Derry, Northern Ireland

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

Saturday, February 9, 2013

I don't mind influences...

...When it comes to film or TV projects. Lucille Ball stole like crazy for some of her bits in "I Love Lucy" -- like the "Slowly I turned" bit. I hadn't seen the 1944 version by The Three Stooges or Abbott and Costello's, from the same year, so when I first saw it on "...Lucy", I thought she'd made it up. And I nearly died laughing. Especially when she did it in pantomime. (It turned out to be a vaudeville bit appropriated by the Stooges and A&C.)

I've lifted bits, myself. I have a scene in a script I wrote,  "Delay En Route", where a man has to help the woman he loves face death. I got that from Hemingway's "A Farewell To Arms". And my script for "5 Dates" is a reworking of "Beauty and the Beast", albeit in a kinder gentler way.

What this leads up to is, I got off work early and did laundry and ironing for my trip, tomorrow, and watched the second season of "Downton Abbey"...and I saw a dozen different plot points lifted straight out of "Mrs. Miniver", "Upstairs, Downstairs", "Pride and Prejudice" (an elopement that even referenced Gretnor Green as a place to be married), "Rules of the Game", jeez, you name it and it's in there. I even caught a point that may have come straight out of "Beyond the Valley of the Dolls".

Here I am trying like crazy to make something original out of my writing, and "Downton Abbey" is getting praise left and right for grand larceny of other people's ideas. I mean, come on -- a pregnant maid and a lady conveniently dying of the Spanish flu? "Upstairs. Downstairs" did that 40 years ago. Same with another lady having an affair with a foreign gentleman.

I'm not saying I'm the most original writer in the world; I'm not. Fact is, my projects based on other people's works are probably my strongest -- like "The Lyons' Den" and "The Cowboy King of Texas".  And I have to fight to wring any sort of originality out of the stories I come up with on my own.

OT is proving to be one like that, as is POS. And it's taking me forever to get them to settle down. I want A65 to be that, too, even though I am referencing movies like "Bringing Up Baby" and  "The Court Jester". But now I wonder if I should bother.

I guess I'm a bit jealous. It is a well-made series. Beautiful production values. Decent acting. But does the only gay character have to be such a conniving asshole? Does Lady Mary have to be such a bitch? Must Matthew be such a prig? Anyone who says this is a good representation of the rich and noble isn't paying attention to what the characters really are...or else, is just plain corrupt.

Wish I was part of it.

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