Monday, July 21, 2014

Reader Number One

As you saw in last week's post, I finally took the leap and sent my screenplay out to the first in a long line of important readers: George Rideout, the writer of the play on which my film is based. 

And as you also saw, in true gentleman George fashion, he got back to me as soon as he received the package, saying he couldn't get to reading it right away - no doubt knowing I would be waiting and wondering until I had news. 

So, as anxious as I was to know how the author of the original work felt about the direction I was taking, the job I was doing, I managed to put my waiting on hold, and more or less put the matter out of my mind.

Then, right before the weekend, I received this:  

Hi Tara,

I’m almost finished with those annoyingly pressing, uninteresting tasks. I will read the script this weekend. I’m greatly looking forward to it.


To which I replied:

Hi George,

Good that you’re coming out on the other side of those "aput's".
And I wish you bonne lecture this weekend!


And then I waited. 

And as the full weekend of waiting went by with no news at all from George, and turned into the beginning of the week, still with no news at all, I admit I started to worry. Just a little. Wondering if maybe - despite being such a gifted writer - George Rideout was having trouble finding the right words to tell me exactly what he thought of what I'd done to his words...

And then, mercifully, this popped into my inbox:

Dear Tara,

I just finished reading your screenplay and I enjoyed it enormously. 

The cover letter addresses your concerns that I might be bothered by the direction you’ve gone in, but in fact the opposite is true. William Burroughs, the third member of the triumvirate that included Kerouac and Ginsberg, used the “cut up” method with his writing. That is, he took a page of his text and literally cut it up into strips with scissors, scrambled the strips, and reassembled them. Now he didn’t do this randomly. He made conscious choices with the new juxtapositions of words and in some books he even gives various versions of the same textual content. The result is often striking and captures other layers of reality that are there for those who care to look. 

While what you’re doing with the images and scenes is not exactly “cut up,” it does offer a viewing experience that functions differently than a straight up narrative, and given the themes of Michel & ti-Jean, I think that’s a very smart choice. Your question--“has Kerouac conjured up Tremblay?”— is significant, as is your rationale for transitions in the Director’s Vision.

I love your addition of Jan, of the actors, of library scenes. I also love the scene in which Kerouac and Tremblay hitch a ride with Sal and Dean. 

I will be in Montreal soon. If you’re in town it would be great to chat. You can ask me specific questions if you like and I can be more detailed in my response to the draft. To my mind you can go even farther in the direction you’ve taken with the 2nd draft, but of course that might have implications for the agencies that would be putting up the cash.

Sorry that those “aputs” kept me from the script for so long, but for me the payoff was great!


Probably not half as great as the payoff was for me! Thank you, George!! 

And now, onto important reader number two...

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