Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Film - The Technical Writer

News comes in, sadly a year or two late, of a strange and seemingly doomed independent film project called... (drum roll)

"The Technical Writer"

Yes! A film based on my so-called profession, or at least what I did for most of my life and will doubtless do again, despite the risk of death by boredom.

According to the reviews our hero, an American technical writer, is a recluse or acrophobic or something who hasn't been outside his home (a block of flats) for years. He phones out for delivered food and stays alone in his basement flat writing software manuals.

Live the dream, eh?

The block of flats is home to the film's other characters, who include a couple of Russian prostitutes and someone dying of cancer (at the time of writing all good Indie film obligatory characters, although the terminal case should really be suffering from AIDS rather than cancer).

Among these flakes and zombies, perhaps it isn't surprising that our hero keeps himself to himself, although he does get to say lines like:

Few people are conscious of the evil pleasures of technical writing.

Heh heh heh.

If only it were true.

Any of it, actually.

The boring truth:

Most tek riters I've known are cheerful, articulate, well adjusted, artistic souls courageously out of place in the nerd-dominated fields of software development and engineering.

True, we have our irritating eccentrics and a worryingly high number of pathological liars and sociopaths (physically harmless but annoying and impossible to deal with, despite their charm). But perhaps a few personality disorders are inevitable in a craft (not a profession) that attracts failed programmers, failed testers, failed systems analysts, and failed fiction authors.

None the less, introverted and inadequate tek riters are pretty rare, and the fair to high pay rates mean you don't have to bunk next door to a prossie very often.

Despite all that, it's a great pity the makers of The Technical Writer didn't manage to get a distribution deal after they finished the film. No matter how bad the reviews, I'd have paid money to see it and probably enjoyed it very much.

Let's live in hope of BBC 2 or Channel 4 one late-night.



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