The most shocking feedback I got during last week’s meeting was that my romantic comedy’s love interest was an asshole. The specific words used were “evil”, “sociopath”, and “demon from hell here to destroy women”. Obviously, I was surprised. I had specially given my male protagonist a good amount of thought. I wanted him to be a player, but likable and sympathetic. I knew before sending the pages out that the scenes were much too long, but I was actually fairly pleased with how I built him.
“I don’t know any guy who would do this.” Cake Man said. And I assume that Cake Man knows a lot more about male mentality than I do. I went home disturbed.
I know that my moral and violence sensibility are a bit skewed. It’s very likely that my romantic view also got warped somewhere down the line. I could have simply not realized this because all the romantic relationships in my past scripts were supposed to be twisted. How on earth am I supposed to write a romantic comedy then?
On the other hand, I’ve had my fair share of girls’ night out since high school, and I never shocked anyone with my point of view about men or relationships. The first person I consulted was my sister, who has an impressive resume of heterosexual relationships, both long and short terms. As my mother would say, she knows men. Perhaps even better than Cake Man. I told her about my protagonist, and she loved the idea. Even wanted me to include Onyx’s brother’s story.
This was such a contradicting comment from the group I was iffy. After all, she might have seen most romantic comedies out there, but when reading my last script, the only problem she had with one of my characters cooking and eating someone’s arm, was that there was no way the said arm’s owner wouldn’t bleed to death before the ambulance arrived. We had a passionate argument about how much of the arm was I allowed to hack off. (In the end, I simply cut the scene.)
I brought the script to T&A, the League’s sister group. I didn’t mention the League’s problem, in case I effect their point of view. No one brought up anything about disliking the love interest. I finally asked the question toward the end. Did anyone have a problem with Matthew? The girls paused, and said quite frankly, no. They liked him. Thought he was kind of sweet and kind of sad. One member even defended him, justifying him to me. The scene was too long and they did want more personality, but that was it. The conversation then moved on to contraception and roofies and men who fuck with your mind vs. men who fuck with your mind knowingly. One member who had gone out for a bottle of wine returned and asked what were we talking about. I told her the original question, and she immediately said, "yeah, he was kind of a dick."
I told her the original question, and she immediately said, "yeah, he was kind of a dick."
I miss the good old days of math when there was only one right answer.