Keeping With The Current
Life Through A New Kind Of Lens
Published: Thursday, May 3, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 18:01
On Tuesday night, after I had logged several hours in a remote fourth-floor O’Neill cubby to complete my screenwriting final paper, I hopped on the last bus home at 2 a.m. to return to my off-campus abode. Since I live close to the Bluestone Bistro stop, I sit on the bus for nearly the entire route, and, having taken the bus at this time several times before, I know that I’m bound to encounter a few entertaining seniors coming down from a night at Cityside or MA’s when the bus reaches the Bank of America stop.
Yet before we reached the infamous stop two nights ago, the bus driver took a moment to park and wait at Reservoir. Being the only remaining passenger on the night bus and barely able to keep my eyes open, I was a tad irritated by this temporary halt. Yet what I soon found out was that the driver wasn’t resting at all. He was in fact preparing for what was to come.
By the time we crossed Beacon Street, I saw it—a massive, pulsating mob of students eagerly awaiting the last bus from Cleveland Circle. My tranquil bus ride was immediately turned on its head once the doors swung open. The riotous pack, equipped with glazed-over eyes and Roggie’s pizza slices, packed the seats around me.
After I pushed my way through the mass and began walking toward my house, I began to appreciate the hilarity of the situation. Maybe it was the fact that I had been analyzing scripts for hours, but the scenario I had just encountered on the bus seemed to be directly ripped from a movie.
This then got me to thinking—what other college occurrences could I relate to film?
One thing I’ve learned during my film studies is that almost all popular movies follow a similar three-act structure: a hero begins in a comfortable normal world, then is forced to enter an obscure world and overcome obstacles until he finally arrives at a new world and a higher state of being. With a little creativity, I was able to apply this structure to the college experience. It may sound a bit farfetched, but let me support my claim by breaking it down by year.
Freshmen, as you near the end of your first year in the collegiate world, you are still settling into your normal world and meeting all the characters in your life. You are enjoying yourself in your present state, but you know there is more fun to be had. Once you enter your second year, your world will experience a jolt, by way of new party invitations (especially for you, freshman males), new friends, and new opportunities.
Sophomores, having adjusted to the initial jolt, you are about to enter Act Two of your film. You are gearing up for your third year, in which you will be vaulted into an obscure universe, be it turning 21, studying abroad, or living off campus, where you will face new challenges.
Juniors, you are steamrolling toward the climax of your production. You have fended off all the trials of Act Two and, with your ability to haul 30s around campus and kick unruly freshman out of Mod parties, are about to have the most power of your journey. But be wary, your climax will descend quickly and suddenly.
And, finally, seniors. Burdened by nostalgia and plans for the future, you are about to enter the third and final act. You nearing the Obligatory Scene, in which you must finally stare down and overcome your adversarial force, in the form of walking to the stage to accept your degree and the fact that your journey is over. It is time in the voyage to tie up any loose ends and settle any debts you have left unsettled. The film might be soon ending, but the audience feels that you have equipped yourself with enough skills to face further challenges and are therefore comfortable leaving you in this new world.
For those that aren’t undergoing the unfortunate experience of graduating, summer will serve as a momentary hiatus from your collegiate journey. Take this break to do something that you feel will ready you for future obstacles. This may be tying up loose ends from previous journeys, consulting a former mentor, or pursuing a previous love interest. As, for me, I will embark on a new three-act expedition in New York City.
So, take care, all you cinematic heroes, and I’ll see you all in September for the next act.