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

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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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Seventeen Years Ago, Harrison Ford And Me

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I am startled to find this happened seventeen years ago, give or take a few months. I have yet to receive any residuals

Harrison Ford And Me

In 2001/02 the movie, K*19 The Widowmaker, was made, much of it filmed in Halifax harbour and out on the nearby ocean. It deals with submarines and an in-ship disaster, starring Harrison Ford and Liam Neeson.

I was not aware of this when I visited Halifax. I went down to the waterfront and went along the boardwalk. It was very foggy on the water (which it can be without having much on land). I was exceedingly surprised to see, looming out of the fog, a submarine next to the wharf. There are submarines in Halifax, but they are berthed at the naval dockyard a couple of kilometers from where I was walking. 

It took a couple of minutes to realize that it was not a naval submarine (no markings). What was happening was that the submarine was being turned by a couple of tugboats. I read later that each side of the same submarine was altered differently so, in close-ups and aerial footage, it could appear to be two different submarines.

However, there quickly appeared to be a problem. From the shouts and gesticulations of a man on the wharf, I found out that one of the mooring lines had not been cast from the wharf. The submarine was being pulled away from the dock, but it was still attached. It was a gigantic and thick mooring line, and I do not know what damage would have been done to either ship or dock.

The man was yelling to another man on the deck of the sub, who had a bullhorn and in turn was bellowing to the crew of the tug boat. However, nothing was heard over the roar of the engines (tugboats have powerful engines). The man on the wharf was trying to lift the mooring line from its post before it got too taut to move. I ran over and helped him, and we managed to get it from the post just as it started to be pulled into the water.

Of course I watched the movie credits closely, but I was not mentioned.

No famous movie actors were involved in this incident.

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

Horror Movie In Berlin – Ravens Against Tourists

5-01(image)http://theberlinexpert.com/images/rotatingimage/5-01.jpg                                                                                                                                                            8.

EXT. BARREN FIELD – DAY

 

The Young Man turns toward the bus. He starts filming.

 

EXT. BARREN FIELD – DAY

 

The Tour Guide attempts to get up. The Raven has its beak in his

mouth.

 

INT. TOURIST BUS – DAY

 

The Ravens fly along the aisle, amid screaming passengers.

 

INT. TOURIST BUS – DAY

 

The Man With The Eye Patch grabs the two children. He shoves them

onto the floor between the seats.

 

MAN WITH EYE PATCH

Stay down!

 

EXT. BARREN FIELD – DAY

 

The Tour Guide has managed to stand. The Raven is fluttering in

front of his face. It has the Tour Guide’s tongue in its beak.

 

EXT. BARREN FIELD – DAY

 

The Young Man continues taking pictures.

 

EXT. TOURIST BUS – DAY

 

Panicked, screaming faces are in the windows. Many passengers are

beating their hands against the glass.

 

INT. TOURIST BUS – DAY

 

The Ravens keep a steady course, but get side -by- side.

 

INT. TOURIST BUS – DAY

 

The Man With the Eye Patch is taking off his suit coat.

 

MAN WITH EYE PATCH

Not fucking again.

 

INT. TOURIST BUS – DAY

 

The Ravens skim the roof of the bus. They both look down.

 

INT. TOURIST BUS – DAY

 

The Man With the Eye Patch glances at the Two Children.

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

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

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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

“Burning In Berlin” Horror Movie With Ravens

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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

Eagle And Crows Face Off By A City Graveyard

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(image)

I http://www.naturebob.com/zenphoto/cache/Birds/hawks-and-eagles/bald-eagle-and-northwestern-crow_595.jpg

I was within three minutes of finishing my daily walk.This particular route takes me through an historic graveyard in the centre of the city. The graveyard encompasses two city blocks and is surrounded by a metal fence. One walks through a gate, along a cement path, and through another gate. The second gate is three minutes from my residence.

I was part way through the graveyard when I saw a group of people crowded together near the path. I assumed it was a group of youth, who often use the graveyard as a ‘park’. I assumed they were just hanging out, but i did keep an eye on them. When I was close enough I realized it was a film crew of seven or eight. They were clustered around a boom camera, one which can rise to a moderate height. As they were directly across from an historic cairn, I thought they might be filming some sort of documentary, and photographing the cairn. I passed them by, making a point not to gawk.

Just past the other gate I was about to cross the street. As i looked both ways for cars I saw, about five car lengths away, a bald eagle standing on the pavement. if one can not ‘literally believe their eyes’, this was the time for me. However, realizing it was there, I figuratively rubbed my eyes. It was standing stock still. I immediately thought it was a) stuffed and b) it was some sort of prop for that movie crew. Such is the imagination.

Within seconds the tableaux changed. The bald eagle started (or returned to) hopping around. And, now taking in more of what was before my eyes, I saw a crow overhead. The crow was diving at the eagle. Then, as quickly, I saw other crows in the sky, a half dozen or so. They were all circling overhead, and were taking turns aiming at the eagle. The eagle started hopping around even more.

I do not know what had happened to make this encounter occur. Now I wondered if the eagle was injured. It was moving slowly and kept its wings folded. The crows were not (I assume – wisely) making contact with the big bird. They were, however, constant and raucous. The term “dive bombing” comes to mind. The eagle became more agitated.

Without any effort (so it seemed) the eagle lifted into the air. This caused an increase in the vocal alarms of the crows. The eagle started a steady ascent toward the south, looking as magnificent as eagles are supposed to do. All the crows now circled continually, keeping their distance and cawing incessantly. The eagle was soon high above the tops of the trees. It made a slow alteration of course and headed toward the river, which is five blocks away from the graveyard. It kept gaining altitude and the crows kept pursuit. All the birds became too distant to observe.

As they all departed I heard a shout behind me. I turned in time to see the camera on its boom extended high, pointed toward the first gate I had entered. Within seconds a young man was running along the cement path through the graveyard. The camera lowered and tracked him until a voice shouted “Cut!” he stopped right in front of the memorial cairn.

Three minutes later I turned into the driveway of my residence.

DE

Adapt A Novel Manuscript To A Movie Script

(image)

It will take a whole host of other people to tell me how successful I will be. I’ve done it twice, and realize I must not only ignore my usual method of writing, but often go exactly against it.

I  have attempted to “learn” how to write for film, with many instruction books, and classes, and workshops, and meetings with people. I read many film scripts, which did help me accept the (to my eye) arcane format. But the one thing which 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 to get over is to accept that a movie is not a book  Changes, additions, and omissions will be necessary. As with a stage 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 are revealed in a novel.

The very fact their paragraphs of dialogue must be 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. Their descriptions exact.

The road is always the fast lane, and the characters kick the tires with gusto.

DE

 

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