Accusations Are Flying.

Good grief!

Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, Ben Affleck, Roy Moore, Conyers, Matt Lauer and the list, now up to 34, keeps growing etc. etc.

Let’s see now…  Did it start with, or was it further back than Bill Cosby being hung out to dry?

Don’t get me wrong, I am not validating or minimizing misconduct if it is indeed true and many may be. Neither am I giving credence to hype.

As more and more people “come out” with accusations and pseudo righteous indignation the more incredulous it becomes.  Some may be true, some not.

Consider Clinton.

Really, didn’t the public turning a blind eye to our “bad boy” president, not endorse this behavior? Because… at the time, not many people cared one whit when Bill Clinton did “his thing” in the White House, even though it is now currently being revisited. Perhaps it is about time.

It was those who stood behind him and rallied for him that bear the blame.  It was the proverbial you that gave men in general, permission to say and license to do what they do or have done.  If the president can do it, why can’t I? Come on now people, take responsibility for your part in this!!!

So to blatantly and unequivocally accept it all, how can you? Unless you were there and I’m sure you weren’t then how can you put so much credibility behind these accusations?  What happened to innocent until proven guilty?

THEN AND NOW

What the public fails to consider, is that social norms since forty years ago has changed dramatically.  Certain conduct or dialogue then is repulsive today, yet it was not uncommon and women had little recourse for it and men were expected (more by other men) to behave badly.  I’ve seen women do it too,  cajoling them and leaving some men with the idea of open invites, but I’ve also seen men take sincere friendliness the wrong way.  (like where in the hell did they get the wrong idea?)  I’ve seen women plot to snare men. ( Monica Lewinski holding on to her tainted skirt? Get real. Don’t you find that suspect?)

Many of the men that have crossed my path over the years have said and done things I thought totally inappropriate at times. I was an attractive model and flight attendant and I heard just about everything. I met famous and not so famous people and I can’t even begin to recall how often I was hit on, leveraging sex and/or seen men behaving badly, which was too often, but can I attach a name to all of them? No! True, I hated it, but I moved on, it’s what we did in those days. It was not a reflection of me or the sum of them and I went on with my life. It was how things were.

Quite frankly, I personally cannot remember with any detail who or what someone may have said that was out of bounds. I take that back. I encountered several that did  but only two that stand out.  One, was a coworker, a pilot (I don’t even remember his name however) who rudely grabbed me.  The other case was of a woman on one of my flights who deliberately groped me in an inappropriate manner, does that count? I refrained from creating a scene because I was totally embarrassed. I stayed clear of her for the remainder of the flight as she smirked at me lewdly and I was relieved when she was gone. It was quite disconcerting on many levels. Was she a lesbian or did she think I was?  What did I do that made her think it was okay?  Haven’t we all asked that?

How many women have grabbed a guy between his legs, rubbed up against him, flaunted her cleavage suggestively or kissed an earlobe teasing a man, not to mention giving him the “come hither” look (that’s what it was called in the olden days) and how many men found this uncomfortable or a violation of their space?  Will these men please come forward?

Does it excuse bad behavior? Certainly not!   In my day, it was always up to me to set the boundaries and my choice to nip it in the bud. As a girl, I was not given guidelines as to what was appropriate or inappropriate behavior and some times I let things fly, not knowing what I should have done or stupefied that I hadn’t reacted indignantly, but that was more out of embarrassment.  Many young men were less so taught and I think that in part is why some are stating their apologies rather than denying their guilt. Now don’t be fooled, the more that do it, the more suspect they become. Some of those can be genuine but it could also be a sham… like “Ooops!, I got caught with my hand in the cookie jar!”  “I was a bad boy, I admit it, now get over it”

I recall too, that men targeted certain women.  If she looked like a “good girl”, they left her alone.  I remember specifically the “Coffee, Tea or Me” cracks, thanks to the Helen Gurly Brown book that came out during that period. It brought a great deal of uncalled for comments for flight attendants.  Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful for this exposure if not simply to raise public awareness that any untoward conduct is unacceptable.

TEACH 

It was only an insightful parent that could/would teach these guys otherwise, which was rare then, and then to have it undone by their peers who influence them otherwise.  It is only recently that a progressive mother, who did not appreciate being treated like trash (and some men who had the foresight to see it as demeaning), began teaching their sons and daughters a little more about respect for self and others. It’s up to us.

In fact, for men of past generations, it was encouraged for them to be cads. It was a sign of their virility, their manliness. Even more so if you were in a position of power. It came with the job and everyone knew it, so why act so surprised?  I’m not saying we shouldn’t be indignant, but everyone knows this has been going on since time immemorial.

PEOPLE CHANGE

Also, consider this. I’m not the same person I was forty or fifty years ago. I don’t know about you, but I did some pretty stupid things in the 60’s. To hold me accountable for these is ludicrous because although I may have known I did stupid things, I certainly couldn’t tell you what they all were, nor do I want to,  much less be reminded of them.  (That’s why I’d never consider running for politics. I’m sure there’s been a toe or two I may have stepped on in my past and… that was not forgotten by someone and bound to bite me in my present.) Frowny face here.

If they really did it and they are recent infractions then yes, by golly, hang them from the rafters. They should be held accountable.

But… Consider this:

If we are so quick to be judge and jury to everyone that is accused then what about our own sins?  Are we the same person today we were ten, twenty, thirty or even forty years ago?  How many of us do NOT have regrets?  How many of us took those and resolved to do better, right?

To say they are not better today than yesterday is to say there is no hope for the countless of people in prison waiting for a parole or who will some day be released. What about the prisoner who reforms whether by accepting Christ or by whatever means and becomes a new person?

Yet, even they have advocates who campaign for them to be given a chance. Doesn’t everyone deserve that?

FEEDING OUR MINDS

There’s also the issue of what we are feeding our brains.  Look at the shows on TV, books, movies and media we follow,  that are being produced because it’s what people absolutely love.  They are sexual, conniving and violent and suddenly the same people that love these are incensed?  I see a double standard that was and is still, only different. (It’s no wonder I like Hallmark, but even they hug now and then.)

If nothing else this is bringing the issue to the fore.  Granted, it is terrifying to some men altogether.  A gentle pat on the shoulders or back will no longer be tolerated or looked at the same way or so I’ve heard said. My husband was sad because he was hesitant and afraid to hug our great grand daughter because of all that’s been going on.  Will an accidental brush be considered deliberate?  Who hasn’t grabbed someone accidentally thinking they had their spouse or partner?  To what degree are people going to take this?

I greet people with a hug and sometimes a peck on the cheek. I like hugs. Are my associates going to be afraid to hug me now?  Is everything going to be suspect?

I just bet the people in Europe, who tend to be touchy-feely, are having a field day with this. Those Americans, what will they think up next?

Awareness and change is the key NOT overreaction. Think and be considerate of others.

It boils down to the old adage “Do unto others as you would have done to you”.

 

 

Pan

I was watching the film Pan the other day and it set me in a mood.pan

I know it’s a couple of years old or more, but it came on HBO and I decided to watch it. I was seeing how it had changed from the Disney  animated version. In some ways it was better and in other ways not so. I liked it.

Peter lost his mother. Never really knew her but oh how he longed for her. I so knew how that felt.

My mother, having been mentally ill was lost to me before I ever got a chance to know her or know who she could have been had she been right. I missed having a mother. I watch movies of people having a parent they could lean on, someone to guide and direct them as to how they should be and sometimes I get angry. I get sad.

I can’t change it and although I try not to live in the past, there are moments when the past overwhelms me and the past comes looming at me like a monster.

I did a short film recently. It was great fun.  It was a part of a 48 hour film event in San Diego. I was on the writing team.

http://www.48hourfilm.com/how-it-works

The “project” is to make a movie from start to finish in less than 48 hours.  In order to prevent cheating, you don’t know what it’s to be about until the event starts. On Friday night someone will pick up a genre and this year, they gave us two choices and we get to choose between the two as to which one to write and film. From that point on, you have 48 hours to film, edit, and do sound etc. It then must be complete by Sunday night at 7PM and.. Not a second late or you’re disqualified.scene4

The producer and director already had outlines for possibilities that could pretty much go different ways and that’s allowed because… To keep everyone honest each film is required to include in it three items they give you. One is an actual, a line of dialogue and a character that must be in the film, thereby insuring that it’s not filmed in advance.

It will then be judged and then there will be a people’s choice selection when it is screened on the 6th of September to determine the overall winner. I saw last years and they were pretty doggone good. How will we measure up?  I haven’t a clue. I’ve not seen the finished video.

Our genre was silent movie (the other genre was fable).  Yup! No dialogue. So, the guys did slapstick. As it turns out, when the script was done, late that night we ended up needing an older woman, which turns out to be moi!  Yup, ME!scene3

I was It was kind of Ruth Buzzi-ish, me hitting everyone with my bag, which by the way was no easy feat. It was doggone heavy.

I was the philandering millionaire’s wife who kept running after the pretty ladies who were running after him for his $$$. That was the secondary story. The first being a young man smitten by the pretty ladies who gets knocked out by the old man when he got hit by his wife and ends up in a black and white silent movie dream.scene-1

I will say this. It was actually pretty amazing watching the young people with their camera and computer skills putting this all together. They really made it all work. Watching the cameraman slip a film card to the editor, the editor runs to his computer, downloads it, starts working, then takes back the card and switches it with the cameraman and so forth. Then he created the silent film banners with required dialogue, etc.

scene-after-party

I got lots of praise for it, we had a premiere after party with some of the actors and crew and even though we didn’t win any prizes, I have no one to tell.  The director posted a picture of me on FB with praise for my work and I actually saw it re-posted. We got to walk the “red carpet” but my pic didn’t turn out. I’ll check later and see if anyone got something better.

Right now, a mom or dad would be nice. Someone say, I knew you could do it! It was after all, my first writing gig that got made.

So, I’m sharing it with you. Thanks!

BTW, it will eventually be put on youtube. Someday.

*Pan picture off yahoo image search.

 

 

Oscar’s So White

Wow! Let me think here.

FullSizeRender (1)
My Oscar. Found it, bought it, it’s mine!

When I first got wind of the protests about “Oscar’s So White”, I was annoyed. It really irks me that we must or are expected to always bend our work to accommodate everyone’s ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation to tell a story. That’s bull crap!
We are in danger here. What are we willing to sacrifice for the sake of color or anything else? Quality of work? Because isn’t that what the Oscar’s look at?
I pulled up statistics for those of color who have been nominated and won and compared them to Hispanics. Guess what? If Latinos wanted to scream, they would have a right because the numbers are minuscule by comparison.

There has been only one Oscar Best actor win and that was in 1950! and only four nominations; Three supporting actor wins, and one was the same actor twice, Anthony Quinn!; None, Zip, zero for Best female, and two wins for supporting roles, Rita Moreno in West Side Story and Lupita N’yong o for her role as a black woman for Twelve Years a Slave. That’s EVER.

I also looked up the % of population stats. This is how it measures up. The number of whites make up 77+% of the population, blacks are 13+% and Hispanics 17+%. based on the current US census. Now the number of blacks nominated and who’ve won far surpass the Latino numbers even though there are fewer blacks to Latino. Do blacks attend theaters more?

I really don’t know.  When I go to the movies, I seldom see blacks. Actually I see more blacks at the movies here in California than I ever did living in Alabama and there are fewer in number here. So, I’m inclined to wonder. The biggest turn out I ever saw was in Tennessee (I just happened to be there visiting) and it was for a Madea film. Everyday it was packed. So, it depends on where you live, what’s showing(obviously), and how many blacks there are in the area. Based on blacks being 13% of the population, it still doesn’t measure up to the claim I read that more blacks go to the movies. (I looked it up- but I wonder how that’s even measured- is there a button they push when you buy a ticket?)

Tickets Sold by Ethnicity, 2011

Ethnicity TICKETS SOLD PERCENT OF POPULATION
White 58% 65%
Hispanic 22% 16%
Black 11% 12%
Other 9% 7%

Tickets Sold by Ethnicity, 2010

Ethnicity TICKETS SOLD PERCENT OF POPULATION
White 56% 66%
Hispanic 26% 16%
Black 11% 12%
Other 7% 6%

As for the statistics for who makes up the CEO’s of Hollywood, I wonder how accurate those are.  Is there one for Jews? or, are they under “white”?
In which case, those “white” numbers could be skewed in other ways as well, because there are many Latino’s and people of other races who do not look anything but white, or list themselves as anything but white, so how would you really know?

How many actors are mixed?  Many. Halle Berry is half white but is listed as black.

I remember a young person, whose chart I worked up at the health clinic, who I asked for his/her ethnicity. I was not permitted to make that judgement, so I had to ask, but by appearances I thought black. They stated white.
Now take talent. If there were any Black or Latino actors similar to Meryl Streep, who is undeniably one of the most versatile actors out there and if this person was getting the parts she gets, and was still being snubbed, then everyone would have something to complain about. I’ve seen very few ethnic actors that even come close to her caliber, and/or if they’re out there, they aren’t getting the parts.  Is there someone out there that could shine, if given the chance? Probably.

I’ve noticed too, that black or ethnic men have not, in general, had as hard a time as the women, but that’s typical for women period. Which is another Hollywood slight getting attention.
Then I got to thinking about some of the big named black writer/ director/producers who have jumped on the bandwagon of “OSW”, like Spike Lee and Tyler Perry (?). Why aren’t they looking for good quality material for the black population? Most of the films I’ve seen by these creatives are designed or so it seems to widen the gap of race rather than to bridge the gap.  Their films seemed to validate anger, defiance, disrespect and hatred for anyone other than black.

That goes for all the other ethnic writer/producer/directors. What kind of material are you selecting that can optimize the profile of your ethnic group? What kind of stories are you telling?

WE can’t forget who’s funding these films? Ah! There’s the rub.
WHO ARE THE BACKERS? No one can make what can’t be funded. AND, it can’t be justifiably funded if it isn’t marketable.  Is a big name white star going to get more funding to make a good quality feature? Pro-ba-bly. So many things to consider in this equation. So before everyone points fingers at what’s not black enough or what’s too white. Bottom line is what sells?

There was a woman I worked with who hated movies that raked up past social injustices and refused to watch them. For her, it fomented hatred for the white race and made it impossible for her to focus on progress and getting beyond the past. Everyday, she said, she’d pray that God help her be fair to whites and not resent them for their color (or lack of).  She was an educated woman, trying to move on. But it was a day to day struggle. I wonder how many other blacks feel like she does and would love to be inspired to change the way people think of them or they of others?

I too, would like to see stories told that are significant and motivating. Will this change what I think to write? Well, it already has.

I have a feature I’ve been working on with a Latina lead, no blacks. I sent it to my nephew to read while he was in jail. His cell mate was black. They loved the script and the story, but his cell mate, remarked, “she ain’t got no brother in it! Tell her to make Nate black”. I got back his note and laughed. I hadn’t even thought about it, but I really didn’t have one black person in it. Not a baja5good black or a bad black. I really didn’t think about it. To me they were just people. I never said black or white, but I did indicate Hispanic because some of it would be in Spanish. So, I considered changing my heroine to a black lead, partly because of the hoopla being made, but at the same time, I ask why?  I’m sure there are many other writer’s doing the same thing.  Will it move the story forward? Actually, it probably would be an even better choice than having her be Hispanic. But to do so, it would put her male counterpart into the position of your typical black stereotype, which I really wouldn’t want to do. Come to think of it, I was doing the Tyler Perry thing and making the white guy bad. Hmmm. How do you avoid stereotyping anyone?  I also considered having representation of both and/or all three ethnic groups, perhaps one of each. Like Neapolitan.  I can’t decide. Anyway, I’m still working on it.

Have I ever experienced prejudice, yes. I dated a young, from the up side of town in California and as soon as they met me, they made it clear, he was not to ever see me again. Have I ever had a man come on to me thinking that because of my ethnicity, I was probably “one hot little number”. Yes! So what!  I do know what it feels like, but it doesn’t define who I am or who I will be. Change will be slow, but we’ll get there.

Have you ever noticed that when someone opens their mouth, you either like or dislike them, regardless of their color?  If you like them, all is well and good, but if you don’t, it becomes a horse of a different color if you say anything. Let’s change that.

On a final note. Don’t prejudge. I happen to know there’s a lot of people suffering from “white guilt” out there. These are people who hate the history of the past and the injustices done to people of any race. Go easy on them. They are out there. They want change and I know for many, it seems change has been ever so slow. But think about it, the more we initiate change in ourselves, which is the only thing we have control of, then change will come.

If you learn nothing else. Take people one at a time and individually and love your neighbor as yourself. I think hippies had the right idea, way back when, when they said, “Make love, not war”.

 

 

 

Change

Baja Run
Baja Run by Jo Weber

I just got an email encouraging writers to submit their screenplays on a particular website.

I had been thinking about doing that for sometime, but never quite got around to doing it when low and behold there was  a screenplay with a similar title as mine.  I was dashed.

My first thought was someone stole my idea and in my mind I started thinking back in my mind of everyone I’d sent a copy of my screenplay to and did the usual paranoid new writer thing of “Damn, damn, damn!”.  I think I may have been more angry at myself for my lack of follow through and someone beat me to the punch.

My son wrote me these encouraging words: (I’ve blanked out names since my intention here is not to slam another project or person)

“Mom,

Do your due diligence, but don’t be afraid to share things as well. As an artist I have learned that there are always the risks that someone will steal your work…  If someone wants it, they will take it.  I would find out what precautions they recommend. You have to give in order to get back and sometimes there is risk involved, but don’t be afraid to trust anyone or you won’t get the support you need. I would keep going with XXXX, you put a lot of work into it.  I’m not absolutely sure this is the case, but if something IS stolen from you just remember, YOU are the source.  You are filled with plenty more million dollar ideas where that came from and that can’t be taken from you.  Don’t think in terms of scarcity, that wasn’t your one-shot at success it was your trial run. Think of how much you’ve grown as a writer since that first draft.  Not to mention, I looked up XXXX.  It was an abysmal film.  No one will accuse you of ripping off a terrible film, they only do that for good films because of the notion you’re attempting to piggyback on their success.  This other movie wasn’t your vision, it was a B movie.  Many of the studios Stallone shopped his script to wanted to make changes but he stuck to his guns. I say make your film the way you want it to be made and they will remember it; no one will remember XXXX.  Heck, if it makes you feel better, just change the name.  That may have been the most significant thing they took after all, since the movie was so forgettable.  Here’s the only review (more reviews had come in since) on IMDB had to say:
 
“It is rare that I give up on a movie within 30 minutes but in this case, I was so unimpressed that I did just that. . . I cannot comment on the story itself as it did not really have a chance to develop in the short time I was able to stand it. I would advise against watching this film unless you are hell bent on keeping track of the lead actor’s career which, going by this effort, is heading deep South.”
 
We’ll talk soon, Hang in there! I’m pulling for you.  You’ve come too far to turn back down now 🙂
 
Love,  ian”
Shortly after that I found myself back into the stymied mode, doing nothing. How am I ever going to make it in the Biz?  As I have mentioned before the odds are stacked against me according to statistics, so I let this sit awhile and in the words of Meg Ryan in French Kiss, I allowed to let it “fester, fester, fester” (I think she really only said it twice).
BTW. I rented the movie and yes there were similarities but it was enlightening.  It showed me what direction not to take my film. So, I’m back on track doing a rewrite and working on other projects as well.
There’s a saying and I don’t know who originated it, but it goes something like this…
“If you’re doing the same thing over and over again and getting nowhere then change it” – unknown (to me)
A thump on the head moment, “Like Duh!”
Now to keep on, keep on!