Hollywood at work:
Kevin and I started with a concept: What if we did the entire thing in one shot? We follow a girl from her bathroom mirror, to a car ride, to a convenience store, to a seedy party where she finally shoots and murders someone. All in one shot. Problem then, became exposition. Was this just to be a conceptual idea? Or were we going to explain why she kills this motherfucker? And who exactly was this dude anyway? The words “seedy party” though, definitely got us excited. We began to see a pimp. Picture Roy Scheider from Klute or Gary Oldman from True Romance, mixed in with a little Alfred Molina from Boogie Nights and Willem DaFoe from Wild At Heart. And who was the girl? Just some scorned chick? Nah, how about something more interesting. Like a beautiful young woman hellbent on killing the pimp that murdered her sister. No! How about her identical twin sister. And how about, these weren’t your normal twins. But two girls who shared a strange, abnormal bond. And how about this guy is a real class act. He’s a suburban brat who thinks he’s smarter than he is. Oh, and he’s utterly psychotic.
You see how they start out all right:
We’ll have this great female protagonist, yes… and we’ll follow her… and she kills someone because… because…
And that’s where it all seems to break down. After all, what reason could a woman possibly have to kill someone?
Wait, I know!
She’ll get raped! OK, but she should be a super assassin, so we’ll have her twin sister get raped, but she can feel the things her twin sister feels, so she’ll actually be getting raped!
AND THAT’S HOW WE’LL OPEN THE MOVIE!
This is the same kind of lazy writing Joss Whedon is doing with Dollhouse.
“Not sure what to do next? Have somebody get raped!”
Sweet God, people. You do know that women have lots of traumatic, story-worthy things happen to them that don’t involve rape, right?
Because opening your story with your protagonist getting raped? It’s just not interesting. Your story is full of cheesy caricatures, but not in a Kill Bill way, in a stupidly LAZY way.
What drives me bonkers is that these are supposedly experienced script writers. I realize they’re writing under deadline, for fun, but sweet fuck, you guys, it’s not hard to write a good script with awesome characters who don’t suck. It’s really not.
But hey, let’s try something else on for size, for fun. We have to write a script that follows the same constraints these guys did. Low-low budget, that can be shot in a week, preferably in one shot (but can take or leave that). So instead of:
We follow a girl from her bathroom mirror, to a car ride, to a convenience store, to a seedy party where she finally shoots and murders someone. All in one shot.
We follow a girl as she suits up for “work.” Black stockings, black boots, black leather jacket, duel pistol holsters, knife strapped to her ankle, extra bullets and brass knuckles in her bag. She gets on a motorcycle and heads off to a seedy pool party. She pulls a shotgun from her side bag, shoots in the door, kicks her way in, and aims at the Big Bad and says, coldly, “This is for my brother.” She shoots him. He goes over. She leans in close to blow his whole head off and we hear him say, “Your brother’s not dead.” She says, “I know,” and kills him. Then she opens up a can of whoop-ass on the whole pool party with all her sweet-ass weaponry and kills everybody there. Then we see her start to torch the place. She gets back on her motorcycle and stops at a bench in what appears to be a park. A man is sitting on the bench. She sits next to him. “Didn’t think you were coming,” he says. “I don’t think they’ll be a problem getting that cancer drug approved,” she says. “The big wigs are out of the picture. Just watch who you piss off next time. I can’t clean up all your messes. We’re not kids anymore. The stakes are a lot higher.” She checks her cell phone, stands. “I may be out of touch for awhile. Say hi to dad for me.” She walks away, we pull back, and we see that they’re at a cemetary. On the headstone is their father’s name and a eulogy indicating that he died of cancer.
Slightly syrupy? Sure, but I wrote that in all of ten minutes. I’m uncertain as to why Hollywood can’t come up with something more original than, “Chick gets raped, let’s make a movie about it,” in an hour, ten days, ten months or ten goddamn years.
Come, guys. Lazy writing is boring, and I’m sick of your boring-ass, victimized, brutalized female characters. Think outside the fucking constraints of your fucking institutionalized sexism.
Lazy, lazy, lazy.