31 March 2006

tales of woe and degradation (chapter 213)

[FILE UNDER: “pointless self-absorption,” or “much ado about nothing”]

Something weird is in the water this week, it seems. One friend gets a manager and an option and an assignment and small but not irrelevant bucket of cash. Another friend gets an option and an assignment and surely the promise of a similar non-irrelevant cash-bucket. Another pal emerges from a great face-to-face with the nagging sense that this is the start of a working relationship where (wait for it...) the non-irrelevant bucket again makes its appearance onstage. Other friends are having graphic novels premiere, or are claiming awards for comics which just premiered, or are showing early test shots of the FX the boys at WETA are cranking out for their directorial debut, or are talking about wrap parties for final episodes of major trilogies.

And now, dammit, the Good Luck Fairy has sprinkled Yippee Dust on my oversized head.

Because word has come down that I am a major award winner.

Scr(i)pt Magazine and Final Draft co-sponsor the big Scriptwriters Showcase in a week or so out at Universal Studios. The event is a cool gathering of screenwriting talents and celebs, and features all sorts of great learning and networking opportunities. Tickets to the event normally cost 149 bucks a piece—steep but worth it, given the quality and quantity of top-drawer talent you’ll have access to.

One of the panelists at the event will be Warren Hsu Leonard, aspriring screenwriter and chief bottle washer and content-spewer at the cool blog The Screenwriting Life. As a panelist, Warren had some comp passes to the event, so he came up with a goofy idea to have a 24-hour contest to see who could come up with the “best” (worst) logline for a fictitious movie, with the stipulation that the logline had to include seven specific oddball words:
barcalounger
teddy
struggles
yammer
lodge
galore
mucilaginous

Well, seeing as how Your Intrepid Narrator has eleventeen go-zillion other more pressing concerns on his plate, of course I set myself to coming up with a logline (I’d be the World Champion Procrastinator if only I could get myself to focus on the task of claiming that title...). It came together pretty quick, so I flung it against Warren’s virtual wall:
“STICKY SNOW — (action-romance) When a surprise mid-August blizzard traps world-weary barcalounger repairman Bosco Yammer in a remote Montana fishing lodge with beautiful young teddy bear heiress Plushy Galore, the unlikely couple struggles to overcome personal differences, a lack of seasonally appropriate clothing, and a sleeper cell of mucilaginous Quebecois “bush pirates” trafficking in stolen ornamental shrubbery.”

Then (yay for me) Warren selected it as one of the five finalists to go into the public voting to choose the winner.

Now, hard as this is to believe, I have friends.

No, really—I’m serious. I have great friends. I have friends so great, in fact, that even a complete ass-tacular moron such as myself still rates support and at least a monthly demonstration of some functional equivalent of respect. So when I mentioned to a group of friends—fellow writers and artists and morons—that my bad logline made the finals of the contest, saying “you guys oughta go see the fun and vote for someone,” apparently many of them did just that. Suddenly my vote tally explodified, and I ran roughshod over my pathetic rivals like some great big rumbling roughshod over-running thing. We’re talking a mandate of Stalinesque proportion. When the smoke had cleared and the steaming gore hosed from the voting booths, I’d claimed almost 50% of the ballots in the 5-way race.

Meaning I’d won a free pass to the aforementioned Seriously Waycool LA Event.

Now, anyone who’s read this far likely has done so just to see the inevitable other shoe drop (or else is completing some sort of court-ordered community service/masochistic reading exercise), as Good News in my universe most always arrives wrapped ‘round a well-thrown fast-flying rock.

This conference is April 7–9.

My son’s Cub Scout pack has their Spring Campout April 7–9.

And guess who is the Camping Coordinator, in charge of making sure the weenies get cooked and the campfires get put out and the nice people at Lake Somerville State Park get their money and whatever apologies are due?

That’s right—the recently crowned Champion Logline Writer.

So I wave at Warren and say “Cool, but I can’t go,” and now the #2 vote-grabber gets the glory while I get a copy of Warren’s book and/or a box of pushpins. And come next Saturday night, as my duly-crushed rival is sipping my watered well-drink cocktails and schmoozing with my hip industry contacts and horking down my niblet-sized cuts of the finest meats at the spectacular gherkin and saltine buffet line, I’ll be a metaphorical million miles away, scrubbing scorched chili from the bottom of an army-surplus pot beneath the magnesium glare of an overhead Coleman lantern.

Which actually suits me better, truth be told. Some folks fit right in with beautiful people and casual convo and terrazzo floors and light jazz on the overhead. Me, I’m content again to be like Maximus in GLADIATOR, denied his rightful glory and forced to toil in abject dumpth for the bemusement of self-anointed gods, but goddammit I’ll still have my honor, my pride, my dignity.

And, if Warren can be trusted, maybe some pushpins in the mail.

”What we do in life echoes in eternity.”

Damned straight, else I’m screwed again (naturally).

Onwards.
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5 comments:

Scott the Reader said...

That chili sounds pretty good.

samantha said...

Sorry I haven't emailed you back. You overwhelmed me with all those questions. I've been waiting to respond until I had time & now I've lost the email. If you remember any of the questions, just email me three of the easy ones and I'll write back. I swear!

Brett said...

Sammalammadingdong--

If your email is the same, I can FWD a copy. If yours is different, mine is still brettman(at)consolidated(dot)net.

I might maybe would call, but dunno how you'd take a 7 PM Friday night call from a moron like me who's riding the high of a 13-5 baseball win.

(Son went 2-for-3, with a triple and a pair of RBIs, and coach gave him the game ball. And since I am that coach, we all know it was deserved.)

Hope you're well and busy!
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Heidi said...

Have fun at the camp-out. Probably way more fun, you're right. AND you can be yourself. You can probably even get the kids to start chanting: "MAX-I-MUS, MAX-I-MUS!"

Brett said...

Dunno about the chant.

Yeah, on the one hand it would satisfy one aspect of my ego, but on the other, more than a few of the straight-laced ass-puckered parents already look at me with odd expressions of doubt, confusion, and mild fear. Better to keep them guessing than let them ever get too clear in their understanding.

"Let formlessness be your form."
--Lao Tzu


Meanwhile, I'm suddenly not sure what it says that I'm reffing GLADIATOR and THE ART OF WAR in discussions about a Cub Scout campout.

'Scuse me whilst I go ponder.
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