comments 7

Many of my favorite films…

…began their lives as short stories. Take Memento, Interstellar, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, among others, as examples.

Short stories are an excellent literary genre. In the time it takes to eat lunch at work, a talented author can wrench your heart this way and that, make you fall in and out of love with characters, and cause you to  wrestle with the fears, funs, and faults of life.

Very few art forms have the ability to manipulate their audience in such a short amount of time. Visual arts may do this. Sometimes a TV show might. Music, I think, is the best at engaging its audience’s emotions in a short period of time. I love these art forms because that’s what I look for in entertainment and escape: I want to be manipulated. I want to feel like I’ve been transported to a different world, or that I’ve had a jackhammer taken to my emotions, or that I’ve experienced the life of another person, if only for a short time.

For those of you who haven’t been following along for the past few weeks, I’m currently engaged in a project called the Unfamiliar Genre Project, where me and my classmates in CO301d are expected to try to write a piece of literature in an unfamiliar genre. I chose to write a screenplay.

Admittedly, as a writer, I struggle with coming up with plots. I struggle especially with the kind of plots that punch you in the gut and leave you with an empty feeling when you’re done. But, to ease some of my discomfort and to make this project more manageable, I chose to follow the lead of those filmmakers that adapt short fiction into a story for the screen.

Is this a cop-out? I hope not. I expect not, and here’s why: these are always adaptations. Take The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. For those of you who have seen the 2013 film, you’ll know that it is a story about a man who is often distracted from reality by grandiose daydreams of heroic proportions. This is thematically in line with the short story of the same name, but that’s about where the similarities end. The movie goes well beyond the bounds of the short story that was its inspiration to tell a grand tale of someone who overcomes their fears by pursuing the things that are most important to them.

movies-walter-12272013-videosixteenbynine1050

There’s no way I’m going to write a whole screenplay. But, to adapt a short story, or even just a single moment in a short story, is a good goal for this project. Perhaps, if I happen to get a genius while I’m at it, then I might even write something that has the power of a Disney short. Yet another genre of literature that has the ability to wreck its audience in a matter of minutes. That’s my goal.

Image Credit

Advertisements
Filed under: Uncategorized

About the Author

Posted by

I am Charlie Eich. I am a student, friend, and occasionally, a writer. Native to the great state of Colorado. This site is where you will find any and all words of mine. Whether they be a short story, poem, or simply thoughts, these are the things I found worthy of the world wide web. Enjoy.

7 Comments

  1. Ben

    Good luck. Don’t worry about finding an original story – almost everything is a remix whether the author realises it or not. Short stories are a wonderful resource for ideas though.

  2. I’m glad you’ve found a strategy for the project! It’s cool that you looked at how others have found success and are giving it a try- I hope you have fun and can get creative with it. Are you going to be taking one of your short stories to make into a screenplay or are you using someone else’s work? I think I would be more interested to see something that was made from your writing.

  3. I will be adapting a short story by Ray Bradbury. I think it might be “easier” if I just used my own plot, but I think that it wouldn’t turn out as well. I’d really like to tell a decent story, while incorporating some of my “touchstone beliefs” at the same time. I don’t think what I have written so far would lend itself to talking about education. Does that make sense?

  4. I could count on more than one hand the amount of times you have referenced The Secret Life of Walter Mitty to be in the brief amount of encounters we have had. I figure that once I will have to take the time to finally watch it.

  5. It is such a great movie. Just the perfect mix of serious and funny, and pretty inspirational too. I thoroughly enjoyed it. However, I think it served as a good example of what I was going for in this project, and that was the basis for all of the references. When you watch it, I want to know what you think!

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s