Saturday, August 24, 2013

What is so interesting about Wonder Woman?

This image currently graces the wall of my home gym.

In case you missed it, this morning there was a pretty epic Twitter discussion about the validity of a Wonder Woman film. I would link to it, but there's not really anything to link to. I wish we had developed a hash tag. You should see my mentions feed, though. It's bananas. Shit got twittercrazy.

It began with a question that has been asked before in various ways by various people:

What is so interesting about Wonder Woman? Why does anyone want a Wonder Woman movie? Is it just because she's a woman?

So I'm going to give you my answer. I can't speak for everyone else who loves Wonder Woman; I can only speak for myself. Anyone with an opinion is welcome to chime in with a comment as long as you're not a dick about it.

Anyone who knows me knows how much I want the Wonder Woman job. I'm sure I'm not alone; I know of at least one other wonderful bitter writer who would probably shoot me and step over my corpse for the opportunity. I like to imagine that one day we will be meeting back to back with DC to give our pitches, and by the time the producer comes to collect us, he will open the door to find us beaten and bloody and exhausted on the floor, seconds from death, like in the War of the Roses. Winner take Wonder Woman.

But back to the question, which is "Why does anyone care about Wonder Woman?"

Well the obvious answer is: Why does anyone care about Batman or Superman or Iron Man or Green Lantern or Thor or Captain America or The Punisher or Jason Bourne or James Bond or Marty McFly or Sarah Connor or any character ever?

But I get the point. The point is, why her, specifically? Why do some people seem to need her so desperately in film form? Is it just because she's a woman?

Well, yes and no.

First of all, I'm going to talk about her as a character in general, not in any specific version. There have been too many reboots, too many different takes on her character to pick one on which to hang her entire story. I think a large part of that is because as the nature of feminism has changed, she has changed with it. Things that seemed really ahead of their time when she debuted seem completely outdated now. But there are aspects of her that have always been pretty consistent, and that's what I want to embrace.

First of all, the fact that she is a woman is absolutely relevant.

You remember the Power Puff Girls? I loved The Power Puff Girls. Bubbles was my favorite. My favorite episode was Equal Fights , about a female bank robber named Femme Fatale who only stole Susan B. Anthony dollars. The episode poked a little fun at feminism while at the same time embracing it. In one scene, as the girls are chasing Femme Fatale across the sky, she tries to convince them that girls should stick together. As proof that men have run the world for too long, she asks the girls to name a major female comic book superhero who is not just a male superhero's opposite or sidekick. They immediately name Wonder Woman. Then she asks them to name someone else. They hem and haw and in the end, they got nothin.

There is nobody else, not like her.

She brings something to the comic book table that none of the other big stars have - she is a woman. But she hasn't been taught that she's a woman; she's been taught that she's a person. She didn't grow up being told she was nothing but a sex object, or that her mission was to get married and make babies, or that she had to pretend to be stupid so boys would like her, or that there were jobs she'd never be able to do. For that alone, she's kind of a hero to the rest of us who did grow up with those ideas being thrown at us day after day. It is so awesome to see a strong woman who treats herself as a person just like a man would. She's a role model, because every woman should be so confident. When you've been beaten down and your confidence completely eroded by some sexist prick you were forced to deal with on the Metro or at work or at home or at the store or just about anywhere - you can look at a photo of Wonder Woman being a compete badass and pretend for just a second that you are her.

Isn't that what super heroes are about? Wish fulfillment?

But is the fact that Wonder Woman is a woman all that makes her interesting? Absolutely not.

Unlike Superman, Diana was an adult when she crossed the threshold into the unknown. She already knew who she was and what she believed in, so she had to adapt to a world completely unknown to her. I can't think of many other heroes who had that experience. Most of them were born here and turned into superheroes, and as I mentioned, Clark Kent came here as a child, so he was raised in the American way. But Diana has always been a little foreign to our culture.

She became an ambassador for her island so that she could use diplomacy to solve problems because the Amazons believe first and foremost in peace. Sure, they can kick your ass if they need to, but they'd really prefer it if you'd just be cool. They live on an island away from men so they don't have to deal with the bullshit the violent world offers.

But Diana rejects the isolation that island provides, instead choosing to help the violent world get its shit together. This isn't her world. She has no obligation to save it. She CHOOSES to stay because she wants to help bring peace to the world.

And she brings peace by beating the shit out of people who cause trouble. She is righteous, but that doesn't mean she can't be wrong. Because how hypocritical is that? She fights to maintain peace? That's a problem in her very mission, and one she must come to terms with if she wants to make the most out of her gifts.

I don't care about the lasso of truth or the invisible ship or the bustier (although seriously something has got to be done about that bathing suit. I don't care if you are an immortal goddess, you can't expect to fight anybody successfully in that thing.) or the tiara. She's got a great body. Of course she has a great body. She's genetically perfect. Plus she works out a lot.

But the body, the outfit, the props - those are just trappings. Wonder Woman is much more than that. And she means so much to so many women. I LOVED the Linda Carter show as a girl. She was cool, and she didn't take no crap from nobody. I needed that. We all needed that.

And we need Wonder Woman. It's okay if you're not interested in her story. I don't expect everyone to love Diana the way I do. I don't love (insert thing you love here) as much as you do, and that's okay too. But that doesn't mean it shouldn't exist.

I'm actually glad the studio hasn't thrown together some piece of crap Wonder Woman movie just to get it out of the way. I'd much rather they take their time, find the right writer (Me) and create the best possible story for her. But we do need that story. There is a great one in all that convoluted history. Even if I'm not the one to tell it, I hope someone great gets the chance to. Because I want to see her on that screen, just as important and ass kicking as all those boys.

It would be the ultimate chick flick.

Monday, August 12, 2013


A couple of years ago, I was in a fantastic writers group for a little while. It was 4-5 people at each meeting, and I learned more from that group than I can accurately express. We were all on the cusp of something, and luckily for me I was the least experienced member, which meant I got the most benefit. It was may favorite thing about Sundays.

But then one member of our group got a big break, and suddenly he was off meeting and working so much that he had no more time for the group. Then another member started preproduction on a film he was directing. Then we just sort of... stopped. We always meant to start up again, but half our group got incredibly busy.

Because that's what happens when you start to do well. You get busy.

That's what's happened to this blog. Over the last month I had a novel to read and develop a pitch for, three rewrites to complete, notes to do for people who donated to my fundraiser, A web series to develop with friends, Comic Con to attend, dog walking jobs to do, and a social life to maintain. I only had two meetings, but I still ended up with no extra time in my day. Naturally, the blog comes in last place on my list of priorities.

That's a good thing. Not only does being busy mean your career is headed in the right direction, but it also makes me happy on a personal level. I love being busy. Last Christmas I wrote an adaptation for a novel I do not own the rights to because I had nothing to work on and I got bored. Yes, I wrote an entire screenplay out of boredom. It was my love project, and I'm super proud of it, but it's also an example of how much I hate not having something to work on.

I didn't really get it back when I was in that writers group. When one member suddenly took off and started seeing success, I couldn't figure out why he didn't still have an hour on Sundays to work with us. The truth is, every minute becomes necessary. These past few weeks, I had to schedule my days around writing time. I planned out exactly which days I'd be working on which rewrite.

I'm lucky in that time management is a skill I've learned from my time as a yearbook adviser, where I had to pay extra money from our account if we went past our due date. Now, if I say something will take me three days, it will probably take me two and a half. I leave that extra half there in case an emergency crops up. Then again, I was born the day I was due, so it's possible that I am genetically predisposed to being on time.

Juggling multiple projects and managing your time wisely is something you will have to learn to do as a screenwriter. Stuff falls through all the time, and even projects that succeed take forever to get where they're going, so you should always be working on the next thing. I think that may be one reason I like keeping busy so much: as long as I'm working on the next thing, I don't have time to be impatient about the last thing.

The short of it is, I don't know what will happen with this blog. I will keep it, and I will contribute to it on occasion. But I fervently hope that in the days to come, I'm too busy to post to it. Maybe when I finally get something greenlit I will be able to share some of the process with you. We'll have to see. In the meantime, I'll keep writing. You keep writing. Let's all stay busy.