Validation

Inciting Event: A line of depressed people bring their parking stubs in for validation and get more than they bargained for when the parking attendant validates not only their parking, but also them as people, making them smile like never before.

First Plot Point: The business complex’s security team comes in to correct the problem when they discover nobody is going into the shops: they’re only parking to validate their souls. The attendant “validates” the security team as well, which sets off a chain of events leading to his “validating” the CEO and then eventually even world leaders.

He’s having a blast, because all he really wants out of life is to make people smile.

First Pinch Point: The parking attendant continues validating others, including a cop who gives him a driving citation.

He encounters a woman at the DMV, a place where smiling is absolutely not allowed. Her name is Victoria, and he falls for her instantly. Instead of renewing his driver’s license, he immediately launches into a full-blown non-stop personal campaign to cheer her up. Unfortunately, she is the only person he cannot make smile.

Midpoint: The attendant tries everything he can think of to get to know Victoria better and make her smile, but to no avail. He eventually becomes more and more discouraged.

Second Pinch Point: His spirit finally broken, the parking attendant is able to have his photo taken at the DMV and renew his license, because he is now able to stop smiling.

Third Plot Point: The attendant loses his job as parking attendant when his usual line of eager clients shows up and instead of making them smile by telling them, “You are AWESOME!”, he tells them, “You’re okay, I guess.”

He wanders by Universal Studios, and a couple on vacation asks him to take a picture of them. He apathetically agrees, but as he is about to take their picture, he notices their smiles are just poses for the picture and not the genuine smiles he loves. He emphasizes all the reasons they have to smile, saying he wishes he had reasons like that. The couple realizes how lucky and amazing they are, and they start to smile for real. He lights up and starts taking shot after shot, and the happiness builds. He’s back in the groove. A professional photographer sees what’s happening and recruits him to get “the most sincere smiles” he’s ever seen.

During his new career, among the many people he finds to photograph, he gets some great smiles out of a wheelchair-bound woman with a chronic illness.

Climax: The attendant-turned-professional photographer goes to the DMV again and discovers Victoria not longer works there. She was fired for making people smile in their license photos. Our hero rushes to find her. He sees a long line of eager people at a one-hour photo shop—the same people who used to come to him for parking validation.

Climactic Moment: He finds Victoria working at the one-hour photo, smiling in the most beautiful way, making everyone else do the same as she takes their photos.

She explains that ever since she was little, she saw her mom getting sicker and sicker, and when her mom stopped smiling, so did she. But then one day a young man made her mom smile–it was our hero, the former parking attendant. Victoria searched every parking garage to find him and couldn’t because he’d lost his job. But now he has finally found her.

Resolution: Everyone is smiling again, including Victoria and our hero the validator.

Comments: This is a very short film, so it is easier to analyze it as a simple three-act structure, but I believe the more granular structure is still there.

The midpoint is very subtle and it was hard to discern from the surrounding plot turns and pinches, but I chose what I did because that was the point where our hero starts to transform.

(Submitted by Aaron McCausland.)

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