Star Wars Seventy-Seven

I did not go to film school, nor did I study screenwriting in college, so what the hell makes me think I can write screenplays?

For too many years I believed that one did have to go to film school or college specifically for that. I guess it is because I worked in a licensed world, I had to go to school to be a nurse, pass the board to get my license, the doctors I worked under, med school…

When I started selling houses, more school, another license.

But screenwriters don’t need a license. It probably helps to have a degree in film when making a submission, but it is not necessary. It takes talent, drive, and some luck. All three.

And some.

I grew up in a movie theater my mother managed. Since this was a small town and there wasn’t much else to do, guess where I was every single day? At the movies.

I’d help her carry the film cans upstairs and splice films together. I had a drawer full of frames from my favorite movies and my room was wallpapered with real movie posters, even the ceiling.

Mostly, I watched movies. Every day, at least two an evening on the big screen. There were four to choose from. Often a movie got held over for weeks. Like Star Wars. It got held over for so long, I managed to watch it seventy-seven times. Not that I liked it, I never did. Not one single time.

See, not only did I get in for free, so did the friends I brought with me. That is how many times I got “asked” to suffer this one. It wasn’t long before I had every line of dialogue memorized, knew every prop, every mistake, you name it. Out of boredom and curiosity, I used to watch people’s reactions to certain parts of movies. Not just Star Wars, all of the movies I watched over and over again. There were many.

My mom was great with people. She knew everyone in town and when they came out of the show, she’d ask them if they liked it, then why or why not. Every single night. People of all ages and backgrounds. She could get them to talk. I listened and learned.

Mom got so good at feeling the pulse of movie goers that she could predict with great accuracy which movies would do well and which ones would bomb. Just by watching a preview. I listened and learned.

This was my childhood.

I am no longer privied to free movies on the big screen but I know the importance of talking to and listening to people of all ages and backgrounds. What makes them laugh or cry, what music they listen to, what they do for fun, what bothers them… Things that move them.

Did we know Star Wars would be a hit? Yes, unfortunately we did. There were too many things in there we’d never seen before. Mostly the special effects. We knew we were in for some suffering.

Sorry Star Wars fans.

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22 thoughts on “Star Wars Seventy-Seven

  1. I’ve never seen Star Wars. Made a point of not seeing it. I’ve caught short bits of it on tv by accident. I don’t know why I don’t like it, especially as I’m facinated by the stars and the universe, maybe I’d love it if I saw it?? I don’t think so, so I won’t bother.
    Kitty, that piece of blog was spot on in writing terms. Now I’m not a writer (my grandad had top spot on best sellers list in Norway – twice, so I claim inheritance status. lol) but that writing brought me with you into the cinema and the whole atmosphere. Excellent work my friend!!

  2. Star Wars 77 times? Oh, the pain.

    Have you saved any of those movie posters? They’d be worth lots of money now, I think.

    Oh, most importantly – you do write screenplays, girl.

  3. Thanks Liv. Hey, I didn’t know your gradfather was a writer too. I knew he had a tv show and was the Kaptain Kangaroo of Norway, or am I mistaken about this?

    Hey Michele, no, I didn’t save any posters. I had some great ones, too. Probably would be worth a fortune. Who knew?

    I should have mentioned I have taken writing classes and am currently in a screenwriting workshop. I have lots of people to thank for that, mainly Pooks and Max. That’s another blog post, another day.

  4. No wonder you’re into screenwriting. If you could watch Star Wars 77 times and not shoot yourself in the head, you so deserve at least one produced mega hit script. And I’m gonna be there, front seats, cheering and clapping for my friend 🙂

    As for film school, yes, it helps. It provides you with alot of “equipment”, if you know what I mean. There are basic, valuable things you are taught there. But, just like in every art/craft, no school can help you if you don’t have it. The talent. That little something you are born with, that makes a good writer from just a writer and which film schools could never teach you.

    So, kudos to Max (from me too).

  5. Yes, my grandad was a writer foremost. A storyteller as they called it back then. And the tv show that ran for years and years. He also wrote stories in a weekly popular magasine for years. He did these things all the years I was growing up. Think he was still doing it when I left Norway. But Kaptain Kangaroo??? I don’t remember that. Could be you’re mistaken, or that I told you that when I still had a bit of memory left. I don’t know. Anyway, your writing is improving all the time, and you wrote so well to start with!!

  6. I so remember her taking me to the movies when she would work. I thought it was so cool. I remember her sitting down with me one night to let me watch E.T. when it first came out. I got to see it before opening night. I distinctly remember sitting on the armrest of the movie chairs because those things would just swallow my butt.

  7. Ape, I remember that time she showed you ET. I was there too. : )

    Sophia, I’ll save you a front row seat.

    Liv, I’ve always thought you wrote well and you know I’ve told you a million times to write novels or short stories. Grrrr. So that’s where it comes from, your grandfather?

    Max, I’ll use The Force against any intruders. I learned Something from those movies.

    Yep, AJ, that’s what happened to me.

  8. Well I always did well in my essays at school and they were always read out by the teacher, but you know what?? I can’t remember a single story I wrote. Not a word! But I do remember an exam essay written by a boy in my class. Every single word. I thought it was the bravest, coolest thing ever.
    Here it goes: ” The football match.
    Rain. Match cancelled.”
    Impressive or what?!! We were only about 12 at the time, but that boy did already have balls the size of melons. You have to remember this was a place and a time where we never did anything bad or disrespected the teachers.

  9. Hey, just thought I’d mention that tonight we put the clocks back an hour. Most people are happy to get another hour in bed tomorrow morning. I’m happy with the extra hour I can stay up tonight. (I don’t do mornings)

  10. “Rain. Match cancelled.” LOL. That says so much, actually. I bet that teacher never fogot it either.
    I’m not sure but I don’t think we switch our clocks until the first week of November. So. For about a week, we’ll only be 5 hours time difference.

    I know Daily. We are rare. LOL.
    I have to admit though, the soundtrack was great. Also, I did have some major lightsaber envy. I wanted one of those, still do.

  11. I can’t wait to see your movie! When you come out for your Oscar, stay at the Ritz in Pasadena. We’ll do lunch. : )

    My boss just got his name on his first movie poster and he dropped a signed one off at my place (the night I stood him up) Now, I feel obliged to frame it and hang it up.

  12. Uh oh, you’re dating the boss?

    Hey you know I’m too cheap to stay at the Ritz. But lunch always sounds great. If I’m up.
    Say, how about dinner instead?

  13. Maybe we could just ride golf carts at Warner Bros. I am not sure if they let you do that at night! Sounds fun though… Dinner it’s the new lunch. : )

  14. Great post, Kitty, thanks for sharing.

    Your story reminds me a lot of my childhood. There was nothing to do in my small, rural North Carolinian town but watch movies at the tiny, single-screen refurbished old theater.

    Until they closed it.

    Rochelle

    Okay, Confession time: I’m a huge fan of EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK. I think it’s the best directed (Irvin Kershner!) and the best written (Lawrence Kasdan!) of the three (I pretend the new episodes don’t exist).

  15. Rochelle, I fell asleep during the first new episode.
    I’ve heard that a lot, that EMPIRE is the best of the SW movies. I was too Star War’d out and only watched that one a couple of times.

    Oh, I did love Harrison Ford.

  16. I love this post Kitty. I know childhoods are always complicated but there is something enviable about this movie-theatre life to me… I still learn the most about movie-making by watching movies a gazillion times. Even movies I don’t necessarily like that much. Sometimes the most, in fact, from movies I don’t like that much…

    I was just in a small town cinema a while back – first time in forever and it was really lovely. Talked to the owner for 45 minutes after the film was over. Coservative town, not-so-conservative owner – amazing the crap he’s had to deal with for showing a movie like “Frida” for example…

    Anyway… Thanks for sharing Kitty.

  17. Hey Sulya, picking the theater manager’s brain is wise.
    Our town wasnt like that even though it was small. I remember some really racy stuff coming around at times, LAST TANGO IN PARIS, for instance (I was not allowed to watch that one of course, still haven’t seen it).

  18. Hey, thats wild. Great post. Hate Star Wars. Slept thru it in Houma with Billy and friends. In much earlier days we went to the movies at the cinema with only one theater. My brother worked there and my mom next door. Being the only movie in town, there was a lot of sleeping and coloring, done by myself. Patton seemed would be there for ever.

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