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The Benefit Of My Ethics Class?

I had great professors in college that were witty and challenging, and some who I didn’t bother setting my alarm for. Some professors like to make you think, others don’t care they just want you to know the material. And there’s that third category that pops up sometimes of professors who do want to make you think, but only about how brilliant they are.

My ethics professor was this third kind of person. He liked to pose moral quandaries and no matter what was said he wanted to poke a hole in the other person’s argument. One could say he was trying to make us critical thinkers but he didn’t give up until everyone agreed with him or just stopped trying. He liked asking vague questions then judging our character based on the answer. One question was would you rather see a play or eat a fine meal? The play is supposed to prove you’re a thinker, and you value the important things in life, but I picked meal because my idea of a great meal at the time was crab cakes and I’d take that over an unknown play anytime.

I once got asked if a person who bought a gun and bullets and went to shoot someone was guilty of the crime even if they stopped beforehand because they wouldn’t be able to get away with it. The answer he was looking for was a sin in the heart is an actual sin, but my answer was no. Attempted murder alright, but unless he pulled the trigger, I wasn’t willing to call it murder. I gave up once I started getting a lecture about Christian teachings, most of my ethics and philosophy classes turned into religion classes instead.

Of course, I could have had a worse teacher. My best friend Megan used to text me in class about what her professor was saying. The one I remember most was the lesson about how it’s okay to eat animals because they can’t feel pain. I thought she should have debated that one since its pretty easy to call bullshit on that but she went the smart ass route and muttered that abortion must be fine then so she was glared into silence for the rest of the class.

There was a bright side to my ethics class and all the boring classes and self righteous teachers I encountered in college. I wrote instead of listening to them. There was a whole chunk of time where my only choices were listen to someone drone on or get some writing done. It was probably one of the times I was most productive.

A lot of my ideas happened like this,  sitting spacing off in a class, and a lot of them have grown since I’ve been out of school. Right now I’m working on a pilot that I thought of in that ethics class.  However, at one of my last screenwriters meetings I got a kind of reality check. A writer there has been in the business for over thirty years. He’s sold dozens of scripts. One was used. And he didn’t get to stay on any of the projects. I’ve been working on one of my ideas since sophomore year in that class. It would be absolutely heartbreaking to have it sitting somewhere unused. Or to have it turn into something that I don’t get any input in.  I’m trying to get used to this, even though it makes me nervous. I suppose the brightside would be that someone bought it at all. The reality is that even if my scripts do get bought, it’s still unlikely they get made, and once they do, it’s even more unlikely that they’ll make it to the point where they get six seasons and a movie (I’m having Community withdrawals). I know this is the reality, I just prefer not to think about it. I don’t really know what to do about it. The only answer I’ve come up with so far is “oh well”, and then I just keep writing.

I’m not sure what that ethics class taught me. The professor thought separation of church and state was an injustice. But hey, if my script is bought some day at least I’d get some use out of that class afterall.

Aspiration for the day: I’ve got nothing to do all afternoon. I need to clean something. Ugh.


First Screenwriters Meeting

I went to my first screenwriters meeting last night. There were two other people there and one of them wasn’t a screenwriter. As a man arrived, I was finding out information about the group from the member who was there. She mentioned there wasn’t normally a low turnout, and he commented that the same thing happened with his robotics club. Being a terrible person, I thought to myself ‘nerd’, but then again I suppose I meant it as a compliment. If I understood anything about robots I’d probably be one of those people that builds the fighting ones that have hammers for hands.  I think those exist, or at least I’m pretty sure one did on TV.

This man wanted someone to make a movie about his recent experiences. He described himself as a normal person who, wanting to take a risk, entered a series of challenges that involved robots and big prize money. However, he never won any of the contests. He spent a huge amount of money, well huge in my eyes, financing his team and almost lost his home. He did have an interesting story and was very enthused about telling it and making a movie.

I do not know anything about science, or robots. A majority of what he said went over my head, though I was pretty intrigued by one of the competitors he mentioned. They were a group of college kids who, in addition to the challenge requirements, had their robot also play beer pong. He saw that as pretty disgraceful so I didn’t say anything. I admired him though. He had a normal life and suddenly everything in it was consumed with robots. They had to use his house, his equipment, his money for the whole project. And here he is, telling more people that might not understand and think he’s weird about his robot story.  Sometimes it amazes me when people can so easily be themselves.

Sometimes I still have a problem being comfortable around strangers; it can take me a while to warm up to people. But this served as my reminder for the night. You like what you like, just embrace it. If a man can walk up to two strangers and start animatedly telling them about his adventures building robots, it’s okay to let yourself be whoever you want to be too.

And overall, the night was a success. The other writer there offered to take a look at my script, so I’ll be happy to get feedback from her.

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