Sunday, October 25, 2009

Austin Film Festival -- Contemplating Karma

(From Friday's Festival Musings)


I'm at the AFF, sitting in the lobby of the Driskill, talking to Tim, the director / producer of My Run, which screens tonight (and which has a gung-ho promotional team, by the way), when this guy comes and sits on the couch next to me and starts talking to the woman at the other end.

It was one of those odd serendipitous things, when you realize that you have been a good person, and the universe is smiling upon you, and God has granted you a boon for the day.

You see, when I work on a script or a book, I actively engage in Dream Casting -- sometimes to an alarming degree. My studio walls will often rival the most obsessed fan's as I surround myself with pictures and clippings of my dream team (especially my principals). My husband is a longsuffering and understanding sort, thank heaven!

The script for Against the Wind is no exception to my regular working rule. I wrote it with my "perfect cast" clearly in mind. (Which, I realize, has little to no bearing on reality, and which will carry next to no weight when it actually comes time to cast the thing. But I've never been a big fan of reality, so it has little bearing on my life.)

The guy who joins us on the couch looks SO freaking much like my Ideal Lead for ATW, it was like God dropped him in my lap. So I finish up my talk with Tim and introduce myself (which I do to everyone anyway). Turns out he's an Austin-based actor who is a Festival volunteer.

So we got to talking. I talked about the script, and this guy is practically made for the part.

He ran track in college.
He grew up doing 4-H.
He even has a (get this) degree in Agriculture.
He's got the build, the athleticism, and looks enough like a younger Dick Beardsley to be weirdly spooky.

I talked with him and his friend Stephanie (a screenwriter with my darkly comic sensibilities -- we discussed the more hilarious aspects of her competition script that features a serial killer... but I digress) for over an hour. We watched clips of the 1982 Boston Marathon on YouTube, checked out Dick's website, and exchanged cards.

You just never know what might happen. But I like to believe in things like Poetic Justice and Karma. I like to think that if I lead a good life and write a good script, that great things will happen both to me and to my projects. Call me naive, but it beats believing that you've got to have a heart of stone or sell your soul to make it in this business.

I take my encouragement and find divine inspiration anywhere I can. So when someone who looks exactly like the lead I've envisioned sits next to me and we strike up a conversation about the project I'm working on, I choose to believe that can only mean one thing: Good Things Will Happen With This Script.

After all -- why believe in chance? Fate is so much more interesting...

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