Westworld is an impressive sci-fi, drama and mystery series on HBO. It recently completed its first season, and got nominated for a couple of Golden Globe Awards. I’ll be soon posting my review on my entertainment blog; I’m a huge fan.
But for those who haven’t seen it, here is a brief rundown of what’s what: (No spoilers):
Westworld is an advanced theme park where guests mingle with (and do pretty much anything they want to or with) the park’s residents: Magnificent AI robots that look, act, think and feel like humans. The catch is that they don’t know they are AIs, and the “merciful” creator of the park, Ford (Anthony Hophins) has designed them and the rules so that they don’t remember what they have done or what they have gone through. This causes an infinite loop for them: living the same day over and over again, with the exceptions of what the guests have in mind.
The “main” AIs are Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) and Maeve (Thandie Newton). Dolores leads a peaceful existence in their Wild West town with her parents. Maeve runs the brothel.
While some guests prefer family friendly tours and activities, others love wrecking havoc and mayhem: Man in Black (Ed Harris) is on a quest to make the most of it by reaching levels not achieved by other guests. He commits murder, rapes, attacks, tortures….Whatever to get him closer to get to that level.
How Not To Be A Writer: 5 Important Lessons from Westworld
And behind it all is a corporation that has to deal with politics, and the board members are not always pleased with how Ford operates. There is also the work of Lee Sizemore (Simon Quarterman), the writer whose job is to come up with entertaining AI storylines.
Lee is pretty much a guide on how not to be a writer, man or a human being. He’s obnoxious, insincere, closed to criticism, immature, opportunistic, and insincere. Everyone either hates him, is annoyed by him, or just doesn’t give a damn about him.
Ford thinks he is a joke and mostly ignores or changes whatever he writes. The board sees him as a pawn they can use or discard according to what they need.
Most characters on this show possess grey qualities. They are not entirely bad or good. (It can be argued that Man in Black is mostly bad, but that’s another story.) But Lee? Lee is purely annoying.
So if there is anything we can learn from Lee is what not to do. And we do love a good lesson:
- Be rude. It’s simple. Nobody likes an arrogant jerk who thinks they are better than everyone. With the exception of jerks who are actually better than everyone (see House), and they we forgive them. For entertainment purposes. I still think House wouldn’t have lived that long in real life.
- Just scratch your own back. It is not cool only to be after your own success. You need to consider other people and help when you can. If you are self-absorbed, you’ll end up without great writing jobs or awesome friends.
- Kiss ass. Everyone likes a heartfelt compliment. But ass-kissing? Nope. It shows. If you don’t mean it, don’t say it.
- Never accept feedback or consider your employer’s needs. You can do whatever you want…on your own story that wasn’t commissioned by other people. But if you were hired to write stories for someone else, you have to accept that you don’t have full creative control. It doesn’t work that way.
- Be drunk and destroy company property. No explanation needed, really. He actually pees on the park model and gets witnessed by his boss. Ouch.
There you go. I never understood why and how Lee has his job. And I’m not sure we will find out in season 2. But for people like Lee, good things don’t last for very long.
Which writer characters have you seen on the screen?