There was this neighbourhood bully. Not the demonified kind of bully we have today. Just an older kid who was smarter than me. He showed up and told me that 15¢ for a glass of ice cold Koolaid was too expensive.
I didn’t have any other customers. Just Bully Kid and his gomer of a little brother. We lived on a cul-de-sac street in a cul-de-sac kind of area. So we’re not talking a lot of drive-by traffic.
So when Bully Kid said he wanted me to lower my price, I did. I went inside. Got out my marker. Changed my sign to 10¢. Waddled my little legs back outside where they were waiting and put up my new sign.
Then he said 10¢ was too much.
I didn’t have a lot of friends that summer. I can see that now. I wanted to be liked. I wanted to have a successful Koolaid stand. I wanted to please this tough customer.
Inside. Marker. Changed my sign to 5¢. Little legs. New sign.
Nope. No sale. Still unacceptable. He wanted me to lower my price again.
Things are a little hazy after that. I suspect that’s because when a tiny, undeveloped brain is met with that kind of anxiety, tunnel vision and situational stress it kind of stops remembering details.
If I had to guess, I probably asked Mom for advice on how to please this tough customer. Then she probably chased the little douchebag off our curb because I’m pretty sure every time I went inside to change my sign he was stealing cups of my Koolaid…
Little while back I received notes on Script #2 from Manager. He confirmed my concern. The second act of the screenplay was problematic. A week later, I returned with an outline of the changes I was going to make. Of course changing the second act meant completely changing the first act and so on.
I was excited to hand in my proposed changes. Was really– Am really into this concept. Manager seems to be too.
But the outline failed to please.
We spoke about the theme. The concept. The core ideas. I began thinking my entire first approach was flawed. If I was gonna take another run at this it was going to have to be a total overhaul. A page one rewrite.
Another week and I had a five page outline for a whole new story. New locations, new motivations, new arcs. Characters completely changed. Arguably the genre had even shifted. And I was loving it.
Manager… Not so much. A total flop in fact. Maybe worse for the fact that I was really cranking along. The only thing worse than handing in something sub-par is doing so quickly.
Manager suggested that maybe it was time to work on something else. Circle back to this later. It was gutting.
Not because I had failed. But because I was a little kid again. Trying too hard to please.
I wasn’t rewriting Script #2 for me. I was rewriting it to try to please Manager. So that it could join Script #1’s ascent. And in that, I fumbled.
Writing outlines was my first mistake. It’s gonna take some arm twisting before I do that again. This action thriller genre really does not lend itself to summary. The density, I think, becomes overwhelming for the kind of complexity I’ve taken to crafting. Winds up feeling complicated.
And I’ve also learned that I have to continue to adjust myself to the pace of this industry. It’s excruciatingly slow. While waiting for notes on Script #2 alone, I’ve already written Script #3 and have several drafts of what will become Script #4.
I worry that my output will become too much to hold Manager’s interest.
That is unless Script #1 gets made. Does well. Becomes a hit even.
Then I can charge whatever the hell I want for my Koolaid. Hey, a kid can dream.