Bourbon Street and Beyond
Just three blocks from my hotel, MAISON DUPUY, in New Orleans, LA is a home that Tennessee Williams occupied after WWII. He wrote stories there for the WPA (Works Projects Authority) in the beginning of his writing journey. Curiosity overtook me and I laced the French Quarter streets sparkling wet from street cleaners early the next morning. Mardi Gras parades concluded just hours before. Some bars on Bourbon Street still cranked out tunes and burst with loud partying patrons.
Just past Bourbon St, hidden in a compound of historical homes the “Historic New Orleans Collection” is housed. The museum whispers history. Once the jangle of the iron work fencing and marble edifices subsides, the cobblestone estuaries lead to a library behind stable sized wooden doors. The public is welcome to view the works of Tennessee Williams, but a smirking blue-haired lady requested I give up my personal items to a locker before I could climb the stairs to the bookshelf-lined upper rooms. The collection is so vast that these notebooks hold the itemized manuscripts, you give the librarian an item number and then they search the archives for the actual work.
“Blue Children, please,” I squeaked. I opened the worn green notebook of mss. 562 – from the Fred W. Todd Tennessee Williams Collection, and jazaam! Pinch me, I entered his world. The same yellowed typing paper that actually graced an underwood typewriter eons ago touched from his hands to mine. Sandwiched in the notebook of FIELDS OF BLUE CHILDREN is the hand –typed manuscript of the short story by Tennessee Williams and the adapted script of the televised play. What a great way to compare the novelistic work with the thumping flesh characters. The script writers were Alfred Ryder, Richard Pollard and Kathy Billings. The main story is as goes: It is like much of Tennessee Williams’s work, it juxtaposes the practical, materialistic world against the more ephemeral arena of the artist. Sexual desire, passion, and creativity are in the poet Homer’s corner as opposed to the workaday world in which Myra and Kirk live after their marriage.
What I noticed most was that the short story statements popped to prominence in the script. The voice of Myra murmurs, “Words are a net to catch beauty.” In script form, this is the shout out theme. In the short story this phrase is buried next to descriptive blooms. The script makes good use of V.O., sometimes discouraged by script consultants. I agree, there may be overuse in the teleplay. BLUE CHILDREN as script doesn’t include an inciting incident, whoops; and there is no character arc, imagine that. Its flaws determines that the script meanders on as if perusing city streets after a cocktail.
TRUE DETECTIVE achieves a good adaptation of descriptive prose to live action, next week I’ll compare the script to the televised version to make light of the writing process. Nic Pizzolatto is my new Lent hero.
So it’s time to meet with the all powerful producer(s).
You’ve done your homework — you’ve chosen your venue to present your masterpiece. Hold your breath, no breathe Just a little “e”, big difference.
Passion, brilliance, & clarity.
Gather your loyal pets, Fido and Skippy. Practice, practice, practice.
State your name, rank and serial number. Next your hook, and two or three turning points,
Go for it. Be conversational.
Compliment the producers’ work, it can’t hurt. Pup tails will wag! Screenplay title, enunciate-be memorable-you may get some earshakes!
MOVIE COMPS. STAR ATTACHMENTS.
First a great shout out to my colleague, Crystal A for placing in the Creative World Award Screenwriters Contest!!
We both are members of the VSF, wonderful group.
Now is the time to consider making that blockbuster: Just a few steps outlined here: How to get a Hollywood Studio to greenlight your film. Not the easiest thing to do in life, but if we don’t try how far do we know we will go??!!
I would also like to wish Alfred Hitchcock a merry, merry 114th b’day. He really started alot of unique cinema trends and here is a great video that explains some techniques that I had never understood before.
This BioDoc focuses its concentration on Hitch’s life pre-Hollywood 23 movies. Perspective and movie special effects were his game and by 23 he was a proven director of those techniques. As assistant director he built sets that enabled his boss to only shoot in one way. His pre-Hollywood movies showed his prevailing themes: Voyeurism, Wrongly Accused and Murder. At 28 he was top director with, “The Lodger”. In “Stages” he banked his first cameo, although it was the back 9of his head.
Pay special attention to the clip from 19.42 -23.40 for a primer on his perspectively ingenious special effects. These were the days before post production where all the magic had to be captured in real time. Boggling thought. No green screen no blue screen, ah technology. Creativity was the key to success way back then. We are talking 1929, when the talkies emerged that Hitch made his strides.
“Language of the cinema is the language of the writer.” As Hitchcock says and does. He cleverly uses his first voice pieces to instruct the subconscious to suspense.
My favorite film trick, which I had never figured out before is known as the Shifting Process.
Hitch placed his camera at a 45 degrees angle to reflect a model. Then a mirror was placed in view with the silver scraped from a rectangle shape next to the model (in view of the camera) and any action can be placed, live or projected to appear next to the model at the model’s scale and therefore tricking the eye. Hitch used this famously as a British Museum piece when he was barred from filming there.
Now on to his most famous technique developed in Britain. Show, react- show again, as writers we can use those magic tricks. Catch the blink, Greenlight, win some contests and show, show response and show again. RIP Hitch, the joke’s on us.
One more thing, “Blackmail”, also one of the pre-Hollywood 23 has a delightfully conflicted female character who is both innocent and guilty. Ah the magic of words. This is all before he came to Hollywood and “Rebecca.”
I would like to add 12-A beat to the established beat sheet. There is always that moment of great movie that I will seek again where I either cry from relief or cheer with excitement – that soul release. It … Continue reading
Tonight, July 9, 2013, will offer a free online chat about the screenplay, CHERNYY PEARL: http://reelladies.ning.com/chat. Join in!