Writing On Spec

An award caliber procrastinator discovers a new and dangerous pursuit to keep him from actually writing another script. Why another Blog? I love to talk screenwriting. I love to talk story. I live in Richmond, VA. It's almost easier to get produced than find another screenwriter here. We are the anti-LA.

Friday, June 23, 2006

I don't need no stinkin' therapy

That's what I keep telling myself in that hollow, tinny voice. It used to be a thunderous, splendiferous voice, but not so much lately.

I don't write, but I don't have writer's block. What I have is an unexplainable desire to weep for the planet... a tad dramatic, isn't it?

There is so much good in the world, right? There's supposed to be, anyway. I saw a special on a guy from WWI, survived so much stuff you wonder how we can't overcome anything. He's got 5 kids and my first thought is, FIVE? Good god, you couldn't stop at one or two?

China's policy on children seems less and less insane when I hear pro-lifers talking about saving/keeping every conception. I know it's a big planet, but:

a) We can't live everywhere
b) We can't asphalt the rest of the damn thing

So. Ok. I have population explosion issues.

The planet is the hottest it's been in 2,000 years. More greenhouse effect stuff. Pretty soon we'll screw ourselves because of our pollution destroying the ozone layer.

I don't want to discuss the atrocities and cruelties we commit towards animal life without a thought on a daily basis.

Or, for that matter, our careless treatment of nature in general as we wipe out 100 year old trees to widen a road.

We have kids in our own 'fortunate' country who don't expect to live to 25. Don't care about getting an education to make something of themselves and parents who treat their children about as well as people treat stray animals.

People are so infrequently courteous, kind, well-mannered in person, let alone when they have the annonymity of the internet to flame anybody and everybody.

So now, for some reason, I'm a big steaming pile of empathy.

You remember Empathy? It's what you're reaching for when you write that script you're toiling over. You want, hell, you need that person in the audience to feel just like you're making that character feel. It's what draws them out of their normal life and into your Special World.

Well, guess what, I read the other day that you can de-empathize people. Yup. If at a young age, they are not shown, taught, made to believe in empathy, then they have none. What do we get? Serial killers, psychopaths or people who just don't give a shit about anything. Value in an item or person is strictly in relation to them. How it makes another feel is inconsequential.

So if you can manage it, try and empathize a little. Before honking the horn and flipping somebody off, imagine it was you - we all make mistakes. Before you intentionally bypass a line of traffic to speed to the end of the merge (where you will bring traffic to a complete stand-still), just imagine what it's like to wait in line and see everybody else cut in front of you.

For your stories, create a character that has something to lose. Something at risk. Something they care about. Something that we can relate to and take that journey with them. Every story should have empathy, just like every one of us should be able to empathize with one another, the world around us and a great story.


Blogger wcdixon said...

nice heartfelt post - always felt like I was a member but now considering rejoining the Empathy club...

Sunday, June 25, 2006 at 11:09:00 PM EDT  

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