[The Writing Director]: A Spark of Rom-Com Inspiration

I’ve had this image in my head for two years now. It’s this man in a suit, and he’s sprinting through an airport you know, arms flailing wildly. In one hand is a duffle bag, presumably with clothes in it, maybe some toiletries; and in the other hand is a bunch of red roses.

by Ben Cox

So he’s sprinting through the airport, security chasing after him, he’s going the wrong way on the walkway thing. I’m not gonna lie, it’s your typical clichéd climax scene (except that I want to open the film this way). I don’t need to go on, you can put it together and that’s not really what I want to talk about. What I want to write about is that for whatever reason, whenever I think about this I hear ‘We Belong’ by Pat Benatar.

Pat Benatar? Pat_Benatar_-_We_Belong

Thing is, I’m writing a romantic comedy and for whatever reason it’s much easier thinking of funny things when I’m listening to 80’s synth pop/rock. I’m sort of torn between trying to justify it and wearing it as a badge of honour. No one admits to liking stuff like Def Leppard do they? My friends know that I do but, you know when you’ve just met someone and they ask you what music you like, you have to really size the person up before you drop a “yeah I’m a big Phil Collins fan” into the conversation. It’s not really fair but my brain definitely screens that thought before letting it fly. Maybe that’s just me.

I was really struggling to get into this rom-com, it’s hard to feel like you’re doing something original with the genre because, well, you’re not. Ultimately if you decide to write one you’re better off just focusing on making it good. But how do you do that? Comedy is such a personal thing and as soon as I try to make people laugh it instantly stops being funny.

This is sort of what this post is about in a way, finding ways to inspire yourself.

Rom-Com-Con-Scipmylo-3I used to be embarrassed to admit my love of 80’s synth pop to people because, well it’s such a mocked type of music. The fact that it’s really not cool though is kind of perfect for my purposes. Not in a parody way, just that cool isn’t good for comedy. My comedy heroes are Will Ferrell, Ricky Gervais, Trey Parker and Sascha Baron Cohen, and I guess the thing that I want to steal from them is that there’s absolutely no pretense of cool in anything that they do. And it’s because cool isn’t funny, it’s cool. That seems so obvious, but I find it really hard to turn that part of my brain that screens this stuff off and just let it come out.

So right now I’m writing the romantic comedy that I want to see. It’s big, it’s ridiculous, it’s not cool but it has a lot of heart and isn’t ironic, just like 80’s synth pop.

Ben Cox

BenCoxonlinephotoAfter gaining his B.A in English Literature at Loughborough University, Ben Cox spent 4 years as a musician, playing bass in the band Kyte, touring internationally and releasing a top 5 selling album in Japan.
He left the group to pursue a career as a director and writer. Since graduating from the International Film School Sydney in 2012, he has written and directed three music videos.

Photo Credits: Ben Cox

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