Every "The Room" fan knows that one thing Tommy will not talk about his home country. He wants to keep that a mystery. Also mysterious? The man behind the unofficial prequel to "The Room" called "The Dingy Apartment." Yes, "The Room" has fan fiction.
The webpage describes the prequel as:
For all that The Room accomplishes, perhaps its most compelling achievement is the sprawling mythos it evokes. So many past events are alluded to but never revealed. Why didn’t the YMCA cash Johnny’s check? How did Denny get involved with Chris-R? Why won’t Peter go to the Bay To Breakers marathon this year?
Where did Johnny get his accent from? And does nobody have a last name?
With this prequel I seek to answer those questions and others. This is intended as a companion to the film, to offer insight into its many mysteries and better elucidate the viewer as to the true meaning of Tommy Wiseau’s immortal vision.
I contacted Wallid H. Fielding to get him or her (he's a him) to come on the "Proudly Resents: " podcast. He turned me down cold. He would only do a print interview. He wants to make sure his identity is secured.
This morning we IM'ed. We talked about why there needs to be a prequel, what makes "The Room" so magical and what he looks for in a lady.
Check out Wallid's prequel and let him know what you think. It's pretty great.
Proudly Resents: why did you start writing a pre-quel?
Orpheum Eater: For starters, I'm a huge fan of the original film. I mean obviously. I've seen it over twenty times by now! I also enjoyed the things people were doing to make fun of The Room online. I thought, I know the movie well enough -- I can contribute to this! After some googling I was pleasantly surprised to see nobody else had already made a prequel, so I went at it. There is a short video sequel on YouTube, but it's a very different style from what I did.
Proudly Resents: what did you base your facts on?
Orpheum Eater: Haha I guess I made up a lot of canon, didn't I? Most of it started from realistic conjecture about what the film implied. Johnny says in the movie that he met Lisa while being a bus boy at a hotel, so I put that in the prequel. As for how his bus boy job went, those facts were all inspired by my attempts to replicate the tone of the film. Since he gets treated badly by the bank, it made sense for him to get treated badly at the hotel, too.
The rest of the facts were just exaggerated versions of what I saw in the movie. Mike seems kind of retarded (with his clumsiness and ridiculous facial expressions), so in the prequel I made him literally retarded, but slowly being rehabilitated. And I made Michelle the person rehabilitating him for plot convenience, and a way to work her into the script without just being another extraneous random person.
Orpheum Eater: As for inspiration, I think the main two would be the other The Room parodies, especially the novelization and the Newgrounds game. But they have a bit of a different purpose from mine. They're about making fun of the movie by highlighting its flaws, and can be enjoyed by people who have only seen the movie once or twice. In fact, I would argue that they help people to enjoy the movie.
Mine on the other hand seeks to make fun of the movie by exploring its implications and expanding on them. The problem is that in referencing its flaws rather than replicating them, it can only really be enjoyed by people who are already intimately familiar with the film. Like, maybe people who have seen it four or more times. Some of my jokes point to pretty obscure moments, haha.
Proudly Resents: what are one of the flaws that stands out to you?
Orpheum Eater: About my own work or the original movie?
Proudly Resents: the movie
Orpheum Eater: Oh gosh, too many to count. Most have already been made fun of extensively, like the way Peter disappears, or Lisa's neck, or the scotchka... so of course I make fun of all of those in the prequel, but I also tried to riff on some of the more subtle flaws that don't get as much attention. For instance, why does nobody have a last name? Why are everyone's first names so American? Why do Lisa and Mark choose the stairs as their place to have sex? And why is Steve so quick to use the atomic bomb as an analogy? Those are all tremendously funny to me and provided a lot of material for my prequel.
Proudly Resents: What about Lisa mother just mentioning in passing that she has cancer and then it's never brought up again?
Orpheum Eater: Haha somebody else posted that in the comments on my website. I actually completely forgot to reference it -- one of my true regrets about the project. I actually didn't include too much Claudette as a whole. Mostly just to make fun of her warped values and the way she and Lisa have the same conversation repeatedly. I never counted words, but I would guess that Chris-R got more screen time in the prequel than her!
Proudly Resents: What did you like about Chris-R the drug dealer who just randomly enters the movie and then disapears?
Orpheum Eater: Hahahaha. So many things.... Aside from his ridiculous name (and thank you for hyphenating it correctly), there's his all-black outfit and winter hat, his overblown and totally unwarranted tough guy act, and, my favorite of all, the sheer hollowness of his threats. How much time does he spend screaming at Denny, at gunpoint, despite never actually firing that gun? And how long would he have continued to do it had Johnny and Mark never shown up to save the day? Does his gun even work?
Proudly Resents: We never see Denny doing drugs.
Orpheum Eater: We don't, and it's an omission I worked heavily to fix. Every time we see him in my prequel, at least before Johnny takes him in and magically cures him, he's convulsing and covered in snot. I think I had him replicating some Superfly dialogue at one point ("I'm getting out of the game").
We do fortunately see Mark doing drugs in the film, in that one rooftop scene with Peter, so I made sure to work that into my prequel as well. Unfortunately, those are the only two druggies in my version, and now that I think about it I wouldn't have minded working in some more.
Proudly Resents: what's the reader response been like?
Orpheum Eater: Oh it's been very positive. Not very large, but what few comments I have been getting have all been encouraging. I've even made a few Facebook friends out of it! Perhaps it will continue to gain popularity over time, but I don't expect as much as the novelization or Newgrounds game ever got. Not only for the aforementioned reasons, but also because, as much as it pains me to admit, the nationwide craze over this movie is dying down a little bit.
Proudly Resents: You think? why is that?
Orpheum Eater: That's just how these internet phenomenons go. When's the last time you heard anybody even mention Chocolate Rain? When's the last time somebody Rickrolled you? Don't you get downright resentful when somebody even mentions Rebecca Black these days? I think The Room is on that same slow crawl towards the archives. Don't get me wrong -- I do still love it wholeheartedly -- but I also love Chocolate Rain.
Proudly Resents: What do you want to do with your prequel next?
Orpheum Eater: If the demand seems to be there, I actually have some ideas for a possible sequel. They say "Is he dead?" at the end of the movie -- what if he actually isn't? Or, Lisa says she isn't really pregnant -- what if she actually was? The sequel could open up with a hospitalized Johnny, or with the birth of Johnny Junior, or with both of those things!
Another possible plot avenue -- you know that tape Johnny has that he used to "record everything"? What if it really did record EVERYTHING? Not just the things in his apartment, but all of mankind's history? Johnny could listen back to it and gain the knowledge of every great philosopher and scientist throughout history. Is that too farfetched? It could at least have the recording of a crime committed in his apartment, though. You know, like the plot of Rear Window.
Proudly Resents: Have you heard from Tommy?
Orpheum Eater: Nah, I haven't brought this project to the attention of anyone associated with the film yet. I'm sure I will one day, perhaps after some more comments pile up to make the project look more legitimate. Most of the cast and crew do seem to love media attention. Almost all of the actors have done interviews with varying levels of small media. Even the actress who played Michelle! To my knowledge, Chris-R has never appeared publically [sic]. It's a shame.
As for me bothering Tommy, I do have his autograph (and a beautiful inspirational message) on my copy of The Room DVD, but that's of course unrelated to the work I did on the project.
Proudly Resents: What was the message?
Orpheum Eater: It was, "May all your dreams come true! Love! Tommy W."
I will email you the scan later. It's one of my prized possessions.
Proudly Resents: Yes. Please do.
Orpheum Eater: I really think that, with his tidings, my dreams will in fact come true.
Proudly Resents: How did you first hear of the Room?
Orpheum Eater: Forum posts. I saw random clips pop up in a lot of places. I remember very clearly that the flower shop scene was the first one I ever saw. Little did I realize that within a few months' time I would still be watching those clips, over and over, analyzing their every nuance.
For instance, did you notice that in that scene, he parks illegally? I had watched it several dozen times and still had to have a friend point it out to me. (Thanks, Katie!)
Proudly Resents: What's with the coffee shop where no one has to pay?
Orpheum Eater: Hahaha, and for that matter, what's with Johnny and Mark meeting up to hang out there despite only having ten seconds of free time? Mark could have said "I'm very busy" in that scene, and it would have been true, but instead he says it while he's just sitting around in traffic.
I also don't know if you noticed this or not, but in the expositional shot of that scene, we can hear a customer's order, and it's the same audio clip that plays several seconds later during the scene itself. Talk about a cheap editing trick!
Proudly Resents: Where was your first time seeing the movie?
Orpheum Eater: Oh, just in my own place, by myself. I would later force it upon various friends, and attend a local midnight screening. It was a very fun time. If anyone who's reading this hasn't already gone to one of those, I recommend it highly. Check the listings for your area!
Proudly Resents: What was that experience like for you?
Orpheum Eater: It was great. Twenty minutes into the film an exceedingly drunk guy filled the empty seat next to me, and he was a little annoying, but even with that it was still a great time. Everyone was yelling jokes. I got the audience to laugh at mine a few times. For instance, after Lisa and Mark have their go on the stairs, are they worried about leaving evidence in the form of stains on the staircase? The film never addresses it, but it was an acute concern of mine.
Sadly, not everyone yelled out the lines I thought they would. When Steve says "I feel like I'm sitting..." I instinctively yelled out "ON AN ATOMIC BOMB!" but I was all alone on that one.
Proudly Resents: Did you bring plastic spoons?
Orpheum Eater: You know, I didn't. As someone on the internet pointed out though, you really don't need to, as it's an easy matter to pick up the ones off the floor and throw those.
I also didn't wear a costume, because I was worried about running into students of mine there. (I'm a public school teacher, and kids love cameras these days.) Still, I have Denny's exact shirt, and it would be easy to comb my hair with his stupid part. Maybe for an anime convention over the summer....
Proudly Resents: What grade do you teach?
Orpheum Eater: Tenth grade, so we study The Odyssey every year. You can tell if you read the prequel very carefully. At one point, it described Johnny by saying "his mind ranging far." Odyssey quote! Working with Shakespeare so much also gave me some inspiration for those character quotes in the sidebar.
Proudly Resents: Tommy originally compared his film to Tennessee Williams
Proudly Resents: Is that close to being true? Shakespeare even?
Orpheum Eater: Haha yes, something I make fun of near the end. I make Johnny's character call out, "My life is just like a Tennessee Williams play!"
Of course it's not true! I can see what he was going for, with the characters' yelling at each other inside a room -- a lot of Williams' plays have that -- and there's also the overt symbolism, like Johnny humping the dress at the end. It's an attempt to copy what Tommy saw in the Williams plays they no doubt made him study in acting school. But, as anyone who's actually read a Williams play can attest, the level of artistry isn't quite met by The Room.
Proudly Resents: What was it like seeing the movie for the first time? What did that do to you?
Proudly Resents: People say (including me and Tommy) that you are not the same after.
Proudly Resents: what was your experience?
Orpheum Eater: Oh it was magical. I already loved it from the clips, but I had assumed the whole time that it would be a boring movie with a few good scenes. But no, literally the entire thing is mesmerizing, start to finish. Even things that people don't make fun of that much. I had heard tons about the Chris-R scene before seeing it in the film, but nobody mentioned the scene where the drug addled Mark tries to shove Peter off the roof. That to me, after my first viewing, was the funniest part. "What are you, nuts?" he says while shoving him once. And then, bam, conflict completely solved.
Proudly Resents: Right.
Proudly Resents: Who did the art on your site?
Orpheum Eater: Aha. They're pretty good, right? All of those pictures are actually pulled from existing works on deviantart.com. I don't think people realize what a great untapped resource that website is. All I did was search for "wiseau," and I saw a bunch of mediocre pictures of course, but enough great ones to cover my site with. And in my experience, across a few different websites, NOBODY on deviantart will ever decline your request to use their artwork for free. They just want the exposure. That's why they use deviantart in the first place!
Proudly Resents: About you...
Proudly Resents: Where do you live (about)
Orpheum Eater: Well, the live screening I was in D.C., but I won't be any more specific than that. Like I said, I'm a teacher in real life, and a lot of the online work I make under the name waldfield is incredibly vulgar, so I like to keep those two identities separate.
Proudly Resents: How old are you (Also About is fine)
Orpheum Eater: Late twenties.
Proudly Resents: Married? What does your mate think of the movie?
Orpheum Eater: "The man lived alone, and his mind was his own" (that's another Superfly quote). I tend to be extremely introverted and antisocial. To be frank, the idea of coming home after work one day in the future and having the place not be empty is terrifying to me.
Orpheum Eater: I wonder if there's a correlation between antisocial types and having websites that review underground media? You and I together make a sample size of 2.
Orpheum Eater: Speaking of which, can I plug my other website?
Proudly Resents: of course
Proudly Resents: what is it?
Proudly Resents: is that why you don't have your full name?
Orpheum Eater: Underground Brilliance, http://dirtypotter.com/underground/. "Obscure bullshit worth knowing." Two new articles every week, from across all different sorts of media.
It's still pretty new, so the archives aren't too thick yet, but I'm working on that.
Orpheum Eater: Indeed it is. If it wasn't obvious, "Wallid H. Fielding" is a pseudonym.
Proudly Resents: can you tell us anything about yourself?
Orpheum Eater: What would you like to know?
Proudly Resents: male/female?
Orpheum Eater: Male.
Proudly Resents: What would you look for in a mate? Let's make this a dating opportunity for you. You're a star now.
Proudly Resents: Let's reach out to the internets and get your the right person
Orpheum Eater: Oh well clearly she needs to be antisocial, like me. She should have a healthy appreciation for gore films, because we will be watching a ton of them, I can guarantee it. So ladies, if you live in the D.C. metro area and are close to my age... (etc)
Proudly Resents: Great. There's a woman right now out there watching "Evil Dead 2" for the 50th time...
Orpheum Eater: I'm sure of it! [email protected], everyone
Proudly Resents: Good let me know if that works out.
Proudly Resents: did you facebook ads?
Proudly Resents: I think that's how I found you.
Proudly Resents: you were on the "The room" page
Orpheum Eater: Oh yeah. I was amazed at how popular that ad was. Literally hundreds of clicks in the first couple of days. I always assumed no one ever clicked on those?
It brought a bunch of traffic to my page, which I appreciated. It cost a bit, but that was never a concern. I just wanted to get my work out there. You'll notice that there's nothing for sale on my website! And that nothing's even copyrighted. I have google ads, but that's to recoup server costs, and any profits go straight to the Human Rights Campaign.
I'm not against artists making money off their work -- I think it's great when they can sustain a living doing what they love -- it's just that I don't personally need to.
Orpheum Eater: Okay, thanks! I had a great time.
Proudly Resents: Thank you.