Pirates without Mothers

I’ve been absent for a while– trying to focus on writing 🙂 but I thought I’d post a little excerpt from one of the episodes I’ve been working on. Nothing fancy…just Hook and some of the other pirates discussing their woes about being ‘Motherless.’

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Two quick notes:

  1. The word mother is capitalized throughout because in this case I’m using ‘mother’ as more of an idea than a person…
  2. The beginning scene is largely transcribed from JM Barrie’s original work, which I then took in a slightly different direction from the original. A big part of the reason I want to make this a TV show and not a movie is the opportunity to really expand on the central character’s lives and motivations that Barrie hinted at, especially the complexities of Captain Jas. Hook of The Jolly Roger

 

Check out the pdf here:

Motherless Pirates

 

“Hook’s Mother”

Lately I’ve been working on Episode Two of The Gay Adventures. Hook has just come face-to-face with Wendy, and although she’s roughly 30 years younger than him, she is the first “female” he’s seen in two hundred years, and he immediately projects all his ideas of Mother onto her. 

Unable to return to or even fully remember his real mother, Hook is desperate to get Wendy to fill the void his real mother never filled.

This episode is not only inspired by text from the book Peter & Wendy, but also my research into JM Barrie’s own past, and his eternal quest to get love from his mother which she never quite gave him.

[note: within the script I’ve capitalized the word ‘mother’ every time, since it’s representing the IDEA of Mother, rather than a specific person.]

Check out the first few scenes here [which includes excerpts from Barrie’s writing]:

“Hook’s Mother” – beginning of episode

 

Finding Neverland lyrics

I like to listen to music while I write. And while I still don’t agree with what the story of Finding Neverland did to Peter Llewelyn-Davies, I did kind of fall in love with the soundtrack of the musical adaptation:

It’s also rather inspiring to hear some of the lyrics while I’m working…

Song: Believe

  • “It’s so frustrating when no one else sees everything you see.”
  • “Prefix ‘ordinary’ with ‘extra’ “
  • “Our life’s calling was never meant to be boring.”

Song: We’re all made of Stars

  • “If I could write ev’ry single day I would write all my cares away!”

Song: When Your Feet Don’t Touch The ground [I would HIGHLY recommend listening to this song]

  • “When did life become so complicated?
    Years of too much thought and time I wasted
    And in each line upon my face
    Is a proof I fought and lived another day.”
  • “When your feet don’t touch the earth
    You can’t feel the things that hurt
    And you’re free! There’s no need to come down…”

***

On a slightly separate note, in the song The Circus of Your Mind, Barrie’s financial backer, expresses his deep dissatisfaction with the play Barrie is creating:

“You say I will adore it, but I’m paying for it
A little more reality and less of this insanity.
How am I gonna to face it?
Such a disgrace, yet
Here we go again and again and again!”

It’s a good reminder that sometimes when you’re trying something new—something that means a shit ton to you—not everyone is going to think it’s a good idea. Some may even think you’re off your head…

Nearly everyone involved in the original staging of Peter Pan thought is was going to be a critical and financial flop. Even the actors.

How wrong they were.

 

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EXT. NEVERLAND JUNGLE – DAY

In the spirit of transparency, I’m posting my latest draft of Act One of the Pilot of The Gay Adventures. 

Go to the Pilot Episode page, or click here to read it: Pilot – The Gay Adventures (Act One)

I know it’s not perfect, but I had a lot of fun writing it. If you’re familiar with the book, look out for bits n’ pieces from that! I hope I didn’t disrespect the ghost of JM Barrie by trying to emulate his style. Please forgive me, James.

Complete Honesty!!!!

As I mentioned in a previous post, I don’t know what I’m doing. Now I’m going to get a little more real:

I’m a huge introvert, and part of that means that it’s really hard for me to post things online, especially something which seems self-serving (like promoting a TV project). I’m afraid that everyone will hate me and think my writing is terrible, and believe it or not, that doesn’t sound appealing.

So why do I have a website? Well, because I really love writing, I really, really love this project, and I really want to make something happen with this if at all possible. But I’m still learning how.

So here’s what I’m planning to do: Share my writing process and what I’m working on BEFORE IT’S PERFECT. I guess that’s necessary, because nothing is ever perfect. But I want so badly to be perfect, (not unlike Captain Hook).

Long story short, I won’t ever feel like what I do is good enough, so I might as well share my “shitty first drafts,” and even my shitty second drafts!

I want to invite you into my process, rather than focus on product. It may be slow going, because it’s not really in my nature to post what feels very private. But it’s also really important to me to share, because I do want to make something of this, and at the moment I feel very isolated.

I’m trying to find a community of writers, as well as connect more with the queer community, and—of course—queer writers.

With that in mind, here’s something I’ve been working on:

As a queer person, it’s not unusual to have struggled with depression or suicidal thoughts. I certainly have. Because of that, I have what I like to call an “intimate relationship” with Death. We’re on speaking terms. A first-name basis.  We sometimes meet for tea and scones. Conversing with Death

I’ve always thought that death is something not to be afraid of, but to be curious about. Death is a very curious thing, and something we will never understand fully.

To make sure I’m not confusing anyone, within The Gay Adventures, Neverland is a type of purgatory, full of queer people who have murdered or committed suicide.

I know, I know…it sounds clichĂ©. Ever since Lost, it’s been a big trend to have the super-mega-twist be “And they were dead the whole time!” It’s become so common that it’s not surprising anymore. Parks & Rec could very well have ended that way.

But for the story I want to tell, and how I want to tell it, it actually makes sense for them to have been dead the whole time. So I’m not going to change that plot point. I will, however, change HOW the story is told.

First off, it’s a comedy instead of a drama. A comedy which takes death seriously, but doesn’t take humans too seriously.

Second, within the first few episodes the audience will probably pick up on the fact that they’re dead. It’s never going to be a secret (or “What a twist!”). What will make the show interesting to watch is the character arcs and relationships, as well as the unique perspective of observing the behavior of someone you know is dead, but who himself is unaware of that fact.

One of the topics that fascinates me within the show is: what happens when the characters inevitably suspect and later realize they’re dead? How did they react? What do they do? How do their priorities change? Does it immobilize or motivate them?

This, of course, got me thinking about what I might do if I suddenly noticed I was dead.

I started writing an intimate scene between Hook and Smee, after they know they’re dead. I don’t mean intimate in a romantic or sexual way, I mean intimate in an emotionally exposed way. What’s more intimate than being honest with someone, especially concerning the things you fear? And no one’s better at being afraid than Captain Hook.

A scene like this would not happen until much later in the series:

EXT. PIRATE SHIP DECK – DAY

The sun sets on the horizon. Hook stands, straight-backed, watching the sun disappear. Smee approaches, and stands by his side.

HOOK: I’m afraid, Smee.

SMEE: Afraid of what, Captain?

HOOK: And if there’s nothing? Nothing at all?

SMEE: What do you mean, Captain?

HOOK: After this? Suppose we just go to sleep and then…nothing? Only darkness.

Smee comes to Hook and puts a hand on his shoulder. Hook doesn’t move away.

SMEE: I don’t think it’ll be so bad, Captain. Look what you got the first time.

HOOK: What did I get, Smee?

SMEE: Sandy beaches! Beautiful sunsets! (then) Me.

HOOK: No, Smee. I got mildew. Pythons. Just more uncertainty.

SMEE: Think of it this way, Captain: if what comes to you after your after-death is nothing, there will be no more uncertainty.

Brief silence.

HOOK: No more uncertainty…

***

Within the series, I’m not, nor will I ever be trying to provide answers. What I will be supplying are questions and wonderings, because I have a lot of those.

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Amateur (& loving it)

I am not a professional screenwriter. I am a self-taught (aka internet-taught) screenwriter who loves what he does. What’s more, I don’t plan to pretend to know what I’m doing.

How does one get better at something? Obviously, by sitting around and thinking about how great it would be to be really good at something.

The word amateur has negative connotations in our society. For many, ‘amateur‘ means unskilled and shoddy. It certainly can mean that. But I know plenty of professionals who do shoddy work. Much worse, they don’t care about what they do.

The root of the word amateur comes from the word ‘love.’ The true meaning of the word comes from doing something because you love it, not because you have to, not for monetary gain…

Amateur, definition: A person who engages in this study, sport, or other activity for pleasure rather than for financial or professional reasons.

I’m proud to be an amateur. I’ll continue to write for the rest of my life, whether I get published or not. Whether I get paid or not. Because I love it.

And since I love it, I’ll continue to get better at it. I’ll take classes, read books, and most importantly, I’ll write. And write and write and write.

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So be proud to be an amateur. And go out and share your love of what you non-professionally do with others!