The script is finished. Well, it’s as finished as any ongoing creative work is ever finished. Every script we read and every movie we watch provides a new opportunity to see what we could do better, or add, or take away.
PAUL JOHNSON loves his kids. He loves his wife. That’s all that mattered to him, before he finds himself arrested, thrown out of his own home, and sleeping in a friend's spare bedroom. Where do you go from here? You fight for your kids, you fight to regain a sense of what matters.
ANN JOHNSON turns on Paul, terrified by knowing he needs something from her she can't provide. What lies beneath her fear?
JOHN, Paul’s new house mate, hasn’t fared any better. His kids haven’t had the same address for six months, when they have an address. Most of the time they live on the streets with his druggie ex-wife. And the courts tell him he has no right to see them, but... we can only guess where his child support goes....
Our trio always looks to MARTI to do the right thing, and he never lets them down. Marti’s faith kept him strong, and righteous, but it wasn’t enough to stop him when the hunger for touch grew too great. Caught in the act, he surrenders his home and kids to CYNTHA whose own fears kept her from allowing the intimacy they both needed.
Thrown together, the men find humor mixed with the pain from their struggle. John’s hookers show him a kind of emotional intimacy he never new existed and the girls never expected. Paul finds strength in living for himself. Marti discovers that love can heal, even after he nearly dies for it.
When we started this project, we thought the stories of our three men were unique. We were wrong. Almost everyone knows stories worse than these. Still, nothing changes. We continue to cripple our children by encouraging wars between parents.
The system won’t change itself. It is too dependent on an endless trail of destructive legal actions to change. The change must be forced on them. It starts with changing the perception of father’s value. And that starts with changing the perception of men in society; in the media.
Have you noticed how its OK for women to hit men on TV or have a mean spirited laugh at the dad's expense? Even in the politically correct arena of commercials, men are acceptable punching bags ... for women. When’s the last time you heard of a wife being arrested for domestic violence. Plenty of (ex)husbands have the bruises but know 1) the system doesn’t really care and 2) that going to war won’t end well.
We have to change how our culture views men. Individually, we all know its wrong. It’s our collective conscience that has to change.
Mike and I married 12 years ago after a lifetime of struggles with a system that deprived our children of the relationships they deserved to have had with their fathers. Both of us realized that the system of adversarial relationships that our court system has devised places punishment on children. We had different experiences, but the result was the same for our kids.
I'm a 20 plus year veteran therapist, author, and actor. Mike is a master programmer and creative genius whose wit drives the humor in THAT’S NOT HOW IT’S DONE. Together we have raised 5 amazing kids who are creative, happy and productive in the world in spite of the problems they had in the system.
Since writing THAT’S NOT HOW IT’S DONE, we have begun developing other projects to address other emotionally charged issues that are often overlooked in mainstream movie making.