Finding a Character’s Voice
A week when a character has started dictating the story
This week I’ve finished the latest draft of my current film project, ZERO-B. It won’t be the last draft as it is a tad long at 144 pages down from 157. It is, however, the film the producer is expecting to see and I’ve trimmed it as much as I can without making broader structural and character changes. He wants to see it before that so we can work on those changes together.
The first draft of WALKER (time travel TV show) is almost done. Hopefully will finish that today. Not the best first draft I’ve ever written but not the worst. It feels like the second half of the episode is stronger than the first. There are more clearer defined goals in the second half. The first half is spent trying to introduce the characters and set up a complex story. A character who I thought would be interesting when I first came up with the idea has turned out to be less so, rather bland and superficial. That definitely needs changing in the second draft. The main character who I was worried would be dull is becoming increasingly interesting. This happens all the time when I find a character’s voice, then that character starts dictating where the story goes, which may not be where I had planned on taking it. Fun!
Caught up on a few of the movies up for awards this week: HELL OR HIGH WATER, HIDDEN FIGURES, MANCHESTER BY THE SEA and NOCTURNAL ANIMALS. Out of the four, HIDDEN FIGURES was my favourite by far. Loved everything about it. I was a huge fan of all things to do with the space race when I was a kid. Thought the performances were top notch and the Pharrell Williams soundtrack was near perfect.
MANCHESTER BY THE SEA was okay but I wasn’t sucked in by Casey Affleck’s performance, which everyone else is raving about so I know I’m in the minority here. It’s hard playing a character who doesn’t change that much and when it’s done well it can be really affecting (Anthony Hopkins in REMAINS OF THE DAY for example) but here I just found him kind of irritating. A bit callous of me I know seeing what he’d been through but I just wasn’t sufficiently emotionally connected.
HELL OR HIGH WATER had a lot going for it but I think I maybe wanted to like it more than I did. I like Chris Pine but I’ve never warmed to Ben Foster and didn’t here. He played a character I felt I’d seen so many times before whereas I thought Chris Pine’s character was something really fresh. There was a contrivance (no spoilers) to kick off the climax which I found annoying and unnecessary. It was pretty small and I’m being picky I know but it felt lazy and took me out of the film.
NOCTURNAL ANIMALS had me from the first frame (fat naked women dancing in slow mo in Majorette hats may not be for everyone but I think it’s fair to say no one will forget it in a hurry) and it kept me hooked almost to the end. Unfortunately the ending lost me and when it finished I was left unsatisfied. I’m not sure what I would have wanted to happen. For me, the culmination of the Jake Gyllenhaal/Aaron Taylor-Johnson storyline was a bit meh and the final scene was hardly a surprise and I wasn’t sure what the filmmakers wanted me to take away from it. It was bleak and brutal and everyone was rich and beautiful and miserable. Give me clever people putting rockets into space any day.
Started a new audiobook MOSKVA by Jack Grimwood but it wasn’t keeping my attention and I found my mind wandering while out walking my dogs (which is when I usually listen to audiobooks) so I’ve switched to NORSE MYTHOLOGY by Neil Gaiman, which is far more likely to keep me listening. Big Neil Gaiman fan (the protagonist of my new book looks a lot like Neil Gaiman when his hair is at its wildest) and it’s read by him too.