Cappuccino Soul

Cappuccino Soul

Monday, December 10, 2007

Se7en and Other Screenplays for You

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I found out that the film course that I want to take at The Light Factory starts in February. As I get psyched for the class, I'm paying more attention to films lately —how they’re edited, the dialogue, the fine or poor acting. Also, I've been reading novels that have been made into movies. Right now I’m reading Stephen King’s short story "Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption." It’s amazing how much of that story is actually in the film. I think King’s work has the kind of definitive voices and rich images that potentially make for provocative and powerful films.

For you film lovers out there, here’s a Web site that includes, what must be, hundreds of screenplays — it’s called Screenplays for You. All you have to do is click on the title of the work and read. Here's a sample from one of my favorites:

Se7en (1995)
by Andrew Kevin Walker

EXT. CITY STREET -- NIGHT

Somerset carries his suitcase outside the train station. The
city demands attention: cars screeching, people yelling, sirens
blaring.

Somerset passes a family of bewildered tourists. A WEIRD MAN has
a hand on the tourist-father's suitcase.

It has become a tugging match with the Weird Man shouting, "I'll
take you to a taxi... I'll take you." Ahead, a group is gathered
on the sidewalk near two ambulances. People clamor to get a look
at a BLOODY BODY which lies on the street.

Policeman try to hold the crowd off. Ambulance attendants
administer aid to the victim, who convulses. Somerset moves by,
ignoring it all. He motions for a cab. One pulls up from the
street's stream of vehicles.

INT. CAB -- NIGHT

Somerset throws his suitcase in and shuts the door behind him.

CAB DRIVER
(about the crowd)
What's the big fuss?

Somerset looks out at the crowd, looks at the driver.

SOMERSET
Why do you care?

CAB DRIVER
(under his breath)
Well, excuse me all to hell.

The driver leans forward, checking it out. The circle of
spectators shifts suddenly. A man has shoved another man and
they're really going at it now. The swing at each other and tear
at each other's clothing. One man's flailing fist connects and
the other man's face is instantly bloodied. The fight grows even
more spastic. Policemen try to stop it.

CAB DRIVER
Crazy f****.

The driver pulls away and the cab rages down the street.
Somerset watches the parade of neon passing on the avenue. He
slumps back in the seat and closes his eyes.

CAB DRIVER
Where you headed?
(Somerset opens his eyes.)

SOMERSET
Far away from here.

5 comments:

Regina said...

I love a good book and I love a good movie, but I can't figure out why they have such a hard time making a good book into a good movie!
Sometimes it works but more often than not the movies are terrible. with all the technology that we have I expect better, and the main culprit is the transition for christian books into movies. They usually suck!

Blessings!

Alicia Benjamin said...

Regina,
I think a lot of people feel the way you feel. Perhaps people should remember that a book and a film are two completely different mediums. A film is never going to capture every nuance and literary feat that's in a book. But some films do a great job of adapting the essence of a book or story. I think The Shawhank Redemption is a good example.

Thanks for commenting.

Peace,
Alicia

Michael Brown said...

Alicia Benjamin...

Best of luck with the path you have chosen to express your many talents. Here is some information that sheds some light on the difficult task of going from book to film. Its a website dedicated to the Duke University course “Adapting Literature, Producing Film” taught by Professor and Emmy Award-winning filmmaker, Dante James. Here is the link.

http://www.duke.edu/~aef/The%20Doll/Welcome.html


...and here is a link to a trailer of the film that was produced by the class...

http://news.duke.edu/2007/10/doll.html

Alicia Benjamin said...

Michael Brown,
What a breath of fresh air.

Thanks for giving me the information about that Duke Class. I wish they had such a class down here in Charlotte!

Peace and blessings,
Alicia

Anonymous said...

very useful article. I would love to follow you on twitter.