The Sock of Sisyphus
using absurdism to reflect society versus the individual
The Sock of Sisyphus
I like weird stuff and I like making weird stuff, so here are three weird scripts that I wrote for my senior thesis. But just in case you want to know more about the project's overall concept before reading the scripts, feel free to check out an overview of the thesis at the bottom of this page.
Before anything else though, I would like to make a quick confession and say that I wrote these scripts with the intention of never filming them, so in order to get all of my ideas on paper, I tended to overwrite their directions and actions. I understand this goes against usual screenplay format in which the writer is expected to keep actions to a minimum, but I decided early on that I wanted to find my voice before I started putting restraints on it, even if that meant sounding more like an amateur short story writer than a professional screenwriter. Hopefully, I'll have plenty of time to be a professional screenwriter in the future.
Okay, good luck:
With three days left to live, a lactose-intolerant milkman is unable to take off his sock because of a bone-expanding disease caused by second-hand calcium, thereby sending him on a spiritual journey to see the cow that made him want to become a milkman in the first place, while also giving him the chance to deal with past relationships which he had previously neglected.
A man living alone in his one-room apartment is unable to take off his sock because he finds infinitely more socks underneath which incites him into repeatedly running out of his apartment only to find himself repeatedly back where he started, eventually leading him through an infinite number of apartments each of which seem to contain memories and events from his life, thereby causing him to grapple with his images of himself and of the people he cares about.
As I said before, I like weird stuff and I like making weird stuff.
So I chose to take a closer look at the weird filmmakers and storytellers who have inspired me to make my own weird stuff. These artists include Charlie Kaufman, David Lynch, Luis Buñuel, and pretty much everybody at Adult Swim as all of these filmmakers have made a name for themselves by using the absurd to reflect their reality. With this in mind, I began the project by viewing and reading numerous texts which included films such as Kaufman's Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, television shows such as Donald Glover's Atlanta, theatre such as Eugene Ionesco's Rhinoceros, and literature such as George Saunder's Tenth of December.
While each author used the absurd differently, I found three common lenses through which to view all of their texts: schematic versus arbitrary symbolism, cerebral versus grotesque imagery, and individual versus societal commentary. I chose to focus on the latter of these dynamics.
Following this research, I then spent the second half of my thesis writing three screenplays that would each deal with the individual and society according to a theoretical spectrum. In other words, I hoped to write three scripts: one of which would lean more towards societal commentary and satire, another would focus inward on the individual and personal contradictions, leaving the third to rest somewhere in between.
To emphasize the three scripts as a trilogy as opposed to individual films, however, I wrote them to share several points of connection. To begin, each story grew from the same premise: "A man is unable to take off his sock." From there, each of them also deal with similar themes of life and death and reliving your life just before death. Speaking of death, I also included a fictional disease in all three which ranges from causing the inciting incident in one, to being implied in another, and to only being referenced in the third.
To be fair, I've decided to leave the matter of whether I succeeded or not with this project up to you as considering you have already had the chance to either enjoy or deride each of these screenplays above, but if this overview wasn't long enough for you, you can also read a more in-depth commentary of my creative process here.
In the meantime, thanks for reading whatever you read. And thanks to Jim Collins for being such a great advisor.