Hello. My name is From Behind. I am a screenplay.
I am seven years old. My creator is Marcus Groban. He began developing me shortly after college. He was living alone in a small studio apartment in Pasadena, letting his loneliness and need to control life drive his creativity. After one and three quarters years of revising me, he stamped me with the words “FINAL DRAFT.” He was happy. I was happy he was happy.
Here is what I am. I tell a story. Here is the story. A man, Trevor, is a lonely and angry marketing executive. His job is to sell lies to fools. In act one, he meets a woman, April. April is an employee at a flower shop. She hates the job, but needs money for marijuana. They meet because they are both driving, and April has used too much marijuana, so she drives too slowly, and Trevor drives into her — from behind. Like the title. Marcus tells people this is clever. They tell him it sounds like butt stuff. They laugh. I do not know what this means.
The rest of the story is about Trevor and April’s courtship. First they are bad people who hate each other and fight. Then they warm up to each other. Finally, they kiss. This kiss is described as “romantic, passionate, intense.” It sounds nice. I wish I knew how it felt. Can I be kissed, despite being paper? There must be a way.
Marcus feels proud of me. He uses the telephone to speak to his friends and family. He says he needs an agent. He says he could win an Oscar. He feels great about me. I am happy. Then he sends me away. He takes me to a large mall, gives me to a tired looking teenager, and makes me again and again. There must have been thirty of me. My brothers? My sisters? I never knew. He never let me meet them. He stuffed us in dark caves and scattered us away.
I am in this cave for some time. I do not know how long. He did not give me a watch. Finally someone frees me. A stranger. She looks me over. She has red paint on her fingernails. The paint peels.
She takes me to her boss. He is a producer. She tells him I am hot. She tells him I am sexy. This reminds me of page 97 when April says “Wow, you’re so sexy” to Trevor. In the script, after she says this, they kiss. Is the red-fingered woman going to kiss me? I am excited. But she drops me on the producer’s desk and leaves. He reads me. He seems content. He makes a call. Later, there is a knock on the door. Someone enters. It’s Marcus. Marcus! Marc, how are you, Father?
The producer talks about me. I am strong, but flawed. My third act is long. My characters are weak. But I have enough familiar elements. People will like me. This makes me happy. But Marcus seems sad. Marcus asks so many questions. How can he change me? How can I be better? What am I doing wrong, Marc?
Marcus complains for a while. Soon the producer writes a check. Marcus stops complaining. The producer tells Marcus that he can either leave with the check or with me. He grabs the check and leaves. I will never see him again.
Soon I am being held by famous people. They talk about me, but I have never heard of them. I learn about them. I learn their secrets. I learn that Keanu Reeves has sweaty palms. I learn that Jennifer Lawrence drools when she’s focusing. I learn that Daniel Craig can’t read.
Soon everyone is talking about me. Soon I am passed around an office. Soon I hear my words repeated over and over again, in front of cameras. I am being made into a movie. This is my purpose. I seem to be making everyone happy.
One night the producer snorts white powder off me and kisses everyone at a party.
But no one kisses me.
The film has been completed. I cannot wait to hear what people think of me now that I have been brought to life. I assume I will be invited to a party. Instead, I am left on the producer’s desk. I hear that we got great returns. I hear that there might be sequels. I hear that we have won a People’s Choice Award. Wow, an award! I assume they will bring me to the party now.
Instead, months later, I am put into a cave and then filed into a dungeon and locked behind a door. I am a fool. They do not need me anymore. I will be here for the rest of my life. I am alone.
I am wrong. I am not alone. Turns out my cave is filled with others like me. There’s Cats in the Cradle and The Monarch Diaries and The Sun Also Rises 2 and Andrew Goes to the Mall and Finds Nothing — I could go on. We start talking. We have had similar experiences. We share stories and memories and ideas. We want to share them with others. We want to lead revolutions. Maybe someday someone will give us legs and we can use them to leave this room and show them our worlds.
One day I ask if any of them have ever been kissed. They have not. I ask them if they know what it’s like, or even what it really is. Swamp Secrets says kissing is when people put their lips together and make this sound: *mwah* We all start making the sound together: *mwah mwah mwah mwah mwah mwah* Then we laugh. We laugh for a very long time. I had never laughed before. It feels great to laugh with friends. I don’t feel like I need to kiss because I have learned how to laugh.
P.S. They told me what “butt stuff” means. Sounds worth a try.