Hello, my name is Andrew Jara. I am trying to be a writer/director. I made a film named "Last Days" that i'm trying to bring some press to.
About this town that is trying to kick out some of the last remnants of the KKK. The problem is it wasn’t titled: lower case t for time to leave
So I decided to write a bit about my documentary that i’m editing right now. It all started last march, when I decided to write a script about boxing. It’s called “Comeback” and I hope it will be my next feature. Anyway, I always liked boxing but was more of an outside observer fan than anything else. So to research the script, I decided to interview boxers and film it because, well why not? I also started to go to local events. Which is where I saw Jennifer Han for the first time. As a female fighter, she probably had the best and most exciting part.
Well about two weeks later, I went to our local golden gloves event. That’s where I met Jennifer as she was coaching her brother. He had a fight. Well I told her what I was doing and she agreed to talk to us.
After talking to her, she told us about how she started in kick-boxing, how they are mostly a martial arts family and how every one of her siblings box. All 5 of them. (3 girls and 2 boys) So after that we decided to turn our footage into a tiny documentary. This way I could work on something and still get my research.
Now my favorite documentary is Exit Through the Gift Shop because it was the first documentary that had great characters as well as a great story and just a ton of cool information. It is everything a documentary should be!
So we followed her and her family around. We found a fight she was having in Las Cruces that we could trail her around to book end the film and give some action to watch.
So now I’m editing it and this is how i’m doing it:
1. Before anything, I thought about the structure of the film and what I wanted to say.
2. After that, I started working on the film in segments, doing a backstory on El Paso (setting) first and then moving on to the press conference of Jen’s fight.
3. Then i will start to edit the scenes while also thinking of the narration. I have the equipment so I just record with my voice for now and lay it down. After it’s done I’ll put in a real actor’s voice.
And that’s really it so far, since I’m just starting. I’ve also put the interviews on my ipod and I listen to them when I drive so I know exactly what they have to say when I get to that point.
So that’ how I’m doing it. I’m not sure if it’s right or how it’ll come out but we’ll see. Film is about experimenting in everything and I’m excited for this process.
Also watch Exit Through the Gift shop if you haven’t. It’s splendid.
I was originally going to write this about just the difference between a protagonist and a hero but I realized that the word anti-hero gets through around a lot so I should add it too.
I’m writing this article because in both my creative writing and film classes, people did not seem to be able to separate them. They could not think of a story where a hero and protagonist are not the same. In fact, if I would point out such a movie, they would respond with something like: then he IS the hero. Which is not true, so let’s take a look at the differences.
As I was taught and what I believe is that a protagonist and a hero have two different meanings. When I was in seven grade my teacher described a protagonist as such: A protagonist is the subject of a story that pushes the story forward. This has stuck with me and this is what I believe. A hero on the other hand is someone who does the right thing. So a protagonist is the person we’re following in the story, whether they are a hero or not. In my film, Last Days, I tried to play around with who the hero was while never changing the protagonist so this topic I enjoy dissecting.
So if this is the case, then a hero can be a protagonist and vice verse but a protagonist doesn’t have to be a hero per se. Let’s take a look at some examples.
We’ll start with heroes because they are easier. Luke Skywalker is a hero. He is called upon to fight evil and he does so. John McClane is a hero because he does what’s right when he has to. They are also protagonists because we are following them in the story and it is their story we care about most.
Now let’s look at some protagonists. Patrick Bateman in “American Psycho” is a protagonists. At no point does he do anything to help man or anyone. His motives are greedy, homicidal, and psychotic. He is not a hero. Freddy in “Freddy vs. Jason” is also a protagonists. Quickly, Freddy has come out of hell to bring Jason back to life so he in turn can come back to life. Although presented as the villain, it is really Freddy who gets the story going and the human characters don’t really push anything until almost the third act. So it can be argued that they are just bystanders to the protagonists actions. Freddy starts everything and the film really ends with him.
But a protagonists doesn’t always have to be evil. In the awesome film, “13th Warrior” Antonio Banderas plays Ahmed. A traveler who has to journey with a group of vikings to defeat an ancient evil. It’s basically a retelling of beowulf. It is Ahmed, who we are following but it is the beowulf character who is the hero of the tail. It is Beowulf who defeats the monster and Ahmed is just kind of along for the ride. This is a great example of a protagonist and hero difference. Both are “Good” Characters but one is the hero and the other is the protagonists.
Now on to anti-heroes. I feel like this word has replaced the word protagonists and it gets tossed around way too much. Remember a hero is someone who does the right thing and in turn an anti-hero is someone who does the right thing reluctantly or against his character. Snake Plissken in Escape from New York is an anti-hero. In the film, Kurt Russell plays Snake, a long-time criminal, who is sent into a futuristic prison to rescue the president. It is against his character that he does this so that is what makes him an anti-hero. Riddick in “Pitch Black” is another example. Riddick, being a serial killer, is forced to band together a group of survivors on an alien infested planet. In the film, Riddick does not become a hero until nearly the end of the film when he decides to rescue a group that was left behind. His motives have changed from selfish to caring.
I think that is why anti-heroes are so much fun to write and make such great characters. Because they can be ruthless and terrible to get things done. But they also must make the right choice so their character change is easy to see and so easier to write and notice. But I stress, they must do the right thing.
Patrick Bateman is NOT an anti-hero. He doesn’t ever do the right thing. He is only in it for himself and even states that his goal is to bring pain to everyone around him. He is the villain.
I hope this article taught you something (even if it’s how wrong I am) and if nothing else I hope you were entertained. I know many of you are saying this is common knowledge but you’d be surprised how many people get this wrong.
So next time you go watch a movie or read or want to right, think about the protagonists and try to decide what kind he is. Is he a hero, an anti-hero or none of the above?
And if you haven’t seen the movies I mentioned, check them out. Tell me what you think.
Okay so I decided to start writing articles about different things. Maybe i’ll write about something that interests me, a movie review or a more in depth progress report on the things i’m working on other than editing! I’m doing this so that maybe people will take an interest in me more as a director/writer than as a posting movie gifs guy. Before I do that though I want to write a couple of things about myself so that you get a sense where i’m coming from.
1. I graduated from the New Mexico State University where I majored in filmmaking and I also have a minor in Creative Writing from the University of Texas at El Paso.
2. I’m from El Paso and I love it here. I’m mexican and we live on the border. (I may write about El Paso in one of these as I’ve been researching the shit out of it for the boxing doc)
3. I’m not the best with grammer (which you may already know lol) i type very fast and have the tendency to miss things. It doesn’t mean I don’t care, I just don’t realize it sometimes. I have come to terms with never being a literary writer so try not to point it out unless it’s terrible.
4. I like all types of movies. I can watch Tree of Life and Transformers in the same week and like them both the same. I will watch anything that interests me.
5. These articles are what I believe. You may not agree with them but they are just opinions so I hope to hear your thoughts and recommendations! I’m also interested in what other people think so don’t be afraid to reply.
Okay so I hope you’re ready and I’ll try not to do it too much. (there will always be room for gifs and I hope you enjoy reading them)
My first post will be today or tomorrow and it will be titled: Protagonists, Heroes and Anti-Heroes: What they mean.