website, blog and vanity nexus of writer R F Brown

Posts tagged ‘tv’

5 Ways Novelists Can Benefit from Watching Movies and TV Shows | The Passive Voice

Sometimes writers have snobbish attitude toward the writing we witness in movies and television shows. Snobby to the point of not watching. I think if we plan our television or movie time well and think of it as research, there’s a lot to learned from other kinds of media. What’s surprised me most as I’ve become an editor of writing, is how much editing of tv shows I do in my head as I’m watching.

5 Ways Novelists Can Benefit from Watching Movies and TV Shows | The Passive Voice.

Aside from the immediate benefit of getting yourself away from the computer screen and the blackhole of the Internet, studying movies and TV shows is a great way to enhance your storytelling skills. No, writing a script is not the same as writing a novel. But if you look beyond the differences in written format you’ll find some amazing similarities.

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We all have film characters we love, hate, or even love to hate. Have you ever stopped to think of why? Is it their viewpoint? Dialogue? Mannerisms? Something you never really noticed until asked this question? The most accurate answer is “all of the above.” Character = the sum of its traits.

If you’re having trouble making your characters individually unique, or the main players don’t seem to have that It Factor, select one of your favorite film characters and study everything he does in the story. What makes him stand out? How does he react and interact with the other characters? What does he do when faced with a tough decision? How do you know what that character is feeling without being “inside his head”?

To sharpen your character viewpoint skills, try this exercise:

Watch one scene of a movie (that you’re familiar with) that involves two or more characters. Now write that scene from each of the different characters’ eyes, as you would in a novel–include setting description, thoughts, sensory details, emotion, whatever is relevant. Different characters have different views of the same situation. This should show in your writing.

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Select five movies you’ve never seen before. Watch each movie and note whether you were engaged from beginning to end. If you weren’t, note what point you lost interest. If a movie isn’t doing it for me, that point is often within the first 20 minutes. Then ask yourself, Did I lose interest because my expectation for that movie wasn’t met? Or, Did I lose interest because, no matter what my expectation, the movie was just plain boring?

Bad pacing bores the audience. But a good pace doesn’t necessarily mean fast and action-packed. Good pacing means constant forward momentum of the story. This is why good literary fiction can be thrilling, and bad science fiction can put you to sleep.

Anything that doesn’t move the story forward must be cut. Analyze individual scenes in movies. They begin in media res, and end as soon as the point of the scene has been made. The same should be said of your novels. No room for boring fluff, no matter how beautiful the prose. We live in a busy world. Even prolific readers don’t have time to read everything. More often than not, they will choose the book that feels like it’s moving toward something over one that feels like it’s going nowhere.

Recalling the Dick Cavett Show: Intelligent but not Intellectual

Dick Cavett’s show, besides offering a window on the celebrities, politics and culture of the late 1960s and early ’70s, at the height of the monolithic network era, also provided a frame of reference for understanding the dominance of talk in today’s fragmented media marketplace.

link:  Fame is a Bee: On Dick Cavett | The Nation.

BSD Movie Log: Doomwatch

Doomwatch (1972, d. Peter Sasdy)

A British government scientiss visits a rural, inhabited island to collect soil samples in the wake of an offshore oil spill.  The scientist is greeted with hostility by the locals.  They are attempting to hide an ugly secret.

Doomwatch was a theatrical release derived from a British t.v. adventure series.  The first half is interesting,  atmospheric, and weird.  The second half  is preachy and embarrassing.    This is not a horror movie.  Don’t get sucked in.  You’ll only end up with a lot suck.

Tom Bosley,TVs Howard Cunningham, 83 -RIP

 

Bosley on Happy Days

 

Tom Bosley, best known for his tv role as Howard Cunningham on Happy Days, 1974-1984, is no longer coming down for breakfast.

Bosley was a veteran stage actor, he won a Tony award in 1959 for the musical Fiorello! He is familiar to most people from television on Happy Days, Murder She Wrote, Father Dowling Mysteries, and TV commercials and infomercials in which he mostly played Tom Bosley.  I recall for a time people also confused him with the late actor David Doyle, although I never did.

 

People always mixed up Bosley and Doyle. I still don't see it.

 

Happy Days is one of those shows I watched religiously in childhood and now I recognize that all but the first season sucked.  The original idea was borrowed wholesale from the movie American Grafitti, including the staring actor Ron Howard.  They first shot Happy Days on film, with some pretty daring story lines for a prime time sitcom.  The second season they went to multi camera video, brought in a jovial studio audience, scrubbed a major character from everybody’s memory (lost brother Chuck), and flipped the Cunningham household set around so that the front door was on the right.  I guess a door on that side was much less controversial, but not any funnier.  The show was never the same again for ten irratating seasons.

However, Tom Bosley was a funny actor, and, I gather, a charitable person.  RIP.

link:  CBC News – Television – Happy Days actor Tom Bosley dies.

Barbara Billingsley,94 – RIP

Barbara Billingsley, best know for her role as June Cleaver on Leave it to Beaver, 1957-1963, is no longer coming down to breakfast.  The June Cleaver character is a frequently, sometimes inaccurately, used symbol in media criticism of the shiny, oblivious, chavanistic suburban life invented for television in 1950s.  June was a housewife who wore pearls while vacuuming, doted on her husband and boys, and never cracked the binding on the Feminine Mystique.   It’s true that in the Cleaver’s town of Mayfield there was no racism (or black people), no McCarthyism, and no desire in women for life beyond the foyer.  On the other hand, Leave It To Beaver was a great show because it was actually funny, often deliberately absurd, and never a depiction as bland and idealized as people make it out to be.  Also, I suspect that part of the reason the 1950’s are so elevated in the conservative imagination, is because perfect suburban neighborhoods, bridge clubs, and women officing in the kitchen, for good or ill,  is a lot the way it was, or at least the way a myopic post-war American culture wanted things to be.

link:  Barbara Billingsley of \’Leave it to Beaver\’ fame dies – CNN.com.

Stephen J. Cannell and his pipe RIP- 69

Stephen J Cannell, that creepy bearded guy with a pipe after every episode of A-Team, Greatest American Hero, 21 Jumpstreet and many other bad tv shows of the 80s, is no longer coming down for breakfast.

link: Stephen J. Cannell Obituary: View Stephen Cannell\’s Obituary by MPNnow.