I Don't Know by Arthur Tiersky | Script Revolution

I Don't Know



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A seemingly conventional romantic comedy is disrupted when the screenwriter inserts himself into the story and turns out to be a better match for the leading lady than the leading man is.

Charming ladies' man ROB happens upon the beautiful DANA at the grocery store, and confidently flirts with her; they make a "date" to meet there again the next day. That night, Rob hooks up with his neighbor BRANDI. Meanwhile ARTHUR, who briefly happened by at the grocery store, meets up with his friend LECIA for a night of pub trivia. We learn that Arthur is a screenwriter who has just recently ended a romantic relationship of several years with GABY and is finding ways to distract himself, including starting a new script, a romantic comedy...which we soon realize is the one that all these characters are in, including himself.

The next day, Rob and Dana meet up as planned, and it becomes clear that they have nothing in common; she works in indie development at Netflix and is into poker and classic movies, and she plays violin in a gypsy jazz group, and Rob has no interest in any of that, but reluctantly agrees to come see her play at a gig the next day. On the way back to Brandi's place, he stops at a Starbucks, where he runs into Arthur typing on his laptop, and recognizes him from the grocery store. He strikes up a conversation and asks him about what he's writing, but Arthur is nervous and evasive. When he steps away for a moment, Rob glances at the laptop and is shocked to see that Arthur's script is depicting his life, right up through the scene he's currently in. Arthur explains the situation to him, and Rob gradually calms down, accepting his fate as a screenplay character. He goes back to Brandi and gets stoned with her, contemplating his existence. He gradually realizes that he's in a romantic comedy, and he's "fated" to be with Dana.

He goes to Dana's jazz gig and isn't into the music, but he encounters Arthur there, enjoying it, and he puts it all together: Dana is Arthur's dream girl and is perfect for him, as she likes all the same things he does. He immediately goes about trying to hook Arthur and Dana up, and the two instantly hit it off, but Arthur is horrified by the prospect of being the one who "gets the girl", particularly since he's the one controlling everyone's actions. Eventually, though, he realizes that Dana's interest in him can serve as an effective plot obstacle for Rob to overcome. He goes home and sends her his previous script "In the Sack" to read, as they had discussed.

Dana has her assistant MELISSA prioritize it, which she does and quickly recommends it. Dana reads it and loves it and emails him that she'd like him to come in for a meeting. We see Arthur at his dull day job as a legal secretary working for NEAL, a lawyer who is also a screenwriter. Arthur meets with Dana and stumbles into starting to talk about his current script, but he then goes off on a morose tangent about his recent break-up. Back at home, he realizes that the scene isn't working and calls Rob to come help him with it. Rob advises that he take the opportunity of the meeting to get to know her better instead of talking about himself. Arthur takes his advice, rewrites the scene where they continue to have a nice rapport, and he invites her to pub trivia night. Back at the laptop, Arthur then remembers that he needs to keep building the connection between Rob and Dana, so he invites Rob to join as well, even though Rob has no aptitude for trivia.

Rob and Dana join Lecia and Arthur for trivia, and all have a great time (partly due to the fact that Arthur is of course writing the trivia questions and enabling them to win), other than Lecia, to whom Arthur has just revealed that she's in a screenplay. Rob walks Dana back to her car, and they hit it off way better than previously, as they had both watched and enjoyed Hitchock's "The Birds" earlier that week; she invites him to come watch "Vertigo" at her place that weekend. Meanwhile, Arthur seeks Lecia's advice about the script, and he comes to realize that he's focused so much on Dana having things in common with him that he's forgotten to give her a "need", without which, she has no reason to "wind up with" anyone, and isn't a good lead for his rom-com after all. At the laptop, Arthur realizes how blind he's been to this all along and sits there in shock.

That weekend, he goes to Gaby's place to pick some things up, and the two instantly fall into each other's arms, realizing how much they've missed each other. They set a date for that night, and she comes over for dinner. But the night is quickly wrecked when she inadvertently sees the script he's writing and is upset that he's using their relationship for script material. They argue, and she storms out. Meanwhile, Rob and Dana are cozying up for their movie night, but Arthur, in a drunken rage, decides to go haywire on the whole project. He has evil birds crash through the window and attack Rob and Dana. Rob angrily rushes over to Arthur's to confront him, and Arthur drunkenly dismisses him, planning to trash the whole script anyway. Rob manages to wrench the laptop from him and rush out. He rewrites the scene with Dana, making himself a hero who shoots down all the birds, and Dana instantly falling for him. It then turns out that this was Arthur's plan to get them together all along, and a series of reveals ends with Arthur finishing the script with Gaby at his side, and then one more reveal of Rob with the laptop, and Arthur allowing him to title it. Rob thinks about what his takeaway is from the script and the entire affair and comes up with...I Don't Know.

All Accolades & Coverage: 

2020 Stage 2 Screen contest - Semi-finalist
2020 Cinestory contest - Semi-finalist
June 2020 Bridgefest monthly Honorable mention
2020 Screenwriting Master Contest - Semi-finalist
2020 Scriptapalooza - Quarter-finalist
Spring 2020 Monkey Bread Tree awards - Nominee, "Best Technique"
2020 Austin Film Fest, 2nd Round
Summer 2020 International Independent Film Awards - Silver Award
2020 Screenplay Festival - Semi-Finalist
2020 Los Angeles Comedy Film & Screenplay Festival - Selected
2020 Chicago Indie Film Awards - Selected
2020 Seattle Film Summit, Winner
November, 2020 Best Script Award - Winner, Best Comedy
2020 Bahamas International Film Festival, Semi-finalist
2020 StoryPros Contest, Quarter finalist

Submitted: April 20, 2020
Last Updated: December 2, 2020

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The Writer: Arthur Tiersky

Born and raised in the Chicago area, Arthur graduated Oberlin College in 1992 and eagerly made the big move to LA soon after. He has been a WGA member since 2003, having done rewrite work for Disney and some independent productions and web series, optioned numerous screenplays, written two award-winning shorts, "Voodoo the Right Thing" and "Good Cop, Bad Cop", and been a winner or finalist in many screenplay contests, most recently a winner for Dark Comedy at the Portland Comedy Film Festival ("Electric War"), and for Dark Comedy ("Why Dontcha Kill Me?") and Romantic Comedy ("Unmatched") at the Austin Comedy Short Film Festival. His latest script "I Don't Know" has already won several... Go to bio

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