This morning I had my second interview with the subject of a screenplay I want to write. She’s a woman who wanted to open a pole-dancing fitness studio in a small town in Pennsylvania. She filed all the permits, which were initially accepted, but then, just as she was about to have her final building inspection to have them approve some changes they’d asked for before she could open–they told her that she couldn’t operate the business in their township because it was “adult-oriented.”
What made me sadder, was that they didn’t actually show up to the appointment and tell her. Instead, they let her sit and wait for hours, and then, when she called to see what had happened, they told her they had sent a letter. It makes my heart hurt–but it’s a great scene, I think, kind of a variation on the girl all dressed up for the big dance, only to have her date not show up.
My other favorite “scene” from today’s interview, is how after going through a tortuous appeals process that has failed, and having called the ACLU numerous times, and them never returning her call, she goes to the local ACLU office and pounds on the door. They don’t take clients at the office, so they don’t answer the door. She sits for hours and waits until they leave for lunch. Even then, they don’t let her in, but they give her some forms to fill out, and tell her she can put them through the slot in the door. As she’s sitting on the step, 30 grand in debt, about to put her house up for sale that afternoon, filling out these forms so she can put them through the slot of this now-empty office, it starts to pour down rain. Such a perfect image–right?
In the end, she is victorious, but it takes a lot of time and tenacity on her part.
And I guess time and tenacity is what it’s going to take for me, too.