Hooray for Hollywood

Great news, friends! My short film Leave will premiere at the LA FEMME FILM FESTIVAL in October!

The entire cast and crew, which includes yours truly, is very proud and honored to be able to show our film for the first time to the world at such a prestigious event.

We are also proud and honored to finally be able to share with you a short teaser of the film right now.

Continue reading “Hooray for Hollywood”

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Depressing Pasty White Boys Playlist for Melancholic Moods and Writing Inspiration

So, the past couple weeks I’ve been in a last-minute frenzy (the best way I find to write) to finish the screenplay for a feature film version of Leave.

Yeah, we’re now – no jokin’ – just days away of getting Leave, the short film version*, in the can and we will soon be submitting the production (and let me tell ya, it’s been one hell of a production (to say the least)) to all the various and sundry film festivals throughout the lands near and far.

And, as we’re all hoping (I know, I know all you hardcore military grunts – HOPE IS NOT A COURSE OF ACTION!), and some of us are even borderline expecting, that there will be some interest after seeing the short film from the moneyed movie moguls who will be out there cruising all the various and sundry festivals looking for their next feature film project…

Continue reading “Depressing Pasty White Boys Playlist for Melancholic Moods and Writing Inspiration”

Yes, that #shortfilm of mine is still a thing…

LEAVE, A Short FilmIt’s hard to believe it’s been over a year since we wrapped up production out in West Hollywood on my short film LEAVE, which was adapted from my short story of the same name.

That, my friends, was a good time, indeed.

Time sure does go fast…

And, frustratingly enough, it, concurrently, goes so frakkin’ (any BSG/Caprica fans out there?) slow when one’s breath is bated in anticipation, such as mine is for the film’s completion.

Movie making is not as easy as it looks from the theater seats, that’s for sure.

Continue reading “Yes, that #shortfilm of mine is still a thing…”

So, I’m Going To Make A Movie… UPDATE #4

UPDATE: OUR LEAVE CAMPAIGN IS NOW LIVE! PLEASE DONATE AND SPREAD THE WORD.


Yes, I know, I know… I haven’t talked about it for a long time…

But my movie is still very much a thing.

A very big thing.

And the cast and crew is – to use a word The Donald used more than too many times in last night’s insufferable “presidential” debate – beautiful!

And all will be revealed soon (coincidentally, just about the time our IndieGoGo campaign goes live).

But for now, to get an idea of where our leading actors are coming from, I strongly recommend you become familiar with the CBS show “Limitless” and the TNT show “The Last Ship.”



 


Yeah, those shows…

Which means my show is gonna be. . . (wait for it). . . huuuge!
 

LEAVE, A Short Film
 

#dumptrump

 
 

Birth of Loglines & Beyond | A Guest Post by Author Ann Kimbrough

Our private Facebook writers and readers group recently held its second WRITE EDIT WRITE Challenge (see the results of the first challenge here). Because my focus is on producing a short film based upon an adaptation of my short story LEAVE, I figured we might as well have a challenge focused on screenwriting. Ergo, we asked the group to submit a 25-word, or less, logline describing a WIP or produced work from a genre of their choosing.

It’s no surprise that the author who submitted the chosen response is a working screenwriter who has some serious writing chops. Author Ann Kimbrough shares her screenwriting expertise in several places on the web, all of which you can reach via her namesake website annkimbrough.com. My favorite medium of Ann’s is her youtube channel where she and other working screenwriters get together to share their knowledge of the industry. Fantastic stuff. We are very fortunate to have Ann as part of our WRITE EDIT WRITE group, and, if I may say, you are very lucky that she has written for us here an excellent post about the mystery and intrigue of writing a logline. You’re welcome. :)

Ann’s logline submission for WEW #2:

In a secret facility, a rookie female FBI analyst struggles to contain a serial killer, but her only hope is trusting a devious bombing suspect.


Birth of Loglines & Beyond
Ann Kimbrough

annkimbrough.com

Loglines are creeping into your life!

Once only used by screenwriters, all kinds of writers find the little buggers useful. The first one I ever saw was in a TV Guide. Remember those? I barely remember newspapers, even though I’ve heard they still exist. For Millennials who can’t write cursive, read clocks or relate to newspapers: a TV Guide was a paper booklet that came with the Sunday paper. It contained a schedule of all the TV shows for a week.

Psst: we’re talkin’ back in ancient times when there were only three major TV stations. I know… it’s Epically Stone Age.

The guides also contained a little blurb about each show. Those blurbs were the birth of loglines.

I imagine TV Guides still exist today, somewhere without Wi-Fi, but they must be the size of phone books. Remember those? Err… we’ll save that lesson for another time.

TV Guide blurbs looked something like this:

Kidnapped in Tasmania, MacGyver uses a banana, a piece of gum and a washing machine to make a robot and save the world.

I doubt that episode of MacGyver ever aired, but maybe it will in the re-vamped show that’s on CBS this season.

Loglines actually do two things:

1. Get your concept across ASAP.

2. Sell your story.

Screenwriters pitch their scripts all the time. In turn, if a producer likes the idea, they have to turn around and pitch it to the principals in their company before an offer to option can be made. When a script is optioned, the production company pitches it to the moneymen for funding – financiers or studios. The better the logline, the better the pitch is all the way up the line.

For novelists, loglines can be used in several ways:

  • Start a query letter
  • On a book’s Amazon page
  • On a book’s back cover
  • On any sales material to build an audience

In an age when our watches are digital instead of sundials and shoes have Velcro instead of laces, no one has time to read a whole marketing pitch. When writers can get their message across fast, they have a better chance of success.

Plenty of rules exist about what makes a logline a good logline, but I’ll keep it simple.

1. Keep it to one sentence, like my MacGuyer example. Some pundits say to make it under 25 words, but don’t go crazy if you’re at 30.

2. Tell the whole story. Protagonist fights what odds to win what battle?

3. Don’t use proper names. Use occupations with a descriptive adjective. Ex.: a wily candy creator, could be used in a logline for Willie Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. Or a deformed recluse for The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

4. Write it in present tense.

5. Don’t include sub-plots. Stick to the main storyline of protagonist vs. antagonist.

6. Match the tone of your story. When Stephen King writes a logline, I’m sure it sounds scary.

7. Test the logline on friends. If they ask a bunch of questions and sound confused, then keep working. If they ooh and aah, appearing to get the story, then you may celebrate.

One caveat: a common logline error is writing a logline that you think fits your story, but makes people see a different story. Such an error will turn any reader sour when your book (or script) takes a turn they didn’t expect.

Ex. 1: A long-haired princess trapped in a tower awaits a dashing prince.

Do you sense a Rapunzel story?

What if the logline should have really been:

Ex. 2: A long-haired princess trapped in a tower awaits a dashing prince to sacrifice for her freedom.

Whoa! That’s a completely different story. An agent, producer or reader might want one version of that story, but not the other. Misleading them, even by accident, will hurt in the long run. Loglines that pitch the whole story lead to more success once the manuscript is read.

Avoid this mistake by testing your logline on your Beta Readers. Or on complete strangers, who know nothing about your writing. (I’ve been told grocery and bank lines are great places to do this.) You pitch them your logline, then ask what kind of story they’d expect to read. If it’s close to the story your wrote, you’re good to go.

Like all kinds of writing, creating loglines gets better with practice. So, get going!

###

Ann Kimbrough’s imagination comes from growing up as an Air Force brat, which entertained her childhood with foreign lands and amazing characters. They tend to pop-up in all her writing, whether screenplay or novel. The magic continued after college, when she worked in Hollywood and became a member of the Screen Actors Guild. Ann hosts YouTube show Screenwriters Beat, and spends the rest of her time writing contained, thrilling screenplays and cozy mystery novels under pen name Ann Audree, as well as romance under pen names Pippa Minx and Ann McGinnis. Ann is an optioned and produced screenwriter.

annkimbrough.com

 
 

The book’s always better than the movie…

Right?

That’s the rule, right?

Books rule over movies.

Always.

Before I got involved with this whole short film thing, I always would get indignant after watching yet another failed movie adaptation of a book I liked. And I would always wonder to myself why in the heck could they never get it write/right.

Until on a whim I decided to try my hand at adapting my short story LEAVE into a screenplay.

Right away I realized that this was going to be no easy feat.

Introspection and contemplation that serve a short story or a novel so well is basically useless in a screenplay where just about everything must be represented as action and dialogue so it can be seen and heard by the audience.

Of course LEAVE as a short story is mostly introspection and contemplation by the protagonist so right off the bat the whole structure would have to change in order to be able to show his shift of character from beginning to end.

To do this, new scenes had to be invented and new characters had to be developed and within the first writing of the story of LEAVE as a screenplay, it was already hugely different from the story of LEAVE the short story. And that was only by my own efforts.

After I showed it to an actor friend for his feedback, from his guidance it went from 33 pages down to fifteen. And yes, to whittle it down that much there had to be a significant change in story and tempo.

But really, the biggest changes to the story didn’t occur until once the screenplay was accepted by a studio and a director was found and she got ahold of it… and then several of the lead actors got ahold of it…

Talk about feedback overload. It took much effort and persuasion to maintain it as a story I recognized.

And, while we are scheduled to begin filming in two months, we haven’t yet cast the lead actor so I can only wonder what changes still might occur to it.

But you know what… the story as it is now as a near fully developed screenplay is really not that far from what it is as a short story.

It is just different.

And much, much better in my opinion.

Still, I guarantee it if you read the short story and then see the film, you will be significantly surprised by the differences that there are between the two.

I just hope you are not significantly disappointed.

But I can pretty much guarantee that you won’t be because we have an awesome crew and the cast is going to be first rate and impressive.

And I can also guarantee that from now on whenever I watch a movie that has been poorly adapted from a book that I like I will certainly be less critical and more understanding of the differences between the two and the winding and somewhat weary course that had to be traveled to get the story to the screen.

Because now I know.

And now I have only one rule regarding movies and books.

Both of them do.

Rule, that is…

 


Have you heard about our private Facebook Writers & Readers Group?

 
 

A Mid-Term Thank You To All Who Support #IndieFilms

Seeing that we will begin filming sometime in early July, I would say we are about half-way through our campaign to raise the seed funds, so to speak, for the larger Indiegogo campaign that will raise the major funds needed to produce LEAVE, a short film based upon a screenplay I wrote.

So, to celebrate our mid-term point, I would like to thank everyone who has donated thus far in the campaign. You can see the list of all donors here.

I would especially like to thank the following for both donating and choosing a Reward Package that has allowed and will allow me to share and promote their work here at RELATING TO HUMANS, via my newsletter, and throughout my social networks.

“REWARD PACKAGE” PROMOTIONS
IN SUPPORT OF MY MOVIE


PROMOTIONS COMING SOON

PLEASANT STREET
geletilari.wordpress.com
HOW TO SAVE THE WORLD
$25 REWARD PACKAGE

TIMOTHY G. HUGUENIN
tghuguenin.com
$25 REWARD PACKAGE


PAST PROMOTIONS

SHERRIE CRONIN
46ascending.org
INSPIRATION IN THE WORST OF PLACES
$25 REWARD PACKAGE

PAMELA SCHLOESSER CANEPA
pamelascanepa.wordpress.com
ENTERTAINING THE WHAT-IFS
$10 REWARD PACKAGE

VIVIAN BIRO
vivianbiro.com
MY APRIL FOOLS’ DAY JOKE
$25 REWARD PACKAGE



I Encourage You to Please Support Those Who Support My Efforts to Make Independent Films by Visiting Their Websites and Buying and Reviewing Their Books or other Promoted Products. Thank You for Helping Me to Thank Them.

DONOR LIST
DONATE

 
LEAVE: A Short Film

 
 

WILL YOU?

DONATE TO SUPPORT MY WOMEN’S ISSUES SHORT FILM AND PROMOTE YOUR WORK?

AND WILL YOU…

SUBMIT YOUR HUMAN-RELATING WORK TO THESE HUMAN-RELATING FEATURES?

PLEASE.


 

#independentartistssupportingindependentartists

 
 

From Pioneers To Propaganda


 

This is a propaganda video direct from the US Navy’s official website.

More specifically, it is a two-minute or so inspiring profile piece of a female Hull Technician, a rating traditionally reserved for and assigned to male sailors, found on a page from the Navy’s official website dedicated solely to the recruitment of women.

Now, the word “propaganda” typically comes with negative connotations… at least to me it does.

However, in this case, I regard it as very positive development, for it was not that long ago that you would have been hard-pressed to find a female “HT” in the US Navy.

And, happily (seeing how I am a recruiter for my film and not for the navy (though I strongly encourage every American to consider serving their country militarily)), it just so happens that the protagonist and his small division of men of the Nineties-era short film I am seeking your support for are also Hull Technicians.

Pretty coincidentally cool, huh…

And it is they, these male HT characters of mine, who, through their dialogue and actions — as harassing and as hazing as they may be — show us how I suspect  know many real-life male sailors would have  felt and reacted at the time about the recent arrival of the first-ever female sailors to their warship.

I only hope that the first-ever female sailors and other female service members who are right now getting ready to report to combat-related duty assignments, assignments on the front lines and maybe even hidden behind the lines, assignments that until very recently were solidly and stolidly forbidden to females, receive a less harassing and more welcoming environment than the females in the film.

Please consider supporting me in the making of my short film LEAVE; for I truly believe, with your support the film can provide much needed awareness to present-day realities in an artistic, entertaining, and meaningful way.

Thank you for your support!

 

For a list of Donation Reward Packages, please click here.

 
 

So, I’m Going To Make A Movie… UPDATE #2

Well, as grand, collaborative endeavors often do… we’ve run into a few delays in our effort to launch our Indigogo campaign to raise funds for our short film LEAVE.

Fortunately for us the delays are good problems to have because it may allow us to have an even stronger team and announcement once we do go live.

But I got to thinking (I know, I know…), that even though the Indigogo campaign may be delayed, why can’t I begin seeking funding support now right here at my website?

In fact, here I can offer unique donation incentives that I won’t be able to offer at Indigogo.

Seeing how a great majority of you all out there are Indie Authors and Indie Creators of other sorts, why cannot I offer you an opportunity to promote your imaginative wares here for a few dollars in donation to help me pre-fund my film?

And by “pre-funding” I mean funds that I can use to hire someone to make killer graphics (as opposed to my black-and-white snoozers) and a killer trailer; and funds I can use to promote and market the Indigogo campaign as it is running.

Twitter and Facebook ads are expensive. And while I have a large Facebook following at my Author Page, Facebook throttles every post I make there so hardly anyone sees it unless I pay to promote the post.

So what do you think? Would you be willing to support my film if I were willing to promote your work here?

For example, the campaign incentives would look something like this:

1. $5 = I will list your name with a link back to your site on a special Donors page.

2. $10 = #1 plus I reblog a post of your choosing

3. $25 = #1 plus you publish a Guest Post about your book or whatever you wish to write about

4. $50 = #1, 2, 3, plus I advertise your book, etc. on the sidebar for a week

5. $75 = 1, 2, 3, plus I advertise your book, etc. on the site scrolling header for a week

6. $100 = 1, 2, 3, plus I advertise your book, etc. on the header and sidebar for a week

7. $500 = 1, 2, 3, and 6 for the duration of the campaign, plus you will receive Executive Producer credits on the film

Or, if you have ideas for additional incentives, I’d love to hear them.

During the campaign, I would take down all the advertisements I now run to supplement my disability payment (yes, I just took a blatant tug at your tender heart string) to create a better environment.

All of the sidebar promotion would be at the top above all of my work.

And I would have a link directly to Paypal where you could donate all easy-peazy like.

Of course all donations would NOT be tax deductible. However, unless you intend to donate more than the present $14,000 gift exemption for the 2016 tax season, your donation will not be taxed as a gift. Because I am not a lawyer, for more information, please see the IRS GIFT TAX FAQ.

This all is just a rough of what the campaign would look like… but what do you think?

Would you help me help you by donating to support my film?

Of course, submissions to the Relating to Humans feature will remain open throughout the campaign so all can continue to freely share and promote their creative expressions and ideas regardless one’s level of support.

 
All votes are anonymous to Kurt

UPDATE: This poll is now closed. Thanks to everyone who voted. I guess we’ll give it a go! :)
 
Thank you for your support!

 
 

So, I’m Going To Make A Movie… UPDATE #1

As you may already know, a short film is going to be made of a screenplay I adapted from LEAVE, one of my short, dramatic stories about what it may have been like for the first females sailors assigned to warships back in the Nineties.

It probably isn’t much of a spoiler to say that in both the story’s and the film’s interpretation, it is quite a challenge for those courageous women, seeing how the all-male crew of the ship they’re reporting to would rather go to war than have their ship be invaded by female sailors.

Indeed.

So… I’ll be going out to Los Angeles in April to begin work on the production, but first we have a small detail of raising the funds.

Yes, I’m looking at you…

We plan to film on the battleship USS Iowa, which is now a museum ship out in LA. Unfortunately, even though the Iowa staff are willing to significantly cut the price because I’m an old salt of a retired sailor, it still costs a pretty penny nonetheless. And there of course will be other production costs to factor in, as well.

We’ll be kicking off an Indigogo campaign to raise the funds at the beginning of March but I just wanted to give you all a heads up that we now have a “Coming Soon” page where you can sign up to stay informed on project updates and be advised when the campaign is live.

Our vision for the film is to:

Create a Cinematic Work of Art that both Entertains and Promotes a Discussion for Positive Change

 
Needless to say, your support of our efforts, not just through donations, but also through your outreach to all your family and friends on our behalf, will be key in helping us turn our vision into a reality.

We’ll be introducing our award-winning cast [it’s not 100% yet but if cast assignments firm up as it looks like they will we are going to have a stellar cast] and highly accomplished crew very soon so please check it out and join our team at:

www.indiegogo.com/projects/leave/coming_soon


Okay, I have taken off my PT Barnum wannabe Promoter’s Hat and have now put on my wannabe highly esteemed and influential Author’s Hat…

First off, I would like to report that building a campaign to raise the funds to produce a short film is taking a lot of my very limited brain power.

We have decided to go with Indigogo to raise our funds instead of Kickstarter. The main reason for this decision is that you get to keep the funds you raise with Indigogo even if you do not meet your goal. With Kickstarter it’s all or nothing – if you don’t meet your goal, you don’t get the dough. Indigogo does however/of course, charge higher percentages for their service and transfer fees.

So once our funding site was decided, one of the first challenges I had to confront was the “tag line,” one of the first blocks that has to be filled out when building the pitch for the campaign.

One of the toughest things for me to do as a writer is to condense big meaning, metaphorical concepts with a lot of words into a synopsis of a paragraph or two. Having to condense down even further into a tag line that allows only 100 characters, such as Indigogo’s, is close to self-inflicted murder.

Fortunately, I had already gone through the painful process of coming up with a logline, which was needed for pitching the screenplay.

A sailor’s desire to be with his sick mother is complicated by the unwanted influx of his ship’s first female sailors and a looming war

But the problem is that logline is 133 characters and Indigogo’s “tag line” only allows for 100 characters. So, after more painful paring, this is what I came up with:

A sailor can’t be with his sick mother due to an influx of despised female sailors and a looming war

With war looming and despised females sailors arriving, a sailor strives to be with his dying mother

I’m still not 100% loving it but my head hurts after all that editing out and then having second thoughts and editing in and then having third thoughts and editing out again and on and on…

But, it’ll do for now as I now have to continue on with the rest of the pitch development which, hopefully, won’t hurt my head quite as much.

Stay tuned! The campaign will be kicking off at the beginning of the month.

TTFN and Write On! my friends.
 

Coming Soon!
For details, click here

 
Article updated to reflect new tag line and that cast assignments are close but not yet completely firm

 
 

I was going to review Hemingway’s A MOVEABLE FEAST, but…

…I am knee deep (I’m pretty tall dude so that’s pretty darn deep) into so much stuff* — stuff being formatting my two latest books HOW NOT TO DIE and SHORT VERSES & OTHER CURSES into print editions; setting up the logistics for the film adaptation of my short story “Leave” (fundraiser announcement soon – that’s right, I’m looking at you); adapting my novel THE SEA TRIALS OF AN UNFORTUNATE SAILOR into a screenplay (so that I’ll have it to shop around when I go out to LA to work on “Leave”); and of course the latest WIP — that I’v given up on it.

If it matters, I do feel quite guilty about it…

In fact, I feel quite guilty about not publishing much at all around here lately.

Publish or perish, an all that…

But, as a consolation for my quitting on this review, I recently read this interesting read from the Paris Review, which kind of (but far from exactly) reflects my thoughts on my relationship with Hemingway, and I offer it as a very nice, if not nicer, substitute.

In addition to discussing things such as my relationship with the Big Papa, I also had good intention (and we all know what the path to hell is paved with) to compare and contrast Hemingway’s view of Fitzgerald and Paris in the Twenties as found in his memoir with the beat up protagonist in Fitzgerald’s short story (perhaps a view similar to one he had of himself) “Babylon Revisited” (one of the best short stories ever put to paper).

I probably would have giddily gushed a bit about Woody’s “Midnight In Paris,” too…

However, because of all the stuff presented above and the nice PR essay, I lost my head of steam for it all and this is as far as I got/am getting with it…


The Romance versus the Reality of Hemingway’s Paris of the “Lost Generation”

BOOK | NON-FICTION | MEMOIR
A MOVEABLE FEAST
by Ernest Hemingway

RATING: ★ ★ ★ ★

Ernest Hemingway
If you want to see what I think Hemingway and other authors would like as clowns, click here.

 

The memoir >>

The short story >>

~~~~

Rating System:
★ = Unreadable
★ ★ = Poor Read
★ ★ ★ = Average Read
★ ★ ★ ★ = Outstanding Read
★ ★ ★ ★ ★ = Exceptional Read

That’s it. That’s alls I gots…

Pretty lame, I know; but what can say other than that the offer I presented in my “Hey Reader, What’s Your Angle?” post still stands. I’m still looking for good reviews to read, and perhaps reblog, that illustrate your reading and critiquing strategy… a bonus now for me would be ones that discuss Hemingway and/or Fitzgerald.

Can a brother get a link or two to a review, or what?


 

*Isn’t it funny how I’m always whining about how much I have to do, yet I somehow still found the time to promote inform you about all the stuff I have to do? Weird.

 
 

My Uncolorful* Character(s)

I don’t know about you, but as for me – unless it is absolutely critical to the movement of a story – I don’t need to always know every item in each room, or the style and brand of every shoe in the protagonist’s closet… and I especially do not need to know about the mole on the back of the least minor character’s left ear.

pexels-photo-316681.jpeg

Now, the genius of authors such as Balzac, Dickens, and Twain cannot be denied by me; however, I often find their attention to detail excessive and rather tedious for my overly sensitive reading sensibilities.

Especially Balzac.

I know, I know… It’s me not them.

But I’m the kind of reader dude** who enjoys employing as much as possible of my own personal image making machine, aka, my imagination, along with my thought processing gyrator, against a story’s plot, or lack thereof; and when it comes to a character and his or her physical appearance and personality traits, I prefer for them, through the details found in the story’s showing, to slowly emerge within that enveloping zen-like midst of verisimilitude (that I hopefully find myself in) until he or she can be seen standing clearly before my mind’s unblinking eye, fully developed and fleshed out.

So it should come as no surprise then when I tell all you other reader dudes*** that I try to write my stories in the way that I prefer to read them: with limited and only absolutely necessary descriptive telling.

The Sea Trials of an Unfortunate Sailore

For example, you will find that the book description for The Sea Trials of an Unfortunate Sailor reads in part:

Written with a narrative starkness, it leaves us with only our own prejudices and stereotypes to draw from and forces us to make assumptions about character and identity, and, in the end, determine not just who did it but if it was even done at all.

Admittedly, this book was written intentionally with a “narrative starkness,” not so much because starkly written books are the kind I like to read most, but because its starkness is used as a device to make a sad but painful point about the military’s failed and former Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy.

I was navy Equal Opportunity Advisor during DADT’s salad days and the crux of my job at the time was to travel around the Western Pacific to facilitate training seminars and focus groups in an effort to educate sailors on how to legally administer and execute the confusing and harmful policy.

As you probably already know, prior to the implementation of DADT, homosexuals were prohibited from serving in the military. With DADT – which was a compromise between Bill Clinton, who wanted to allow homosexuals to serve with no restrictions, and the military’s top brass, who wanted to continue barring homosexuals from service – homosexuals were allowed to serve in the military… provided they did not discuss their sexual orientation with anyone nor have any homosexual relations whatsoever. Additionally, no service member was allowed to ask any other service member what his or her sexual orientation was… hence the infamous moniker don’t ask, don’t tell.

A pretty cruel policy, to say the least. However, it was rather cut and dry. Not so much confusion with it on the surface.

The problems that came about with the policy was a result of when service members started taking action based on their homophobic perceptions and stereotypes.

For instance, some sailors were harassed, abused, and, sadly, even killed because they were perceived to be a homosexual based on the way he or she talked, or walked, or, while in civilian attire, dressed.

And while that’s tragic in and of itself, additional problems were often caused when these illegally and harmfully harassed sailors attempted to tell their chains-of-command about the harassment and the COC, instead of seeing these attempts as pleas for help, saw them instead as admissions of homosexuality. As a result, many sailors were wrongfully kicked out of the navy because of the ignorance and bigotry of those who were supposed to protect them.

It was very distressing to me whenever I heard of any instance of it happening. However, it was highly rewarding for me whenever I had the opportunity to get in front of a group of senior leaders and help/make them see the light as to how to effectively execute and administer DADT and to warn them about the problems they could get into for wrongly processing a sailor out of the service.

While I am very happy that DADT was finally axed and homosexuals are now allowed serve without any restrictions to their being, it was all of that nasty DADT stuff that became the impetus for me writing my novel.

And my goal in writing it was to force the reader to have to apply his or her own values, via perceptions and stereotypes, upon the characters in and events of the story. Consequently, it was important for me as a writer to not tell the reader what I wanted them to think by way of character description, but to allow them to draw their own conclusions.

I hope the story does this effectively. I guess the results can be found in the book’s reviews.

Anyway…

I was reminded about all this the other day when I read an article by The Atlantic entitled “The Case Against Colorblind Casting.” It is a very well-written and informative piece about the challenges Hollywood has casting non-white actors and how “colorblind casting,” while admirable in its goals, is not a sustainable means to diversify the films we watch. The article highlights as an example, the recent success of Oscar Isaac, Hollywood’s current It and Everywhere Man, who, just so he would have a better chance at not being type-cast and at being able to land “ethnically flexible” roles, chose to drop his last name of Hernández.

Sure, performers have and probably always will “alter” their names to one that they feel is best received by their fans; however, having to do it just to appear “less ethnic,” reminds me of the movie “La Bamba,” where it shows how the singer Richard Valenzuela was compelled to assume the less ethnic-sounding stage name of Ritchie Valens so that he could better appeal to his white audience.

That was sixty years ago and I’m sad to report, as is evidenced by our latest Hollywood star Oscar Isaac, that it’s still happening.

Man, oh man***…

This equality stuff sure is a difficult nut to crack – witness the all-white Oscar nominees for this year’s Best and Supporting Actors/Actresses – and I’m not about to attempt to try and crack it here.

Except to say that screenwriters can certainly have a hand in keeping an open playing field for actors of all races and ethnicity by – you guessed it – laying off the descriptive details in their screenplays and leaving it up to the director to cast the best actor for the role based on the story’s content and need and not on the screenwriter’s biases.

Of course, a more diverse field of screenwriters would be most beneficial to making a crack in that nut…

You may not have noticed, but I am a very white dude**… pasty even. Even still, for what it’s worth, when I adapted my short story “Leave” into a screenplay, I wrote it so the only true limitations in casting should be because of gender – and there’s just no getting around it – there are distinct male and female roles that are critical to the story’s telling, as it is a story about the bigotry faced by the first women allowed to serve on navy combatant ships.

But as far as casting for the roles for the screenplay’s mostly bigoted and sexist male characters and a few exemplary female characters… race nor any other physical trait, apart from one that would prevent someone from being accepted into the military, should not matter to the director who will be doing the casting.

Now, I doubt my starkly written, diminutive screenplay will go far in the effort to crack Hollywood’s White Nut problem… but that’s all I got for now.

Still, I’m really looking forward to beginning the process of creating this film. And, while things are a long way from definite right now, you may just be surprised by the talented actors who already have expressed an interest in being part of the production.

I can’t wait until we reach the point where I can share it all with you.

Until then, as we say in the business…

Stay tuned!


*Yeah, I know “uncolorful” is not a real word, whatever a real word may be, but I it sounds less negative to me than “colorless” so, for what it’s worth, I’m going with it.

**gender specific

***non-gender specific