My eleven-page comedy, Two Guys A Girl and A Parking Space, made it through the first round of the Amercian Gem Short Screenplay Competition (sponsored by The Write Brothers). Roughly, top 25%.
I really love this script, not because it’s the bestest in the world, but because of what it represents to me.
First, it’s a little homage to a slice of Baltimore life – parking in the city.
I worked downtown in the 90’s, had several friends who lived in urban hotspots and parking was always a real Lohan. The issue? Lots of neighborhood bars and restaurants but no garages. So you were fighting with residents over street parking, who guarded the spots in front of their homes like the Arizona militia… border-war… topical…
So a decade later, had the situation improved? Nope, at least not in the popular Canton area, where I was going to a party, and spent half an hour driving in concentric circles like I was creating a conch shell (scienceI). Until I finally found one that was so far away from my destination, I hired a Sherpa (that’s what I call scary-looking street beggars so I’m not afraid to leave my car) to find my way to the party.
I wrote the script that same weekend. Like the surfers say, ‘write what you know, bra’.
But the second reason I look fondly on this script – and fair warning, I’m going to get writery here – it was the one that I had a breakthrough on. When writing it, I discovered my ‘voice’.
I know, totes ugh, right? It sounds like corporate babble bs, like ‘synergizing efficiencies’ or ‘aligning our business unit with the company’s mascot catchphrase “W.A.T.T.S. U.P.?” (I once worked for a power company).
I’m a smartass – and when it came to my characterizations and descriptions, I had the most fun when I added that snark to them. I know it’s not for the purists and some people have critiqued my style as too Shane Black, with little asides or phrasing that is meant to entertain the reader.
But I will do anything in a script to keep someone engaged. I’m still trying to break into the business and earn a living. I don’t have the luxury that a reader/producer/actor/director, who read scripts… every… damn… day… will keep going past page one, if they’re not entertained. Of course, story, structure, character, dialogue… all that matters too. But there’s one element that is always going to be different from all those other scripts – me – that’s the primary differentiator
And here is what’s critical in my self analysis. Why I said above, it’s my voice. Because it is. I’m not trying to wedge these moments in. For those who know me, it’s just who I am, kind of an a-hole, kinda funny, but mostly an a-hole. It’s how I describe things in normal conversation and feels natural to add that element of my personality into my writing.
So if you’ve got a moment, wish me luck in the rest of the competition, check out the script and leave me some comments below.
Totes! (I’m using that correctly, right?)
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