House of Hugs Productions

Julia Radochia's blog for her films, film festivals, and film in general, among other things...

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Location: Arlington, Massachusetts, United States

Thursday, September 20, 2012

News -- and Messages

I'll start this off with a little news:  my short screenplay, Beat 'Em, is a finalist in this year's Broad Humor Film Festival's screenplay contest.  I'm honored, of course.   The Broad Humor Film Festival is dedicated to comedic films and screenplays by women.   (Yes, chicks can be funny.) Thank you to Broad Humor for making my work a part of this year's event.

I had a few people read the script to get feed back before I considered it finished.  I had one person tell me she thought it was very funny even if she wasn't sure she agreed with the message.  (I won't get into what that message came across as because it would involve giving away the story a little bit.)  I thought, oh no, I didn't really intend a message -- it was just what came out.

I never start off intending to put any message in what I write, but sometimes they do come out and turn out to be messages I support.  Eddie's Winning Date was just about trying to be the best you can be; Sally's Dream House was about learning to not be so aggressive with your pursuits that you miss what's going on -- and that sometimes you have to relax and let things come to you; and I Just Want to Eat My Sandwich told the audience that sometimes you have to leave your desk if you want to eat a sandwich during work hours -- something I'm sure that most people wouldn't know if I hadn't made the film to enlighten them.

I also never intend any character to represent a larger group of people.  Each character I write speaks for only that character.  In one film I had a character who was rather a weak character and he turned out to be gay.  I was afraid that people might think I was making a statement about gay men through that character --  and really, the fact that he was gay was only a plot device.  Actually the character, himself, was more of a plot device than an actual character.

I've worried a lot about what people think I might be saying.  I want to say, hey, the story happens the way it happens, the characters do and say what they do and say.  I'm just writing it down.  Not that I don't consider multiple angles and analyze every detail, but it still has to come organically.  I think you can get in a trap if you start writing with a message in mind.  It should always be about the story first.  I have no problem with people putting messages in their films, but am just weary of using it as a starting point.  Put the message aside, look for a story, and then see if that story supports your message and develop it from there.

It's not just with films, either.  I can't tell you how bugged I was by John Mayer's song, "Waiting for the World to Change".  I couldn't believe how often it was played, because it just wasn't that good.  It was a hit only because people loved the message -- and it was by John Mayer.  It didn't matter that the song was bland and went nowhere.  I've never wanted to publicly criticize anyone but the only reason I'm doing it here is that I think Mayer is brilliant and that this is the only sub par song of his.  (And come on, everyone has sub par songs... except Barry Gibb.)  So I really love John Mayer's work (he has stuff that gets me in ways that very few songs do), and that's why I feel I can rag on one of his songs.   All it was was a message looking for a song and it didn't find it.

Anyway, maybe I should put a disclaimer on my films and scripts saying that nothing is intentional, it just is what it is.  Though maybe that depends on your definition of "intentional".  Or "is".

Well, thank you again to Broad Humor for liking my script and always inspiring me to write.  Maybe this isn't the smoothest finish of a blog post but that's all I have at the moment.

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