Search

kafkaestblog

It is a whirlwind in here

Category

actor

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

Then Came Each Actor On His Ass

globetheater

 

The stage is as bare as my lady’s ass in his lordship’s bedchamber. Rough-hewn in the most knockabout way, leaving splinters in the palace lawns of the imagination.

There’s many a dip ‘twixt the trap and the lip.

It fares little better than hastily strewn boards covering parched ground, and barely enough elevation to keep the understanding masses at bay.

Were one fool enough to come from out the wings, and at centre front begin a soliloquy about the beauty of the wretched arena upon which he stands, to fight the resulting and justified spontaneous combustion, there would not be found one drop of piss from any a thespian’s hose. For who could allow this sacrilege to be spoken? Even the flag atop the pole knows that the magic is not yet arrived.

A stage without commercial trappings: without solid doors and thick drapes; uncluttered by pillars and arches, tables and chairs, windows and fireplaces; sans orchestra, sans balcony, sans pit. A stage revealing all its secrets. Profound as emptiness.

A stage in wait.

For in this world writ small – as in the globe around – the audience has nothing to know, nothing to learn, until the actor makes an entrance, and prepares to fight past our eyes to battle with those thoughts and fears which lurk in sheltered halls.

“What’s Hecuba to him?”

“Why – nothing.

“Merely a name on a page of script,

“A cue at which to turn his profile thus.”

“It is what Hecuba becomes to we who wait,

“That turns the key upon the heavy gate.”

 

DE

(image) http://clios.com/cms/wp-content/uploads/globetheater.jpg

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑