Monday, June 24, 2013

"Dear Gregory, I'm very sorry I chased you with a booger on my finger. Here, I put it on this paper so you can get me back."

Inspiration can come spewing up from anywhere.  Be ready for it - or it will end up on your shoes, or worse, on your shirt.  I've been considering writing a kid’s movie since I got started with scripts (I have also considered young adult fiction in years past, even writing part of a novel to test out the idea) but I keep coming back to the same problem.  I don't write for kids.  Not well, at any rate.

The problem isn't what you might expect.  I like kids, have a good time with kids, relate well with kids, and can even tell a pretty good campfire story most of the time.  My bedtime stories haven't gotten any complaints either, well, other than being too short.  But bedtime stories don't usually translate well into features or even printed fiction because they are so personal.

So what is the problem?  I don't do gross.  I was an only child growing up and didn't have gross competitions with my brother or try to gross out my sister.  I wasn't often surrounded by children my own age except at school where gross was strictly verboten and failure to comply with the rules meant swift and painful punishment.  Yes, I am that old.  Not doing gross, I don't write gross with any sort of authority.  It's pretty bad gross actually.  I end up describing a scene I've seen somewhere else and I have nothing even close to as original as the cheese in "Diary of a Wimpy Kid".  I also don't usually find
gross funny.  If you do, that's great.  I don't hate gross and I don't judge you for liking gross, but I'll take humor based on puns over buns every time.

This doesn't mean I don't still want to write for kids, or that I don't have an idea for a great story.  I do, absolutely.  I just know that if I can't find good gross, it will never sell and therefore never be made.  Why?  Because whether you think gross is funny or not, the formula for a successful kid’s movie includes gross and nobody in the movie business is going to risk a few million making a genre film that doesn't have it in there.

What's a guy like me to do for inspiration?  He goes to Chik-Fil-A on Friday night with his wife and two youngest kids.  He stands in line waiting to order and when he gets to the register he listens as the littlest says, "I feel sick."  He goes to the men's room with the poor child.  He stands back while the inter-dimensional space that was holding all of that food (no way his stomach was that big) disgorges the lot of it.  He then tries to help the boy feel better and clean up the toilet as quickly as possible - while there is still nobody there.  Then he helps the boy get washed up as a harried man in a suit rushes into the bathroom and locks himself in the stall.  He hopes that all of the bits of lunch were cleaned away because based on the noises, this was an emergency and the stranger didn't look before sitting down to business.  The last bit?  You take the poor sick child to the car to wait while mom gets dinner to go and while you are in the car you give him a tissue because he thinks he might have gotten some barf up his nose.  "Poor little guy," you think.  He blows.  And blows.  And blows.  He scrunches his face up in puzzlement, staring at the tissue.  You see the biggest clod of buggers stuck together ever until you realize it's actually a... banana pepper ring.  "We have to save this for Mom," he says.  “Sure,” says the writer, only half listening as the pieces start to slide into place.


  1. I knew banana peppers were inherently evil. lol

  2. Our life is so fun, isn't it! Keep writing...I love reading it!

  3. You underestimate yourself, Jon. Anyone who can work boogers, vomit, and diarrhea into the same story is right up there with the grossest of them.

    1. It's all about the source material. You'd think you could get away with regurgitating the old stuff... but you can't. :)

  4. People are going to think that I've lost it the next time I find myself in the stall of that Chick-fil-a because I'll think of this story and won't be able to contain the laughter!