Thursday, June 19, 2008


Last evening I attended the second set of indy films at our city auditorium. This is a wonderful event, the films always well made and well chosen. Ideally the producer/film maker appears for a conversation after the showing. Only one of three was present last night but she talked a bit about making her film and fielded a few questions from the audience. In addition to the pleasure of seeing the films, I was reminded about how like film my experience is when writing fiction. I see the scene I'm working on, as if it were a little movie in my head. Of course, there's no sound track, so it's not quite the same. (Hmm, maybe we need books on tape with a sound track. Now that's bizarre, but interesting.)

This scenic approach to writing surprises me because I'm not a big movie fan, never developed the taste or habit, having lived as a child in small communities without theaters (and without the money for such luxuries when the wood stove needed a new lining for the firebox). Now, I just don't sit still for many movies. I think Hollywood is too slick, too violent, too dull much of the time. I can manage documentaries, mostly on TV, because they dig deeper, last only an hour, and rarely show gore that is too graphic for me. Once years ago, a friend and I wrote a stage play, an interesting experience, but working with the whole cast frustrated me. We filled the theater for two staged readings, got good feedback, and I put it on the shelf and said, nope, not for me. Dissect me as you will, I like the independence of poetry and fiction in the making. But I did learn about stage business versus talking heads. Good fiction moves. Something happens. If we stay in a character's head, or in a dialogue that goes on and on without so much as a cup of coffee getting refilled, I get nervous. Where's the action that moves the story along? Film does that, keeps people moving. Good camera techniques work in fiction--where's the shot? Who's on screen? Close up or panorama? Try it, you'll like it.

No comments: