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The Wizard of Oz


What a day I picked to go to the grocery store in the suburbs! On my way out, it started torrential raining; my wipers didn’t go fast enough; it looked like it could tornado at any moment; and I was on a stretch of I294 with seeming infinite miles between exits.


Now I can’t go back home because of a tornado warning downtown. So I’m in a parking garage at my high school stomping grounds, the Oak Brook Mall listening to the David Mamet MasterClass.


I’m hoping some stroke of genius comes to me during this hiatus because I’ve got a hole in my suspense movie script. I “finished” the script yesterday, meaning that I wrote in a 20-minute chunk of unscripted story.


This is unconventional and frowned upon in narrative filmmaking - you write a narrative because a plot must be crafted. And to not craft 20 minutes of a suspense story, which relies on well-executed twists and turns could spell disaster.


I‘m caught wondering whether the unscripted section is a cop-out on my part or truly what the story needs at that point. I also am biased, so perhaps not the best judge. Or perhaps I am exactly the right judge because it is my story after all. I’m currently the only expert at it.


The Wizard of Oz is one of those stories people admire for its structure and plot. And that tornado warning today which has taken me off the path for a moment is perhaps a sign. Maybe what my story needs is an injection from left field, a tornado that the characters need to overcome before they can get back to the main problem. Maybe that “twist” is too heavy-handed, or maybe that’s just exactly how real life goes.

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