Cherry & Willy


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.


Ideas

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.


Storyteller

Cherry wanted to tell this story as a screenplay, because the story needed to be heard.


Paper

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.


Talent

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?”

Me:

“Can I play the news reporter gal?”

Cherry:

“Well, I want it to be a very hot movie, so I need a very hot actress for the news reporter gal.”

Me:

“You mean younger than me.”

Cherry:

“Yeah.  How about the writer?”

Me:

“You know I also write screenplays.  Right?”

 

Ignorance

Cherry:

“How about if you introduce me to a real screenwriter?”

(Meaning someone who has never had to have a day gig.)


Hard Work

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…


Screenwriting Craft

…President of the local Writers’ Guild.


Paper

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.


Disdain

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.


Delusion

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.

Cherry said,

“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?”


Money

After two hours, the drinks are empty.  Happy hour has ended.

Cherry asks Willie,

“How much could I get for selling my screenplay?”

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