A collage of multicolored Post-it notes litters the bedroom door. On each one there’s a handwritten quote from a leader, writer or filmmaker.“My favorite is this one,” Shane Guion says, pointing to an orange note near the center of the door. Attributed to journalist Hunter S. Thompson, it reads “Some may never live, but the crazy never die.”
“To me, it means that anybody who’s made a difference in life at the time seemed crazy,” Guion said.Guion is a 19-year-old marketing student working toward a business transfer degree. His true passion, however, is screenwriting. He’s spent the last year working on a feature-length script of about 120 pages titled “Crazy Diamond,” a biopic on the life of Syd Barrett, a founding member of Pink Floyd who left the band due to struggles with mental health and drug addiction.
“I’ve always been a huge Pink Floyd fan all my life,” Guion said. “But I never knew that much about who Syd Barrett was.”
After reading about Barrett, Guion said he “had to write this story” and began the plans for his first feature-length screenplay. Guion spent three months reading multiple biographies about the band, watching and reading interviews from band members to understand their mannerisms and reading every article he could find online about the band, he said.
“He totally immersed himself,” Guion’s sister, Shea Guion, said.
Growing up, Shea Guion said, her brother was heavily into music and was an avid reader. Even in middle school, she said, he used to write song lyrics and poems while playing drums in drum corps and their father’s band.
“He definitely was more of the creative type,” she said.
But it wasn’t until later in his academic life that he took writing seriously.
“In school, it was hard to get him to write anything more than a paragraph,” Mardy Guion, Shane Guion’s mother, said. She said he was always interested in the movies and she thought he would become a critic instead.
“He would watch a movie and then just kind of think outside the box about it all,” she said.
Jeff Guion, Shane Guion’s father, said his son was consistently interested in being behind the camera too.
“Most kids want to be Han Solo but that wasn’t his schtick,” he said. He said he and his wife bought Shane Guion a GoPro camera so he could make his own films. Using the GoPro, Guion made informative videos at his father’s job at Finance of America. It wasn’t until high school that he took interest in screenwriting and wrote his first script.“I had an idea for an animated TV show my friends and I talked about,” Shane Guion said. The idea for the show, which he said was titled “Tales from Salmon Creek,” was to make “a show about us.” He said he wrote a 20-page script for the idea and took it to school.
“It was so bad,” he said. “ I didn’t even proofread it or anything. I just printed it out and showed it to my friends because I was so proud I wrote something.”
Afterward, he became serious about writing, bought a book titled “The Screenwriter’s Bible” and began using screenwriting software to properly format his scripts. When he first told his family that he planned on writing a film about Barrett they were ecstatic.
“I thought it was awesome,” his sister said. “Pink Floyd is such a huge band but no one knows Syd Barrett so I think it would be a great learning point for people.”
Although he said he was passionate about writing the script, he feared it wouldn’t translate well on a screen.
“I remember laying down on the floor staring at the ceiling and thinking ‘I don’t want to be Tommy Wiseau,’” he said, referencing the writer and director of “The Room,” which is widely regarded as one of the worst films of all time. “I don’t want to let down my lord and savior, Pink Floyd.”
Jeff Guion said as a parent you have to “walk that line” between being supportive and critical of your child. Mardy Guion agreed.
“As a parent you have to be honest with them but not destroy them,” she said. “ They need that criticism. And every time he rewrites it, the script, it gets better.”
Now on his fourth rewrite of “Crazy Diamond,” Shane Guion said he plans on registering it with a copyright in hopes of selling it and turning it into a film. He said that last year he went to a TV writing panel at San Diego Comic-Con where he listened to professional screenwriters discuss their careers and how they locked themselves into rooms for weeks writing their scripts.
“That’s exactly what I want to do,” he said. “Just sit around and write.”