An Orthodox Jewish Girl's Adventures in Film School...

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Death and Screenwriting

In my screenwriting class, I wrote a script about people dealing with death. Why? Well, the script idea was really born out of procrastination. The night before a summary of the idea was due, I spent my time working on another large project that was due the same day. I didn't have any ideas for short films, so I just thought "Hey! Why not use an idea from a novel I plan to write? I already have notes on it." Thus, my death script was born. My teacher really liked the idea, and even though I didn't think it was well thought out, I was kind of happy that I wouldn't have to think of a new one. Little did I know that by the time I got into the script writing process, I would be wishing that I had.

You see, I wrote the script based on my own death-related experience. When I was in my early teens, one of my siblings passed away. This began years of hearing one of my parents complain about stupid things that people who comfort mourners say, and how these people aren't just not comforting, but don't know how the mourners feel. So, I thought, what better thing to write about than how mourners really do feel? Unfortunately, even though I went through it, I apparently still don't know how they feel.

Throughout the whole process, I was very, for lack of a better word, logical. I was sad that my sibling had died, but I quickly realized that he was in heaven now (according to my belief system) and that what happened was for the best (also according to my beliefs). When people would tell me these things, I was annoyed that they were telling me things I already knew, while others in my family were annoyed at them telling them things they couldn't accept. I even went so far as to think it was selfish for people to be sad about the death, because it was only bad for them, not for the dead person. Of course, I tried to keep quiet about this so as not to be insulting to others' feelings.

So here I am, writing this story about mourning when I clearly don't know how the average person feels during it. I quickly realize there's going to be a problem when my story outline is read in class. I ask people what to do, and they say I should go ahead with my point of view despite its "uniqueness." This is what I do.

Today I got comments from my teacher on the script. He doesn't believe the character who lost a family member would be so logical. And he thinks that the young characters wouldn't express themselves as clearly as I have them doing. He says that the kids he knows don't express themselves that clearly, but the kids I know do. Argh! I'm totally stuck. I don't know how I'm supposed to write a script about something I don't know about without being cliche, but if I write what I know about, no one will believe it. What on earth am I supposed to do?

Monday, November 28, 2005

Posting the First or, So I Finally Have a Blog

After much thought and procrastination, I have finally decided to start my own blog. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

First of all, let me tell you a little about who I am. My name, or to be more accurate, my blogger identity, is JGirl. The "J" stands for Jewish, which describes my religion (I might've named myself JewGirl, but I thought that sounded a little bit racist.) As you could probably tell if you read my blog's title and description, I am Orthodox Jewish, as well as a student at film school. This, I'm afraid, is about as specific as I'm going to get with my introduction. For various reasons, I've decided not to reveal my true identity, but rather to keep it anonymous.

After weighing the pros and cons of both options, I decided anonymity was the way to go, mostly because it allows me to write what I want without having to risk the people I know discovering this blog and reacting undesirably. Not that I plan to use this blog to bad mouth friends and relatives or anything, it's just that I'd rather have the option of speaking freely on the internet in a way that I can't (or don't want to) with some of the people I know. Of course, there's always the chance that my true identity will get discovered, considering the scarce amount of Orthodox Jewish film students there actually are in the world, but I'm pretty willing to take the risk.

So now, on to the second topic of this first posting- what this blog is going to be about. I assume the general subject matter is clear from the title, but I'll get a little more specific. Being Orthodox Jewish and being an aspiring filmmaker are almost contradictory in the minds of many. This blog will chronicle my thoughts, feelings, and adventures as I try to make this almost-contradiction work. Oftentimes I've had experiences that made me think, "if only I had a blog to write about this in," and now I finally do. Hopefully, amidst my tales of long classes and late nights, moral issues and religious dilemmas, good friends and bad food, and anything else I feel like sharing with the world, you will be able to gain some insight into what life is like in the crazy crazy world of a young Jewish film student.