Being and Nothingness: The Series

This morning I updated to Final Draft 9, i.e., the most recent iteration of the most popular script-writing software out there, and because it’s been a while since I’ve used it, I wrote up a short script to reintroduce myself to its functionality. Here it is.

EXT. A large vast expanse of nothingness
Two dudes sit about looking at the nothingness.
TED
Dude, that’s a whole lot of nothingness there.
BOB
Right? I’m, like, looking at all that nothingness and
I’m, just, JESUS, that’s a lot of nothing.
TED
I mean, I knew there was a lot of nothingness out there.
Like, an infinity of nothingness.
BOB
Yeah, yeah.
TED
But when you look at how MUCH nothingness there is,
it’s kind of, like, whoa.
BOB
I feel ya, dude.
TED
I feel like I’ve merged with the nothingness, you know?
BOB
I totally get it. So much merging.
TED
I didn’t wake up this morning thinking I’d be doing
a lot of merging with nothingness.
BOB
No one ever does.
TED
I figured I’d just get a latte.
BOB
Right. Right.
TED
But here we are.
BOB
Here we are.
TED
Just… merging.
BOB
Yeah. Yeah.
Silence.
TED
So, want to get a latte?
BOB
Yeah, sure.
The two leave to go get lattes.
The nothingness continues.

Yep, I’m definitely getting a series out of this one.

49 thoughts on “Being and Nothingness: The Series

  1. kind of bill and ted meets harold and kumar. Who do you think we should get for the lead roles? I think Christopher Walken would be perfect for nothingness.

  2. Definitely not an autobiographical novel, unless your opinions about the taste of coffee have changed radically.

  3. MANDISA LYRICS
    “Only you, you satisfy
    Only you are the love of my life
    If I got everything I want, no, it still wouldn’t do
    I gotta whole lotta nothing if I don’t got you”
    — Writer(s): Joy Yetton, Shaun Shankel, Ben Glover
    Copyright: Spudnut Music, Screaming Norman Music, Shankel Songs, WB Music Corp.

    “Now I am for peace of mind so I left these empty things behind
    Because what I had was a whole lot of nothing
    I believe we rip what we sow and the truth I got to know
    Was the sum of a whole lot of nothing”
    — The Methadones [Whole Lot Of Nothing by The Methadones]

    Bob Dylan’s song “A Whole lot of nothin” and There’s a whole lot of hearts breaking tonight from the disease of conceit. [ Disease of Conceit by Bob Dylan]
    .
    And:

    4. The Declaration Of Indifference by Skyclad
    5. Nothing at All by A Rocket to the Moon
    6. Nothing Wrong With That (beat Up Ford Part 2) by Jack Ingram
    7. I Got trouble by Christina Aguilera

  4. [Deleted because JvP, you’re doing that thing where you’re posting your personal projects into a comment thread. That’s not what the comment threads are for, unless it’s attached to a post that says “post your personal projects here.” — JS]

  5. Truly a classic for the ages. I foresee millions of students cursing your name as they struggle to write essays on what “lattes” really symbolizes.

  6. I want the words, “An infinity of nothingness” on a T-shirt. I started to write, “I want an infinity of nothingness on a T-shirt” but that has a very different meaning!

  7. Tip for early drafts: if FD etc are in your way when you write, it takes maybe a few minutes to learn the Fountain markup language (developed by John August and a bunch of other screenwriter/devs; website is fountain.io), so you can do the creative stuff in your text editor of choice and then import into FD or MM or whatever your production’s using officially to polish up the production notes and all that. Once I got the hang of it, it was such a relief to not have to do all the tab dancing on early passes.

  8. .
    Okay. My calculation is an accurate update of what I told Greg Bear when he asked, and he used in The Forge of God and sequels. The numbers were my point — HOW much is our whole lot of nothing?

  9. Cheat! A latte is a SOMETHING, not nothing! And Beckett LOVED lattes, but they hushed it all up…

  10. Software that does that? I thought you did not use any specific writing software? Other than word processor of course.

  11. @Hudue:

    Final Draft just gives you the scripty format to write in, not, you know, the actual words to write into it….

  12. Scene two: exterior coffee shop. A bald young woman is standing outside. As Bob and Ted approach, she peers closely at them, then studies the nothingness carefully, then resumes inspecting Bob and Ted.

    Bob (to bald woman): Dude.

    Ted: like, you know, whassup?

    Woman: Nothing compares to you.

  13. Dear John,

    A series? Oh, totally! And I’m confident you’ll get more than that paltry $300,000 a book for this one.

    pax / Ctein

  14. I bet things will really get rolling once Carol and Alice show up. Maybe they’re at the coffee shop…

  15. Peter Cook and Dudley Moore, both sadly lost to us, are perfect casting for those lines, were they still with us and not out there in the nothingness…

  16. I’d like to see this read by William Shatner and David Bowie under a spotlight against a black backdrop. Yes. This must happen.

  17. Stevie: Yes, they would have been perfect, although they never would have said “Dude.” So I’m afraid this is a strictly American script.

    I’m seeing Neil Patrick Harris as Ted, not sure who’d be Bob. Maybe Channing Tatum? Too buff?

  18. Bob and Ted live in Night Vale and are off to the Moonlite All-Nite Diner

    Mostly void, some stars…

  19. I am thinking Malcom McDowell and James Earl Jones, kind of like those sprint text commercials.

  20. S3riously? Lattes? Not even one quad shot Espresso to be had amongst the two? John… we really need to talk. By which I explain the ways to beat roasted coffee beans into their ultimate destiny, and you nod and agree.

  21. I get the feeling I’m back in Austin, TX and I’m listening to a conversation between two hipsters!

  22. Beckett never wrote about lattes but

    …later on while Bob and Ted are sipping their drinks, Whistler enters the scene, sets up his easel, and improvises a masterpiece. When the painting is finished Bob and Ted murmur words of commendation (because vacuity is echoey and you learn to pipe down) and gaze in bemusement at the title: “Nothingness, Interrupted by Lattes.” (The End.)

  23. And Ted and Bob returned with their lattes. They looked again at the expanse of nothingness, and then looked upon their latttes. they looked alike! Except the latte’s were a slightly paler value of nothingness. But otherwise spot on. Such that they had plenty to talk about for all of time. Or at least until the barista finished nuking their ham and eggwhite croissant.

  24. My apologies, Lurkertype, for the delay in responding to you; it’s all the fault of the idiots who put together the slates which, as far as I can tell, were intended to reduce the brain of anyone who actually ever reads things to a sort of porridgy slush.

    And, while we’re on the subject of slush, I do feel that I should apologise to slush piles everywhere, since any self respecting slush pile with standards would have forcefully ejected the stuff currently masquerading as Hugo contenders.

    However, all is not lost. I have been enthralled by Sheila Gilbert’s Voters packet which includes a sample chapter from all the books she edited last year, together with one she co edited with Betsy Wollheim, 17 books in all. As I have already noted, 45 years in the business means she really knows what reaches out to the reader and grabs them, and boy, have I been grabbed.

    Fortunately, thanks to my legendary self control, I have only bought one of those.

    So far.

    Of course it was volume 3 in one of Tanya Huff’s series, so I had to buy the first two, but they were very reasonably priced, and how could I resist a story starting with a grandmother lounging on a beach in the Caribbean, admiring the view of guys playing beach volley ball whilst sipping cocktails?

    Ok, I’m going to Gozo, which is not the Carribbean, and I’m not a grandmother, and, furthermore I’m not going to save the world, but it still rings bells for me! I shall be admiring the scenery and sipping cocktails, secure in the knowledge that I’ve got a few things in common with the lady who will save the world.

    I would urge anyone who cares about SF/F to vote for Sheila, notwithstanding the fact that she was slated. She knows little to nothing about the slime balls who infest the Web, since her time on it comes close to non-existent. Her love and respect for the genre and Hugos shines through; the other nominated long form editors have mostly treated the voters with contempt by not even bothering to provide information about their achievements.

    Sheila has, instead, not only maintained her qualifications to win this award, but used it as a means of spring boarding her authors into public prominence for their advantage. That’s what really, really good editors do; constantly think of others and try to help them.

    I know I’m preaching to the choir when I talk to you, just as you know that you’re preaching to the choir when you talk to me. Nevertheless, unpacking it a bit is, I think, helpful for others…

  25. I started putting together a soundtrack for all that nothingness, but I got a C&D from the John Cage estate.

  26. 1. ‘Merging with Nothingness’: Didn’t that band open for Free Beer?

    2. ‘Much to Do about Nothingness’: Ah, I know that one! That’s the little known but promising musical comedy about 2nd C. BCE Hindu mathematician Pingala’s invention of the zero. Its first half closing… er… number… is still, sadly, nothing to write home about.

    Rick Moen
    rick@linuxmafia.com

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