Tracy's blog

I’m Tracy Au and I have graduated from the Professional Writing program from university. I am an aspiring screenwriter, so this blog is used to promote my writing and attract people who will hire me to write for your TV show or movie. I write a lot about writing, TV, movies, jokes, and my daily life and opinions. I have another blog promoting my TV project at www.thevertexfighter.blogspot.com.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

"Down for the count"/ "Bisexuality depicted as moral fluidity"

Nov. 29, 2016 "Down for the count": Today I found this article by Stephanie Merry in the Edmonton Journal:



“Bleed for This” is the second of three boxing biopics this year — and the second to bomb. “Hands of Stone” has brought in less than $5 million since its August release, and “Bleed,” which debuted Friday, opened with $2.6 million. That doesn’t bode well for “The Bleeder,” which premiered at the Venice Film Festival in September but does not yet have a wide-release date. Despite solid reviews for Liev Schreiber’s star turn, will people pay to see another movie about a down-and-out prizefighter searching for redemption?

It’s a little strange how many boxing movies that studios continue to churn out. The top five most-lucrative of the bunch, adjusted for inflation, were all made before 1986. Sure, there have been a few hits along the way since: Most recently, “Creed” opened a year ago and turned out to be a huge moneymaker, but it was also a savvy play.

Not only was it part of the successful “Rocky” franchise, but the fact that the movie starred Michael B. Jordan gave the drama a younger and more diverse audience than another installment of Sylvester Stallone’s punching frozen meat would have. Not only was the movie very good — both rousing and poignant — but it hit a sweet spot of nostalgia and freshness that appealed to people who do not care about boxing.


For comparison’s sake, check out the box office take on “Southpaw,” Antoine Fuqua’s movie that debuted a few months earlier, which, despite the star power of Jake Gyllenhaal, landed $52 million domestically, less than half of what “Creed” brought in. “Southpaw” turned a profit, but it hardly left enough of an impression to get Gyllenhaal an Oscar nomination, which is the way the Weinstein Company was positioning it.

The problem with boxing movies is becoming more apparent the more we encounter them. The first is that the template is so tired. How many times have we seen the same training montage? The same Yoda-like mentor? The same trajectory of an underdog winning against all odds?

It was not that long ago that those tropes were enough, in movies like “Cinderella Man” in 2005 and “The Fighter” in 2010. There was also 2004’s “Million Dollar Baby,” though Clint Eastwood threw the audience a curveball at the end of that tearjerker, transforming the same old story into a masterpiece or schlock, depending on whom you ask.

By the time “Grudge Match” bombed in 2013, starring Stallone and Mr. “Raging Bull” himself, Robert De Niro, as long-time rivals, audiences could barely muster a yawn.

There was nothing new or exciting about “Bleed for This,” except perhaps for the movie’s lead, the young talent Miles Teller, in the role of real-life prizefighter Vinny Pazienza. The boxer’s story is certainly harrowing; he suffered through a nearly fatal car accident and a broken neck and still got back in the ring.

But is that really so different from Roberto Duran overcoming a demoralizing match against Sugar Ray Leonard in “Hands of Stone“? Or Billy Hope hitting rock bottom after the death of his wife in “Southpaw”?

You can sort of see why these movies get made. Some have a certain amount of pedigree. De Niro took on the de rigueur role of the sage trainer in “Hands of Stone,” and Martin Scorsese was an executive producer on “Bleed for This.” Maybe the involvement of big names makes the movies seem like a safe investment. Plus, sports movies tend to do well in general.

But boxing is trickier than a feel-good drama about football or baseball because it’s a sport that Americans simply are not that interested in anymore. As the New Yorker magazine’s Kelefa Sanneh noted, last weekend’s big fight between Andre Ward and Sergey Kovalev was the fight of the year — but casual fans probably had not heard of either contender.

We’re a long way from the era when a Cold War matchup would have gotten Americans invested in the outcome, and decades since so many American boxers, including Leonard and Mike Tyson or Evander Holyfield and George Foreman, were household names whose celebrity transcended the realm of sports.

The odds are stacked against boxing movies, but more keep materializing. Considering how difficult it is to finance a movie about women, or really anything aimed at a demographic beyond 25-year-old men, the insistence on the boxing drama must be discouraging for aspiring filmmakers looking to break the mold, and a slap in the face to movie-goers.

At least there is one bright spot. Audiences are punching back simply by not tuning in. The question is: When will studios notice?



My opinion: I really like this article because it was well-written and analytical.  Also I wrote The Vertex Fighter script so it was relevant to me.  My script was about MMA.


"Tedious TV trope: Bisexuality depicted as moral fluidity": Today I found this article by Zachary Zane in the Edmonton Journal:


In the season premiere of “American Horror Story: Hotel” Elizabeth’s (Lady Gaga) bisexuality is revealed when she and Donovan (Matt Bomer) seduce a heterosexual couple.

The steamy foursome quickly turns dark and gory; after the encounter, Elizabeth and Donovan slit the throats of their sexual partners, drinking their blood. Sleeping with both men and women to gain power, Elizabeth is depicted as the villain of the Hotel Cortez. She was duplicitous, selfish and evil. She also was bisexual. This is not a coincidence.

On television, the trope of the evil bisexual isn’t new. Last year, GLAAD’s annual report on the state of minorities revealed that bisexuals are often one-dimensional characters, typecast as villains. The report said bisexual characters are “depicted as untrustworthy,
prone to infidelity, and/or lacking a sense of morality.”


The 2016 edition of GLAAD’s report said this was “one trope specifically that GLAAD continued to see over and over again.”

Many bisexual TV characters lack a moral compass. They exploit their own sexuality as a means to get ahead. They’re also unabashedly shameless in their actions, never having an ounce of remorse. It is as if, for these fictional bisexual characters, sexual fluidity equals moral fluidity. In this regard, sexuality is not seen as an identity, but rather, as a personality trait.

This was true for other bisexual characters, including Felicity from Shonda Rhimes’s newest drama, “The Catch.” Felicity, a bisexual woman of color, was secretive and untruthful about sleeping with her female partner, Margot, and with Margot’s brother. When Margot discovered the truth, she confronted Felicity, shouting, “You slept with my brother!” Felicity, however, wasn’t shaken. She coolly responded, “I wasn’t aware we were exclusive,” apparently unable to see any reason Margot might be upset.

And of course, this was also true for President Frank Underwood, from “House of Cards.” Interestingly, Frank’s bisexuality doesn’t further the plot; it is not a defining aspect of Frank’s identity. The showrunner, Beau Willimon, rejected labeling Frank as bisexual, instead saying, “He’s a man with a large appetite, he’s a man who does not allow himself to be placed in any sort of milieu or with one definition.”

Frank’s bisexuality, therefore, is just one part of his overall lack of a moral code. He’s a man who has no problem murdering, bribing, betraying — and sleeping with anyone — to obtain power. It was as if his voracious thirst for power somehow related to his sexual fluidity.

There’s a dearth of bisexual representation in mainstream media. As of 2016, only 30 percent (83 of the 278) of recurring LGBT characters on scripted broadcast, cable and streaming programming are bisexual. Even though this is up 2 percentage points from last year, this proportion still underrepresents the bisexual community. Data from a 2013 Pew Research Center report reveal that bisexuals compose the majority of the LGBT community, at 40 percent.

When there are relatively few depictions of bisexuals, the representation and integrity of each bisexual character holds more weight. There are real consequences to depicting bisexuality as moral fluidity. It perpetuates negative stereotypes about bisexuals. It perpetuates the misconception that all bisexuals are cheaters, liars and are incapable of being monogamous.

This characterization reverberates well beyond TV: Depicting bisexuals as untrustworthy and unethical increases the stigma they already experience. Often, bisexuality is viewed as a pit stop on the way to being “full-blown gay,” especially for men.

As a result, bisexuals are more likely to remain closeted than gays and lesbians, and bi youths are less likely than lesbian and gay youths to feel there’s a supportive adult with whom they can talk.

Despite the inaccurate and immoral depictions of bisexuals this past year, there was one show that depicted bisexuality realistically and positively. Darryl Whitefeather (Pete Gardner), from CW’s musical comedy “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” came out in an informative song, “Getting Bi.”

In the song, Gardner’s character pushed back against the notions that bisexuals are actually closeted gay individuals, who are confused, indecisive and promiscuous. He sang: “Being bi does not imply you’re a player or a slut.” Not only was his bisexuality critical to his identity and growth as a character, it also had nothing to do with his morality. He was like any other good man, who also happened to be bisexual.


More show creators need to follow this example. Portray bisexuals as normal people — people you see in the grocery store — not just power-hungry, unethical, cheating liars. Sexual fluidity and moral fluidity are two entirely different things.



My opinion: That was a really good article.  I never thought about that, because I have never watched any of those shows listed in the article.


My week:

Aug. 25, 2017 Health food place: I did a job interview there last week.  I had passed my resume there a few weeks ago.

Pros:

1. It was close by.  2 buses that came frequently.

2. Pay was min. wage.   Some tips.

3. There were evening shifts but it was closed at 8pm, so it wasn't really late.

4. I can do the job.

Cons:

1. This is a mild con.  I didn't really like the food and it was 50% off.

My opinion: I would work there if I got hired.  I feel like I wouldn't really love working there.  

Pita place: I did a job interview there last week.  It was about the same area as the above restaurant.   I had passed my resume there a few weeks ago.  They put an ad up on the internet and I emailed them too.  Then I got an interview.

Pros:

1. It was close by.  2 buses that came frequently.

2. Pay was $12.50/hr.   Some tips.


3. The shifts were alright.


4. The food is good and 50% off.



Cons: 

None.

My opinion: I would work there if I got hired.  However, they seem to look for people with more flexibility like evenings and weekends.

Health food place #2: This is another location, but at a post secondary institution.  I did the interview earlier this week.

Pros:

1. It was close by.  It was  like a 30 something - minute bus ride.

2. The hours were mostly daytime.  When they close at 8:30pm which is not too late.

Cons:

1. This is a mild con.  I didn't really like the food and it was 50% off.

2. Also the tips we get, it's all put towards a staff party that happens twice a year where we get a free dinner at a restaurant.


My opinion: I would work there if I got hired.
 

Aug. 26, 2017 Bakery: I did an interview earlier this week.  The boss emailed me and I called him that day.  I went there in the afternoon.

Pros:

1. It was easy to get to.  One bus and a 30 something- minute ride.

2. The hours were daytime with set days.  I can schedule this job with the other one.

3. I can do the job.

Cons:

1. No tips.

2. No discount.  The bread that's not sold that day, is frozen.  I thought it would be free.  I would have to have pay full-price.

My opinion: I would work there if I got hired.

10 yr old boy saves his brother: I found this in the National Post in the Edmonton Journal

Jacob O’Connor saw his baby brother’s shoe floating in the pool first.
Then he saw his body.


It had been just a week since the 10-year-old Michigan boy last watched his favorite movie, “San Andreas,” an action drama that stars Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson rescuing his family from two hours of tragedy — an earthquake, a tsunami and, most relevant to Jacob, a near-drowning.


Johnson’s character pulls his unconscious daughter from floodwaters and gives her CPR, first in a collapsing building, then in a boat. Finally, she spits up water.

Jacob O’Connor saw his baby brother’s shoe floating in the pool first.
Then he saw his body.


It had been just a week since the 10-year-old Michigan boy last watched his favorite movie, “San Andreas,” an action drama that stars Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson rescuing his family from two hours of tragedy — an earthquake, a tsunami and, most relevant to Jacob, a near-drowning.


Johnson’s character pulls his unconscious daughter from floodwaters and gives her CPR, first in a collapsing building, then in a boat. Finally, she spits up water.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2017/08/25/how-a-boy-saved-his-drowning-brothers-life-with-help-from-the-rocks-san-andreas/?utm_term=.5954971ed275

Aug. 29, 2017: Last week was good because I worked 4 days, and 1 of them was at the 2nd job.  I also did 5 job interviews.

I also sat outside and read the newspaper over the weekend.


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