…Its all my brother’s fault. My brother is a recurring character in my personal mythology, like Loki in the Norse myths, and fulfilling a similiar function of whispering dubious ideas into my impressionable and slightly thick head.
There are writers who make themselves into their work. They write memoirs and funny recollections and thinly-disguised confessional autobiographies reworked as fiction. I’m in the other camp. My scripts are about aliens, or ninjas, or mixed-martial-arts. I draw on my understanding of the tropes I have internalized from a lifetime of living in other people’s fantasies to create my own (I will give an example of this in a later post).
There’s not a lot to write about myself that is entertaining in the way I’m accustomed to making stories entertaining.
But if I were to try, it would look a little something like this:
BROTHER ENTERS, holding a phone. Talking to KYLE on the other end.
One of the things I like is that when I follow
someone on a blog, I get a sense of them.
I feel what they’re going through, I root for them.
Maybe if you started a blog, people could
follow your journey. It could be this cool gateway
for introducing your work to people.
Kyle says nothing. Its one of the few cold days in the LA year and the wind blows at the tail of his jacket as he hugs it tighter with his free hand, phone still clutched to his ear.
Know what I mean, Jellybean?
Despite a nice personal touch at the end, which captures a very real idiosyncrasy of how my brother talks, this scene lacks a sense of momentum. My brother is trying to pass down a suggestion, infect me with some much-needed optimism, but I’m refusing to engage. My reasons for doing so might be interesting on a dramatic level, but screenplays don’t allow the reader the ability to peek inside someone’s head like a literary novel, and unlike in Shakespeare most movies and TV shows don’t allow a reticent character to confess his psychological strife in a monologue as an aside to the audience. Things have to advance through dialogue and action.
I would feel more comfortable writing this scene if my brother and I were holding each other at gunpoint in a fraternal Mexican stand-off; it would still be weak, but at least the stakes would be clear.
But I can’t just speak or act in the scene because its hard to show, at least in a single scene, what is really motivating me in this conversation. Hard to show the time that I spend trying to get people to read my scripts, or get excited about my weird ideas, or at least take seriously the idea that I’ve spent four years trying to get good at this one thing, and that maybe that work deserves a fair shot.
That’s what I’m thinking about, but it doesn’t scan with the dialogue. I need a way of encapsulating all the work I put in. A journal where people can see what I’m going through, and what I’m learning. I need a way for people to understand that I’m going through a process, and that every script I write and every story I break down is a part of that process. To be seen and understood as a character in my own story.
So ironically, that’s exactly why I’m writing a blog. So that when my brother asks, “you know what I mean?” you understand that I do, Jellybean, I do.