Pre-production has begun for a concurrent film, "Real American Nudist" while Screening Room is nearing post.
CREATING A CHARACTER
Usually when a writer creates a character, he bases it on someone from his life. Usually someone who has had a major impact on him or her.
I did something totally different for American Nudist, something I never thought I'd do.
When I was in 26, a girl I'll call "Jenny" here stood me up on Valentine's day. It left me traumatized, emotionally devastated and scarred for the rest of my life. I never truly recovered.
Jenny inspired no less than 12 "F*ck You Bitch" poems, one of which got me temporarily banned from Borders.
The experience inspired an award winning play and I even incorporated it into my sci-fi novel.
But enough was enough.
I was instructed to create a past love affair for my main character, Taylor Kong. But no woman from my past had any real impact on me. Especially from Hawaii, which I used to call the hotbed of celibacy.
So what did I do? I asked myself, What if Jenny didn't stand me up? What if we had met that night and we had this wild, animalistic love affair which inspired me to create more positive plays and films. What if loving her gave me more insight to love and relationships right then and there? Instead of waiting years to find out what I'd been doing wrong, and not being able to do anything about it.
What if Jenny were my muse?
So a character was born. This Jenny Chan is nothing like any local girl I've ever met. She's smart, insightful, very spiritual and mature. She knows herself and can see through the hypocrisies of the naturist lifestyle, when Taylor himself could not.
She even gets to the front door of the nudist party before she bails, not because she doesn't believe in it, but because she sees naturism as a young person's game, and when she doesn't get that, she makes her opinion known.
She inspires Taylor, though she hurts him at the same time. But one lesson Taylor will never learn as I had, 'tis better to love and lost than to never have loved at all.'
The real "Jenny" never taught me anything except how to hate. To be honest, she was an immature slut and I wasted years envying her for her sexual prowess. The fictional Jenny forced me to recreate myself in a way that the real Jenny did not.
The real "Jenny" admitted she didn't believe in love. The fictional Jenny understands and can only give love, but not irrationally.
The real "Jenny" and every other girl from my hometown will probably never read this. That's just as well. I don't want to pay her any royalties, but then again, she didn't create the character.
And I credit those who create something that is timeless and beautiful, not those who try to destroy it.