Thursday, July 23, 2009

All that Jazz!

There are some movies that I think should be viewed again and again, they are just that good. Chicago is one of them. Great dancing. You can't beat the gangster years in Shy Town for a setting. Costume makers have a field day. And -- all that jazz!

Most writers are diehard readers. I do a lot of reading, but mostly business related. Movies, that's my thing. Everyone craves stories and since I was a functional illiterate for a long time, I turned to movies to satisfy that need.

Back to the movie, Chicago. Have you ever noticed how Renee Zellweger purses her mouth, squints her eyes, and her nose turns pink like she is about to cry? And they don't switch the camera shot, so it seems to me that somehow she does that pink nose thing for real.

I study film. I look at props, how long prior to the realization of their importance was the prop introduced by a simple gesture or even a camera shot. I run the film slow (sometimes a frame at a time) forward and backward during key scenes, scenes with emotions I want to learn to capture in words. I freeze the screen at the precise moment the emotion is launched and there is no option for the viewer, other than being hooked.

I study certain actors, watch the flick of their eyes or the turn of the corner of their mouth with the sound off and the closed captions on. I pull another film with the same emotion and watch how another actor (and director) capture it. Then I close my eyes and imagine a scene and begin to type, just like Jamal did with Mr. Forrester in Finding Forrester, straight through, no rewrites, no edits - eyes closed, typing as the scene plays out in my mind.

I don't know if that is normal or just my dyslexic way of doing things. As in the Hunt for Red October, "There is no going back," move the story forward -edit when the draft is finished.

Goodness, I just put myself in a writing mood. See ya later - and all. that. Jaaaaaaaazz!

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