Derry, Northern Ireland

Derry, Northern Ireland
A book I'm working on is set in this town.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

What to do, what to do?

Shredding makes the world go around, but damn, it's tedious. So I watched the Criterion "Seven Samurai" as I did it. I've seen the movie half a dozen times and it's still overwhelming in parts, and Kurosawa's directing was just plain phenomenal. I can't imagine how much work went into just the final battle in the rainstorm.

It seems my creativity comes in...well, I honestly don't know how it comes. I like to think it's as I'm writing the stories and my characters begin talking to me and guiding me to existences I'd never known. And the truth is, that does happen. I honestly have no idea how else I was able to write HTRASG or BC. And it does seem to be kicking in, once more, now that my focus is shifting back to POS. Hell, it even happened during my incessant rewrites of LD. So maybe that's all creativity is is focusing on something and working at it till you can't do anything more to it.

I wish I'd been able to do that in film, but the truth is I was much too conventional in my cinematic vision for someone who's supposed to have been a visual person. Looking back over my storyboards, they're all functional. Period. Rarely are they exciting or artistic or anything more than exactly what was needed to get through the moment and cover the scene. Doesn't help when you're trying to tell a story with some pictorial power.

Oh, it's not like I'm sitting here going over all my old storyboards. I used copies I'd made of them as scrap paper to print on, occasionally, and as I shred my bank and credit card statements, I'm seeing them, again. I'd gone as paperless as soon as I could years ago and just did printouts of things I needed. Still do. And now I have a lot more scrap paper to print on.

Y'know, I think the only way I've really been self-reflective is in my writing...and I mean more the narrative and less the screenplay. Narrative fiction is all on the writer's back, so I have to pay more attention to the wholeness of the piece. The consistency. The characters and their inner workings. I didn't do that nearly enough with scripts, mainly because I thought the actors wanted room to explore and play with who they were becoming. I've had actors tell me they love my work after reading it because it gave them that freedom. But...and this a biggie...actors aren't the only ones involved in making a movie (much as they'd like to think they are) and the truth is, I was just being lazy. I was lazy in the rest of the structure, too, putting in way more than was necessary to tell the story. I think that's why I was told by a number of people my scripts read more like books, at times. Guess that is what I was meant to write.

Ah, the joy of learning. I'm glad I never gave that up. Now if I could just figure out German, I'd be a lot happier.

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