Wednesday, March 19, 2014

FYI File: Fantasy, Nostalgia, and "The 2014 Project"

Now that this blog has been given its third and final (I swear!!) name, I thought I would shake things up a bit. Nothing so crazy as dropping the pink text color or updating the general appearance to a post-1997 look, of course. But there's a lot I've been wanting to say, so rather than post a succession of lengthy blog posts, I thought I'd post this variety pack of short ones. 

The Twentieth Anniversary of My Obsession With Anniversaries

The hits package that redefined my life. Like, seriously!

January '14 marked the 20th anniversary of my obsession with anniversaries. My first-time viewings of Starman, The Shining, Dawn of the Dead, and Working Girl on blistery and/or snowy Friday nights in January '94 mobilized in me a 1980s nostalgia that never went away. But it wasn't just the movies I watched that month, it was also buying THE album: Totally 80s, the 2-CD Razor & Tie compilation that was advertised on TV all the time before becoming the soundtrack to most of my life in the sixth grade. From 1994 on I was fetishizing every aspect of '80s pop culture while lambasting everything I could about the '90s. However, happy Friday nights ritualistically spent at the local multiplex limited my aptness for thrashing then-contemporary film. 

It is now a time capsule for what the world looked like in March '94,
but The Paper also remains grown-up Hollywood fare at its most brilliantly entertaining.

For the Class of 2000, 1994 was the year when the sixth grade ended and the seventh grade began. Thus the year closed with my being knee deep in adolescent angst, which only kept me going back into the past. I continually found myself disappointed by reality, so I was constantly choosing fantasies that were constructed in another era. My pre-pubescent childhood had been so happy, and the spirit of the '80s was so inextricably linked to my own soul, that I lamented the decade until it became an over-idealized Heaven that I dreamed of dying and going back to. I was not unaware of this being unhealthy, but that didn't make it any less painful to push forward, not when I discovered that being a teenager was to be a lot less pleasant than I had been imagining in the '80s. Instead of forging a new path that would make childhood dreams come true, I clung to the past as an escape while reality came crashing down in the present. And, for better or for worse, I've been inclined to do this ever since.

I related to Tess McGill when I was twelve. I still do now.
And I'll bet many of you reading this feel the exact same way.

A Sorta-Facade On The Verge of Sorta-Crumbling

There has been so much that I have wanted to communicate through this blog over the last fifteen months, but during said fifteen months my life has been in a major state of upheaval. Actually, it was in upheaval when I started this blog back in 2011. But way back then, things in my life were just starting to turn upside down, and the coinciding mini-phenomenon of “Vogue Boy” allowed me to escape reality like never before. For a moment in Summer '11, it felt like my dreams of being an artist and a star had been instantly realized when that video achieved its peak popularity in one weekend. It was during that delightfully manic moment that I quickly decided to become a blogger, and my early entries here are thus defined by an optimism, and even a sense of fulfillment, that apparently represents me at my purest.  
The-blog-formerly-known-as-RobWorld has been a tremendous outlet in the three years since since then, for it has allowed me to unlock and release parts of myself through the written word in a way that I could never do within the format of a screenplay. But for well over a year, I have not been inclined to do any unlocking or releasing, for I have discovered that my life experiences are a lot less vivid in my mind after I make them public here. And, as evidenced in past entries, my memories, and the role they play in shaping my creative output, are too precious to me to be sacrificed.
On some level, I've gotten more screenwriting done by not blogging. But on most levels it has denied me an outlet that I need: not only to write, but to be read. I might not have a huge readership on here, but the feedback I've received in personal messages has been too awesome to be ignored. There is no better feeling than knowing a handful of people were affected by work that they personally related to, or which made them look at a movie or a person or a similar life experience in a new light. I don’t know if I’ll start writing again more regularly, because I thought that that would be the case last November....and it wasn’t. But I think this has a lot to do with my wanting to make every post an event, in turn defeating the purpose that this blog serves, for me, in the first place. I am a hopeless neurotic, still in the middle of a challenging and annoyingly long life chapter, and I need a place to let all this shit out. Some people go to therapy. I go to the stage. And that’s exactly what this blog is to me.

From Sixteen To Thirty-Two: "The 2014 Project"

Like the film itself, I'll NEVER forget the first time I saw this trailer!

When I was sixteen, I realized that Wes Craven's Scream was released exactly eighteen years after John Carpenter's Halloween, which itself had been released exactly eighteen years after Alfred Hitchcock's PsychoYears later, I would realize that Val Lewton and Jacque Tourneur's Cat People’s limited release in December 1942 meant it was the movie that launched this every-eighteen-years cycle. Since then, I’ve been anticipating "The 2014 Project", a film that would, like the aforementioned four films, inject the horror-viewing experience with enough wit and suspense to change the cinematic landscape and redefine the genre for another two decades.

The most bewitching of Hollywood films and
possibly the most influential horror movie ever made.

Since the late '90s, I have secretly hoped that the Universe would see fit to choose me to write this 2014 horror film, and much of my creative life has been spent preparing myself to be worthy of such an opportunity. Alas, I've proven far more adept at writing screenplays than actually getting them made into movies. And without ever seeing your work on some screen, one can hardly feel like a real screenwriter. So last year I attempted to put work of which I remain as proud as ever temporarily behind me, and to instead take a stab at crafting "The 2014 Project". I spent the entirety of 2013 working on eight different scripts, each of which I had hoped could potentially reinvent "the American horror film", but none of which ever made it to their respective finish lines. By New Year’s Eve, I was forced to admit defeat. I was proud of the work I had done, and confident that one day the characters and story elements from this arsenal of partial completion would find their way into my future projects. But by no means did I come close to striking the gold that I was digging for.

If every attempt at crafting a pure suspense picture was even half
as effective as Halloween, the world would be a much better place.

It was not until the very end of 2013 and the very beginning of 2014 that a burst of renewed inspiration and ambition (my favorite cocktail) launched me on a new path. My dream, in this easy-to-shoot-but-hard-to-distribute world of modern indie filmmaking, was that the work flowing out of me would find its way into the right hands, and a quickly-realized project (Cat People, Psycho, Halloween, and Scream were themselves low-cost/high-speed shoots) could theoretically find its way onto a VOD platform or into an early 2015 film festival. But nearly a third of the way into 2014, I'm inclined to believe that that dream will not come true....and I'm okay with that. It’s very likely that a great horror film will come along and make the impact I was hoping to make while I'm still pining away, and if that happens, I can finally say I was right all along. And hopefully, if that happens, 'my little horror film', whenever it makes its way to the screen, will still earn itself a place in the hearts of like-minded movie lovers. But for now, I think I'll put my faith in "The 2032 Project": I have good reason to believe I might be capable of writing something worthy of comparison to the aforementioned films when I'm fifty. In the meantime, I intend to enjoy the writing process instead of mourning my failure to be where I thought I would be when I was half the age that I am right now. 

No movie-going experience has come close to the first two times I saw Scream on the big screen. And I'm 99.44% sure that this will always be the case.

Furthermore, assuming that the every-eighteen-years cycle really does extend into this century, I'll be keeping my eyes peeled for the film that will ultimately redefine our collective concept of modern horror movies. There are already a few potential contenders in the pipeline, and 2014 has only just begun...

No comments:

Post a Comment