I wrote this little piece for a comedy writing class I took with the IFP. It was a good class and I enjoyed learning from veteran comedian Bill Corbett. I call this SACRED RELIC.

INT. APARTMENT – EVENING

ROB, A young hipster, bustles about his apartment setting out
fancy place settings while the latest track from OBSCURE
INDIE ROCK BAND plays, on vinyl, of course.

He reverently opens a first century wooden box where a
certain goblet-shaped object is conspicuously missing from
its velvet liner.

ROB
(cursing to himself)
Broady!

Rob marches to the neighboring apartment where the sounds of
NFL football blare from the television. Rob raps sharply on
the door.

After several moments, a tall, shaggy haired dude holding an
early first century chalice answers the door.

BROADY
Rob. Hey dude, I’m watching the
game. You wanna come in?

ROB
No, Broady. Is that my cup of
Christ?

Broady checks the goblet innocently.

BROADY
Uh yeah, I borrowed it. That’s
cool right?

ROB
That’s the original cup used by our
Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ at
the last supper. Not only is it
completely priceless, but it’s one
of the most holy, sacred relics in
Christendom. And you’re drinking
beer from it?

BROADY
Yeah. It keeps your brew cold,
like, forever man.

Broady takes a swig.

BROADY (CONT’D)
You wanna try some?

ROB
No. I do not want to try some.
Broady, I need that back. Right
now.

BROADY
Sorry dude, I all my dishes were
dirty, man.

ROB
Well, you can’t just take the cup
our Lord used on the night he was
betrayed for drinking Coors light.

Broady downs the last of the beer and hands it back to Rob.

BROADY
Geez, sorry. I haven’t seen you get
this bent out of shape since I took
your stupid holy snuggie.

ROB
You mean the Shroud of Turin? Yeah,
I was a little pissed because it
came back with a stain on it.

BROADY
Sorry dude, I had a face full of
babyback ribs and no napkin.

ROB
Whatever. Just give me back the cup
of Christ.

BROADY
Sorry, dude. I didn’t realize you
were so religious.

Rob stares reverently at the holy chalice for a moment.

ROB
Yeah, I’m not.
(beat)
I’ve got a dinner party in fifteen
minutes and this thing makes the
best Chateau’ Lafite from tap water.

FADE OUT:

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It’s really a shame I wasn’t asked to write Joss Whedon’s new Avengers movie script (for purely financial reasons alone) but I did get to write my own super hero ensemble script which I’m very pleased with how it turned out. The story revolves around a group of super hero animals (notoriously notable for their penchant for becoming roadkill) and their attempt to stop a diminutive super villain who wants his son to follow in his evil footsteps. I call this script “The ScaVengers”.

This is a scene where the super villain, Mr. Dormouse is eagerly awaiting the return of his son from boarding school. The villains henchmen, Crusher and Cuddles, the bunny twins have not told Dormouse about his son’s true nature.

INT. VILLAIN’S LAIR – LATER

Dormouse enters his cavernous lair. Balloons, Streamers, and a large sign saying “Welcome Home Durf” are hung around the otherwise foreboding fortress.

DORMOUSE
Oh, this is so exciting! The last
time I saw him he was just this
tiny ball of evil. Now he’s all
grown up. No doubt he is a
diabolical genius. Boys, on a scale
of one to ten, how evil would you
say he is?

CUDDLES
One.

CRUSHER
Ten.

CUDDLES
Wait. Can I use fractions?

CRUSHER
It’s hard to judge evil of that…
magnitude, boss.

DORMOUSE
Excellent. Pure evil, just like
his old man… I can’t wait to see
him.

The bunnies give each other a worried glance.

DORMOUSE (CONT’D)
I wonder what the devious little
mastermind will want to do first?
Ransom exorbitant amounts of money
from the League of Governments?
Disrupt the world’s financial
institutions with artificially high
oil prices? Build a death ray?

Dormouse spins in his high back leather chair. He leaps up.

DORMOUSE (CONT’D)
Perhaps he will do away with all
the pleasantries and get straight
to overthrowing me and taking my
empire for himself! I’d better be
ready for anything.

A knock sounds and Dormouse hides beside the door. The door opens and a rotund mouse plods into the room.

DORMOUSE (CONT’D)
You won’t overthrow me that easily!
Ha-HA!

Dormouse leaps, chopping the lad in the neck with an open hand. He shoulder locks the boy and judo throws him to the floor, grabbing him up in a headlock. The portly boy wiggles helplessly, staring up at the sweater-vested psycho.

DORMOUSE (CONT’D)
Oh. I beg your pardon. I though you
were my son…

DURF
Dad?

Dormouse’s eyes widen in shock and horror.

DORMOUSE
Oh, no. You are my son.

Dormouse shoots daggers at the bunny twins with his eyes.
They whistle and look away.

DORMOUSE (CONT’D)
Excuse me, Durf. You two. Come
here.

Dormouse pulls the two rabbits into the next room. He sets up a step ladder, climbs it and slaps them.

DORMOUSE (CONT’D)
What is the meaning of this? Why is
my son so… so–

CUDDLES
Stupid?

DORMOUSE
I was going to say ‘not evil’.

CRUSHER
Boss, I’m sure you can appreciate
how the academic environment can
teach you theory but not prepare
you for practical application in
the real world of evil.

DORMOUSE
You– you have a point. Perhaps I
need to train him myself.

CUDDLES
If he’s not too stupid.

Dormouse knocks their heads together with a CLUNK!

END SCENE

Being a writer means putting your inner life on display. Sometimes people react well to seeing it. You get compliments or even praise. Those are the good days.
There are also times when you pour your heart and soul into a work… or maybe you don’t. Maybe you’re just writing something to fulfill a requirement or obligation. Either way, when you show that work and hear someone say it’s not good, I believe (and science, feel free to back me up on this) that there is actual physical pain that comes along with that rejection.

But that’s crazy, you might think. It’s just words arranged on a page to produce a flow of thoughts. It’s not like it’s a part of your body, right? But in a way, it is. It’s an extension of your psyche. A psychic appendage, if you will. And hearing that it’s no good is a rejection of you.
Now, I’m not saying that all writers have fragile egos, but maybe all artists do– and writers fit into that category. Creating art is the way we reach out and connect with people we’ve never met. It’s an emotional job that is fraught with peril, and getting hurt is one of the many occupational hazards.

So what do you do if something you write gets rejected?

 

Fortunately, if you’re writing a lot and putting your work out there for others to see, you will get a lot of practice handling rejection.   One thing you need to remember is that you have no control over how someone will receive your work.  The only thing you can affect is how you react to it.   Don’t lash out, don’t throw a tantrum, don’t cry (at least not in front of them).   Don’t feel the need to justify your work or yourself to them either.  Bear in mind that this person did not have to read your work and that it probably would have been easier for them to just say it was fine– which might soothe your ego but wouldn’t give you the chance to grow.  When someone is nice enough to read your work, be courteous enough to thank them.  Allow yourself time to process what they’ve said.  Try to be objective about your own work.

Taking criticism can be one of the hardest things we have to do as writers. Learning to do it with dignity and  without ego will  help you survive.

So how do you handle negative feedback?

 

Several years ago when I first started writing, I had the privilege to work with one of the industry’s best animation producer, David Pitts. I actually credit him with getting me started on the screenwriting adventure.  My first feature screenplay was imagined as an animated contemporary version of Jack and the Beanstalk set in the Midwest, early 1960s. Things get crazy from there.   Looking back I see that this script has huge blocks of text that would probably have to be trimmed down in order to pass muster these days, but I’m proud of this first effort. I think it has a lot of good gags in it.

This first selection I chose is Jack’s introduction to the overconfident, heroic space man Dirk Defiant, who crash landed through a dimensional rift into Jack’s world and is trying to get back.

Script Link:  JackedExerpt1

Welcome all.

Introductions: My name is Phil and I love to write. I started this blog as a chance to reach out to other writers and enthusiasts who enjoy the craft of screenwriting. I want to use this forum to try out ideas, network with other industry professionals and even publish excerpts or complete screenplays. I’m not saying I’m an expert, but I’ve been far too sheltered in my career thus far. And what better way to truly be educated than to hoist my banner and announce that my work is open for public scrutiny.

I realize this can be a dicey proposition. Exposing yourself to the arctic wind of internet criticism is a great way to get one’s feelings hurt, I know. But I also know there are a lot of good people out there that just want to share and learn. I invite all of you out there who are as serious as I am about screenwriting to join me on this odyssey.
The ground rules: Let’s respect each other and ourselves. Keep things fun. And comment when you can add something constructive to the conversation.