No, not the title of my porn flick.
The tale of Cherry & Willy is a tale of delusion, of hard work, of disdain, of ignorance, of talent, of ideas, of paper. Cherry & Willy is an allegory for the sad state of disrespect accorded the screenwriting craft and the joyful soaring of Storyteller within all of us. The story of Cherry & Willy is a stomach-hurting-funny joke about how money can fix anything.
Cherry, a wonderful person—a regional sales manager with whom I had worked at one of my day gigs several years ago—was convinced that there was a government-involved cover-up of toxic waste dumping.
Cherry wanted to tell this story as a screenplay, because the story needed to be heard.
So she spent three years writing what she called a “screenplay.” As it turned out, her work was more like a 10-page treatment than a screenplay.
It wasn’t bad, though. It was an interesting plot, albeit slim. Cherry called me, knowing I am an actor.
“Do you know anyone who could turn my screenplay into a professional project?”
“Can I play the news reporter gal?”
“Well, I want it to be a very hot movie, so I need a very hot actress for the news reporter gal.”
“You mean younger than me.”
“Yeah. How about the writer?”
“You know I also write screenplays. Right?”
“How about if you introduce me to a real screenwriter?”
(Meaning someone who has never had to have a day gig.)
Willy is a bar bouncer and tax relief consultant (yeah) become screenwriter. He has taken classes and written numerous scripts and re-written and worked with a writing partner. Willy teaches other screenwriters, produces his own shorts and volunteers as the…
…President of the local Writers’ Guild.
In this case, computer & CeltX.
Willy read Cherry’s 10 pages and broke it out into beats (he is a devotee of the late, great Blake Snyder) and put it on cards.
I didn’t tell Cherry that Willy is a bar bouncer and tax relief consultant (yeah); I told her he is the President of the Screenwriters’ Guild.
We met in a bar, the three of us. Willy kept his cards to himself and talked to Cherry about what it would need to turn the treatment into beats; then into a draft; then to re-write; then to fix and fix and fix. Willy told Cherry that a screenplay needs to be 80 to 120 pages; not 10.
Willy told Cherry what he would charge her to re-write or ghost-write for her.
“I already spent three years on the basic story. Do you think 3 or 4 weeks would be enough for you to re-write it? Do you really have to charge me that much?”
After two hours, the drinks are empty. Happy hour has ended.
Cherry asks Willie,
“How much could I get for selling my screenplay?”