I’ve been watching a lot of movies recently. I love getting lost in them. All genres … save for horror. I can’t wrap my head around blood and mayhem. Besides they give me terrible nightmares, but I digress…
As I’ve been watching, my writer’s brain has been translating the images into the written word. Dissecting what makes the movies work … or not. Figuring out why I’m laughing or crying or sitting on the edge of my seat in breathless anticipation.
And one of the conclusions I’ve drawn is that in many ways movie makers have it so much easier than writers. First, you have the music. Running in the background, the tone of the melody creates the mood. It can be quick and happy or dark and scary. It can be used to build tension, slowly gathering to a crescendo and *wham* there’s that first kiss you’ve eagerly anticipated. And you release that breath you’ve been holding in a satisfying sigh of contentment.
And then of course there are the visual cues. The confused look when a hand is grasped. The dark lighting of a haunted house. The panoramic vista of a emerald mountain that underscores the epic journey about to be undertaken. There is no point-of-view character describing the scene. No one’s internal thoughts to engage the viewer. Just the images to carry the viewer into the story.
On the other hand a screen writer has only the dialogue of the characters to tell their story. There are no paragraphs of exposition to bring in the tragic backstory of the hero. No opportunities for the heroine to be in her head and share her innermost secrets. That all has to come naturally through conversations between characters. Maybe not the easiest job. But then of course, tears and smiles help do some of the work.
That isn’t to say I could ever write a screenplay. Writing dialogue just about kills me. But I don’t know, I still think movie makers have it easier than authors. What do you think? Am I off base on this one? And if you’ve seen any really good movies this summer let me know, I’m always looking for some good entertainment.