Why I Will Never Have A Girlfriend: A Filmmaker’s Perspective (Part Deux of 3)

THE WRITER’S TREATMENT

 

By now everyone and their mother knows how movies are made. From the building of sets and shooting on location, to the actor’s and actresses acting out their roles. And let’s not forget the ones behind the scenes, such as the makeup artist or the amusingly named “Best Boy Grip”. Hell, even the person whose job it is to cater at the eventual wrap party has his/her story to tell. Of course none of this would even be possible without the most important ingredient; the script.

If you want to get technical, it actually starts with an idea. Someone always has an idea or an inkling of what will be the next big thing. A backwards robe? Eureka! Now people are crazy for SNUGGIES!* Giant Fucking Robots fighting each other? POW!! ZONK! WHIZZ!!!! We get Transformers, which brought all that (and Megan Fox’s sweater cows to boot) to the celluloid mirror. The written word is only a servant to the conscious thought. For better or for worse, or world is forever changed due to another person’s actions.

People are always saying, “write what you know’. Why? Because sometimes (re: most of the time) the best stories are more often than not the ones that we have already lived. We have seen movies and television shows alike have often featured thinly veiled portrayals of the lives of those in front of or behind the camera. Movies like ‘JCVD’, ‘Last Action Hero, and the recent Mickey Rourke-starring ‘The Wrestler’ have all served as a kind of meta approach to that actor’s life. Although is it made clear at times that the characters are NOT based on the actor or actress, the too-close-for-comfort story can endear that actor to their audience even more, and in the process, gain them a lot of respect in the eyes of their peers.

 So the question remains; how do you use your experiences to your advantage? What if the experiences that you had weren’t all that great? Who wants to see a movie where the protagonist is basically treated like shit THE ENTIRE MOVIE?  While there have been notable exceptions to the rule, that doesn’t make it an easier sell. Some studios seem to be taking lesser risks, opting for more established franchises & name brands rather than more risk-taking, original fare. As much as I love film and the very idea of it, I still find it weary that movies like Paranormal Activity & Precious are good and find a notable audience, but when push comes to shove, will go down as nothing more than “happy accidents”.

Another example of a ‘happy accident’ occurred about a year ago. It was around that time that I completed my first ever screenplay; Gale Force Trauma.

What’s Gale Force Trauma, you ask? Here’s my synopsis;

“It’s the story of  Samuel Richardson, a man who, after graduating from high school seems to have everything going his way; a beautiful girlfriend, great friends, and a promising future to look forward to. So when he begins to suspect his girlfriend is cheating on him, he feels compelled to act. Enlisting the aid of best friend Davis to spy on her, he tries to hold on to the hope that his suspicions are just that: suspicions. But as Samuel, and those he cares about most will learn, even Hope has an expiration date. And when Samuel’s decisions no longer begin to affect only his life, but the lives of those around him, all will be swept away by the winds of change.”

 

Now, obviously there is more to the story than that, but if I tell any more it may spoil the script, and I don’t want that. It’s needless to say that this was an attempt to exercise that old ‘write what you know’ adage. I was in a situation like the main character Samuel (notice that I said ‘situation’ and not ‘relationship’. More on that to come…), but unlike the screenplay that I eventually wrote, I could not control the actions of the people I knew in real life. Whether you like in or not, when you sit down to write a story, what you are doing is creating something out of nothing. You are the ‘God’, in a manner of speaking, and as such, you can pretty much do whatever the hell you want. Of course, once this world is actually created, there are the expected hurdles (budgetary constraints, rewrites, etc.), but for now, the ideas, people, and overall environment is yours and no one else’s.

However, like I stated earlier, how could I have used this as an advantage (writing said script) when I had myself lived this horror (in addition to my suck-ass life)? The answer is simple; I didn’t.

Let me clarify; If all you know is pain, then that is what you will know. Forever. Say that you were taken from what the dictionary defines as ‘normal’. When you look around and realize where you are, you know that this is not what humans think of as normal. It is in fact “Bizzaro-World”,, where up is down and left is right (right? or is it left..?). Once you stay in Bizzaro-World long enough, you yourself begin to adapt to the notion the up is in fact down, and so you live accordingly. Your very beliefs have been stripped down to the skeletal foundations, and have been proven to be false. So now, to you, everything in Bizzaro-World makes sense.

And that is exactly what I, too believed. That is, until I met…her.

 

TO BE CONTINUED

 

 

*SNUGGIE is a registered trademark and is the rightful property of its respective owners.

 

 

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