This memory came up for no particular reason.
I really liked Screenwriting. I miss Screenwriting. I wish I had continued all that I had learned in Screenwriting. I still kind of, somewhat do, except all the scripts and vignettes stay piled up in my head. They don’t even get to see the light of day during Script Frenzy. It’s unfortunate. (I also got an A+ in Screenwriting when no one else in the history of that class had before. So maybe I’m really just nostalgic for the last time I actually accomplished something mildly interesting and non-cookie cutter like college graduation.)
One of the regular things we did was read short scripts and discuss their mechanics. Sometimes they were snippets of dramas; sometimes they were super short comedic scenes. Always they were picked for their devices so that we could see how a character-driven plot worked, how to show and not tell, and all that other storytelling goodness.
The class was full of aspiring auteurs, or at least film enthusiasts, so you can imagine that conversation pretty much never ran dry. Everyone wanted to, had to, one-up each other in one way or another. Except for this one time when we were presented with an utterly ridiculous script. It was like someone took three minutes out of The Sweetest Thing (My freshman roommate’s ultimate favorite.) and served up the transcript to a bunch of heady TV production students. It was so kitschy. The resolution at the end of the pages seemed to come out of nowhere.
When the teacher asked how we felt about this script, you could tell he was expecting the floodgates to open. But there was silence. People rustled in their seats. A lot of murmurs. One girl said, “I don’t really like it.” Timidly, she continued, “I just…I don’t get it.” Guys chimed in, saying how they just didn’t get where the ending came from. They couldn’t see it being made into a film.
“Really?” my teacher asked. He was genuinely surprised that none of his students “got” this piece. He explained that this actually had been made into a very successful short. He did that teacher thing where he said nothing, waiting for someone to break the average seven-second wait time of silence.
“I actually thought it was hilarious,” I finally said. And then everybody looked at me, because the entire quarter, I had been called out for having the most independent concept for my final project. How could I like something so ridiculous?
At first glance, I agreed that the thing seemed lame, but after taking more time to envision it, I saw that it was more than we gave it credit for. “It makes me think of a parody of a chick flick, because its solutions come straight outta nowhere. And isn’t that exactly how chick flicks work? Stupid things just happen. For no rhyme or reason. This script just makes fun of all of that.”
And whether I was right or wrong, I just remember a series of blonde heads whipping around at me, female eyes glaring at me and sending eye lazers through my head, because I had just insulted their chick flicks.