A Day with Two Doras

Shit. What am I doing with my life? I awoke mid morning on this beautiful Saturday. The world was full of promise. I had but one small obligation. I needed to be at the preeminent San Antonio literary nonprofit, Gemini Ink, to sit in on my filmmaker friend Dora Peña’s screenwriting class. Two to four in the afternoon. Well, fine. I still could have done all sorts of stuff. Sadly all I managed to accomplish was to get lunch from the drive-in lane of Eddie’s Taco House (the woman waiting on me was dressed in her Halloween costume, a fairly fetching Dora the Explorer outfit). And then I just lounged around home surfing the internet and watching live video feeds from Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert’s Washington, DC rally.

The other Eric Bosse (writer, filmmaker, etc, currently living in Oklahoma) was in attendance. As well as a trio of San Antonioans I know: Shimi, Oscar, and Craig. It looks like it was a lot of fun.

But, really, all I was able to carry out today was my short appearance at Dora’s gig at The Ink. (That’s Dora Peña, not that explorer kid.)

I was invited with two other local production people–Nikki Young and Veronica Potter-Hernandez–to give feedback to Dora’s students when they began pitching their script ideas. There were, I believe, eight students. They ranged in age from 18 to 65. The fact is I have no idea if any of them can write. All we got were their pitches, heavily condensed versions of their scripts, verbally conveyed. Of the eight, there were only two who I am almost positive are clueless of story structure, and thus are wholly unsuited to write. But if my intuition can be trusted, two poor writers out of eight is pretty damn good.

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There was a point when Dora stressed the importance of networking. She told these writers that they needed to get out where producers, agents, et al. congregate. These people are hardly ever found in San Antonio. Conferences, festivals, and wisely planned trips to LA are the best things for screenwriters living in backwater towns. But the truth is, one of the great screenwriting festivals / conferences is held every year up in Austin, Texas, presented under the guise of the Austin Film Festival.

But Dora also pointed to us, her three guest panelists, and explained how networking opportunities can be had even in such a small forgotten city as San Antonio. She said that at any important San Antonio film event, you’d most likely see at least one of us. I realized she was right. Dora had invited three people who are very busy out there networking for their own diverse reasons. In fact all three of us were in attendance at the last San Antonio Film Commission’s SA Film Forum. And the three of us will also be in attendance for the upcoming ¡Adelante! Film Forum. I tried to stress to these folks the importance of getting out there and meeting people. My illustration was explaining that while early-voting on Friday I noticed local producer Ralph Lopez in line behind me. We chatted, of course, but I let Dora’s students think of it as an important networking opportunity.

What I was trying to express was that it’s best to make friends with everyone. Because, well, you know, they are everywhere.

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Monday begins National Novel Writing Month. I guess I’ll jump in again. Maybe actually finish something this time around.

I’m not sure what I want to work on this year. There is a novella I began quite some time ago and let languish about a 40 year-old woman, recently released from prison for armed robbery, who becomes a record producer for an under-appreciated aging country western singer; however, to secure the funds to properly promote his work, she needs to start robbing banks again.

And then there’s the novel I began last month (just half of the first chapter) about a bartender working in the seedy town of Corona, New Mexico, circa 2060. It’s become a port city, because of the space center nearby. He learns that the corporation controlling the space port as well as the Martian colonies are in communication with an alien civilization, yet this information is being withheld from all Earthlings. So, the bartender and his friend, a brilliant failed rock star who’s addicted to designer drugs, sneak aboard an off-planet freighter and begin to check things out.

Also, there’s Planet San Antonio, a screenplay idea I’ve mentioned before. And here I should point out that whatever I end up working on during National Novel Writing Month, I won’t be plying around with screenplay format. I’ll be doing what ever I chose in good old fashioned prose format.

As for the topic, well, I’ve a day to think it over….

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