Documentation Help Desk Shop Fan Site

The Setting for the Writer's Bloc(k)

I’m having a little difficulty with the setting change and with the choice of Brooklyn. In my opinion, the setting of Brooklyn, and the setting of any writing project, script or novel, needs to be informed and justified - by something cultural or historical and by something more than a single person’s personal experience. I don’t see the argument for Brooklyn as “holding water” as they say in New York.
(Its lovely that TC has these great memories of Bay Ridge. To TC, Brooklyn may have very intellectual associations. To the public at large, Brooklyn doesn’t have intellectual, fresh connotations.)
If The Writer’s Block is a group of budding intellectuals , I’d expect the setting to complement that. Unlike Manhattan or Hoboken, Brooklyn isn’t a “gotham” and doesn’t have a literary history of edgy, modern storytelling. I don’t think that “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” is the right vibe here. Its sad and slow. “Leaves of Grass” is too old school for a group of budding writers. “No Sleep til Brooklyn” by the Beastie Boys doesn’t have the finesse that we find in the Queens-based Ramone’s “Blitzkrieg Pop”. (I understand that Brooklyn had a cultural moment about five years ago that produced some interesting music; some say that this was its "peak.)
The finer aspects of intellectual pursuits would be best complemented by a New Jersey college town, or by a brownstone in the lower east-side Manhattan, or a house is Astoria Queens, or Hoboken even. Queens has the World Fair, Spiderman, The Ramones.
On a personal note, Ricky and Tom are horrified by the idea of city life, which isn’t a great beginning. I also instinctually want to avoid the city. I understand that this is a fantasy of city life, but to be believable, fantasies have to be grounded in the real world.

All of this seems pedantic to me. Brooklyn is home to numerous artistic movements. Just because not many of them have made it mainstream doesn’t mean they don’t exist. (And yes, while Queens has Spider-Man, Brooklyn has Captain America.)

I like the angle that TC is exploring by trying to make an overarching series and not just a one-off story. The idea of a city block of writers does work in a longform setting, similar to Friends, or Seinfeld, or any other half-hour sitcom. While I think there can be something there, we really need to figure out if a series is something that we’re going to do. It seems like a few of the group just don’t have their hearts set in this script project, and we’re struggling just to get pages put together. What we have to ask is, are we, as a group, really going to do a second episode, let alone a series of episodes, starring these characters?

At this point, I kinda just want to finish the script. We can go back and forth about the details until the cows come home and get absolutely nowhere in the meantime. We’ve spent weeks trying to hammer out the characters and the conflicts; I’d rather not spend more weeks trying to figure out where the story is going to be set.

Captain America represents the country… and the setting is secondary; Spiderman represents NYC. Brooklyn as American Dream immigrant culture comes through in the plot again… but I’m not going to get into a superhero debate here.
I agree that we need a resolution and promptly.
I posted this on Script Writing.

With the virus, city-based stories are not ideal right now. People are moving out of the city. It might be a bad time for city-based settings.
On behalf of a New Jersey college town setting -
NJ has a refined culture and a rough one as well.
Fountains of Wayne being refined, and yes, Springstein - less so. William Carlos Williams, Joyce Carol Oats, are quite refined, and Stephen Crane was fresh and fantastic in his day. At the same time, there are The Sopranos and Jersey Shore. This contrasting culture could support some interesting material in the content of the writing.
Characters might experience this dichotomy in their everyday lives.

We can point to any number of artists that have come out of Brooklyn; Woody Allen, Jay-Z, Lena Horne, Henny Goodman, Mos Def. It also draws parallels to the Sopranos and the Jersey Shore with Bugsy Siegel and Coney Island.

But I think you missed my point. I’m not trying to fight for either/or. I just want to finish the script. If it’s in Brooklyn, great. If it’s not, fantastic. I’m over this project.

I’m not against Brooklyn. I understand that there is a rich cultural heritage in Brooklyn and elsewhere. In my opinion, the culture of a setting matters and resonates. I get that it doesn’t matter to you as per this project, and that’s okay. I write with the setting in mind, so to me, it matters.
The topic was just mentioned yesterday, so it may take a few days to sort out. Putting a project on hold for a few days seems like a reasonable request. It’s just a matter of working it out. We should have a resolution to this issue with a couple of days. It’s not that big of a deal.
Maybe Tom has some input.

We could approach this making the setting generic similar to The Simpson’s Springfield. But I don’t think that really works in the case of our plot with everyone travelling to this event. I just chose Brooklyn because it’s a place where a lot is going on. In a smaller college town you would see most of the same people regularly and there are less random events happening at once. I’m not sure if that really matters but a bigger city leaves more possibilities available.

How about an nj shore town?

1 Like

We also need a solution to explain why the characters are all living on the same block or near each other. At this point, everybody’s traveling to Emma’s. If this were a series, they characters would all be living near each other.
This should all be settled before writing anything further. I’m sure we could find an elegant simple answer to everything. I’m still waiting for Tom to weigh in.

Maybe the writers block could be in Brooklyn but the party is at Emma’s in jersey. The idea would be at one time or another everyone lived on this block and they frequently go back to visit.

Maybe Emma had written a successful novel series and she bought a mansion in Jersey

Gemma’s husband just pitched a screenplay idea to a billionaire who threw him half a mil… prescriptive that isn’t written yet. Gemma is calling the writers group to nj for New Year’s and stay and finish writing the script. I like to putting them on a yacht, but I understand it doesn’t work with writer’s block. Shes lives in… Cale May? New Hope?

1 Like

But where do they all live when not on the yacht? I like the Cape May angle. It’s different, and it’s inspiring.

I love the idea of a shore town. We could even create one. With all of the creative people who have come from NJ, it’s a good place to put the group. Jack Nicholson, Joe Dante, Frank Sinatra, and that Rock and Roll guy who died a few weeks ago are a testament to the specialness of this state.

1 Like

*The Writer’s Block wrote a scene (Ricky’s scene).
*Gemma pitched it and got SERIOUS interest from Major Studio.
*Members are attending Writer’s Block’s New Year Eve’s Party at Gemma’s grandfather’s mansion in Cape May.
*Several of the writers are staying at the mansion to develop the script.
Spencer takes a plane from LA…
Joleen and Gemma make plans
Spencer meets Jack.
Joleen has car trouble.
Spencer and Jack go separate ways.
Jolene gets to the shore house.
Spencer gets to shore house
Jack gets to shore house at around midnight - Happy New Years!

So, the Cast So Far is:
[Gemmma’s husband?]

1 Like

James Flowersong - poet
Cristopher Vine?? - novelist

And I would like to propose Randy. Mostly he sits in an easychair in the corner, sucking on a pipe (sometimes lit), piping up now&then with salient comments. Some are spot on, some are off one wall or another, and some are so goddam crazy they never make sense.

1 Like

Correction: … and some are so goddam crazy they don’t make sense for (six scenes or two episodes, depending).

Don’t forget Jerry.

1 Like

Ah. I somehow knew there had to be a Jerry. What can you tell me about him?