During the recession in 2009 I had a brief time where I was unemployed for 5 months. The first month was spent in Europe, the second month partying and discovering how awesome it was to not work, and the other three having a quarter life crisis. So you know, normal stuff. Two of my best friends, Alexis and Franz, were also unemployed during this time and needless to say we all had meltdowns at one point and developed a slight alcohol problem. The whole thing was a hot mess.
After that was over, I wrote my second feature-length script entitled “Unemployed During A Recession” loosely based on our ridiculous time. It’s your standard mid-twenties coming of age film and my take on an updated version of Reality Bites. Most of my scripts or stories are very character driven, so I do plenty of writing exercises before beginning to make sure I am fully immersed in my characters. I found one of these exercises recently and had a little chuckle (yes I’m one of those nerds who laughs at her own writing) so I decided to share. For any writers, it’s a great exercise. In this case I pretended to interview my 3 main characters to make them seem more real. I figure if I have no problem answering these questions because I am so certain who they are and how they act, I’m ready to throw them in my script and see what happens.
Meet Mya, Allie and Jason.
Interviewer: So, how’s it going today?
M – Well I’m on my 3rd rum and coke so slightly better than this morning.
J – It’s Lamb’s Wednesday
M – Lamb’s is all I can afford at this point, unfortunately.
Interviewer: How long have you been unemployed?
M – 69 days.
A – Oh my God, don’t be so dramatic Mya.
M – I’m not being dramatic, I’m just stating a fact.
A – It’s really not that big of a deal! We’ve had loads of free time to do a bunch of stuff we never had the time to do.
M – What, like finish reading The English Patient?
J – And join a basketball league?
A – Exactly! I’ve gotten to do all these productive things.
M – You’re on page like, 40. After 69 days.
A – Well, I’ve also been playing basketball.
J – I’ve been very productive.
M – Jason came out.
J – Wow, way to steal my thunder.
M – Stealing your thunder would mean I announced something even more interesting than the fact that you are gay.
J – Whatever.
Interviewer: What were your jobs before the recession?
A – Actually, I had just finished getting my degree in journalism and was about to take an amazing internship with a veteran local news anchor. He was going to take me all over the world while he worked on a special documentary, but the whole budget fell through so the project never happen. Then my boyfriend who I THOUGHT I was going to marry broke up with me.
J – Actually, you broke up with him.
A – No I didn’t.
M – Allie, there has only been one time you’ve stepped out of your comfort zone, and that was choosing a career opportunity over Ben.
A – Yeah and look what happened!
J – Okay you can’t blame the recession on the fact that Ben didn’t want to get back together with you.
A – I’m not blaming the recession, I’m blaming you guys for even convincing me to break up with him in the first place! “Oh he’ll only get in the way Allie”, “This internship could change your life”.
M – Well it did change your life! You didn’t get it, you tried to get back with Ben and he didn’t want to. What did he say Allie?
A – Next question please.
M – WHAT DID HE SAY ALLIE.
A – (Mumbles something)
J – He said “he was kind of glad they broke up in the first place”.
M – Fact.
A – Don’t be such a bitch Mya.
J – Oh my God Allie cursed!
A – I hate you both.
Interviewer: Moving on then, Jason and Mya, did you discover any new relationships?
J – Bitch I just came out. I have no fucking idea what I’m doing.
M – I don’t date.
J – Mya is slightly obsessed with her career. Men can’t compete.
M – It’s a waste of time.
A – Oh my God Mya don’t say that.
M – Holy crap Allie, enough with the hopeless romantic bullshit. Give it a rest.
Interviewer: Now that you’re unemployed though Mya, how have you been adjusting to not being productive?
M – (holds up her now empty glass) Swimmingly (she gets up to refill her drink)
J – I never really cared about my job but Mya was gunning for top spot.
M – (from kitchen) I HAD THAT SPOT.
J – Well, not the top spot.
M – (back with us) NO. My goal was to be leading a creative team before I’m 30. I dedicated myself to one single ad agency for the last 3 years to achieve this and now it’s all fucking gone and I gotta start from fucking scratch.
A – I hope this makes you realize you need to have other goals in your life. See what happens when your life revolves around one thing? You got nothing left.
M – Right. By other goals you mean a boyfriend?
A – Or knitting. Your choice. Men are more interesting.
J – And fulfilling. Literally.
Interviewer: You seem to know each other very well.
J – We’ve actually only know each other for like 2 years.
J – Yeah well, being unemployed and excessively drinking kind of brings people together if you catch my drift.
Interviewer: What happens now?
M – Lamb Wednesday’s turn into Polar Ice Thursdays.
A – That was a serious question Mya.
M – That was a serious answer.
J – I plan on trying not to keep fucking a guy that will eventually break my heart.
A – Don’t be so crass Jason.
J – Crass? CRASS? Who even uses that word?
M – Allie is going to focus on dating casually. And career Plan B.
A – And Mya’s gonna focus on smiling a bit more, getting over her Plan A and try to figure out what else she wants to do. And maybe fall in love.
M – Oh Christ.
This goes on for like 30 pages, once I got going, the more I wanted to ask my characters questions. It’s kind of schizophrenic, but it seriously helps!
WHAT HAVE WE GOT HERE… TUNES!
It’s Been Awhile Since I Was Your Man by Matthew Good
One of my favorite artists being simple and pure. Very excited to see him again next Friday. For the 6th time.
Book Of James by We Are Augustines
There is something upbeat and raw about this. Love the guy’s voice. Love the vibe. Love the progression and what it escalates into. Put it on your next road trip playlist.
We Bros by Wu Lyf
Soundtrack ready and moody, but not in a depressing way. More like you’re standing on top of a mountain ready to let all that shit go. Skipping back down recommended.
I Was Broken by Marcus Foster
Self-power ballad. Why the fuck not?