Ay, there’s the rub.

8 June, 2008

A big fear of mine is repeating myself. We see too much of that today, artists becoming far too comfortable in one niche and digging it into the ground. Look at Wes Anderson: He gets off to a good start with Bottle Rocket and Rushmore, has a slam-dunk with The Royal Tenenbaums (one of the best American comedies of the last 20 years), and two films later has only done more of the same. He’s an easy target but I can also point to David Lynch, Wong Kar-Wai, and Quentin Tarantino among others, all of whom have made at least one masterpiece in my opinion. That’s partly why the one auteur everyone is watching is P.T. Anderson. Neither of his last three films bare much resemblance to each other. He’s getting it right.

And this why I’m particularly conflicted at the moment. I have two features I’m primarily working on. Both are about teens, both deal with social class structures amongst kids (one takes place in high school and one in college), both attack society’s view of sex to an extent, and both have libertine-like protagonists. On the other hand, I look at each premise and they’re really quite different from each other. One, Friends with Benefits which I wrote a first draft of last summer, is about a high school kid who becomes the resident gigolo. The other, Release The Bats, is about a “nice guy” in college who gets fed up and embraces the philosophies of the Marquis De Sade. There is also a parallel narrative about a frat boy with a violent sex addiction.

Now, I like both scripts so far. Or the ideas of they represent at least. The simplest solution I see in front of me is to tone down the darker elements of Friends and aim for an off-beat romantic comedy, that way I have one light-hearted story and one incredibly dark and disturbing story. Or should I do it the other way around? Quite apart from that, there are a lot of things in Friends I’d have to cut out, which I’m not instantly prepared to do. I could always just save those bits, but again, I don’t know how many more scripts I want to write about aberrant teens.

And if you think I’m exaggerating any of this, I plan on shopping at least one of these scripts around when I’m done. I may want to save Release The Bats as a possible first feature.

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