Monday, 19 February 2018

Scriptwriting


This kid, Gaten Matarazzo plays a lead role in Stranger Things. He also has a condition which means he has no teeth. Apparently, there was a bit of a panic when someone realised that his lack of teeth is not explained in the show so the script was quickly changed to include mention of the condition.
I can't figure out if I'm glad that a rare condition got some air time or mad that someone who has a small variation from "normal" has to be explained.
Does his lack of teeth actually matter to anyone but him? why does his condition have to be explained? Why does our entertainment need to "explain" a character's colour, disability, sexuality , etc? Do we demand explanations in real life or do we just accept that people are what they are?
Your thoughts?

14 comments:

  1. I get what you're saying, but maybe it could also be seen as a good thing because now far more people understand something they didn't have a clue about before.

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    1. yes, well awareness is a good thing

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  2. I don't see what the problem is. It seems natural to be curious about why a child has so many missing teeth, and the explanation gives us the answer. If he doesn't want to explain, that's okay too. You seem to be saying that there's something wrong with curiosity.

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    1. No I'm not saying there is something wrong with curiosity, I'm saying that in real life we accept people as they are but in film we seem to have a need to explain and it is condescending.
      I can only try to explain by example: I once worked with a man who had extensive burn scarring. When I first met him it would have been rude to ask what happened and when I knew him, it didn't matter. In film it would normally be explained but in real life we only get to know these things when a person trusts us so why do our producers/ screenwriters need to give the back story to differences? It puts an unnecessary emphasis on the difference

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  3. Cleidocranial dysostosis is an unpleasant condition. Fortunately, dentures can help a lot. If, for example, a person of very small stature appeared in a drama we wouldn't expect the writers to waste time explaining the cause of their small stature. To learn about unusual conditions we should probably go elsewhere.

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    1. Right, we wouldn't explain short stature (if the actor was short enough they would probably struggle in Hollywood but that's a different story) so why explain missing teeth?
      I do think that the arts have a role in education but I think we need to be careful of how it is done and the way i understand it, this was not an attempt at educating, more a cringey attempt to explain a physical difference

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  4. After reading the other comments and your replies, kylie, I'm thinking that part of the problem is that Hollywood movies are usually so one-dimensional that any deviation from so-called "normal" seems to be included only to serve a specific purpose in the story (for example if the child in this case was the object of bullying). In real life we see a far broader range of people. If we see a non-average kind of person in a movie we expect there to be a reason for it. And this is part of the reason I dislike most movies!!

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    1. that's a good insight! I'm realising that I need to work harder at articulating this so the to and fro is great for clarification!

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  5. Kylie please can you check your spam comments folder. I commented on this post and unless you deleted it I'm at a loss as to what has happened. I've been getting all the follow-up comments.

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    1. Graham,
      i never saw anything from you and can't find it anywhere in any folder. Sorry about that.

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    2. The points I made in my non-appearing comment have been pretty well covered by those who have since commented.

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  6. Comments on Blogger are regularly disappearing. I'm having endless problems.

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    1. my comments disappear but i always assume i got distracted and forgot to publish. maybe i don't forget as often as i think!

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  7. My first thought is that this lad would be roundly criticized by many because he was "obviously eating too much junk" - you know, that sort of thing. People are quick to jump to conclusions so I think it is good that they explained his missing teeth. Anna

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