It’s been a while, but I previously posted a bit on how the voices in your head sometimes take over your story. Oh, wait, I just said what this entire post is about. Rats.Continue reading “Character Hijackery Part II”
Do that Thing that You Do
You. Put down those fish crackers, I’m talking to you. Serious – this is a serious talk. No goofing around about anything. Just drop the crackers.
So, what do you do? Me? I’m a writer. It’s what I do. Technical writing, a little marketing, a little blogging, a couple of novels, a couple of short stories. It’s what I do. Working on a screenplay right now.
In fact, thank you for asking, it’s a screenplay based on my own novel, Droppington Place. It’s a funny story… well, okay. You’re right. We’re being serious here.
Have you seen Kubo and the Two Strings? Lovely picture, although a tad sad. It was made by LAIKA, a film studio in Oregon that makes handcrafted, stunningly animated movies. What could be a better fit? What better film company to make a major motion picture out of Droppington Place?
As you know, I’m a proponent of Gorilla Marketing – do little, expect lots. In this mode, we ask ourselves why we must go through all the hassle of selling millions of books. Why could we not simply approach LAIKA directly, make the motion picture, and then sell the millions of books? You know, it’s not really putting the cart before the horse: it’s more like they’re side-by-side. Boom. Anything could happen.
So I set myself out to write a screenplay from the novel. Piece of cake. I know the book forwards and backwards. What if I simply move these scenes around to make it more, you know, cinematographically friendly?
Well, three things happened. Three. You were expecting two, but, hey, it was three. Sorry to disappoint.
First, in reordering the book for cinematographic friendliness, I found a much better flow to the story. Rats. Now the book needs a rewrite.
Second, in retelling the story for the large screen, I found some motivations for characters I hadn’t seen before. Rats. See above.
Third, I had a revelation. A very sad, very tawdry little revelatory affair that hurts to write about, but you’re a writer. You know how it is.
Shakespeare is quoted as having written, “to thine own self be true.”
I was on an airplane, struggling with the screenplay, when the words came to me. Poop, I thought. I don’t want to hear these words.
The words came as clearly to me as if I had written them myself, but I’m not this good. It was simple poetry, and it hurt to read. It said, “write what you want and it’ll be great.”
Write what you want and it’ll be great.
Stop plotting and planning and pushing and prodding. Stop massaging and manipulating and maneuvering and marketing. What’s in here (taps on chest) is what’s important.
“Your lungs?” I asked.
I have written what I hope will sell, and hope you will buy. I haven’t written the Great American Novel. I’ve written something clever and fun and creative, and that I think you’ll like. I like it.
But the calling is to write what’s inside, and I don’t think it’s about my lungs.
What is the story I was created to tell? What can I give to you that will be great enough to make you think, wow, my life is now better? What epic saga lies inside here (taps on chest)?
So, compadre, we have to saddle up another horse. It’s a long ride ahead, and now there’s another wagon to pull. Please don’t put the saddle on the horse that’s supposed to pull the wagon – you’ll just confuse things.
Okay. You can go back to your fish crackers now.
The Laughtrack is Not Dead
You remember those sitcoms from the 60’s and 70’s, don’t you? The ones with the canned laughter, like Bewitched and Gilligan’s Island?
Try out this experiment and see what you think… watch Edie and Eddie Open House, here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RCNUVClEp8w, and then watch Edie and Eddie New House, here: http://youtu.be/iQWdxj3pgKE.
Which one did you like better? The laughtrack comes from a pantomime video made by a Spanish fellow, and has just enough audience ambiance to make you think that maybe, maybe, someone really is watching.
In theory, you are supposed to like the laughtrack version better, because someone else is laughing. I’ll let you be the judge of that.
Don’t judge the quality of the video: it’s crummy. The point of the exercise is the audio, not the video. Concentrate, would you?
Let me know what you think!
The Lego Movie is a Wonderful Surprise
We took our twelve-year-old daughter to see the Lego Move, fully expecting to see the same-old, same-old, same-old. Right out of the box, as in the first five minutes, the film sets itself up for a wild romp in a completely new direction.
If you enjoyed, as a kid, or enjoy, as I do now, Legos, this film is completely satisfying. If you like action movies, this film parodies the best of them. If you have kids of any age, this film will touch you. And, if you have a heart, this film will touch that, too.
Spoiler alert: the Lego Movie runs a wild line between Indiana Jones, Kung Fu Panda, and Toy Story.
The script follows a stunningly simple guy, whose favorite TV show is called “Honey, Where are My Pants?” (it features just that one line, over and over), as he gets swept up in a desperate race against an evil overlord planning to use a secret weapon, the mysterious KraGl, to change life forever. We plumb the depths of his soul to find that, in fact, there is nothing there – precisely what’s needed.
The story unravels like a fine mystery, dropping hints and clues that stand out like beacons but can’t be pieced together until the final moments, which come as a deeply satisfying and delicious finish to an exquisite meal.
Oddly enough, my daughter didn’t like it all that much. She thought it was funny and suspenseful, but couldn’t get past the huge number of cliches. She understood that the film is spoofing all those cliches (the girl reaches out her hand to the hero – “Come with me if you want to…not die!”…wink), but felt there were too many.
That being said, you will reward yourself richly by going to see this film. The imagery is so vivid that, even if you don’t find the film’s conclusion deeply satisfying, your eyes will thank you for bringing them to such a kaleidoscopic vision.
Beyond the sheer mastery of Lego-thinking displayed in every frame (when the bad guys shoot, their bullets are red Lego single piece tubes), the script is genui