Case Study: The Room – Learning from Mistakes
Become a master of disaster…
If you’ve seen or heard of The Room or even the recent film The Disaster Artist, chances are you have heard of the infamous Tommy Wiseau. Known to the world for making what is considered the ‘worst movie of all-time’. Personally I would say there are worse movies out there, some endorsed by major studios but that’s for another article!
The Room is a must watch for any filmmaker, writer or even any film lover out there. Made for what is believed to be around a 6 million dollar budget and making back a minuscule $1800 on release; surely it’s not worth talking about?
Receiving a cult following in subsequent years it’s even turned a profit and propelled Tommy Wiseau into becoming somewhat of a household name.
So why is The Room the perfect educational playground for film-making
The obvious flaws in this movie serve as an excellent reminder of what not to do.
For example random characters pop in and out of scenes nearly 80 minutes into the movie with no introduction or explanation. Generally it’s best to avoid throwing a mash up of unestablished characters into the mix this late into the story.
Read your dialogue out loud and re-write it. Otherwise you’ll end up with quotable lines like ‘Oh Hi Mark’ haunting your nightmares for years to come.
Oh and plot twists? Make sure they lead somewhere.
#spoiler# ‘I definitely have breast cancer’…
I could probably give the whole movie as an example in this section so I’ve kept it short!
It’s actually great fun to watch
The Room is actually not a bad film to watch; in fact you can watch it more than once and still find new things to enjoy. The Prince Charles Cinema in London regularly hosts midnight screenings of The Room where audiences call out quotes, sing along to the horrible music and even throw plastic spoons at the screen.
The spoons actually reference the awful and lazy production design in the movie. The main set in the movie is dressed with framed pictures of spoons ‘obviously placeholder images’ which have been left in. Another great example of why production design is so important to setting the scene in a movie. Think about what you’re showing the audience and don’t forget the details!
It reminds us that it’s okay to make mistakes and that mistakes can even be a good thing.
In the case of The Room, the success of the movie is tied to how much it failed. It serves as a humbling reminder that even with the best intentions some things just don’t turn out the way they were planned. Maybe your next fail won’t achieve the success of The Room, but who knows!