I had a screenwriter’s nightmare while at the Rocaberti Retreat in France at Marouatte Castle. I dreamed it was my turn to pitch, but I couldn’t remember my screenplay, so I had to make up a new one on the spot.
Just an FYI for those of you not familiar with the term “meets.” Meets is the term used to describe the genre and feel of your script using well known films. You might describe Snow White and the Huntsman as Snow White meets Lord of the Rings. (This is different than a “meet-cute” which I won’t get into.)
“It’s You’ve Got Mail meets Teletubbies.” I begin. My three judges, (Joan, Kathy and Golan) have no idea what that means, and neither do I. Then my logline comes out of nowhere: “A woman who has a child through artificial insemination, begins to notice her ten year old son looks just like the mail man.”
“Think Bruce Willis played by Ashton Kutcher.” Which doesn’t even make sense! “And she starts following the mailman on his route and discovers all her neighbors are Teletubbies.” I continue, dying with every word.
Golan’s looking disappointed. Kathy, like she’s about to witness a train wreck, but can’t look away. And Joan is flat out horrified.
Horror. That’s it! Horror doesn’t have to make sense, I’ll go with that.
“Then he suddenly pops up in the back seat of her car, like a Twilight Zone episode, and whispers in a chilling voice ‘You don’t have proper postage!’” I say trying to sound mysterious.
Golan looks like he’s considering putting me out of his misery. Kathy, having witnessed the train wreck looks down at her notebook. Joan still horrified, but in a bad way.
And because it’s a dream, weird things start to happen. Like, now I’ve got a huge gob stopper in my mouth and I don’t know what to do with it. I try to hide it in my cheek, which I know they can see, plus, I can’t talk. So, I pretend to cough so I can spit it in my hand, but then there’s another one in my mouth and another. And I’m thinking, this isn’t possible!
As I’m trying to make sense of the never-ending gobstopper, I notice that Golan has turned into Tom Hanks and I don’t know if I’m excited or more scared.
Before I can decide, I’m suddenly on the outside looking in and it’s just Kathy and Joan left and they are conspiring with each other to destroy the world, but they’re not Kathy and Joan now, they are Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton!
I wake up, trembling at the nightmare. Then, seeing the silhouette of two ghostly figures floating around the seven hundred year old castle bedroom, I lie back, relieved the pitch was only a dream.
Epilogue: My actual pitch went slightly better, but I found it hard to talk clearly with braces on my teeth. In retrospect, I probably shouldn’t have worn the headgear.