So, after three months of therapy and self-empowerment sessions, I finally managed to give the latest draft of The Work, my Spanish Civil War screenplay to my friend Pat the day before yesterday.
Pat had read it in a few hours...which of course had me doubting whether she really wanted to read it, and whether she was finding it boring and pretentious. (I think "being found pretentious" is the scariest, most-vulnerable making part of being a writer.)
So, then, Pat shows up in my office yesterday morning bearing the script and saying, "I NEED THE LAST FIVE PAGES!" Turns out, in my separation anxieties over giving her the script, I had left the ending off her copy. I was encouraged by her eagerness to read the end - Lord knows, I don't feel that kind of anticipation over one in fifty scripts - but still I was ready for the worst.
Barb: So, what did you think?
Pat: I really like it.
Barb: But you didn't love it?
Barb: Because that's okay, because it's still a work in progress and I think the third act loses the main character's arc anyway. I mean, the external drama completely overwhelms the main character's inner story--
Pat: No! I think it's great!
Barb: (rolling eyeballs) Yeah...that's okay.
Pat: What!? I LIKE IT! A LOT!
Barb: It's the inciting incident, isn't it? You thought it was stupid to put the inciting incident as an opening flashback?!! It was. I should probably lose it. No one's going to get it...
Pat: No, I liked that. I loved the montages. Some of them are brilliant.
Barb: (sucking every micronucleus of oxygen out of the room) Did you REALLLLLLLLLY think so? Which one did you like best?
Pat: Oh, the one where he tells the Archbish--
Barb: And how about the asylum scene? Did you like that?
Pat: (trying to recall) Yeahhhhh...
Barb: You hated it. You thought it was over-written, didn't you? I know, I know. Over-written, pretentious crap.
Pat: No, I was just trying to remember. Overall, I think it's great--
Barb: "Trying to remember" - it bored you. It's boring. I knew it. Rats.
Pat: Have you lost your mind?! I read it really fast because I got caught up in the story. I've got to read it again so I can give you some notes.
Barb: (trying to sound disinterested) Well, if you want.
Then, last night, I saw her in the parking lot, and before I knew it heard myself...
Barb: You hated my screenplay.
Pat: I DID NOT HATE YOUR SCREENPLAY! But I kind of like seeing you like this.
Another one un-fooled. Rats.
P.S. Got a call from the production company which hired me to write The Work. Seems they got the financing in place this week, so the project seems like it will end up in front of cameras sometime early next year. Kinda cool.