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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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The Script I Wrote For Star Trek

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Can I use the word eons when talking of Star Trek? Considering the time travel that often enveloped them, why – yes, I can.

So, eons ago, I wrote a script for Star Trek, The Next Generation. Memory says (and I’ve been told my memory is not up to light speed), this was the only television series that asked for, and actively used, scripts from writers outside their own stable. They used one script per season from these submissions. So I submitted.

I had a response from Lolita Fatjo.  It gave me some quiet thrill to see her name among the STTNG credits at the end of each show. I believe she was classed under “Pre production”. I also thought she had a real nifty name. I note she currently still has dealings with Star Trek, helping to facilitate Star Trek Fan conferences and arranging appearances by some of the Star Trek stars.

I did not have an abundance of communication with Ms. Fatjo (I liked to think of her as Lolita). I think I got a package of information about the type of thing they wanted for a script.

Memory says there was a desire to have a main plot line concentrating on just two or three of the main characters. There was to be one additional sub plot. There were arcs to accommodate the commercials. I believe they hoped for some humour. And timing, of course, all was timed to the exact minute.

I followed directions and wrote a script and put it into the format and sent it off. I had two further dealings with Lolita.

One told me they had received the script.

The other – so deliciously close to the end of the season – was to tell me they would not be using it.

The script was called The Minstrel.

In it, an alien had a musical instrument (I think a horn, but it might have been strings) that would play tunes attuned to whoever he was talking to. It had other properties, but I think I’ll keep them tucked away. You never know – there is a new show. Anyway, the Minstrel would interact (per act) with the Star Trek characters. Revelations were forthcoming. Not too many special effects (which was something else Lolita requested).

I received no cheques nor writing credits from this foray into television land. But not all was lost.

I was writing my script in tandem with a friend who was writing her own script. News of our endeavours made the local writing circuit, and we were interviewed on regional radio.

From that we were asked to speak to a couple of writing classes and even invited to an alternate world fan club to give a reading.

We boldly went.

DE

 

“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

Star Trek To Boldly Go To TV Again

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Can I use the word eons when talking of Star Trek? Considering the time travel that often enveloped them, why yes – yes, I can.

So, eons ago, I wrote a script for Star Trek, The Next Generation. Memory says (and I’ve been told my memory is not up to light speed), this was the only television series that asked for, and actively used, scripts from writers outside their own stable. They used one script per season from these submissions. So I submitted.

I had a response from Lolita Fatjo, and it gave me some quiet thrill to see her name among the STTNG credits at the end of each show. I believe she was classed under “Pre production”. I also thought she had a real nifty name. I note she currently still has dealings with Star Trek, helping to facilitate Star Trek Fan conferences and arranging appearances by some of the Star Trek stars.

I did not have an abundance of communication with Ms. Fatjo (I liked to think of her as Lolita). I think I got a package of information about the type of thing they wanted for a script. Memory says there was a desire to have a main plot line concentrating on just two or three of the main characters. There was to be one additional sub plot. There were arcs to accommodate the commercials. I believe they hoped for some humour. And timing, of course, all was timed to the exact minute. I followed directions and wrote a script and put it into the format and sent it off. I had two further dealings with Lolita. One told me they had received the script. The other – so deliciously close to the end of the season – was to tell me they would not be using it.

The script was called The Minstrel. An alien had a musical instrument (I think a horn, but it might have been strings) that would play tunes which adapted to whomever he was talking to. It had other properties, but I think I’ll keep them tucked away. You never know – there is a new show. Anyway, the Minstrel would interact (per act) with the Star Trek characters. Revelations were forthcoming. Not too many special effects (which was something else Lolita requested).

I received no big cheques or writing credits from this foray into television land. But not all was lost. I was writing my script in tandem with a friend who was writing her own script. News of our endeavours made the local writing circuit, and we were interviewed on regional radio. From that, we were asked to speak to a couple of writing classes, and even invited to an  alternate world fan club to give a reading. We boldly went.

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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