You might think the first film genre I’d stay away from as a writer would be porn, but actually it’s science fiction. Blasphemy you cry! We need more great science fiction in the face of a world that changes on a dime and is constantly on the brink of cultural annihilation.
I love science fiction with every fiber of my being and that’s precisely why I go out of my way to not write the type of stories I enjoy reading.
Insane, I know. But I’ve come to realize that every time I delve deeply into creating some form of entertainment I’m in love with, a little bit of magic it once held is rubbed off never to be seen again. Science Fiction is a fragile, jewel and gold encrusted crown to me. If I touch it, inspect it, try to recreate it, a gem may pop off or the gold might flake away.
I want to merely look at the crown and be awed.
Case in point: Theatre. I LOVE the theatre. I’ve spent many years working backstage as a deck manager and truthfully I have enjoyed every word from back stage left. I’ve seen the tricky magic bits that launch Scrooge’s blanket across the stage or the miraculous invisible door that Marley steps through in A Christmas Carol so many times I can’t count.
And with every opening night, with every pop of the cork, theatre glimmers a little less for me. I can no longer sit in the audience without being taken out of the story. I will forever be wondering what the actors are talking about backstage before entering, or which fly rail brings in the backdrop or what a prop looks like up close rather than from the tenth row.
Why on this earth would I want to write hard science fiction (my favorite sci fi), only to have it ruined for me, the eternal twelve year old sci fi junkie? Perhaps there’s a lack of bravery in the mix. Perhaps I’m afraid of writing the next panned epic. Maybe. But I yearn to be entertained, and I want to be left thinking about the story, not the special effects or the props when I exit the movie theater.
Repeatedly, I have started and restarted a science fiction television series, but with every page I write, I feel as if each page is a grain of sand passing through a hourglass which is consequently glued to the shelf. Irrationally, I believe that if it is a great story, and I am successful with this, the love and worship I have for it (and science fiction) will be torn away.
Can a writer (or anyone else behind the scenes) be entertained like the average movie goer? By virtue of profession have we already broken the magician’s wand?
Am I fooling myself into thinking that the magic hasn’t already left in conjunction with years working backstage or on the set?
What do you think?
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