By Larry Coker
Hey there, folks. It’s Larry Coker.
Today I want to talk about seizing the day. A little bit hokey, right? Haha. No, I’m not making fun of my good friend Frank Beamer and his Virginia Tech Hokies. I went 3-3 against them, which is pretty fair in my opinion. No need to bring that up.
No, I want to talk about making the best out of every day.
I got an email from my best friend Suzie last night. I’ve known Suzie for going on twenty-six years and we try to send each other whatever little thing inspires us or makes us laugh. I started off yesterday by forwarding a terrific picture of two baby whales kissing each other. I thought that was pretty inspirational and funny, but Suzie really kicked it into high gear with her own forward: a chain letter demonstrating the power of prayer to help obese Americans lose weight and tone muscles. It takes a while to scroll down far enough in the email to see the before and after pictures but let me tell you, folks, they look slim and happy.
And that’s what we should all strive for: slim and happy. I’ve lost four pounds since I quit my job in Miami. I didn’t need to but with hard work and the support of my loved ones I did it anyway.
If you think positively enough you can make every day the best day of your life.
For instance, I’m writing a screenplay right now. Don’t tell anyone… except everyone else who reads this column. Haha. Anyway, it’s coming along. I bought a screenwriting book at Barnes & Noble the other day. They’ve got this new deal with Starbucks here in Coral Gables and it’s just amazing: you get to order the best coffee a small, independent cafe has to offer plus the personal service of a family owned bookstore like B&N. I felt like a regular artiste, sipping my mochaccino and reading Robert McKee’s Story: Substance, Structure, Style and the Principles of Screenwriting. There’s some good stuff in there. The book, that is. Not the mochaccino, which is also good. Haha.
So McKee really stresses dynamic drama. He says that conflict is the sunlight of your story, and you need conflict in order to grow organically towards a creative end. I agree with him. I’ve come from a life of conflict and it’s helped me grow organically. Why shouldn’t it work for my characters?
Here’s the plot so far: Chase McFlyer is the world’s foremost lobster scientist. I know there’s a better name for that, something like crustacean zoologist or maybe just marine biologist. I’ll Google that later. Anyway: Chase knows more about lobsters than anyone alive, and he’s about to announce something that’s gonna rock the world.
Ready? Lobsters can not only feel pain when you boil them alive, they can feel a lot of pain.
The lobster eaters of the world will be horrified. As soon as the word gets out they’re gonna stop eating so many lobsters, meaning there’s going to be a big drop in business for the lobster industry. And all of that means conflict.
The international lobster cartel isn’t going to go away silently, and one of the biggest lobster families in the world puts out a hit on Chase. Luckily for him FBI agent Britney Powers has been assigned to protect the lobster scientist and together they escape the lobster assassins. They’re not literally lobsters who kill people, they’re just assassins hired by the lobster cartel. I’ll make that clearer in my third draft.
Chase and Britney dodge the killers from Morocco to Toronto and every exotic locale between. I want this to have a bit of The Bourne Identity to it. Not so much The Bourne Supremacy because that German girl died in that one, and Britney is my protagonist’s love interest so she shouldn’t die. I wouldn’t mind a car chase like the one Matt Damon had with that Russian assassin, though.
Eventually the two realize they need to think differently if they’re going to survive. That’s where the plot twist comes in: they fly to the Maine Lobster Festival. Yes, you read that correctly. My director friend said we can have some amazing set pieces involving the main lobster tank blowing up, maybe even pouring a big bucket of hot butter on a bad guy like they do in those castle movies. He told me he’d help storyboard my movie, but I’m not sure if this thing can get any more electric. Just think about it: having the world’s foremost lobster expert at the Maine Lobster Festival. That’s got conflict written all over it. Plus, Britney Powers will finally have enough of being shot at; it’s time for her to dish out some powerful justice of her own with terminal accuracy. Think Uma Thurman’s TV pilot character in Fox Force Five from Pulp Fiction, but with forks. Lobster forks.
Some more about Britney: she’s the FBI’s youngest senior bodyguard at 23 years old. She’s tough and charismatic, but she’s also got a softer side that only comes out after a harrowing escape from death. Agent Powers is trained in fourteen different types of karate but it’s her smile that’s deadliest. Did I mention that she’s also a former model? The sparks will literally fly off the screen when she first meets McFlyer.
See that? That’s another pun. Puns are second only to conflict when it comes to storytelling.
I’m not sure how everything’s going to end but I do know the title of the film: Boiling Point. My agent and I are shopping the idea around right now and we’re getting great feedback. There’s even some buzz at Telluride, which is a film festival.
Once you put your mind to something and believe in yourself, you can do anything. I won a national championship in 2001, and now I’m going to write the action movie I’ve always wanted to see.
Follow your dreams, folks.