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Turning A Novel Into Film – Characters And Actors On The Loose

sony_fdr_ax1_4k_camcorder_1002485

When adapting a novel manuscript to a film script, I realize it will take a whole host of other people to tell me how successful I might be. I’ve done this twice before, and realize that I must not only ignore my usual method of writing, but often go exactly against it.

I attempted to “learn” how to write for film. I read many instruction books, attended classes and workshops, and had meetings with people. I read many film scripts, which did help me accept the (to my eye) arcane format. But the one thing that actually turned me visual, was the comment of a writer/editor friend who said, after reading my attempt, “I can’t see it.”

That is, it did not cause visual action in her mind.

And I understood.

Perhaps the biggest hurdle is to accept that a movie is not a book, and that changes, additions and omissions will be necessary. As with a play, there is a finite time limit, that generally clocks in under two hours. The threads and plot points of a movie are different. And the characters (I swear) feel this freedom, and choose to accentuate other aspects of themselves than revealed in a novel.

The very fact their paragraphs of dialogue are best reduced to two or three lines makes them uppity. And because they can, in mere seconds, be in diverse locations, performing radically different actions, they become exact without apology. They don’t have to fill in the spaces.

The writer has to fill in the spaces however, and do so with visual stimulation. The transitions have to be swift and their descriptions exact. The road is always the fast lane and the characters kick the tires with gusto.

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The eight best portrayals of The Queen in TV and film — Royal Central

I hope that Her Majesty was both entertained and … er … amused.

The Queen has been portrayed in TV shows and films over the years by an array of actresses. Whether they have played her on the small screen, in blockbuster films or voiced animated versions of her, there have been some iconic portrayals. Phoebe Barton takes a look back at some of the most well-known, unforgettable and…

via The eight best portrayals of The Queen in TV and film — Royal Central

Dracula Takes Another Bite

EXCLUSIVE: Paramount Pictures has acquired screen rights to Dracul, the first prequel authorized by the estate of Bram Stoker. The film will be developed as potential directing vehicle down the line for Andy Muschietti, reteamed with It producers Barbara Muschietti and Roy Lee. Written by Dacre Stoker and J.D. Barker, the tale is set in 1868, where a 21-year old Bram Stoker meets with an ungodly evil that he traps in an ancient tower all the while scribbling the events…

via Paramount Bites Into ‘Dracul’: ‘It’ Director Andy Muschietti In Mix — Deadline

What I Learned From The Movies About Sweet Sugar

antique-sugar-bowl-with-spoons

Last night I watched Brief Encounter, a 1940s movie based on a play by Noel Coward (he was a producer) and directed by David Lean. It starred Trevor Howard and Celia Johnson  (she received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress). It is well worth watching.

It was while watching the movie that I learned a life lesson. A small life lesson, but one that has escaped me for decades. Yes, in some things I am a slow learner.

In the movie there is more than a brief encounter in a railway station lunch bar. Tea is ordered, and the comment is made that there is no sugar provided. The waitress responds: “Yes, there is. The sugar is in the spoon.”

A minor – though rather sweet – bit of business. However, it solved a problem I have had for years.

There always seems to be that small amount of sugar left in the sugar bowl just before it is to be filled again. It is always too much to add to the last cup of coffee (about the only place I use sugar). Yet, I don’t want to discard it, or leave it as some sugar that has been in the bowl for months.

Now I have a solution. I put it in the spoon and await the next cup of coffee.

Movies are more than just entertainment.

DE

(image)photo.foter.com/photos/pi/275/antique-sugar-bowl-with-spoons.jpg

Crime And Murder -Scenes From “Darkroom” ~ Fade In:

tumblr_nee4d4nleu1r0d65jo1_500

I was going through my Dropbox files last week and came across a great surprise. It was a file that, initially, I thought I must have mistitled. But, when I opened it …

… there was a movie script I had adapted from one of my novels. Not the screenplay I knew I had made from another novel, but a whole different one. I am equally surprised by the fact that I did it, and the fact that I have forgotten it. It would have been at least six months of work. WTF

It is called Darkroom, and is about my psychopathic serial killer, Norman. The other is a horror screenplay is based on a portion of one one of my Satan novels. Perhaps I think of horror as a more visual medium.

At any rate, I think I’ll share a portion or two  – or a few – of Darkroom.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

FADE IN:

EXT. CITY STREET – NIGHT

EXT. RUNDOWN THREE STORY MANSION – NIGHT

EXT. LARGE LIT SIGN FACING SIDEWALK – NIGHT

SIGN
Rooms – Week/Month

EXT.ENTRANCE TO ROOMING HOUSE – NIGHT

A Dozen Burly Men crowd through the front door.

INT. STAIRWELL – NIGHT

The Men laugh and roughhouse as they go up the stairs.

INT. STAIRWELL LANDING – NIGHT

The men jostle each other and laugh. A couple wrestle and one
pretends to push another over the railing.

INT. HEAD OF STAIRS – NIGHT

A LAUGHING MAN puts a key in the first door they come to. As it
opens he puts a finger to his lips.

LAUGHING MAN
Shh! It’s my turn to do it.

INT. HALLWAY – NIGHT

The Laughing Man creeps along the hall and stops at the door on
the end. He looks back at the Other Men and giggles. He pounds
and kicks on the door.

LAUGHING MAN

We’re back for another week, Normie.
Did you miss us?

INT. HEAD OF STAIRS – NIGHT

The men crowd into a large room with many beds. The Laughing Man
closes the door behind them.

INT. LARGE ROOM – NIGHT

The Men waste no time getting ready for bed. The Laughing Man beckons

three others to him. Together they pound on the wall.

LAUGHING MAN
Sweet dreams, Adolf.

The Laughing Man stands at attention and gives the Nazi salute to the wall.
The Other Men hoot and holler.

DE

(image) http://67.media.tumblr.com/29eb47a1ae85b7037aa3fbdb4067b595/tumblr_nee4d4Nleu1r0d65jo1_500.jpg

Second Bananas And Also-Rans Complete The Picture

20152bcollage

My onion novel, CHINA LILY, spans decades. My main family, the Cannaras, travel the globe (of their time, which is the Fourteen hundreds). Lots of time on ships. Lots of time on horseback.

In their distant locations over their diverse times they meet different people. These people fill the chapters they are in, but then they are gone. They are really secondary characters to the novel, but nothing could be accomplished without them. In their own time frame they are front-and-center.

This same situation happened in my *thriller*. The time frame was much different (squeezed into a few days). And the location was one city until near the end. But the nature of the immediacy and the surprising twists of plot and the intense action called upon the use of many secondary characters. They were figuratively press-ganged into action. They did their bit and were not called upon again. Louie-the-dog was to be a secondary character with a ‘walk on’ part. He stayed.

I am having a growing fascination for these secondary characters. They have to be developed within paragraphs instead of chapters. Their dialogue and thoughts have to be concise and unique from the start. They possess a freedom of action the main characters do not have. They are not loaded down with baggage. They are a challenge to write and difficult to rein in. They are generally saucy and rarely ponder their lot. Yet they must be real and not just plot devices. They have to be taken at face value and accepted quickly. They must stand out in the background.

A novel of only secondary characters – hmmmm . . .

DE

[image] https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-vZSuKHVPTpI/VsNpi-m3ekI/AAAAAAAAU7I/8JA_0K9LM_g/s1600/2015%2Bcollage.jpg

“Burning In Berlin” Horror Movie With Ravens

b45cf39976f82453d505684f9ab18f82fbd7f9ce

9.

INT. TOURIST BUS – DAY

 

The Two Children huddle on the floor. The Boy lies on the Girl.

stretching over her. He turns his head toward the Man With the Eye Patch.

 

INT. TOURIST BUS – DAY

 

The Man With the Eye Patch yells at the Boy.

 

MAN WITH EYE PATCH

Hide your face!

 

INT. TOURIST BUS – DAY

 

The Two Ravens dive simultaneously.

 

INT. TOURIST BUS – DAY

 

The Man With the Eye Patch holds up his suit coat in front of him.

The two Ravens fly right into the suit coat, pulling it from the Man’s hands. The Birds, entangled in the suit coat, hurtle against the window. One Bird gets free, while the other, still encased in the suit coat, falls on the Children.

 

INT. TOURIST BUS – DAY

 

The Boy shoves the Girl under the seat in front of them.

 

INT. TOURIST BUS – DAY

 

The freed Raven flies up toward the Man With the Eye Patch. The Man crouches into the stance of a boxer, and punches the bird directly on the side of its head. The stunned Raven tumbles over the seat back.

 

INT. TOURIST BUS – DAY

 

The Boy scurries under the seat where he had been sitting.

 

INT. TOURIST BUS – DAY

 

The Man With the Eye Patch grabs his suit coat with the trapped

Raven, and throws it to the far side of the bus.

 

MAN WITH THE EYE PATCH

(yelling)

All of you – get down!

 

INT. TOURIST BUS – DAY

 

The Raven is half out of the suit coat when it hits the window.

DE

(image) https://a.travel-assets.com/mediavault.le/media/b45cf39976f82453d505684f9ab18f82fbd7f9ce.jpeg

“Burning In Berlin” Screenplay / FADE IN:

adolf-hitlers-bunker-is-a-carpark-downfall-film-parody-time

 

FADE IN:

 

EXT. BARREN FIELD WITH AUTUMN GRASS – DAY

 

Traffic sounds comes from the four streets bounding the field.

 

EXT. HILL IN FIELD – DAY

 

An information sign is at the foot of the hill. A newly-

painted Linden tree grows beside it.

 

EXT. INFORMATION SIGN – DAY

 

THE INFORMATION SIGN READS Fehurer Bunker

 

EXT. TOURIST BUS – DAY

 

INT. TOURIST BUS – DAY

 

A middle-aged TOUR GUIDE stands by the front seat, facing

the passengers.

TOUR GUIDE

The Berlin police don’t

want us any closer.

 

EXT. TOURIST BUS – DAY

 

Tourist faces peering from the windows.

 

INT. TOURIST BUS – DAY

 

Tourists from the far side of the bus bend and peer

over those seated.

 

EXT. LINDEN TREE ON HILL – DAY

 

One raven flutters and lands on a tree limb.

 

EXT. TOURIST BUS – DAY

 

Two or three faces are pressed in each window.

 

INT. TOURIST BUS – DAY

 

The Tour Guide is pointing through the window.

 

TOUR GUIDE

 

All of a sudden, the city says it

is unsafe. (laughs) They don’t want

to see all you rich tourists being

swallowed.

DE

(image) http://www.thetraveltart.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/Adolf-Hitlers-Bunker-Is-A-Carpark-Downfall-Film-Parody-Time.jpg

Turning A Novel Into Film – Characters On The Loose

screenplay_square

When adapting a novel manuscript to a film script, I realize it will take a whole host of other people to tell me how successful I might be. I’ve done this twice before, and realize that I must not only ignore my usual method of writing, but often go exactly against it.

I attempted to “learn” how to write for film. I read many instruction books, attended classes and workshops, and had meetings with people. I read many film scripts, which did help me accept the (to my eye) arcane format. But the one thing that actually turned me visual, was the comment of a writer/editor friend who said, after reading my attempt, “I can’t see it.”

That is, it did not cause visual action in her mind.

And I understood.

Perhaps the biggest hurdle is to accept that a movie is not a book, and that changes, additions and omissions will be necessary. As with a play, there is a finite time limit, that generally clocks in under two hours. The threads and plot points of a movie are different. And the characters (I swear) feel this freedom, and choose to accentuate other aspects of themselves than revealed in a novel.

The very fact their paragraphs of dialogue are best reduced to two or three lines makes them uppity. And because they can, in mere seconds, be in diverse locations, performing radically different actions, they become exact without apology. They don’t have to fill in the spaces.

The writer has to fill in the spaces however, and do so with visual stimulation. The transitions have to be swift and their descriptions exact. The road is always the fast lane and the characters kick the tires with gusto.

DE

(image) http://www.indiewire.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/screenplay_square.jpg

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