable with Johnny and Lisa.
He asked how much the dress is to show that Johnny makes a lot of money.
He sneaks into the bedroom because well he's a little prevy and to show the viewer that he's lonely for a family and extrememly desperate to be part of one.  And judging by the way Johnny and Lisa act, they "love" him too.

Denny's roll in the movie is to show the viewers that Johnny is a great guy.  Johnny is so great that he adopts an 18 year old kid... (Yep that's weird).

Then there's the drug scene.

Yeah, um yeah.  So we've all done this haven't we?  We've written an entire scene where the whole point is to do one thing.  The point of this scene is so Johnny can get the gun for the climax of the story.
This useless and over dramatic scene might even be your baby.  It's so clever, it so your depth as a writer. 
But one wrong step and you end up with THAT MESS.
Denny deals drugs for one scene.  But he assumes it's going to be ok because "that guy is going to jail."It's sort of the if I close my eyes the problem isn't there.  In reality he just walked off the scene.  The character assumes a lot of things. 
But I'll admit it, I've done that with my writing.  Who hasn't?

Then there's Johnny's good advice to Denny.

Denny wants to know what movie they're going to see then drops a bombshell, he's in love with Lisa, because she looks hot in a dress. Johnny is tell Denny, that Lisa loves him as a son. That's not all creepy, nope.
But then another bombshell is drop, Denny has a girlfriend named Elizabeth and he wants to marry HER and have kids with her. WHAT? All of this in a two minute scene?

But look at what the scene does, presences a problem, an inner conflict Denny loves Lisa, and poses a solution, "nevermind he loves Elizabeth" While it's EXTREMELY badly written, it also has every aspect needed for a good scene. It does push the overall plot forward, um if the room has a plot.

After watching The Room  three times I think the plot is Johnny is a nice guy but his girlfriend is cheating on him.

What The Room taught me is that EVERY character needs to be there for a reason. And if you try too hard to show something then it can come off creepy.

Subtlety is the secret to good writing.

Go check out the other Weekend of Awesome blogs for more What the Room Taught me about writing tips.

Pam and Quita, Kat and Alicia.


  1. The Room is a masterclass in 'what not to do in a scene'. But my favourite thing in the first scene is the non sequiturs.

    'I would do anything for my girl.'

  2. Having authentic, believable characters is so important. I can count on one finger the amount of believable characters. Yep, it's the drug dealer.

  3. LOVE this post!!!! Ah, the room. So bad and yet so good!

  4. I don't think it'll ever get and Pam are totally watching all of the clips and STILL dying from laughter...good stuff.

  5. Denny/Danny is definitely a noteworthy character--why can't we have a Denny/Danny in our lives?? :)