I’m always trying to learn more about my craft. Which is writing, in case you were wondering. I tried knitting once but it was too hard to turn one long string of knitted yard into something useful. But I digress.
The Austin Screenwriting Conference is one of the places I have gone for many years to learn about screenwriting and most recently playwriting. It’s cool because there are literally hundreds of people you can talk with about writing, unlike at the grocery store where people are more interested in talking laundry detergents or shocking alien baby headlines.
While waiting in line to go into a session last October, I was talking with some fellow writers about a title for a script idea I had.
“The premise is: A woman fears her mailman could be the sperm donor of her young son.” I explained.
“What about Heir Mail, spelled H-E-I-R?” someone suggested.
“Oh, I like that.” I said.
“I know, Postage Due. No, Male Man. That’s no good. I’ve got it, Going Postal. ” a woman drinking an energy drink fired off.
“I was originally thinking Special Delivery, but I think I like Heir Mail best” I said.
“Those are terrible names.” Scoffed a rather grungy looking guy of indeterminate age. “What’s in now is sounds.”
“Sounds?” I asked wondering if he was on something.
“Titles go through cycles. It used to be the end of things, like “The Final Chapter” or “The Last Jedi.” He explained.
“Oh, I see. So, you’re saying… what are you saying?” I asked still confused.
“Sounds, man. Like crunchy, or clank, or SNAP!” he yelled, causing us to jump back.
“I’m not sure I -” I began, wondering if this was another of Austin’s homeless teasing us for his own amusement ,or if it was Terry Rossio, who was leading the session we were going into.
“Alright, I’m just going to give this one to you. No fiduciary.” He said as he moved in to whisper in my terrified ear.
“Clank Fizz Boy.” He said softly.
Suddenly they opened the doors and everyone rushed past me into the room. The grungy man was gone, the room filled up and they closed the doors and still I stood there.
I knew I should disregard what he said, but I felt like the beginning and end of Citizen Cain having just heard the word “Rosebud” whispered to me like the key to the universe.
Clank Fizz Boy. It was just crazy enough to be brilliant. I raced back to my hotel room, unplugged and began outlining a new script. It was either going to be my big splash into film success or land with a resounding thud. (See what I did there?)