Last night was my film writing class.
This is the advanced class in script writing at FilmNorth taught by the brilliant David Lawrence Grant.
I received a scholarship earlier this year for the beginning class.
I loved it.
I was offered a scholarship for the advanced Spring/Summer class and I am so thrilled to be part of it.
These people are not necessarily my tribe.
They are certainly all individuals, certainly all telling very different stories, wildly different stories.
They are of all ages and seemingly of all walks of life.
If they have anything in common it's their brainpower, maybe a certain type of applied brainpower for storytelling.
But to be a good script writer it seems you have to have a mind for technicalities as well, and these people all seem to be able to stomach that.
Technical writing makes me feel nauseous.
I'm not going to single myself out as being special or different from these people as if they're all alike and I'm the different one.
It isn't like that and I'm not going to let my mind make it into that....something I tend to want to do.
The point for me is that I'm in very deep water with this group because I respect them for what they're attempting to do.
I respect them all for participating in the class and for doing the writing every week.
I respect them all for taking on the discipline of the technical aspects of screenwriting.
I'm doing it too, I just don't necessarily find it to be easy or second nature.
Probably nobody does at first.
I can write in my journal until the cows come home...a farm expression suggesting that you could write all day until sundown...for those unfamiliar.
Now that I write this blog post every day I can do this pretty easily as well.
But the screenplay scenes are just one long arduous scary bungee jump.
I know I'm not going to die, but it feels like I might, or at least I could get dizzy and throw up, and I just have to dive and say, "Here goes!"
So with all this in mind, I presented my pages last night in our Zoom meeting class session.
Ten were present.
My screenplay is about this year in my life.
That's weird but who cares?
It's Sidney again, Sidney my age.
Sidney's dog dies, Sidney goes to New Orleans.
Sidney comes back to Minnesota and wants to move out and get her own apartment.
Sidney declares bankruptcy, Sidney's Mom goes crazy.
Everybody gets the deadly Virus in the little house under quarantine.
They all recover and Sidney's daughter moves to L.A.
(I think maybe Sidney only has one child for the sake of simplicity).
Sidney's longtime lover is from Ireland.....haha....Rob got a bit of a twist to his character...mostly because Rob always seems sort of Old World anyway and I like the name Finneas because that's Billie Eillish's brother's name.
Somehow Sidney decides to stay, gets a puppy, recommits to the relationship with Finneas, becomes a better person, and comes out on the other end solvent, sane and more secure.
There, now you don't have to wonder.
The big deal is that one very sharp and savvy woman in the class last night made a comment that has changed my reality forever.
She said that Sidney has such a classic "Savior Complex".
I've never even heard of that.
And of course Sidney is me, so my ears really prick up at these types of suggestions.
I tried to calmly ask what a savior complex is.
The very smart woman said that it's when a person thinks that they do everything better, that everyone needs them to be there, that people can't get along without her, that only she knows what's right and she needs to help everybody else.
Oh Fuck. That's Me.
I never thought about it that way.
I've never thought about anything that way.
I'm turning sixty and I just discovered this about myself because of a screenwriting class.
When I got off the Zoom class last night I ran out to the backyard to tell this discovery to my guys.
It was around nine-thirty.
Tobi the puppy, Jordan the son, and Finneas...no, Rob...haha...were having a bonfire, eating take out Pad Thai, drinking white wine, and playing Gin Rummy.
Tobi was chewing on a stick.
I sat down by the fire and told them of my discovery of the Savior Complex that I have.
They laughed and sort of agreed, but after some discussion we all decided that this is more my mother's issue that I have taken on in times of stress but that it's not really my true personality.
I'm really the baby of the family.
I'm really the person who wants to have fun.
I really don't want to save anybody at all and I'd rather have everybody be playing cards and ordering take out than me trying to manage the household.
When my mother was my age she would have lost her mind..bad expression here..if two men in the family had gone rogue and suddenly started building fires, ordering exotic foods from strange restaurants, drank wine out in the yard with laughter and abandon and started playing card games on the lawn furniture!
They're great guys and they had a great thing going, they were having so much fun and it was such a charming little scene when I came out of the house.
They had the little string of party lights on over their heads, and they were having a lovely evening.
Do you want to be right or do you want to be happy?
I don't want to be the Arbiter of Good Taste and Dignified Behavior.
I don't want to Lord Over The Kitchen.
I don't want to make sure the dusting is done or make sure nobody Tracks Anything In On Their Shoes.
I could not possibly care less.
I just want everybody to feel loved and encouraged.
I don't want to dim anybody's hope or dull anybody's shining light.
I got bigger things on my mind, bigger dreams to fulfill of my own.
My main character Sidney seems like an uptight bitch in the scene I read last night.
She's got some lessons to learn in this movie.
In a movie your character only has like two hours to figure it all out and become a better person, or die.
It's a tall order, but I can do it.
Okay, that's my story.
Today I'm suddenly driving to Ely in the great North woods to meet with some favorite fans and promoters of my music.
I'll get to do some singing tonight for a few people I think.
And tomorrow I get to Commune with Nature and the Naturalists of Ely.
What an unexpected delight!
Cheers to the dreamers and the doers!
Love to all!