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 Post subject: Directors As Writers
PostPosted: Sun Oct 04, 2009 3:54 pm 
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Roy's link to a report that George A. Romero is to write a zombie novel:-

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2009/oc ... mbie-novel

I recently heard that David Cronenberg had signed to write a book, and there are books out there by Tim Burton and the Coen Brothers. I have copies of "Fountain Society" by Wes Craven and "The Strain" by Guillermo Del Toro, but haven't got around to reading them as yet.

So, what does the panel think? Are these creative artists experimenting in a different medium, or celebrities who've used their success in one field of endeavour to make a killing in another?

What examples are their of writers becoming directors? Clive Barker comes to mind, but who else?

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 04, 2009 4:32 pm 
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Hey Pete,

I haven't read any of the books you've mentioned but I think some forms of creativity just tend to splurge. To detour slightly, on my mum's side of the family, nearly everyone was / is semi-competent with music, drawing, painting and writing dependant on training. We just haven't all done anything about it. Mum had a few "literary" short stories published, I have a composer uncle and then there's me, attempting to get published in sf. EVeryone else just gets on with life.

In the instances you give above, no doubt they exploit their earlier success to ensure their manuscripts / film scripts / whatever seen by the right people, but I wouldn't care to call it on the talent :)

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 04, 2009 5:02 pm 
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Michael Crichton directed some films, but I'm not sure if that came before his novels.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 04, 2009 5:17 pm 
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Rolnikov wrote:
Michael Crichton directed some films, but I'm not sure if that came before his novels.

According to IMDB, Mr Crichton's (the admirable Crichton? heh) first directoral credit was with Pursuit (aka Binary, apparently) in 1972. He appeared as an uncredited actor in Andromeda Strain (also dated 1971) and his first credited producer role was in 1971 with a lapse until 1994.

However, IMDB have The Andromeda Strain as his first listed novel and date in as 1971. First off, he wrote Odds On as John Lange, published in 1966 (this is on Wikipedia). And The Andromeda Strain was written in 1969. It became a movie in 1971, which is what IMDB are actually crediting, I guess, as they're a move database and all that.

The interweb is my friend ;)

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 05, 2009 7:25 am 
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I think a director ought to be able to tell a story - how they handle prose and whether they master the medium of the novel is another matter, of course. You really have to judge each book by its merits. My default mode is to be sceptical about books by famous actors or musicians, since marketing considerations may outweight merit, but I have certainly read some good ones - Ethan Hawke's Ash Wednesday springs to mind.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 05, 2009 7:32 am 
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Tom Baker's The Boy Who Kicked Pigs was excellent.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 05, 2009 4:41 pm 
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Another writer turned director, William Peter Blatty, who directed "The Exorcist III" and "The Ninth Configuration" (both based on his own books, "Legion" and "Twinkle, Twinkle, Killer Kane"). I believe I saw "TE3", but don't recall if I liked it or not, and I know I've read both books and didn't think much of them. Not sure what that proves.

Having thought about it, I don't believe it should really be much of a surprise when somebody who is a success in one field of endeavour makes their mark in another. There are plenty of 'celebs' whose base profession requires a proficiency with words that would serve them well as writers (e.g. Stephen Fry, Ben Elton, Muriel Gray). But how many of them would have got publishing contracts ahead of other wannabe writers without the appeal to the marketing guys of the celeb status is open to debate. And, of course, there are those with no discernible talent at writing but who still get the breaks because they're a recognisable face, somebody who can be marketed easily (e.g. Katie Price).

As Mike says, directors ought to be good at telling stories (but in parenthesis, for many of them the stories are not their own), but whether they have the rest of the skill set is a case of 'suck it and see'.

I like Jo's idea of creativity that splurges. There are some ridiculously talented people, though you have to wonder if being gifted in several of the arts stops you reaching full potential in any one of them.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 05, 2009 5:02 pm 
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Pete wrote:
I like Jo's idea of creativity that splurges. There are some ridiculously talented people, though you have to wonder if being gifted in several of the arts stops you reaching full potential in any one of them.

I suspect that's where the "Jack of all trades, master of none" saying comes in. As I'm sure most of you find, I have a number of interests and trying to get the time for everything is difficult. To quote my dad (who's very amused by it all):
Quote:
You can't be a world class blacksmith and a world class writer.

My answer is, of course, that I'm not a world class anything.

Also, since they've proved that multi-tasking is a bit of a fiction (I forget the references but it was in the news within the last couple of months), there's bound to be quite a bit of semi-permanent confusion in the process not just the time issues of juggling projects.

Hmm. Did that last bit make sense to anyone but me?

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 05, 2009 5:10 pm 
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Quote:
Journeymouse wrote:-
I suspect that's where the "Jack of all trades, master of none" saying comes in.


Oh yeah, forgot about that, and yep, probably a lot of truth to it.

All I know about multi-tasking is that the women in my life assure me men can't do it. Being able to hold the phone and talk at the same time doesn't count :(

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 05, 2009 5:23 pm 
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IIRC, scientists have proved (you can tell your wife) that everyone has to give the brain a moment to adjust from one absorbing task to another. Those people who beleive they are practicing multi-taskign just tend to shorten their attention span. I'm still waiting for world war three to hit most households following the news ;)

From a creative point of view, this would mean that it's best to focus on one outlet / project at a time or each project will suffer from the splurgy artiste's distractions. One would have to look at the dates on the above celebrities' cvs pretty hard to work out if they indulge in splurging and if it has a negative effect. After all, movies and books take time and team to put together post-story-telling so the publishing dates on them are not necessarily when the story-teller was concentrating on them.

And, to re-iterate earlier comments by others and I, the door was opened to these people by their celebrity / success in one role in one media. I'll bet it's very rare for someone to succeed in multiple roles in multiple media in the first instance, although they might plan to expand once they get started.

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