Derry, Northern Ireland

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

Monday, May 27, 2013

Carli and Jake

I got a couple of alley cats yeowling at each other, close to a fight in my head. And before I sound schizophrenic (at least, more than I normally do), consider --

"Carli Kills" was going to be a cheapie revenge/horror script I could sell to a cheapie production house, but Carli and Zeke had other plans. Which they slammed me with until I was in chaos as regards the story. So I set it aside to give everyone a chance to calm down and start telling it to me, again.

I shifted back to "The Vanishing of Owen Taylor" and the same damn thing happened -- the story crashed into chaos because I'd screwed up on the timeline...except I hadn't. Not really. What happened was Jake was taking the story to its logical places and I wasn't seeing it.

I finally caught up with him, today, and realized what he was doing, and saw the problem wasn't in the work I'd done over the last week; it was the opening chapter. Until now, it had no reason to be there; all it did was ease the reader into the story with a lot of backstory that made little sense if you hadn't read RIHC6v1&2. I'd consistently wondered if I should take it out.

Not anymore. It sets the whole book up, now. I'm finally back on track with OT.

So I hit a point where it's time to stop for the day, and Carli comes nudging. I've had a DVD of "Kill Bill v1" for a while and it's time for me to watch it. Well, I have ironing to do, so why not?

Oh, my much did I dislike this movie? Let me count the ways...

1. It has zero concept of reality. A woman wakes from a 4 year-old coma and is able to move around. Muscles not atrophied. Nails perfectly kept. She commits two brutal murders in a medical facility and not one cop shows up. She's in the area, in a victim's truck, for over 13 hours and no cops.

2. The lead has no access to funds or credit cards or passport, so far as I can tell, but still flies first class to another country, with a Samurai sword by her seat. Excuse me? A lethal weapon in an airplane cabin? Seriously?

3. In a massive fight between the heroine and dozens of henchmen, all with swords and chains and such, the bad guys stand around and take turns attacking, so she can kill them all. They don't just all plow in at once and hack her to death from the front, back, sides, and above.

And again, a massive, long fight in a public restaurant where dozens of patrons flee into the street to get away...and no cops. All done with lots of color, some snazzy black and white, a whole animated sequence, tons of camerawork, and oh-so-much pseudo style.

Quentin Tarantino only knows flash and dash. I give him props that he's made a solid career out of this. He gets his movies made. But they're like cotton candy, and evaporate just as fast as sugar does when it hits your tongue.

You want to see the difference between a style slave and a master filmmaker? Watch Kurosawa's "High & Low" (1962) and pay special attention to the noodle bar sequence about 3/4 of the way through. A murderer is making contact with a drug dealer in the middle of a very hot, noisy, crowded place, cops tailing him to see what he's up to. The dealer puts music on and people start dancing the Twist...and the killer and dealer dance...and money is exchanged for drugs...and the moment is breathtaking. (Of course, I think the whole movie's breathtaking, but I'm a Kurosawa fanatic.)

Compare that to the bar sequence leading up to the final fight. Lots of camera moves. Lots of cutting. Lots of slo-mo. Lots of color. Lots of noise. And nothing in the way of build or excitement or even giving a damn.

Carli wanted me to see this, and now wants me back on CK. I finally see what she's after...and if I even think of making the script anything like this non-stop cartoon of a movie, I think she'll kill me. I wouldn't blame her.

What's interesting is, Jake feels the same way -- "Finish me up, now. You've got the basics down right." And he's not letting up.

I guess my next move is tossing a coin to see who gets paid attention to, first.

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