Humor,  John Hughes,  Screenplay

Remember When I Used to Write About John Hughes?

Wanna hear something sad?

Well sad for me, maybe not for you.

I haven’t written a post about John Hughes since last September.

I know.

Oh sure, I wrote about breaking and entering The Breakfast Club High School in April, I threw in the screenplay posts here and there, then I defended him against an article Molly Ringwald wrote, but a true John Hughes post has not come from these fingers in over a year.

WHAT HAS BECOME OF ME?

Instead, I am writing posts about how to style your mantel or how not to get lice.

It’s fine, it’s something I am okay with in my soul but sometimes my soul feels a little empty and you know why?

There’s no John Hughes in there.

via GIPHY

So true Allison.

So. True.

It was as I began to realize that if you’ve been reading my blog for only the past six months that you may have no idea of my John Hughes dependence when I got kind of sad.

We’re also getting farther and farther away from when his movies were popular and relevant, which means we are kind of forgetting him.

Oh sure, I see the occasional reference to his movies in pop culture today.

The Goldbergs television show, for example.

I’m sorry, but their John Hughes-inspired remakes just aren’t funny.

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Then a few months ago, I watched the documentary Don’t You Forget About Me for the first time when I was home sick with bronchitis.

I was hella excited because it was aboot (that’s not a typo) some Canadian filmmakers (wannabe movie stars) who travel from Canada to Chicago (because it’s warmer?) in their quest to find John Hughes.

It was when Mr. Hughes was still alive, so like 2008, I think.

Anyway, I was annoyed by it because they were being kind of overdramatic (see wannabe movie stars) about this journey to meet their “hero”.

Also, they all looked annoyingly in their twenties, so I started to get suspicious because in 2008 I was almost 40 and so was most of the generation who grew up with him.

I’m all for the younger generation loving movies from the past, but I get suspicious when that generation makes a film about a spiritual journey to the suburbs of Chicago to meet someone who made movies when they were still in the womb.

BUT I’m skeptical by nature so…

Then they completely lost me when they decided to HAND WRITE a note to MR. JOHN HUGHES and leave it with HIS GARDENER telling him to COME OUT OF “HIDING” and meet them for coffee the next day.


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I was actually rooting for John Hughes and cheering loudly at the television screen when they fast forwarded and told the viewing audience that he sent their handwritten note back three months later.

Of course, the note was opened on camera, because why wouldn’t it be?

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You got that right, Samantha Baker.

So after seeing this “documentary”, I realized that my screenplay shared the same name and it got me all concerned-like.

What if the millennials think I was inspired by their docu-drama? (I wasn’t) What if that’s bad juju? (It probably is) What if Simple Minds decides to sue me? (Don’t you forget about the fact that I am broke)  What if I’m the only one who likes my screenplay? (Like, totally)

Anyway, in a bronchitis-induced haze, I decided hastily that I was gonna change the name of my screenplay as not to get sued.

Even though I was using all of the John Hughes characters names in my screenplay from beginning to end.

THAT’S BESIDE THE POINT.

I got inspired to work on my screenplay and do some editing, and in turn created a cool ending that would match the new title name:  Dear John Hughes. 

Did I Google the name to figure out if it was already taken?

GOD NO. ARE YOU NEW HERE??

Image result for dear john hughes play
Courtesy of Theater in Chicago

FUUUUUDGE.

Only I didn’t say fudge. 

Did I also mention that I had submitted my screenplay to the website Script Revolution for the entire public to read with the new title, Dear John Hughes?

Did I also mention that while sure, the new title reflected a change to the beginning of the last scene, it didn’t AT ALL mesh with the real ending?

Side note- the ending is SO GOOD. SO GOOD. I want to tell it to you right now! SO. GOOD. 

Did I also mention that summer was upon me and that meant less frivolous writing and more intentional writing (meaning=money)?

Then it hit me: when did my screenplay writing become frivolous?

If I wasn’t giving it the love and care it needed, it would never become anything other than words on a page.

But life happened.

Courtesy of Useless Homosapien Blog (Tumblr)

I went to California with Anna.

I got some icky health news.

I celebrated 30 years since I graduated high school at my reunion.

I had a massive panic attack.

My husband lost his job.

My husband found another job but he was working much longer hours.

Anna went away to college.

I’m not saying all of this for sympathy but rather to give you reference points because right after the massive panic attack but before Mike lost his job, I revisited my old friends Kate, Regina, and Val.

And it was so good to see them again.

I told them about what was going on in my world and they agreed that I needed to come to sit with them more often.

Yes, I realize they are fictional.

Again, are you new here??

BfastClub 3
Courtesy of artbymoga.tumblr.com

Over the course of a month, I carved out time to work on the screenplay; at four in the morning before the house woke up; at 10 at night before my husband came home from work but after Ella went to bed; in the notes section of my phone while waiting for sports and lessons to end. And during this time, I came up with some really good ideas.

Well, I think they’re good, but not sure if they are empirically good.

I completely changed the ending from the original ending because I honestly hated it. Then I took out parts of the middle and completely edited the entire thing in little places so it sounded more realistic; well, as realistic as a kidnapping the brat pack scenario could sound. Then I changed the title back to the original one because I couldn’t think of anything better, lawsuits be damned.

But it was during this overhaul that I began to have a terrible thought: what if it never gets made into a movie?

If you’ve been thinking this all along, welcome ME to the party. 

Because all along, I did have faith that it would somehow get picked up.

Some small movie company that had no budget would make this screenplay into something pretty funky, creative, and in turn, amazing. A high school student who loves film would take it on as a pet project and it would gain this teenage viral following which is much better than a mainstream studio following, exactly what I envisioned for this in the first place.

I was just providing the blueprint for something even bigger than itself. Passing the baton on to someone with more experience, more creativity, more energy, and in some cases, more expertise, more connections. I just wanted to get the ball rolling.

I was waiting for some people so enthusiastic, kind of like those Canadian wannabe actor/documentarians (except nothing like them) to see my screenplay and yell HOLY HELL THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT WE WERE LOOKING FOR.

The world is full of drama, why on Earth do we need to pay money to see it on screen, when all you have to do is open your smartphone and see it for free?

We need lightheartedness!

We need NOT think!

We need the fucking 80’s to come back!

SAVE OUR WRETCHED SOULS!

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When I first shared my screenplay in this space, I was really stoked because I was receiving such a great response from all of you,

Especially because I was terrified that you all would be reading something I put a lot of time into and thinking, “that’s it??”.

But it was exciting that most of you were on the same page and were “getting” what I was throwing down.

THEY GET IT!!

THEY SEE THE VISION!!

THEY LIKE ME!! THEY REALLY, REALLY LIKE ME!!

I was browsing on eBay for used ball gowns in preparation for my future Academy Awards appearance when slowly, with the share of each scene, I started to see that enthusiasm dwindle.

No! No! It gets better! I PROMISE!! Don’t leave nowwwwww.

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Fewer likes on Facebook, fewer shares on Twitter, one or two comments on each post, then sadly no comments on the posts.

It was sad for me, not gonna lie.

Depressing really.

They don’t get it anymore.

They think I’m nuts.

Maybe I am. 

It became less about my “vision” and more about you liking me. I hate admitting that here because it makes me seem shallow.

But it’s true and if I am being transparent on here, you need to know this. Because I spent a whole hell of a lot of time talking about this screenplay. I even have a tab up there at the top of the blog that has the word screenplay on it.

Do I remove it? Do I drop it all together? Every time I turn on my computer, there it sits on my home screen, “Don’t You Forget About Me’ glaring at me, reminding me I am doing absolutely nothing with it.

GIVE ME A SIGN, JOHN HUGHES!

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I’m not a good promoter of myself, a salesperson per se and I never have been. I envy people who can sit at a table with other people and sell themselves. I attended a blogging conference last year and had to “sell myself” to ten different brands in a small conference room, one table at a time. If hell had a conference room in a resort in suburban Chicago, this was it. I mumbled to each table about how I really don’t want to work with their brand, how I got free tickets because I wrote a blog post, and the true reason I was there was that I was going to see friends I hadn’t seen in a long time. Oh, and I wrote a screenplay too.

I realize that the reason this screenplay isn’t being made into something more is about me and not at all about you, so please know that I am in no way blaming anyone besides myself.

So maybe a chapter is closing, maybe it isn’t.  All I know is that with each month, each year that passes so does the relevance of his films that would make my screenplay at all relevant enough to get made into a movie, to begin with.

When all is said and done, I still have a screenplay that I really love and if you want to see how it ends. you can totally hit it up at Script Revolution.

Maybe I’ll host a free reading at your local Panera Bread so we can sit, eat You Pick Two’s together while drinking coffee and talking about how those annoying Canadians needed to right the wrong of that documentary. Oh and hear the ending of the screenplay too. I TOLD YOU I WASN’T GOOD AT PROMOTING MYSELF!

At the end of the day, I want those who come to this blog for the first time to know of my love for John Hughes and his films, and how badly I still want a museum in his honor to be in Chicago. That it’s more than just a screenplay tab at the top of this blog, or a John Hughes category button on my sidebar. That I didn’t do it for pageviews (obviously), or bragging rights, or even to become a famous writer (because I already am, duh!). That I don’t only write sponsored material, paint pumpkins when I’m blue, or help you to create a fantastic holiday table using only Dollar Tree merchandise.

That I also I really, really dig John Hughes.

Oh, and I wrote a screenplay too.

I love to write about my family, John Hughes, tacos and Bruce Hornsby. Not necessarily in that order.

22 Comments

  • Jenn

    Ok, girl.

    I haven’t forgotten about your screenplay.
    (Actually, I thought about it just this week – ok, so it may have been tied to all the “John Hughes films are kinda rapey” as they tore apart Sixteen Candles..or was it Pretty in Pink? I digress.)

    Because I think it’s hilarious AND I read everything you sent me.

    And I like your original title.

    And I’m sorry the year has been so hard. I’m the opposite. I quit writing about head lice and recipes (mostly) and why everyone needs to try this soap because it was bleeding my soul. And then I stopped writing. SO you’re still ahead of the game.

    SO get together with those girlfriends and WRITE.
    Please.
    Jenn recently posted…Book Review: Old Buildings in North Texas by Jen WaldoMy Profile

    • Kari Wagner Hoban

      Oh friend, you make me crysmile (totally a word) when I read comments like this. I am not giving up BECAUSE of writers and friends like you. Thank you for believing in me, maybe even more than I believe in myself. Gotta work on that….:)

  • Mrs K @ Mrs. Kringle's Kitchen

    I don’t know the right thing to say because in the end while it’s nice to have other people like/love your stuff, what matters is if you love it or not. How many times have we all watched a movie or read a book and said “that was lame, I would’ve done X.” Well, you HAVE actually done that and that’s leap years ahead of what most of us have done. Whether it gets bought and made into what you envision, or just remains a really cool read that makes people who actually lived through that period smile and escape their lives has already made this world a better place either way.

    Oh and I saw that documentary, and you hit the nail on the head.
    Mrs K @ Mrs. Kringle’s Kitchen recently posted…Pumpkin Brown Butter RisottoMy Profile

    • Kari Wagner Hoban

      How do you always know the right thing to say?? Thank you for that. I need to be patient because maybe it’s not supposed to be made into anything at all but is leading me to something completely different. Like the white feather on the porch told me (I AM NOT NUTS), I need to have faith.

      I am so glad I am not the only one who felt that way.

  • andrea

    I HAVEN’T FORGOTTEN ABOUT YOU—OR YOUR SCREENPLAY!! I miss the girls as well. I kept seeing signs around here, so many miles from your hip chicago own, that you needed to do this! The American High director bought a friend’s house and has set up film school in my old middle school. In rooting so hard for you, I guess I was selfishly cheering for myself a little too because we all win if this happens for you. Did I miss the point of your post because I go googly eyed when the screenplay gets discussed and I rushed to the end to comment? I am fascinated by how hard you have worked on this baby with all of the editing and rewriting. Your vision has been so clear! Flat Kari arrived here four years ago yesterday, and now our vodka and hard cider tasting orchards and film majors at Syracuse University as well as Jeremy Garelick’s film folks are surely awaiting the arrival of you and your script!
    andrea recently posted…Green with anticipationMy Profile

    • Kari Wagner Hoban

      You have been one of my strongest supporters all along, and for that, I am so damn thankful. I still have my directors clapboard and it does inspire me but I regret that I never bought that screenwriters hat in Hollywood. Alas, maybe when I am there for the Academy Awards, I can run over there in my used ball gown and scoop it up.

      I want to hear more about this film school inside a middle school!!!!

  • Ani Kay

    OK so, I love the screenplay. BUT I had a hard time reading it because I do my reading in bulk. As you know, I am in and out of the game, and when I come back I read all the posts I missed. The issue was that when I came back, I couldn’t remember where I was, and then when I remembered where I was, it was hard to get back to the right post. I would suggest, and I’m suggesting this so that you get back to posting the screenplay, that when you post it post the links to all the other parts of it. Even if it’s just a simple 1, 2, 3, 4, at the top of the post to make it super easy to navigate. And hey, it’s good for bounce rate too!

    And here is why I love your screenplay. It’s funny, and silly, and good! It has stuck with me, and I think about it at random times. And when you think about something that someone has created, at random times, it’s proof that the thing they created is good! And full disclosure, I don’t consider myself a John Hughes fan, mostly because when I was discovering his movies, I was in the budding feminist stage of my life. My formative years were in the 90’s, so Empire Records is like my Breakfast Club.

    Also, keep posting the screenplay! I want to know that ending!!
    Ani Kay recently posted…Posts in the Queue – That’s British for Line, Harry Potter Taught me ThatMy Profile

    • Kari Wagner Hoban

      POST A FOLLOW UP. I swear I am going to turn your comments into blog posts.
      I literally just wrote a draft for a post about bloggers who need to blog again because of YOUR latest blog post.
      I should start putting you on the payroll over here.
      When I get one, I’ll call you.

  • Melanie

    So I can read your entire screenplay – even the ending – on Script Revolution?! I hope so…because I think I left off on scene 15 (ish) and so I’m left hanging.

    I agree with what Mrs K ^ said, so I won’t repeat that stuff. 😉

    Did you know there’s a John Hughes bench in Northbrook?

    I’ve had a kinda shitty year and a really bad panic attack (in Sept), too. You’re not alone.

    Love you!

  • Rita

    Kari,
    I am one of the ones who fell off because I got behind and then I didn’t know how to catch up and…life. Short attention span when I’m struggling, and I’ve been struggling more than not for quite a long time now. I’m sorry you have been, too.

    From a totally practical standpoint, I think you may be a victim of bad timing. I totally get all the reasons you love his films. I get what it is that you love about them. For me, they are reminders of a time that I mostly remember the good parts about. Quite a few things have changed since the 80s, and there are some things I really miss about that time. Unfortunately, one thing about the 80s (a thing I don’t miss) is that women weren’t treated or regarded very well. His films reflect rape culture and have been called out for doing so, and given everything going on right now, I don’t think anyone’s going to want to celebrate anything about him. Especially those in advertisers’ target demographics, which you and I really aren’t any more.

    I agree with the idea I saw above that this may just be a necessary step to some other thing that you don’t even see or know about right now. I don’t think any creative work is ever wasted. I know you’ve enjoyed writing it, and it’s stretched you, and you have some great memories you wouldn’t have had without it. That’s all good stuff!

    I went to a writers’ conference about a decade ago, and one of the big things I walked away from it with was an understanding that getting published is about a whole lot of things besides the quality of a manuscript. Timing is a big one. The stars have to all line up just so. So they haven’t (so far) on this one, and they might not. Maybe they will next time. Don’t give up!
    Rita recently posted…RequiemMy Profile

    • Kari Wagner Hoban

      Thank you for this. Really. Because that second paragraph is the first honest piece of advice/comment I’ve received. I’m not saying the other comments of support and advice aren’t but I think you are able to sum up what everyone has wanted to say and put it into a prettier “box”, as they say.
      It’s not gonna happen, I know it, you know it, they know it. I knew it deep down but I didn’t want to admit it to myself because it felt like I was admitting defeat.
      I DO think it is more about becoming something different because I know it won’t probably come to fruition and I need to be patient.

      Being patient is really hard, FYI. 🙂

  • Jessie

    Don’t remove that tab! Yes. We need more of the 80’s and more NOT think. I’m going to go find that new ending.

    Sorry about the suckiness you encountered. You know, I keep thinking each year is goong to get better… yes, we need NOT think.

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