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All posts for the month April, 2013

Writing “Archangels”

Published April 21, 2013 by RowanMeir Films

A friend of mine recently said to me, “Where is your new book?”

“What new book?”

“Exactly.”

I sat there, stunned. I looked at him utterly speechless. I had no answer. I had no idea. I had no knowledge that I was even supposed to be writing one. I was in the middle of writing another screenplay trilogy, for crying out loud. But that one little bit of dialogue was all it took. That one little question/accusation/inspiration got me going. Where was it? Where was this magical book I didn’t know I had in the works that was somehow supposed to be created and brewing within? I hadn’t written a book in a while; I had been focusing on screenwriting, auditions, meetings, coverage, building the production company, etc. I didn’t have any more time in the day to sit down and write an entire book! The last one I had written–actually–the only book I’d written was a children’s book about the misfit son of Santa ClausGrowing Up Claus © Copyright 2007) But once the idea was out there, its subtext being, What more can you create right at this moment? What story are you leaving unsaid? Well, that got my fire going.

Big John 001

What was my goal? What was I after? I have been writing scripts as vehicles to act in, produce and build a career off of. And with the varying stories and genres they represent, I can clearly see which one would be a good book, another a graphic novel, and the rest–simply the movies and films they were meant to be. So where was my book? Well, clearly seeing the one that it needed to be, I pulled the first of the screenplays: Archangels (© Copyright 2009)the first of a fantasy trilogy. The book would be written to build an audience toward the larger goal, I told myself. So off to work I went. I put the project I was working on aside and dove right in. And now it is done. I have put it out in the world and there is no turning back. No harboring this story anymore. No clasping it to my breast and squeezing it tight. Yes, it’s now out there. Archangels: Book I © Copyright 2013) has come to press.

Big John 024

To my friend who asked the question, to the Guillermo del Toro’s out there and the Darren Arnofsky’s and Gene Hackman’s and Steve Martin’s who have turned their ideas and scripts into books and graphic novels to get a film made, I salute you. It is you who have inspired me and reminded me that being one thing isn’t the only thing to be. To be an actor, you are a storyteller–by all means possible–even if you write them…

-Written by: #CorinaMarie

(Corina Marie Zurcher is an actress, producer and screenwriter.)

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When Less Isn’t Always More

Published April 5, 2013 by RowanMeir Films
“It was romance I was after and it was a nightmare I found. That is my regurgitated answer whenever I am asked, ‘What was the inspiration for your book?’ Of course, I could be more specific and philosophical, but then the poetry of my meaning would be lost in the articulation. We writers know our influences. Actually, we harbor them, holding them close to our breasts, possessively and obsessively clinging to them, seized by our sorrow and our rage and our out-of-reach grace; for what we hold near are the songs of our souls that summon our muses, herald the champions within, and stir the torment that lies within our shadowed, warrior selves. Yes, we know them. We know them well. And we never forget that exact moment when the idea came. Sometimes it starts as a small seed that slowly grows. Other times, it hits us like thunder and electrifies our bodies, setting us on fire so that every word must be written down as fast as the thought comes before the fear sets in that the idea will be lost. But for writers like me, I only wished I could actually be one. I had no muses, I lacked an understanding of the champions, and my life was privileged enough whereby my only torment was my lack of torment, realizing I resided in the sun, left only to envy the warriors outside myself. And in my desperation to be that which I dreamed to be, the idea came. ‘What was the inspiration for your book?’ Yes, I remember that moment. It was a moment when I fell in love with a dead woman…and she haunted me ever since. The summoning of my muse.”  (Excerpt from Hyde by Corina Marie Zurcher.)
“Every artist has something to say. If they didn’t, they’d all make shoes. You are not a cobbler, are you Johnson?” (From the film Anonymous.)
Many times, I’ve watched a manager or agent flip through a script, nodding their head in their own silent agreement, “Good, good…not too many words…dialogue is one to two lines…no monologues…great!” Nothing in the script  is actually being read at that moment, just skimmed through as if it were an old piece of microfiche. Then their head pops up, a smile resting on their face, “This is good. No producer will read a script with too much dialogue. The audience nowadays has no attention for it, and neither does anyone
else.”
Yes, these are the keys to the kingdom…a script with minimal words. But it’s words, I say, that humans understand; it’s words, I rage, that ears are meant for; it’s words I seek when creating a character. I often wonder when the exact moment came when this “rule of scripts” suddenly shifted. When did the audience lose interest? Or when was it that filmmakers told them they should? Being a fan of classic film, I find that I watch the old films time and time again over the newer ones. East of Eden, On the Waterfront, Cool Hand Luke, A Place in the Sun. And I don’t just watch them because they are classics, I watch them…because of the words. And not just any words, but particular words that an actor can use to create the brilliant character the writer intended. Words a director can play off of to engage the audiences’ attention into the world of his players. Words adapted from a book. Words pulled from a play. Words that were more than two sentences long. George Stevens  understood this principal, even when he was asked to dumb down the dialogue for the audience in Giantand didn’t.

 

I wrote the opening excerpt to this post, having utilized a bit of the narrated dialogue from the screenplay version to Hyde. I share it on this post to hopefully prove a point, even if it’s only to myself: that words help you immediately engage with the character. Without  knowing his name, without understanding his nature, that somehow these mere words open a doorway into another world where you wish to know this man, understand who he is and wishes to become. As an actor, words are the doorway–whether or not the camera captures it.

Something has been lost over the ages, but that doesn’t mean it cannot be found. For those of you who write, keep your words. Give them to the world, engage your audience, and don’t succumb to the modern rule of “less is best” when all that is left is nothing more. Actors, demand the words. Seek them out. Use them to open a doorway into another period of time, another moment longing not to be forgotten, for without the words the authors write, we would all be cobblers…

-Written by: #CorinaMarie

(Corina Marie Zurcher is an actress, producer and screenwriter.)