All posts by Emily Blake

Emily Blake writes screenplays with lots of fight scenes. She is a vocal advocate for feminism, polyamory, kink, and sex positivity. She makes most of her money as a script supervisor for film and television, but she also makes cosplays for clients out of her little apartment in Los Angeles.

The Other Voices: Tigers Are Not Afraid

I think we can all agree that children shouldn’t have to be warriors. They should have homes and parents and food and time to play without worrying about survival. Unfortunately, not all children get to have that. Mexican director Issa Lopez’ 2017 dark fairy tale, TIGERS ARE NOT AFRAID, is the story of a group of orphans who have to wake up every day and fight the evil that grown-ups are too scared to face.

This is not some happy story of victory over evil. It’s about the cost we ask our children to pay when we don’t protect them, and I know I’ll be thinking about it for days. It may take place in Mexico, but we are not so removed from this world. We conduct active shooter drills in schools now. Police officers sometimes assault or kill black children instead of protecting them. Our loudest activists against gun violence have become teenagers. This is a burden they should not have to bear, but they do.

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The Other Voices: Us

Obviously there are a lot of horror movies out there that are just meant to be fun, low-budget schlockfests to give you a good scare before bedtime, but if there’s one thing we’ve learned about Jordan Peele, it’s that he’s not interested in any of that. If he’s going to scare us, it’s not going to be with a creepy monster – it’s going to be with the truth of our own society. And his latest, US, is certainly in line with that trend.

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The Other Voices: A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night

I was supposed to write this article three weeks ago, when it was still October, but I had decided in September that I could just work 30 straight 12+ hour days doing 3 jobs and it would be fine. I am no longer 20 years old. It was not fine. I had to push one week for work, but then the Saturday when everybody was getting ready to go to all the parties, I dropped on the couch and suddenly realized I had a 101 fever and I was going to miss Halloween this year. I had multiple illnesses and ended up lying in bed for days without the attention span to watch a whole movie in between naps. Moral of the story: Even if it IS the American way, don’t try to work yourself to death.

So I’ve been away, but I finally got around to watching Ana Lily Amirpour’s 2014 indie film, A GIRL WALKS HOME ALONE AT NIGHT. Amirpour is Iranian-American, but she was born in England and moved her at a young age. She used film to relate to American culture, particularly loving the films of David Lynch, Lars Von Trier, Richard Linklater…. All the artsy guys. So it should surprise nobody that this film is hella-artsy.

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The Other Voices: The Babadook

I had no idea what THE BABADOOK would be about when I put it on. The impression I had from the Internet was that it was about a gay dinner guest in a jaunty hat. This was definitely a film where that lack of knowledge was helpful in making me very scared.

THE BABADOOK, an Australian film by Jennifer Kent, is about grief. It’s pretty easy to suss that out, which I like, because I can get really annoyed at films that have this allegory so complex that you need a PhD in Pre-post-colonial literature (an actual class I took in grad school) in order to understand them. Yes, I have a graduate degree in English. I have studied literature. I have been an academic. And I really hate having to use my degree to understand shit. Make your story deep and beautiful and artsy, sure, but make sure that at the end of the day, I can see what the central argument or point of the film actually is. Otherwise, what are we doing here.

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The Other Voices: El Mariachi

Many years ago, when I was a wee film baby, I read the book Robert Rodriguez wrote about making his first feature, EL MARIACHI. It was all about throwing caution to the wind, going for broke, and just making a movie with no money and a lot of moxie. He made this film with essentially no crew, which is why his book is called REBEL WITHOUT A CREW. I was inspired! Not to make a film without a crew, because that is exhausting and ill-advised, but to learn more about filmmaking and the work it requires.

Now, of course, I am film crew, and I’m a little horrified by the idea of making an entire action film with like, 3 crew members. I regularly see young filmmakers who seem to think it some kind of badge of honor to work with a tiny crew, like that makes them better. A filmmaker I knew even tried to tell me that script supervisors are an old-fashioned job that is no longer necessary in a world where you can shoot a movie on an iPhone. I can’t wait to find out how many continuity errors his most recent film has.

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The Other Voices: Girlfight

I was a very angry kid who got into a lot of fights in school. I went to a school full of nerds – and I was one of them – so fights weren’t going to lead to hospital visits and they were very short, but I had such a short fuse that I would just go off on whatever kid pissed me off that day. I really, really wanted to take martial arts. I finally did learn to kickbox with a trainer as an adult, but had to stop because of an injury. I’ve watched a lot of boxing and MMA ever since. So GIRLFIGHT has long been on my list of films I should have seen by now. Good thing I have a column that makes me watch movies directed by women and POC.

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The Other Voices: Eve’s Bayou

EVE’S BAYOU, the feature directorial debut from actress Kasi Lemmons, had a $6M budget and an entirely black cast. There are zero white people in this film – not even wandering by in the background – which seems like a pretty amazing feat for 1997 and an unknown director. At the time (and unfortunately for many years to come), conventional wisdom was that dramas strictly about black people simply couldn’t bring in audiences, but EVE’S BAYOU made almost $15M worldwide – more than double its budget – and is a critically loved film that people still talk about today. It’s number 99 on the highest grossing films of 1997, which may sound like a little number, but let’s put that in context. It came out the same year as TITANIC. And MEN IN BLACK. And GROSSE POINTE BLANK. Ok GROSSE POINTE BLANK didn’t do Titanic numbers (nobody did) but it’s a great movie and I’m not going to just skip over it.

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The Other Voices: The Kids Are Alright

Sexuality is a spectrum. You can be homosexual or heterosexual, bisexual or pansexual, heteroflexible, homoflexible…. That’s your business. And there are subsets of sexuality that describe HOW you feel attraction, not just who you’re attracted to: megasexual, demisexual, asexual, graysexual…. The list goes on. Some people choose not to identify at all, but all of these identities are valid, and sometimes fluid as we grow and change throughout our lives.

In the last couple of years since I became polyamorous, I’ve become more and more interested in the wide spectrum of sexuality and relationship styles, which is why my partner recently recommended I watch the 2010 film directed and written by Lisa Cholodenko, THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT.

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The Other Voices: Twilight

Until this week, I had never seen TWILIGHT, so as it is one of the biggest box office hits of all time to have a female director, I decided to give it a go for this column. According to Box Office Mojo, it had a production budget of $37M and it made a global $393,616,788 in theaters, which demonstrated to Hollywood that yes, teenage girls do like to go see movies, so you should make more stuff for them. That discovery eventually brought us THE HUNGER GAMES, so for that, I am grateful.

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The Other Voices: Short Term 12

2013’s SHORT TERM 12 is a film student’s dream come true. It started life as a 21-minute short film in 2008 – available on Itunes for $2.99 – and became an indie feature with a cast that immediately blew up like crazy. The feature’s got Brie Larson, Rami Malek, Stephanie Beatriz, and LaKeith Stanfield (who was also in the short film) – all of whom were relative unknowns at the time.

So let’s give a shoutout to the casting department, because you should never underestimate their importance: Kerry Barden, Rich Delia, and Paul Schnee. Casting is always important, but in a film where the story is carried not by a MacGuffin or some attainable goal, it’s absolutely vital to have the best actors possible on board, since their choices will carry a lot of the weight of your film. These casting agents nailed it.

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