I Write the Songs…Sorta. Or: Look, Ma, I Did a Parody!

Photo by Monica Silvestre on Pexels.com

So my friend Juan Carlos Hernandez, the actor-director-producer who gave me my first breaks as a bona fide screenwriter, texted me the other day to tell me about a project that he and his wife, actress-producer Adria K. Woomer-Hernandez, are currently working on.

“We’re doing a musical comedy revue about the COVID-19 pandemic that we call El Grande de Corona, and we would like you to contribute something to it. Interested?”

“Sure,” I texted back. “But I’m not sure what I can add. I’ve never done musical comedy before.”

“Well, just think of something. A joke, a visual gag….You come up with something, even if it’s just one line of dialogue, and you get another credit to add to your filmography.”

I wasn’t exactly brimming with confidence, but I was willing to give it a try. I mean, in the film industry, you don’t get “cred” without at least some credits in your resume. So I texted Juan back: “I’ll give it a shot.”

I still have not mastered the fine art of comedic writing; to be honest, if Ronnie and the Pursuit of the Elusive Bliss is in any way funny, it’s more due to the tweaks and rewrites that Juan, Adria, and their son Anthony did than anything I did, although they still kept as much of my original concept as they could.

So I haven’t tried to add a crap-ton of new material in the way of complete scenes or dialogue.

I did, however, come up with a parody of Paul Anka’s song for the 1962 film The Longest Day that fits the theme of El Grande de Corona.

A choral version of Paul Anka and Maurice Jarre’s The Longest Day.

Now, I’m no Paul Anka…and definitely not a great parodist like “Weird Al” Yankovic, but I did give it my best shot.

I am not going to post the complete lyrics to either version of the song (Anka’s real one or my parody of it) here, but I will give you a “tease” to give you an idea of what it might look/sound like if Juan approves it:

The Longest Day

Many men came here as soldiers

Many men will pass this way

Many men will count the hours

As they live the longest day

Paul Anka

Many folks came here as patients

Many folks got really sick

Many folks have caught the COVID

As they lived the longest days

Alex Diaz-Granados

I listened to a choral performance of Anka’s song while reading my lyrics, and happily, they not only fit the melody almost seamlessly, but they make sense!

As soon as I finished writing The Longest Days – I actually had the basic idea down a few days ago and came up with a first draft in less than an hour – I copied two sets of lyrics (Anka’s and mine) and sent them to Juan via email. Then I texted him to let him know what I was sending him.

“Tell me more, tell me more!” Juan replied.

“I sent you an email with the lyrics. Feel free to tweak them if you need to!”

I haven’t heard from Juan yet; I texted him some time ago, but it’s Sunday and he might be busy with the rest of the revue or simply enjoying some family time with his wife and son. So, stay tuned!

Update:

Juan texted me back around 3:30 PM Eastern and said that he likes the song. He even asked how he should sing it during filming. He could probably go for either a Paul Anka-style performance, or more like Johnny Cash. We still haven’t finalized that, but, ladies and gentlemen, he likes the song. Really!

Published by Alex Diaz-Granados

Alex Diaz-Granados (1963- ) began writing movie reviews as a staff writer and Entertainment Editor for his high school newspaper in the early 1980s and was the Diversions editor for Miami-Dade Community College, South Campus' student newspaper for one semester. Using his experiences in those publications, Alex has been raving and ranting about the movies online since 2003 at various web sites, including Amazon, Ciao and Epinions. In addition to writing reviews, Alex has written or co-written three films ("A Simple Ad," "Clown 345," and "Ronnie and the Pursuit of the Elusive Bliss") for actor-director Juan Carlos Hernandez. You can find his reviews and essays on his blogs, A Certain Point of View and A Certain Point of View, Too.

8 thoughts on “I Write the Songs…Sorta. Or: Look, Ma, I Did a Parody!

  1. Wow that’s cool, good luck, I can’t wait to see what happens! I used to write parodies as a kid and joke that I was the “female Weird Al Yankovic” LOL! Actually I rarely ever shared any of them, but it was fun making them up.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the good wishes!

      Coming up with alternative lyrics is definitely fun, but this is the first time I write them in earnest. I haven’t heard from Juan yet, so I’m not sure if the version I sent of “The Longest Days” will pass muster.

      In my mind, though, I could totally hear it being sung by Mitch Miller and the Gang in “Sing Along with Mitch.” (Which, sadly, was just a tad before my time.)

      Liked by 2 people

    1. The hardest part was figuring out how to tweak the lyrics from the original song. “Many men” works for a D-Day movie song because all of the combat troops at Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno, and Sword beaches were men. That would not have worked in a COVID-19 related song. I could keep the “many” part, but I needed a one-syllable replacement that was a synonym for “people.” After that, all I had to do was read Anka’s lyrics and come up with new ones that were about the pandemic.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Buena suerte to you and Juan! Making a comedy would be tough for me. I think of Covid, and I see the ghosts of those who died in the 1918-1919 epidemic saying, “They had better tools, better communication. There wasn’t a world war going on. What went wrong?”

    Liked by 1 person

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