Critics, Inc. by Chris Esper | Script Revolution

Critics, Inc.

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A sculptor finds himself at an office of art critics where he ends up in an unusual battle of commerce versus art.

This Script Has Been Reviewed By Shootin' The Shorts

Critics, Inc
A sculptor finds himself at an office of art critics where he ends up
in an unusual battle of commerce versus art.

“Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain and most fools do.” – Benjamin Franklin.

Whether you are an artist who writes, makes music, paints, or sculpts, you cannot escape the inevitability of criticism. Good or bad. We live in an era that makes it possible for us to share our art broadly with a wide variety of different people. Conversely, exposing our creative expressions to a largely anonymous community encourages festering critics to cast aspersions without consequence or care.

‘Critics, Inc.’ by Chris Esper is a satirical parable about how artists respond and react to criticism, and in turn, how critiques handle being criticized for their criticism.

Take our protagonist, Arthur. A sculptor on a mission to chat with a critic who works for, ‘Critics, Inc’ – a business that specializes in reproachful candor.  He only wants to meet the person who reviewed his sculpture and ask them a simple question.

Problem is, ‘Critics, Inc’  is a cross between a hilariously busy vet clinic and a mind-numbing DMV. As evidenced by this exchange with a rather dispassionate receptionist;

ARTHUR
Mrs. Trotter wrote a review of this piece and I wanted to talk further about it.

RECEPTIONIST
You’ll have to see someone in Rubuttal about that and she’ll answer you then.

ARTHUR
Rebuttal? No, no. It wasn’t a bad review. I just had a question for her.

RECEPTIONIST
I’m afraid you can’t speak with her. Take a number and I’ll take you to someone.

ARTHUR
A number?

He points to a ticket dispenser. Arthur grabs number 21.

As Arthur stands by, he talks with a woman waiting to speak with a critic. She explains to Arthur that the true purpose of ‘Critics, Inc.’ is the systemic dismemberment of artistical work.

WOMAN
This is where all the critics of all mediums do their ’work.’

ARTHUR
I never heard of a central place for critique.

WOMAN
It’s not even critiquing.--They go in for the kill.

Arthur eventually makes his way to ‘Rebuttal Department’, where artists such as himself are given a chance to explain and justify the merits of their art before a contemptuous set of judges. However, his simmering frustration boils over when he witnesses the work of other artists treated with gleeful disdain by the pitiless arbitrators.

Instead of waiting in line for the inescapable scolding of this sculpture, he takes matters into his own hands and decides to bypass the red tape and find the woman he’s come to speak with.

Eventually, Arthur’s grueling, soul-sucking journey takes him to Jane -- the critic that didn’t criticize his work, but merely made an observation which provoked Arthur’s insatiable curiosity.

What follows is a quirky confab in which the artist and the critic learn they have much in common. Some critics are failed or exhausted artists, and some artists are critics of their peers, blissfully unaware of the negative impact their words can manifest.

Chris Esper’s caustic rumination on the reverberations of critical judgment will have you nodding along in simpatico. This empathetic story reminds us that artists brave enough to share their work must also have the courage to withstand the withering echo of criticism that will inexorably follow.

For a filmmaker influenced by satirical stalwarts such as Woody Allen, Mike Judge and Alexander Payne, this is a wonderful script for showcasing your ability to produce a film that audiences will find equal parts amusing and contemplative.

Check it out. Just make sure, if you do feel a need to incorporate your criticism… imagine it is yourself receiving the feedback. As we are all artists and critics.

 

Review by Jeremy Storey

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The Writer: Chris Esper

Hello, I'm Chris Esper, founder of Stories in Motion.

I started Stories in Motion as a production company because I not only love filmmaking, but I also love storytelling. For me, powerful and effective filmmaking and videography starts with the story. My goal with every project is to take this philosophy and make it the sole purpose of what I do and what my company does.  From narrative films to music videos, corporate videos, weddings, and much more, I aim to not just capture the shot, but also the story. 

Originally from New Jersey, I developed a passion and love for film at a very young age. When I was in my teens, I received my first camera and started experimenting... Go to bio

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