Greetings. It is I Gigi the Parti Poodle returning to introduce my writer’s blog. I am pleased to announce my novelist will be publishing the first volume of her satirical book series in August. As I am a Canis Lupus Familiaris of champagne taste I have chosen the cover for her book and it is utterly exquisite. Its magnificence will be enjoyed by all. I must say it has been a daunting week as the Maltese attempted to sneak away to a barbeque (gauche I know) at one of the fraternities at the local university. Luckily, I stopped him in time because they have been having a dilly of a time dealing with a Corona outbreak there. I am flummoxed as to what we are going to do in the fall. I am terrified they will open the schools again and then I will be stuck playing nursemaid to that foolish little lummox. Cannot stay away from those sorority girls you see. And they think he is so cute with his brown lipid eyes and silky white hair. The way they pick him up and put him in their laps. Absolutely scandalous. Without further ado here is my novelist.
If you attended last week’s ScreenwritingU’s Free Class Friday, you would know the subject was writing parts that actors want to play. Having studied both acting and writing I can tell you the first thing an actor does when he or she gets a part is take the script, go through it, and count how many lines they have. The second is count how many monologues they have. Actors are notoriously narcissistic. Dr. Drew’s Narcissism Test showed the average score of a celebrity being 18. The average American scores around 15. I scored 12. As you can see celebrity actors have big fat hairy egos.
When I write novels, I try to have all the characters no matter how big or small jump off the page. I try to write with the thought that my book could be made into a play or a film whether it ever would or not. And if it is, it needs to be actor proof. Because I spent many years studying theatre and writing, my stories tend to flow down the page with a fair amount of dialogue. That does not mean I don’t write description. It simply means my style of writing tends to be more dialogue centric. Being as I am introverted to a fault this is of course ironic. I hate talking to people and I imagine they hate talking to me. However, I like smart, sharp dialogue and I enjoy weaving it into my stories.
I also try to give actors things they might need like props and costumes. I also like to make sure each character has a unique voice they bring to the story. This became important while writing my book series which I will be releasing in August. The series is made up of an ensemble cast and each of these individuals had to have a voice that was all their own. Not just by what they said but by how they said it. They also each needed a flaw. Why? Because actors love playing characters who are flawed. This gives them something to work with, something to stand out with.
A good example is Ratso Rizzo from Midnight Cowboy. He’s a short little con artist who limps. Or perhaps Deadpool, a malformed, smarty pants, mentally unstable mercenary. Or Alex Forrest in Fatal Attraction who has a serious problem with being ignored. Or Alyssa and James from The End of the F***ing World. I mean where do I even start with their issues? Actors eat this stuff up.
The first season of 13 Reasons Why did an excellent job defining the different personalities and flaws of each of the students. Each episode focused on one of the characters who had some level of involvement in the suicide of the female protagonist. Each one had a well-defined personality, a secret, and a flaw. The show also did a good job weaving in clues about the character who turns out to be the villain. I cannot in good conscience recommend the dreary disheartening second season. But I can recommend the first which is outstanding. And the novel by Jay Asher.
While you’re waiting for my next post and the release of my book series you can check out my novel Chicane on Amazon.
This Friday’s ScreenwritingU Free Friday Class is Want To Write Fascinating Scenes?. You can register for the class here.
STREAM OF THE WEEK: ESCAPE MOVIES: ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK & ESCAPE FROM ALCATRAZ-Amazon Prime Video
This week because it is summer, I thought it would be fun to choose a couple of movies about escaping…from prison that is. And because stream of the week choices should not always be stuffy.
Escape From New York (1981) is a gleeful tongue in cheek romp. And it has a fantastic lead character named Snake Plisskin played brilliantly by Kurt Russell. Snake is a problem child who in the future (1997 which is the future in the movie) has gotten himself incarcerated in the worst maximum-security prison in the country: Manhattan. Luckily for Snake the President of the United States has crash landed in Manhattan and has been taken prisoner by The Duke. Snake is given an option: rescue the president and help him escape or die within 24 hours. Loads of fun!
Escape from Alcatraz is based on a true story about the one and only daring escape from Alcatraz. Brilliant bank robber Frank Morris (Clint Eastwood) has been sent to the most ruthless prison in the United States where he discovers the prison is not as solid as people think. Teaming up with brothers Clarence and John Anglin and young Charlie Butts Morris slowly but surely begins to plan a fool proof escape from a place deemed to be impossible to break out of. The film is wonderfully written and offers no easy answers to the success or failure of Morris’s plan. A true classic.
SMART MOVIES FOR SMART KIDS: Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown (and Don’t Come Back!) (1980)-Amazon Prime Video
Bon Voyagae, Charlie Brown (and Don’t Come Back!) like many Peanuts movies is a sweet little story and a great travel movie to boot. Charlie Brown, Linus, Peppermint Patty, Marcie, Snoopy and Woodstock all fly to France to be exchange students. On route Charlie Brown shows he has received his first ever letter in the mail…but it is written in French. Marcie who has recently been studying French helps to decipher it. The kids first land in England and Snoopy partakes of tennis at Wimbledon but they are soon onto France where Marcie and Peppermint Patty stay at a chalet with their new friend Pierre. But Charlie Brown, Linus, Snoopy and Woodstock travel on to the place Charlies’ letter was sent from, the Maison du Mauvais Voisin (house of the bad neighbor) where a mystery begins to form.