Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Angry Birds.

How "fucking lazy" of you, Paul Schrader.
Where do I even begin with this?

I guess I should probably begin at the tweet that pissed me off. I retweeted it in order to set up my bitchy response in a separate subtweet, then un-retweeted it, wished the offender away into the cornfield, and leaped from my balcony in a spectacular swan dive, landing into a safety net held by the cast of RuPaul's Drag Race. Erica Kane would've been proud.

Dramatic? Well duh. But I was angry. And pregnant. And I still am. To both.

To paraphrase the pearl of wisdom that did trickle down my timeline like wee: making women prostitutes in a screenplay is "fucking lazy."


Um, yeah ... she actually, really, seriously did. And I was so fired up, I nearly fell back and blew my 23-week-old boy fetus out of my Special Purpose like a T-shirt cannon at a basketball game. My entire first script, Street Life, is about a prostitute. Why did I make her a prostitute, you (didn't) ask? Well, because it's always been my dream to fill 90 minutes with scantily-clad women doing nothing more than putting themselves in all sorts of situations in order to have sexy sexist sexual sex. Sex.

Or, I set out to write a script that felt like one of my all-time favorite films, The Warriors (1979), with one differential—I wanted to remove the safety nets. My heroine, "Dollar," is woman at her most vulnerable, adrift on the streets of Hollywood, hiding from an killer bent on finding her. There's no Warriors. There's no perceived sanctuary in Coney Island. My heroine makes her living by selling sex, which makes her situation even more volatile. And the police are mostly unresponsive.

But like the year in which The Warriors was released, Street Life is set in 1979—a pivotal year for women, reflected in the films of the time. Alien. Norma Rae. Hell, even The Fog. Women asserting themselves onscreen for better or for worse, with varying results. Off screen, women stood under glass ceilings, rocks in hand, poised for target practice.

Showtime, Synergy.
The prostitute in 1979 presented a unique, though disheartening writing challenge for yours truly: navigate a woman without options through a world where options are quickly becoming requisite. There is no upward career trajectory for a woman working the "world's oldest profession." Her success is defined by youth and beauty, two antiquated premiums that have no place in the new frontier of shoulder pads. Add to that a crippling lack of resources when the shit hits the fan. This is where we find Dollar. At 27, she is at a crossroads. She wants more, but does not know what that "more" is, or how to even obtain it. Obviously, she is stunted by the stigma of prostitution. She can't move in with one of her prostitute friends and schlemiel-schlimazel a job at Shotz Brewery. 

The last thing Dollar needs is a psycho killer, qu'est-ce que c'est? Anyway, I didn't feel "fucking lazy" writing Street Life, especially while doubled over with first-trimester nausea. I labored (pun intended) to make her very human. Relatable. Someone I'd like people to care about, cheer for. I've put her through a ridiculous set of trials and circumstances because I want to see how a 1979 prostitute without options can handle them. Because I think she can. Not because I just want a film full of delicious sexual situations.

No, I'm saving those for my next horror script, Spectacular VHS, set in a video store in 1985. Those hookers are going to be bonking all over the place.