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Thirty-one of us tentatively filed into room 319. There was a heavy air of anticipation. I felt sick—I had put it down to the two large coffees I had that morning, but in hindsight it was probably just a general sense of unease in relation to what was about to go down.

There was the small matter of having to table-read the second drafts of the five animation scripts, but our minds were elsewhere. Then it happened, in the most willy-nilly fashion you could imagine. It was during break when Karen grabbed a marker and casually wrote the producer/director thesis pairings on the whiteboard. It was out there. There was no putting the toothpaste back into the tube.

There, on the whiteboard, in big danger-like, red letters, was the name of the director I would be working with for the next year-and-a-half. And it was…drum roll…Emily! My life flashed before my eyes. Nervously, I scanned the room, but enemy Emily was nowhere to be seen. I hadn’t ventured for more coffee, but now I needed a whiskey. I had a good vantage point to take in those returning from break. With baited breath, I read the subtle reactions and nuances I’d come to learn last semester. But then… she walked in. She saw the whiteboard and froze…. The room suddenly became still…. She perused the room…. Our eyes met… her furious glare met by daggers…. It was a show down… for like, three seconds before we laughed. Faculty gone done us good; I no longer felt sick.

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The murmurs died down as producers and directors alike became accustomed to the news. Moments later, it was straight into story development exercises. In our new-found pairs, we had ten minutes to build a character. Emily and I decided to take turns in picking twenty or so random words, which we then had to incorporate into a brief and roughly written character bio. It was like extreme mad libs:

“Cici, an ex-pornstar turned good catholic, lives in Colorado on the profits of her oil drills. She is fat and bald with a hairy nose… but her obsession with Jimmy Kimmel drives her to change. She runs a B&B that is famous for it’s “steak tacos”, that are actually the former customers. She pretends she is a vegan so she doesn’t have to eat them.

Smiley, insecure, and paranoid, Cici uses her old connections from her whorish days to get the opportunity to meet with Kimmel. She is unsuccessful.

Her iPad is her only connection to the outside world, where she constantly harasses Kimmel via Twitter to have him to come visit her B&B. Her Twitter profile portrays her as a tall, yoga-instructing poodle-owner who has had plastic surgery.

In her basement, she hoards rabbits.”

Then Emily gave me some gay soap.

In short, expect great things from us.

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