Date Advice (Screenplay)

The Social Network (2010)

EXT. APARTMENT BALCONY – TWILIGHT

Two young men are sitting on the balcony of a nice apartment. The city lights below them play across their faces and the occasional sounds of horns and marketplaces booming blast through the air. It is approaching nightfall, but there is just enough light to spark a deep conversation. Both appear relaxed, although WILL is noticeably more loose than JOHNNY.

There is an assortment of beer and snacks on the small table between them and Johnny is furiously going through them at a high rate of fire. He seems preoccupied with other things, his thoughts apparent across his handsome Asiatic face.

Will, a lean cowboy type, leans back in the rocking chair and takes a slow drag from his cigarette, taking care to blow the smoke away from Johnny.

WILL

Come on man, relax. You still got 2 days before you gotta meet her. I didn’t bring you out here to my apartment just to stress out.

JOHNNY

You know me, man, I want things to be perfect.

WILL

Why stress man. It’s just a date. Just go and have fun.

JOHNNY

Unlike you, Mr. Bachelor, I don’t swap women every fortnight. So there is a lot more pressure on me. I want to make sure the person I find is the right one.

WILL

I never found a companion that was so companionable as solitude.

Johnny rolls his eyes and sigh exasperatedly. Will was obsessed with books. In the time they had known each other, Will’s only true passion was reading.

JOHNNY

OK, where is that quote from?

WILL

Henry David Thoreau.

JOHNNY

More light reading?

WILL

Haven’t found a women under covers as good as the words between paper covers.

JOHNNY

Well I’m still trying to find a woman to join me under the covers. So any pro tips?

WILL

Well you could start by not agonising how bad things will go on a date that hasn’t happened yet.

Johnny laughs nervously and is about to pull out a cigarette from Will’s pack on the table, when he stops himself.

WILL

Still trying to quit?

JOHNNY

Yeah. This isn’t helping. Anyway, I was looking for some real advice. Come on Will. I know you have the Bachelor lifestyle. Teach me.

WILL

If you are going to seduce someone, go for her sister first.

Johnny spits out his beer. Spluttering, he looks at Will with incredulity. Will looks back with a smirk and adopts a wise air and blows out more smoke.

JOHNNY

What the hell bro? Seduce her sister first? What have you’ve been reading lately?

WILL

Machiavellian stuff. But I digress. Just have a good time man. Wine and dine. It’s not that hard. When was your last date again?

JOHNNY

Over two years ago.

WILL

Shit, it’s been that long?

JOHNNY

Come on man, work has been a bitch.

WILL

Yeah but two years?

JOHNNY

I just haven’t had much luck on apps bro. Things are always getting cancelled or something pops up.

WILL

Yeah but like ….. two years without a date? Give me your phone bro.

JOHNNY

Why, what do you want to see?

WILL

Just hand it over man.

Johnny reluctantly pulls out his phone and unlocks it for his friend. Will stares intently at the screen, and after an agonising couple of minutes, mouths “What the Fuck” several times. He looks back at Johnny and shakes his head.

WILL

Bro … why didn’t you tell me about this shit sooner. Holy fuck. You actually can’t talk to women. You sound like the biggest simp on the planet.

JOHNNY

What!?!? Come on man, I …

WILL

“The way how you look, remind me of a princess in medieval times. Allow me to be your knight.” Johnny come on man … that’s just stupid. Who talks like that? Don’t tell me you’ve been reading some dumb guides on reddit or something. How come you didn’t come to me sooner?

JOHNNY

I dunno man. You always seem to have it so easy with women. I was jealous. I thought the goal was always to be nicer to the girl than be a jerk?

WILL

You dumbass *laughs* Just talk to her like you would to me. Girls are human man. OK, show me which one of these poor girls agreed to go on a date with you.

Johnny leans over and scrolls up to a girl called April. Will clicks on the DMs and has a quick skim over. As he suspected, it was April who did most of the talking, so Johnny lucked out and didn’t get much of a chance to be a simp.

WILL

You’re so lucky man. She did most of the work for you. She must really like what she sees. See? When you talk normally, you score a date. Just don’t be an idiot and start spouting this bullshit in reality.

JOHNNY

I don’t really get what you mean though, by talking normally. Should I not shower her with compliments?

WILL

Do you give me random compliments every 2 seconds? No. So don’t give it to girls either. You can say one nice thing about what she is wearing then move on about something else. Like, actually talk to her about what she likes? It’s kinda that simple.

JOHNNY

Really?

WILL

Yeah, man. Just treat her like a person you want to get to know better. That’s all it is. Dating is as simple as that, trying to make human connections. Don’t force any romance, if you don’t feel like it.

JOHNNY

Is that what you do?

WILL

Yeah usually.

JOHNNY

And it works?

WILL

Why do you think whenever you come over, you find random feminine items? It sure as hell ain’t me using them.

Johnny falls silent and ponders his friend’s advice. He reflectively sips on his beer and has finally stopped stress eating.

JOHNNY

You know, it’s funny. We couldn’t be any more different you and I. You’re broke, you spend half your days drinking, smoking and reading and yet can get any woman you want. I’m over here, super tired, stressed, working long hours and with more money than I need, but I can’t seem to find any partners. Isn’t it funny how life works?

WILL

You know, sometimes I get jealous too, of how comfortable you seem to live. You get to wear good clothes, buy expensive gear and drive a nice car. But that’s life you know? I live a bohemian lifestyle man … scrapping by with my shitty bar tending job and a whole lot of books, booze and bitches. I’m not as smart as you, at least not in the same way, but I guess I make up for it in other ways.

JOHNNY

Ain’t it sad how stereotypical we are? I’m the Asian with zero social skills and a high paying job and

WILL

I’m a lazy Englishman who writes occasionally but whiles his life away with endless distractions. Let’s face it bro, I’m gonna be dead by 50, due to liver failure and lung cancer, laughing in hell while you’ll be married to this Alice chick with a beautiful family and completely miserable.

JOHNNY

*laughs* yeah that about sums it up.

WILL

Here’s to hell. May the stay there be as enjoyable as the way there.

Will raises his beer and Johnny raises his own in response. The two friends clink glasses and finally the atmosphere is less uptight. They settle back and watch the city in silence.

JOHNNY

Since when was it a crime to be a simp?

WILL

Ah … shut up bro.

Author’s Note

I’m not too happy with this one.

But then, if I keep resisting failures, I can never improve.

Not every screenplay needs to pass my exacting standards and I need to keep up the practice of pushing onwards even when I feel like it is too meandering and pointless.

This one was originally meant to be a deeper exploration into the dichotomy in how Asians and White people view life and act accordingly, but it ended up being too philosophical and having massive chunks of dialogue that no one in their right mind would actually say aloud. Think perhaps, but not espouse aloud.

I even had the original script being set on the veranda of some country home, but then quickly discarded the idea, because then it would feel too slow.

Better to have this discussion against the backdrop of a city, where things feel a bit more urgent and better paced.

All in all, I consider this one a bit of a let down, from the previous one Dinner for One in terms of pace, quality of dialogue and an actual conclusion.

This … just felt very pointless. But then some cinema thrive of precisely that, doing something that means nothing and maybe a talented director can make something out of this.

(I think a hack like Hong Sang-soo could make something out of this tripe I just wrote. I still shudder thinking about his 2016 film, Yourself and Yours and the horrific dialogue … melons are sweeter but watermelons are just so much more refreshing. God, what a waste of time that film was.)

Damocles.

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