We drive to camp south of Big Sur. We’ll head over to Death Valley for two days, then to Grapevine Canyon Petroglyphs. This last stop isn’t too far from Searchlight, Nevada where the pugilistic Harry Reid got his first haircut and fistfight.
I’m still plotting out the next screenplay— Cliffhanger— that’s a working title of a comedy that will end with a chunk of land on the California coastline breaking off from the continent and being reclaimed by the sea.
I’m readjusting a few minor details to The Last Drop before it gets back out there in the screenplay competition market.
My bossa nova research continues. I was viewing some PBS Great Performances programs last night and must say I was not impressed. I’ve been looking at Victor-Victoria footage, especially the musical numbers in the Paris nightclub. Blake Edwards had the good judgement to use every trick in the entertainer’s book to pull his song and dance numbers off. Good camera work, gags, tight choreography and brevity move these scenes along. Watching a thrown together dance number likely rehearsed a few times to go along with a popular musical number sung by a stage trained cinematically inexperienced singer is not a winning recipe.
Instincts are sharpened by show people by getting up in front of audiences. You take your hard won training and use these talents to build accessible material you’ll put in front of new audiences. Preparing new material is a solitary process. Writers do most of their work alone. Once prepared for audiences then you work as an extrovert, you work for your audiences.
That is quite a whipsaw ride, alone at your desk, in front of perhaps hundreds on stage in front of an audience. They are really two entirely different types of creative processes.
In show business you want to entertain no matter how much you may need to explain. Once a plot is commenced, you’ll try to find skillfully entertaining ways to employ your ideas to help drive the story, all of these engaging devices beyond plot and character is accomplished through the lived experience of the people in your story. It is all show and very little if any tell.
I’ve a lot of bossa nova technical issues to consider. I’m a huge fan of Black Orpheus, directed by a Frenchman in Rio with a Brazilian cast. There is a lot of dare in the notion that I can devise a bossa nova singing character that can captivate an audience with the same power of this breakthrough romantic tragedy filmed in 1959.
I’m not aiming to copy this film, but I am interested in holding my own, making use of the power of the music that is bossa nova, that’s about having some intuitive feel for the power of the underlying emotional undertow captured in the songs of this form.
As you might imagine we’ll be listening to hours and hours of bossa nova between here and Southern Arizona and back. Then, once I’ve a few songs identified I’ll build out the musical numbers much as Blake Edwards has done while making his terrific Victor-Victoria.