Where’s the magic in gay cinema?
I was going to write a review of Into It (awful), but I just couldn’t.
Look, I don’t write negative reviews because I get off on being critical. The fact is that the quality ratio in gay cinema is terrible.
I understand most gay films are low-budget, but the films I rip apart hardest are those missing things that cost no money at all: ideas, talent, imagination, originality, technical competence.
Learn how to use a camera.
True, there are lots of buttons on a quality video camera, but take an afternoon and learn how to use the focus, white balance and aperture &madsh;at a minimum. This is not unreasonable. It’s a measure of basic care for your craft.
Your last boyfriend/life story/Friday night is not a plot.
Unless you can summarise your film with the following mad lib, it has no plot: Once upon a time, there was a (person) and every day our hero (verb) until one day (blank) happened, which put our hero in conflict with (blank), so our hero (verb), and our hero’s life was forever changed. The hero must take positive actions towards a definite goal.
Random nudity does not cover for bad acting.
There is no excuse for high school drama class acting in any film, when unemployed actors can be found by the dozen in any Starbucks. I’m not going to care about the ass shot in your third reel if I have to watch a bad actor for 30 minutes to get to it.
Don’t be lazy where it counts.
Five people in an empty room with a strobe light and a 4/4 beat dubbed in does not make a club. When your main characters have no friends, family, or neighbours because you couldn’t be bothered to cast extras, it stands out and looks artificial. Care enough to complete your characters’ worlds with set dec and extras.
Be interesting. Have a new idea. Give us a reason to see the main characters as individuals with hopes, dreams and interior lives. Show us a world and people we’ve never seen before.
Give us magic. Find the humour in your story, even if it’s a tragedy. Find the pain in your comedy.
I’ll even put my time where my mouth is. The first 10 writer-directors who send their scripts to firstname.lastname@example.org will receive a full story edit with suggestions to improve their films at no cost.
It can be done.
Let’s make 2009 a great year for gay cinema.