While applying for many jobs in the last year in Austin, I’ve had many interesting writing prompts and applications. One of which was for a company that was interested in the kind of movie or TV universe I would like inhabit.
Below is my response: It’s difficult to choose a movie or TV show to inhabit. Many of my favorite TV shows and movies deal with constant struggles or conflict. If I were transported to one of these universes my life would likely be difficult and not very fun.
I don’t want to worry about running away from dinosaurs, being shot at, the watchful eye of a dystopian government, or the threat of being arrested. Therefore, I would most enjoy living inside the world of “The Third Man.” This 1949 film noir set in Austria after World War II has many elements of intrigue, but it’s also an environment I think I would enjoy.
Film noir has always fascinated me. Many of its themes are manifestations of how existing social mores may be challenged in the future, or as a result of World War II.
Every man and woman is in some sort of state of transition. For some the change is difficult; for others it’s a natural fit. I would like to live in the world of mystery, high-contrast black and white colors, sharp angles, empty Viennese cobblestone streets and smoke rising to hanging lamps in dark rooms.
Holly Martins, the main character in the movie, is an American expatriate writer looking to investigate his friend’s supposed death. Like most film noir, the plot becomes complex, maybe even a bit convoluted, but ultimately manages to connect all the dots in the end.
The protagonist is often a reluctant hero, but he or she always knows what must be done is more important than being comfortable. I love the idea of inhabiting a world in which everything around me becomes a puzzle to solve. I must rely on my wits, intellect and ability to gain information from others around me. This must all be done, of course, while also trying to navigate and understand a foreign place and culture with its own rules and boundaries. Unlike most of my experiences in foreign countries, all people, no matter their origin, would be able to communicate with one another flawlessly.
This world, while complex and sometimes inhabited with untrustworthy people, is ultimately rewarding. In the end, understanding a difficult truth is better than being in the dark, not knowing. This makes “The Third Man” my place to inhabit.
John is a Technical Success Manager at WP Engine. Before moving to Austin, John lived in South Korea and China for the better part of four years. His life as an amateur Chinese web censorship expert, traveler, map nerd and beer geek can be found on this site.