Hope is a thing with feathers

INT. ETHAN’S DORM ROOM

Ethan sits at his desk, staring at his laptop. Although he has been back in New Haven for two weeks, he still hasn’t unpacked. He begins to type. He can only type with two fingers from each hand because he never paid attention in the elementary school computer lab.

ETHAN (VOICE OVER)

Summer column. Okay, here we go.

I spent my summer interning for two film production companies. When I interviewed for the positions, I couldn’t imagine anything more exciting than reading scripts all day.

CUT TO

FLASHBACK:

INT. FANCY INTERVIEW ROOM

FANCY INTERVIEWER 1

The majority of your internship will involve reading scripts all day. You’ll then write analyses of these scripts and we’ll make decisions based on your opinions.

ETHAN

I can’t imagine anything more exciting!

FANCY INTERVIEWER 2

You’ll also be making coffee.

FANCY INTERVIEWER 1

Lots of it!

The fancy interviewers laugh to themselves.

ETHAN (VOICE OVER)

And I was right. It was pretty exciting for the first few weeks.

INT. OFFICE KITCHEN.

Ethan is making coffee next to his boss, an independent film super-producer.

INDEPENDENT FILM SUPER-PRODUCER

How’s everything going?

ETHAN

It’s going terrific! You know, reading and analyzing three scripts a day is really educational for me as a screenwriter. It’s been really fascinating narrowing down independent film cliches and common missteps. Oh, if I had a nickel for every script that couldn’t mask first act exposition with some sort of clever character development! But seriously — I feel like I’m really getting in touch with the indie film zeitgeist —

INDEPENDENT FILM SUPER-PRODUCER

(interrupting)

I meant, how’s everything going with the coffee? It’s been too weak since you started working here.

ETHAN

Oh, sorry. It’s going fine.

INDEPENDENT FILM SUPER-PRODUCER

Good.

The independent film super-producer walks out of the kitchen. Ethan’s hand, tightly gripping a DVD, labelled “The Short Films of Ethan Kuperberg” in poor Sharpie-scribbled cursive, slowly moves back into his pocket. Ethan looks down at the DVD with an expression that reads, “Patience, young demo reel.”

ETHAN (VOICE OVER)

After a while, though, reading scripts nonstop for eight hours a day, five days a week, gets a little grueling. Luckily, they noticed I was competent and began giving me special assignments.

CUT TO

FLASHBACK:

INT. OFFICE CUBICLE — MORNING

INDEPENDENT FILM SUPER-PRODUCER

You need to take this package to Queens. I’m not going to tell you what’s in it. You know how to get there?

ETHAN

(eager to impress)

Of course I do!

EXT. QUEENS STREET – AFTERNOON

Ethan is lost and walking down the street aimlessly.

EXT. QUEENS STREET — EVENING

Ethan is sitting on the street corner. He is in the middle of a phone conversation with his Dad. He seems visibly annoyed.

ETHAN

I thought I’d be making contacts, you know? Instead, I’m running errands and reading screenplays. Screenplays until my eyes explode, screenplays pouring out of my ears.

ETHAN’S DAD

Ew.

ETHAN

It’s gotten so bad I can only think in the form of screenplays.

ETHAN’S DAD

What do you mean?

ETHAN

It’s consuming my subconscious. I walk down the street and I think to myself “Exterior, Queens Street, afternoon. Ethan is lost and walking down the street aimlessly.” That sort of thing.

ETHAN’S DAD

That’s good, right? You’re thinking like a screenwriter!

ETHAN

But I can’t think like anything else! I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to write anything that’s NOT in the form of a screenplay.

ETHAN’S DAD

How obnoxiously metafictional.

ETHAN

Seriously.

Music begins to kick in.

ETHAN’S DAD

You just gotta put the hours in, you know? And you never know when they’ll pay off. Don’t lose hope — that’s your greatest asset.

A beat. Music swells.

ETHAN

You’re right.

A beat.

ETHAN’S DAD

Now we need to talk about all these Chipotle visits you’ve been charging to my credit card.

INT. OFFICE.

A montage (to the tune of “You’re the Best,” that song from “The Karate Kid.” Or maybe to the tune of “Working at the Car Wash.” Just because there is a “working” motif, but it’s also a fun song).

A large pile of scripts on Ethan’s cubicle desk sits, as Ethan reads intensely.

Ethan makes coffee. It is not too weak. He brings it to the independent film super-producer, who smiles approvingly.

A medium-sized pile of scripts on Ethan’s cubicle desk sits, as Ethan reads intensely.

Ethan is walking down a street in Queens. A local street vendor, a lady walking her dog, and a homeless man all wave to him. He confidently drops off a package at a building. He has found his way.

There are no scripts left on Ethan’s cubicle desk. Ethan closes the one he was reading, then looks up knowingly, as if he has just accomplished an enormous amount of work and personal growth in a short amount of time set to music.

INT. INDEPEDENT FILM SUPER-PRODUCER’S OFFICE

Ethan knocks as he opens the door.

ETHAN

You wanted to see me, Mr. Producer?

INDEPENDENT FILM SUPER-PRODUCER

Yes. I just wanted to tell you that you’ve done an excellent job at your internship this summer.

ETHAN

Wow, thanks.

INDEPENDENT FILM SUPER-PRODUCER

If you ever need career help or advice, don’t hesitate to e-mail me.

ETHAN

Thanks a lot!

Ethan looks at the chair behind him. Seated in the chair is a holographic image of Ethan’s dad. He is surrounded by white mist.

HOLOGRAHIC IMAGE OF ETHAN’S DAD

(hauntingly)

Don’t lose hope — that’s your greatest asset.

ETHAN

Thanks, Dad.

INDEPENDENT FILM SUPER-PRODUCER

Huh?

INT. ETHAN’S DORM ROOM

Ethan closes his Word Document and looks out his window.

ETHAN (VOICE OVER)

And that’s how I spent my summer.

A slow fade-out as Ethan reflects on what he learned over the summer, while he stalks people on Facebook.

THE END.

Comments

  • lolz

    Now, now Ethan, you know “Patience, young demo reel” isn’t a playable action.

    Loved the column, keep the faith!