I have reached the home stretch of my first major Quest milestone, the deadline for the Industry Insider Screenwriting contest is April 30. This project has been a struggle for me. The whole point of this blog was to find my voice. To express myself. To be authentic.
The rules of the contest dictate that writers must work with a log line supplied by a Hollywood producer. That means that I have to flesh out someone else’s idea.
I already spend my working life writing what someone else wants me to write about (Parking meters… why did it have to be parking meters?). The thought of nurturing someone else’s concept is a little demoralizing.
Despite the struggle, I know down deep that it is critical that I enter this contest. First, the rules only require 15 pages, which is a very reasonable, feasible first project. Second, I need to build momentum leading into my next projects by submitting something. Besides, even if this effort ends in rejection, that in itself is an important step, since even the best writers endure a variety of indignities for every published or produced work.
So, living my version of the Hero’s Journey, I am wandering alone in the Abyss, enduring the onslaught of Villains like Distraction, Doubt, and Procrastination. I am fighting a furious War and I am losing. I have eight days to pull an ugly, meandering draft together into a winning script. If this were a film, I’d be gearing up for the final confrontation.
It’s time for a killer inspirational speech. Lots of films have them. This is where the Heroes and/or Heroines get whipped into a frenzy by some well crafted words that make them believe that miracles can happen, that the impossible is possible. Uh, yes please.
There have been countless incredible, inspiring soliloquies in cinema. They usually occur on the eve of battle, such as Maximus’ oration before his troops in Gladiator, William Wallace’s defiant address in Braveheart, or Aragon’s uplifting pre-battle talk at the black gates of Mordor in Lord of the Rings: Return of the King. Sports films are rich with such speeches, from “Win one for the Gipper“, to the pre-game speech from Miracle, to Al Pacino‘s rant in Any Given Sunday (“It’s a game of inches… and the inches are everywhere”), which is now used in a Viagra commercial, I think. If it isn’t, it should be.
Watching any one of these scenes on their own, I feel inspired. Watching all of them at once (see video below), my goosebumps beget still more goosebumps, and I feel like I can jump to the moon in a single bound. Excuse me while I take a knee.
Sniff, that was awesome.
We all need a little inspiration now and then. The word inspiration literally means from the spirit, and without it, obstacles can seem impassable. But, with it, anything is possible. As Robert Goulet warbled in The Man of La Mancha: “To dream the Impossible Dream. Goulet!”
I’d love to hear about your favorite inspirational speech, leave a comment at the link below.