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Rob in L.A.

Pardon my cynicism, but I can't help but wonder if the less-than-enviable state of public educators in this country is due to a long campaign against the very idea of public education by people non-penniless enough to send their own kids to private schools. I would love to have that apprehension disproven.

And props for using the photo from "Teacher's Pet," a 1950s rom-com worth seeing.

E.C. Henry

Wow, you haven't posted in nearly 3 months and then you come out with this whopper! You're a man of many suprises, Mernitman.

First off, congraduations on being a teacher, yourself. I did get the priveledge of taking a couple of the seminar classes you put on when the Screenwriting Expos were taking place 5-10 years ago. Always loved hearing ANYTHING you had to say about anything back then.

As for me there was only ONE teacher whoever really made a major impact on my life, and it's not the way you'd think. It was my high school math teacher, Mr. Gram. I was always bad at math, it never came easy for me. BUT at the time I wanted to keep a 3.0 or better grade average for future college consideration so I worked real had at it and was able to achieve my grade point average goal thanks in large part to Mr. Gram's after school sacrifice on my behalf. At my school, Mr. Gram taught all the high level math classes. He had a penchant for the girls, BUT out of the generousity of his heart he let me stay after school and work on my algebra and triginomety. Then in my senior year of high school, when we had this "senior auction" and I was involentarily shuffled out in front of the whole school and auctioned off. NOBODY made a bid for me. Stone cold silence in the gym. BUT Mr. Gram did make a bid, and bailed me out of one of the most embarassing momments of my life. This whole "auction" thing was a grand old time for the jocks, and hotties at school, but for an outcast like me, it was very humilliating. Still, Mr. Gram was my hero that day, and I'll never forget him for that.

As a pre-pro screenwriter, you would think that MAYBE a high school or college teacher would have made an impact on me, but sadly no. When I was in middle school I was actually kicked out of high track writing program. None of the other kids who were left to attend later classes went on to do JACK SHIT with creative writing. But I later went on to pen something like 18 spec scripts AND an epic fantasy novel. The pain of not being allowed back in that program STILL bugs me to this day, because it's people like me who deserved to be there--especially at the fuckin' podunct, backwater, hick, public school I was forced to attend.

Still, NEVER doubt the affect you can have on someone as a teacher, Billy. Sometimes it's the down-and-outers and NOT the star pupil who has success written all over them that you will have the biggest impact on in ways you may have never expected.


EC: Glad you had a Mr. Gram in your life, and thanks for sharing the personal history. Good point re: never knowing the extent of one's impact! I try to remember that, all the time...

Rob: Must say I share your cynicism on that front, but don't get us started... The Doris Day shot pops up (among others) when you Google Image "teachers."On Google, there's no difference between fiction and fantasy, bless its algorithmic heart.

Billie Bates

Hey Billy, teachers do matter!

I actually mention YOUR name a lot when talking about my biggest ah ha moments in learning the craft :)

The consults you did on some of my early scripts were so much more enlightening and informative then any class or book I've ever read, so thanks to you, sir!! :)


Billie! You're so welcome, and thank you for the kind words of praise.

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