5 Days to Light the Fire, Part II

I was kind of plunged into this conference and still haven't had time to decompress. Airport to crowded shuttle. Shuttle to hotel. Then right into the keynote speech by the guy who wrote Revenge of the Nerds.

First observation: This conference is quite a bit smaller than I had imagined, which is a good thing. So far there might be 50 people. I don't know why, but I had expected 500 or more.

Second observation: The attendees are older than I would have expected. Very few bright-eyed, fresh-out-of-college-looking types. It's a mature group, many of them veterans of this conference.

After the keynote was the Actors' Choice Awards. This is a contest where attendees submit only the first five pages of their scripts. Five winners are chosen, and a team of actors performs the scenes live on stage. I had high hopes that Deadbeats might win one of these slots, since the first five pages have always been the best part of the script (and the only part that has never changed). Plus, I now realized that I automatically had a 1 in 10 shot. But it was not to be.

The scripts that won were very good. One stole the show: A biopic on Bob "Butterbean" Love, a star with the Chicago Bulls in the '70s who has lived a rags to riches to rags to riches story. After his basketball career, he was hampered by a severe stuttering problem and sunk as low as working as a bus boy. But he worked to lose the stutter and is now the Bulls' director of community relations--and one of the country's most sought-after motivational speakers. The writer met Butterbean at a conference and just struck up a conversation. Smartly, he jumped on it. It's a story made for the screen, and I hope it gets there.

As for me, I'm in introvert mode, avoiding meeting people and reading "Long Day's Journey into Night," which unfortunately only inspires one to slit one's wrists. Busy day ahead... ironically, all about dialogue.


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