I’m doing a film about transgenderism, and I’m not transgender myself therefore I needed to do some research into the realistic thoughts and processes they go through in there transition. To do this, I asked some of my friends who are transgender to get an insight into how I should write the script to fit the purpose.
Question and Answers
The first piece of research I did was asking my three friends, whom are transgender, about their transition. I came up with twelve questions to ask them about before, throughout and after their transition so that when it comes to writing a script I was 100% covered with information.
After writing out a storyline for my script and then re-reading the answers, I realised that I only needed the questions one through to six since I wasn’t going to be including life after the transition. From all three of my interviewee’s, I found that they came out to their friends before their family at ages of 17 and 16. This is a lot like my concept and script because Leo is a teenage boy who ends up coming out to his two closest friends first. The first person my interviewee’s tell is their best friends, this is exactly what happens with Leo because he tells his closest and longest friend Tommy first. This is the first part of the script that makes the storyline and characters more realistic. One of my interviewee’s said that when he told his mum “the look on her face was like she had seen someone get stabbed”, which is slightly along the lines of what I want Leo’s mum to originally act like. However, she’s then going to accept Leo and have the “as long as you’re happy, I’m happy” attitude. They all explained that all of their friends were really supportive, however it took their family a lot more time to come to terms with the thought. This is going to be shown in my film because Tommy and Sarah are going to be instantly accepting and understanding, whereas with Leo’s Mum she’s going to take a lot more time to understand and finally become supportive. The first thing that my interviewee’s did to feel more comfortable was were gender relating clothes to themselves, since my interviewee’s all were female-male they decided baggy and dark clothes were how they wanted to dress. Leo however, is going to be wearing more feminine tops, a bra and a small bit of makeup so that Leo’s more comfortable and relatable.
I’ve found that my three interviewee’s were very reliant on the internet. Another piece of information I used from the answers was that Leo goes through an aspect of his life of thinking he might be gay, rather than anything else. From my research I found that all three of my interviewee’s go through different stages of feeling gay, non-binary, gender fluid, etc. To try and put a name on how they were feeling, all three of the interviewee’s did some online research using Google and YouTube. One of my interviewee’s were originally confused about who they really were, but after doing some YouTube research they realised they had the same thoughts and feelings as transgender people online. This is what made him conclude who he really was. This is exactly what Leo’s going to do in my film. Another thing that my interviewee’s did was, when they were comfortable enough, they posted on social media that they were transitioning and explained their new names and pronouns. This is where I got the idea from for Leo to put a status on FaceBook before going to a party, because I feel like it’s a less personal way of coming out to a large amount of people. It makes it a lot less socially awkward, however more people will be able to see it.
By making all of these aspects as accurate to someone’s real transition as possible is what makes the film socially realistic. Therefore, this helps me fulfil the purpose of my film. The aim of my film is to be realistic, relatable and taken seriously since many people don’t take male-female transgenders seriously enough. This is because most people have the ideal of stereotypical ‘drag queen’ in their mind, however male-female transgenders have different thoughts and feelings to drag queens. By making this the purpose of my film, I have challenging the stereotypes by having Leo’s transition a minimalistic as possible by Leo dressing up in natural makeup and not a massive, girly dress.
I sent my script to one of my friends who is transgender, male to female. I thought this would be a good, valid piece of research since I would be able to see if my script fits it’s purpose of being relatable and accurate. The first point she made was a positive one, saying “The characters dialogue seems natural, and I really liked the relationship between Ava and Tommy”. This is good since I wanted the film to have a natural and realistic feel to it. She then proceeded to say “Enjoyed how comfortable it seemed Tommy was with his friends transition” since, I found out from my interviewees, many people who are transitioning have someone in their life who is comfortable and supports them every step of the way. I found this a good and positive start to her feedback because I knew I had nailed the realistic friendship bond of Ava and Tommy. She also commented on “the friend aspect” of the script, saying “Ava having people who’d support her is realistic and adds humanity”. I think this is great since it is what I wanted my film to be like, as realistic as it possibly can be so that people are understanding and also relatable to the film. However, she then went on to say “Maybe have someone who Ava thought was a friend who cant handle the news”. To overcome this problem without ruining the flow of the storyline and adding an upsetting scene, I suggested to her that I change on scene. In this scene, the group of four discuss Eddie Redmayne, proceeding to hint to The Danish Girl. To add the aspect of rejection from a friend, I could incorporate Kat commenting on the fact that she finds The Danish Girl gross or inhumane.
Next, she then said that “The Moms reaction was ok?”, implying that she didn’t find it realistic, especially compared to her transition where she had to move out before telling them any part of her feelings. She said if “she was ok with her son/daughter being LGBT, then she would accept Leo’s confession like she did”, which is good because I wanted her to accept Ava for who she really was. However, she proceeded to say that most people “can face rejections, disowning and abandonment” by their parents and “if you wanted it to be more realistic, you could have her Mum really struggle to accept her”. I understand where she’s coming from with this feedback and I’m going to try and fit this aspect into my script, however it will be a struggle because if her Mum didn’t accept her I don’t think she would have the confidence to go to a party as Ava. This is definitely going to be a problem I’m going to face when altering my script. Never the less, if that doesn’t fit into my script and Ava’s story, I can have her Mum accept her, just like two out of three of my interviewee’s mothers did.
She then goes in to say that “everything regarding clothing/hiding internet results and feminine objects” is very realistic and “close to home”. This then proves that I am able to create a relatable film rather than going over the top and agreeing with many wrong stereotypes. She gives me a summary explaining that she loves the “overall tone” and how Ava’s feelings and dialogue is “spot on”. This proves to me that interviewing my friends early on helped me develop a realistic and relatable piece of script. I sent my script to the friends I interviewed at the start and they provided me with good feedback and agreed that it was relatable to their experience. However, at the summary of this feedback she says that she feels Ava has “an amazingly easy time, which does sometimes happen in real life, but its pretty rare”. This is both good and back feedback, since it’s realistic and relatable, but not to the majority of transgender people. She ended it by giving advice by saying to maybe “address the feelings behind gender dysphoria?”. I find this a very good point since I addressed gender dysphoria in my proof of concept, but not in my final script. Therefore, I’m going to add a montage just before Ava gains the confidence to go to the party to add the aspect of dysphoria into my work. Dysphoria is where people feel that their emotionally and physically the opposite gender to their sex.
Overall, I found asking some of my friends to give me feedback very rewarding. I found that at first I didn’t have a lot of confidence with my script but now I do from the positive responses. I do have a few bits of things to tweak in my script, however I knew that was going to happen since I’m not able to relate to the script and write an accurate representation. This said, I feel like I did it pretty well considering. Conclusively, I’m going to be adding a slight bit of rejection from Ava’s friend in the script and some gender dysphoria. This hopefully will be the final changes I make to my script since this will be the third script change.