Great Expectations

Sitting room. In the middle of the room is a table covered with a white tablecloth and set with three wine glasses. Three chairs are arranged around the table. Then three people enter the room: a plump woman in her 50ies, a man at the same age with broad shoulders and a young man about 25 years old, with longish brown hair. Whereas the couple is clad in rather formal clothes, the young man is wearing washed out jeans and a t-shirt. The young man is their son, who has applied for fine arts at the university. He got “the letter” from it. The parents invited him in their house to hear the latest news.

Woman: Pete, just sit here at your usual place, please. And Mike, can you bring the wine bottle please, the one I bought today at the supermarket?

Woman and son sit down. The man goes into the kitchen. The woman is rather excited, rubs her hands, takes up her wine glass and puts it down again, tries to smooth the table cloth. The son is staring at the table. The man comes back with a big wine bottle, reading the label.

Man: reads Char-donn-ay. Never heard that name before.

Woman: It is a French wine. My friend Glenda told me that it is a very nice one. She’s got some experience with wine, you know.

Man: You can say that! opens the bottle with some difficulty. There it is! pours the wine into the three glasses.

Woman: raises her glass Well, to the future student of the Fine Arts!

Son: looks up, cleans his throat Well, wait a moment, Mom.

Woman: puts her glass down Being accepted at the university is a reason to drink to, Pete. You are such a modest person. You’ve ever been. Do you remember, Mike, when he’s got that letter from his teacher, telling us what a great artist we have in the familiy. He didn’t want to talk about it, our Pete, didn’t he?

Man: uh-uh.

Woman: And now he’s got that letter of acceptance from the university and doesn’t want us to drink to it! You know, I told Glenda yesterday, that we are so proud of having an artist in our family. And a student! The first one of the family! He won’t have to earn his money by selling cars to arrogant customers, like our Wayne has to do.

Man: There’s nothing bad with selling cars. His boss says he’s one of the best salesmen he ever had.

Woman: looks at the man and he won’t have to earn his money by putting bricks upon bricks each day!

Man: staring angryly at the woman and what’s wrong about that? We’re pretty well off with the wage I am carrying home every month! But I know you’ve  always wanted someone more educated! Someone in a business suit!

Son: Mom and Dad, please!

Woman: You’re right, Pete. Your father and I won’t quarrel on such a wonderful day, won’t we, Mike! I am so exited! When are you to begin your studies?

Son: To tell you the truth, Mom and Dad…

Woman and Man: Yes, Son?

Son: Not this year.

Woman: not this year? What does that mean? Next year, then?

Son: No. He gets off his chair. Well, I can as well tell you all about it. They told me that they could not accept me. No artistic potential what so ever. Should not try again. I am no artist, Ma! Never will be! runs out of the room.

The End

I wrote this piece because I wanted to try something I’ve never done before – writing a kind of screenplay. I don’t know anything about writing screenplays, I must admit. I just have a vague and amateurish idea how to write it. I can only publish it on my blog because I know that you, the community of my blog, are kind and capable of tolerating such an attack on any standards of writing. I promise: I won’t do it again!

This is a contribution to Mission(ImPossible) over at Joanna Young’s blog “Confident Writing”.


About Ulla Hennig

I live and work in Berlin. Taking photos is one of my hobbies, and writing is one of my hobbies, too. So I decided not only to show some of my pictures here but also present some of the thought which came wth the pictures.

14 responses to “Great Expectations”

  1. Barbara Ling, Virtual Coach says :

    Oh I really enjoyed reading that, especially:

    “He won’t have to earn his money by selling cars to arrogant customers, like our Wayne has to do.”

    If that’s your first screenplay, you did tops in my book!!

  2. Lillie Ammann says :

    Congratulations, Ulla, on stepping outside your comfort zone and trying something new. I don’t know anything about screenplays, either, but this looks like a great first attempt to me.

  3. Ulla Hennig says :

    Thank you very much, Barbara and Lillie!

  4. Joanna Young says :

    Ulla, talk about courage pills! You carried me along with the story and drama here, the weight of those expectations and the damage they can do. I am so impressed that you are able to do this in a language that isn’t your first. You really are a brave and inspiring blogger. Thanks so much for stretching out of your comfort zone and teaching us just what can be done.

  5. Brad Shorr says :

    Hi Ulla, Nice work! I think you packed a lot of story, drama, and character into just a few lines. You won’t be wasting your time if you try your hand at this.

  6. Luke Gedeon says :

    From the perspective of someone who HAS read many screen-plays (I was on the drama team in college, and have done a lot of skits since), I just wanted to add my congratulations on a job well done.

    Attention to and standardization of the technicals (scene description, format, pace) would make it easier for the director and actors to recreate your vision of the scene, but the dialog, which in my experience is the most difficult and certainly the most important, is well written, believable, and compelling.

    I would much rather work with your first essay at scripting, than with the work of many old hats I have had to adlib around before.

    Great Job!

  7. Ulla Hennig says :

    Thanks so much for your comments – you’ve definitely made my day!

  8. Robert Hruzek says :

    Nicely done, Ulla! I’m proud of you for breaking the boundaries yet again and experimenting. Way to go, and a tip o’ the hat to ya!

  9. Wendi Kelly-Life's Little Inspirations says :


    Please take back that promise! That was a great story and a wonderful first attempt. Writing a screenplay, like any form of writing is first about the story. If your story is interesting, you can find the shape of putting it into a screenplay. That is just the technical aspect of formatting it to fit a style.

    I would love to read more of your screenplay experiments here. Unlike your budding artist, I think you do have a lot of potential.

    And you have on thing a lot of people don’t have, the courage to try. I think you are awesome!

  10. Ulla Hennig says :

    Robert, thanks for your kind words!
    Wendi, awww, your words go down like oil! So I may keep on experimenting… Thanks so much!

  11. canwedoit2 says :

    Of cause we can each one of us has a good book or two in us its all about being creative, and listening to other who encourage us so yes you do have great pertential ulla.

  12. jangeronimo says :

    There’s only one crap piece of writing I found in your foray outside of your comfort zone, and it is this:

    “I can only publish it on my blog because I know that you, the community of my blog, are kind and capable of tolerating such an attack on any standards of writing.”

    And your foolhardy promise not to do such a thing again.

    Wow – that’s a ridiculous statement, Ulla. You did remarkably well in your writing. I find the dialogue just about right – not stilted, or self-conscious at all. Everything flowed with naturalness and great sense of control of your material.

    What indeed are you talking about, pray tell me? Ahahaha. You did well. Congratulations!

  13. Karen Swim says :

    Ulla, congratulations on having the courage to test your boundaries with a new writing genre! Very well done! In the short time I’ve come to know you I have watched you grow by leaps and bounds. You may feel a little nervous but you have run to challenges and then ran right through them. You are a wonder Ulla and I’m so glad that you continue to write, photograph and explore!

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