My first screenplay, Modern Persecution, was recently a quarter-finalist in the Cinequest Screenwriting Contest, and they actually rejected me with some helpful criticism. They loved the idea, but it felt a bit too much like a documentary. I've heard great compliments from Slamdance and New Hampshire FF but with no criticism I had nowhere to go. This, will really help me (once I move back to it). Being one of only three finalists at the NHFF gave me a miniscule spark of hope for a career, but coming in second (or was it third? I'll never know.) did not do anything concrete for me at all.
My current screenplay is inspired by Vera Farmiga, and in part by all the people who put her profile picture up and use her name on Twitter as if it is their own. Now, I understand this impulse, and Vera herself does not seem bothered by it -- but it does creep me out just a tiny bit. Yet, I don't sense that her fans are sufferers from "celebrity worship syndrome." (Look it up; it's weird). Instead, I think they identify with her. It's actually easy to do so because her characters tend to be very relatable, open, and vulnerable. "Norma" is the one that grabbed a lot of fans, and I think that is in part because she's such a mess. Aren't we all train wrecks -- or train wrecks waiting to happen? If you're sensitive, empathetic, truly human, life can be as horrific and difficult as Bates Motel at times. If you were to ask my husband, he would say that I have got to be the most obsessed fan who ever lived, but I do draw the line at taking her name or photo on as my own. I do put a great deal of thought into her which is entirely illogical (see the Vera Farmiga and Carbohydrate post) but it does give me pleasure. Now maybe I can channel this love from afar into a worthy work of creativity. I hope my husband isn't actually worried, because even if she were available to me, I'm not that kind of girl. It is an interesting idea for a screenplay, though, isn't it? The girl who leaves everything behind to follow a movie star whom she idolizes? So... there you go. I begin in earnest on Monday.
Another fun thing -- my husband gave me a copy of the pilot of Bates Motel (the script). It freed me up quite a bit to see that Kerry Ehrin wrote quite a bit of subtext. I am an actor and I don't balk at subtext written in the stage directions, but I think do remember Uta Haugen saying we should cross out any and all stage directions. I liked reading Kerry's subtext and I think it helped the actors realize her vision. If Vera or any of the other professional actors wanted to provide a different subtext, they certainly had the freedom to do so. I don't think the suggestion of subtext is going to lock a strong actor to the idea right away.
On the fan front, I understand that Bates Motel, Vera Farmiga, and Freddie Highmore won People's Choice Awards. I did, indeed, vote for them. Also, Vera mentioned on Twitter that they started filming the finale today. One month from today, I will be watching the Season Premiere of Bates Motel!