10/30/2007
Doors and school bells

It's not nice sitting sideways. Two feet against the chair to your left, listening to what's being said in front. You insist on looking to your left and end up wondering endlessly.

It's a two-day school week, but there's nothing to be very comfy about. Today I was supposed to submit two screenplays and a midterm paper. Since I got comments (to make it easier to swallow) over the second flashback I used for my decision screenplay, I decided to do a third revision, which is going to be due next week. It may seem surreal to have, for example, Gaille read your scene descriptions as uninterestingly as one can, and Marcia forget when her cue is, but at least I can take it pretty positively. I realize why my cycle of images seem so wrong.

I got tangled up on the story. I always believed I have a story to tell, whatever the result may be. Most of the time I face this window clueless as to what to type, but eventually, after a million taps on the keyboard, I've made something decent and coherent. I always thought I'd have enough stories to tell everyone, although whether I'd be telling them is an entirely different matter. For the screenplay, however, only the ending was mine. I kept on insisting to the people who I discuss the project with - I never had a girlfriend, I never got beaten up, and I never beat up someone.

When I was a kid, storytelling entails working the imagination to pulp. It always meant fantasy lands and protagonists that always win. Time flies, and now the twenty-something people that attend film writing class are writing about confused dogs, dead bodies in garbage dumps, disillusioned ghosts, and kids pretending to be detectives. (Well, the last one seems more dreamy than it usually is.) You can't just isolate yourself from anything anymore. It's you, whichever way you put it.

Thus I got tangled up in the story. Gani beats up Leon because of Claire - that's seven words, and my mind's more complicated than that, so you're better off inserting, maybe, seven more bit players. I'm proud of how it turned out, but closer scrutiny reveals there's something wrong with what I did. It's bound to happen, like everybody else. That's why I did two screenplays - I thought Toni's story on a confused Friday sounded foreign. (It seemed tailor-made for the line readers, however - Misha and Jason. Oh, and me, the dog who kept on saying Misha likes me.)

Then comes the time when you cannot separate yourself from the story you've decided to write, to the story that you're actually living in. You insist on looking left and you end up plugging fictitious names into what you see. Brett doesn't know what to do. He saw Nicole and Craig, again. Well, it's never good to presume, but... he turns right and listens to the professor. No questions asked. What's real and what's not - well, they stay the same, but your involvement changes. You no longer write the story based on what you know and what you are; rather, you become the story. And whether it's a good thing remains to be seen, especially when all you've got to do is get a piece of paper, and a pen, and write about all your pains and sufferings.

Once you try to stop yourself from revealing too much, it happens. Writer's block, or what we use as a common excuse. I was taught that you couldn't have that - there's always something to tell, and you only have to dig through it. Or, maybe, get something and break through the concrete barrier. Then you start worrying about your opening cycle of images.

Gani goes out of the comfort room, holding his bruised cheek. He comes in the classroom and Claire notices it. He's late again.

I got a laugh that morning. Sir Doy said I shouldn't use as an excuse that a script's based on a true story. Funny thing is, it really isn't - it's more of an idealized version of what I want myself to be. Then I hope that whatever's written in monospace collides with the abstract concepts of walking in two feet without stumbling. Maybe then things will become better for me. There wasn't a weird feeling of isolation after the class, but I realized I got stuck in my idealism for too long - the images are still flashing in my head.

"I like them too," Brett said, laughing nervously as the two stare at each other.

Actually, it happened, long before I could write about it.

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