Maria Lorenzo is one of the women behind the film “Hated”. Maria is, in fact, one of the writers and much of the story in the film is based on different events that happened to her throughout her career. It’s always interesting to be able to speak to the writer of a project – it’s where it all began and the right place to confirm the intent of the movie.
I was thrilled to get to exchange a few emails with Maria. I think one of the reasons that I love “Hated” so much is because of the women connected to the film. The female characters in the film kick ass.
Veronica, played by award winner Genevieve Padalecki, is knocked down in the film and picks herself right back up again. She strong. She’s the kind of woman I’d like to sit down and have a beer with – and I bet Veronica could convince anyone to support a band she liked. Why? Because she is the heart of the film. She’s the true believer. No matter what happens to her and the vision she has for the band, Veronica stays true to her conviction to support the band. That is strength.
And what of her friend Arryn – played by the lovely Ellen Woglom? Arryn may not be as involved in the band’s trajectory as her bestie Veronica; but she has two feet firmly planted on the ground. She’s the one that Veronica gets advice from, straight-forward questions that only a friend could ask.
Ari Up appears in the film as herself. What a life that woman had. She is strength personified, as far as I’m concerned. The punk Queen defied the rules and gender-roles of other women in the music industry and in life.
Isn’t this important? Aren’t women important? They are. They’re important, in part, because they’re strong. This film embodies that.
IMP: there are some really tragic elements in this story. What was it like writing about them and then finally seeing the story unfold on the big screen?
Maria Lorenzo: While the entire story is fiction, it was pieced together with different things that Marisa (who also worked in the music industry for many years) and I had witnessed or heard over the years. We used to keep a mental list of all the shocking things that people did and said and we would always say to each other, “This is totally going in the book.” We would joke that in 20 years time, when all our friends were famous, or not, we would publish a tell-all book. When we were given the opportunity to write it all down in the form of a screenplay, Marisa remembered far more of the details than I did.
She pulled out all her pocket calendars with party dates and shows and concerts written in them. She could place everything to a certain date and time, whereas I could only remember the emotional drama and dialog of things. Yeah, there are tragic elements in the story, but I feel that all of the characters get what is coming to them in a way. They all make choices that they have to deal with. I think that when I was developing the characters and writing the script, I wanted to explore the choices that people make, especially the urgent or selfish choices and their outcomes as well as the human nature behind that.
The whole process of outlining everything with Marisa, then going home and creating the characters, filling out the scenes and writing the dialog (a lot of which was changed or ad-libbed by the actors on set) was very cathartic for me, perhaps because I didn’t have the confidence at the time to call people out or stand up for myself and perhaps also because I could be honest and show the characters in a true, unabashed light. Watching the whole movie on screen with all its elements, funny, good, tragic, was difficult for me in the same way some actors can’t watch themselves on screen or some people can’t stand to hear their voice on an answering machine, but also because it brought back a lot of memories and a lot of unresolved emotion of that time.
IMP: Do you think there’s been a movement in the industry toward grass-roots work? Will that continue to change the role of publicists?
Maria Lorenzo: Honestly, I don’t know. There was a big movement toward grass-roots style few years back, but I think that once the industry started to change their business model, they re-defined the traditional role of the record label and management. Any idiot can publicize a band. All you need is internet access and time and determination. I think that at that time bands started to see that. The industry knows that. The question is once you are offered everything you ever dreamed of on a silver plate, does it really matter where it is coming from?
As far as the role of publicists, yes it will continue to change. With the internet and social networking and change in the medium of communications, of course roles, from publicist to manager to record label, will change in order to keep up with the times. The internet and social media make it easier for people to reach out to potential fans around the world and like I said, any idiot can do it, as long as they have the time and energy to sift through it all. And if that’s where labels and managers have to pick up the slack, then they will, because no one buys CDs anymore, right?
IMP: In the film, the role of the publicist seems a bit of a grey area. Is it difficult to separate personal relationships from professional ones while working with a young band?
Maria Lorenzo: Well, it’s not difficult to separate personal relationships when working with a young band. Of course they are more eager to do things than a larger act, but in this movie in particular, Veronica and the guys have all been close friends for some time, be it through high school, college or the New York scene. That is where the difficulty lies in the separation of the personal relationships. Or as they call it, conflict of interest. Of course you want your friends to succeed and if you are in charge of that task, you will go above and beyond, especially of they are, or you think they are, going to take you with them.
It’s like the reason why parents shouldn’t coach their kids’ soccer teams or direct their kids’ school play. They get too personally and emotionally involved. But on the other hand, you know that the interest and the passion behind the music is real. You know that the publicist isn’t trying to sell some industry crap that they are getting paid to hype.
IMP: Tori Amos once said “The music industry is a vicious business. It chews women up and spits them out.” Do you think that’s accurate? Why?
Maria Lorenzo: Wow. Yeah. I can’t agree more with this statement. But I really can’t say why. I think women have always had to compete to be taken seriously in this industry because it has been traditionally seen as a man’s world. That can be very taxing and then after all that effort to be seen as a knowledgeable and competent equal, to think that you might lose out for a limited available seat at the big boys’ table to another woman can make you crazy! And for some reason, women seems to dominate the publicity department, which means that all the ladies are super competitive with each other when instead they should be working together to smash glass ceilings. But it’s not just the music industry.
It is every industry, from film to academia to I assume (but hope to never find out) the corporate world. I read somewhere (I think in the doctor’s office) and I can’t remember for the life of me which magazine it was that 64% of women would prefer to have a male boss because they are nicer and female bosses are bitches. Of course a woman is going to be a bitch if she is in fear of having to fight to survive in her career. But so are men when they are trying to get to the top. It’s human nature. That’s one of the things I wanted to explore with the characters.