Extended Notes: Guillermo del Toro

When I took over and brought back the Murdy Writing Tips, I thought it would be a nice straightforward email to throw together. I’ve been a voracious reader and writer my entire life and figured that finding authors and screenwriters who have inspired me would be just as simple as finding the quotes from them that inspired me the most- I was blissfully and woefully incorrect.

Where I was concerned in finding content, I had completely ignored the looming colossus that was the things I wanted to say but couldn’t fit into the small format of our emails. Week after week I kept stifling myself in order to fit a short and cohesive format. I knew I wanted to say more than simply throw quotes with uninspired explanations week after week. I had fun with my choices, but there were times my job started to feel like a job. I know. A terrible fate, truly. But the beautiful thing about working for Murdy Creative is that very few days here ever feel like I’m really working. Regardless of the workload or tasks at hand, I thoroughly enjoy my time here with my coworkers so hitting any form of resistance is very jarring. Even more so when I don’t even take my own advice and push through the burnout.

This week’s topic of Guillermo del Toro got me thinking, though. I’ve always been a fan of his work and loved the way he crafted these perfectly imperfect characters and it seemed that no amount of editing and revising really got that love across in this week's email. So I made the executive decision to start the Extended Notes series. They may not come with every writing tip, but for writers or topics I felt there was more to discuss, I’m going to start publishing them on our Blog for other readers who want to learn more and goodness this week there was more to say.

Known worldwide for box office hits Pacific Rim or Hellboy, del Toro started as a young cinephile in Guadalajara, Mexico recording home films with his family and monster toys. As he grew, as many young people do, he began to readdress the faith he was raised in and the ideas of his world. He realized a few things that are very prevalent in his works today; One- that he saw the beauty within the imperfections of the world, not in spite of them; two- that love with understanding and without judgement is among the greatest forces in our world; and three- that the ideas of the pure and holy man were never obtainable and that one can find profound meaning within the outcasts and monsters of the world. As sacrilegious as those may seem, they form the devout understanding del Toro tries to share through his films, that the imperfections in us all are to be understood and cherished rather than hidden and shamed.

Through this lens we are given worlds unafraid of the darkness within them. Even movies based on fairy tales like Pan’s Labyrinth, which tells the tale of a girl trying to reclaim her seat at the court of fairies and away from her abusive step father during the Spanish Civil War, have elements of death and violence. His titular character, Hellboy, is perhaps the greatest example of this as someone who was literally born in hell but was raised with ideals of how to be a proper man. Who is shown against not only fellow demons and monsters, but humans that have followed such depraved routes that they themselves seem more like creatures than literal humanoid fish and half demons that are portrayed as quirky anti heroes within the franchise.

Del Toro speaks to the small part within us all that always fears ostracization and not only shows that voice the strength in being uniquely ourselves, but the nobility found in the journey to preserve that which makes us all different. Above that, he’s been able to do it in such a manner that shows not only the difficulty in these pursuits but also the personal reward that comes at the end of each journey into self discovery. He creates moments of reassurance to his characters and viewers that the loneliness we’ve been threatened with by our peers and society is just that; a threat. The only weight within it is what we ourselves have given it in fear of taking strides towards our happiness at the cost of societal acceptance.

It’s a tough lesson in this day and age when so much of our lives are seen through countless portals with social media which gives us the double edged sword of finding those who share our ideas as well as those who are vehemently opposed to what we are at our cores. However, we should take a note from del Toro’s unsinkable attitude regarding acceptance and understand that the fear of not being accepted should never deter us from writing or being all we wish to be. “The greatest act of love you can give to anyone is to see them exactly as they are. That's the greatest act of love because you wash away imperfections.”



Author: Anna Ratzburg