Monday, January 4, 2010

And now there are three - Writing with David.

As most of you know, Jeanne and I are now working with David Gerrold on the Stardance adaptation. How's it going, you say? Take three strong and passionate personalities and put them in a room together (or, actually, since I'm in Memphis, David is in L.A. and Jeanne is in BC...put them on a conference call together.) No, we haven't come to blows - but we're all learning to hear and be heard by each other, and making real progress. My wife tends to leave the house during these calls as my voice slowly gets louder and louder as our meetings progress and I begin shouting out run-on sentences that start out "What if we do this?" Jeanne is somewhat more reserved, but stern, David is...diplomatic.

David is quite direct, though he couches his directness in a cushion of tact and praise. He will stop us and throw a hand-grenade suggestion into our midsts, and while Jeanne or I might initially rail against the suggestion, we talk out the implications and see how this radical change in our thinking can send us in a direction that often makes the story come together.

While adapting a literary piece for the screen, one’s original intention is to be as true to the source as possible. That intention can become a fool’s errand in the screenwriting world. The things that bring the reader deep into a piece like Stardance, the sharing of the narrator's thoughts, are much harder to show cinematically. Even with the many adjustments that Jeanne and I have made in our adaptation, we have found ourselves lost in the caverns of some of our previous choices not knowing how to extract ourselves.

David is blasting us out. Spider is throwing us flares now and again, helping to light our way as well. I have the line belayed...I'm running out of metaphor. I better save it for the cows.

(Q: What's a metaphor? A: To keep cows in.)