Friday, July 1, 2011

Film School: Part Three

The next day, Mike was sitting in class, bored. It was some academic thing, totally not his cup of tea. He had gone to college so that he could make movies, not so that he could learn about history or math or whatever it was. So, like any reasonable person, he was slacking off. Instead of taking notes, his computer was on a word document, listing a stream of consciousness of what he wanted for this film. It wasn’t a concrete thing so much as it was a mass of ideas.
At the top of the page, he had written “The kind of movie that feels different every time you watch it.” And then listed aspects. “Protagonist: likable, funny, but also profound. Average viewer can identify with him. Reasonably attractive, but not hunky.” It seemed questionable to include an appearance requirement. Did most directors assume that they could find someone who could play the part well and look right? Mike drew an elephant on the desk with a mechanical pencil he had picked up off of the ground earlier. There were more elements to a good film, he knew it. “Protagonist is fighting against someone from his past.” But who was it, from his past? This character didn’t even have a name, and already, they were trying to find some complication in his past. He didn’t have a past, really. He needed depth, complexity. He needed idiosyncrasies. Wasn’t there that one line, in Good Will Hunting, about that kind of stuff? Mike thought about it for a second. There was a line, the therapist said something about his wife, how his wife had those little oddities that everyone has, and how he was the only person who knew all of them, and how that made her special, right? Something like that. This character needed those. He started typing again, listing every weird thing that he could come up with. “Has never had a different haircut than he has now. Has never grown a beard. Is a horrible dancer. Wears no jewelry. Hated most of school. Not terribly social. Dislikes chocolate. Prefers sour candies to sweet candies. Reads books that others thought were boring, not because he liked them, but to spite people. Wears shiny black shoes with pointed toes that looked like they hurt, but didn’t Maybe cowboy boots, for “out there” occasions. Has not owned a pair of athletic shoes since high school, which was an indeterminate amount of time ago.” This was far too much to be talking about shoes, he knew it. Something else, there had to be something else to talk about. “He has a mysterious past, full of things that are ungood in a sad way, not in a dark way. Has probably contemplated suicide at some point in time, but never attempted it. Ran away from home when he was a teenager, ended up staying with extended family for a while. Sees no point in getting comfortable, getting used to a place or a routine. Perpetually unattached.”
Mike bit his lower lip and tapped on his laptop. There was something, something digging into his side. He looked over and saw Vivian, clad in a kelly green sweater, looking at him.
“Oh. Hi there.”
“What are you doing?”
“Learning, sitting in class, you know. Doin’ the school thing.” He had worked with Vivian on a project once, and she was the kind of girl who got in everyone’s business, all the time. Controlling, detail oriented.
“No, what are you typing?”
“Uhhh, this? It’s notes, you know. Because I’m paying attention in class.” Gosh, how did he become such a terrible liar? Really, now, it was pathetic.
“It doesn’t look like notes.” She looked exceedingly proud of herself, and also terrifying. “Maybe this is weird, but I’ve been watching you for the better part of an hour now. It looks as though you’re planning out a story of some sort. A visual story. Like a movie. I think it has a lot of promise.”
“What? A movie? I’m not making a movie. It’s a plan for a, um, webconic. A web, webcomic.”
“Oh.” She looked slightly crestfallen. “Well then. I’d just like to let you know that I think it could be a really great film. I’d make it with you, if you’d like.”
“Well, given that I’m not really making anything, there’s nothing for you to help with.”
“Mike.” She looked him in the eye and placed her hand on his arm.
“How do you know my name?”
“I just do. Don’t ask questions. I think that you have something real, something real and something with the potential to be amazing here, and I want to help you to this future. For you . And for me.”
“Well, that’s really nice and all, but I have to go right now.” He got up and grabbed his things.
“Class isn’t even over.”
“I have a doctor’s appointment. Syphillis. It’s very bad.”
“Oh.” She looked sad now, disappointed.
“Yeah, so see you around, right?”

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