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Austin Barrow

Austin Barrow

#lifegoals

2000 740 Austin Barrow

#lifegoals

A couple of weeks ago, I said goodbye to a friend. As I type the word friend, it immediately falls flat. There are so many other words that would better describe our relationship; confidant, advocate, mentor, and eventually collaborator.

I received the news of his passing on a Saturday afternoon, where I was commiserating myself over the abysmal performance of the Arkansas Razorback football team, sitting on my living room couch. The news wasn’t surprising. We had long separated our regular morning coffee sessions due to his illness. The separation being long enough that seeing his face and the recall of our time together hit me deep in the chest.

As tears began to fall down my cheeks, my wife grew immediately concerned. She knows I’m a crier of high renown, and although the game was going poorly, it wasn’t that bad. I couldn’t speak. I tried, but I couldn’t get words over the top of my tongue. The words were stuck at the top of my throat, and I knew if I spoke them out loud, I would most certainly not be able to hold back the flood that I could feel welling up behind my eyes. It wasn’t the vocal acknowledgment of the passing but a physical exertion to vocalize, which I knew would prevent the hold I had on the flood.

I laid down in the bedroom for a bit. I needed a moment, a moment to recollect. The memories came flooding in, moments I hadn’t thought of in years. Conversations, jokes, stories, and silly coffee cups were racing around in my head. Work that seemed so important at the time, forgotten with some distance, was suddenly refreshed in my washy memories. Books. This man taught me how essential books could be when you find yourself awash on an island full of tasks that you have no idea how to complete.

Now over the age of forty, there is a generation of disappearing friends and family beginning to climb in number. It’s a cycle of life that we all go through, I suppose, but when you first enter the fray, it’s a little jolting. Like the increasing lines on my face, I occasionally look up and think, “What the heck happened?”

Now when that thought comes up, I see the lines, think of old friends, and the answer comes, life, my friend. Live it well and live it fully, and when you shuffle off this mortal coil, you will leave behind more smiles than tears.

Robert Wetherington – Priest and Sermonizer

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Robert Wetherington - Priest Sermonizer

This one is a bit out of the norm for my typical interviewee. However, I think you will enjoy the conversation. This is not intended to be an evangelical proselytizing, but the subject matter is Christian in its origins. I’ve known Robert for a little more than a year now and have grown more and more enamored with his ability to inspire his congregation every week. After having lunch one afternoon with my wife, it occurred to me that the amount of creative energy required to deliver with that much punch weekly must be researched. Plus he gave me the best headshot ever for the podcast.

The Reverend Robert Wetherington has been working in ordained ministry for over ten years. He is currently serving as the rector of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in El Dorado, Arkansas, and has served as Missioner for the Episcopal Diocese of Mississippi and as chaplain to The Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman, MS. Other work includes serving as rector at The Episcopal Church of the Redeemer in Biloxi, MS, and as the convocational dean for the coast convocation of Episcopal Churches along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. He has been an Executive Director at Camp Mitchell Episcopal Camp and Retreat Center in the Diocese of Arkansas and has served on several committees and councils.

Father Robert is married to the Rev. Betsy Baumgarten, who has served as an Episcopal priest in many and various capacities, including her current role as Ministry Coordinator for South Arkansas. They have two children, five dogs, and one cat. They share a passion for the outdoors and a variety of hobbies and interests. Within the chaos that fills their days, they find abiding joy in life.

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A Screenplay Inspired by Real Life Events

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Take a Peek Won't You?

So, I’ve had a lot of inquiries from family and friends to let them know what I’m working on at the moment. In the past three months, I’ve written three complete screenplays, and I’d like to share my favorite with you. This was quite the learning process for me. I basically created a MasterClass for myself in screenwriting, buying six recommended books (Story Line: Finding Gold in your Life Story, Writing the TV Drama Series: How to Succeed as a Professional Writer in TV, The Writers Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers, Story: Substance, Structure, Style and the Principles of Screenwriting, and Save the Cat: The Last Book on Screenwriting You’ll Ever Need) on the subject, and consuming them as fast as I could. I also spent hours listening to current and back episodes of ScriptNotes with John August(@johnaugust) and Craig Mazin(@clmazin). I created workbooks, notes, and a lesson plan. I felt like a college professor all over again. All the while, I was pecking away at my stories.

All Up to Faith was inspired by my wife. She has taken a large bite of the American dream that so many of us wish we had the nerve to try. She is a successful entrepreneur, and she did it all on her own. Spa on Main opened over eight years ago and has been financially successful every year. Some years were more rigorous than others, but she has been an inspiration for me and many others as a person with drive, tenacity, and full of warm and engaging energy. She’s always full of creative ideas on how to further her work, and I guess it’s so inspiring because it’s all based on such a simple premise, to help others relax and find a little peace in their day.

Now the script is only loosely based on real events, and if you are a patron of my wife’s establishment and think you see yourself somewhere in this story … well, you may be correct. So, without further ado…

Below is a teaser (opening moments of the show before the title credits, for the uninitiated). If you find it intriguing, I have placed a link here and below to the full script, or you’d prefer a PDF of the teaser in proper format, you can find that HERE. Enjoy!

TEASER

EXT. DAY SPA – MORNING

The cloudy blue sky of a picture-perfect morning wraps around
a Norman Rockwell like downtown landscape. Flowers bloom,
birds CHIRP, and the sun shines.

One storefront stands out from the rest, covered in fresh
flowers and a classical hand-painted sign announcing “Faith’s
Day Spa,” above “OPENING DAY!”

A cheap compact car pulls into view and parks.

INT. FAITH’S CAR – CONTINUOUS

White knuckling the steering wheel is FAITH DAVIS, a mane of
curly hair, perfect makeup and a face full of fear.

Her eyes focus on a pitifully small diamond ring on her left
hand. She rips it off and chunks it in the back seat.

She takes a deep breath and exhales with a long calming sigh.

FAITH
(eyes closed)
Lord, give me the strength to
provide a perfect calming
environment for my customers,
provide for my son, and prove to
him his momma is not a pushover.
(then remembering)
Oh, and also finally to show that
peckerwood ex-husband of mine that
I can stand on my on two feet
without him. Amen.

She opens her eyes filled with joy and excitement until …
PLOP. A large creamy load of bird shit lands on her
windshield.

She looks up to heaven.

FAITH
Not the message I was hoping for
Lord.

EXT. DAY SPA – CONTINUOUS

Faith wrestles with her key in the front door. She shakes and
shimmies, trying to get the key to turn until CLICK, it
opens.

JASMINE, a young and spritely cosmetologist wearing high
heels runs up behind Faith.

JASMINE
Boo! Morning boss lady!

Faith takes in Jasmine’s messy hair, unmade face, and heels,
then she walks inside, trying to hold onto her smile.

INT. DAY SPA/FRONT DESK – CONTINUOUS

FAITH
Jasmine, you know you’re a “beauty”
specialist right?

JASMINE
Don’t pitch a hissy fit. Just gimme
five, and I’ll be as purty as a
peach.

Jasmine gives Faith a friendly pop on the behind and bounces
in her heels to the makeup counter.

The door JINGLES as it opens. Gracing them with her presence
is HOLLY, dreadlocks, flowing clothes, and yoga mat tucked
under her arm.

HOLLY
Namaste free spirits.

JASMINE
Hey there tinker-bell.

HOLLY
I told you not to call me that.

FAITH
Good morning Holly.

HOLLY
Is it?

A fidgety MAN wearing overalls yanks on the front door. It’s
stuck … again.

FAITH
Girls, be nice. First customer!

Faith assists with the door.

OVERALLS MAN
Man am I glad you’re open. Can I
use your toilet?

Faith gathers her pride and points down the hall.

FAITH
Third door on your left.

Overalls Man quickly potty walks in that direction.

HOLLY
Ugh, I hope he doesn’t want a
massage.

JASMINE
Or a pedicure. Can you imagine
those feet?

FAITH
You should treat our customers the
way you would want to be treated.

HOLLY
Yeah? Well, first, you have to have
customers.

Holly turns and walks to her treatment room with a look of
pleasure in stealing the last word.

JASMINE
Okay! How about a little spa music?

Jasmine flips on the spa sound system.

FAITH
Wait!

Loud, booming gangsta rap MUSIC fills the spa. Faith runs and
hits a button, switching it to soothing environmental sounds.

JASMINE
Faith! I didn’t know you were such
an OG.

END TEASER

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