In honour and celebration of Shakespeare – short play Sweet Desdemona’s Revenge©

The formerly sweet Desdemona plots her revenge against her unjust death while remonstrating with a sorry Othello.

Click on the link to read the play

Sweet Desdemona’s Revenge©

All rights reserved©

 

The Date #Gointothestory DAY 11 scene

SCENE 10

INT. RESTAURANT – SUNSET

Swarthy confident David and a glowing but nervous Clarissa are having candle-lit dinner at a restaurant. Sunset can be seen from the window.

David: So how come you said yes?

Clarissa: I had a lot less on this week.

David: I’m curious as to why.

Clarissa: Curiosity.

David: And how’s that curiosity coming along?

Clarissa: Coming along.

David: Are you being evasive?

Clarissa: An accusation or a question?

David: Do you enjoy being with me?

Clarissa: Let’s skip the interrogation.

David: I’m enjoying the asparagus.

Clarissa: Finely tipped long shoots always work well.

David: And the artichoke?

Clarissa: Great once you get to the heart of it.

David: The heart is where it’s at.

Clarissa: If it tastes great, it’s probably great.

David: Same time next week.

Clarissa: Sounds like dinner every week.

David: That good?

Clarissa: You only live once.

David: Unless you believe in reincarnation.

Clarissa: I’m in this life now.

David: Looks good from where I am sitting.

Clarissa: I want to blow out the candle and make a wish.

David: Together.

Clarissa: I’m ready.

David: Next dating candidate please. A great eg of how to avoid the sticky four letter commitment. Feel free to come back anytime Melissa.

Clarissa: I’ve got a funny feeling I won’t need any more courses on getting out of being with Ed. By the way, my name is Clarissa and I just committed.

GOINTOTHESTORY TASK: 

Today’s prompt: A characters says “I love you”… without using the words “I love you”.

There are tens of thousands of words in the English language. Explore them in a scene where one character expresses his/her love for another without the old tried and true expression.

Then take that as a jumping off point: Why does the character not use the words “I love you”? Are they afraid of making that type of commitment? Are they trying to be clever? Have they rehearsed a speech? Stumbling over ILY, then suddenly jump to some other way of conveying their feelings?

And by the way, they don’t have to say anything, it’s possible they could get across their love through a gesture. Movies are a visual medium. Perhaps explore that possibility.

But whatever you do, don’t let the character say, “I love you.”

 

RIP TIME – #Gointothestory competition DAY 2

EXT. FERNCLIFFE CEMETERY – DAY

GIRL: I’d be embarrassed if anyone I knew saw me so that’s why I’m here. Seriously, I’m not sure this is the right place to talk to you but it’s time.
So much has happened since you left but some things sadly remain the same but there are signs of change everywhere. Of course, I miss you being around, that goes without saying. Watching you was always so funny. It seems only right that I’m upset when I think of what could have been if you were still here.
That portentous photograph. Only you would know, but I felt, it was the moment you were most content that you were snatched away. I can’t really remember you leaving the first time round. I’m sorry about that but hey, when I did start to listen to you, I couldn’t stop. Your love, sardony, wit, depth and originality followed me around. So did the ache when I realised you had gone. Your true face is wrapped in London’s fog but they still plaster your image everywhere. All that remains are feelings. What you said still matters to me because you meant what you said. You didn’t try to make me share your exact feelings but the meaning behind your words mean as much to me as they did you. You made so many people feel this way. Still do.
You made it cool for me to care. ‘Imagine’. You never said anything lightly except when it was banter. You’re still more popular than Jesus, who as you said in your own inimitable way, ‘was alright’ but for the hangers on. You said people could make a difference. Everyone of us has the power to have the God we crave. Maybe, people can be bigger than the God we are given or told about if we create the kind of God we want.
You gifted me the feeling that people and our world will always matter. I believed you. Always will. I never got to say thank you but you must have some kind of messaging system by now. Since you left, you’ll be pleased to hear there have been others but you will always be my first.
One last thing before I go. Thought you might like to know it’s Sunday. I’d sing Watching the Wheels but you know I can’t sing, play drums or guitar. You can’t have everything

The Break Up rom-com rewrite

The job was to rewrite rom com The Break Up, keep all the good bits but this time, not alienate the female audience.

The premise of The Break Up as a rom-com concept is undeniably fantastic when compared with run of the mill rom-coms. Two people love each other and the comedy is that they break up over nothing.

Gary Grobowski, played by Vince Vaughn and Brooke Meyers played by Jennifer Aniston meet at a game. Gary woos attractive Brooke by just talking until she has no choice but to go on a date. Gary’s flaw is, he is a bit overbearing but his funny go-getting attitude and charming approach means we instantly like him when we meet him. Gary’s funny charming manner is confirmed in his job as a tour guide.

The problem is after meeting funny charming Gary, he suddenly becomes a passive cruel unattractive couch potato. Gary’s cruelty knows no bounds, he is homophobic, he is dirty and messy, unhelpful, uncaring and unsupportive of Brooke and others. Worst of all, he is not even funny anymore. Basically the character who we met at the beginning no longer exists and develops a variety of inconsistent traits which are rolled out depending on who he talks to in the film. Brooke breaks up with Gary who becomes even more intolerably cruel with Brooke but she is desperate to get back with him. This is despite the fact that Gary has no intention of changing and has totally lost the sense of humour that caused them to get together. The break up continues amidst animosity and miscommunication. The couple must share the condo before it sells and their break-up can be concluded.

The problem for a female viewer is she cannot understand why Brooke wants to get back with cruel unattractive Gary. A good comparison with The Break Up Gary character is Melvin Udall played by Jack Nicholson in the film As Good As It Gets released in 1997. We the viewers watch and learn that the main character Melvin is not a hateful racist, homophobic, anti-semitic, sexist and misogynistic dog hater. Melvin does not mean to be cruel and over time, we the viewers see Melvin overcome this debilitating flaw and change through the female character. While the waitress Carol Connelly played by Helen Hunt may be a TV trope, a young poor single mother wooed by a rich old cruel man, she is not a pushover.

The film Break Up was released in the year 2006 not the 1950s. The period in which such female TV tropes and stereotypes are rolled out. The problem for the scriptwriters of The Break Up is that they alienate the female audience.

The film had numerous supporting characters that added to the plot and gave some undeniably funny moments: Brooke’s brother Richard Meyers played by John Michael Higgins challenging Gary’s homophobia; Brooke’s boss and gallery owner Marilyn Dean played by Judy Davis offering a beleaguered Brooke unexpected relationship tips; Gary’s best friend and confidante, barman Johnny Ostrofski played by Jon Favreau entertaining us despite being forced to deliver bad exposition and Gary’s colleague Sandra who we see in only two scenes. Sandra’s expressions tell us of her work relationship with Gary and she manages to make driving a bus and boat funny.

But overall, the film had too many characters that were not needed and just diluted the premise. The film needed to cull characters and give viewers time to hang out with funny supporting characters that were essential to integrating the plot and bringing about much needed changes in the lead characters. The characters who were not needed included: Brooke’s best friend and confidante, married with two children, Addie Jones played by the talented Joey Lauren Adams. Addie did not question Brooke’s love for cruel and inconsiderate Gary. Addie’s unsupportive and low-key criticism made their scenes the opposite of funny. Gary’s family and Brooke’s parents were too one-dimensional and they were simply not needed.

SPOILER ALERT:

The worst part of the film was a wholly redundant scene which actually made me hate the male character irreparably. Brooke invites Gary to a concert for a band he likes two days before they sell their condo. This is a band he likes and she asks him very nicely. Gary does not turn up. Still in as a viewer? I wasn’t. The question for me, is why would the writers write an inconsistent character that is that unnecessarily cruel?

After seeing Brooke cry, suddenly Gary becomes a nice person and so the inconsistencies of Gary’s character continue. Gary’s best barman friend has to tell confused viewers in exposition that Gary always just gets his own way but Brooke is the first girl he has ever been in love with. Really and even as I write this, I have to ask, does the character of Gary and the plot make sense?

Still it is watching these moments that give me enlightenment as a writer. I learned rom coms may be light and funny although Groundhog Day and There’s Something about Mary show such films can also be rich in mythic quality. But lead characters must be engaging in the charming Cary Grant way or at least be people we wish to hang out with or learn about as we have to spend over an hour in their company. The scriptwriter must help us find ways to understand or forgive their frailties. This cannot and must never happen in exposition.

I am certain The Break Up would have had an amazing box office given the performances if the character of Gary could have been revised to make sense.

So here comes the rewrite

Gary the funny but selfish philanderer has met the girl of his dreams and that is his problem, he is on a trajectory which aims to use his fast funny talking to help their relationship go all the way but Brooke is a determined career girl.
Brooke’s grand plans involve trying to convince boss Marilyn Dean played by Judy Davis to change the gallery ethos and re-balance mythic male phallic art with some female presence so they can woo the male crowd. Brooke worships high priestess Marilyn but believes she must make use of the mythic female fertility symbols sitting in Marilyn’s office. Amongst other things, Brooke keeps bringing home scary mythic female art and fertility artefacts which terrify Gary and his mates. Brooke accuses Gary of being uncultured because she believes them to be aphrodisiacs. Both of the issues cause a direct conflict with Gary who turns to barman friend Johnny Ostrofski played by Jon Favreau for help. The couple still break up but this time, it is Gary who breaks up with Brooke after taking advice from Johnny that he has become too much of a pushover to be attractive. Brooke is unconvinced but plays along with it to teach Gary a lesson until she can conclude her work ambitions. In line with the original, Brooke dates attractive men to make Gary jealous. But in the rewrite, she asks her brother Richard Meyers played by John Michael Higgins to find a string of gay men from his all-male singing group to be her date. Gary tries to understand Brooke by befriending the men. The problem is some of the gay men like Gary and other’s just question Gary as a choice. One of her dates provokes Brooke so much that she is forced to defend Gary as a partner choice. Brooke realises she loves Gary and must find a way to make him understand and Gary learns he must use his fast-talking skills to help Brooke to pursue all her worldly ambitions if they are to make it as a couple. Gary stays a consistent fast talking, charming and funny guy and Brooke is not a pushover but a sassy smart attractive girl with some self-respect. Everyone wins. One final note, I’d keep the dinner scene but I would only invite Marilyn Dean, Brooke’s brother, barman friend and Gary’s work colleague Sandra. All of them have their own views and versions of the couple which adds to the madness.

Argo – drama documentary without the documentary bit…

Having watched the beginning of the Oscar winning film Argo which presents itself as a documentary style film without the essential documentary bits. There is cause for concern and here’s why…

The film carefully avoids important facts when it sets up the Iranian Shah as promoting western society while briefly mentioning the poverty of the people without its cause as it sets up the religious orthodox opponent Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. The opening scenes show US embassy staff discussing leaving the embassy through the main road while a European man is held hostage by the neck outside. ARGO fails to mention the fact that the British secret service, MI6, and the CIA organized a coup to remove the then Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddeq in 1953, who in 1951 had unanimous support for a bill to re-nationalise Iran’s oil industry from what he felt was unfair practices. It fails to state the US and UK helped impose and assist the brutal regime of dictator Mohammad Reza Pahlavi who remained in power until he was overthrown in 1979, some 28 years later. More importantly, this film fails to reference the fact that the US administration had to own up to the involvement in the coup of 60-years ago because the CIA itself released documents. Canadian Prime Minister of 1979 Jo Clark himself felt hard done by the film Argo. He said: “I think the truth is the better story”.

The problem is Argo serves neither the ideals of classical film which seeks to entertain through universal conflicts or the cinematic truth ideals of documentary making. Argo is not only selective and revisionist but it is also dull and meaningless.

ARGO sets itself up as a documentary style film but then fails to deliver or deal with the difficult facts which surround US and UK involvement. No one who uses power is innocent, any Shakespeare play is testimony to this fact. However, I myself only became aware of US and British involvement in overthrowing Iran’s democratic regime after reading papers exposed by law professors who found such information by accident! This questions the very basis of information about Iran. It is therefore odd that the facts in the film ARGO have not been questioned by the kind of historians who saw fit to pour over what was clear fiction in Django Unchained even though so-called recorded facts of slavery have proven to be utterly unreliable because they hide the kind of untruths and barbarity later employed by the Nazis.

Argo was awarded best film at the Oscars. I am left to laugh or cry because this is no place for any genuine film maker. Argo is a joke and a bad one at that.

A review of film Elysium by auteur Neill Blomkamp who brought us the critically acclaimed District 9

A rich wealthy set live in a space station in the sky and a poor set live on a dirty, poverty stricken and polluted earth but want to join the world in the sky. (SPOILER ALERT)

First the world – Elysium is clean and white with spooky inhabitants from a Stepford Wives Marriott Hotel holiday advertising campaign. Earth is full of dirty foreign language speaking people be they criminals or workers facing poverty. Both Elysium and Earth are manned by robots. In Elysium, robots serve and protect people. On Earth, robots victimise and control humans. Beyond this, we know nothing about the robots who have no real role. All Earth humans are united by their desire to go to Elysium even though they are illegal and end up either being killed or deported. Why still a popular destination you ask? Apart from it being a holiday resort. Elysium has this medical gadget that can cure anything. Yes, I mean anything and a lot of people on Earth including the hero need this gadget and this essentially makes up the emotional objectives for Elysium’s plot. In sci-fi, audiences are accustomed to ideas from great films being recycled but really desire upcycling. This is where great ideas are transformed into something new because they are used in an unexpectedly imaginative way that is relevant to a film’s unique plot and characters. Elysium itself is a mishmash of recycled Kubrick’s 2001’s space station, Verhoeven’s Robocop, Star Trek and The Matrix which identifies the difference between the clean sanitised fabricated world created by the agents set against the stark existence of the humans. Both the world of Earth and Elysium recycle ideas from these films but lacks believability because it resorts to sudden introductions of circumstances to aid its plot rather than developing and revealing a richer whole.

Second, the plot and characters (the show not tell) – At the outset, Matt Damon who plays the hero Max De Costa is needlessly attacked by a robot who behaves suspiciously like a human being rather than a machine. Max hurts his wrist and goes to hospital where he comes across childhood sweetheart Freya who looks down on him because he is a blue collar worker. The love relationship or even affection between Freya and Max is not believable and is later highlighted through tattoos. The inciting incident involves the hero stupidly walking into getting a massive radiation hit which means he needs to be cured by the miracle medical gadget and the nurse girl he seems to love has a daughter with leukemia who also needs to be cured. The hero selfishly only thinks about curing himself and Freya selfishly only thinks about her daughter. But they both need to go to Elysium. Convenient. The hero also has a friend who does a lot for him but we know nothing about him or their relationship other than some random statements about stealing cars. He dies so no need to worry about him. Jodie Foster plays Secretary Delacourt on Elysium. Delacourt pats rich children, hands out gifts and has a litany of empty statements to explain villainous acts as a quasi-military leader. Delacourt justifies ordering the murder of earth civilians trying to get on to Elysium by asking the local president if he has kids? Oh yes, if I had kids, I would definitely recommend blowing up people but hey if I didn’t have kids, I might say don’t blow up people. This requires further thought I think. Secretary Delacourt is not developed and neither is her appearance. A military leader who wears short hair and loose fitting Giorgio Armani suits. She also seems to have an out of the blue character change nearing death. I am not sure what the change is but it is undeveloped. Both Matt Damon and Jodie Foster are wasted in this film.

Many of the characters are undeveloped, inconsistent or switch roles and traits for no real reason. On Elysium, the wealthy appear to do little other than be girls in a swimsuits sipping cocktails in a pad by a pool or be near girls in swimsuits but do occasionally allow the military genocidal leader to give gifts to their children. Basically, there is no difference between the people of Elysium and Earth – they are all out for themselves and therein lies the problem. On earth, there is a character called Spider who everyone thinks you should avoid. Spider is a gangster, no sorry he is a trafficker, no sorry he is a hacker, no sorry he is a revolutionary. Spider suggests a revolutionary idea called equality. So a confused criminal gangster/trafficker/hacker/revolutionary not the hero introduces the major change in the Elysium’s plot. The idea only sees the light of the day due to circumstances not real choices made by Max, the hero. This is because Max does not have higher ideals other than saving himself and regularly having boring fights with a psychopathic mercenary killer Kruger played by Sharlto Copley until the end. Max also dies pointlessly despite the existence of the miracle medical gadget. The hero’s sacrifice helps everyone to finally become a member of Elysium. Prefer to die?

Recommended script change – Spider and Max should have both been involved in getting people to Elysium. Spider does it for money but Max wants to stop the pointless deaths and deportations of the masses on earth because each attempt has failed. His love for Freya and her daughter and people in general force him to get up there to sacrifice himself to stop more people from needlessly dying. This would mean very few changes to the present story but it would mean the hero has pronounced values and emotional objectives with a plot that conflicts with the material objectives of Spider and the as yet undefined Elysium citizens.

All rights reserved©