So, let’s get this whole rating thing out of the way, right off the bat. True Memoirs is an OK movie. It’s 5.9 out of 10 on IMDb, it received 43% positive ratings on Rotten Tomatoes, got an average rating of 3.9 out of 5 on Netflix. But the first five minutes of it had me rolling on the floor. You see, the movie starts with the author, Kevin James, working on a book. He gets to a fight scene where he can’t make up his mind – is it going to be fists? Knives? Guns? And while he’s making up his mind, his fictional characters are sitting around, drinking coffee, working on their tans.
I don’t quite see my characters when I’m not writing a scene, but what I do see – and what made this part of the movie so funny to me – is all the different variations on actions, dialog, gestures, and facial expressions that I go through before I settle on one. Does my hero grimace here? He was just frowning. And of course, my brow furrows at that point. I could say I was concentrating, trying to find the right word. But truthfully, I was thinking, he looks like this. Now, how do you put that into words? All the slumping in my chair, pounding my forehead with the palm of my hand, shrugging with my palms up – it’d be funny to watch me as I write…or maybe, it would be a bit scary?
I’ve also had the experience of being so involved with the trees of gestures and innuendo and the like that I missed the forest. I had one scene that I worked several times trying to get the interaction between the primary male and female characters just right. He was making breakfast. She had just come downstairs from the bedroom in her PJs. (And no, he had slept downstairs on the couch – you’re getting ahead in the story). Anyway, there was all this light, playful banter, teasing and shy smiles, mock exasperation and laughter. And after breakfast, they jump in the car and leave. It was one of my trusty beta readers that pointed out that my female lead had just gone to the store in her PJs. Yeah, but I nailed their gestures.