I’ve been doing my morning pages like a good little recovering creative, and haven’t missed a day as yet. I’m quite proud of that fact. I usually skip a day here, pretend a day there and overall if I get three days out of four with completed pages I’m happy. That I haven’t missed one yet is a bit of a miracle, but it also shows me just how committed I am to this whole idea of completing The Artist’s Way and getting my writing back on track.
In my pages this morning I was discussing a whole range of things, it usually takes me a page or so before my brain becomes focused at the best of times. But what I noticed this morning was that I was discussing Queer Cinema and just how safe it has become. It seems to me – and it could be because it’s all I seem to buy – that Queer Cinema is divided into two groups. Romantic Comedies and Tragedies. If the characters aren’t bashed, they’re being raped, or murdered – or both – or they’re committing suicide. In the comedies they all seem to be coming out, or struggling with some form of addiction or disease.
I get that these are stories to be told. Frankly, I hope one day to write an awesome romantic comedy. Who doesn’t like a good boy meets boy, boy loses boy, boy gets boy back again story. Or girl, depending on your preference. But what really bugs me is the tacked on happy endings that seem to come out of nowhere and seem to fly directly in the face of the storyline that proceeded it.
Now don’t get me wrong. I love a happy ending. I personally believe that in life, everyone – regardless of sexuality, gender or career – deserves a happy ending. Just like I believe that everyone should have one movie montage moment in their lives at least. But the happy ending has to fit.
While I’ve been undertaking this journey of The Artist’s Way I’ve attempted to give myself my Artist Date. Last week being the first week, I had considered wandering down to the foreshore at some point and taking some pictures of the bay for instagram – love instagram by the way – but Sunday dawned freezing cold and so I changed my mind and decided to watch a movie I’d received on Friday from Quickflix. It was one of those “essential must watch” queer romantics comedies that everyone says “you’ll just love.”
I should have been warned then. Before I get into why the ending irritated me, I have to say overall I really did like the movie but the ending was trite. The two characters fall in love during the movie, attempting to overcome the biggest possible obstacle; a dud sex life. It sort of reminded me of the story line on Sex in The City where Carrie dates Berger and they’re awesome everywhere but when they have sex she can her a bus pull up outside. Anyway, that was their big obstacle, boring sex.
One of the guys rushes off to be with his dying father, the other one’s flatmate deletes the voicemail message and next thing you know, boy number 2 feels stood up on Valentine’s Day, doesn’t bother to ring the other ones mobile or try and find him – and ends up having sex with a pick up. The justification, he fell into an old negative habit.
Frankly that would have been it for me if I was the guy who was with his dying father. But no, the other guy decides the reason their sex life is awful is that guy number 1 is a commitment gay and promptly proposes. What stunned me was guy number 1 actually said yes. Cut to wedding scene. Cut to mind blowing awesome sex. Fade to black.
I felt the ending was tacked on for no other reason then either the writer couldn’t figure out what the ending should have been, or maybe test audiences were all complainy that the two guys didn’t live happily ever after.
Whatever the reason it got me thinking back on the sheer number of queer cinema releases I’ve watched that seem intend on shoving a happy ending down our throats, that stick to the tried and tested which usually results in a sub par film experience.
This morning I was working on my outline and I realised that while I hope my characters get their happy ending they’re going to have to fight to the death to obtain it. While I am a huge fan of queer cinema and have only come across 1 or 2 movies I think are pants, the fact remains that queer movies are safe and predictable. Sort of like microwavable macaroni and cheese.
As I mentioned earlier the characters are either being raped, murdered, falsely accused of being pedophiles, suicidal, drunks, drug addicts, riddled with disease or a combination of the above.
I love the idea of taking a mainstream idea – and yes I know mainstream covers those ideas too – and writing a film that would be no different then a mainstream release except the love story contains two guys or two girls. The film I’m working on now does just that. It’s an action, adventure, romantic comedy with martial arts and gay love story.
I wrote this morning that if a character absolutely has to be raped, why not make it a film like The Accused, and deal with the fall out. Male rape is still pretty much taboo these days anyway. I can’t remember the amount of conversations I’ve had where some bright spark has piped up with “yeah but you can’t really rape a guy, it’s sex, they’ll like it”. Awesome huh. I think as an idea it would be interesting to explore. Or if there has to be murder, make him the cop chasing the serial killer. Give it some suspense, some unexpected twists. I hate movies – mainstream or queer – where I know exactly what’s going to happen before the opening credits have finished.
I guess the point I’m trying to make here is that trite writing in a script will undo any good the actors can do. I was brought up to be polite, not to rock the boat and to fit in, not something I was ever very good at despite my Grandmother’s best efforts. I would rather write a script that never gets made but at least attempts to push the boundaries. That maybe is good enough to get made despite rockin’ the boat.
One of the excuses I’ve always used to stop me from writing was that I didn’t want to offend anyone and if I wrote my stories, my way, I might just offend everyone 🙂 I’ve come to the realisation now that it doesn’t matter whether I offend or not, impress or not, have it made or not. Unless I write it, none of the fears that keep me from doing it in the first place will have a chance of coming true.
I will write Hot Ice, my way. Warts and all. Exploring the emotions of the characters, their fears and see what happens when I put them into a movie where the primary story line is one of revenge. I hope my two main characters get their happy ending, but if they don’t they’ll at least get an honest ending.