151 – Making Films and the Art of Writing

Some of you may have noticed over the past few days a number of homemade videos appearing here and on YouTube. There’s no real reason for this flurry of cinematographic nonsense. Except that I’ve always wanted to make a film.

It was one of my aims when I came here. I was going to buy a decent camcorder and make one using the farm outbuildings for the indoor scenes. The acres of mown fields for the motorbike stunts. The large pond for the underwater drowning scene. And the long driveway for the walking into the sunset scene at the end.

Unfortunately, it didn’t happen. I seriously underestimated the inordinate amount of time it takes to write a novel, and my Oscar nomination sailed on by.

However, a few days ago I dusted off my girlfriend’s old FujiShoot and used the camcorder function to make a couple of videos about my time here on the farm in Queaux.

And it’s been great fun. There’s one of me chopping wood (here). Another of me riding a sit-on mower to a catchy gypsy jazz soundtrack (here). One of me doing Hay Bale Gymnastics (here). And finally, a day-in-the-life video set to some cheesy county blues – see below.

In Blogley 150 I talked about editing my novel down from 213 pages to 132. In creating my video yesterday I encountered a similar problem: I had to edit two hour’s worth of film down to a minute without losing the essence of what it was about.

And like editing the book last week, it was relatively easy once I got my mind in gear. Very cathartic to take an unwieldy volume of material and cut it down to size. Something that could fit in my head without touching the sides. Space to think.

That’s what these past few weeks have taught me. That my aim, without turning my novel into a join-the-dots short story, is to find the easiest way for people to read it.

I know you should never write for your audience. The Reader. And I haven’t. I’ve written it for myself. However, I do want people to read it. Not for my own vanity, although I admit that’s there as well, but because I have something important to say.

So what am I saying?

Make my book into a one minute day-in-the-life video?


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