Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Tagged and Bound

MovieQ had gone and done it. Alex Epstein too. They tagged me to respond to a ‘Screenwriting Meme’ that was started, I think, by Fun Joel.

In FJ’s words: “memes are essentially lists of questions that someone posts on their blog, with their own answers. Then they will "tag" some others, and those people will repost the meme on their blogs with their own answers.”

It’s a bit like the recent “Post-a-Page” thing that stormed the universe, all because Red Right Hand was a bit curious.

By blog law and etiquette, I am duty bound to reply to MovieQ’s initial call, so here’s the sprightly little Q&A:

ONE (1) earliest film-related memory:
Evel Knievel in "Viva Knievel!" The trailer showed Evel standing on his bike, on a bridge, and jumping it on to a moving truck. Sold. But for pure, oh my god, cinema is the coolest thing on the planet, then it’s got to be Superman. I was first in line for three weeks.

TWO (2) favorite lines from movies:

Only two? Ah come on. Okay, off the top of my head ‘cos I do have work to do y’know.

“Fuzzy wuzzy was a woman?” - Gene Wilder in See No Evil, Hear No Evil when he tried to lip read “Was there or wasn’t there a woman?”

“That’s ok. We can walk to the curb from here.” - Woody Allen after Diane Keaton tries to park the car in Annie Hall.

THREE (3) jobs you'd do if you could not work in the "biz":.

Professional footballer.
Rock god.

FOUR (4) jobs you actually have held outside the industry:.

Selling burgers outside pop concerts.
Painter - now there’s the only bit of DIY I’m actually good at.
Civil Servant - most depressing thing ever.
Student supervisor (which included counselling a bereft Colin Farrell when he didn’t get the Boyzone gig).

THREE (3) book authors I like:
Charles Dickens, Martin Amis and Hemingway’s quite good I s’ppose.

TWO (2) movies you'd like to remake or properties you'd like to adapt:

Conrad’s War by Andrew Davies. Acquired the rights, with co-writer Sam Morrison, but even though the book is by the great adapter himself, the script (which everyone loves) is a tough sale because of its WWII setting (apparently).

My Brother’s Ghost by Allan Ahlberg. A beautiful book. Took my excitement for it to a producer, who also flipped, and I did a treatment adaptation, then took it to Channel 5 who were interested but alas, Mr Ahlberg was distrustful of telly companies and thought the story was already told in its best medium. Respect.

ONE (1) screenwriter you think is underrated:

Any UK writer who’s actually got one of their scripts made but the critics ripped to pieces.

THREE (3) people I'm tagging to answer this meme next:

Keeping it real in the UK, I’m sending this out to all my screenwriter homies. Fresh. James Henry, James Moran and Lee Thomson.


Anonymous said...

Hate to have to break up the party Danny, but that's not a meme, it's just a viral questionnaire.

Richard Dawkins coined the word 'meme' in his groundbreaking book The Selfish Gene (1976), and the theory and science of memetics has been growing ever since.

I would define a meme like this:

The meme is to culture as the gene is to biology.

A meme is an information pattern, held in an individual’s memory, which is capable of being copied by imitation to another individual’s memory. The word individual is used here in a broad sense, it could be a person, parrot, computer, or book, so long as an idea can be taken in, stored and passed on.

Memetics is the study of the flow, evolution, behaviour and implication of memes.

If anyone is interested, they should check out Richard Dawkins, Susan Blackmore, Daniel Dennett – and for a more practical view, Richard Brodie and Paul Marsden… and I wrote a thesis in 2000 which gives a basic overview and an extensive bibliography – see the link on this posting.

Cheers, keep on rocking!

Anonymous said...

for some reason the link hasn't popped up, so here it is again.

Danny Stack said...


James Henry said...

I'm doing it anyway. I like the attention.

These things get refererred to as 'memes' a lot, so it's one of those things where the original meaning's got shifted quite far. I think you can describe these things as memes, even though, yes, technically they're of a much lesser order.

To be honest, I just like saying 'meme'.

James Moran said...

Was Dawkins the one who suggested that memes are the true intelligent lifeforms, and that we are merely a handy device they influenced the creation of, so that they could propagate? So in a sense, we are just the hosts, and they are the silent masters of the world. However, none of this explains The Krankies. Jesus, I just Googled to check the spelling of Krankies - DO NOT visit this link: - unless you want to see "Wee Jimmy Krankee" in a pink dress. Next to tall ladies. With her husband crouched down next to her.

I accept this challenge, but only because the memes are telling me to. Fandabidozi.

Anonymous said...

is it geeky to care passionately about memes?