Hello! I'm Tom. I designed a game called Gunpoint, about rewiring things and punching people, and now I'm working on a new one called Heat Signature, about sneaking aboard randomly generated spaceships. Here's some more info on all the games I've worked on, here's the podcast I do, here are the videos I make on YouTube, here are some of the articles I wrote for PC Gamer, and here are two short stories I wrote for the Machine of Death collections.
Genre: forget about it.
Stars: Nicholas Cage, Nicholas Cage, Meryl Streep, Chris Cooper (the homophobic dad in American Beauty).
Plot: tempting to say ‘forget about it’ again, but I’ll give it a go: a woman writes an article about a guy who steals rare orchids from nature reserves. The article is very popular, and a publisher asks her to adapt it into a book. She does, and calls it, like the article, The Orchid Thief. The book is very popular, and a producer asks screenwriter Charlie Kaufman to adapt it into a film. He tries, but can’t capture what he likes about it, and obsesses over his failure, ultimately writing first the entire history of the Earth, then himself, into the plot. Meanwhile, his admiring, friendly brother Donald takes up screenwriting himself, after attending a quicky course on it, exasperating his brother by coming up with lower-brow ideas typical of modern cinema and seeking Charlie’s approval. It’d take me about another paragraph of that size to explain the rest of the plot, then two or three more to qualify how much of it is actually true, and that the film he’s writing is in fact the film he’s in, which evolves dynamically as he, the character in it, makes decisions about how to save the screenplay he’s writing from either pretentiousness or never being finished. Instead, I just told you the plot of the plot summary I’d write if I was going to write the rest of this plot summary, but I did it rather cleverly within the plot summary itself, so perhaps I should have included the plot of the above plot summary before the plot of the rest of the summary, which doesn’t exist. I think I’m sooo goddamn clever.
By the way, I wasn’t just mocking myself there to mirror the relentless self-deprecation that consumes Charlie Kaufman when he realises what he’s done, I really do think what I did there was pathetic. If I wanted to mimic his self-deprecation, I’d do something like… well, see the last section called ‘Something Like…’
Why It’s Great:
A Quote: “Oh my God, I’ve written myself into my screenplay.” “That’s kind of weird, huh?” “It’s self-absorbed, it’s narcissistic, it’s solipsistic, it’s pathetic! I’m pathetic! I’m fat and pathetic!”
Something Like… Oh my God, I’ve written myself into my plot summary. It’s smarmy, it’s arrogant, it’s demeaning to the film, it’s pathetic! I’m pathetic! I’m stupid and pathetic!
Jason L: I've owned Adaptation for a couple years - I'm still trying to decide whether it's genius or self-indulgent artistic masturbation. Given that reaction's part of its intended effect, I guess that makes it genius...or does it??? Hard to argue with the Nicholas Cage thing, though - yes, this film should be shown to every aspiring performer.