It\'s "Go" time
Have you ever felt like throwing your freshly blended non-fat, organic caramel, unsweetened, mock-choc at a random person in your local Starbucks, for no apparent reason? Just a weird funny unexplainable urge that came up? Naturally, good manners and the idea of forfeiting the seventeen dollars and sixty-four cents remaining of the gift card your sister bought you prevents this—but did you ever feel like it, or something like it?
How about the time that alpha Brentwood producer dude was backing up his Lexus RX in the Spago parking lot and you knew damn well he was going to nick the car behind him, and you allowed it, giggling all the way back to your very pre-owned Prius?
These are what I call the little devils—we all have them, it is only human, but we do ask ourselves…where did that come from? It came from inside your head but more specifically, the programming and belief systems you learned from ages zero till now. This is where all of the “voices” come from.
This is also where our self-doubt stems from. Any writer, actor, or artist in this industry worth their salt damn well better have a healthy amount of self-doubt to contend with by now, it just comes with the territory. In fact, most film schools require this as a prerequisite for entry, it is the first question on the student application form.
Self-doubt, the voice of that critical inner parent that looms inside of us just when it is time to really take the risk and go for it is quite a formidable obstacle, a major cause of self-sabotage. The general advice is don’t listen to these voices—ward them off, tell yourself you got this, ignore them, binge-watch
Curb Your Enthusiasm
. I will agree with that for the most part, but I’ll also suggest that you use these voices to inform your work.
But I want to go deeper here, I want to go bleaker, I want to go
Wild at Heart, Joker
. These films, and many like them, with their cool takes on the mental and the psychological that are injected into characters, came from inside the writer’s head, from inside the writer’s psyche. This is where we want to go.
So, what if you could create characters from the darkest parts of you? The parts that are so deliciously wrong and bring up sides of you that exist, but you don’t want to admit to? This is what a lot of writers do naturally as we are working from our subconscious, but how much more could we glean if, instead of repressing them we actually went down into the depths of our psyche and got to know these parts of ourselves, made friends, accepted them and said “let’s go folks, you’re on”?
Yeah, I’m going to go Jungian on you here. I love going Jungian. In fact, I have a picture of Carl Jung inside my hallway closet and the inscription under it reads. “what are you not looking for that is in here?” I love going Jungian as it opens up the whole barrel of apples and gets right to the hidden rotten ones down at the bottom. Those crushed, buggy, smelly ones, that brown goo between the slats in the side of the wood. The apples that nobody wants to eat or even look at yet are always turning up no matter how many times you throw them away.
These are voices that lie deep within the shadow part of us, the part we do not want to look at or acknowledge, the part that comes out when we least want it to. This is story, character and narrative gold as it permeates all aspects of the world, tone, and genre of what we are writing and melds it all true because we already know it and are it.
The argument that is immediately made is, “heck, I don’t really need to do that. I can write looney characters, bent up zombies and crazies, anybody can, right? I don’t have to go down there.” Sure, if you want inauthentic, inconsistent, pot-boiling copies with cookie-cutter traits relying on fixed characterizations that never feel 100% real, living and breathing. To write a
Donny Darko, Wild at Heart
, you do have to go down there.