So this won’t be your typical overlong blog, but a blog in four parts.
Little Diva Rising
This weekend, we filmed a new opening (because the original opening became too impractical), and refilmed one small scene that had begun to nag at me. We had a slate of outdoor scenes planned, but Melbourne had other ideas. Rain pounded down through the morning and early afternoon. Once we called it a day, packed up, and went to lunch, Melbourne decided to stop the rain.
Shooting of those outdoor scenes has been rescheduled.
As we near the end of filming, I find I’m turning scenes over in my head, and wondering if I got the best out of them. The actors have all been great, but ultimately they’re answerable to the way I’m seeing things in my head.
Some of the scenes have reproduced exactly what I envisioned. Others went in a different direction. A few were spontaneously revised to work.
But now the analytical part of my mind – that part that tries to ensure I don’t look like an idiot (you need a demotion) – is examining whether it’s working or not. If there’s any doubt, that obsessive part of me begins to poke, search for weaknesses, and then slash them open, as if to say to me, Not so clever now, are you?
It’s a similar process to what my head employs when I’m writing prose. Everything is great as I’m writing. That’s the beauty of momentum. It rarely stops, or slows, for you to check out the scenery (and nor should it).
It’s only much later – usually as I’m trying to drift off to sleep (hello, sleeplessness) – that I begin to wonder.
With that seamless transition, I am still toiling on my novel. It’s gone much, much slower than I’m accustomed to. And, just when I think time is opening up, something usually jumps in there to squeeze out all my leisure. So I have to cram in what I can when I can.
But I’m about one/quarter into the latest revision, which required the heaviest following the new opening. And I like it. I don’t say that often (hello, insecurity).
Of course, I’ve been living with this book so long, I might’ve just grown immune to its frailties. But I like what it’s doing. Others mightn’t. I’ll learn to live with that (until the voodoo doll apps become a thing).
Mindhunter is a dramatization about the people who invented criminal profiling for the FBI back in the 1970s, just when they were beginning to realise that serial killers (they coined that term) had a methodology. It’s a slow-paced, character-driven drama that’s compelling.
Part of the story’s plot is that the agents go to prisons to interview serial killers (the characters are based on real serial killers). Apparently, the interviews are transcripts from the real interviews the FBI agents conducted. We also delve into the main characters personal lives, and there are also crimes that they investigate using their new understanding of how a killer’s mind works.
The Boys poses a simple question: What would happen if superheroes were corporatized and, worse, corrupt? The titular characters try to bring down superheroes who are infallible publicly, but seedy and immoral and sometimes outright criminal privately. It’s both dramatic and blackly funny. A lot of the superheroes parallel superheroes we know and love.
Lastly, Chernobyl is a six-part limited series based on the Russian Chernobyl nuclear plant that exploded in 1986, the bureaucracy that struggled to come to grips with the disaster, and the superhuman effort that went into the clean-up.
It’s moving to see the sacrifice of selfless people who worked tirelessly to ensure this wasn’t much, much worse. It’s a humanising recontextualization of the Russian people. Back in the 1980s, they were simply seem as the heartless enemy.
It’ll be intensive and exhaustive, but also definitely worthwhile, looking at things like structural maps, prose, common mistakes to look out for, and a breakdown of measuring whether your characters are working.
This is all stuff I’ve learned, devised, and employed, when I edit and revise myself, so they’re practices that work.