Sunday, August 16, 2009

Taking Risks - Part 4

Several years ago, my critique partner at the time decided to turn one of his crime novels into a screenplay. One or two chapters-into-script later, he was almost giddy. "It's just like writing a novel, only easier."

Eh. I'm no expert, but novels and scripts are different animals, and I tried to direct him toward some resources that I'd researched in my once-upon-a-time contemplation of scriptwriting.

"Yeah, yeah, yeah, thanks for the info, but I've got a winner."

Our critique partnership ended for a variety of reasons not long after that, and I don't know if he ever finished the script.

As a reader, there are several books that I think would make great movies; on the other hand, after looking forward to movies made from my favorite books, I've been disappointed by how little they were honored in the end results. Michael Crichton's Timeline springs immediately to mind. I enjoyed the movie, but the missed opportunities to tell the whole story so annoyed me that I couldn't keep the DVD any longer. It was almost a personal insult.

Yes, I am a geek.

Yet, despite that, despite admiring
the work of Tolkien and Lewis, I wasn't among those fans upset by the way The Lord of the Rings or both current Narnia flicks (Wardrobe, Caspian) were presented. The movie tales differ from the books, but they're complete. I can enjoy them as separate visions of the same story.

I've contemplated taking a shot at turning older, never-filmed books into screenplays, but until a couple weeks ago never considered writing a story just for the screen. There's a contest (invitation only) to which I'd like to submit something. There are several pages of notes ready -- no actual script yet -- the deadline is less than a month away, and I have prior writing obligations. Still, it's something I want to try, just for the sheer challenge of it.

There's no money on offer, but something even more interesting: the chance to collaborate with other writers on an actual it's-gonna-be-made-into-a-movie script.

So, armed with Screenwriting for Dummies -- yes, there really is a book with that title -- I am venturing into new waters. I have no expectations of winning the contest, but I will take this risk, do the best I can with the skills I have, and hopefully have a lot of fun in the process.

Note: previous "Taking Risks" posts can be read here: 1, 2, 3.

It's been a while since I wrote the other "Taking Risks" post, but I've been preparing for the "big risk", whatever that might be, by contemplating and preparing for other possible risks:

Risk #1: Sell the house. To that end, part of the interior has been repainted, but there are several more rooms to go, and the carpets might need replacing (only three rooms have carpet; other floors are wood, vinyl, or tile), then the outside needs some cosmetic work.

Risk #2: Find a new job or embark on a new career. This one may have to wait for a while.

Risk #3: Put the novels "out there". One has been submitted, another is partially complete, and the science fiction serial needs a new injection.

Risk #4: Move to a totally different part of the country (if the house doesn't sell, it can be rented out). Dad has suggested I take a couple months to wander the States and consider my next move while seeing a little more of the world. I like that idea, but I need money to make it happen.

Anybody else out there ruminating on the possibility of changing the course of your life?

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