One of the first tools you learn when studying the art of writing is to “write what you know.” This can be interpreted in many ways, and is sometimes used as a healing exercise for a traumatic experience. In the case of Caytha Jentis and her new film “Bad Parents,” the writing process became just that.
Jentis will be the first to admit that during her daughter’s participation in club soccer she experienced what she called Sports Induced Madness. “I became obsessed with my daughter’s soccer and was becoming sucked into this world,” Jentis acknowledges.
It wasn’t long before she realized that there was great comedic fodder in that world. As Jentis explains, “The ‘what’ was funny, but the ‘why’? Why does this mean so much to us (parents)?”
It was these examinations of “why” and the story that followed that evolved into her 12-step program. She found herself beginning to not care about her daughter’s play time in a soccer game anymore.
Jentis’ first attempt at creating a world around this culture was as a play. It was freeing for her to have that flexibility that a play can offer, and used the Greek Chorus (non-individualized group of performers) as an element of the madness. The play won a playwright competition, and was produced. When the production was well-received, with even the friends who the characters were based on enjoying it, it wasn’t long before Jentis realized it could be a screenplay and began to tackle the task.
Having a personal connection to a satirical comedy like “Bad Parents” took a bit more of Jentis’ control to bring all the characters down to one level.
“I noticed how I would write how one character or another would do something crazy,” Jentis says. “If I’m going to take my friends down than I need to take myself down in the process.”
The end product ended up being cathartic for all connected, even the cast. The theme of the film is one that people can relate to on different levels, and Jentis allowed her actors, a wonderful ensemble of comedic talent, to add their own elements into to the story. There was a beautiful balance between adding in their crafted improv skills, and self examination when they found themselves in similar situations.
“I didn’t want to be a soapbox filmmaker, I’m no different than anyone else, but I hope that addressing this situation, using it as a mirror, we can take a closer look at ourselves,” Jentis says.
Ultimately, Jentis says she would like to screen “Bad Parents” with sports clubs and community organizations, and use the proceeds from these screenings to put back into these community organizations.
“Bad Parents” is an entertaining film, but one that delves deeper into the issue at hand. Jentis hopes that this film will open up a dialogue between athletes and their parents. A conversation where one looks at the pressures put on child athletes, and how this may not be beneficial. The best way to heal is through laughter, and this movie delivers just that.
Screening showtimes for “Bad Parents”: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, October 20, at Alamo Village
Written by Lisa Mejia (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Images by Phillip Leach (email@example.com)