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

 

Trans Actors

It’s a bit tricky to plan a multi-season TV show which includes a cast of children who are not supposed to age…

However, I have an easy solution (which was actually my first choice anyhow). I had always imagined adults playing Peter, John, Wendy and the lost boys.

The story itself is not meant to be taken literally, so age doesn’t need to be taken literally either. It doesn’t hurt that every one of the principal ‘child’ characters has gone through tough experiences which in many ways forced them to grow up mentally, if not physically.

But how to not confuse everyone watching it? Have a consistent difference in height and build between the ‘adults’ and ‘children’ on the island. Peter is almost always portrayed by a woman in stage plays, because they tend to have smaller frames.

 

So…which men tend to be shorter, with smaller builds? Trans men.

Now, before you yell at me, I’m aware that not all trans men or short or skinny. Not at all. And when I first had this idea it worried me that it might be weird to cast trans men as children. Would it send a message that we were infantile or somehow not ‘real’ men? That is in NO WAY what I want. Trans men are men. As a trans man myself, I’m very aware of this fact.

I was not at all surprised to discover that trans actors are few and far between. And I would conjecture that short trans men who are trying to break into acting don’t have too many opportunities to play leading men. So obviously, any and all trans actors would be welcome to try out for any role, but I thought that Peter and the lost boys would be a perfect opportunity to put a call out SPECIFICALLY for trans actors to come and audition.

Let’s actively CREATE rolls for trans men and women, instead of having an occasional movie about the struggles of being transgender, where the lead is played by a cis actor.

I would personally love to play a lost boy…

…except I absolutely hate being in front of a camera. So never mind.

“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

 

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 cliché. 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 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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Proper “Indian Names” for White People

Since white people always seem to want to be Native American, even to the extent of wearing headbands or announcing at every party they go to that they’re 2/87ths Cherokee, I thought I’d help out.

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Blake Lively: part “Cherokee”

Here are some names to consider [for WHITE PEOPLE ONLY!!!!]. Please pick the one that suits your spirit animal best:

  • Bird that Falls off Branch
  • Bird that Sings off Key
  • Bird that Poops on Clean Car
  • Chair with Three Legs
  • White Man
  • Slug that Slimes upon the Leaves
  • He Who Takes Land of Others & Kills Everyone

people-who-have-very-little-native-blood-and-claim-native-are-a-danger-to-real-natives

Start Weird & Keep Going

When it comes to writing, I have a simple philosophy:

start weird & keep going

My favorite TV shows are ones that tickle your brain in a funny, sideways way. Most of these shows also have anti-heroes, psychology and/or philosophy, and obscure puns.

This is my inspiration, and I recommend every one of these shows if your taste is similar to mine:

Arrested Development (the earlier seasons are best)

Excerpt:

EXT. THE BANANA STAND – DAYfgjfg

RON (V.O.): At that moment Michael’s son had a visit from a cousin whom he hadn’t seen in years.

MAEBY: Um, yeah, I bought a frozen banana and when I bit into it, I found this.
She holds up the missing foot from Lucille’s fox stole.

GEORGE-MICHAEL: It looks like a foot.

MAEBY: It tasted like a foot. Which I didn’t really mind, but I’m pretty sure I said “no nuts.”

 

A Series of Unfortunate Events

Excerpts:

KLAUS: From the expedition Journal of Doctor Montgomery Montgomery, April 24th: “The Incredibly Deadly Viper wouldn’t hurt a fly. I know this because I tried to feed it flies this morning.”

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***

COUNT OLAF: That doesn’t change anything. There is still plenty of deadly types of snakes in that room that could of done it. The Mamba du Mal bites as it strangles, The Irascible Python is homicidally grumpy, The Virginian Wolfsnake can bludgeon you to death with a typewriter.

***

EXT. WOODS – DAY

Violet and Klaus walk towards Lucky Smells Lumbermill. Violet carries Sunny.

VIOLET: (relieved) We’re almost out of the woods.

Lemony Snicket hikes onscreen.

LEMONY SNICKET: “Out of the woods” is an expression referring to the fact that woods are dangerous place to be. In Hansel and Gretel, two siblings enter the woods and are menaced by an elderly cannibal. In Little Red Riding Hood, a wolf enters the woods and is menaced by a rude little girl. And in Walden, a poet enters the woods and is menaced by revelations that we should abandon civilization and live by a pond.

 

BoJack Horseman

Excerpt:

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INT. TELEVISION SET – DAY

Charlie Rose sits opposite Bojack Horseman.

CHARLIE ROSE: In 1987, the situation comedy Horsin’ Around premiered on ABC.

A visual is shown, of BoJack sharing a giant bowl of ice cream with a happy family; and another picture he is eating it all himself and the rest of the family looks sad.

CHARLIE ROSE: The show, in which a young, bachelor horses forced to reevaluate his priorities when he agrees to raise three human children, was initially dismissed by critics as broad, saccharine, and…not good. But the family comedy struck a chord with America and went on to air for nine seasons. The star of Horsin’ Around, BoJack Horseman, is our guest tonight. Welcome, BoJack.

 

Phineas & Ferb

Despite being a kid’s show, it had quite a few moments of brilliance, including playing with obscure jokes adults would be much more likely to enjoy than children.

Excerpt:

INT. TRAIN/DINING CAR – DAY hqdefault

Perry cuts a hole in the top of the train, and drops right into the seat opposite Doofenschmirtz in the dining car.

DOOFENSCHMIRTZ: Ah, Perry the platypus, what an unexpected surp–  (Perry stands to attack him)  Oh, wait wait wait! You’re trapped–by societal convention! Look, we’re in a fine dining environment. Everyone knows not to throw scene in a fancy restaurant.

 

Rick & Morty

Excerpt:

RICK: Man, what a shitty neutrino bomb. It’s a miracle I ever actually destroy anything.
MORTY: Oh, I dunno… you’ve managed to destroy just about everything today– the villains, the heroes, the lines between them, my childhood…

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Rocky & Bullwinkle:

Excerpt:

INT. APARTMENT/BATHROOM – DAY

NARRATOR: Our scene changes rather abruptly to the interior of an apartment house in the suburbs of Frostbite Falls, where…

A man is in a bathtub, taking a shower. He is wearing a blue shower and holding a back scrubber. RockyandBullwinkleLSDreamworksClassics_featured_photo_gallery

MAN: (sings) Nelly was a lady, last night she died, toll the bell…

Bullwinkle pops out of the shower, and join in the song. The man spots him.

MAN: Oh, for cry eye, it’s a monster!

BULLWINKLE: No, I’m more of a second tenor.

Character Sketches

My friend drew these, which was so wonderful! If there is any question if I drew them or not, visit my Meaning of Life blog & you will see that I definitively CANNOT DRAW.

 

Peter for Website
Peter Pan

 

“I don’t believe I ever make promises. I certainly don’t keep them…”

 

 

 

Hook for Website
Captain Hook

 

John for Website
John Darling

 

Wendy for Website
Wendy Darling

 

Smee for Website
Smee

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“My subconscious is none of your business.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“I don’t wear my pajamas more often than most people; I just happened to be wearing them when you kidnapped me.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“No, I don’t know where we are, John, but I’m pretty sure there’s not a phone handy.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“I find it very classy of you, Captain, to formally threaten Peter before kidnapping his newest recruit and holding him hostage.”

 

Tigerlily for Website
Tigerlily

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Shut up, I’m helping you.”

Finding Neverland

Did you know that the movie Finding Neverland was super inaccurate to the real story? Yes, it’s a movie (and if you enjoyed said movie, good for you). But I’m here, I’m queer, and I’m about to shatter your comfortable illusion:

The change that bothered me the most was the fake relationship they gave Barrie & Peter.

In the movie, they had a deep, meaningful relationship, and Peter was an aspiring playwright who helped Barrie realize his vision.

neverland

ghjghIn real life, Peter was a baby when Barrie was writing the play, he hated the fact that the main character was named after him, believed that Barrie got between his parents and tore his family apart, and eventually threw himself in front of a train. ghnfg

Honestly, I don’t know why they didn’t use the fascinating truth for their PG family flick. Oh well, more truth for me! Truth is so rarely used, there’s always plenty to go around.

British Phrases

Yo, I’m back! I mentioned I would add to my list of awesome British phrases, so here are some of my latest discoveries, mostly found while watching The Great British Baking Show:

  • “Mad as a box of frogs”
    • Translation: crazy as a container of animals who know how to hop. I had a box of frogs once. Was it mad? Yes. Yes, it was.
  • “Don’t lose your rag”
    • I just hate it when my rag goes missing! I blame the cat.
  • “Blow me”
    ertger
    “But blow me if it didn’t work.
    • Mary Berry used this phrase—-to my great surprise—-to express her enthusiasm about an inspired flavor combination. I think it means something slightly different in Britain. I had on cultural blinders, but no more.

 

I frickin’ love this show!