Rick and I got back into the outline business, albeit on a superficial level, as I’m in the Pacific Northwest on vacation (I love Houston, but when it’s 95 degrees in September, it’s time to get the hell outta hell for a week to cooler climates). But as I mentioned in our last post, I felt like we needed to give a little boost to our main protagonist’s decision to leave town on a permanent basis.
Now, for the moment, I’m not going to reveal what my suggestion to change was. Suffice to say, it was a very significant change to the character. Rick’s was hesitant to make the change, as he thought that it would necessitate going back to the beginning and completely redoing the outline draft, and in addition, that it might change the tone of the movie from a dramedy in the vein of “Juno” or “Little Miss Sunshine” to a straight drama.
My argument was that the character change would already be known to the other characters, so it would only result in minor changes to the outline, and there was no need to change the tone of the film, because a film like “Juno” dealt with tough subject (abortion and teen pregnancy) while still making it an uplifting and, in many cases, a wildly funny film.
The bottom line is that we’re both wanting a film in the tone of “Juno” and we’re going to ponder this character turn and see where it leads us. If we decide to make the change you’ll be the first to know.
So back to the outline as it’s currently situated: when we last left the outline, Jinx was in the house and Cass asked him to come over and sit on the couch with him while Hunter watches. Hunter and Cass share a conspiratorial smile and then Hunter goes outside and find Ellie, and tells her that “her boyfriend Jinx is putting the moves on Cass”.
Ellie dismisses it — “he’s not my boyfriend” — but we can see that she’s fuming over this news. More conflict created!
Back inside, Jinx has extricated himself from the situation and is going down the hallway looking for a restroom. He accidentally opens the doorway to a spare room in the lake house where Lucas’ dad, Paul, is running on a treadmill. Jinx is embarrassed by the interruption, but Paul waves him in eagerly. He stops the treadmill, and Jinx apologizes for the intrusion. Paul says he needed to stop anyway. Can run and run all he wants on it, but never gets anywhere. A little bit of subtext towards Jinx, who is intending to run away from this small town at the first chance he gets, but will he really get anywhere if he does?
Paul shows Jinx a picture on the wall. It’s of Jinx and Lucas working at the hardware store. Paul reminds Jinx that Jinx helped Lucas get a job with his parents’ business. Kept him away from some bad people (like Hunter) at a time in his life when Lucas really needed it. Jinx says he just wanted someone fun to work with during the summer. Maybe it worked out for both of them.
And now we go on in for a reinforcement of why Jinx wants to leave. Paul asks about Jinx taking over the parents’ business someday and Jinx fidgits for a response. “I get it. Not your thing.” Jinx is surprised at that reaction.
“So what are you doing instead?”
“Going to college,” Jinx replies.
“That’s as far as I’ve gotten.”
“Well, that’ll be further than a lot of the kids in this town. This place is a black hole. Unless you get far enough away from it, you’re sucked in permanently.”
We’ve now established that even the adults in this town know that if you stay here, you’re stuck here, and that Jinx needs to go.
We’ll keep you updated on what we’re going to do with Jinx’ character, and I’ll be updating the post on screenwriting software soon!
The further adventures of the screenwriting and marketing process of Lake Regret wherein Gary Howell documents his and Rick Hansberry's screenwriting adventures from concept, to the writing, to how they handle disagreements, to marketing the script. Reproduced with permission