Category Archives: The Writer

Out Of the Office…

Just a heads up for the curious or whoever:

From Sept. 25th to Oct.6th 2012, I will be bumming around Northern California and thus tweeting and posting a fair bit less than usual.

My hope is you will all stick around through the absence, but if not, I know how it goes.

Rest assured, I and @SarcasticRover will try our level best to keep posting and to try and remain moderately entertaining as we do so.

If I never come back, tell NASA that I died how I lived… pretending to be a robot and breathing only carbon-dioxide and freedom.

Stay swell.



FAQ About Mars Travel…

So it turns out that in a given sampling of some 90,000 people – you wind up getting asked the same questions over and over again, and this seemed like as good a time as any (in that I’m avoiding work and proper clothes and listening to Bon Iver) to answer a few of the more common queries.

With luck this will turn out to be illuminating – though, let me also say that if you see your question here, it doesn’t make you a dummy or unoriginal. I really do love all the questions and pics and jokes and stuff people tweet at me, I just rarely answer because I’m shy.

So here we go:

Continue reading

Shameless Self-Promotion

Someone made the foolish request to see something I’d written outside of @sarcasticrover, so – and apologies for this in advance – but the following link will take you to a very short web-series I wrote called “Bunny Hug”.

I hope you enjoy it:

Who Wrote This?

This post should serve as a brief introduction to me – the occasional hack who writes “SarcasticRover”.

My name is Jason Filiatrault, and I’m a screenwriter from Calgary, Canada.

I work primarily in comedy – have a few feature scripts in development with very nice people, a sitcom in development with a Canadian broadcaster, and a very nice agent at Gersh in New York.

That’s really about all there is. But, if you’re more interested in why or how I wound up writing a Twitter feed, then you can read the transcript of an interview I gave to the WSJ entertainment blog, which has not been published:

Q:  When did you come up with the idea? Did anything/anyone inspire you?

A: I came up with the idea the night of the landing. I had an image of the rover complaining about the inflight movies on the way to Mars, and that kind of snowballed to some other jokes – and then I just really enjoyed the concept of this sad/angry/manic rover. As for inspiration, I’ve always been a big Douglas Adams fan – so Marvin the Android of course, and Jim Henson’s more darkly humorous stuff is probably informing this a great deal as well. His puppets had a good knack for saying horrible truths with a crazy smile.

Q: Have you ever made a fake Twitter account like this before? 

A: This is my first “fake Twitter account” – though, I mean, It’s a real account, it’s just not all about me. I think of it more like a character or a costume. It’s real, but it’s still just entertainment.

Q: Are you surprised at how many people are following this one?

A: I am, in fact, shocked. I had no idea anyone would even look at it, or get it, or appreciate it. This kind of humour is written in such a vacuum, and so dependent on the reader being receptive to the tone – that you can’t ever assume it’s going to go over well. Mostly, I just try to make myself laugh or at least say something interesting about the rover. Curiosity is the real hero.

Q: What kind of response have you gotten? Lots of fans? Anyone angry at you for making light of something serious?

A: Everyone has been so so so wonderful about this. Honestly, it’s been pretty much all positive from what I’ve seen. I think people are taking it in the spirit it’s intended, which I’m thankful for. And let me be very clear – I am a huge NASA fan. Curiosity is a staggering achievement, and represents so much of the best that humanity has – in terms of intelligence and imagination and ambition… the space program is indicative what we should always be striving for; knowledge and understanding.

Q: Do you have a real twitter account and how many followers do you have there?

A: I do have my own account and my follower number there hovers around 100 – I am not nearly so well liked when I’m not pretending to be a nuclear-powered sarcastic robot.

Q: You say you are a writer. What kind of writer? Do you write comedy or more serious stuff?

A: I write for TV and movies and that stuff, but nothing anyone would know probably – and I write comedy pretty exclusively now. Mostly though I’m just a fan of science and space and I’m self-centred enough to assume people will want to share in my enthusiasm.

Q:Are you getting suggestions from jokes from fans or is it all just you on your own?

A: The fans (followers seems a bit dismissive) make some great observations, and some fantastic science puns. That said, all the tweets I do, those are my own jokes – because I’m a control freak I guess.

Q: Have you told any friends/family about this and what was their response?

A: Friends are very supportive and excited. Family is curious to find out what a Twitter is.

Q: Who do you follow of twitter? Do you follow the real Mars Rover twitter feed?

A: I totally follow the real Mars Rover and lots of the JPL and MSL team – those women and men are just about the best – and all really decent and amusing folk. I follow a lot of friends and comedy people and other writers. Mostly I just to learn and laugh – so if a feed does that, I’m happy.

Q: If Sarcastic Rover could tell his fans one serious, non-sarcastic thing, what would it be?

A: I think @sarcasticrover would just want to come home, as for myself – I just want people to know that the real Curiosity Rover and the people that put it up there – the engineers and scientists and programmers – those people deserve so much of our collective goodwill and appreciation. They make humanity better and smarter with every single day, and they do it for the pure joy of discovery, which is mind-blowing. They’re stellar.

The end.

Do Your Ideas (or how it all began)

I’m writing this about one week and a bit after both the landing of Curiosity on Mars, and the creation of @sarcasticrover. And it’s been a very odd week.

The Twitter account began after a couple of interesting thoughts – first of which was how excited and thrilled I was by the EDL of Curiosity that night, and also by the notion of that poor rover cooped up for all those months – and what it must be thinking now that it’s been left alone on a strange world.

Combined together, those two ideas – excitement, and a sentient / lonely robot – gave rise to the idea of a Twitter feed, written from the rover’s point of view – but with his bitter, manic, and sarcastic persona unleashed. I thought it should be called “sarcasticrover”.

Now – usually I have these ideas about twice a week – and usually I don’t do anything about them. This time I did something and, given the sheer amount of easy and interesting jokes the concept inspired, the something I did was a lot of something. Probably a good 150 postings in the first few days. It’s pretty sad.

All that aside – this also caught me at a time between gigs where I had some time to invest in this – and I’m very glad I did. A week later I’m posting my stupid thoughts to 75,000 people – only a few of whom think I’m a talentless asshole… so that’s nice.

Basically, I think the lesson out of that first day is – if you have an idea for something, you might as well do it. Worst case scenario, it doesn’t go well and you are mocked – best case you wind up quoted in TIME Magazine and people say nice things about you. Either way, you’re not going to die.

Do your ideas, do them hard and often. Before someone else does them for you.