I was telling my son a story about toilet paper the other day (I’ll get to that in a minute) and by practicing what I preach about how to be creative, I thought ‘dag, that would make a good topic’… shall we?
Many years ago when I was working for the house of mouse, I divided my dedication between the east and west coasts especially during what we called ‘crunch time’. In this case, I had been working in LA for the entire summer, my house and dog were being watched by various family members while my office and responsibilities in Orlando gathered a lot of dust. My time to return, as defined by my return airplane ticket purchased months prior, had come but the production was running over, and there was still work to do. The producers of the late film and of the one waiting for me to get to in Orlando, decided to stick to my return airfare regardless.
I went home and to the office the next day, actually it may have been on a weekend, so I think I did get to recover from my jetlag… anyway in the morning production meeting I was greeted with the hugs and hellos and ‘now get to work’ of a person just back from leave or tour of duty as it were. And not two hours later, in LA during their production meeting, they decided they needed me back for two more weeks.
I worked there in a temporary desk set-up in an old trailer at the time, and everytime there was an earthquake, I feared I’d be killed by paper cuts from all of the scene’s paperwork, drawings, exposure sheets etc… that were perched precariously on an antique bookshelf resting at the back of my makeshift and equally antique desk… this desk was actually stuck in the common, computer area in a room adjacent to the department I worked in. This department had been on OT for months now, when I say OT I mean like 6 days a week 16 hours a day, so everyone was a little ‘punchy’ to say the least.
I showed back up a day or so later to find my dilapidated workstation, draped and wrapped like a haunted house at Halloween would be with spider webs only this was toilet paper. Now, I am from the Northeast and when I was a kid we did mischief night the night before Halloween and we did it with toilet paper and raw eggs to houses that we felt were mean or otherwise deserving. So, naturally I was a little taken a back by this TP attack, I mean I had uprooted my life for the summer and came straight back on demand and this is the thanks I get?! Well, it turns out in the San Fernando Valley, to TP someone is a sign of respect. I’m glad the day didn’t get too old before someone clarified that or I’d of been switching that plane ticket pronto.
Being creative, I’m sure you can figure where this is going — however humor me here…
As writers we are all pounded with the mantra to make our stories resonate with universal themes such as love, hate, loss, fear etc… My advice to all of you creators of stories that you want to sell, make sure your gags, nuances and even use of toilet paper, are universal or you will alienate your audience. This is especially true for scenes that are your babies, because they are the ones that are usually drawn from experience and experiences are nothing but one person’s perspective. That’s my common sense on a roll for today.