Tuesday, March 28, 2006

What I Was Thinking

I've been doing some reading on John Hughes, researching what might have happened to the characters of the Breakfast Club on Monday. My idea was to create a blog, which I did, called shermerhigh.blogspot.com, and create accounts for each of the characters--Claire, Andrew, Brian, John and Allison; and even Carl the Janitor and Principal Vernon--then go back in time before the detention and have each relate their personal high school and family experiences, then the events leading to the Saturday detention, reactions Saturday night and/or Sunday, then start into Monday. I watched the movie and took notes on every small detail, such as the names of various teachers mentioned such as the guidance counselor, a Mr. Clark and a Mr. Tierney (with a history of slight mental illness), etc.

Then I read two interviews with John Hughes, who grew up in Shermerville, which was recently renamed to Northbrook, which is the actual location of the high school used in the movie, as well as in Weird Science and a few others I think. He explained that due to community expansion and big business muscling out small farms, farm communities became what he called bedroom communities, where the local kids became outnumbered by the rich kids. John Bender was one such kid.

It struck me then that as much as I relate to Bender, he doesn't belong to me. John Hughes created him and only he truly knows where he is bound. Hughes wrote and produced a movie called Reach the Rock, which got a critical and popular thumbs down, about a man who is blamed for his friends' death, who leaves town and comes back years later and raises hell. Not very uplifting. Hughes comments that the protagonist is as if John Bender had stayed with Claire after Breakfast Club and never moved on. I guess Vernon knew what he was talking about when he said, "Look John Bender up in five years and see how funny he is then."

The original version of the Breakfast Club was two and a half hours, but the studio made him cut it to ninety minutes. Not only that, but the studio destroyed all the negatives, leaving Hughes with the only copy of the original movie. Can you say, "Director's cut?"

At any rate, I'm moving on. The idea of the blog came from reading The Darth Side: Memoirs of a Monster. It had a short run on blogspot, but it became quite famous after being written up on Slashdot. The blog was written from the perspective of Darth Vader throughout episodes 4 through 6, better known as the original trilogy. It was pure genius and a wonderfully entertaining read. You can find it now if you are interested. But this feels different somehow, because his was a joke and mine would be more of a serious effort, which would simply be plagiarism. And that is a very bad word indeed for someone who hopes to create.

So here's hoping I can create characters so meaningful, if only to a cult few.


Toni Anderson said...

A big task trying to create the lives of those kids. But maybe more of a trial trying to live up to someone else's standards.

Getting into characters' heads and finding the motivation to move them forward in a meaningful way... the hardest thing in the world to do well.

Maybe you need to create your own highschool story so you have free rein on the backstory and the future.

Phew... now I don't have to tell you about my embarrassing knicknames at school :D Or those dodgy incidents... :D

Scott said...

I don't mind if you still tell me about those Toni...

Sadie Lou said...

Ah man!
I was excited to see where you were going to go with this. You are right though, the characters belong to Hughes. I'm with you: He needs to release the Director's cut. I wonder if he has any idea just how meaningful his movie (although cut to shreds) is to people?
You should write him a letter and tell hime about your idea. I bet he would love it.
Can you rent that other movie you talked about? I've never heard of it.
Keep going on this vein of highschool--I think you're on to something.

Bailey Stewart said...

Perhaps you're right. It was enjoyable though. I kept meaning to email you my high school stories and nicknames, but it kept slipping my mind. Still want them?

Scott said...

Sadie - I will keep going on if I can put something together. Thanks for the encouragement.

Eve - But of course I do!

Moni said...

I'm confused is the Shermerhigh blog still up are was it something you were going to do? Besides, Scott you are a very talented writer, make up your own characters instead of extending the lives of already existing characters.

I for one, love the character in your short story...but did he kill himself over her? I'll have to read it again.

Anyone talented enough to write that story can surely birth and breathe life into some new ones. You know what Nike says, "Just Do it!" I'll be waiting with my eye glasses on and a nice cup of java...no, Dr. Pepper.

Do it!

OOO but no "x"s the wifey might not like it. lol

Scott said...

No Moni, he killed her over himself. Thanks for the having confidence in me. I hope I can find a groove and roll in it.

I created the Shermer High blog but didn't do anything with it, and I didn't make it public, although you might be able to type in the address shermerhigh.blogspot.com, but it's not in my profile. I'll probably delete it now, but I was thinking of doing all the posts then releasing them over time.

Shesawriter said...

That deep POV is a kicker. The pros make it look easy, but for peons like me, it feels like root canal sometimes. Good luck, bud.

Ultra Toast Mosha God said...

I'd certainly be interested to see what you do with it.

I'll be watching the Breakfast Club again to re-aquiant myself.

Then i'll go back over these posts

mr. schprock said...

My feeling is you have so many life experience stories you can draw upon, you should work with those. They're a goldmine.

Kathleen said...

I agree that while The Breakfast Club characters are John Hughes (and some might argue the whole high school drama movie), that you are talented enough to write your own story(ies).

I remember the feelings your story evoked in me when I read it. I don't have any inclination toward writing so I'm impressed by people who can.

Trevor Record said...

Ah so that explains it!

I actually read that Darth Vader blog as well, it was very good. However, I remember a lot of Star Wars nerds making complaints in the comment section due to inconsistencies. But it was really cool when he made posts commenting on his reaction to encounters with his son!

The Zombieslayer said...

Heh. I lost thousands on slashdot stock. Remember that IPO?

Interesting read. I loved the movie when it first came out. I liked the Bender character, even though my father and I had a good relationship. It wasn't really a parent thing with us, but more we were working class kids that got thrown into a middle class high school and were totally out of place.

That's what I liked about Bender. He was completely out of place. I got the whole class part of it, but didn't know about the whole family farm part. That aspect is intriguing (sp?).

Scott said...

Tanya - If it's hard for you, then I'd better get to practicing hard!

Toast - I'm trying to formulate my own set of characters and situations. It's funny, but ideas I've had for several stories are taking increasingly more solid form as I read.

Mr. Schprock - You're right of course, and that was part of my realization. How do I want to feel about myself, shark or remora?

Kat - You certainly have the gift for gab on your blog. Perhaps you are selling yourself short.

Trevor - If you read this comment, I've been meaning to ask you if you know of any good blogs of that type out there now. That was such a clever concept. You know of a few really good comedy sites, so do share.

Zombie - Good to see you again. I thought the family farm bit was fascinating too, and I also thought the class issue was interesting. I got along with my dad too, with notable exceptions, but we were poorer than poor. I was like Bender and Brian put together, all attitude about my life situation, but nerdy and victimized by my classmates.

Trevor Record said...

Scott - I highly suggest you start reading Latigo Flint's blog. I consider his to be the best I've read, I am a huge fan of his.