Department of Theatre and Film
|The Writer as Gigolo....||and as Neurotic|
From the Founding Editor:
The screenplays featured in the spring 2009 issue of The Projector have been selected for publication in a peer review process that accords with our current editorial policies. Publishing notable screenplays by promising authors and filmmakers has long been part of The Projector’s mission; the screenplays in this issue represent another step in that process and thus warrant special consideration. People who are interested in producing any of the material should consult The Projector’s homepage.
Editor’s Introduction: Spotlight on Screenwriting
The first screenplay, Life’s Too Short, by Jeff Loehrke, is a small-scale drama. Set in a suburban community, it follows several consequential days in the life of young Benny O’Brien. Loehrke establishes Benny as a hard-working young man, sacrificing the prime of his life to support himself and his young brother. Their father has left the family several years prior and their mother has descended into a prescribed stupor, lashing out at her sons whenever she perceives either has crossed her. Benny’s escape is his girlfriend Cierra, who he wants to marry. There is a parallel story with Officer Willow Green, a young policewoman whose actions to save her niece in a hostage situation have resulted in her partner’s injury and her own suspension. We follow Willow’s story as she attempts to deal with the repercussions of her actions. With help from her parents and boyfriend, Willow begins to regain her sense of purpose just as a series of events in Benny’s life send him careening in the opposite direction. Their ultimate coincidental meeting is a cataclysm of violence and emotion that binds the separate strands of the story together.
The second contribution comes from writer Melissa Faybik. Her screenplay, The Last Time, is the story of a tender, humorous, fractious relationship between two college students, Eric and Lydia. The screenplay opens with Eric snorting lines of cocaine while Lydia cries quietly on the bed beside him. Faybik then whips the story back a year, depicting the “meet cute” between Eric and Lydia. We see their relationship develop from acquaintance to deep friendship. They become inseparable and by summer their relationship has turned physical. At the same time, Eric’s partying with friends begins to wander down a dangerous path and, soon after they become a couple, he begins to use cocaine. They decide to keep their relationship a “summer fling,” and drift away when classes come back into session. A few encounters during the fall reveal that Eric’s experimentation with cocaine has become a habit; Lydia’s efforts to reconnect with Eric and pull him away from drugs lead us back to the opening scene and the story’s anguished finale.
Brittany Crisp delivers the final piece in this issue. Her screenplay Snapped! is a complex and satisfying high school melodrama. The central characters are the Oakley teenagers, Sophia and her brother Wes. Sophia has a history of explosive anger, which she directs at those closest to her over the course of the story. Wes finds himself trying to navigate his way through the affections of his sister’s friend and his own feelings towards a girl who is already in a long-term relationship. Surrounding the Oakley teens are a bevy of strongly sketched supporting characters, each with their own needs and desires. The screenplay uses the familiar trappings of adolescent melodrama to touch on issues of class, homophobia, and violence. The final sequence revolving around the homecoming dance and its aftermath brings all these disparate characters, stories, and themes together.