i was happy to read on your blog today that i was not the only person in the room who felt that some of the material in your script crosses over from 'broadly comic' to unintentionally offensive.
i think you have the basis for a fun story about different worlds colliding - but what i don't understand is why the world of gay men is portrayed as such a hostile, tortured, bitchy, female-loathing existence.
i have a feeling that when you wrote the script, you felt you were making use of these stereotypes to comment
on them rather than perpetrate them. you wanted the script to begin with the stereotypes and then allow the characters to progress beyond them. but having read it, i didn't find this to be true.
my problem was that, as a gay man, i could not relate to the strange motivations of your gay characters. they seem only to want to party, dance to whatever song comes on, and to humiliate the women who express attraction to them. they play inexplicably cruel games with the women, behaving in ways that service your plot, but do not feel based in reality. and because you offer no other gay characters to 'balance' your portrayals, we have no choice but to take this as your view of gay male behavior.
which is the trouble - your
world view as a writer is indistinguishable from that of the main characters. it is one thing to write a character who says offensive things only to be called out and corrected by another character, and another to have those stereotypes and ideologies go unchallenged.
you may want to put more thought into your use of racial jokes and stereotypes.
i'm puzzled by your middle eastern/hindu newpaper fight - what are you trying to say with this moment? your joke about the taxi driver possibly being a terrorist? why, as a writer, do you allow the taxi driver to let this woman get away with saying something so horribly ignorant?
i was deeply offended by your asian reporter named 'sum yung gai.' it's a cheap laugh concocted merely at the expense of an actor's ethnicity.
please, please don't get me wrong here - i LOVE offensive humor. sarah silverman is one of my favorite comics - she gets away with saying unspeakable things by being absolutely, without a shadow of a doubt, crystal clear that she is mocking a system of belief, not
partaking in it.
your plot point where aurora tempts a gay basher into her apartment so that he can beat up the gay men within was painful to sit through. there's not one line of dialogue to assure us that you don't agree with his ideology. that you would even have a character do such a thing - it goes beyond broad comedy into the realm of bad taste. my suggested fix is that aurora assumes the man down the hall is a gay basher - he comes into her apartment and all the boys recognize him as a regular at their club.
you've written a story of unlikeable characters who behave badly. was this your intention? it's absolutely *fine* if this was your intent - the work now must be on making that intention clear
. i think 'sideways' is a perfect example of a well done film that portrays unlikeable characters behaving badly. 'closer' is another good example. those characters are so clearly drawn that we see their actions as theirs and not an expression of the author's ideology.
a more interesting take on your plot might be that the five women immerse themselves in gay 'culture' only to find that gay men have the exact same difficulties in finding good men. as is, your initial conflicts don't stem from misunderstanding - they stem from rudeness and presumption. what happens early on is that the audience is on the side of your five female leads who have been wronged by a group of gay men. the gay men are painted as the villains, and it seems as if the audience is meant to feel the relief of retribution when the women attempt their revenge on them. who's side are we supposed to be on?
so here's my suggestion: either both sides must be equally lacking in moral conviction (see the handling of julia robert's character in 'my best friend's wedding), or both sides must have the best intentions (rooted in reality) but which go horribly wrong.
i know it was not your intent to create a film in which the gay men are villains - but as it is now, this is the film i heard last night.
these are just some of my observations. i'm happy to be a part of your film, and even happier that you are willing to reexamine it to be sure it will become the final product you'd like it to be. i've worked as a script consultant on several occasions, and would love to continue this discussion with you in detail if you'd be interested.
thanks so much,