The “re-purposing assignment” asked us to choose anything we had written before and change the purpose, audience, and venue of it. I decided to re-purpose “Casting Call,” a short play I wrote and directed for the RC Players Evening of Scenes (EOS). In the play, film director Judd Apatow (Funny People, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up) is casting his new romantic comedy. He auditions many famous actors and actresses, who all manage to screw it up in some way or are simply rejected by Apatow. Robert De Niro is upset about being rear-ended, and quotes his Al Capone character from “The Untouchables” as he storms out. Al Pacino holds Tom Cruise hostage. Apatow can’t recognize Molly Ringwald and despises Penelope Cruz’ accent, while Lindsay Lohan shows up drunk and a resurrected John Belushi tries to audition in a toga. Apatow, furious with it all, storms out of the room.
The original idea for the play came to me at work one day. I was going to submit a scene based on my friends and I, and the night I met most of them. It, too, would have had a lot of characters. But it wasn’t going to be easy to direct, and it wasn’t as funny as I wanted it to be. So I came up with the idea to make fun of a bunch of celebrities, and this is what I came up with.
I decided to re-purpose the play as a screenplay for a movie. The movie, instead of being a narrative like its predecessor, would be a documentary, following the characters from “Casting Call” after the events of the play and trying to dissect the behavior of Judd Apatow and recall their own experiences at the audition. The central argument of the new script is that Judd Apatow is an unreasonable jerk. The main purpose was to be funny and to serve as a complement to the play.
Below are links to documents from every step of the writing process:
Casting Call – The final, working script for the play.
Apatow’s Misfortune – The original draft of the script I submitted to the EOS producers. Minor changes were made with the help of the cast, particularly my friends Grace and Ryan, who made a lot of great suggestions. The actor playing Al Pacino also wrote most of his own lines. The original draft also has a slightly smaller part for Christian Bale and Katie Holmes. The idea to have Christian Bale have a second set of lines was by Grace Hawkins, my friend who played Kristen Bell.
Remediating proposal – My original proposal in class. In it, I describe the basics of what the new script wil be.
Aftermath1 – The first draft for “Aftermath.” This is merely an outline and some notes. It was mostly meant as a starting point, a way to get some ideas on paper.
AftermathRD – The first complete draft of “Aftermath.” I had removed a joke about September 11 that I thought was going too far. This draft also makes little use of settings and isn’t a true screenplay in that sense. Most of the dialogue is the same ast the final draft though.
Repurposing Notes – My self-reflective comments on the draft of “Aftermath.”
Feedback – Feedback from two of my great friends who both have extensive theatre experience: Grace Hawkins, who plays Kristen Bell in the play and movie; and Jennifer Woods, who cameos as a choking girl in the movie.
Aftermath – The final, shooting script for the movie. Grace’s suggestion for the Meryl Streep scene was implemented and settings were given. The overall structure was cleaned up.
The entire writing process for this was one of the most fun and fulfilling experiences of my young career. It allowed me to collaborate once again with the people I became friends with while directing my first play, and an opportunity to write another screenplay. I’m very proud of it. I think it is both funny but stays true to its intention to chastise my characterization of Judd Apatow. A little coincidence: one of my actresses actually used to babysit for Judd Apatow.