Call of the Wildie

Call of the Wildie

dddoreillyIn Tim Appelo’s interview, Joel and Ethan Coen Spill Their Screenwriting Secrets, Ethan Coen notes that when pioneer filmmaker Hal Roach worked on scripts with his team of writers, he’d sometimes bring in a “Wildie” to help deal with “writer’s block.”

A Wildie was someone they’d bring in from the street — a random drunk or a deranged eccentric — who would join the writers at the conference table.   They’d engage the individual in a conversation about the story they were working on, and he or she would usually respond with a stream of unrelated babble, but that would provide the writers with unexpected ideas that opened their minds to new possibilities.

Some Wildies are just fucked up in the head, while others, like Ding Dong Denney O’Reilly (pictured above), are creatively deranged.

I’ve known Wildies. One of my childhood associates was a Wildie who was a dangerously twisted child who almost killed me — I’ll tell that story someday — and a couple of friends, and a few school mates were Wildies. I have no doubt that, at various times in my past — and possibly the present — I may have been regarded as a Wildie.  I have been known to stream unrelated babble on occasion, depending on the strength of the recreational beverage in my glass.

to be continued


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