Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Everything Is A First Draft!

So, as I’m working on one of the Corman Poe entries for 13 Films Of Halloween on the blog, I realize that it is 8 pages long before I ever get around to adding my “lessons” section and anything else I might want to add to the synopsis to make it cool. The synopsis was written with a focus on the things I would discuss in the “lessons” section - and I decided early on to look at how these films build suspense and dread and have all kinds of scares and disturbing *concepts*... all on a low budget. I figured we’d look at these old horror films and see how they worked - and worked at a time when there was no CGI and the budgets were so low that the FX work is mostly skeletons and cobwebs and the occasional rat scurrying. In one of these films, Vincent Price walks full on into a huge spider web and then *stops* with the web all over his face, and I went “Eeeeeew!” as I was watching it. And I am a manly man. Pretty sure I can buy those spider webs at the 99 cent store right now.

So I’ve decided *not* to write the “lessons” and “comments” and “cool stuff” part of the entries. Those will be part of the “next draft” when I expand these entries for some ebook someday. I think all of you can read the synopsis and figure out the basics of the lessons - because there was little or no money for FX, they used all of these jump moments and suspense and disturbing *ideas* (which come directly from the Poe stories - people being buried alive or watching their father torture their mom or realizing you are slowly losing your mind) to create a scary movie. Cheap.

The blog has been reruns for a while because I’m stalled on Trailer Tuesday entries. Trailer Tuesdays was to replace my Wednesday Scenes Of The Week entries... which I have a bunch of half written ones or outlines for them on my hard drive. The problem with the Scenes thing was that at some point I realized I wanted them all to be as good as that LEOPARD MAN blog entry on suspense and dread which broke down the scene and really got into what made it tick. Some of the Wednesday entries did that - The JAWS one was pretty good, as was the CARRIE one... but too many were just “Here’s the scene” and some basic analysis but none of the cool stuff (which takes *time*). I really wanted them all to be like LEOPARD MAN, but that might take a week to write!

So I replaced them with Trailer Tuesday, and the same damned thing happened! There were a couple of great Trailer Tuesday entries where I really got into the movie and what made it work and why you should see it... but many were just dashed off because tomorrow is Tuesday and I need to have something on the blog. I realized I wanted all of the Trailer Tuesdays to be like mini lectures on the films... and I just didn’t have time for that. I have an entry on THE DRIVER I’ve been playing around with for a while, and realized it’s going to become a freakin’ epic. I don’t have time for that. I have time to do the synopsis that points out some of the great stuff, but not enough time to really dig into the “lessons” the way I do on the Fridays With Hitchcock.

But the Fridays With Hitchcock didn’t begin that way. Originally they were supposed to be 5 page blog entries that added up to 1 short book... and then something happened and some of them became monsters! I think THE BIRDS was the first one I went crazy on... and then I realized that was the way to do it - really look at what made these films work. Because the plan was still just one book from all of those blog entries, some were still short - I remember dashing out UNDER CAPRICORN in an airport while waiting for a flight. I added a few paragraphs when I ran it the second time. But now the entries are pretty detailed, and I’m looking at a short entry like MARNIE and doing a major rewrite on it for the eBook version. That was a “tomorrow’s Friday!” entry, and it’s not my favorite Hitchcock film so I just dashed out a few pages. The expansion is going to look at The Mystery Of Character - and how the story is about peeling back the layers of Marnie to find out why she is who she is. It’ll be a cool chapter.

But THE 39 STEPS entry has been stuck at the synopsis stage for months now - I know exactly what the lessons are and have “set them up” in the synopsis... but all of the work that goes into the “lesson part” I just don’t have time for, now. I’m working on something else.

So here’s the new plan: The blog is going to get the first drafts.

The 13 FILMS OF HALLOWEEN are going to be the synopsis without the lesson stuff. But you can probably spot the lessons without my detailed analysis. Eventually there will be an ebook and I’ll flesh out these “first drafts” for that.

The TRAILER TUESDAYS will pop up in November again, but they will also be a synopsis part without the detailed analysis - that will come later when I find an ebook or whatever to use that material in. Part of this is generating material I can use for books or tips or some other purpose - and writing about a film every week is a great way to create that raw material. But for now it’s just going to be the raw material.

The FRIDAYS WITH HITCHCOCK will return - and they will be just the synopsis without the lesson part... though sometimes I may have time to expand some entries. I love talking about those films and I’m liable to “cheat” on this first draft plan there. But mostly just the first drafts, with more details coming in the version that ends up in the ebooks. Hey, all of the entries in EXPERIMENTS IN TERROR were rewritten and expanded for the book!

And THRILLER THURSDAY will return sometime next year... that was another blog feature that just went out of control and 1 book looks like it will now be a 2 book episode guide eventually. Even though those went a little longer than expected, they still never became the monsters that FRIDAYS WITH HITCHCOCK became. YOUNG AND INNOCENT is over 8,000 words - that’s like 30 typewritten pages!

So: the blog is going to get the first drafts.


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