27 May 2014

Commencement and Screenwriting

I graduated from college this past December.  I got a late start (meaning I didn't start my post-secondary education until a few years after high school) and went part-time over 6.5 years.  While in school, my wife and I bought a house, had two kids, and I sold or had a few screenplays optioned.  I did well enough in my classes -- even the non-writing ones that I had little to no interest in -- and was fortunate enough to be named one of seven Outstanding Students with my graduating class (of around 1000 or so).

We were actually handed medallions at the ceremony.
Diplomas were mailed out two weeks later,
after grades were finalized. 
You know, just in case.
I was also asked/selected to give the student commencement address.  I think because there's "writing" within my major it was presumed that I could come up with a speech, no problem.  And sure, the speech wasn't that difficult, but I'd never spoken in front of more than a few dozen people at one time.  And there going to a give or take a few thousand watching and listening to me.

Whether the speech was good or not (Everyone's told me it was very good, but honestly, who's going to be the dick that says it was terrible?), I called it a success since I got through it without any major embarrassments or overtly-visible nervousness.  And as luck or fate or whatever you'd like to call it would have it, I had a friend in attendance whose wife was also graduating and decided to record my speech. 

Now, there's a sense of dread I have knowing that this video exists, that one day down the line someone would see it and I'd lose out on some opportunity because they didn't agree with the message or how I said or how I spoke or whatever.  But I quickly got over that and thought:  I gave a speech that unless it was recorded, I otherwise wouldn't have heard.  I mean, I heard it, of course, but I'd now be able to listen to what I said.  And while it may not be on the same level as the celebrity commencement addresses we get drowned with at this time every year, I am proud of my words.

And after all that, if you've got just under 8 minutes to kill, here's what I said: