Jon reviewed the notes Cassandra had written on the bottom of his screenplay’s pages in red lettering.

“Beginning in media res


conflict introduced

rising action

boy meets girl

mentor dies

protagonist falters

sex scene

meaningless blathering about an unrelated theme

more rising action



character arc wrap up”

He agreed with 95% of her characterizations of each segment–everything except the “meaningless blathering about an unrelated theme.” He glanced up at her then back down to her notes and furrowed his brow, feigning trouble deciphering her penmanship. “Y’know, Cassie…”

She cut him off. “Oh boy. You used my name. Know what that means?” He failed to humor her rhetorical question, so she continued, “You strongly disagree with some of my feedback.”

“Well, it’s just that you completely discount the value of pages 74-81!” He whined.

“And here you are, completely discounting the value of my feedback. I thought you wanted my honest opinion! That section doesn’t move the story. It’s a tangent. It weakens your theme about ‘time healing all wounds’ at best, and diminishes the strength of the entire rest of the movie at worst.

“Your professor wouldn’t approve, eh?”

“Look, you asked for my help. Remember, you said that between your ‘natural talent’ and my ‘classical training,’ we could really knock one out of the park? Whatever. I don’t have patience for you getting so attached to your work. It’s unprofessional and I don’t want to work with you anymore. It’s tiring.”

“Oh, come on! Is that what they teach you in college? Take the path of least resistance? Quit at the first sign of struggle?”

“No. Of course not. But what is the point of this if you don’t take my notes to heart?”

“Oh I’m taking them to heart alright. That’s why I’m offended. I’ve let my emotions overpower my intellect, yet again.” Cassandra smiled at this admission of fault.

“Fair enough. Well, let me know when you’re ready to set those emotions aside for a moment and address my criticism professionally.”

“I’m ready.”


“No really, let’s do this. How does the scene undermine the rest of the movie? I want to know.”

“What about my feelings? Do you not believe your theme? Maybe a little time would help me to better collect my thoughts.”

“Perhaps, but what if…I like it raw?” She laughed and he moved in to kiss her. She pulled away.

“There you go again–trying to mix business with pleasure.”

“Is that such a bad thing?”

“Maybe not. But regardless, it’ll have to wait. I have to go pick up Jamie from school.”

“By all means. Don’t let me make you late–she wouldn’t understand.”

“Oh she understands more than you know.”

“Fair enough. Bye, then.” Cassandra looked back at him as she went out the front door and Jon winked at her. Then he sighed and pulled up his screenplay in its Word document. He copied all of it except pages 74-81 into a new document and cracked his knuckles. “Back to the drawing board, I guess.” He frowned.


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