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Updated every Monday, one selected e-mail will be posted and answered here each week. With many years of experience in the film and television business, I look forward to providing answers to your questions about screenwriting or the entertainment industry in general.  Please send your e-mailed questions to: Script Advisor.  You may also wish to visit our Screenwriting Help E-Mails - The Archives.

This week's question: 

I don't like being a "contrarian," but I wasn't one of those that was completely knocked over by the Constant Gardener.  Do you have an opinion about that screenplay, DcH?

Sylvia A. from Mass

This week's Answer: 

The Constant Message

Sylvia, don't worry about being a Contrarian.  (How is life on the planet Contrary these days, by the way?)  There's nothing wrong with being a little contrary once in a while (especially if you're being contrary to a contrary life.  That'll fix 'em.  Or fix you.)  On the contrary (sorry), as long as you have passion behind that urgus contrarius (I like to make up Latin sayings.  I mean, heck, it's such an ancient language and no one is using it much even in the U.N., I figure nobody's going to check.), then why not get a little contrary once in a blue moon.

That's very interesting that you have a constant gardener (does he come seven days a week?) and I am glad that he only somewhat knocked you over.  Gardeners have been known to do that, particularly when they're not looking where they're going (or blowing, if that should be the case).  If, Sylvia, you happened to have inadvertently omitted some quotation marks or neglected to italicize the words, and, also forgot to capitalize the "t" in "The" in  your phrase  "the Constant Gardener" (the capitalization of the first letters of "constant" and "gardener" could be referring to somebody with the first name of "Constant" and the surname of "Gardener."  Let us not forget that wonderful character, Chauncey Gardiner, just to confuse matters more.),  you may be referring to the recent, much-praised film "The Constant Gardener."  

I did have the privilege of attending a screening of the film and, as much as I enjoyed the pristine and harsh beauty of Kenya, and was involved in discovering the direness of the pharmaceutical problems in said area, and cared about the relationship between the protagonist and his reactionary and courageous girl friend, I believe the screenplay worked far too hard to get across its message.  When you have viewers silently screaming within:


... it could indicate that there's a problem with some aspect of the script.



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