Dear Gene:

I’m the guy who printed and bound your screenplay manuscript last week at the FedEx Office in Akron. I urged you against the iced “globe” cover, but you insisted on it—you folded your arms artistically and yet condescendingly — and when I recommended the 32-pound paper, you swept the air and said, “Whatever”?

You grabbed me by the buttons of my FedEx polo shirt and tried pulling me across the counter? and threatened to “have” my “ass” if there were any mistakes?

You called me “Hoss” and then “Neil”?

That’s me.

I’m Aaron.

Gene, we’re not allowed to comment on client-projects: We’re not even supposed to fan the pages of a big job and say, “What is this, a screenplay or something?”

But I read Act I of your screenplay The Library while sighing and pretending to process your order. Really, I was clicking the mouse around at random: That part was fake.

The sighs, I’m afraid, were real.

While I appreciate your wily, Cassavetes-style dialogue, I begin to lose interest as your story forges on beyond page 9, into its limited setting of Findlay, Ohio. (You really should reconsider the “globe” cover, Gene.)

First of all, you describe the story — on the title page, no less — as “The Breakfast Club but better, and in a library.” I want to point out that The Breakfast Club indeed takes place in a library.

Second, don’t insist that your villain be the “Dennis Franz type.” What if Franz isn’t available at shooting? What if NYPD Blue reboots, like so many '90s franchises are doing? Who do we hire then, Gene? Jimmy Smits? Smits is busy, too, depending on the reboot. They could go with David Caruso or Ricky Schroeder, but why take that risk?

Same goes for your description of the “girl-from-Seinfeld type” (she has a name) and the “Nazi-type” (is there such thing, Gene, as a Nazi type?).

Third: Give your characters real names instead of letters of the alphabet. We get this a lot at FedEx. I’ll tell you what I tell everybody: Ian Fleming got away with “M.” and “Q.,” yes, but notice how these names stand out against names like Oddjob, Le Chiffre, and James Bond.

Also—and Pam seconds this—is “R.” the same character as “Coach”? How is this not clear? Pam is my boss.

The capital-letter battle becomes tricky around page 30, when the alphabet runs thin. (Maybe: fewer characters?)

Really, Gene, what do I know? I have an ATA in nursing, and the last creative writing I did, I think, was in fifth grade. But, like . . . isn’t a lot of this stuff obvious?

Also, we read so many screenplays here at FedEx Akron: Why do all of them bore us with exposition? I’d like to say yours is the exception, but it’s not. Whatever happened to, like, “Interior  —  FedEx — Night,”  and leave it at that?

Finally, how about a sex scene between E. and R.? This is more for Pam.

Also, Pam wants to point out there is such thing as a “Nazi type.” She says that’s sort of the hallmark of the Nazi movement. Again, Gene, what do I know?

The point is that while we think you have a knack for stream-of-conscious dialogue, and while we find the small-town library premise charming, we regret to say we won’t be passing your screenplay on—or “shipping it,” as you say (and paid for)—to William Morris Endeavor at zip code 10001.

Your screenplay has many merits, and you’re clearly a talented writer. We just didn’t develop the deep connection to the story that we need in order to go for it.

Again, by “go for it,” we mean ship it to the agreed-upon (and paid-for) address in New York, NY.

We feel it’s critical that the FedEx branch that takes this project on and actually ships it has a real passion for the story.

We regret to say we’re not that branch.

And too bad, Gene, because we’re offering a 10-percent discount on items shipped within the continental United States—but today only.

Thank you for choosing FedEx for your printing and shipping… let’s say printing needs.

We at FedEx Akron would love to see more of your work.

Sincerely,

Aaron (& Pam)

(& Ellie, who loves it but is transferring to our Dayton branch)


And now a quick joke...

I am interested in making my ass completely smooth, with no contours or separation, like sea glass or Costco’s floors.