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Friday, November 6, 2009

My Shawshank Redemption - A Screenplay: Part 1

Hello, it’s Rachel again. Since the last time I was here I received my bachelor’s degree and am now working on my master’s and studying for the CPA Exam. It’s been an adventure juggling my studies and my life, and over the course of the next few weeks I’ll be sharing my experiences with you…in screenplay form….”My Shawshank Redemption”…whether by design or by fate, my Shawshank is grad school… (fade to black)….

”My Shawshank Redemption”

Scene One

bright, sunny day on ASU (Appalachian State Univ.) campus in late summer glory (green grass, beautiful flowers & trees blooming); birds chirping; lots of happy students. Lively & vibrant atmosphere.
Music: upbeat, fun, sexy – think Aerosmith’s “Walk This Way”
Opening scene (slow motion until phone rings): Rachel (happy & carefree; glowing from a healthy summer tan with sun-lightened hair blowing gently around & across smiling face – think Cover Girl commercial) walking across campus waving & chatting, answering cell phone as it rings incessantly:
1st call: “Hi Erin, that sounds fun, count me in.”
2nd call: “Hey Austin. Tonight, sure – how about 7:00.”
3rd call: “Hi Babe. Well, I need to study but I can be done in 2 hours.”
4th call: “Amanda! Lunch tomorrow works for me. See ya then.”
5th call: “Hi Megan. Sure but instead of the track, why don’t we hit a trail. Cool, I need a good workout today.”
6th call: “Seriously, Babe, a coed football team? Well, okay, I can do it – I need some fun.”

Good friend stops Rachel; they hug:
Friend: Hi Rach, how’s it going?
Rachel: Great. How about you?
Friend: Good, glad to be back here with my friends but dreading this semester – a ton of work.
Rachel: Yeah, I know what you mean.
Friend: That’s right - you’re in grad school. And don’t you have that big accounting exam…what’s it called - CPA? Wow, I hear that it is really grueling – maybe harder than the bar exam.
Rachel: Yeah, it’s pretty hard but I think I can handle it. After all, there are almost half-a-million CPAs in this country so, how hard can it be? … (fade to black)...

Scene Two

Setting: Library, mid-September; early afternoon, soft light filtering through windows. Peaceful & quiet atmosphere.
Music: Somber, subdued – think Gary Jules’ “Mad World.”
Opening Scene: Rachel (not-so-happy or carefree; tan long-faded; hair in ponytail; only a ghost of a smile when someone speaks – think Bella from “Twilight”) hunched over laptop, sighing, rubbing forehead, trying to subdue a headache; books & papers strewn in a 3-foot radius.

Friend: Hi, Rach, so this is where you hang out. I never see you anymore.
Rachel (apologetic): Yeah, I know. This is pretty much my home away from home…or maybe, my home is my home away from home. Well, anyway, if I’m not in class, I’m here.
Friend: Well, call me sometime when you’re free and we’ll get together.
Rachel (wistful): Sure.
Voice over, Rachel to self (mocking): Right. That won’t happen any time soon. I’ve got 2 research memos, 2 tests, 3 quizzes and project due in the next 5 days. Not to mention a job. Oh, yeah, and don’t forget studying for the hardest test on the face of this earth. To stay on track, I’ve got to cover 25 pages in 2 days – and I’ve just spend an hour on one page and I still don’t get it. What was I thinking – can’t be that hard with so many CPAs. Idiot! How did you manage to forget about an exam fail rate of 50+%? ... (fade to black)…

Is Rachel losing it? Is this the beginning of a downward spiral? Or has she simply studied too long without a break? Can she pull it together? Find out next week in Part 2 of "My Shawshank Redemption"

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