Art can be a risky thing, and probably should be. Obviously, there's the prospect of rejection, which is a part of life and a constant companion if you're an artist that puts your work out there. But what I want to talk about is the risk of making people uncomfortable or angry.
A few years ago, I set out to write an exploitation film. My idea was to make it a modern version of "Last House on the Left." Now, I'm not a fan of that movie, but I respect what it accomplished - it's a deeply disturbing movie (even today) while not being something that should be taken too seriously. But as I wrote my script, called "Inner Demons," it began to turn into something more than exploitation. Slowly, it evolved into a meditation on how power corrupts. By the time I was finished, I knew I had written something special. I believe it has the potential to be that rare horror film which pleases the fans of the genre and is also thought-provoking. But . . . it's extremely violent, and the subject matter is disturbing and will be offensive to some. Even if this movie is made exactly the way I envision it (which rarely happens!), some people are going to be pissed.
What should an artist do? Do you censor yourself out of fear of offending some? Do you water your material down to make it more palatable? Obviously, I can't write something that makes the entire audience walk out. But I think it's my duty as an artist to write the truth, even (maybe especially) when it's uncomfortable. And "Inner Demons" is definitely about that. So now it's time to keep my fingers crossed as the project inches its way forward.