As I've said in previous posts, I've always been reluctant to write about personal things in my screenplays, unless it's deeply hidden. But I've recently found myself getting more personal than ever before, almost to the point of autobiography. Why? Partially, to exercise my demons. But there's also a practical reason: my talent manager has told me (more than once) that this is my best work. If this is true, I’m assuming it’s because the writing is more passionate when I’m working on a piece that’s more real to me. So my most recent script is about some of my teen experiences, filtered through a fictional story. It’s a rough piece, but I think it’s damn good. But a question has come up: Why did I wait so long?
I can’t say writing about this time in my life never occurred to me. In fact, many years ago (probably 20 or more), a friend who knew me well suggested I do just that. At the time, I dismissed the suggestion, thinking it would appear narcissistic. It’s not like I was famous, so who would care? But that wasn’t the real reason. No, my biggest fear was that it would get made into a movie, then some ugly and embarrassing thruths would be out there for everyone to see (albeit hidden in a fictional story). In other words, I was afraid of what others would think of me.
So what changed? Did I suddenly stop caring about the opinion of others? Well, yes, a little. But the important change is I stopped seeing it as my story and began to see it as a story - and one that is honest and emotional. In addition, I think it could help some teenagers out there, in the same way “Ordinary People” helped me when I was young. And what could be better than that? So today, this very personal script goes out . . .