The third act’s gotta end with a kiss. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not my screenwriting professor who insisted if we wanted a good grade our screenplays must end happily. Happy endings are simplistic. And I’m a fan of simple only occasionally. The kiss at the third act is really the sense of closure we, the audience, feels. As the music swells, the passion crests and then the credits roll leaving us with a satisfied sigh—that’s what I believe.
All my life I’ve looked toward movies and television for inspiration in my life. Growing up in a family mine field, often left alone, I learned humor from the Marx Brothers, destiny from Luke Skywalker, romance from Fred and Ginger, identity from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and philosophy from Donnie Darko. I remember in my darkest moment, contemplating suicide, a monologue from a soap opera, of all places, reminding me life in itself was a reason to keep going.
Art matters. Now living in Los Angeles I’m more convinced of that than ever. I hate LA. I miss rain. I miss my family and friends on the East Coast. I miss public transportation. Still, LA sparkles like no other place. Drive up to Mulhulland Drive and look down at the city and the lights dance for you. They dance from the people from all over the world who take a giant leap to pursue their dreams. Their dreams inspire others’ dreams. We’re all connected through art.
Which brings me back to the kiss. I really believe we all need that closure. We strive for it. We live for it. In LA Story, Harris Telemaker, played by Steve Martin says: “A kiss may not be the truth, it’s what we wish were true.” Well, out here in the city of dreams, wishing is a small step from truth, separated only by bravery, saavy, and devotion.
I have to believe all my fellow Angelenos and I will have a third act ending in a kiss. That kiss may be to the cat we come home alone to every night, but that doesn’t mean the music can’t swell and the credits can’t roll. When the credits do roll, though, we’re at peace with a satisfied sigh.
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