How to Use Nothing for a Plot

10:52 AM

The article for today is going to be more of an essay about my thoughts on the use of down-to-earth and relatable writing using the short film Clapping for the Wrong Reasons.

By Ajay Ascano, film editor

Warning: The film has one gruesome scene in it at around 17:00



In 2013, Donald Glover, also known as Childish Gambino, released his second studio album Because the Internet, with a 72-page screenplay along with it.

Preluding to the screenplay is a 25-minute short film titled Clapping for the Wrong Reasons, in which the main protagonist, “The Boy,” lives a day in his life. 

What’s interesting to note is that the film just feels ordinary, simple, and filled with… nothingness. At least, that’s what my friends and I thought when we watched it together. You don’t need to know who’s who, or what’s going on, you just get it. Sometimes, people would just talk-- not filler, but conversations that are unique enough to feel genuine.

Many of the shots themselves had a personal feel to them, I noticed some shots where the camera bobbed slowly as if you were there with the people in the film. Some shots just featured inanimate objects for a few seconds. The film isn’t just about the people residing in a house… but the environment they’re in.

Watching sitcom shows such as Friends or Seinfeld have an oddly relatable feel to them. Why? Because they’re placed in situations that are the same as ones we deal with, just made a bit wackier.



Here are conversation excerpts from Seinfeld and Clapping for The Wrong Reasons. A whole lot of nothing, but stuff you would probably talk about with friends to fill time. 




Tracing back around to traditional slice-of-life shows, there needs to be conflict in most of these shows, otherwise, we wouldn’t have anything to laugh at, or feel emotional about. Being a short film, however, the one-shot story doesn’t need to have a true antagonist. And you can still leave with lingering questions. There were some hidden story elements, such as the inner conflict of the protagonist in some scenes, or this odd female who appears out of nowhere in the household.

The film just really reminded me of my own hangouts with friends, a bunch of nothingness mixed with weird conversations and ideas.



In the future, I’d like to do a story analysis for both this film and the screenplay. This article was more of a rant/essay, as I said, and I would like to do more of this unformatted style!

Thanks for reading!

Ajay Ascano,

doer of nothing

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