Web Log 2013.8.22: Just Like the Singer/Songwriters
Elmore John Leonard, Jr. (October 11, 1925 – August 20, 2013) was an American novelist and screenwriter. (en.Wikipedia.org/wiki/Elmore_Leonard)
How many of us would go to the next soul-stop satisfied with that epitaph in our obituary? I know I would.
I learned of his death from the R.S.Guthrie’s RobOnWriting blog Wednesday morning. Leonard was his hero. According to The Detroit News, Ernest Hemingway was Elmore Leonard’s hero. I guess we all have one. RIP Mr. Leonard. For some true-life, interesting tales about Mr. Leonard, see this article: “Elmore Leonard, the ‘Dickens of Detroit,’ wrote with gritty flair” From The Detroit News: http://buff.ly/13JSy0Z
But what struck me is that I knew he was an author, and I had heard of some of the movies and TV shows made from his books, but never really connected the two. It is only as I progress in my stages of seeking the title American Novelist (notice I didn’t say ‘great’) that I’ve begun to seek out the name of the author of movies I enjoy or learn from.
Should it bother me that films’ directors, producers and “talent” are prominently displayed in every ad, trailer and beginning credits, but you often have to search for the screenwriter and book author credits? I know it’s advertising. I know they push what they feel will sell the tickets or critics or DVD purchases. I’ve seen Stephen King’s and James Patterson’s names featured. It helps to sell.
I’ve learned from watching King movies over the years. I’ve learned to watch the movies before I’ve read the book. That’s because I always know the book will be better … truer to what the author is trying to say without the director’s and actors’ creative interpretations. Full of the richness of narrative. Getting into the character’s thoughts purely.
(*I shrug*) It’s two different industries, each feeding the other. I can appreciate the film’s version of personified terror even if it doesn’t match my imagination’s based on the literature. I love them each in different ways, though perhaps not equally. I don’t rush to buy the latest, greatest book, anymore than I rush to see the equally shouted motion picture headed for an Academy Award. But my love remains in the written word. The solitary profession. The spark of imagination that grows into an unexplored world. Yes, and sometimes the film takes that world a few steps further in a better direction. Of course it depends on the people involved.
But don’t you think in all those credits at the end of the show a special section devoted to the wordsmiths should appear? Author, screenwriter, proofreader, story editor, etc. Jeez, I never miss the star’s assistant or the caterers. But I often have to go to Wikipedia to find my peeps!
It’s like the singer/songwriters. You don’t know their work until they sing their own songs.
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