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Saturday, February 11, 2012

Writing vs Filming...just me or I'm not crazy?

So, I'm in the process of re-vamping my book trailer (original is below).  and I find it curious how different the creative process is when compared to writing a novel.

When I write, I sit down and the story takes me where it wants to.  The characters develop themselves as the story progresses.  I feel rather out of control of the plot progression.  It just flows from my brain to my finger tips.

When I am working on a film project, things are quite different.  The initial writing phase isn't nearly as easy because I've got to cram a vision into a pre-determined slot of time.  In writing, I can say what I want to say in however many words I want to say it (more or less) in film, I've got one sentence or sometimes one word in which to convey the message.

I NEVER work with an outline when I write.  I ALWAYS work with an outline when I'm putting together something on film.  There are simply to many moving pieces and parts in film for my small brain to keep track of.

I've written screenplays and enjoy the process but ever since I started writing novels, I find it difficult to be so concise, so brief with a screenplay.  If I'm shooting it, I need a storyboard.  Drawings (and if I've done them they look like a six-year-old's work of art) detailing a shot-by-shot schedule of how the project will be filmed.

Even a short book trailer requires storyboarding, which is sometimes ignored for a multitude of reasons but is always the guiding force during the shooting process. After something is on camera, the editing process is insanely detailed, laborious and sometimes frustrating.  Oftentimes I realize I missed a shot that is needed for story progression and have to re-shoot (meaning drag the actor from wherever he/she may be hiding, throw them back in costume, hope the weather cooperates and try again). Sometimes I have to re-record audio and when I finally have all the raw data I need, I've got to string it together into something I'm happy with...which takes HOURS.

Now that I review what I've just written, the process of writing a book and creating a film really aren't that different.  My approach may differ, but the post-production work is the same.  The total amount of hours I've put into my novel AFTER finishing the preliminary writing, and re-writing at least three times will FAR exceed the hours it took to write and edit initially.  Marketing (major, major, major time consumer, cover design, working with the illustrator, copyediting and on and on and on...AND the big pre-release push is just getting geared up.

So, I have managed to talk myself into believing these processes are actually quite similar.  For me, the fun -that is, the truly creative part, is on the front end. The business end of a book or film is far more time consuming than I had led myself to believe but has its own enjoyments.  Meeting and working with great people. Collaborating with other creative people.  Learning.  Over the past five months I've learned so much about taking a book from manuscript to print -and I'm sure it is just beginning.

Final lesson:  Well, as boring as this may sound.  Sometimes it is good to write something down to gain a bit of clarity.  I went into writing this post with one perception and finished with another.

Here is my original teaser trailer and extended trailer.  Enjoy!

As always, find interviews, writing samples, videos, contests and more on my re-vamped website.


1 comment:

  1. I have never done the screen play thing, but have watched you, it looks nuts. What I compare is prose/poetry. I have stacks and stacks of poems, including a huge, 8 month long project of over 500 poems, that were fun/hard to write. Poems just fall out sometimes, and other times, when trying to fit a theme or style, they take time.
    Prose, prose that leads to characters that become a story...that just happens, as you say, the story and characters dictate the writing.
    All of it is fun, until I hit a wall (or get stuck in a cabin), and then it can become work. I still haven't hit the novel size editing, but I will say that editing 500 poems is a royal pain!