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September 2003 Archives

September 27, 2003

First Week


My Screenwriting II class wasn’t awful. The professor seems nice, not particularly inept, just inexperienced. He’s never taught this particular course before, so he insists we will “learn together.” I insist that’s bullshit, and I really hope my grade isn’t affected by his ineptitude.

Afterward, I went to get my U-Pass, which allows free access to the CTA system. I couldn’t get one over the summer, and I paid at least $50 (probably more) on train fare. What a racket.

They initiated a new system for U-Pass distribution this year, which mostly consists of making everybody sit around for hours. But now we get ticket vouchers to hold our places in line, so we don’t have to strictly wait around. That was nice, because I was able to go up and pay for my tuition instead of sitting around.

Afterward, when I got back to the Wabash building to resume my rigorous sitting around, I stopped and filled out the U-Pass form, so it’d be ready when I was beckoned upstairs by the gods of mass transit. Not realizing the entire Hokin annex was reserved for people waiting around for U-Passes (which meant I could have gone and sat down at a table in the back and filled it out like a normal person), I held the form up to one of the windows looking out on the beautiful lobby of the Wabash building and filled it out.

When I was finished and I had signed my name with the sloppy flourish most federal agencies have come to expect from me, I removed the paper from the glass window and performed a David Blaine-esque magic trick. Whereas there had been no human being occupying the space the paper covered prior to me filling out the form, when I dropped it, there was a person filling that space. A person I knew.

The Ex.

I did what any sane and terrified person would do at that point: I dropped to the floor, under the view of the glass, and slithered to the back of the Hokin annex, much to the amusement of the other students waiting in line for their U-Pass. Desperate times call for desperate measures, people.

Fortunately, going to an art school affords me a level of accepted weirdness that is significantly higher than most schools. Slithering on the floor like a husky human snake is generally accepted, especially when trance music is playing (none was).

I got the U-Pass without incident and went home.


This is what will now and forever be referred to as “the long day,” because I have two classes — one three hours, one four hours, with a half-hour break in between — in a row. I have a course in screenplay adaptation, followed by Fiction Writing II.

The adaptation course is sorta nifty, and for the sake of sheer laziness, I’ll probably end up adapting one of my own short stories, so I don’t have to go through the bother of acquiring the rights to any stories or poems.

Then, I went to Fiction Writing II, which made me question one thing: why, for the love of God, did I decide to take another course in fiction writing? Am I really that stupid? I hated the first one, but it did leave me with enough tiny little warm ‘n’ fuzzy memories that I was able to block out all the shit I hated about it. And, as it all came rushing back to me while I sat in a circle and attempted in vain to remember anything of the three stories we read aloud during class, I decided the best course of action would involve slitting my wrists.


I had planned to drop the course I had for Thursday, so I did. But I didn’t do it until yesterday, and the class I added also happens to be on Thursday. Consequently, I haven’t gone to that class yet. But it’s a comparative literature class involving the works of Toni Morrison and Zora Neale Hurston. Again with the wrist-slitting.


Friday is my script analysis class, which is laid out sort of oddly. There are five sections, all five of which meet at once in a large group in a lecture hall. There, the professors tag-team and teach something that, I assume, will be suited to their own strengths. Then, we break into smaller groups of about 15 (which correspond to the sections) in regular classrooms.

I spent many hours finagling my way into a class with my Screenwriting I professor, much to the chagrin of the other students in the class. Seriously, I can understand the manic hatorade they throw at me for happening to know the professor prior to this class, but hey, it happens. I feel the same way they do when I’m in a class where the professor knows students, and they compare notes and sly little inside jokes.

I know this is the dirt you’ve all been waiting for, but unfortunately, there are only three attractive girls in any of my five classes.

The good news is that I’m kinda-sorta seeing a new girl. It’s entirely possible that I will stop my distrubing, drool-filled entries that mostly involve me leering at friends who do not see me — and whom I, by all regards, should not see — in a sexual manner.

Also, I’ve mentioned this, but I cannot stress enough how every human being on the planet needs to see American Splendor. <schwarzenegger>GO. NOW.</schwarzenegger>

Posted by D. B. Bates at 2:45 PM | Print-Friendly | Comments (0) | Blog Posts, Fall 2003, The Ex

September 10, 2003

The Love Switch

Title: The Love Switch
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Length: 5:29
Specs: 16mm, color, post-sync sound
Synopsis: After his release from a mental institution, an unstable young man falls in love with his light switch.
Commentary: This is the only student film I made that doesn’t embarrass me. I think it holds up, although I’m not a fan of the poor match cuts in the opening scene (my backyard doesn’t look nearly as much like a public park as it should, but my star — rightfully — refused to shoot in the park with a blow-up doll duct-taped to his junk).

Click the image to download (MP4, 640x480, 1.5Mbps).

Posted by D. B. Bates at 9:49 PM | Print-Friendly | Comments (0) | Writing, Short Films, Summer School