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SCREEN WRITING CLASS - MODULE 5


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#1 aroundworld

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Posted 27 September 2012 - 08:28 PM

The Movie Genre




MODULE 5

Understand the different movie Genres and the concept of Genre.

Explore the art of adapting a story for a movie.

What are the benefits of adaptation?


Assignments:

Assignment: Adaptation Assignment

Discussion:
Talk about a movie that you liked which was adapted from a book that you have read. What was similar to the book? What was different?


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#2 aroundworld

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Posted 27 September 2012 - 08:33 PM

Assignment




Discussion:
Talk about a movie that you liked which was adapted from a book that you have read. What was similar to the book? What was different?

Most importantly, how did this influence your own story telling?

These answers can be as simple or involved as you care to make them.


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#3 kkffoo

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Posted 28 September 2012 - 07:37 AM

Moby Dick

The book is densely written, poetic and full of humour...but to date I have never managed to get through more than a few chapters.

The film (Gregory Peck) focuses on the action and the main theme. Even from the parts of the book I have read I can see that this changes the emotional balance of the story. Take away the lightness of touch and immersion in place and you have a darker more emotionally intense experience.

The book is obviously a really good book, the film packs an amazing punch. I don't think one is better or worse than the other...but the film sells the ideas more economically, and I suspect reached more people.

By focusing on the main theme the film becomes a different entity in its own right. The visual story telling does not communicate the detail of the book but captures an essence.

Writing this made me wonder if there was a graphic novel version of the story, and there is!
http://www.amazon.co...d...7382&sr=8-1

How does this influence my own writing?
Realising that an adaption is a creative work in its own right, and that it carries a story to an audience who would not have the patience to work their way through a huge, difficult book.
I've been reading quite a few graphic novel adaptions of classic works lately......some work and some do not...but it is a great way to think about visual story telling.
How do you take a huge chunk of descriptive text and bundle it up in an image sequence which communicates the essence of the same story?
The skill is very much to be admired.

#4 aroundworld

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Posted 28 September 2012 - 10:48 AM

QUOTE (kkffoo @ Sep 28 2012, 07:37 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Moby Dick

The book is densely written, poetic and full of humour...but to date I have never managed to get through more than a few chapters.

The film (Gregory Peck) focuses on the action and the main theme. Even from the parts of the book I have read I can see that this changes the emotional balance of the story. Take away the lightness of touch and immersion in place and you have a darker more emotionally intense experience.

The book is obviously a really good book, the film packs an amazing punch. I don't think one is better or worse than the other...but the film sells the ideas more economically, and I suspect reached more people.

By focusing on the main theme the film becomes a different entity in its own right. The visual story telling does not communicate the detail of the book but captures an essence.

Writing this made me wonder if there was a graphic novel version of the story, and there is!
http://www.amazon.co...d...7382&sr=8-1

How does this influence my own writing?
Realising that an adaption is a creative work in its own right, and that it carries a story to an audience who would not have the patience to work their way through a huge, difficult book.
I've been reading quite a few graphic novel adaptions of classic works lately......some work and some do not...but it is a great way to think about visual story telling.
How do you take a huge chunk of descriptive text and bundle it up in an image sequence which communicates the essence of the same story?
The skill is very much to be admired.


"By focusing on the main theme the film becomes a different entity in its own right. The visual story telling does not communicate the detail of the book but captures an essence."

"the film sells the ideas more economically, and I suspect reached more people."

"How does this influence my own writing?
Realising that an adaption is a creative work in its own right, and that it carries a story to an audience who would not have the patience to work their way through a huge, difficult book."

Exelent observations!

When a book is adapted well, it carries it's own waight and can even create a richer more detailed environment. And as you said reach a larger audiance.

I've often thought about digging around to find an old book that's out of copyright and adapting a story to film if I liked it.

I read Jurasak Park after I saw the movie. The book actually scared me, but the movie made feel as though I finely witnessed the grandure of the Dinasour.

I could never sit through Tolkiens books, Lord Of The Rings. But the movies are an enduring source of insperation to me because Jackson did such an incredible job of adaptation.

How does this influence my own writing?


It's caused me to think in terms of "word pictures". I strive to find words in my writing that communicate eesence instead of pieces of a scene.



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#5 squirrelygirl

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Posted 28 September 2012 - 04:28 PM

I watch a lot of adaptations, but one of the first ones I watched was The Stand by Stephen King.

Similarities: The story line was similar in both without major changes. A super-flu released that wipes out most of humanity, then the story of different groups of survivors and how they come together at the end for the ultimate battle of good against evil. Most of the major characters were the same. The ending was the same.

Differences: A couple characters in the small groups were combined. Some of the religious references were taken out. The film was faster paced because in his novels King tends to get into the character's head and show what they're feeling and thinking, which can be difficult to put into film. There were a few scenes from the book that weren't in the film.

How did this influence my story telling: It made me better understand the differences between film writing and book writing. As Kate said, they are different beasts. In book writing you have to tell what's going on. You write in some action then you need retrospect. What is the character feeling? What is he/she thinking? In film writing you show what's going on. It also made me understand that part of adaptation is taking out unnecessary scenes and unnecessary characters.

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#6 aroundworld

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Posted 28 September 2012 - 05:37 PM

QUOTE (squirrelygirl @ Sep 28 2012, 04:28 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I watch a lot of adaptations, but one of the first ones I watched was The Stand by Stephen King.

Similarities: The story line was similar in both without major changes. A super-flu released that wipes out most of humanity, then the story of different groups of survivors and how they come together at the end for the ultimate battle of good against evil. Most of the major characters were the same. The ending was the same.

Differences: A couple characters in the small groups were combined. Some of the religious references were taken out. The film was faster paced because in his novels King tends to get into the character's head and show what they're feeling and thinking, which can be difficult to put into film. There were a few scenes from the book that weren't in the film.

How did this influence my story telling: It made me better understand the differences between film writing and book writing. As Kate said, they are different beasts. In book writing you have to tell what's going on. You write in some action then you need retrospect. What is the character feeling? What is he/she thinking? In film writing you show what's going on. It also made me understand that part of adaptation is taking out unnecessary scenes and unnecessary characters.



"In film writing you show what's going on. It also made me understand that part of adaptation is taking out unnecessary scenes and unnecessary characters."

Yes! As screen writers we show, not tell!

And this is a major point: "Part of adaptation is taking out unnecessary scenes and unnecessary characters."


I've have other students that have great difficulty with the concept of LESS IS MORE.

whether it's adaptation or just editing our work, the tendency is to add something when trying to fix a story flaw. We think: "If I add this scene it will clarify...". By doing that, you complicate your story.

Always CUT FIRST and ASK QUESTIONS LATER. You'll see more clearly when you take things away.

Great point Shirl!


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START HERE:  http://www.moviestor...showtopic=13153


#7 aroundworld

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Posted 29 September 2012 - 09:45 PM

Assignment



Do a little bit of research, and I mean a little. It could be as simple as only a head line of an article in the newspaper, or piece on the internet.

When you find a headline or article that you think would make a good movie idea, use your newly acquired skill of writing the central question, and write one for that headline or article. smile.gif




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#8 kkffoo

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 08:12 AM

http://www.bbc.co.uk...onment-19735959

QUOTE
Ancient statue discovered by Nazis is made from meteorite


Can shy professor, Sandy Mac Longlegs, and playboy, polo-star Raoul Perez find true love while escaping mafia art thieves to return Nazi stolen carvings to the Peruvian temple before the alien time-bomb explodes?

(multiple edits!!!)

#9 aroundworld

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 11:53 AM

QUOTE (kkffoo @ Sep 30 2012, 08:12 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
http://www.bbc.co.uk...onment-19735959



Can shy professor, Sandy Mac Longlegs, and playboy, polo-star Raoul Perez find true love while escaping mafia art thieves to return Nazi stolen carvings to the Peruvian temple before the alien time-bomb explodes?

(multiple edits!!!)


This works! HA HA HA HA HA !!!!! laugh.gif This would be an hilarious movie. GOOD WORK! smile.gif





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#10 squirrelygirl

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 03:40 AM

RI (Rhode Island) man wins $15,500 with 1-ton punkin

http://www.nwcn.com/.../172016651.html

Calvin Hobs, the town's eccentric inventor, has been working on a growth formula to help him win the grand prize at the county fair, but when he accidentally mixes the formula in with feed for his daughter's chicken farm will he be able to reverse it before the town is destroyed by giant chickens?

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#11 JosephKw

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 04:30 AM

"JAWS" by Peter Benchley, adapted by "Stephen Spielberg"

I saw the film first, then read the book. I prefer the movie over the novel due to the differences. The primary difference was in some of the characters. In the novel, the character of Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss) was an unsavory fellow who seduced police chief Brody's wife. During the sexual act he behaved in an inhuman, souless, automaton. This made him an unsympathetic character, so when he was in peril in the end sequence as his shark cage was being torn apart, I didn't feel concern over his well-being. However, in Spielberg's film version, Hooper was a very likeable and loveable character who was very human and sympathetic. Thus in the end sequence of the film I was very much worried abouot his welfare.

Spielberg has a knack for improving upon the characters of novels. He did the same for "Jurassic Park" by Michael Crichton with the two grandchildren. In the novel I truly hated those who brats and actually rooted for the dinosaurs to eat them. In the end of the novel they even indirectly caused the death of their grandfather! However in the film version they were again likeable and sympathetic.


News Article Central Question.
http://www.nationalg...tures/peru.html
Can failing entrepreneur Mel Ein open an international theme park based on inflicting pain and punishment for masochists while surviving moral persecutors and impatient creditors? Find out, in "Purgatory Park".

#12 aroundworld

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 08:04 PM

QUOTE (squirrelygirl @ Oct 1 2012, 03:40 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
RI (Rhode Island) man wins $15,500 with 1-ton punkin

http://www.nwcn.com/.../172016651.html

Calvin Hobs, the town's eccentric inventor, has been working on a growth formula to help him win the grand prize at the county fair, but when he accidentally mixes the formula in with feed for his daughter's chicken farm will he be able to reverse it before the town is destroyed by giant chickens?


HA! I'm having flashbacks of Jerry Lewis' The Nutty Professor.

This reads more like a synopsis than a central question, although the question is mixed in there. smile.gif

Ok, one issue here. You forgot to tell us what he's entering in the fair. I know by the headline it's a pumpkin, but you want to identify that in the central question, and maybe trim a little.

Calvin Hobs, an eccentric inventor, has been working on a growth formula to help him win the grand prize in the pumpkin contest at the county fair. But he accidentally mixes the formula in the feed of his daughter's chickens! Will he be able to reverse it's effect before the town is destroyed by giant chickens?

Another example:

An eccentric inventor developed a growth formula to win in a pumpkin contest, but his chickens ate it. Can he reverse the effect on the birds before they destroy the town?


The example above, is what you want to shoot for! Short and to the point. If you go to pitch this to someone, you don't want to ramble. What I did was deliver it in a punch line!


TO EVERYONE: Smooth the read as much as possible. I PROMISE YOU, if you PRACTICE what we've been discussing from the beginning of this course, your scripts will "read" like lightening.


GOOD JOB!







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#13 aroundworld

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 08:40 PM

QUOTE (JosephKw @ Oct 1 2012, 04:30 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
"JAWS" by Peter Benchley, adapted by "Stephen Spielberg"

I saw the film first, then read the book. I prefer the movie over the novel due to the differences. The primary difference was in some of the characters. In the novel, the character of Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss) was an unsavory fellow who seduced police chief Brody's wife. During the sexual act he behaved in an inhuman, souless, automaton. This made him an unsympathetic character, so when he was in peril in the end sequence as his shark cage was being torn apart, I didn't feel concern over his well-being. However, in Spielberg's film version, Hooper was a very likeable and loveable character who was very human and sympathetic. Thus in the end sequence of the film I was very much worried abouot his welfare.

I can see why he changed Dreyfuss' character to nice guy. It made it more family friendly, and allowed it to appeal to a larger audience. "Hooper was a very likeable and loveable character who was very human and sympathetic. Thus in the end sequence of the film I was very much worried abouot his welfare." GOOD STUFF! smile.gif We take these observations and make our own cool movies!

Spielberg has a knack for improving upon the characters of novels. He did the same for "Jurassic Park" by Michael Crichton with the two grandchildren. In the novel I truly hated those who brats and actually rooted for the dinosaurs to eat them. In the end of the novel they even indirectly caused the death of their grandfather! However in the film version they were again likeable and sympathetic.

It's good to pic up on WHY DIRECTORS DO THINGS. You identified two very clear examples of using the same technique to sell his pictures! GREAT JOB! smile.gif

But I'm wondering HOW THIS HAS INSPIRED YOU? HOW HAS IT INFLUENCED your own story telling?



News Article Central Question.
http://www.nationalg...tures/peru.html

Can failing entrepreneur Mel Ein open an international theme park based on inflicting pain and punishment for masochists while surviving moral persecutors and impatient creditors? Find out, in "Purgatory Park".

Funny, but NO. rolleyes.gif Go back and read the section on the structure and purpose of the central question. SO WHAT IF HE GETS PROSECUTED! What happens? WHO SUFFERS? blink.gif wink.gif



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#14 aroundworld

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 09:48 PM

bump

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#15 aroundworld

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 05:41 PM

Assignment



What can we expect to see in different genre types of films?

If you had to communicate your story with one picture, what would that picture be?

Either post a screenshot or describe it.


Attached File  Screen_shot_2012_10_01_at_5.58.11_PM.png   359.79KB   6 downloads

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#16 aroundworld

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 06:08 PM

Genres and Adaptations: Adapting the Story





Remember that it’s possible to tell the same story from different characters' points of view. Ask yourself, whose point of view interests me?

The movie Gladiator could just as easily have been told from Commodus’ (Joaquin Phoenix’s character) point of view. Granted it would’ve been a very different movie, possibly with a different title, but the elements for Commodus’ story exist.

The story could have been about the heir to Caesar’s throne murdering his father to usurp Maximus (Russell Crowe) thereby ensuring his rise to power. Maximus could have been seen as his nemesis, a threat that had to have been dealt with. It’s doubtful this would have been as interesting as the story that exists, but the bottom line is that there are many different ways to tell the same story from different points of view.

Another consideration in adapting source material other than your own is, “What events are missing?” What does the writer have to create to fill in the gaps? What original scenes are needed to tell the story in its entirety? How can fiction be blended with fact to create the most satisfying story possible? This is often the greatest challenge. This is where our creativity as writers can really shine.

In order to create a satisfying story we have to fictionalize certain elements, possibly characters and/or events. They need to blend seamlessly. The logic must flow and the fictionalized additions must be organic to the world in which the story exists.

~ Ian Coursen

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#17 kkffoo

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 07:24 PM



#18 aroundworld

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 08:25 PM

QUOTE (kkffoo @ Oct 2 2012, 07:24 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>


This is FANTASTIC!!!

Excellent! It captures all the main images in your film. VERY INSPIRING! Thank you for doing this!

The burning Manor, James looking on as his "prize" gets away in the arms of Thomas. The gun and hunting dog. Great movie poster!



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#19 kkffoo

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Posted 03 October 2012 - 07:02 AM

Thank you AW, this turned out to be very interesting to do & something I could use again. The image is a collage of digital images I found on the net, put together in gimp...it really is like a mood board for the movie.

#20 squirrelygirl

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Posted 03 October 2012 - 08:55 AM

What would you expect to see in different genres of film?

Action: weapons, explosions, car or horse chases (depending on the setting)

Comedy: comical characters, kids, animals,

Horror: monsters, blood, weapons, ghosts, shadows, rats, spiders and other creepy crawlies, snakes

Sci-Fi: futuristic setting, robots, aliens, space ships, futuristic gadgets

Westerns: horses, cowboys, guns, civil war stuff, railroad,

I'll get a picture done later today after I've slept. smile.gif


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