Derry, Northern Ireland

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

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

I hate to wait...

I have Bugzters pretty much outlined, to the point where I'm ready to start writing it. But I have to wait till November 1st, not because anybody's watching but because to do otherwise would be a complete cheat. And yes, I know, I'm almost cheating by using a script as the basis for the book. But reality is, a screenplay is only an outline of a novel.

Characters are but sketches of themselves, meant to inform an actor as to what they will portray in front of the camera...when they're willing to. All too often, lately, actors will ignore the meaning of a character and go their own happy way with whatever they "feel" at the moment. I've never thought of that as acting, just lazy self-indulgence.

Also, the settings are barely described, so there can be room for the input of the producer, director, cinematographer, production designer, and locations scouts. Granted, a screenwriter works out the dialogue best suited to the character throughout the story, but it's often tossed aside and reworked by the director and producer and actor.

Fact is, screenplays are the most impermanent form of writing, even less than an outline. Because what the film starts with is often completely different from what the initial writer envisioned. Consider this -- the romantic-comedy, Pretty Woman, was first written as a tragedy. And in Sunset Boulevard, the narrator tells of how one of his scripts started out being about Oakies in the dust bowl and wound up being set on a submarine in the Pacific.

I was told a story in film school by one professor about a writer who'd labored over a script for two years. He turned it in, was lavishly praised for it, paid well, and promptly forgotten about. He wasn't even invited to the premier. So he went to a showing of the film at a theater near his home, and walked out after seeing the first image. It was of the lead actor riding across an open plain, going from screen right to screen left...and the screenwriter had envisioned him as riding from left to right. Smart man that he was, he knew it would only be downhill from there.

Wish I was that smart.

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