Fairly Fearsome Future

I think this blog is going to be short. I made the mistake of missing out on doing a daily blog last weekend and find myself in the midst of the purgatory that is writer’s block. I have ideas for a few stories, feature-length script ideas, I also have several projects that need rewrites and/or reworking, not to mention the distinct lack of blogs.
I have started writing scenes on cards. You would think with all the technology and programs around – Final Draft, Scrivner, Celtx – that working scenes out in a random, as-they-come fashion, would be easy.

It isn’t. Something about clicking and dragging, as opposed to the shuffling about of 3 x 5 cards, is just less appealing and interrupts my creative process.
Meanwhile, other ideas are crashing in on my psyche, completely unrelated to any of the stuff I am trying to focus on. It is as if my brain is hardwired for procrastination, with the smallest thing taking my focus away from the task at hand.

This blog is a case in point, I’ve been writing it for three days and I have managed less than two hundred words!
I think the thought of writing a feature-length script is affecting me. There is no reason it should, as I have written longer pieces and shorter bits, but that one hundred to one hundred and twenty pages of a complete – no, I am not going to think of a trilogy! – story, beginning, middle, and end, is strangely daunting.

It is the building of a compelling story, with interesting characters, driven by an unavoidable goal, plus engaging the emotions, that is the challenge. It is exactly what every film guru tells you, what every great film shows, what every screenwriter is trying to and believes they are doing when they embark on a screenplay.
So, it is obvious now, as I write this babbling blog, what the issue is. It’s fear and not the weird, but strangely real fear, of succeeding. Nope, this is proper, I could royally fuck this up fear. This is the fear where you write something and end up second-guessing yourself, lacking the courage of your convictions.

This is the kind of fear that makes one write derivative works, clichéd works, boring, safe work. The sort of stuff that no one, not even your nearest and dearest, can get through when you ask for their feedback.
Perhaps I am being a tad melodramatic. The fear of writing horribly is all too real though. No one starts writing and tackles rewrites with the thought of producing something sub par. In the mind, it is always a great idea. Then you put it on paper and start, hopefully, to see the flaws. If you’re fortunate, they are easily fixed, more structural than poorly thought out.
Sometimes one can become wedded to a bad idea, desperate to make it work. I myself have many an unfinished script or story where the excitement of an idea, when you think you have an original take on something, turns out to be a bit rubbish or not as compelling on the page as it was in my head.

What is the alternative? Give up writing? No chance. Even as I wrestle with the notion of perhaps not becoming an Oscar, Emmy or Bafta award-winning scribe, or not being good enough to make the slightest dent in the lowliest of film festivals, I know that I want to write.
The thought of not writing or making a film has not really occurred to me as a possibility or probability. Maybe, even with the advancing years and a lifetime of experience, I still retain that almost necessary naiveté, believing I can still make my way in the cruelest and unforgiving industry that is film and television. Only time – and a herculean effort – will tell.

Stuck On Story

There are, apparently, many methods to use when coming up with a story or an idea for a story. The most common and by default, most popular, is the different perspective story. One reads or sees or is told of an incident or happening and tries to imagine it from a different point of view. There is also the method I favour of imagining what happened around the incident to cause it.
My normal approach to coming up with a story is to have one scene in my mind, it could be a short scene or even just an encounter, it may not even lend itself to a particular genre or even hint at a story, but once I have a scene played out in my mind, my brain will start building a story around it.
As tempting as it is, I will not start writing until I know how my story is going to end. I know if I start writing I will just waffle on, hoping that the story will work out. It won’t. Not that I plan the story or script out from beginning to end. Oft times I don’t even know what characters I have, introducing characters as I need them, a very first draft way to work.
There is a school of thought that says one should begin with a log-line, the story encapsulated in one sentence. This is supposed to help you stay on course whilst writing, the central premise of the work nailed in the log-line.

It is not something that I have tried with any great conviction, as I have always found it difficult to come up with a log-line and anyone who pays any attention to any of the many filmmaking gurus who populate the net, will understand my anxiety at not being able to nail my story in a sentence.
According to just about every filmmaking guru ever, one should be able to tell one’s story in a sentence. If you cannot sum up your idea in a sentence, it is probably not very good.

Admittedly, every classic film can be described in a sentence, but not necessarily a compelling one. Besides, what is of interest to one person is not always of interest to the masses.
The story, the script, has to come first, everything else is secondary. We have all seen beautiful films that did not quite work – “cough, cough” Avatar “cough, cough” – because the story was only written to serve the visuals or some new technological advance. Technology should help to enhance storytelling, not the other way around.
Write what you know is another popular gem that is bandied about by many a screenwriting sage. Though, on the face of it, this is good advice, what if you know very little? What if what you know isn’t particularly interesting? Some people have an encyclopedic knowledge of stamps, but not many would want to see or write a film about that.

If people only wrote what they knew about, some of the greatest and most imaginative literary and cinematic works would never have come to be.
This where the procrastination is both dangerous and a necessity. It is the fine balance between creative rumination and avoiding tackling a story or project. Sometimes one needs to take a step back from a project, let it sit awhile and then come back to it with a fresh perspective.

One does not want to leave it too long because each work has its own momentum, a momentum that once broken can take a long time, months, maybe even years to get back.
Like any skill or discipline, as ethereal as fiction writing can be, the more you do it the better you become. Unless you repeat the same mistakes over and over, one cannot help but improve with consistent application.

So it looks as though I’m going to have to contradict myself and launch into writing a story without an end in mind. After all, practice makes perfect.

It’s Story Time

Ever since I have decided that I am going to write a feature film I have had a mini mental block. I have no idea for a story that I think will make a good feature length film. I do not even have a genre preference. My short films were all couples related, comedic with a twist. A five-minute film, however, is a lot different from a ninety to a hundred minutes feature.
It is not even the long form that I am worried about. My favourite type of writing or story is the serial, with the arc running the entire season. Two ideas I have tackled and written are first episodes of serial ideas. Even when I wrote a sitcom it was with a six-episode arc in mind. I seem to find it difficult to think in terms of a self-contained, eighty, ninety or hundred-minute film.
Even as I write the above words I know it’s silly. After all, the length of a project is entirely up to me. Obviously, some subjects lend themselves better to a more detailed – serial – approach and others work better as a short format. Still, no idea or scenario is presenting itself as something to tackle with the potential to become a feature-length script.
I am thinking to just start writing, a bit like my approach to blogging sometimes, I write and something comes to me. This is not always the best approach, as even I have to admit that at times the blogs have meandered on occasion, the subject matter sometimes petering out.

The reason I write a blog every day – one day film related, one-day fitness and mind related, alternating – is that waiting for inspiration to write was not working.
Sure, I would occasionally get inspired and write furiously and passionately about some subject. Unfortunately, it would sometimes be months between blogs and, practically speaking, writing so infrequently is not the best practice.

I feel that my forced practice of writing every day is more beneficial than hoping or praying for inspiration.
It is a practice that I think I may have to adopt in relation to screenwriting. Probably not on a daily basis, but thrice weekly at the bare minimum. One cannot be a screenwriter or filmmaker without producing some kind of work, whether it is writing, filming or editing, because without the doing I am just another bloke dreaming of accolades without the work.
I also believe that one’s brain adapts to the patterns and challenges you throw at it. My decision some months back to write every day means that I am thinking about what to write or searching for a subject to write about every day. I know that I am going to write a blog and on which blog it is going to be posted, so I am – or my brain is – always searching for something I feel I can bring my voice to or maybe write about from an unusual angle.
My thoughts are that I need to focus on storytelling. Though dialogue is my strength when script writing, people watch and enjoy films and shows for the story and the journey the story takes them on.

The mechanics of story and scenes are something that can be studied extensively, with many a film guru or scholar on YouTube, blogs, Facebook and at seminars, happy to tell you all the things you need to do to write the ‘perfect’ screenplay.
Three act structure, five-act structure, fifteen point plot map, the twenty-two must use elements, so many possible ‘right’ methods to adopt or follow, but when all is said and done, it is still people doing stuff that they care about or cared for, that create stories that you might empathise with.
The upshot of all of this waffle is I need to start writing more fiction. Writing and wanting to write is what has ultimately driven me thus far. It is time to get even more strategic; it’s story time.

What Do You Like?

Criticism is a natural byproduct of making one’s work, efforts, available for public scrutiny. If you are a creative artist of any kind, be it writing, painting or drawing, film or sculpture, the only way you can hope to make a living off of your talents or passion is to draw attention to it. These days, every artist, of any description, has an online presence.
Visual artist especially, still tend to have their own websites, a hub where all of their works can be viewed in one place. For the true millennial generation, those who don’t know that the Twitter one hundred and forty character format is the maximum amount you used to be able to text by phone, the building of a dedicated website is pointless. Why would you build a website when you can get just as much traffic – if not more – through existing platforms that everyone is already familiar with.
With the exception of Instagram, on social media platforms, you can link to other webpages where your work can be more fully appreciated or purchased, or more information gained or any number of options. Linking creates a doable action, unlike the passivity of browsing a website.
Join a group on Facebook or a discussion on Twitter, gain a following on WordPress or views on YouTube, your name is out there known by the masses. So anytime you produce a new work or write something it is available for scrutiny. What about when you actually want some helpful critiques, what happens then? Nobody likes to be criticised, no matter how well meaning the criticism is. If your work is at a stage where you feel it can be shown to the world, a caustic critique of said work, true or not, will not be appreciated.
There is always a horrible dilemma when watching the work of a new filmmaker, one does not want to suppress their enthusiasm, yet still, there are fundamental mistakes that should be pointed out. Technical stuff is easily correctable and can be excused when it comes to the inexperienced, but there are aspects that are harder to ignore.
With so many tutorials and blogs, information and behind-the-scenes videos about filmmaking and the creative process, it seems inconceivable that anyone new to the filmmaking process would make rookie errors. Of course, being rookies, they make rookie errors. Scenes are flat or run too long, they look stagey, very little movement, just the camera pointing at people talking or, the worse thing, the actors are not very good.
I recently watched a short film – it was more a scene – where the filmmaker had posted the work for a competition and asked people in the group to watch it. Wanting to like it – I always want to like it – and wanting to support the efforts of any fellow fledgeling filmmaker, I clicked the link to give it a watch, after all, it was only three minutes long. Unfortunately, the acting was wooden and the story pretty much nonexistent, though it was nicely shot.
Even as I write the words, disparaging another filmmakers work, I feel like a condescending prick, having not put anything or any relevance out into the world myself in some years. The dichotomy of being both a film critic and filmmaker is not lost on me. Still, I am torn when it comes to criticising another’s work. Should one’s critique be truthful, explaining every dislike and point of contention? After all, it is just my opinion that said actors are not particularly good, others may view the same film and like the – in my opinion – stilted performances.
Does one say, no matter how well-meaning, if another person’s work is not up to scratch? And what qualifies a person to be a relevant critic? Knowing what is good is arbitrary, a view different from person to person. One person’s love of Citizen Kane does not make them the doyen of good taste and judgement. What is good or not is entirely down to the viewer, that is why films that critics have hated sometimes become massive hits and films that they have loved have gone down the pan. Nobody knows anything.
I suppose one just has to make what one likes and hope others like it, it is all anybody can do.

No Damn Idea Why

The more I learn about filmmaking the less sure I am. I know that a good or excellent script is a basic requirement, it being the blueprint for any journey into filmmaking, but can any film lover honestly say they have not watched a film, with a less than stellar script, that has not only been enjoyable but become a hit? Conversely, I have seen brilliantly scripted films, with creditable performances, gain no traction whatsoever.
Of all film genres, it is possibly the rom-com that reflects this phenomenon the most. The boy-meets-girl, falls for her, loses her and wins her back again, is one of the most recognised storylines ever. Getting it right is still about more than a good script.
Pretty Woman, the film that catapulted Julia Roberts to superstardom and brought Richard Gere’s career out of the doldrums, was a standard Cinderella story elevated by the unexpected chemistry between the two leads and the then little known Roberts matching Gere’s ever committed performance.
Moreover, many a film, even with the proliferation of script doctors and story experts, still manage to make fundamental storytelling mistakes, the kind of errors that get fledgeling screenwriters works shoved straight into the reject pile at many a production company. Take the present fashion for superhero films. I love the Marvel films, kicking off with the little known Iron Man, they have grown into a juggernaut of a cinematic story-verse.
However, if you look at the stories that all of these heroes have been built around, with the exception of a few of the films – Captain America: The Winter Soldier, The Avengers – though all of the films have good or adequate protagonists, the antagonist in a lot of the films have been weak and forgettable, with an emphasis on dramatic set pieces at the expense of plot and character development.
Obviously, in an established franchise or series, there is some leeway, the strength of the property allowing for a less than perfect script or story. Still, there are many examples where this is not the case, the classic Patrick Swayze film Dirty Dancing is one such film. The script of Dirty Dancing is poor. Fish-out-of-water meets have and have nots premise, Dirty Dancing is another film where the chemistry of the cast, plus the wholehearted commitment to the telling of the story elevates the film.
I suppose it is the collaborative nature, with so many having opinions, a persuasive individual with the ear of an influencer can get a weak script made, even if it is neither original – there are no original stories after all – or even being told in a different way. Sometimes things just get made. There is also no accounting for taste, with so many examples of films of the past being critical flops on release only to finding critical acclaim and cult followings later in life.
William Goldman, the legendary screenwriter of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Marathon Man and The Princess Bride said about filmmaking: nobody knows anything…not one person in the entire motion picture field knows for a certainty what’s going to work. Every time out it’s a guess, if you’re lucky, an educated one. This was a man who could write a screenplay.
It strikes me that one could and probably does waste a considerable amount of time learning to make films and write films, studying structure, theory, themes, character development and plotting, but still make a film that nobody wants to see. You could also strike gold and everybody might want to see your film, there is just no definitive correct way to make a film, no matter what all the film gurus and self-proclaimed doyens of cinema might have you believe.
The takeaway from this has to be to just do your own thing. Hopefully, someone will like it, if you’re lucky, loads of people might like it. After all, loads of people liked White Chicks, a film both brilliant and terrible. Go figure.

Writing Is Easy ​Until It’s Not

How do you measure productivity from a writing standpoint? If one is getting paid to write, I suspect payment and follow up offers of work would be a good barometer. What about the vast number of would-be scribes who are not employed to write – most of us – who write for the love, the practice and because you feel compelled to? How do you judge your output? Is a blog a day a lot? Not nearly enough, if one has delusions of being a writer of any note? Or is it all just procrastination, a way of avoiding the actual kind of writing – scripts, plays, books – that one ought to be focusing on?
It is probably, depending on why you write, all of the above and a bit more. In the world of blogging, I suspect there are as many reasons as there are bloggers. Not every blogger wants to be a writer, even if by blogging they inadvertently become one. Some are more sporadic than others, writing more streams of consciousness than subject focused blogs. There are many a diarist as well. For these types of bloggers, I suppose the volume of output is not especially relevant. If you’re just emptying your head, twenty words might work one day and two thousand the next.
Approaching it as a discipline, a task that must be done daily, as I do, it takes on a different significance. I like to try and write at least six hundred and fifty words, that is my minimum requirement. I have occasionally gotten really into a flow and ended up nearer a thousand, but the six fifty mark is my benchmark. It is an arbitrary figure with no reasoning behind it except that most of my blogs tend to run about that length.
With something like a script, it is much harder to quantify what constitutes a good daily output. Depending on the scene, with a rough guide of a page being one minute of screen time, two pages can feel like an absolute triumph. Because of the specificity of a script, or any kind of storytelling, you cannot, generally, just write and hope. Story structure dictates that there must be some purpose to each and every paragraph or direction.
Writing opinion is relatively easy in comparison to storytelling. In that way, blogging is definitely my procrastination, as it is more a conversation written down than a structured piece of writing. It is definitely a good practice, forcing me to come up with stuff to write about that is related to the blog’s title subject matter. I still know that I am just avoiding – delaying – tackling several works that would be closer and more beneficial to my goal of becoming a screenwriter and filmmaker.
The thing with writing as a profession, as opposed to blogging, is you have to get it right. With a blog, regardless of your following, you can write whatever you feel like and get it out there, no filters, no edits – though of course I do edits and proofread, still end up missing stuff! – no rigid structure. People will read it or not, but it will still be, in effect, published. If one wants to get paid for one’s writing, not only should it adhere to recognisable structure, but it has to be good, better than what a potential reader could write and entertaining enough for the prospective employer’s audience to want to read.
The initial question of productivity is not so relevant when viewed in the context of who the output is for and to what end. Writing regularly

Writing regularly every day is a good and necessary practice. Whether it the right approach for what one might one to achieve is down to the individual. For myself, the gnawing feeling of not doing the right sort of writing – both book and screenplays remain in limbo – is enough to tell me that it is, in a roundabout way, the best approach for me at this time. Hopefully, I am pretty sure it will manifest in a sudden urge to write one of those long waiting works.

Don’t Speak

Ah Ms. Banks, you really ought to check the filmography of those whose careers you wish to speak of before you decide to besmirch the name of a director, especially a white, Jewish, industry heavyweight like Spielberg.
There has been in Hollywood over the past couple of years a real push for more prominent roles for women and any race that isn’t white. That this is a thing in a country where a black man can start his own self-sustaining film industry – Tyler Perry – or a woman can, as far back as the sixties – Lucille Ball – run a television studio, is a little odd to a black person looking on from the United Kingdom as the U. S. was always the place to look for any sort cultural and ‘people like us’ references.
Blaxploitation, the blanket term used to describe the slew of black films that came out in the early seventies in America, set the tone. Films with black leads, set in black communities and featuring identifiable black cultural references. The films still managed to cross ethnic barriers, appealing to many outside of the black community at which it was marketed. Bruce Lee was the lone voice for Asian cinema with him popularising martial arts in the West.
Since the early days of cinema, it has always been a boys and their toys medium. Early works were made mostly by men, though Alice Guy-Blaché is credited as one of the pioneers of cinema having made a film, albeit only a minute long, way back in 1896.

What was important with regards to her early film, is that it was given a narrative at a time when other pioneers such as the Lumiere’s and Edison were only thinking in terms of a ‘live’ photograph.
Still Elizabeth Banks’ accusatory tweet – social media really gets people in trouble sometimes – dragging Spielberg over the lack of female leads in his films, whilst in some respects true – his films, like most leading Hollywood films, tend to have male leads – he did with his adaption of black author Alice Walker’s The Colour Purple back in 1985, address the issue of colour and a female lead – Whoopi Goldberg starred – more than twenty years before the first tweet or hashtag.
The world has changed over the past twenty years, the biggest shift being in social media and the ability to connect with people, at least superficially, relatively easily and quickly.

The internet has changed the way we receive and seek information. It has also become the place where everyone with an opinion can voice it. (I appreciate the irony of putting that statement in a blog!) A person with a degree of social influence – they get a lot of traffic on their blogs, Twitter, Instagram or any other social media platform – can start a topic and make it relevant in an hour, hashtags or shares spreading like wildfire.
That is how a subject you have never heard of makes the news now. Unfortunately, sometimes people like to jump on a bandwagon or wade into a subject that they have very little knowledge of or only know one side of the story. With the anonymity that can come with commenting online, some find a type of bravery that they would not display generally if asked to comment on a subject, whether they liked it or not.

Unfortunately, sometimes people like to jump on a bandwagon or wade into a subject that they have very little knowledge of or only know one side of the story of. With the anonymity that can come with commenting online, some find a type of bravery that they would not display generally if asked to comment on a subject, whether they liked it or not.
What’s so stupid is that it is easier than ever to check facts or stories before commenting on them or giving an uneducated opinion, the only reason to venture an opinion from a position of ignorance is laziness.
This need to call people out on supposed slights or for not stepping up to promote the case of women in cinema, in Spielberg’s case, smacks of bullying. To call out an individual when there are so many other high profile, not to mention more prolific, filmmakers who are not doing anything to further the cause of women or minorities in cinema is spiteful and truthfully, somewhat unhelpful.
It is good that many are no longer required to sit at the back of the bus, metaphorically speaking, but we must always be mindful to not let one sort of egocentric dominance be replaced by another.

Why Can’t They See Me?

I had planned to begin this blog with the popular idiom ‘the cream always rises to the top’, putting forward, in a roundabout and hopefully engaging way, the theory or belief that if your work is good enough, it will be discovered. I decided to look up the history of the phrase – research folks, just like a serious writer – and came across an interesting argument against it here.
It got me thinking, especially as the central premise of this blog is not about being talented, it is about that most dreaded of activities, one that anyone who is serious – that word again – about their craft, must engage in; networking.
What prompted this was a blog by the brilliant Lucy V. Hay (if you’re a writer and do not follow her you’re obviously not serious about it.) She points out that no writer should be without a social media presence and that this was also the perfect way to build your network. Hmm, network. Networking, not a thing that comes naturally to yours truly.
The thing is with networking is that it is sort of the equivalent of the long con. When you are networking, it is not necessarily for the now, or even for the when, it is advertising without selling anything tangible, the product being yourself, your personality. People want to and like to work with nice people, people they like. That’s not to say being nice is what gets you work or even noticed talent wise, it definitely helps though.
It is, as Lucy points out, about getting your name out there. Though many derided the work, both as a book and a film, E. L. James’ Fifty Shades Of Grey is known around the world, as is her name. As much as we might like to believe that, given the opportunity, we would only ever employ or utilise the best person for the job, if you are paying money to somebody and working closely with them, as much as the quality of their output matters, you would want to like them –  not have to tolerate –  as well.
Of course, there are those who could care less if they are liked, confidently believing their talent speaks for itself. That may well be true. One could indeed be an extraordinary writer, your gift obvious to any who should peruse your work. In years gone by, before the explosion of social media, you could, in spite of a less than warm personally, get discovered due to possessing great ability. Now, however, being popular, coupled with high competence, is what will get you noticed.
What’s that you say? It’s not fair, especially as you are so much better at writing than so many out there. No doubt you are, but think of it this way; an engaging and friendly writer has a social media following of ten thousand, you like their work but are not blown away by it. Another writer has a following of twenty-seven, writing heart-wrenching prose and captivating stories, only a smattering of followers but definitely superior written work. If both of these writers produce a book, which one do you think is going to gain the most traction? Don’t answer that.
These days especially, a social media presence is a must. If you can gain a large following, that’s even better. A writer with an audience is much more attractive to an agent, publisher or any person of influence than a bog standard brilliant writer, because not only is there less work for them to do, it also shows that the writer is prepared to work and push as well, beyond their comfort zone of just writing.
Now, a social media presence is only the beginning. You have to engage as well. Admittedly, this is where I flounder. I have quite the healthy media presence – Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube – I am out there. It’s the interacting where I fall down. I read other blogs, tweets, watch short films on YouTube, I even tweet and link works of other artists regularly. What I don’t do is engage. I rarely comment I will leave a like, but that is about it. I don’t even have the good grace to comment on comments left on my own blogs! I will comment or reply on Facebook, but the mechanics of that particular platform encourages that, also you can sort of ‘see’ everybody there. I have had brief Twitter exchanges, but that is such a fast moving medium you need to attack it with military regularity.

I don’t even have the good grace to comment on comments left on my own blogs! I will comment or reply on Facebook, but the mechanics of that particular platform encourages that, also you can sort of ‘see’ everybody there. I have had brief Twitter exchanges, but that is such a fast moving medium you need to attack it with military regularity.
For a writer Instagram is crazy! It’s a good place to show your likes and loves – mine being film – but its link-less architecture makes it a very niche platform, better suited to visual than written content. So how do you stand out in a sea of millions of web pages – some with cat videos, which for some unfathomable reason are popular – and great content? If you have the answer, please let me know in the comments. I promise I’ll engage.

Ask The Right Questions

There does seem of late, or should I say, since it has been possible to let any and everybody know your every thought, via social media. Unfortunately, some have forgotten the ability to filter. David Osbourne, a barrister and, it would seem, opinionated blogger, has written an article in defence of men accused of rape due to the female victims inability to give consent reliably, because they are too drunk.
He does – in a way only a person who has no comprehension of how strongly true rape victims feel could – blunders callously into the subject, castigating women who he believes should expect no quarter in law if they go out dressed inappropriately – cover up trollops! – and get to stupefied on drink or drugs to give clear headed consent, when some young buck, scenting an opportunity, should try to make a conquest.
The question of why anyone one would want to have a sexual liaison with a highly inebriated individual is perhaps a little naive, but one that needs addressing. Unfortunately the seeming need for young people and some who should know better, to drink to the point of oblivion, whilst still with one eye on a possible hook up, means the sex-whilst-drunk debate is not likely to go away anytime soon.
One enterprising lawyer has suggested that those seeking to get lucky on a night out, should carry a consent form with them, getting signed permission before any possible hanky panky happens. Interesting concept.
I think a person who has imbibed more than their bodyweight in alcohol, should be asked a different question. If they are insisting on being amorous, giving all the signals of being not only complying to a sexual liaison, but wanting one, one should ask for their cash card and PIN number. You would reason that, having no money, you need to purchases condoms for the deed. Anyone who would voluntarily give up their PIN number is too drunk to trust with any decision.
Of course this is being a little facetious, as every case, every individual, every situation, is different. The number of post alcoholic hook ups that could – some should – have ended in a law court are probably in the thousands, if not hundreds of thousands.
The decisions that would have happened in the lead up to any number of nights that end in a strangers bed are numerous. What do you wear? You’re a young person, you have half an eye on attracting another, you dress, perhaps, with this in mind. After all, no one can tell if you have a sparkling personality through your asexual, loose fitting, body covering, prison grey, boiler suit. Probably would have a shower, shave the necessary areas, spray, splash or dab on your best scent – armpit eau de cologne will not do. As is the fashion, a little alcoholic beverage, just to relax, is enjoyed even before you have left the house. You go out.
The bar, a club; wherever it may be, is awash with hormones. Eyes roaming for an attraction, that person of interest. Maybe for just the night, maybe a bit longer. A few more drinks. Something else for a few, something with a bit of kick; a buzz. As the evening wears on, the primal urges rise. Options have been spotted. More decisions; engage now or wait until later? If you wait and mess up, you are going home alone. If you engage and it’s a mistake….!
The opposing factions that argue for or against rape accusations are very emotive. Such is the difficulty in proving rape or sexual assault after the incident, even seemingly clear cut cases, that an accusation levelled where the initial encounter was a mutual attraction, regardless of alcohols helping hand, becomes a victim creating minefield. It becomes a judgement on character and believability.
Is it reasonable to expect a young man, brazen with alcohol and wanting to perhaps impress his peers, to have the kind of presence of mind to pause before approach a woman a little worse for wear? Should the onus always be on the man to prevent a questionable situation? Shouldn’t accountability fall to both parties? After all no one crosses the road with their eyes closed just because cars have brakes.
The subject is one which will continue to create anger, disgust and frustration as long as there are those who will venture an opinion as though it were common sense. So the question is; how do you broach such a delicate subject? Carefully.