By MIKE VINSON
At first, it struck me as the movie Big Fat Liar meets the popular television series Married . . . with Children.
For those who don't know, Big Fat Liar , produced in 2007, is about a teenage boy named Jason who has his creative-writing essay, titled Big Fat Liar, stolen by a shady Hollywood producer, who turns the essay into a movie titled, conveniently enough, Big Fat Liar. After learning his work has been plagiarized, Jason convinces his friend and neighbor, Kaylee, to covertly join him on an adventurous trip to Hollywood to hunt down the thieving Hollywood producer and reclaim Jason's original essay.
Married . . . with Children was a popular sitcom about the dysfunctional Bundy family-dad, mom, son, and daughter-who lived in a Chicago suburb. I thought the show was exceptionally funny in an offbeat, cartoonish sort of way. And, apparently, so did a good portion of viewing America, as the show ran for eleven seasons, from 1987 thru 1997.
Okay, I've given readers a brief overview of Big Fat Liar and Married . . . with Children, something most anyone can look up via a variety of means. So, what does this have to do with what I'm attempting to say in this column?
Several weeks back, a 9-year-old boy named Christos said, "Mike, would you help me write a story about a day in my life? I think it would make a really good movie!"
Normally, I would have found some reason to dodge a collaboration of this nature. However, this young fellow, Christos, though only 9, does have an exceptional creative spark. I suppose it would be fair to say, with pun, his creative spark "sparked" my interest.
Thus, I did meet with Christos at his parents' place of business, my laptop computer in tow, ready to listen to him tell me his own personal tale.
One would've thought Christos was a veteran who'd been on several movie/TV sets, because when we finally got down to business, he, as if having been cued by a director-and with a ring of cherry-red Kool-Aid around his lips (for real)-commenced his "production," if you will:
Imitating the motions of blogging/typing on a computer, Christos, with no script, ceased the blogging motions, looked straight at me, as though looking directly into a camera, and, with a mischievous smile, commenced his dialogue:
"Hello, my name is Joey Carlito. And, gah-lee, my family gets on my nerves everyday. If you think your life is hard, trying being me for just one day!"
There was a long pause, adding a degree of drama, and Christos continued his dialogue:
"I hope you're sitting somewhere comfortable because this is going to be a lo-o-o-o-o-ng story . . . this is where it all begins . . ."
He then turned his head from me and, once again, began his mimicking of blogging on a computer.'
I am not going to say anything else about Christos's story, and for two reasons: (1) Indeed, it is a good story worthy of development, but, to use an old adage, we don't want to let the cat out of the bag just yet. (2) It is imperative that Christos and I, as a team, see this story thru till completion:
Well, a 9-year-old boy has a cute, creative story to tell and has enlisted my help. Seeing it thru till completion could be the proverbial "defining moment"; it might forever define me as person to Christos: If we finish it as planned, neither of us will ever forget it. On the other hand, it we don't finish it, neither of us will ever forget it.
More than anything, though, it's the happy smile he gets on his face when we're working together on his story.
His smile is the payoff!