New Moon, New Me

Yesterday, there was a new moon. The moon will spend the next 28 days or so developing into its brilliant fullness before it again contracts into a silver sliver in the sky.

For the next two weeks, those of us who honor the earth’s cycles have the opportunity to set new intentions for the month, plan for abundance and prosperity, take on new challenges, and develop new habits. The two weeks following that can be a time for releasing bad habits, ending toxic friendships, relationships, and situations, and letting go of that which no longer serves us as the moon wanes, returning to its crescent.

This is especially true for me right now, leading up to my next birthday. Birthdays for me are no longer about parties and presents (actually, they were never much about that). But, now, more than ever, my birthdays are my own personal New Year’s celebrations. They are about evaluating my life, choosing what I wish to continue, and what I wish to discard. Birthdays, for me, are a time of quiet introspection and excited planning.

To that end, I will be working harder on my business, Grown Folks Fitness, which is my personal training and coaching business. I have also started a YouTube channel under my name where I will discuss life topics and spirituality.

I hope you are well and that you are living a life that you are happy and satisfied with. It’s so important, in these few years we have to live and flower before returning to the earth, that we do what we love, be with whom we love, not waste time with anything that is unworthy of us, and try to make a positive difference on the planet.

Have a blessed and beautiful weekend,

Raven

Advertisements

Adapting a Novel to the Big Screen

My dream is to write a novel that becomes a movie. I’ve written screenplays, but I am in love with novels. I love reading stories, and I love writing them. Writing a novel is a big undertaking, but I’m excited for the challenge. At the end of the process, you have something that is absolutely yours. That is a special feeling.

However, writing a novel that will, hopefully, one day become a movie, requires a degree of forethought. As stated in the video, there has to be enough “story” in the story to make it interesting for viewers. Novels usually have a lot of internal dialogue and description. In a movie, internal dialogue has to be conveyed through actual dialogue, body language, and/or facial expression.

Similarly, in a book, describing the setting is free. But, on a movie set, creating the setting requires enormous amounts of money and man hours. It’s good practice to keep these things in mind as you write (or rewrite).

I think the following questions are helpful when creating a story you hope will be adaptable to the big screen:

1) Is there enough that actually “happens” in the story? Characters should be performing actions and speaking dialogue that reflect what’s going on internally. If you were to see the story’s events in real life, would they still be interesting?

2) If you are a new writer, would the story be economical to produce? Period pieces and elaborate space explorations are fabulous, but expensive. You increase the odds that a small or mid-range producer would be interested in the work if the price tag isn’t too hefty.

3) Are you able to write screenplays? This seems obvious. But some novelists don’t appreciate how much different a screenplay is from a novel. In a screenplay, less is definitely more. Flowery, beautiful language that appeals to readers doesn’t work for producers and directors. Of course, the studio could hire someone to write the screenplay – and they might hire someone else to rewrite the screenplay anyway – but it’s helpful, and potentially more lucrative, if you can do it yourself.

4) Will you be able to handle it, emotionally, when your story gets changed in order to make the story screen-ready? Novelists usually work alone. Screenwriters work as part of a team. The large sums of money and time involved in making a movie mean that lots of people have different opinions. The story will change – sometimes completely – before it makes it to the screen. Is this story your “baby?” If so, you might not be able to tolerate the development process. Pick a story that isn’t too personal, or develop a thick skin if you decide you still want to adapt it.

Adapting a book into a movie is not completely within your control, but there are things you can do to make it more likely. If that’s your goal, spend some time planning your story. A visually appealing story with lots of action, great characters, and snappy dialogue stands a good change of engaging both readers and movie-goers.

Good luck!

And, maybe one day we’ll see your name (and mine!) under the “Based on a novel by…” credit!

Peace and love,

Raven

Is the Big Screen Still Worth It?

I was talking to someone about the new Jurassic World movie, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. They were telling me how unimpressed they were with the story. I sympathized, of course. Nothing has ever come close to Jurassic Park, the original. But we also agreed that there is nothing like the big screen for visuals and sound. Nothing is quite as cool as hearing Hollywood’s version of a T-Rex scream  in a theater setting.

However, it’s also true that the bar has been raised. If Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom‘s story is bad (and I haven’t seen it yet, so I don’t know), is it really worth it to spend the money and time, sit next to strangers, and fight the traffic just to hear big sound and see a big screen? It all depends on your priorities, time constraints, financial situation, and why you go to the movies in the first place.

If you go to the movies to enjoy a communal event, traveling to the theater for a group experience is part of the fun. Movie theaters will always hold a place in society. They provide a way to experience story as a bonding and entertaining event. To that end, movies that reach the widest audience, have the most crossover appeal, and are the easiest to understand, will probably always do best in the theater atmosphere. The Marvel-type movies, big action films, easy romantic comedies, and animation provide mass appeal. They are generally non-controversial. And they allow us to relax our brains for a couple of hours in the company of friends, family, and junk food.

However, some of us do not watch movies to relax our brains. Having our brains stretched and worked on is part of the entertainment. Character-driven movies, independent films, foreign films, documentaries, and art-house films are more likely to draw this type of crowd. Each individual movie may not be profitable enough to show on a big screen. But, now that streaming has become such a popular way to view content, studios can create intellectual content without going bankrupt. These movies don’t require large screens or booming audio, so they can be enjoyed on a large or a small screen.

The smaller screen also appeals to people who just want a distraction for a few minutes. I think all of us fall into this category at times. During a busy work week, there may not be enough time to venture out to a theater, or dive into a deep, character-driven tale. Dropping in on a streaming show or movie for a few minutes, knowing that you can pick it up right where you left off, is the essence of the “on-demand” system.

This wider range of content is good news for writers and consumers. People are still hungry for story. And, now that there are so many other options besides theaters and cable, those of us who like niche movies and shows have a greater variety of options. I can usually find something interesting to watch on Netflix, for example, since they have everything from old movie classics to their own original programming, and everything in between.

Virtual reality may eventually become another way to enjoy entertainment. VR provides a personalized, interactive experience that is unlike any previous movie or television experience. The kinds of experiences that are becoming possible through technology may present additional challenges for writers, producers, and consumers alike. But, in the meantime, regardless of your reason for engaging in entertainment, there is likely something out there that can satisfy even the pickiest of viewers.

 

Peace and love,

Raven