Not as cool as you'd think.

I want to write something, but I don't really have anything useful to write about, so I figure I'll just use this space like I usually do -- as a brain dump. So fair warning, a lot of what comes next isn't going to be terribly interesting.

What's on my mind mostly is -- surprise, surprise -- "The Trendsetter." So I guess I'll ramble about that a bit.

I'm a big Nirvana fan. I have been one for awhile, long enough that I remember arguing the band's merit to my first girlfriend's mom [which actually comes across as a lot ballsier if you've ever met Laura's mother]. And really, I'm not that cool, and like a lot of teenage girls in my day I've got a pretty serious fascination/fetish with Cobain, enough so that when I chopped my pony tail off I took his picture in so I didn't end up with a preacher's mullet [regional thing] and had something that would match with the five o'clock shadow I call a "beard." And like my hero-worship with Thompson, a lot of the appeal in Cobain is the parallels between us. He didn't want to take a "real" job, he didn't always enjoy his process, and he constantly butchered old work to finish off new things he was doing -- and I wonder if he even rationalized all those things in the same way I do.

None of this has much to do with anything, just intro, really. The important part is, while talking to a friend about another famous death, Cobain's suicide came up, and like when you see someone else playing with one of your favorite toys, I cued up iTunes and spent a few hours listening to the "Unplugged" album and scanning the band's Wikipedia entries. Looking up the "Death of Kurt Cobain" article is sort of odd, since for me it's like looking up the entries for "bananas" or "forks" or something equally common knowledge and banal. But much to my surprise, under the Nick Broomfield heading, I found something I'd never heard before.

First, for reference, Broomfield is a talented English filmmaker, who did a documentary [Re: exploitation film] on Cobain's death, a movie entitled "Kurt and Courtney," which is both interesting and repulsive in its own special ways. Watching sort of feels like being cornered at a party for 98 minutes by some pot head who has that burning need to explain "what really happened to Bruce Lee." But if the topic interests you, the film's not a worthless experience by any means, and despite its flaws it is an improvement on some local work of the same subject.

Anyway, I guess Broomfield had done some press junkets for the film, which I had never read, and during one of them [quoted here, referenced from here] he says, sort of right out of the box, that:

"I think that he committed suicide. I don't think that there's a smoking gun. And I think there's only one way you can explain a lot of things around his death. Not that he was murdered, but that there was just a lack of caring for him. I just think that Courtney had moved on, and he was expendable."

Now, to those who've not read it, my screenplay is not about Kurt Cobain and his death, nor is the subject even mentioned [strange for me, as my other stuff is littered with pop culture references meant to drive the theme home]. But when I saw that quote, particularly the portion I italicized, I just felt moved. I couldn't believe that something so unrelated to what I was working on could so succinctly describe the world I'd built in the screenplay. I mean, that's exactly what's plaguing my protagonist Brandon throughout the film -- that the world is just done with him, and that those who should care about him aren't anymore. Abandonment, but also benign cruelty, especially the way Broomfield puts it, as if maybe that is just as shameful as having actually murdered the person. It encapsulates it perfectly, and sometimes I wonder if that is why I revisit Cobain's death in other things I work on [Re: Walks with Angels].

More importantly, I wonder if that comes across in "Trendsetter." I certainly wrote it that way -- just knowing better what to call it now doesn't change the fact that it's what I put into the script. But how successful was I? Are other people seeing that when they get done reading it? Will others take that away when it's finally up on the big screen? And is it important enough that they do?

Questions, questions. I am inclined, in my moment of discovery, to believe the answer to that last question is "yes," but I am worried the script itself doesn't do enough to illustrate that to others. Perhaps in learning the monster's name I've figured out a way to get another thirty pages out of it. Or maybe not. This is all new, and has set my mind turning on things related to, but not useful yet for, the "Trendsetter."

A lot of it is my own fault. I start with Brandon too late -- all but one person has given up on him by the time we meet him, whether knowingly[his parents], regrettably [Tess], or ignorantly [Eddie], but I think I took for granted that people would just assume there used to be more people in his life. That these were just the last people to leave the room, before the lights were finally turned out. And I don't know if I can fix that, but I'm thinking about it now.

It is liberating to just be able to say: "What gets Brandon is the lack of people in his life who care." And the questions that statement raises... is someone even in your life if you don't care? can just anyone be the right person to care? ... so much to work from.

I must be excited, I'm butchering metaphors left and right.

Other things. I consider today having Eddie's nameless fiancee make an appearance, but turned against the idea quickly. Call it delusions of grandeur, but I just help thinking of the reviews that will come by leaving her out : "... something strangely chilling about his best friend's bride-to-be going nameless..." or inversely " ... who like some bad literary device never makes an appearance, and never seems to matter any longer than to make the token shallow character a momentary mess."

Either would be fine. At least both show they got the point.

And Faye. I always wanted to end one tragically, and I don't know that anyone has a sadder send-off than the girl who might wind up being the most memorable character in the whole thing. I read her scenes again this evening, and while I'm not sure if it's clear, I doubt Brandon ever sees her again, even after she sacrifices so much for him.

The writing I've been doing up until now has been sort of a mess and and all over the place. Hoping some of this helps me point the re-writes and the add-ons in a better direction, and that what I'm scribbling at now fits better with the rest.

I will also admit this is the weekend I expected the last of the feedback to come in, but unlike previous weekends where I caught one or two, no one has sent me any notes today. Perhaps by Sunday. Or perhaps I was just too optimistic, others don't have the wealth of free time that I do.

Hopefully more soon. Finished pages? Now, let's not get ahead of ourselves.


0 comments :: Not as cool as you'd think.