After my screenwriting class, I went to talk to my adaptation professor. I’m floundering in that class, and I’m extremely incompetent, and she’s cool enough to not let me slide my fat ass by because I’m a decent enough writer. I wanted to talk to her about several ideas I had and asked her if I could turn in the (pitiful) first draft I’d already finished, since I wouldn’t have time to write another draft with the newer stuff.*
The conversation then turned to my screenwriting class. I inadvertently mentioned we had watched Breaking Away in class. I was excited because I liked it a lot, but I had been going around forever thinking it was a totally different movie about a bunch of people who rode bikes (the movie I was thinking of was American Flyers, which was actually scripted by the same guy who did Breaking Away).
She popped an eyebrow and asked, “You watched Breaking Away in your screenwriting class?”
“Yeah, I liked it a lot better than My Bodyguard, which we watched last week,” I said, and when I looked at the stunned expression on her face, I added, “It’s possible that I shouldn’t have said that.”
“No, I think it’s good that you mentioned it,” she said, which confirmed my suspicion that I should have kept my mouth shut. “How many movies have you watched in that class?”
“I don’t feel comfortable answering that question,” I said, squirming a bit. She’s very intimidating, though, so I cracked almost immediately. “We watched part of The Godfather a few weeks ago, and next week we’re watching Chinatown.”
“And how do you suppose that will help you become a better writer?” she wondered.
“It won’t,” I said. “I can’t concentrate enough to concentrate on the screenwriting elements while I’m watching a movie. It’d be much easier to read the script.”
“Exactly,” she said. “I need to have a talk with him.”
“Don’t mention my name,” I said.
“This is strictly confidential,” my professor reminded me. I wondered how strictly confidential it could be when the door to her office was wide open, as were all the other offices in the hall. We both have voices that carry; some might describe them as “grating.” I thought about how many other professors were snickering at her reminder.
I felt bad for getting him in trouble on accident, but I didn’t feel that bad. I haven’t learned a thing in this class, as I’ve mentioned on occasion, and I don’t think it’s because he’s a bad person or a bad teacher; he’s just inexperienced, and I imagine she’ll just give him some pointers for this class, such as “Don’t show the class movies all the time because it teaches them nothing, especially when you don’t even discuss them afterward.”
In summary, I have to watch what I say around my adaptation professor.
*This is actually inaccurate. I managed to pound out a serviceable first draft at work this afternoon. [Back]