My Inspiration for the movie
Updated: Jun 17, 2018
I’m the Richard Soriano, the writer/producer of “My Apocalyptic Thanksgiving.” I also take care of #specialneedsadults. And it was riding in the car one day with one of the guys that was a major inspiration for our movie. We heard a radio ad claiming you can find your soulmate online.
He asked if they can find my soulmate, why can’t they find my mama?
I tried to explain that it doesn’t work that way.
Why not? You can find yourself online.
I tried to explain that they’re just random people. Finding someone online is like repeatedly screaming my name into a crowd of millions, ‘Hey Richard!’. Someone will eventually turn around, but that may not be me. My answer seemed to frustrate him even more for he understands that his family is not part of his life.
If they can find my soulmate online, why can’t they find my mama? He still persists.
It didn’t help he knew very little about her. His file also barely mentioned her. I was heartbroken. At that time, I was not in a good place with my own family in that I was hardly speaking to them. But he didn’t see it that way. He thought that I was dining at the Hilton buffet whereas he was a starving homeless man peeking through the window watching. It helped me give perspective and got me thinking…
What if I had my main character Marcus searched for his mother? With his limited resources, what could he do? What would he do? There’s a primal urge in all of us to connect to our mother and father even if we’re in denial of it.
I started writing about situations I’ve encountered where families would manipulate the special needs adult to milk the system. One case, a guy would claim that he had trouble learning and an IPad would help him. Once, he received the IPad, he'd watch movies and play video games and never use the teaching software. Another case is where they would house the poor guy in the garage with only a mattress and used blankets. They would also use the adult with special needs to babysit their other small children even though the adult with special needs can barely take care of himself/herself. The worst is when I’d hear a parents screaming at their special needs children, “God must really hate me,” or call them a monster or curse them in every language. It always reminded me of #HarryPotter when he lived in the closet beneath the stairs, and dealt with the wrath of his aunt and uncle.
On the flip side, I’d meet mothers who felt blessed with their #autistic child. The mothers would smother the child with affection even though the child detested the hugs and kisses. We as adults innately need it like we need air. They’d also surprise the other special needs adults with treats from a grab bag full of coins, chocolate, etc to avoid jealousy. One lucky #DownSyndrome adult would be visited by his rich father from Bel Air. His father was an avatar of success: good looks, a beautiful wife and a porsche. He loved to take his son to the annual car convention, buy a sports car jacket with a matching matchbox cars. Even I was jealous.
In my story, I tried to teach Marcus that all your housemates are your family. Your friends are your brothers and sisters. The caregivers and social workers are your parents. You will spend most of your life with them. You see them when you wake up and when you go to bed. They will comfort you when you’re down and when you celebrate your birthday.
I also came up with a second character named Kim. He is a Korean young man with a family that guilted him to work in their business without rewarding him. They also never seemed to listen to his ideas of how to improve their business. Of course not. Naively, I had written myself into the story.
Kim seeks forgiveness from his family. His family seeks forgiveness and penance from him. It’s a long painful standoff where they are each waiting for the other to forgive first. When Marcus appears it turns their world upside down and helps heal the family.
Who or what turned your world upside down, but ended up turning out to become an asset or friend?