When I was a student in film school, my writings always focused around my personal experiences. My professors suggested I get out of my comfort zone. Write something with no creative restrictions. I sucked up all the anxiety, and boom! I created a story of a girl gang of assassins whose job is to kill abusive husbands. From an early age, I always felt interested in girls’ coming of age stories, especially when the girls came from a different background from myself. Growing up in the fifth largest city in the United States with the unique opportunity to attend an all girls high school, my perspective on how women actually interact which is a direct counter from how most forms of media depict female dynamics. My life has been shaped by the strong women. My short is a thank you to all of them.
The Sirens is a response to the many subliminal messages that women should not stand up to men. My studies in film school focused greatly on this genre of films in college, especially Quentin Tarantino and the rise of comic book films, I found that the women characters lacked depth, lines of dialogue suggesting submissiveness, and messages to women on how they “should” be. Personally, I’m sick of watching these films defining strong female leads. Films like Kill Bill, although it is cinematically beautiful, has tons of subtext surrounding rape and abuse. Harvey Weinsten was the executive producer after all. People love Kill Bill, but why? Why do we as a culture have to love a film that underlines women pitting against each other for the love of a toxic man? I want The Sirens to have a cult following much like Charlie’s Angels or the Powerpuff Girls with the aesthetics of Ghostworld and Death Proof. Much like assassin movies prior, I plan on using wide frames with 50-85mm lens. I would love the color palette to be vivid within dark settings.
As a novice filmmaker, I present these toxic behaviors to engage in a conversation on how as a society can we stop glorifying these traits. This film sheds a light on how this generation of women view domestic violence and abusive behavior in relationships. Tons of films show the depiction of slapping a woman or harming a woman without understand that showing those actions with justification enables the behavior. Creating a film is creating a fantasy. When you look into a filmmaker’s visions of fantasy and see abusive behavior, it sends the message that it is okay to act this way. The Sirens are here to tell everyone it is NOT. It is not okay to be violent towards ANYONE, especially someone who partakes in a romantic relationship with you. The Sirens is a retaliation film against an abusive male gaze. Although there is violence in the film, the girls do not encourage others to be like them. Each one fights an internal battle regarding their relationship with men. It is important that The Sirens show their young female audience what is not okay in a relationship. As a director, I hope that the audience will make an effort after watching the film to bring awareness to helping victims and abusers. Abusers need help, too!
I expects there to be a strong emotional impact from the audience. The girl gang dynamic will make people laugh like they are with their own friends. If people cry, they empathize with the excruciating pain caused by violence. My hopes for the audience’s response is to become aware of how great of an issue domestic violence is and how it effects everyone. This is not just a woman’s issues. The filmmaker encourages the men/boys in the audience to become aware of this toxic behavior and finds way to bring awareness to it from their perspective. As the writer and director, I encourage awareness and forgiveness–to a degree, because situations vary– for abusers. The issue cannot be solved by winded debate but psychological understanding leading to living and depicting healthy relationships.
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Hey guys! Welcome back to yet another shit post by yours truly. Haha! How are you doing? I hope my readers had a wonderful new year and their January will bring in lots of positivity towards new, healthy habits. There will be a “Super Moon. Wolf Moon” Full Moon on January 20th, so look out for that energy! Between that and the eclipses going on, the cosmic energy is very present. I know it is in my life right now. Currently, I am developing two feature films while researching grants for my short “The Sirens.” If anyone has any grants that they think I should apply for, send me a message! Please and Thank You!
Anyway, I wanted to discuss a prominent issue I face when writing. Writer’s Block. This is probably the infamous problem among all of us writers. Constantly questioning the worth of your writing that leads you to distract yourself from reaching your page goal. I had so much writer’s block during my time studying screenwriting in college. A part of me wants to blame the class structures for not enabling the writers to explore ideas BEFORE writing. Ultimately, my work falls back to reflect me as a writer. That is why, I plan to write my ideas with full speed and prepare myself for these writer’s block.
Writer’s Block happens. Life happens, and a lot of times, life has a negative pull on our creativity. Family drama can pull your focus on your relationships and away from your project. It is okay! I find that addressing all the dramatics around me before going in to write helps my focus. I choose to journal about all the exterior problems pulling focus from my writing, even though that it does not always stop the distractions. Besides that, it is important for me to address forgiving yourself when you encounter Writer’s Block. All of our favorite writers and other artists have had moments where they felt stuck. So, what comes next after addressing the Writer’s Block?
Well, I have a few ways of breaking out of the block!
- Writing Warm Up. Just like when you go into the gym, it is important to warm up! Writers have a tendency to put so much pressure on their writing, that they only focus on the pressure and not the work. I suggest writing in your journal/notepad for five minutes before actually writing. This five minutes does not have to be structured! You can make lists, write something that would come out of a sad 15 year old poet, etc. Taking a few minutes to align your mind to write really aids the process.
- Track your thoughts. What I mean by this is write down all your thoughts into your journal, on a piece a paper, notepad, etc. The key to this is having no judgment! Just write your thoughts. I learned this technique in my Creative Writing class from my senior year of high school. The assignment was to write 5 pages, it had to be physical paper, of your thoughts with point of you with the opposite gender. The beauty of this was realizing that your thoughts do not have a gender and a good writer has to learn to write characters unlike themselves. I found the universal meaning in the assignment, which is why I am choosing to share it! If any of you writers reading this think this maybe a weird technique, just try it out. You’ll learn something about yourself.
- Listen to Music while Writing. Through much trial and error, I found that writing with classical or jazz music in the background really helps me focus on the words I need to get out. I find a lot of times that listening to music with heavy emphasize on lyrics distracts me from my writing. Although sometimes I do need to listen to specific music to get thinking of a time period, I notice that my concentration is not strong.
- Block Out Time to Write. It’s not so simple these days to be completely distraction free. With cellphones and the constant notifications from all these apps, it is SO easy to check your phone while writing. You check your phone, and keep checking, until three hours have passed while you fell into the instagram trap of constant scrolling and refreshing. Yup, been there. Put that phone on Do Not Disturb for that hour or two you want to focus on your writing. I think putting a timer on for the amount of time you want to block out helps. Not only does the ring of the timer release a sense of accomplishment, you can then allow yourself to take a break from writing. Leading me into my next point.
- Schedule time to write and time for breaks. Once you figure out your schedule that allows you to block out a set amount of time a day or week to write, it is important to include breaks into the writing sessions! Your brain can only focus on one thing for so long before getting burned out a little. Breaks allow you to check your phone, eat something, call a loved one, etc. Taking yourself in and out of your work time really gives you a sense of control in a completely good way that with practice will aid your writing potential.
- Work on More Than One Project. Of course, our lives as writers does not always allow us to write projects solely based on ourselves. Lots of times, we work with others to collaborate on their writing projects or work at a job that does not enable our creative writing to actually work. That’s why I suggest having a few ideas to develop during your writing time. I work better having a couple of choices. Everyone is different and another writer can disagree by stating that focusing on one project until its completion is more productive.
- Reward Yourself! Whenever I experience writer’s block, I tend to indulge in activities like shopping or watching tv. I urge myself every time I have a block to write, then do these things. Yes, I know it is so much easier said than do. But, no one is going to write your story for you the way you want it written. I promise the reward you give yourself after putting all your energy into writing, even if it’s just a page, will feel so much better opposed to use the reward as a distraction.
I hope these tips are helpful to my fellow writers. These tips for Writer’s Block are not exclusive to writing, so indulge in them if you feel blocked in your work.
Over all, highlight moving forward every time you encounter Writer’s Block, because wallowing in all the words that you did not write waste more of your time not writing.
– Sabrina Shits