We’re doing this assignment in Writer’s Group where we start a screenplay and then pass it along to the next person to write the next part. The goal is to write an entire screenplay (yea right). It’s kind of like those games we played when we were younger, when one person would say a sentence and the next person would continue the story. Was that a game? Maybe it was just improv class. Anyway, we write a bunch of movie themes down and pick two out of a hat. Themes include horror, comedy, western, etc. The first one drawn is high school. Yes! I love high school. I can write high school. I’m especially pumped about it after just seeing The Perks of Being a Wallflower. The second one drawn is mystery. Hmm, no idea how to write a mystery, but a high school mystery definitely sounds fun!
Some of the group chickens out. Sure they have “reasons” for not participating, but really, this can be a hard thing. And the rule is, once the screenplay is passed to you, you have 24 hours before you have to pass it to the next person. There are five of us participating. It was Zach’s idea. He had to start it. We get an email five days later from Zach:
“Hey Everybody. It brings me no pleasure to say… I’m a dumb ass. I suggested this damned thing and then just completely forgot about it until Lys (his wife) reminded me as she walked out the door. I mean I didn’t even procrastinate… I just woke up on Tuesday morning as if we had never even discussed it. Also I haven’t smoked in 4 days so that may be part of it (longest quitting streak in 20 years!!!) Anyway it’s no excuse, literally I am just that stupid. Soooo…. I know this is completely deflated now but I will get Kyle a script by tonight and if no one feels like doing it now because I’m a moron I completely understand.”
Hilarious. I don’t care that we haven’t started it, it’s totally fine, but I appreciate everything he says. I haven’t talked about Zach much, but he really is a funny guy. If he laughs and I don’t think it’s funny, I’ll still laugh because it’s contagious.
So we finally get started. When it’s handed to me, I’m excited. I have an idea for who I want to die (because someone has to die at the beginning of a mystery), but I leave it on a cliff hanger for the next person to decide. When it goes through the four people again and comes back to me, I’m like what the fuck. What is happening? So confused! Zan (Lys’ brother) had the script after me. How did he not kill off the person I wanted him to kill off? Shame on me for not killing the character myself, but holy crap, Zan took it in a whole other direction. And he killed a character I liked! I didn’t want her to die and I’m sad she’s dead (which, in reality, is probably a good thing; you want the viewer to actually care that this person has been killed). I have no idea what to do. I’m literally stressed out about it. It was easy and fun in the beginning, but now it’s getting tough. I’m sure writing a screenplay on my own will be no picnic either, but I’m not anywhere near that yet. I leave the apartment, come back an hour later, and get down to business. Or, just spit something out. I don’t answer many “questions” if you know what I mean. I don’t want to mess it up!
I know nothing about writing a mystery. The only thing I know is Clue. The board game and the real game. The board game was fun: Colonel Mustard in the Library with the Lead Pipe! But the real game is where it’s at. We played in middle school (it may have been high school…took me a while to grow up). We’d all pick out of a hat: one killer, one victim, and the rest guests at the party. We did this at so many parties. My favorite was in Schultz’s basement because when the lights were out it was pitch black and there is no way you could know who the killer was! See, it would be a party. We’d all walk around, “acting” like guests at a party, sophisticated I’m sure. All of a sudden, the lights go out, someone screams! Lights go back on, and we have to figure out the killer. It’s no wonder I loved this game. Pretending was my favorite.
I don’t think High School Mystery (our working title, I suppose) will turn out great, or even good, but it’s a good exercise. I look forward to the final product.