Chapter 5: Amazement
Nancy was 50% sure that the one who had written the letter, was the little girl in front of her eyes with that nicely surprised and puzzled expression. But if it was indeed her, it was also a bit too unfathomable. How could a young girl that was barely 11 write such a script?
“I am Nancy Meyers, you should be Angela Mason, right?” Although her thoughts were racing currently, Nancy still kept a smiling face as she spoke.
“Yes, I am Angela, but why did you come to my house?” Just as the little girl finished asking, a sudden realization caused her to cry out in alarm. “God! You received my letter! What do you think of it?! This is the first script I’ve written! I… I have read lots of books, but I’ve always felt that something was lacking in my script. Do you think you can give me some suggestions?”
The little girl’s excitement and cheerfulness were evident within her voice. She hadn’t realized at all that her foreign language gave Nancy and George a fright. Especially Nancy, since even though she had already prepared herself mentally for it, hearing the confirmation with her own ears was still incredibly surprising. This remarkable script was truly written by this little girl in spite of everything. However, within this astonishment was puzzlement and doubt. At least in her experience, she had never seen or even heard of any 11 year old girl writing a script. Could she have picked up this story from somewhere else and replicated it before sending it to her?
George was also extremely surprised, however with his character, this wasn’t like him. When he first laid eyes on Angela, he realized that she had a charisma that stood out from the masses. Most of all, even when compared with Vivien Leigh, her pair of glittering greenish-blue eyes would not lose out to hers. Moreover, her body radiated a kind of faintly discernible, or perhaps, indescribable temperament. Maybe, with a bit of hard work and the right opportunities, she would be a child becoming a famous star. Not only was this little girl able to write——if that script was indeed written by her, and they were able to rope her in, their movie production company would soar to great heights!
At this moment, Angela’s mother Elena coughed lightly. Angela, who was already speaking incoherently, immediately stopped speaking. She looked down, seemingly remembering something, then enthusiastically said to Nancy, “Please take a seat. Take a seat here, ma’am.” Following that, she sent a puzzled glance to George.
Not waiting for Nancy to speak, George bowed slightly, then said, “Hello, Miss Mason. I am the leader of the Disney film industry’s script copy-editor team. I came here to discuss the script with you.”
Seeing Angela’s puzzled expression, he hurriedly smiled and explained more specifically, “It’s like this, Miss Mason. Generally speaking, unless it is a small-budget movie production, the movie production cannot be made by a single person.”
Seeing that the little girl still didn’t completely understand, he prepared to explain it even simpler only to have Angela to hurriedly say, “In any case, please sit down and then explain, okay?” George couldn’t help but raise his good impression of her a bit more as he sat down next to Nancy on the sofa again.
After obtaining Elena’s approval, George explained to the little girl, “Generally speaking, a screenwriter with a good script will immediately send it to a movie production company, and said company’s copy-editor will verify if the script is worth filming, then report to the administration to continue evaluation. Only then will funds be invested in it. Subsequently, they will purchase the script from the screenwriter, and ultimately, they will get in touch with a producer and choose a director and actors. Every company will sign a long-term, full-time screenwriter, but at the same time, they will also accept some submissions from other unsigned screenwriters as well as accepting non-professional screenwriters.” After he said this, he smiled with some slight awkwardness. “People like you who just sends the script to the producers, well, basically… there isn’t anyone who does it.”
Angela stuck out her tongue. “If this ends up giving you trouble, then I am very sorry. I simply loved Mrs. Meyer’s movie productions. I feel that she is very good at this kind of romantic comedy movie.”
George laughed. “It’s no problem, In fact, I share your views; therefore, we came to visit you.”
“Then, in other words, you’ve decided to invest in my script? And Mrs. Meyers is going to make it?!” Angela widened her eyes as she spoke excitedly.
“Even though I cannot make the decision, I think there shouldn’t be a problem.” George glanced at Nancy, who nodded at his words.
The little girl’s gaze moved to Nancy, who had begun to ask a question, “Before that, I want to ask you two questions. Is that okay, Miss Mason?”
“No problem. You can call me Angela,” the little girl happily smiled as she spoke.
“Okay, Miss… oh, Angela, may I ask how you knew my address?” Nancy asked her first question.
“Issue 4 of this year’s 《 Cahiers du cinéma 》.” Angela replied concisely. This caused Nancy to stare at her blankly.
“Was it that issue about 《 Father of the Bride 》?” she uncertainly asked.
“Yes. Even though it wasn’t very detailed, the mailman was still able to deliver the letter to your hands, isn’t that so?” The little girl shrugged her shoulders. “Perhaps Mr. President should give this man a medal.”
Nancy smiled and glanced at Mrs. Mersenne to the side. She then asked her second question. “May I talk with you about what inspired you to write this script, Angela?” She tried her best to make her tone as gentle as possible. She didn’t want to present herself as lacking manners.
“Inspiration? You want to ask me the reason why I wrote this script, right?” Angela stole a glance at her mother before she stuck out her tongue in embarrassment. She said, “In fact, me writing this at that time was an accident. The main reason was because I wanted an older sister or maybe a younger sister. Otherwise, I would stay at home alone and be truly, extremely bored. I have very many friends, but they can’t stay at your home all the time, right? Dad and Mom love me a lot, but they both can’t keep me company all the time. They have their own jobs to do, so every now and then, I frequently think of how nice it would be if I had a twin. Then, perhaps my life could become even more interesting.”
Afterward, she stole another glance at her mother, and upon confirming that there were no changes to Elena’s complexion, she continued to speak. She seemed very ‘afraid’ of her own mother, Nancy couldn’t help but mentally think, gaining a bit more trust in this little girl.
“In fact, I mainly planned to write a story about a pair of twins that play tricks on their parents at home, a little like 《 Growing Pains 》, but very obviously, since my understanding of this field is rather lackluster, I ended up revising the script many times before I suddenly came up with an idea. What if these twins were separated at birth because their parents divorced and coincidentally, met up later in life? After their first meeting, they both can’t stand by idly and watch, so after they found out the truth, wouldn’t they want to get their own parents back together? If it’s like this, how will they play the role of matchmaker? How about switching identities and living with their birth father or mother? Why wouldn’t they want to find out how it’s like to live with the other parent? What if they find out why their parents divorced? How would they get them together again? I found this idea to be very interesting, so I threw out my previous script and completely outlined a new plot.”
The little girl stopped talking at this point, and drank a mouthful of water, then continued to speak, “After heavily revising it, writing became much quicker because I had a lot of source material already. My dad is American, and mama is British. Every year for vacation, we go to London or Bristol to visit my grandfather or grandmother. That’s why my main setting changed to those places. Similarly, in the script, a few of the supporting roles are modeled after my family. As you can see, Josie is my Aunt Jennifer. She has been working for our family since my dad was a kid. And Butler Martin is Mr. Gerard from grandfather’s family. Even though he has the same humor and wit, he is very strict the vast majority of the time.”
Staring at Angela, who was speaking frankly with assurance, Nancy’s doubts dissipated like a cloud of smoke. In reality, this world still had geniuses, isn’t that right? Meanwhile, George was thinking about another headache. From this little girl’s narration as well as from her family’s situation, she didn’t come from an ordinary rich family. Would her guardians allow her script to be a part of a movie? Taking a step back from these negotiations, even if she and her parents were to consent to it, there was still a likelihood that she could have chosen Universal Studios or even Paramount, or one of those other veteran movie production companies, not them. Disney’s only advantage was Angela having a considerably high opinion of Nancy. Honestly, this wasn’t an easy thing to handle.
“Sorry, may I interrupt?” Mrs. Mason, who had been sitting on the side and quietly listening all along, suddenly spoke up. She glanced at her daughter, the corner of her lips curving into a visible smile. “Chrysi, I think you have some other things you haven’t brought out yet, right?”
What other things? Nancy was somewhat puzzled but immediately reacted. It seemed that Mrs. Mason also wasn’t completely convinced that her daughter had written this script. She lightly smiled inside her heart. As a mother of two children, she clearly understood this mentality of worrying about personal gains and losses.
Angela’s face immediately became crestfallen. She scratched her head, hesitating for a moment, before sighing. “Alright, I understand, mama.”
After she said this, she jumped up from the sofa and quickly ran upstairs. Shortly after, she grabbed a thick folder and ran back down. Returning to the sofa, she first took out an envelope and handed it to her mother. Mrs. Mason calmly took the envelope. When she saw the address written on the envelope, her eyebrows unknowingly raised. She took the papers from inside and swept a gaze over them, her continually unperturbed face revealing a startled look for once. She read the contents out loud.
“With respects to Miss Mason, we are honored to inform you that your short story you published in the magazine last year, 《 They’re Made Out of Meat 》, received a nomination for this year’s Nebula Award for Best Short Story. Please give us a reply before the end of April. Yours truly, Magazine Publisher 《 Amazing 》.”
After this letter was read, the three adults present were stunned. Magazine Publisher 《 Amazing 》? Nebula Award? Oh, God. Everything that has happened today is a fairy tale!
George couldn’t help but touch his forehead, wanting to groan out loud. 《 Amazing 》 is the longest running science fiction magazine in the history of the United States, and the Nebula Award was also the highest award for science fiction alongside the Hugo Award. An 11 year old girl’s short story not only was published in the 《 Amazing 》 Magazine, it also received a nomination for the Nebula Award for being the best short story! What kind of impossible event is happening today?!
In addition, the two women’s amazement were significantly similar to George’s reaction, especially Mrs. Mason’s. Glancing at the letter in her hand before shifting her gaze to her daughter, an expression of disbelief appeared on her face.
Not waiting for them to ask questions, the little girl continued to pull things from her folder.
“This is the publication notification. This is the 《 Amazing 》 issue that my story was published in. And this is the author’s remuneration cheque receipt.”
After she took out the final item, everyone was in some state of shock. That thick stack of paper was a storyboard draft. Angela directly handed it to George. “Mr. Wells, this is the animated film script I drew last year. It’s an adaptation based off of 《 Hamlet 》 and set in the African savanna. Inside, there is also my storyboard. I gave it the name—《 The Lion King 》!”