Finnish Screenwriter Asks for Help Researching Small-town MN
An amateur screenwriter from Finland is looking for some insight into life in small-town Minnesota for his script.
It's not often that we see Minnesota represented in Hollywood. When we do, we're protective and critical. Which is why Minnesotans on Reddit have been quick and eager to help an amateur screenwriter from Finland with aspects of a script he's working on that takes place, in part, in Minnesota.
"I'm an amateur screenwriter from Finland," shares Reddit user GuyWhoLikesBurritos, "and at the moment I'm writing a story about a poor guy, living in L.A. He's working in a car repair shop and has to do some illegal gigs to pay the rent. So, when things look desperate in the big city, he decides to visit his hometown in Minnesota after years and escape his countless problems."
The screenwriter goes on to explain that he's unable to travel to American right now to research his story's plot but would really appreciate some insight into life "in a small town in Minnesota and what's life like there." He also says he hasn't decided yet which small Minnesota town his story takes place in and is open to suggestions. He concludes by inviting Minnesotans to share their stories and experiences of life in small-town Minnesota. The Reddit post has been flooded by comments from helpful Minnesotans.
"To oversimplify, there are 3 types of small towns in Minnesota," said one Reddit user. "1. Farming towns (located in the southern half of the state and along the western edge of the northern half), 2. Tourist towns (located by lakes in the northern half of the state, by the boundary waters canoe area, and along Lake Superior), and mining towns (located in the iron range area). You should choose one of these types of towns depending on what kind of backdrop you want in the story."
"I grew up in a farming community of 400 in west central Minnesota," shared another. "Most of my friends lived on family farms. As a teen, those of us that lived in town would sit on the steps of the bank and hangout. The nearest movie theater was 25 miles away and, until I was about 12, we only had access to 2 tv stations. Drinking beer while underage was very common."
"In my area of small town Minnesota, every town in the area had its own festival in the summer that was related to its history," offered a third. "For example, Moose Lake has Agate Days. The festival only lasts the weekend, and people come in to pick agates (rocks), eat fair food, drink beer, and probably play bingo at some point. There's usually fireworks at the end of the weekend too."
Other tips and insights from helpful Minnesotans include how folks in small rural towns are inevitably only a degree of separation away from someone else's friend or family member; the use of geographic landmarks as identification rather than specific names and numbers; cold and long winters; sports team loyalties; passive-aggressive natures; life on a farm; mosquitos and more. One Reddit user referenced the story of Christopher Ingraham -- the Washington Post journalist who wrote a piece on how one rural Minnesota community was "the worst place to live in America," but, after being invited to come visit for himself, fell in love with the same community so much that he moved his family there to live, documenting it all in his book If You Lived Here You'd Be Home By Now.
You can read the full Reddit thread and list of comments here. What piece of advice or insight about small-town Minnesota would you offer this screenwriter?
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