ANATOMY OF A SCENE: MEET MAX BUCKNER

Good afternoon, Gigi the parti poodle here once again to introduce my novelist. This has been a more subdued week. My novelist has released her book and things have settled down to a languid pace as she prepares to release the third installment of Musicology in early winter of 2021. I am not fond of the dark mornings that come with the midrange of fall. I miss waking up in daylight. My novelist, like most novelists is insane and rises in the caliginous early hours. I myself cannot face the day until I have seen the sun rise and had my first cup of water with dental liquid. I am looking forward to Halloween which is fast approaching and barking incessantly at the strange children who take treats out of the bowl situated in front of the door. But enough of that rubbish. Here is my novelist.   

This week I thought I would start an anatomy of a scene with the first chapter of the first novel in my book series Musicology: Volume One, Baby! called Meet Max Buckner. When I originally wrote the story there was not a call girl in the room with Maximillian Buckner. The scene simply ran as it was three in the morning and Max got a call or rather three calls from his old buddy Devon Daniels. However, it was brought to my attention it would be cliché to have the story start with Max waking up in bed. So, I decided a good solution would be to have someone in there with him in order to make him active and not sleeping. This way he wasn’t being woken up at all but rather interrupted. The bottom line was there had to be a bed in the first scene because the bed is going to come back to be important later in the book series. And so, I added the call girl.

The reason I named my protagonist Maximillian Buckner seems obvious. He is a man who is about money. He’s the producer, the guy on the business end of music. He’s also the father figure in the story.  I thought it would be amusing if I let the reader in on Max’s physical description and his personality by the way he answers Devon’s call. First, he ignores it. Then he picks up the phone and throws it across the room. Then he screams profanity and takes his sweet time retrieving his device. As he proceeds to take Devon’s call, we find out he’s a smoker, and he likes expensive Russian cigarettes. He has garish but champagne taste with his gold Zippo, crystal Cartier ashtray, leopard print flip-flops and silk leopard print robe. We also get a small hint of his rock and roll lifestyle with his shaggy mane of hair. When I described his hair, my thought was it looked like Bender’s haircut from The Breakfast Club. I would not be surprised if Max has lit a few matches with his teeth.

When Max answers the phone the reader finds out early in the story this is not an average day for Max. His divorce from his second wife finalized the day before. This indicates Max is at the end of one journey and about to embark on another, especially when Devon tells Max he has a proposition for him. And so, Max’s call to adventure begins on page one.

The fact that Devon continues to call Max shows something about Devon’s character. He is not one to give up. The boat could be sinking, the meteors could be falling but Devon persists. He would have dialed Max’s number over and over till he got a reply. And he’s resilient. Max is gruff but Devon couldn’t care less. He just goes about his chitchat buttering up Max. He has a proposition and he’s out to get an answer. Devon is slick, sleazy, has impeccable taste and likes to spend money. He wears expensive designer ties and at the bar where we cut to next, he orders a trendy drink. Max on the other hand sticks to his guns. Though he too has taste he is more traditional than Devon and always orders Jameson Whiskey.  

It was important to me to pick a song Max would play in his car on the way over to the Viceroy to set the stage. It had to be about a subject that fit the story. I played around with a few ideas and settled on “Gold” by John Stewart. It has a wonderful haunting quality so if this were a movie or you went and played the song after you saw it in the book it would evoke a certain mood that was not necessarily comic but not necessarily dark. But would hint to the reader that this book series walks a tightrope between humor and drama. It is said of “Gold” by John Steward that “the song takes a light-hearted but cynical view of the recording industry in Los Angeles”. And for me that could not have been more perfect for this story.

Next week I will continue with my anatomy of Meet Max Buckner.

My Books

You can check out my books Chicane and the first two books in my Musicology book series Musicology: Volume One, Baby! andMusicology: Volume Two, Kid!on Amazon in Kindle and Paperback editions. You can also check out Musicology’s web site at www.musicologyrocks.com and vote for who you think will will Musicology!!!

STREAM OF THE WEEK: THE BIRDS (1963)-Peacock

I was once asked to name some terrifying movies that rely on little if no gore. One of the first films to come to mind was Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds. One of the most interesting notes about the movie is there is no musical score. Only electronic bird sounds for which Bernard Herrmann was the sound consultant. Bernard Herrmann did many of the scores for Hitchcock’s films. One of the things I like about this story is it is something that might happen. In fact, bird attacks are apparently getting more common according to experts. If you were to take a screenplay class for instance, you would probably be told that a horror movie should be about a subject that would most likely never occur. But Hitchcock has made a couple of truly terrifying films where the situation was possible. For instance, there really was an Ed Gein for whom the character who bares the title’s moniker Psycho is based on. I highly recommend The Birds which holds up fantastically over time. It is based on the book by Daphne du Maurier who also penned Rebecca, another one of Hitchcock’s greats which won the Oscar for Best Film.

SMART MOVIES FOR SMART KIDS: SPACEBALLS-Netflix

Okay, this one is for older kids as it is a little raunchy. But if you have a tweener or young teenager who has never seen it, I do recommend giving it a try. An obvious spoof on Star Wars this film had me laughing throughout. Mel Brooks wrote, directed and stars in this classic comedy taking on the Yoda role while  accompanied by John Candy who plays the Chewbacca role, Rick Moranis who plays the Darth Vader role, Bill Pullman who plays the Han Solo/Luke Skywalker role, Daphne Zuniga who plays the Princess Lea role, and the voice of Joan Rivers and the physical mime talents of Lorene Yarnell as the droid. Dick Van Patten also comes along for the ride as the King and father of the princess. Funny, goofy, satirical and whip smart this is an incredibly fun ride.  

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