My Happiest Year | Skillshare Projects

Andie Mock

Writer, choreographer



My Happiest Year


Now that I know the ending I changed title back to "My Happiest Year" because it fits better with the Man Against Self theme. A Fish Without a Bicycle says Man Against Society.

Here's the latest version of the logline:

Defiantly non-verbal, fifteen year-old bookworm is torn between her eco-warrior boyfriend's love and choreographing Moby Dick as a way out of her narrowly-defined, small California town future.

Lee West's superpower is reading. Her flaw is escaping into books instead of speaking/standing up for herself. 

Here's the outline:


Sequence 1-Est Status Quo and Work and Move Towards Inciting Incident

Lee reads June 1970 cartoons in the New Yorker and checks out a stack of books and records all with the words "My Life" in them from the library of flat, dry Porterville, CA where an egg really does fry on the sidewalk. 

Ms. Tweedy the librarian comments that most of the books in the small library have Lee's name on them. Ms. Tweedy has a poster with the saying "A Woman Without a Man is Like a Fish Without a Bicycle". She hands Lee a flyer for a women's consciousnes-raising group.

Back home, Lee only grunts when her mom attempts to get her in marriageable shape by cutting her bangs so she doesn't look like a tramp. She hands the flyer to her mom.

Lee puts on "For Once in My LIfe" by Stevie Wonder and dances a wild, whack-a-doodle, uncoordinated dance to it. Dad bangs on door he can't stand the screeching. It's not music, etc. Knowing her Dad's tastes, she puts on the white-bread, Tony Bennet cover of the same song. 

Sister Emiliee calls and convinces parents to let Lee come to "communistic" Berkeley for the summer. She claims she can sure Lee of her sullen quiet-tude. Lee goes to Berkeley where Emilee attempts a hippie intellectual make-over on Lee. The night before Lee returns to Porterville, Emilee hands her Moby Dick saying it saved her from their town. She meets Thyra Fleakeg an African American with tatooes who is moving to Berkeley with her professor parents. Thyra says Lee's non-verbalness mean she'll be a great mime or dancer.

Sequence 2 - Predicament and Lock-in

Back in Porterville, Lee can't make heads nor tails of reading Moby Dick. Lee and Thyra meet again in modern dance PE class and decide to work together on the class project to choreograph for Back to School Night. Lee says they'll do Moby Dick, choreographing the Great American Dance by using the Great American Novel. Lee figures she'll for sure be able to read and be saved by Moby Dick now.

Thyra pronounces it brilliant. Showing the book around attracts hard-ass Tori, grade-grind Consuela, and goat-roper musician to the project. 

The team to beat is the snobbish "soshes" the popular girls headed by Lee's super-white-skinned, blond nemesis, Megan Hubbert.

Consuela demands steps or she'll mutiny to Megan's group. Lee has no idea what dance steps are but agrees she'll bring them on Monday. 

Thyra drags Lee to an environmental club meeting to be her wingman. Thyra is in love with Julio who Lee knows is gay as pink ink. Lee goes and meets the brilliant, serious, eco-warrior president, David, who asks her to go with him to the Earth Day Festival. She says no. The next morning David appears on her doorstep and whisks her away to the mountains and a day that would be better spent choreographing steps. David says don't worry. He's read Moby Dick  and can explain it to her which he does in terms of as a peak whale oil metaphor for peak petroleum. Before David can kiss Lee, her first kiss, Lee throws up from the poor sanitation at the Earth Day Festival.


Sequence 3 - First Obstacle and Raising the Stakes

Lee misses her chance to choreograph on Sunday and comes to school Monday without steps. Lee learns from a former girlfriend of David's that he wears a purity-ring he got from his mom, a Jehovah Witness gave him before being locked up in Camarillo for trying to kill his father due to schizophrenia.

Lee thinks show cares, her chance with David is over. She's brought a Moby Dick Mobile to school that Mouse suggests they can improvise off of liek a jazz chart. The crew does so, a fight scene to 2001 Space Oddyssey, This Spake Zarathrustra.

Megan Hubbert's group steals Lee's Moby Dick idea presenting with a ballet with plently of eye-candy.

Lee is bummed until David shows up outside the Gym with a poem for her. Lee falls for David's brilliance, good looks, and alpha-male adeptness at everything from writing an eco-business plan to building a car out of spare parts to amazing kisses. He aces classes without cracking a book. Not to mention his skillful kisses. Lee wants to wear his ring to ward off other girls, esp. Megan Hubbert who flirts with him. But David doesn't want to talk about it.

Sequence 4 - First Culmination and Midpoint (high point)

David asks Lee to marry him. Lee is ecstatic to be wearing David's ring even though there's one hitch, she doesn't want to get least not just yet.

Sequence 5 - Subplot and Rising Action

Thyra feels like she's dying because Julio won't kiss her. She joins Julio's Christian Bible study group so Julio will love her. Mom runs away from home responsibilities and Neanderthal Dad to live with Ms. Tweedy, highly embarrassing Lee in their fishbowl town. Lee spends her freetime choreographing. Big fight with David who says she doesn't have to be a famous choreographer, she just has to love him and support his brilliant environment-saving career.

Sequence 6 - Main Culmination/End of Act II (MC low point)

David breaks up with her to be with Megan. Lee gives back ring. Lee gets a phone call that David died saving someone's life. Lee goes walks the Porterville High halls like a zombie.


Sequence 7 - New Tension and Twist

Lee is backstage and can't remember her dance steps. Her dance crew, backstage for moral support, spills the beans that David died saving Megan Hubberts life. Lee is deflated and can't go on but she's forced to and performs a great solo -Moby Dick in five minutes.

Sequence 8 - Resolution (Clarity Big Time)

Tells off the ghost of David. Moves to Berkeley to take real modern dance classes and kick some big city butt.


Changed it back to "A Fish Without a Bicycle".

Worked on the climatic dance today. It call came together. All that prep work, writing the scenario, coming up with gestures, the upteen previous versions, really paid off. It just goes to show you, nothing is wasted when you work on a creative project.


Changed title from "A Fish Without a Bicycle" to "My Happiest Year ". Based on great feedback from Melinda and goes Logline DRAFT 2


Wildly imaginative, defiantly non-verbal fifteen year-old attempts to choreograph Moby Dick as a way out of her rural California town and a bleak future.

WOW! It's so much simpler and I like it. I really LIKE it. I want to go around singing it la de da.

Okay, now to study my fav screen play Harold and Maude for how to outline. 


This class sounds great for me. I have such a hard time with beginnings. I was beginning to give up hope on the script I'm writing. I think imaging it as a screenplay instead of a stage play will open it up for me. It already has me thinking in a much more cinematic way.

Here's three loglines for my comedy, "A Fish Without a Bicycle" (alternative title, "The Moby Dick Diaries"). It's a semoir- a semi-autobiographical memoir with the theme, "success against all odds."

Here's Attempt #1

When her intellectual sister gives her Moby Dick, saying it will "save her", non-talker, 15 year-old attempts to choreograph the Great American Dance from the Great American novel as a way out of her harsh, white trash town and a lifetime of getting laid, paid, and loaded.

Here's Attempt #2

When her intellectual sister gives her Moby Dick to read, saying it will "save her", non-talker, 15 year-old bookworm attempts to choreograph the Great American Dance from the Great American novel as a way out of her harsh, white trash town and a lifetime of washing out a future asshole husband's underwear.

Here's Attempt #3

When her oldest sister swears Moby Dick will "save her", her 15 year-old, fish-out-of-water younger sister attempts to choreograph the Great American Dance from the Great American novel as a way out of her harsh, white trash town and a bleak, joyless future.

I'll take any feedback I can get! Thanks. 

Just for fun reading...

I'm working on this script for a monologue, dance-alogue being presented in Berkeley, CA for which I'm working on the climactic dance named Call Me Ishwhale: Moby Dick from the POV of the Whale. It's kinda-sorta the last 30 pages of Moby Dick in 2.5 minutes kind of thing...

I made cards with 13 gestures, video'd the gestures, threw one gesture back in the stream of conciousness as being too human, and added another Charleston step-ish gesture. Here's a pix of the cards I'm stringing together:

Below is the one that got can see, it's way too human-like not whale-enough:


Please sign in or sign up to comment.