Darn you clichés. You’ve proven to all be true. The semester has flown by so fast. I’ve learned so much. I can’t wait to go home to my family and friends.
But in the words of Nacho Libre, “Let’s get down to the nitty gritty.” Was my time in California all I hoped it would be?
There weren’t crushing, earth-shattering lows. There weren’t top-of-the-world, life-changing highs. In short, even though I was in Hollywood, life wasn’t following the traditional three-act narrative structure of most Hollywood films. I didn’t get any job offer, but I did get a few useful connections. I didn’t sell a screenplay to a major studio, but I did learn a lot about what makes a good screenplay great through my internships.
Michelle, a script arbitrator (someone who works on the legal side of screenwriting), shared with me both her and her husband’s Hollywood journey. Her husband, Joey, had made three script sales to major studios. She said Joey thought he’d hit it big, but is currently in a dry spot. He has proof that he’s got the skills to succeed, so why isn’t he?
This all helped to emphasize to me that success on this earth is fleeting. God doesn’t guarantee me a Hollywood happy ending. Even if I had the best day of my life, life would continue the next day, and I would have to move on to the next story.
Biggest area of growth this semester? Well, I feel like I’m a much better driver than I was when I came out here. My first time driving to work was one of the more terrifying experiences of my life. But on this friday, my last day, I made the trek with ease even with the torrential downpour! Small victories, folks. Small victories.
Oh, and for those who’ve kept up with my blog from the beginning, I’ve promised the full list of clichés that found their way into the scripts I’ve covered this semester.
Out of the 80 scripts that I read this year:
- The protagonist died a dramatic death in at the end of 9 of them. 6 of those deaths were from a “We have to activate the switch manually! I’ll sacrifice myself to do it!” scenario.
- 15 of the scripts’ protagonists were struggling writers. FIFTEEN! All of them were thinly veiled representations of their authors’ own struggles as a writer.
- Plot twist! The trusted mentor was actually the villain all along in 13 of these scripts.
- The protagonist got his car towed in 5 scripts. Poor guy.
- But if you really want to make us sympathize with your character, have them hold a photograph of their deceased relative, and then have them take out and admire it during the most emotional parts of the story. 21 scripts thought this was a great idea.
- But what if that relative isn’t really dead? I kid you not, 3 scripts had the dead girl’s ghost whisper, “find me” to the protagonist.
Some scripts had great, specific ideas. Someone else just happened to have the exact same idea.
- 3 scripts were coming of age stories set in the 80’s. All three protagonists had single mothers who were anxious to get back into the dating scene because they can’t grow old yet, darn it! So the protagonist walked in and caught her mother in bed with a complete loser.
- A different 3 TV pilots all opened with a tape recording of a deceased character reading out his will. The script then revealed that two characters who hated each other were actually related! They would have to live together and follow the deceased character’s orders to inherit his vast fortune.
- Another 3 scripts were about a priceless painting being sold for cheap. The characters then scrambled to get the painting back from the unappreciative new owners.
I’ve got a ton more clichés, but that’s enough for this blog. Thanks for staying with me throughout this journey. Peace out.