Tuesday, June 11, 2013

A Few Words about A Screenplay In Progress

So, on social media I’ve been talking about one of my writing projects without actually mentioning the content. In the event that you’re curious, I’ll tell you a little about it. (I’m staying away from specifics since it’s unfinished.)

The tentative title is F___ Sh__ Up, and yep, my co-author Bob Warke and I are aware that we’ll probably have to change that if we want to sell it.

It is about the punk/poetry scene in Wilkes-Barre in the 90s from a riot grrl and queer perspective. This is a story that has not been told in the form of filmed fiction. There are not too many movies focusing on the 90s scene. We are still awash in 80s nostalgia. 90s nostalgia is something that is overdue, imho.

There are a thousand things about the era we hope to capture, the sea change in music, awareness of social inequities as they affect teenagers who were interested in art and music. How as teens we struggled to express ourselves and make those expressions heard. Homophobia, sexism, DIY, drug abuse, sexuality, conflict between camps of musical fandom, punks versus “melodics.” What it meant to be a teenager trying figure out your thoughts about those subjects are when you are actually facing them, all while simmering in this stew of hormones.

Bob and I are doing our best to write a fictional account that captures the flavor of that time and place while being honest about it. A lot of the complexities I just mentioned have simply emerged from the writing. We want to tell a story that hasn’t been told. This is not, necessarily, a message movie. It is an attempt unearth some things that aren’t often discussed in this medium. In a sense, riot grrl was a movement about learning how to be loud about things that teens are often dismissed about, that they are encouraged to be silent about. Riot Grrl was a wild and hopeful thing that I think gave something to us mumblesomething year olds that we don't fully understand, yet.

The language is rough, the topics and themes difficult. My personal hope is that we tell a solid, engaging story that highlights the humanity of each character without glossing over flaws.

It isn’t finished. I have no idea if it will be picked up. I hope the end result is good enough to move to the next level. I think it is. I’m proud of what we have accomplished so far. It's dark, and, we think, funny. 

Some of the absolutely worst stuff that can happen to a person in their lives can happen during the teen years. One of the best coping mechanisms that we have against the dark is humor. But we also have music, we have art, these are sometimes the means of expression when discussion fails. It is, I think, one of the many reasons that in the 90s you couldn’t spit without hitting someone who was in a band.

It is probably one of the many reasons I’m a writer.

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