It Is and It Isn’t

An original screenplay written by Greg Kerr

Current Status

Awaiting Development

Context

Feature (approx. 80-90 minutes)

Genre

Drama

Sub-Genres

Erotic, Feminist, Gay/Lesbian

Tagline

Two couples. One love.

Tagline (with title)

It’s about sex. It’s about love. Well, it is and it isn’t.

Synopsis (short)

Amy and Marty are having an affair. Their spouses, Dera and Ben, are also having an affair — with each other. When their secret relationships are exposed and their complicated double affairs become an even more complicated four-way relationship, Amy gets increasingly confused. She wonders if it’s possible to be in love with more than one person at the same time. She eventually learns the complicated truth: it is and it isn’t.

Synopsis (descriptive, short)

An affair and the retribution that follows leads two couples to examine their relationships and embark on an alternative, polyamorous relationship. As the four-way relationship unfolds, the lines between sex and love become blurred, and the balance becomes increasingly difficult to maintain.

Synopsis (marketing, short)

Amy wants Marty. Dera wants Ben. Amy is married to Ben. Dera is married to Marty. So the solution: they swap. But now Dera wants Amy and Ben wants Marty. Some of them are in it for sex, but some of them are in it for love… sometimes. It is about sex and it is about love. Well, it is and it isn’t.

Content

Mature themes, adult language, complex relationships, gay/lesbian themes

Characters (lead)

Amy

She is a woman in her 40s who has been married to Ben for several years. They do not have children. They live in a nice apartment in an upscale building in Portland. She is a professional woman and works as a manager at an unnamed office in Portland.

For the first time in her marriage, Amy has become attracted to another man, Marty, and while Ben has been away on several lengthy trips, she’s been spending time with Marty. And she’s been feeling very guilty about how she’s feeling, but she isn’t stopping.

Amy is in a state of sexual dormancy (which might seem like naivete on the surface) at the beginning of the story. Her and Ben have been stuck in a routine and her affair with Marty is a way to break out of that. The affair, and its consequences, move Amy from sexual dormancy into sexual awakening, and then into two different alternative relationships.

Amy’s emotional journey is the core of this story.

Dera

She is a woman in her late 30s who has been married to Marty for a few years. They do not have children. She is a freelance marketer who works long hours. Her work schedule has become difficult to coordinate with Marty’s. Their relationship has become strained.
When she discovers that Marty is having an affair, she decides not to confront him, but instead, confront the other woman.

Dera provides the counter-point to Amy. Dera is very willing to embrace the alternative relationships, and is the first to take advantage of the sexual experimentation this provides.

Themes by Greg Kerr

Polyamory and Sex

It Is and It Isn’t is based on two true stories about couples who engage in alternative lifestyles and relationships. These types of polyamorous lifestyles have often been explored (mostly indirectly) in fictional films, and almost always in the context of religious beliefs, as an oddity, or for sexual exploitation. This script deviates from the norm in two fundamental ways.

First, it doesn’t portray polyamorous lifestyles as that far out of the norm — scratch the surface of many relationships, and you’ll see a desire or an active interest in these lifestyles.

Second, although this is very much an erotic story, the eroticism comes from what we don’t see and hear. There is no nudity and little profanity, although it’s very clear what is happening out-of-the-shot. Movies that show the graphic sex lose most of their audience because they either offend or they disregard the nature of erotic fantasies: fantasies can only exist in the imagination and not in reality. Nothing extinguishes the fantasy faster than replacing a thought about what it might be like with the actual sight of what it is like. True, enduring fantasies are about the possibility of what might happen.

When the actors vividly describe what’s happened, or we see or hear them reacting to what’s happening, but not in the whole context, our imaginations fill in the details with much more elaborate and personal fantasies. If you want to see sex, there’s plenty of porn on the Internet. If you want to be titillated, see a well-crafted, well-acted erotic story that allows the audience to become personally involved in the fantasy.

Moral Ambiguity

There is no good and bad, right and wrong discussed here. The characters acknowledge that their polyamorous relationship is potentially scandalous, however, that doesn’t impede their interest in exploring it.

Most of the characters I write aren’t black and white types. Black and white characters, for the most part, don’t really exist in the real world (although fanatics and irrationalists try to push extreme ideas, they are very much in the minority). Competing objectives are what drive our perception that some people are good or bad — if we can agree with their motives and methods, then we sympathize. It’s very easy to sympathize with both Amy and Dera in the script, though not at the same time, and often not in the same scene.

Moral ambiguity is very thought-provoking. The situations that Amy and Dera go through and the ambiguity that surrounds their competing motivations will give audiences plenty to discuss after the movie with both women having their supporters and detractors switching sides.

Parallelism

I frequently write scripts and stories that contrast two similar characters who have different, competing motivations — it’s almost like seeing a mirror image of the other. I often put these two characters in the same dilemma so the audience can get two views of how each of them handle that scenario.

I love to explore competing facets of human behavior. To that end, I’ve often written two different characters in two different scenes in the same script, each of the characters having the same movements, same dilemma, or in some cases, the exact same lines of dialogue as the other, then letting the scenes evolve differently based on the character’s objectives.

Power/Cultural Relationships

In my writing, I often explore alternative power/cultural relationships from the perspective of different characters, and those relationships will change over the course of the script. In It Is and It Isn’t, the following relationships are explored:

  • Amy (older woman) initiates an affair with Marty (younger man)
  • Dera (younger woman) initiates an affair with Ben (older man)
  • Amy dominates Dera in a physical fight
  • Dera dominates Amy in a corruption fantasy
  • Amy re-dominates Dera in a romantic encounter
  • Dera re-dominates Amy by leaving her
  • The women (particularly Dera) often use the men as sexual props
  • The men take on submissive roles to the women

 

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