The Short Film Idea

Ten Rules for Calling Tech Support

In 2007 I wrote a short film called Ten Rules for Calling Tech Support. This idea was based on the Ten Commandments for Calling Tech Support by a user at the time known as Serial (I don't remember how she spelled it, but it was different than the standard) Mom. With the influences of Kevin Smith's Clerks where each chapter (or rule) had a screen with text to read before showing that clip. As well as I was influenced by the character Randal Graves from Clerks. IF I could've cast Jeff Anderson as the lead tech Brian, I would have. His Randal outlook on people would be perfect for it. As when you work in a job where essentially you are the brains for others who are completely lack in knowledge of the objects they wish to use. It gives you a sense of intelligence and a bit of superiority over time. As you feel like, "How can people be so ignorant?".

No. I've never written a film before or have any training or skills to make a movie. Then again, I bet 75% of the YouTube entertainers don't write proper scripts either. They just wing it like I did back then.

With that out of the way. Here is everything I wrote and had voice work done for before retiring the project prematurely.

Cast

Narrator & Male 1- Lionel R. Guy

Caller 1 - Kathy Pfautsch

Caller 2 - Adam Alexander

Caller 3 - Sonny Swinhart

Caller 4 - Kevin Kupla

Caller 5 - Nikki Taylor

Callers for Scene 6

  • Male 1 - Lionel R. Guy
  • Male 2 - Edwyn Tiong
  • Female 1 - Val Jones
  • Female 2 - Amanda Pascarella

Caller 7 - L. J. DiLux

Caller 8 - Niko Ford

Caller 9 - Sakura Lee

Caller 10 - Brian Jordan

Brian {Lead Tech} - Not Cast

Second Tech - Not Cast

Third Tech - Not Cast

Crew

All behind the scenes crew was me. Producer, Editor, Cameraman, Lighting, etc...

Pre-Trailer from 2007

Prologue

Introduction: Still image dimmed with the following text being done via voice over as it's printed on the screen.


If you've ever had to call tech support, chances are you've had a very frustrating experience at least with one of your calls. Though what you probably don't realize, is that it is YOU, the CUSTOMER that could've prevented it. When something breaks or goes wrong with your computer, you are quick to call support and ask for help. Which is fine, but you really need to keep somethings in mind before calling.

This is a tongue and cheek representation, but the points made are very real. Your tech will do all in his or her power to help you, but without your taking the time to help the technician, they will not be able to help you. Thus leaving you feeling very frustrated.

Let's take a look at the 10 rules that a customer needs to adhere to before calling Technical Support:

Opening Scene

Camera is focused on some weeds across the road on a sunny summer day.

As a small car approaches, the camera passively shows the lead tech but as the car pulls into the lot, the camera focuses more on the front of the car, then zooms to the license plate on the front of the car.

As the car parks you can now see the vanity plate upclose that reads T3CH G0D

As the tech exits the car, the camera fades to a brief black transition.

Rule #1

Camera fades from transition to see the lead tech sit down at his desk and type his login and put on his headset.

The office is alive with typing on keyboards, background talking and phones ringing on occasion. Two other techs can be seen talking on their headsets and typing notes about the calls they are on.

The lead tech phone rings a few times as he ignores it to type a few things. He pauses with a look of disinterest, but picks up the first call.

Rule #1

1. Make note of the exact error you are receiving, and repeat it exactly when prompted by your Tech Support Personnel.

Scene 1 {Female caller who doesn't have enough information for the technician}


{Phone Rings} Tech - "Hello, thank you for Calling Tech Support. My Name is Brian, how can I help you?"

Caller - "Yes, I'm having a problem. I can't get this program to work. It keeps saying something about I'm Illegal."

Tech - "What's the error you are getting?"

Caller - "I just told you."

Tech - "No Ma'am, what is the exact error you are getting?"

Caller - "I don't know! Don't you know?"

Tech - "No Ma'am, I'm not a mind reader. Please, next time you get the error, either write it down or leave it on the screen. Then call back and tell us what the error is."

Caller - "So, you can't help me? Is there a manager present?"

Tech - "No Ma'am, he's not a mind reader either.... Thank you for calling Tech Support."

Caller - "but...." {phone clicks as Tech Ends call}

Narrator - Number 1. Make note of the exact error you are receiving, and repeat it exactly when prompted by your Tech Support Personnel. There are literally thousands of software titles, drivers and hardware that can generate any number of error messages. This leads to there being literally millions of error messages. If you don't know the exact error, it will take a long time to be able to figure out the problem, and it may make it so that the technician won't be able to help you at all.

Lead tech rolls his eyes and the phone begins to ring as the next call comes in.

Camera fades into black transition to the next call.

Rule #2

Camera fades from transition to see the lead tech already moderately annoyed from the first caller.

He lets the phone ring a few times, then picks it up and tries to put on a good face.

Rule #2

2. If your frustration level is high, please take a break and calm yourself before calling Tech Support.

Scene 2 {Frustrated Male Customer taking his frustrations out on the technician}


{Phone Rings} Tech - "Hello, thank you for Calling Tech Support. My Name is Brian, how can I help you?"

Caller - "I'm so tired of fighting with this damned computer! I'm ready to throw it out the fucking window!!"

{Smiles with evil enthusiasim} Tech - "I'm very sorry to hear that. Though keep a few things in mind when you do throw it out the window. Please make sure you use a window further up than 2 stories, otherwise I can still fix it.

Also, open the window so you don't break that too.

And Please remember to keep a good tight grip on your computer as you throw it out, so you can go with it.

Thank you for calling Tech Support."

Caller - "What the fu....." {sound of phone hanging up}

Narrator - If your frustration level is high, please take a break and calm yourself before calling Tech Support. If you've already spent hours of time trying to tackle the problem and you are frustrated and angry, this will not make for a good call to technical support. You will only end up making the technician angry, and wasting your time as well as theirs. Please, take a break, calm down and then make the call.

Lead tech looks frustrated yet pleased with being rid of what is likely to be yet another hot caller in his history.

Camera fades into black transition to the next call.

Rule #3

Camera fades from transition to see the lead tech still begrudged from the previous call.

He lets the phone ring only once, then picks it up quickly with a less than enthusiastic look.

Rule #3

3. Do not fuss and curse at the technician. Even if you don't agree with his or her diagnosis.

Scene 3 {Angry Male Customer who is simply being unreasonable}


{Phone Rings} Tech - "Hello, thank you for Calling Tech Support. My Name is Brian, how can I help you?"

Caller - "Well I certain FUCKING HOPE SO! I've been through 5 GOD-DAMNED Techs already! I don't think you fuckers know a fucking, God-Damned Thing! This computer sucks and you should take the fucking thing back and shove it up your ass!"

{Unhappily stern face and tone} Tech - "Well, Sir, please allow me to be technician number six. And please say hello to Technician number 7 for me." {Call Ends}.

Narrator - Number 3. Do not fuss and curse at the technician. Even if you don't agree with his or her diagnosis. If you end up swearing like a sailor or threatening the technician, he or she will not be able to get your computer fixed any faster. This actually could cause the tech to "inadvertently" give you the wrong instruction for your problem. Whether accidentally or intentionally. That's if they decide to help your sorry ass at all. Depending on how much you push your luck.

Lead tech places headset on the desk and gets up as the screen fades to black.

Rule #4

Camera fades from transition to see the lead tech walking back to desk for another call.

Phone is already ringing and he dons his headset and presses the button to answer.

Rule #4

4. Do not call Tech Support when you've been drinking or under the influence of other mind altering substances!

Scene 4 {Male Customer who is high}


{Phone Rings} Tech - "Hello, thank you for Calling Tech Support. My Name is Brian, how can I help you?"

{Sounding High from Drugs} Caller - "Uh yeah, dude! My PC thingy, is acting all weird n' stuff.. I can't get it too... ah.. ah.... You know.... Work."

{Raises Eye Brow} Tech - "OK, what is it doing that's so weird?"

{Clearly Baked Sounding} Caller - "I tried to like uh... Get online and stuff, but it keeps giving me this message about my password. And like... I know it's in there? But it keeps asking for it..."

{Remaining Calm} Tech - "Have you tried to erase the password and retype it?"

Caller - "Uh... Yeah dude, of course! But like... The mouse and stuff? It like, keeps running away on me... I tried to like get the cat to catch it {tech holding back laughter}, but like... I don't even have a cat..."

{Trying not to laugh but sort of making fun of the caller.} Tech - "Sir, I'm sure you just need some sleep and less LSD. I'm sure once you've had that, you'll figure it out. If not, please sober up and then call us back."

Caller - "Dude, that's like... Cold. Are you saying I'm like.... High?"

{No longer amused.} Tech - "yes..." {Call Ends}.

Narrator - 4. Do not call Tech Support when you've been drinking or under the influence of other mind altering substances! Though this may start out to be cute or funny at first, it will quickly decline into frustration as you will not be able to focus properly on what the technician is asking you to do. Just imagine what the consequences of editing your computer's registry would be like...

Lead tech shakes head slowly as the screen fades to black.

Rule #5

Camera fades from transition to see the lead tech press the answer button on the next incoming call.

Looking more relaxed. A coffee cup is now on the desk indicating he's had a pick-me-up.

Rule #5

5. Have your computer on, be in front of it as well as ensure you have the proper time to work on it.

Scene 5 {Female Customer has no info, because she is not near her computer}


{Phone Rings} Tech - "Hello, thank you for Calling Tech Support. My Name is Brian, how can I help you?"

{She sounds like a professional, but somewhat hurried.} Caller - "Yes, I'm having trouble getting online."

{Relieved that the customer isn't sounding like an idiot} Tech - "OK, what happens when you try."

{Speaks clearly} Caller - "It tells me that there's something wrong."

{Genuinely Intruiged} Tech - "Can you take me step by step of what's happening? Then tell me what you get when it goes wrong."

Caller - "Well I'm at work right now. Can't you just tell me how to fix it, then I'll go home and do it."

{"and there it is..." Looking not surprised} Tech - "Ma'am, without knowing what is happening, I can't really tell you how to fix it."

Caller - "Can I call you on my lunch break?"

{Speaking Plainly} Tech - "I can't guarantee that will be enough time to resolve the issue."

{Clearly disappointed and now concerned}Caller - "Yeah, I suppose you're right. By the time I get home, feed the cat, eat, then call you.... I'd have about 5 minutes before having to leave. How late are you guys available?"

{Happy enough she's not yelling} Tech - "We have someone here 24 hours a day."

{Sounding more relieved}Caller - "OK, I'll call you when I get home."

{Almost smiling as this went better than expected} Tech - "Thank you for calling."

Narrator - Number 5. Have your computer on, be in front of it as well as ensure you have the proper time to work on it. Calling Tech Support five minutes before leaving for work, or on your "lunch break" is not productive at all. Calling us from work when your PC is crashed at home is futile; we can't begin to investigate the cause unless you're right there looking at the PC. Trust me, if you think you can write down instructions and go home and try it, you will most likely forget an important step, and make things even worse. A lot of times, customers call for support for their email, and have their computer off because "they can't be online and use the phone at the same time". We know this and trust me, we can fix things without you going online in many, many instances.

Phone starts to ring again as the screen fades to black.

Rule #6

Camera fades from transition to see the lead tech press the answer button on the next incoming call.

Doesn't really look enthused like the day is wearing thin on him.

Rule #6

6. Please do not start your call with "I'm computer illiterate"!

Scene 6 {Description, this scene, 4 (2 Male and 2 Female) characters take on phone calls beginning. Each time the caller says they don't know much about computers. With each phone call, the tech will sink more and more into repetitive depression....}


{Phone Rings} Tech - "Hello, thank you for Calling Tech Support. My Name is Brian, how can I help you?"

{Male} Caller - "I'm sorry, but I'm Computer Illiterate and I'm having this problem..." {Tech looks un-thrilled, scene fades}

{Phone Rings - Tech looks less enthused.} Tech - "Hello, thank you for Calling Tech Support. My Name is Brian, how can I help you?"

{Female} Caller - "Hi, now I'm a total neophyte when it comes to computers, but the past few weeks....." {Tech looks even more unimpressed, scene fades}

{Phone Rings - Tech looks emotionally drained} Tech - "Hello, thank you for Calling Tech Support. My Name is Brian, how can I help you?"

{Older Male} Caller - "Yes Sir, I'm about as big a dummy as they come. But I've got this problem that's been haunting me....." {Tech is about as depressed as he can get, scene fades}

{Phone Rings - Tech looks disconnected from reality and speaks like he's tired} Tech - "Hello, thank you for Calling Tech Support. My Name is Brian, how can I help you?"

{Older Female} Caller - "Hi, I'm just so stupid when it comes to computers. I'm not even sure you can help me. But I'm gonna ask anyways...."

Tech - ... {Bangs head on desk as scene fades}

Narrator - Number 6. Please do not start your call with "I'm computer illiterate"! We in tech support tend to assume you know nothing, and 9 times out of 10 you prove us right. It's very irritating to hear that at the beginning of every call. Besides, would you be calling us if you knew what you were doing? It also just sets a bad tone for the whole call up front.

Black screen last 2 seconds longer than normal.

Rule #7

Camera fades from transition to see the lead tech press the answer button looking drained from what is now becoming a long day.

Rule #7

7. Please do not throw your "title" at us, or job qualifications.

Scene 7 {Male Customer who is over confident in his position in life}


{Phone Rings} Tech - "Hello, thank you for Calling Tech Support. My Name is Brian, how can I help you?"

Caller - "Yes, this is Buford T. Barrington. I'm the System Administrator for the Big Important Business. Listen, I'm gonna need a new system sent down here to replace the one with the error on the screen."

Tech - "What error is that?"

Caller - "It's a bad one, something about video or other."

Tech - "Sir, I'm sure I can help you with that, can you get to the computer and tell me what the error says?"

Caller - "I just need a new system."

Tech - "I'm sure you don't need a new system. Probably just need the drivers reloaded for the video card or perhaps a replacement video card."

Caller - "You think you can fix that?"

Tech - "I'm sure I can and save your company some money by doing so."

Caller - "Well.... OK. Hold on."

Narrator - Number 7. Please do not throw your "title" at us, or job qualifications. You have no idea how many "System Administrators" or "Network Administrators" still need to call Tech Support. As well as I and none of my fellow techs are impressed when you proceed to give us your lofty title of Doctor or Judge. Besides, the majority of the time, these so-called "intelligent" people turn out to be jerks anyways. And frankly, we simply don't care. You need our help, so sit back and let us do our job.

Black screen fade.

Rule #8

Camera fades from transition to see the lead tech with call already in progress.

Rule #8

8. Listen to Tech Support carefully, and do not click or press keys unless told to do so.

Scene 8 {Tech is trying not to lose his cool as the Female customer just will not listen...}


Tech - "OK, what I need to do now, is to click on START, then CONTROL PANEL"

{Interrupts Tech} Caller - "Ah damn it, it's froze again!"

{Hand jestures as to want to reach through phone and strangle the caller}Tech - "Let's give it a moment."

Caller - "Damned thing!"{Sound over phone - Button Click}

{Hears click and cocks head} Tech - "What's the computer doing?"

{Computer Beeps Once}

Caller - "Ah the damned thing froze, so I turned it off. Just starting now, hold on."

{Facepalms while holding head and talking.} Tech - "Ma'am, I didn't ask you to turn off the computer. I just wanted you to give it a moment to respond."

Caller - "I'm sorry, it just happens all the time."

{Hands up while trying to explain.} Tech - "I know, but this is why I'm trying to help you, so it doesn't do that anymore."

{Computer Startup Music Over Phone}

Caller - "I'm sorry."

{One hand up with loosely pointed finger as if to make a point.} Tech - "That's OK, but stick with me, we CAN fix this."

Caller - "OK"

Narrator - Number 8. Listen to Tech Support carefully, and do not click or press keys unless told to do so. Ever play "Simon Says" as a kid? Well, tech support is just like that. And trust me, "Simon" will get very nasty with you if you close programs or windows he or she needs you to have open or click on things that have nothing to do with what we're trying to help you fix.

It's also very important that you DO NOT reset your PC just because you've got an "hourglass"; there are other ways to stop the program without trashing your operating system. Stick with us and we'll gladly tell you how to do it. Or we can start from the beginning, your choice.

Black screen fade.

Rule #9

Camera fades from transition to see the lead tech answering call.

Rule #9

9. Be honest with your Tech Support Personnel, inform them of any and all changes you have made recently.

Scene 9 {Female Caller who isn't telling the whole story}


Tech - "Hello, thank you for Calling Tech Support. My Name is Brian, how can I help you?"

Caller - "Yes, I can't get my email to download. It says it can't find the server."

Tech - "When did this start happening?"

Caller - "I haven't been able to get my mail for a few days now."

Tech - "What were you doing prior to this happening?"

Caller - "Nothing, I was just doing what I always do."

{Turns head slightly as if he is starting to doubt her answers.} Tech - "No updates to your Operating System? Or perhaps your security software?"

Caller - "Nope."

{scene fades to a black screen with "35 Minutes Later", then fades back}

{Intensly asking question.} Tech - "Ma'am, the error message you read me directly relates to your anti-virus program. Are you absolutely sure there were no updates to it?"

Caller - "Well, now that I think about it, I did have to leave my computer on for a couple of hours to download something for it."

{Bows head into hands as realizing the problem and could've solved it by now had she just said this before.} Tech - "{sighs heavily}"

Narrator - Number 9. Be honest with your Tech Support Personnel, inform them of any and all changes you have made recently.

When calling tech support, please inform them exactly what you've installed, changed or removed with your computer, even several days or weeks ago. Even if you think it may not be related. We even need to know if your security software was updated or if there was other updates or patches you've installed. You would be amazed at how important this may be. As well as how much quicker finding the resolution to your problem.

It's actually a good idea to use a notepad, write down what you've done, when you've done it. It will help both you and the tech.

Black screen fade.

Rule #10

Camera fades from transition to see the lead tech answering call.

Rule #10

10. Remove any or all distractions before calling Tech Support.

Scene 10 {Tech Answers Phone and can hear kids screaming, cartoons at high volume and other noises in the background. Making it difficult to hear.}


Tech - "Hello, thank you for Calling Tech Support. My Name is Brian, how can I help you?"

{Speaking loudly over noise} Caller - "Yes, I'm trying to open a program and it won't open!"

{trying hard to listen and speak without sounding rude} Tech - "What program is it?"

{sort of loud over noise} Caller - "It's the one that you write like your BILLY STOP IT!!, sorry... Where you know, BILLY I SAID STOP IT!!! I'm sorry. I'm trying to write a resume."

{snidely saying} Tech - "Oh, you work in Child Care?"

Caller - "No" {kids still screaming}

{Speaking more loudly, nearly shouting.} Tech - "I think it would be best if you can find time to call me when there isn't so much noise going on."

{Also being loud and now offended.} Caller - "I need to get this done though."

{Cringing at the noise.} Tech - "And I need my sanity..." {Call ends as tech hangs up.}

Narrator - Number 10. Remove any or all distractions before calling Tech Support.

Please don't call us when you're domestic problems, or when your children are screaming at the top of their lungs. Turn down your TV or stereo, please do not call us while you're having a party. As well as, do not call us if your wife just said she's leaving you. Trust us, it isn't going to help you or us trying to help you.

Black screen fade.

Final Scene

Camera fades in with a darkened view of the call center with lead tech and others in view talking on phones and noise of the office is dampened. The narrator speaks while reviewing the rules on screen.

Narrator - Perhaps this will enlighten at least one of you out there. When calling tech support, you too, need to have things that we need. This way, we can get through your call as quickly as possible and as accurately as possible.

So let's review:

1. Make note of the exact error you are receiving, and repeat it exactly when prompted by your Tech Support Personnel.

2. If your frustration level is high, please take a break and calm yourself before calling Tech Support.

3. Do not fuss and curse at the technician. Even if you don't agree with his or her diagnosis.

4. Do not call Tech Support when you've been drinking or under the influence of other mind altering substances!

5. Have your computer on, be in front of it as well as ensure you have the proper time to work on it.

6. Please do not start your call with "I'm computer illiterate"!

7. Please do not throw your "title" at us, or job qualifications.

8. Listen to Tech Support carefully, and do not click or press keys unless told to do so.

9. Be honest with your Tech Support Personnel, inform them of any and all changes you have made recently.

10. Remove any and all distractions before calling Tech Support.

If you follow this simple, but critical rules. You'll find that your experience with tech support will be much more pleasant and efficient.

Final image before Credits. Upbeat 30's style music begins to fade in for credits.

"And stay off the porn sites!"

The Film Never Made

I have now released the whole script and files can be made available for the world since the film never saw the light of day. I mean why die without anyone knowing my vision? Contact me for reasons?


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