Today’s Dispatch: It’s An Honor Just to Be…

While I may have banned all stressful things (read: schoolwork and celebrity gossip) from my hospital room during last week’s confinement, I still managed to get a little bit of progress done on the screenplay version of Nominated.

One of the things that stood out for me during the whole noodling-around process for the story was the whole “Hollywood-as-high school popularity contest” metaphor; Claire and Mike, after all, have been friends (acquaintances? adversaries?) since high school, so why not turn the whole story into a John Hughes movie (of sorts) for grownups?

For now, here are our players:

The Golden Overachiever: Michael (Mike) Grenoble. He’s the man of the hour, no doubt: smart, talented, good-looking, and up for his third Oscar nomination. He’s almost perfect… except for the part where he’s possibly losing his mind: his mother is pressuring him to settle down and his agent wants him to hustle and market himself as a “bankable” leading man. Soon Michael Grenoble finds himself yearning for the days where he did not have to deal with having his own entourage or being on the wish list of every casting director in Hollywood… but how far would he be willing to go to get his old self back?

The Smug Nerd: Claire Packard. When we meet her in this story, Claire has every reason to be bitter and cynical: Despite her Ivy League education and strong professional credentials, Claire finds herself being forced out of a job (due to budget cuts) at the TV station where she works as a news reporter. Imagine her shock, then, when she finds herself taking a call from her high-school frenemy Mike Grenoble, who just happens to need a date to the Oscars. Sensing a chance to get some much-needed karmic payback, she jumps at a bit and throws herself into the role of arm candy… but how, exactly, does she really feel about Mike?

– The Artsy Bohemian: Sandy Strong. Sandy has seen Claire through the ups and downs of her life, from the angsty high school years to their equally angsty adulthoods, so it comes as no surprise that the upstart stylist would step in asClaire’s one-woman glam squad on the road to the Oscars. She may know Claire better than anyone else – even Claire herself – but even a good friend like Sandy has an agenda of her own…

– The Helicopter Mom: Vicky Grenoble. For years Vicky has been a constant presence in Mike’s life, watching over his every move with more tenacity than a paparazzo. Mike wants nothing more than for his mother to mind her own business, but that would not be too easy once she finds out about the girl from his high school that he’s bringing with him to the Oscars. Will Vicky finally get a breather from watching over her son… or is she too invested in his happiness to truly let go?

– The Bullying Jock: Ned Larkin. Michael Grenoble’s agent has every reason to be invested in his client’s choice to bring a date to the red carpet: Claire Packard may have “history” with Mike, but she’s not sexy enough for him to pass as somebody other than a last-minute strategy. He would stop at nothing to make sure that the golden boy stays in the game… but how long would he be able to keep Mike in play?

There are a few more characters and plot lines that I’m about to throw into the mix, but for now I’m just ironing out the plot-related kinks between Mike and Claire and coming up with a cohesive story in order to turn this baby into a logical screenplay.

And who knows… I might actually be ready for Script Frenzy by the time this starts. 😉

Love, Stella

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Stella Torres

is the author of the adult contemporary romances Save the Cake, Crushingly Close, and Nine Years Away, as well as the short story “Be Creative” in the anthology Kids These Days: Stories from Luna East Vol. 1.

In her previous life, she has worked in public relations, taught English as a second language, and even attended graduate school (twice!). She has lived in Indonesia, Honolulu, and Quezon City before moving back to her hometown of Los Banos, a few hours’ drive (with traffic) from the heart of Manila.

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