Monday, November 24, 2014

TODAY'S NUGGET: Crimes of the Heart (1986) - Writing How Females Interact

[Quick Summary: Three sisters reunite in their hometown when tragedy strikes.]

After reading this comedy script, I believe there's no excuse for flat female characters.

Many scripts reduce women to one dimension - bitch, golddigger, etc. 

They may get "what" her role is, and "why" she is in the story, but often miss HOW she interacts with people:  

- They miss the double/triple meanings. 

- They miss that female interactions are layered, nuanced, complex, with attitude, ALL AT ONCE.

[Thus, reducing women to one dimension always feels incomplete.]

This script excels at capturing the "how":

ex. "CHICK: Oh, speaking of which, remember that little polka dot dress you got Peekay for her fifth birthday last month?

LENNY: The red and white one?
CHICK: Yes; well, the first time I put it in the washing machine, I mean the very first time, it fell all to pieces. Those little polka dots just dropped right off into the water.

LENNY (crushed): Oh, no. Well, I'll get something else for her then...a little toy.

CHICK: Oh, no, no, no, no, no!....We wouldn't hear of it! I just wanted to let you know so you wouldn't go and waste any more of your hard-earned money on that make of dress. Those inexpensive brands just don't hold up."

Note in this scene:

- Chick wants to thank Lenny for a gift (goal).
- Chick also enjoys embarrassing Lenny.
- Chick is both polite (thanking) and rude (slyly pointing out Lenny is poor for no good reason other than to feel superior).
- Lenny wants to finish this conversation fast (goal).
- Lenny is humiliated.
- Lenny is under stress (from previous scene) which makes this scene even worse.

WHAT I'VE LEARNED: This script only has three characters and a few settings, yet it's terribly memorable because of the women's interactions.

Crimes of the Heart (1986)(rev. dated 2/1/86)
Adapted by Beth Henley from her 1981 Pulitzer Prize winning play

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