I spent about ten years trying to make a film that would get noticed by Hollywood-types. I got so far as to have a short featured on the IFC Channel’s Media Lab Shorts Uploaded before realizing that the novel suited me better.
That doesn’t mean that I’ve lost all interest in film. And it may be no surprise that my focus was on the writing previously, but I’m currently working on learning a bit more about cinematography.
It’s possible that filmmaking is as integral as ever because one of the driving forces behind my writing is the possibility of seeing a novel adapted into a film. In fact, the last manuscript I submitted to agents was written as a screenplay first. I used it as a kind of outline.
I’d like to see the writing I do as cinematic. I think it is, in part, because I write by watching the film version in my head, transcribing what I see. I’m not sure if that’s unusual and needs unpacking, but that’s the way I do it.
However, I might want to be careful when it comes to adaptations. In a commentary, Michael Crichton said: “…Whenever you start a movie, you have the most wonderful idea in your head. It’s just magical, and glowing, and fantastic… And then at the end you see it all together and it’s just a movie. That’s all. The wonderful quality that was in your head isn’t there. It’s evaporated…”
I’d still like to take a shot at it and like Crichton be lucky enough to direct some of my own adaptations, but that could be a pipe dream. In the meantime, I’m making films and educating myself on the medium. Most recently, a mini-documentary about a cairn that’s well-known in my town. The film debuted in a regional festival last fall.
photo: Erik Witsoe