Literary Tranvestism

What follows is probably not as interesting as the title suggests.

I was woefully under-productive as it concerns "Nova" tonight [re: last night], partly because while I was sitting down to masterfully cut-together the Gin Blossoms and Better than Ezra playlist which would guide my writing into the dawn, John IM'ed me and asked "What wrestling are we going to watch?" So instead of working, I spent part of the evening gleefully watching Yuji Nagata kick the crap out of some fat kid, and then enjoying four of my favorite Jr. Heavyweights put on a fun title match. Properly derailed, I used the rest of the night to answer some back-logged e-mail, and generally try and distract myself from some of the cheerier thoughts working their way back into my head. Nothing got done, but...

I regret nothing.

Honestly, I was kind of glad to step away. Despite my enthusiasm for the project, "Nova's" ending is plagued by a problem I almost missed. Those who haven't read the screenplay are going to have some trouble keeping up, but I'll do my best to summarize.

The final scene of the film, the denouement of the film, as it were, has our fallen angel and our main character enjoying a beer on the roof, and reflecting on the happenings of their day. Ultimately, the conversation comes around to nature of what the Angel has lost -- specifically, what she's had to forcibly leave behind when she crashed to Earth in the first place. Having trouble properly explaining this, Clayton draws a parallel to his own pain and loss, in the relationship [and girl] he struggles to let go of throughout the film. The audience and the characters are then satisfied with the explanation, there's a sweet moment [I know, I surprise myself sometimes], and the film comes to the desired conclusion.

After taking a look at the script for me, however, Lex pointed something out that hadn't crossed my mind while writing this -- that the ending, though successful at drawing the parallel, does it in a bit of an insensitive way. Specifically, it takes this gigantic loss and change for the Angel, and brings it back to our protagonist's failed relationship, which I have pretty well buried and ridiculed over the course of the film. Worse, to some it may even appear that Clayton is co-opting her pain with his own, which could even retroactively harm the Angel's feelings and belittle the experience she's just had.

It's a subtle point, and one that I think some may even take issue with as being false. But I believe it's valid, and I thought I might talk a little bit about why.

Part of it is that I think there's a lot of maleness in "Nova." Before angels get involved, it's mostly a buddy picture, with the typical bromantic comedy situation of one friend looking out for another during a hard time. It's the age old tradition of bad-mouthing the ex, getting drunk, and keeping said heart-broken friend from drunk dialing the object of his affection, and it puts a lot of machismo in the script, even if it's just at that vulnerable man level. It was kind of unavoidable, since I was partly writing "Nova" to make myself feel better, and what apparently what made me feel better was to go to that Kevin Smith place in my situations and dialogue, and move forward from there.

How this effect my [bad] ending has to do with something that always fascinated me about Smith's movies, which is that the majority of his male characters are actually afraid of women -- something Smith himself has occasionally called attention to, and thinks comes from somewhere in that late-80's to early-90's "raised by your mother" nu male philosophy. And while I'm not really looking to identify it's origin, I know from experience that this sort of perspective paints women largely as villains or minstrels; they become problem makers or problem solvers for their male counterparts, and often fall a bit short -- rarely getting the depth or consideration they deserve.

I think I am guilty of this a bit with the end of "Nova," and made that scene more about Clayton's situation improving than the Angel moving forward with her loss. And while the first thing is certainly an aspect that needs to come out in the story, it shouldn't at the expense of the last, and both the Angel and Clayton should realize suitable resolutions. Some of that maleness has to come out, so our woman can shine through.

The other half has more to do with what came before "Nova" [re: Trendsetter]. I tried to work my frustrations with "Trendsetter" out in "Nova," and a few small themes do reappear, not the least of which is my oft-pointed out return to"guy pining for his girl and connecting that longing to his cell phone" situation. It was always my intention in "Nova" to sort of poke fun at how heavy that became in "Trendsetter" -- not to belittle or undercut so much, just to come at the work at a bit of different angle, and show how one man's tragedy might actually be less sad and more pathetic for another character. I honestly feel like I was successful in doing this, with both situations feasibly existing without necessarily seeming derivative of each other. Perhaps even being complimentary in a way.

But by the end, I didn't quite remove myself enough, and may have unnecessarily weighted the pain Clayton felt over his break-up in "Nova" to mirror that of the protagonist of "Trendsetter." The bigger problem being that I did this mostly in my head, and not on the page, so by the end of "Nova" we're treated to a relationship I've largely undercut as being as important as deities falling from the sky. It's absolutely ludicrous to think of with the way I've treated it in the script, and while it might not be so odd for the character of Clayton to present it to the Angel as a parallel to her situation, the only proper response for her would be along the lines of "Are you fucking dense? Are you retarded or something?"

So, it needs fixed. Do I know how? Absolutely, it's just a small matter of restructuring some dialogue, so if anyone taking it down to Clayton's level, it's the Angel, and not him. The phrasing and the rhythm have just been a little frustrating for me, hence this night spent easily distracted and rolling it all over in my head. It feels better getting it all out here, and I should be moving forward soon.

Next updates will probably be some names of people attached to the film's crew. Kyle and I talked at length today about finding a costume designer, when I wasn't acting giddy over the teaser posters he'd put together the night before. I might end up posting those here, if I get larger copies of them, but for those of you on Facebook, the smaller versions are on mine and Kyle's walls.

More soon. Cheers.

1 comments :: Literary Tranvestism

  1. I accept no responsibility whatsoever.