Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Scriptwriting Quick Tip (from a Non-Fiction, Non-Scriptwriter Writer)

Today's tip is... You wanna avoid the "All is Lost" trap.

That's when your lead character has no backstory and importance that actually anyone, any character, can step in and replace your lead.

All is Lost can be played by a 20 year-old guy for all we care, or a girl like Jessica Watson, since it has no backstory whatsoever. But noooo... We gotta have this frail old man as the center of this solo-sailing story.

If you choose an unusual character for a lead, there has to be a reason why. And there has to be this development, turn of events, or problems, where it's only possible to happen to your character.

For example, in the TV series Veep, the lead character is a female vice president. One of the conflicts that happened in one of the episodes is that she was groped by the husband of a Finnish politician while she was in his soil. But then, nothing much she could do about it but walked away and later submitted to the situation by saying: "Because this is a man's world that we live in."

This is the kind of problem that only female character feels, which makes your character difficult to replace with another character that is not female. Thus, you don't make a lead character female just for the sake of making them female, but you justify it in your story why you chose to go with this character as your lead.

In short, if you decide that your lead character is not "male, white, and in his prime", in other words, the most common character for a lead, you gotta craft a story where you make your uncommon character irreplaceable.

Monday, November 30, 2015

For Fuck's Sake! You're a Kid.

"I'm just a kid making movies."

At 25, Kristen Stewart said that. At her age, she still sees herself as a kid.

And that's where the problem is... For me anyway.

Part of my flaw is that at around her age--I'm only a year older than her--I cannot see myself as a kid anymore.

Things happened, experiences shaped a person. And I see myself as an already adult person. Not a kid. An adult who has to act accordingly. An adult who carries expectations from people around them. An adult who is supposed to reach a certain milestone at a certain age.

This trend of not being able, or refusing, to see one's self as a kid while they're barely in their mid 20's also runs among my closest friends.

But how is it that we 20 somethings can't see ourselves as kids? People who already hit their 30's or even 40 plus would most likely see people my age and think that we're still kids.

"Aw... You're still little. I'm twice your age," said my coach to then 24-year-old me after I told her about my age, causing me to grin on the outside but couldn't shake the feeling of being old on the inside.

So then, if older and perhaps wiser people see us as kids, why can't we do the same? 

It's a shame. 

I think by not considering yourself as a kid, you take away from yourself the permission to make mistakes. A kid would feel liberated and not worry too much. They just do. Metaphorically, they jump, they run around, they get dirty. They take chances, and if they fuck up, so what? They're just kids.

It's a luxury. It's a privilege. 

I envy and admire Stewart's ability to see herself as a kid still.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

My (Fading) Relationship with Film

Today is a sad day as it is the day I realized I have fallen out of love with film. "An Education" happens to be the last film I watched before I came to this realization. I watched it, went to bed, and when I woke up, I just sort of realized that I've grown out of this particular hobby.

Oh it was a hobby, alright. In fact, a little more than that. It was once my hero, my escape, when situations were pretty difficult for me.

Film watching, at first, started as a favorite pastime when I, with the company of three other girls, often rented videos and watched them together in my friend's place after school. We watched comedies, horror, and some teen comedies with contents a little too mature for our age, to name a few. This, happened in junior high.

Later in high school, film watching served as an escape, a distraction, or maybe even a hero of mine because I had a hard time at school: I had no friends. So off I went to a nearby video store--conveniently located a few minutes' walk from school--and there I was at the cashier renting five films at once. Week in, week out I did this. It is no surprise then that I had watched a lot of films during this time. In this era I usually picked the films that have "Academy Awards" quite literally written all over it. There, on the cover. I watched "quality" films I didn't understand during these days. And romance. And comedies. Oh, how I remember buying one of those F.R.I.E.N.D.S box sets, playing it, and longing for the sort of friendship they had. Cruel and ironic, considering my situation.

Afterwards in college, getting access to films was pretty easy--they're at my fingertips. So I watched films because I enjoyed it, because it was easy to get it, and because I had no other visual entertainment in my room besides my laptop.

But now, even though it is still easy to get access to films, I no longer enjoy it that much. Because now watching a film feels like a hit-and-miss experience. Sometimes it's truly enjoyable, sometimes it's brilliant, but some other times, it's "meh", disappointing and unimpressive. Like a box of chocolate, you never know what you're gonna get. But what I do know is I dedicated two hours of my life and at the end of it, often it didn't give me the best return. It's like making bad investments, really. And I'm tired of it. I'm tired of spending two hours following the plot, the acting and the whole shebang and at the end of it... Fuck... Not impressed.

Maybe it's because I've seen a lot of them and I become more and more difficult to please.

Anyway, I do feel that lately I often feel unimpressed after a film. And I don't even watch films that frequently--maybe once a week. The problem is it's more often that I feel unimpressed than I am impressed. It's like sorting out the goods in the sea of the bads. And that, is tiring.

So, I think I need to take a break. Need to be away from films. Need to stop watching films (except maybe if the point of film watching is to hang out with friends). I need to miss films.

Then, until next time, film.