Tuesday, January 27, 2009

107 stories to be told...
...and my intro scriptwriting class began by telling twenty.

Today was day two of intro scriptwriting.  We each took a turn telling a tale from our past--all of which left us laughing WITH each other, not at.  Really.  While we learned a bit about each other, we also saw how the simplest idea can lead to a short screenplay, a short story, a play, a poem, an essay, a blog....

One script that we read began with a simple "What if?" twist.  What if my father had taken that job offer with the mob boss in Cleveland upon graduating college?  What would the responsibility of such a commitment do to an honest man?  (For those of you who don't know the laws of the Mafia--had my father taken the job with the mob, since he was not already a member of the family he would have had to kill someone to both prove his loyalty and so the mob would always have control over him.  He couldn't, but when I explore what conditions could make an otherwise honest man agree to such conditions--whala!  A story is born.)

We also read a short excerpt from my PLAYING HOUSE script, a story based on my husband who actually tried to save a woman and her toddler...who wasn't a toddler at all, but was a DOLL.  He was nearly run over by a car for his good deed.  While his story shocked and scared me, it also yielded a poem by me, which I later turned into a dialogueless short screenplay.

So what is your story?  Don't worry about whether or not it might make a great short script, with or without that "What if?" twist--simply entertain us.

Next week: the technical parts of a screenplay--a primer in how to draft the blueprint of a film.



Kyle said...

I'm excited for the primer.

Dana said...

While I'd be excited if you told us a story.... :)

Alli said...

Ok, I have another one! When Nicole started talking about her camping trip I was reminded of a particular trip I went on...

I went camping a long time ago with a very good friend of mine and his family. There was about 7 or 8 of us, and one day when we finally got sick of the campsite, we drove about 15-20 minutes north to the Whale's Tale water park. It's a mini Water Country for the folks up north. Well, like W.C. in Salem, this place had a wave pool, not to mention a couple slides and a stream-like...thing where you could just plop your tube in the water and float along.

The Lavoies and I stuck to the wave pool for most of the day. At one point, it was just my friend's dad, Tim, and myself in the wave pool, the rest of our party was scattered throughout the park. Tim, being the funny guy that he is--he almost managed to cut his toe of with a machete while chopping our firewood the night before--took it upon himself to toss me and my tube onto the crest of the waves, which was causing me to be launched into other people. (Yeah, thanks, Tim!).

On one particular "launch," I actually flew out of my tube and collided (face-first actually) with a very LARGE--emphasis on LARGE--man's derriere! When I say derriere, I mean, rump, behind, keister, posterior, or the more obvious term, BUTT! This man was so LARGE in fact, that I was repelled off of his LARGE surface area back into another wave. For a moment I knew what it was like to be a pinball. I eventually managed to escape the waves, and sit on a chair to recover from my traumatizing experience.

Please keep in mind, this has been the running joke between me and the Lavoie family for almost 8 years.

Allie Carr said...

Ok so my story is the same as I told in class so here I go again trying to explain it.

Well it was the Thursday night before Spring Break last year so everyone was really excited to all go out together one last time before we separated for the week. We decided it should be army themed so I am dressed like I thought an army person would be dressed like (whick they probably wouldnt ever in their lives). So I am wearing cheap Aviators that I bought at Walmart and a wife beater and jeans. My friend is wearing her Aviators and tshirt and jeans and sneakers as well.

Then after a couple drinks we get the great idea to go visit our friends in a house down the street on campus. We go there still dressed in our army attire and visit them. After awhile we see that our friends, mostly guys, are basically ignoring us. So we get the bright idea to steal one of their shovels. Somehow that would show them who's boss. So we take our new shovel and walk back to our place.

Once home with the shovel in hand we are sitting in the kitchen venting about how we were being ignored. So we keep getting madder and madder as time goes by. So we get the bright idea to take the desert of the day (rocky road fudge) and throw it at their windows. So we throw the fudge, poorly aimed I might add, and decide to take their other shovel. As we are reaching for the shovel one of the guys who lives there is coming home from across the street. He asks if we need to be let in and we say "No we were just leaving anyway". So we pretend to leave and hide until he shuts the door.

Once the door is shut I run up to the shovel and grab it and we book it home. Feeling accomplished that we have successfully taught our friends a lesson. And we did all this with our Aviators on and we felt like we were hardcore. The next morning our roomies all question why there are 2 random shovels in our room and having to tell that story to them was priceless.

We decided to leave the shovels in our house over Spring Break and I had the humbling opportunity to bring the shovels back one in each arm and hoping that no one saw me. So everyone proceeds to bring this story up to me anytime I decide to go out and ask me to resist stealing anyone shovels while I'm gone.

Tanya Darling said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tanya Darling said...

When I was in college full-time in Boston, one of my summer jobs was to stand on the sidewalk outside a restaurant called the Pour House, handing out menus dressed like a hamburger.

The bun went from my shoulders to the top of my knees. On the bun, there were two huge smiling eyes; right in the middle was a round nose, and a big toothless smile completed the crazy-looking face. Atop my shoulders was an oversized white chef’s hat that covered my entire head. There was a white screen so I could see out.

Although I enticed many young men who walked by—as I got many whistles and quite a few dates—my costume terrified every four-legged dog. One afternoon, a customer tied his dog to the parking meter in front of me. The dog went berserk, and he barked at me for ten minutes as I tried to greet and hand out my menus.

Then, the car next to the dog started to back up, and the dog was unaware since he couldn’t tear his eyes away from the walking burger. I approached him and tried to move him out of harms way. The dog bit my hand in appreciation as I saved his life.

The next day, I gave my notice and went off to look for a safer and saner way to earn a buck.

Dana said...

Q. What do hamburgers, shovels and large derrieres have in common?

I don't know the answer, I'm just putting the thought out there. You didn't know I was such a deep thinker, did you?!

Stacy said...

I took a trip with the University and one other school to Italy and Sicily over winter break. Most of the time was very educational and at night after we had dinner we could go amongst ourselves and do as we pleased. Another student from the group happened to have a birthday on one of the nights we spent in Roma. At dinner the night before, we met a waitress who was from the States and she told us about the club called 21 that her friend was part owner of and we should celebrate there. We took her up and met her there along with her friend. Throughout the night we were served cheap drinks and free champagne; the glory of hanging out with the owner. At the end of the night we all piled into a few cabs back to the hotel. As I was stepping out of the cab my stiletto heel got jammed in between the cobblestone and I lost my balance and fell on ALL fours. Then my completely oblivious and more intoxicated friend Rachael had no idea I was stuck in the road, never mind even on the ground and she pursues to make her way out of the cab. Before you know it she is on top of me, can not get up and I am completely helpless because I am STILL wedged into the road. Both of us are cracking up which also doesn’t help the matter. One part I didn’t mention in class is that she was laughing so hard she kept saying “I’m gonna pee, I’m gonna pee.” I started freaking out because the aftermath would have been all over me! Turns out she finally rolls herself off of me to the side and another friend of mine pulls my shoe out of the crack. The cab driver couldn’t not stop laughing at us probably thinking to himself… “stupid dunk Americanos.” after that embarrassing incident we bought ourselves a free cab ride home because apparently we gave him a good laugh!

Alex Ryan Scarelli said...

Adapted from an blog post in early October 2008 about my journey to Bologna, Italy:

Before I left for my trip to Bologna I packed a few outfits and toiletries and headed with my extremely heavy backpack to the train station in Ascoli Piceno. I got on the train from Ascoli Piceno to San Benedetto del Tronto and enjoyed the scenic views of the Adriatic Sea to the left of my passenger car. It was a nice 45 minute trip to the stop over. Restful, relaxing and not at all stressful.

Unfortunately, that ended very fast. When I got to San Benedetto, it took me 10 minutes to realize that I needed to change platforms and go under the subway to get to my train. Simple enough, I went under the “Subway” and got to my platform. The “Subway” is a short underground tunnel to the other platforms on the other side of the tracks. I boarded my train for SBT to Bologona. That went along fine. I found a seat, sat down and got ready to enjoy a five hour trip to my weekend getaway. The train kept making stops at other stations, which I did not realize happened. I had figured trains were like planes, with nonstop routes. I realize now that stopping is the norm. About a minute before the train stopped it announced the city we were at. I was not suppose to arrive in Bologna until about 8:30pm, so I put my headphones on and played poker on my Ipod.

Suddenly though, someone came over the speakers and said something about the train. Realizing this was a longer message and wasn’t automated like the other ones had been when we’d stop at a destination, I took my headphones off and listened for a bit. Then I realized that I don’t speak Italian and that I didn’t understand any of it. I figured it was just another message about a stop or destination and put my headphones back on. The two people in my cabin got off the train.

A few minutes later, the train started to go backwards the direction we had come it. I looked around, now thinking that we were probably just changing tracks. No big deal, routine train navigation, right?

Then the lights in the cabin went out. The train pulled into a hub off the tracks and stopped. I sat and waited. I looked out the windows and realized the train had stopped and was not going to Bologna any longer.

Panicking, I stood up and ran through the train with my bag still at my seat, looking for signs of other people. The train was empty. I reached the conductor’s cabin, and the door was open. There was no conductor inside. I ran back to my seat, grabbed my stuff and went to the door to go out onto the platform. It was locked. I tried to pull it open. No luck. I went through another cabin to the door. That one was locked too. I threw my stuff down, my heart pounding. I asked myself why on earth I thought I would be able to navigate the Italian train system alone. How foolish could I be? I tried the door again. Still locked. Then I saw a red lever above the door. It could only be one thing: and emergency door exit.

I grabbed my stuff, pulled the lever, the door opened, and I hopped onto a platform that was about 40 feet from where the other platforms were. I ran to them, not even knowing if an alarm was sounding.

Good news: I was able to quickly find another train that was going to Bologna. I went under the subway, found the platform, and twenty minutes later I was again on my way to Bologna, my heart now settling down after having pounded furiously for a good ten minutes.

Now: Peace and a comfortable spot in my first class seat. Oh, yes. I choose to travel first class. I bought a Eurail ticket, which allows me to travel for six days within two months. It wasn’t too much more expensive to upgrade my seat. Unfortunately, besides a little more room in the seats, first class and second class are pretty much the same. Plus, a lot of Italian trains don’t offer first class seats. Minor inconvenience.

There I was on my third train, riding along comfortably to my weekend away from Ascoli. I calculated that the train glitch only cost me about a half hour from the original time I would have arrived in Bologna.

About two hours go by and I am getting very excited to reach my destination. A few more stops and I’d be in Bologna, a city I’d flown into during my trip to Italy when I was a senior, but had never seen.

This train that I was now on does not announce destinations like the one before had. I think it might have been because it was dark and people may have been sleeping. So, the train stops at a station about two hours into the ride. I happen to look outside and see a ceramic sign on the station building that says “Bologna Municipal" and a few other words in Italian. I jump out of my seat and quickly throw my Ipod, my book and my journal in my bag. I throw it on my back. Instead of looking at the blue sign outside that states the station the train is stopped at, I ask a passenger coming on if this is Bologna, just to make sure. The man, who I assume now does not speak any Italian, said “Si” in an accent I couldn’t place. I let him pass me as he found his seat, and then I ran out of the cabin and out the door onto the platform.

I put my stuff down for a moment. Good thing I had looked up or I would have been on my way to Milan, the train’s final destination. I put my stuff on my back and regrouped as the train sped away from the station. So there I was in Bologna, ready to start my adventure.

I walked out of the station. There was a row of cabs. There were lights in the far, far distance. It didn’t look like a big city to me. I turned around and looked at the building. I forget what town it had written on the top of it, but I’ll tell you one thing: I wasn’t in Bologna.

I was furious. How could that guy tell me I was in Bologna when I wasn’t. I was mad and angry. Then I took a few breaths and collected myself. I realized it wasn’t his fault. International miscommunication. Is this the train that was going to Bologna, he thought I asked .“Si,” he said and then I exited.

Next to the train schedule, I looked at a map of the Emilia-Romagna region in one of my books to see where I had wound up. I was about an hour east of Bologna. I found another train and asked a woman on the platform in my best Italian if it was the one going to Bologna and she said yes. I believed her.

Luckily, she was right and I got to my destination. I took a 10 euro cab to my hotel, not wanting to try my hand at the bus schedule just yet. That could wait until tomorrow. I got to my hotel. Thankfully, I was able to rest my Italian for a day as the receptionist, and as I quickly found out, everyone in Bologna speaks English.

I retired to my room, took a shower, unpacked and fell asleep. It was about 11:00, three hours from my planned arrival time. Add this experience to my international mishap list.

Lauren Sica said...

Ok I am going to tell the same story that I told in class, because I think it is really amusing.

A few years ago my family decided to go to disney world for a family vacation. We had everything ready to go and were very excited since it was my sister's first real trip. We rented a limo (not a real limo, it was more like a bus) that would transport us from CT to NY. We packed all of our stuff into our tiny little ford (which is now my car) and drove to the Ct limo place. When we got there, the limo place was all boarded up. Apparently they had moved and not told us! After driving around for awhile, we finally found the new location. However, we missed the ride and had to drive to the airport in the little ford with suitcases falling on our heads.

When we got to the airport we figured that we had enough time to get lunch. We took our time thinking that everything would be fine. We finally made it though the really long security line and went to wait at the gate for our plane. We sat around, and after 20 minutes wondered why our plane hadn't been called. When we asked at the gate, we were told that our plane had already left! My mother then decided to try begging for another flight, which eventually worked. However it meant that we would have to sit at the airport for 7 hours.

After sitting at the airport for 7 hours, my tired grumpy family finally got onto our plane. We had to go to texas before we could get to florida ( figure that one out) and by the time we got there we had to wait another hour while they de iced the wings of our plane! Apparently Dallas got one of their biggest snowstorms in years that day.

Finally we made it to a hotel. We only had a few hours until we had to be up to catch our flight to Orlando. The hotel we ended up at was disgusting and falling apart. The room only had two twin beds, which made sharing beds a horrible experience. In the morning we opened our door to find a drunk man passed out in the hallway. We quickly left the hotel and actually made our flight this time.

When we arrived in Orlando, we found our hotel. We were really tired and wanted to take a nap, however our hotel room had a flood and the room was all wet so we had to change rooms.

That afternoon we were all too tired and hungry to do anything, so we ordered chinese food. This was a bad idea, because for the next day, everyone was sick!

Eventually we felt better, and after a few days of bad luck, we enjoyed the rest of our vacation.

Dana said...

Maybe we should go to Disney Land and then Italy? Field trip!