Fade in on a small hole-in-the-wall shop. “Fortune Teller, Futures Fortold” reads the sandwich board sign propped up outside the door.

A young man walks in, eager but apprehensive. The fortune teller’s dialogue is in italics while the young man’s is in plain text.


The fortune teller makes her way out from behind a curtain made of beads. She wears a flowing gown and her long wispy hair is done up inside a tall kerchief.

Welcome! Fortunes fortold! I am Madamme Mildred, Mystical Mistress of the Unknown! What are you here for, sweetie?

I’d like to know my future.

Ah good. Please, sit down, right here.

The young man sits around the small table in the center of the room.

So, how does this work? Do we peer into a crystal ball? Do you read my palms? Is there a deck of tarot cards I should shuffle?

Let’s just start with a few questions. What does the future hold?

Really? That’s what I’m here to ask you… what kind of a fortune teller are you?

Trust me, my boy. First, the questions. What do you dream of? What is it you’ve always been chasing?

Well, I’ve been hung up on one dream for so long… to be a film director. To make a movie. Even to be among the fleas of that pile would be a huge honor.

And after that?

To make a great movie. One that people will remember.

Splendid! We need more great film-makers out there. Did you see Jojo Rabbit?

Um, no, I didn’t get a chance yet.

My stars, it was so good! Taika Waititi is a genius. Although I could have seen him leaning a little bit less on the “dirty Jew” thing over and over. It’s a little bit like Tarantino using the N-word in The Hateful Eight, you know?

Uh… yeah.

So what comes next? A franchise?

I don’t know about that. That used to be the dream… make the next “Star Wars,” you know. But I’m not sure that’s where I’m headed.

And where are you headed?

I guess I’d never thought about it before. *Silence* I’d want to be known as someone who devoted their life to something beyond themselves. To telling a good story.

An Andy Dufresne of Cinema .

…You’re quit the cinephile for being a street-corner fortune teller.

But movies are dying. At least, in the theater. It’s a risky proposition, cinema. Where’s the sense in it?

If I love it, shouldn’t I pursue it? Shouldn’t I always be striving to make my passion my work?

You can, but you’d better be smart about it. The world is cruel and full of possibilities. Failure is always a fifty/fifty chance.


What would you do… even if it was possible you could fail?

I want to… uncover meaning for people in a way that lasts through the generations. It’s like… we’re always assigning meaning to things. Or maybe things always had meaning and we convinced ourselves otherwise. There’s something deeper at stake, and it doesn’t have anything to do with a movie camera or a projector.

What is it then?

It’s that… sensation that the world is unzipping. Just for you, for a moment. And underneath it you can see the underlying structure, the hidden connections between everything. Everything that was hidden from your naked eyes.

That sounds like what a good storyteller’s function is. Changing yourself, to see the world. Be unafraid to elucidate the Truth.

I think… yeah, that’s what the future holds for me.

Last question… what are you doing right now to get to this future?

I… excuse me?

What are you doing now to make this future a reality?

I’m… coming in to work, doing my job. Doing the best I can.

Ah, and we’ve come to your first mistake. Your future depends on your present. The future is something to aim for… but you can’t work on the future. You can only work on what you have right in front of you.


You know what the best piece of advice was that I ever got? “Live every day one at a time, but have a plan.” My grandmother told me that. You can’t live life out on the horizon.

I suppose you’re right… well. What should I do about it?

You seem diligent, and earnest. And that isn’t always appreciated. It’s not worth it to please other people, if you can’t please yourself. All I can say is, find one small way every day to make your world better.

One small thing.

That’s it.

*Nods* I think I can do that. I have to say, this is the strangest fortune I’ve ever gotten.

Most people already know their future. They just need a helping hand to get them to remember.

Well, have a good day.

You too. And good luck.

As the young man exits, the fortune teller removes her headband.

My psychology degree is good for something at least.