Eight Minutes To Spare

You may need Mapquest for this one. It gets a little complicated.

So the deadline for the Nantucket Film Festival screenplay competition is tomorrow. I wrote my virgin foray into screenwriting in July 2000, and basically haven’t touched it since. Until tonight.

It’s called “Mo’ Hart.” As I wrote on my application, “A recently-graduated senator’s son seeks fulfillment in life and love.” Or some such shit. It really is quite good, at least the film in my head is good. But I digress.

So the deadline was basically 9:30 tonight when FedEx closes. I’ve procrastinated its preparation for months and months and months, and finally got to formatting and editing it tonight. At 6:00 p.m.

The office is emptying out and there I am trying to not only learn about proper screenplay formatting, but I’m rushing to get the thing into said formatting, all while trying to beef it up a few pages and do some light edits. Oy. The heat shuts off at six. And the pressures on.

But I’m loving working on it again. It’s a sweet story. True, it’s painted in broad strokes. It’s sincere, and it’s a love story, and it has a terrific, very happy ending. Even though it ends kinda’ inconclusively. I love it. I can’t believe I had anything to do with it.

Chris and I got so far as to story board it, but it became apparent that it was far too ambitious a project. There are dozens of characters and locations, live musical numbers (the protagonist is a singer/songwriter — shocker! He sings my songs — surprise! Plus Aimee Mann’s, Men At Work, and Grand Funk Railroad’s!). In fact, it’s pretty much a musical. That is, the songs contribute to the narrative. Heck, I once thought I’d play Morrison Hart (but then I got old). It’s got kid actors — the works. But Chris was getting married at the time, it looked to expensive, so it got back-burnered. Until now.

I rarely miss a deadline. So at 8:30 or so, I’ve got it up to 80 pages, it’s roughly formatted, I’ve removed all the profanity (I guess I though real dialog was curse-laden, but I think that’s only my life). I print two copies of the 80-page opus, fill out the application, cut a check, and hit the pavement.

(This is where Mapquest may come in handy.)

Now, I work at 44th and Broadway. There’s a FedEx at 50th and Sixth. So I head north and east through tourist traffic. I get there at 9:15. It’s closed. Panic. I know the 42d and Eleventh office is open ’til 9:30, so I hail a cab. The slowest f’ing cab on earth. As I’m addressing my FedEx envelope at 9:22, I notice that the festival’s headquarters are at … 1633 Broadway. AKA VH1. AKA 50th and Broadway. Four hours, a cab ride, and 30 blocks later, the f’in’ envelope’s headed to a building that’s on my walk home from work. Hilarious.

I walk out of FedEx smiling. To celebrate, I buy a frozen pizza, a six pack of Newcastle Brown Ale, and a pint of Breyer’s Natural Vanilla at D’Agastino’s.

Back home, I watch Bogart’s “High Sierra,” drink beer and eat pizza. I feel fulfilled. And heck, I’m goin’ to the festival even if I don’t make the cut (I hope to premiere my Mr. Rogers’ documentary there, if and when Mrs. Rogers gets back to me).

In the end, the end is kinda’ superfluous. I’ll take the four hours, the cab ride, and the 30 block walk. ‘Cuz in the end, I’d rather the journey than not. I’d rather say I did, than I didn’t. And I did. And I made it. With eight minutes to spare.

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