Character dilemma... any thoughts?

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  • DavidK
    replied
    Re: Character dilemma... any thoughts?

    Originally posted by Recreant View Post
    Speaking of Tiger Woods, If I were famous and had billions of dollars I'd have a "sex addiction" too.
    Agree - let's not make this out to be more than it is: a question of terminology. What he had was "sex opportunity."

    As for the OP, there's something about a story with inappropriate habitual masturbation in the premise that doesn't sound marketable as anything other than teen comedy.

    Leave a comment:


  • Alliebro
    replied
    Re: Character dilemma... any thoughts?

    So here's this mid 40's, ugly, pathetic and everything wrong with a man type of guy (your description), and you're wondering how to develop some compassion for him and help him find love in his loveless world dispite his masturbation problem. Jerking off is the least of his problems, I'd think. This guy's a loser as is. Give him some redeeming qualities that we can respect when he finally does (if ever) break that habit.

    Leave a comment:


  • JimHull
    replied
    Re: Character dilemma... any thoughts?

    dog678 - your story reminded me of this:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mSXVkBZmZsE

    If "Lou" in the video looks familiar, he should -- he was the voice of Luigi in "Ratatouille" (and the design was based on him). It's a funny film you should check out, might give you some help/ideas.

    Leave a comment:


  • ScreenplayQA
    replied
    Re: Character dilemma... any thoughts?

    I don't know if I could root for a guy who is obsessed with jerking off. Relate to him, sure, but root for? Nah

    Leave a comment:


  • Mad Mat
    replied
    Re: Character dilemma... any thoughts?

    Nothing to do with Dog's question whatsoever and the following observation is meant to be nothing other than an amusing aside, but ...

    ... 'on the job' in Britain is a euphemism for having penetrative sex.

    So, I couldn't help but smile when I read ...

    he gets caught masturbating on the job
    That's a fairly impressive act to attempt!

    Mat.

    Leave a comment:


  • dog678
    replied
    Re: Character dilemma... any thoughts?

    Well actually, him getting caught masturbating ISN'T the main reason for his firing. I should have been a bit more specific. It's more of an added reason to let the guy go, because actually his boss didn't care as much, and has known for many years.

    And I feel SO MUCH better now because over the weekend, I realized why I was struggling with this whole sex addiction thing. I realized I did not have a complete outline done, so it was making everything very hazy and cloudy in terms of getting an underlying theme and substance for the story. Now that I have my full outline, I can pepper the story with his "sex addicition" to compliment the plot, but whether it's an addiction or not, it's real. It's been affecting his life for a long time.

    And you're right, a story about just sex-addiction or using the masturbation as a plot point isn't what I'm going for. It's supposed to be sad and funny at the same time. So I agree with all of your comments.

    Leave a comment:


  • WritersBlock2010
    replied
    Re: Character dilemma... any thoughts?

    1) The reason I responded to this thread a few days ago was the OP didn't appear to understand SA is not a form of physical self-control versus being horny.

    The act of having meaningless sex is physical, but that's not what SA is at its core. It's an emotional state of distress and it is a psychological disorder.

    Not to be an ass, but if the OP didn't know the difference between SA and being horny (masturbating in public), then this is just one of the underlying "problems" this script might have aside from the rest of its execution.

    2) This is just my personal opinion, but being caught masturbating in public seems cliche and overly simplistic in terms of a comedy gag so, I urge the OP to think of something A) funnier, and B) something more compelling as the inciting incident.

    Screenwriting and writing in general is about making choices. Creative, unusual and interesting choices. Sometimes it's hard to come up with those choices, but the time and effort it takes to do so can often pay dividends with the final script being that much better for it.
    Last edited by WritersBlock2010; 04-19-2010, 12:01 PM.

    Leave a comment:


  • Recreant
    replied
    Re: Character dilemma... any thoughts?

    Speaking of Tiger Woods, If I were famous and had billions of dollars I'd have a "sex addiction" too.

    Leave a comment:


  • johnmonster
    replied
    Re: Character dilemma... any thoughts?

    One could argue that the guy's actual problem is making terrible decisions.

    "Getting caught" is going to resonate with a lot of viewers and readers. If the MC is a fairly normal, likeable guy who just picks the wrong time and place to play pocket pool, he's not likely to alienate the audience. But if he is "gross pathetic loser" then I doubt he gets any sympathy.

    There was an anecdote in a study about masturbation that told of a guy who made the terrible decision to indulge in self-abuse while trapped in an elevator... an elevator with a hidden security camera. He was called on the carpet, presumably standing there with a burning face and feeling his life was over as the boss told him he'd been recorded. He was fired but the boss told him the reason would not be revealed. Due to the overwhelming embarassment, he could not even contemplate protest.

    So the real crime was not any kind of crippling addiction, but was actually making a decision that was, in hindsight, outrageously stupid.

    Even if your MC is so fond of Onanism that he has to bring along a comb to get his palms read, he doesn't have to be unsympathetic.

    Perhaps your MC meets the love interest as a direct result of being terminated. Were he still employed, he would have missed that magical "right place, right time" moment.

    He likes her, she likes him. But can he tell her the truth about why he was fired? Doubtful. So here we have deception entering the relationship from the very beginning. Deception that will lead to conflict later on.

    As a result of that conflict, he may demonize the act and not the decision to indulge in the act. Maybe he considers himself a disgusting, perverted wanker when he's really a doofus who makes terrible decisions. And now he's met the girl of his dreams but he keeps putting lies in place that will destroy the relationship.

    Anyway, just a few thoughts. Good luck with the script and I hope you make the deadline.

    Leave a comment:


  • alex whitmer
    replied
    Re: Character dilemma... any thoughts?

    There is still debate on whether there is such a thing as Sex Addiction. Not all the 'Experts' agree. I'm not sold on it either, though some of the behavior does indeed mimic other addictions.

    One interview I watched focused on the part of the brain that craves stimulation, be it either from violent video games or coffee or the thrill of getting caught. The more this part of the brain is stimulated, the more it needs the next time, and the next, and so on. I'd make sure you delve deeper into the psychology behind what some call SA before making it integral to your MC and plot.

    Also, when someone is 'cured' or redeems themselves, it is often of that particular behavior, but the craving for stimulation is still there, and often they will replace it with a surrogate 'addiction' that is more mainstream and acceptable - and hence why many a drug addict suddenly finds God.

    So, this guy can't keep his hands off his pecker, and it eventually drives him to ruin. He meets a woman who is the object of desire by other men with a similar affliction. You say they both come out of this 'better people' which, to me, assumes you have already decided what they are doing is wrong, or at the very least, want the overall film to portray it as such (?).

    Is it?

    asjah8 has an interesting POV.

    a

    Leave a comment:


  • dog678
    replied
    Re: Character dilemma... any thoughts?

    Wow, great stuff guys. And actually without giving it away too much, the woman in the story is actually a prostitute/escort. So for his character to have to face his addiction head on when he meets this woman, I think will birth interesting moments in the story.

    And the main character is sorta well known. He is recognizable among a certain group of people. A very low D level celebrity depending how you look at it.

    I shouldn't have said love interest, because the happy ending I don't think will be these two finally coming together. That would be too easy as long it's executed right, but I'm trying for something different, not so happy ending, but definitely these two come out of the experience better people. I should have added Lost In Translation to the mix.

    So it's Leaving Las Vegas meets Adaptation meets Lost in Translation. My biggest challenge is I'm trying to meet the Nicholls deadline of May 1st, and am about halfway through the story. I'm not gonna lie, this is the most fun I've ever had writing a screenplay, but perhaps it's because I haven't written a full-length screenplay in 6-7 years.

    Leave a comment:


  • Rantanplan
    replied
    Re: Character dilemma... any thoughts?

    Originally posted by dog678 View Post
    .

    So if he's addicted to sex and comes to a realization about it, can the audience forgive his odd behavior and believe the main character can truly redeem himself through the eyes of someone else?
    The answer is yes, because we can engage emotionally with just about any type of character for a variety of reasons. Because they're vulnerable, because they've been wounded, because they're funny, smart, etc. Not every film is about change and redemption, but if that is yours, then you just have to make the character arc believable. Someone who gets caught jerking off at the office is not a heinous character, he's usually found in raunchy comedies. So that is certainly not enough to dislike him. I take it this is more of a serious dramatic portrait of a character with this kind of problem, so yeah, you have to make the arc believable, and you have to give us a reason to care.

    But I'm going to be totally honest. If he's ugly in the script, then he better have a damn great personality Or something else really interesting about him... I mean hell, women fall in love with serial killers and write to them in prison and propose marriage because they think they're hot. There has to be SOMETHING about this guy that makes him watchable for 90 minutes. Because an unattractive creepy guy, well, you don't have to go too far in the real world to find that. Films do for the most part tend to center around fairly attractive characters. If they're not attractive, then they have money, or power, or a fascinating life story, or something that elevates them above the tedium of the everyday.

    Re. what nikee said, Woody Allen (although he is now 70, not 40 ), was not attractive, but he was funny and smart and so audiences did engage with him and believed it when he hooked up with hot actresses and then their daughters

    It's been a while since I've seen Leaving Las Vegas (how many films can Nic Cage make that take place or end up in Vegas??), but to my recollection he never expresses any remorse about what he is about to do. But we still love him. Find something attractive about your character and make the audience see it. That's where the battle is won. IMHO.

    Leave a comment:


  • WritersBlock2010
    replied
    Re: Character dilemma... any thoughts?

    Originally posted by dog678 View Post
    I love the thoughts guys, especially WritersBlock, but do know this is not a comedy, so some of the suggestions are too unrealistic in what I'm trying to portray here.

    This is a story in the vein of Leaving Las Vegas meets Adaptation. It's bizarre and out there, but has a heart. So the question is pretty much the same, if a main character's addiction is sex, and we see the change and feel it internally and see it externally half way through the story, can this character go on to find happiness with another human being that isn't rooted in fill the void that makes him so sexual?

    My biggest fear is that in the end, the story turns out to confuse people, almost like the question of how an audience can root for a heartless murderer? It's almost impossible without some human quality that's likeable or relatable, like in Tony Soprano's case.

    So if he's addicted to sex and comes to a realization about it, can the audience forgive his odd behavior and believe the main character can truly redeem himself through the eyes of someone else?
    In my opinion, your dilemma isn't whether or not the audience will root for him, or not.

    If you write him as being truly remorseful and making a genuine effort to change (better himself) audiences will get on board by default. He can even fail like in "Leaving Las Vegas", but the fact he makes the effort is what people like to see and why we universally root for the underdog.

    (It also just happens to be one of the cornerstones of good drama and conflict: Nothing should be easy and the world is against your protagonists efforts to achieve his/her goal).

    Thinking like a professional screenwriter, what I think you might be asking is, is this enough of an arc that is compelling versus pat, or run-of-the-mill?

    I can't answer this because this will depend on your execution.

    This is the other extreme on the spectrum where the audience can see the possible outcome (happy ending -- Even if it doesn't end happily ever after) a mile away. Telegraphing your ending, or the perception of a specific ending can be as detrimental to a screenplay as not delivering an expected ending just to be "different".

    However, I believe the opportunity exists for you to do something very unusual with this genre (romantic drama) and that is reverse the normal goal of these films: To get the two leads together.

    Due to your main character's condition, he needs to find out what true "love" is... But he can't get physical with the love interest at all because this is his addiction.

    It's your screenplay, but I would consider ending it with the possibility of him getting better... Learning what real love and intimacy is... But not being fully "cured" and living happily ever after.

    Recovery from any addiction is an on-going struggle 24/7, 365 days a year for the rest of the (former) addict's life. And 97% of those treated relapse and have to re-enter rehabilitation a few times before they recover... If they recover at all.

    So, you should consider all of these realities for not just an accurate portrayal of addiction and recovery, but how they will fit into your story since you said it is not a comedy.

    Since you are going to write it as a serious drama, you need to do the research into this particular addiction and then draw the inherent drama and conflict out of the process of treatment and recovery. This is why this is going to be an execution-heavy script IMO because it is not a mainstream subject once you get into it... Even though we see it splashed all over the news with the likes of Tiger Woods and company.

    You need to go beyond the headlines and see what this particular addiction and treatment entail and then, like I said, construct your story around the inherent conflict(s) and drama that come out of these different phases. The fact he fails... Maybe has sex with a hooker in a moment of weakness... Will give him depth, be more realistic and also be the defining moment the love interest has to make her own choice whether or not to stick by his side, or move on herself -- The other side of addiction; those affected by the addict & their destructive behavior. Don't forget to address your love interest's reaction to all of this, too. Especially if she is being treated for SA as well.

    Leave a comment:


  • NikeeGoddess
    replied
    Re: Character dilemma... any thoughts?

    did you ever see kevin bacon in the woodsman? check it out. he's a released child molester living next to an elementary school. he still suffers from his problem but, they do a good job showing us how he redeems himself.

    Leave a comment:


  • dog678
    replied
    Re: Character dilemma... any thoughts?

    I love the thoughts guys, especially WritersBlock, but do know this is not a comedy, so some of the suggestions are too unrealistic in what I'm trying to portray here.

    This is a story in the vein of Leaving Las Vegas meets Adaptation. It's bizarre and out there, but has a heart. So the question is pretty much the same, if a main character's addiction is sex, and we see the change and feel it internally and see it externally half way through the story, can this character go on to find happiness with another human being that isn't rooted in fill the void that makes him so sexual?

    My biggest fear is that in the end, the story turns out to confuse people, almost like the question of how an audience can root for a heartless murderer? It's almost impossible without some human quality that's likeable or relatable, like in Tony Soprano's case.

    So if he's addicted to sex and comes to a realization about it, can the audience forgive his odd behavior and believe the main character can truly redeem himself through the eyes of someone else?

    Leave a comment:

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