inkwell.vue.155 : Carol Wolper: Secret Celebrity
permalink #76 of 146: Carol Wolper (carol-wolper) Wed 31 Jul 02 16:31
    
I don't take offense.  Although, of course, I prefer when I'm
described as the female Nick Hornby. 
  
inkwell.vue.155 : Carol Wolper: Secret Celebrity
permalink #77 of 146: David Gans (tnf) Wed 31 Jul 02 16:36
    
But of course!

Are you working on another novel?
  
inkwell.vue.155 : Carol Wolper: Secret Celebrity
permalink #78 of 146: Carol Wolper (carol-wolper) Wed 31 Jul 02 17:37
    
Yes.  I think of it as the third in the trilogy that began with
Cigarette Girl.   It'll be for the same publishers  - Riverhead/Penguin
Putnam.    There's no shortage of  material/ inspiration when it comes
to writing about Hollywood.  

Just about every day, something happens or I hear something that I can
use in my books.  
  
inkwell.vue.155 : Carol Wolper: Secret Celebrity
permalink #79 of 146: mother of my eyelid (frako) Wed 31 Jul 02 17:48
    
Carol, do you worry about major films becoming more and more improvised
(e.g. "Full Frontal")?
  
inkwell.vue.155 : Carol Wolper: Secret Celebrity
permalink #80 of 146: Linda Castellani (castle) Wed 31 Jul 02 20:14
    

Oh, interesting question, frako.  
  
inkwell.vue.155 : Carol Wolper: Secret Celebrity
permalink #81 of 146: Carol Wolper (carol-wolper) Wed 31 Jul 02 20:43
    
I haven't seen Full Frontal yet but I'm not a big fan of movies that
seem too improvised. Basically what I'm drawn towards in movies, books,
music etc. is something fresh and something true.  If that can be
achieved through improvising on film, fine.  But how many movies can
you think of where that's been the case?
  
inkwell.vue.155 : Carol Wolper: Secret Celebrity
permalink #82 of 146: excessively heterosexual (saiyuk) Wed 31 Jul 02 23:19
    

Spinal Tap and the two Christopher Guest mockumentaries, but that's about 
it. 
  
inkwell.vue.155 : Carol Wolper: Secret Celebrity
permalink #83 of 146: Berliner (captward) Thu 1 Aug 02 03:32
    
(Almost totally off-topic, but I believe a significant amount of the
old I Spy series was improvised). 
  
inkwell.vue.155 : Carol Wolper: Secret Celebrity
permalink #84 of 146: It's all done with mirrors... (kafclown) Thu 1 Aug 02 06:11
    
Most of the Mike Leigh films are improvised (at least to start)

There's a Norman Mailer movie that is entirely improvised.  He shot 
hundreds of hours of footage over 3 days of playacting on a big ranch, and 
edited it down to something like 5 hours.  (which was 4 hours and 30 
minutes too long!)
  
inkwell.vue.155 : Carol Wolper: Secret Celebrity
permalink #85 of 146: Carol Wolper (carol-wolper) Thu 1 Aug 02 08:27
    
And I believe a lot of Henry Jaglom movies incorporate a lot of
improvisation.   But improvising is a skill which is why it probably
works best in Chris Guest movies. He cast his films with people who are
extremely skillful at improvisation. In their hands improvising isn't
indulgent.  Just my opinion of course.
  
inkwell.vue.155 : Carol Wolper: Secret Celebrity
permalink #86 of 146: (fom) Thu 1 Aug 02 10:09
    
The most recent Woody Allen movie seemed to be chock full of 
improvisation, much of which fell entirely flat. Especially Allen's -- it 
just came off as stale, which is pretty much the opposite of what improv 
is supposed to do.
  
inkwell.vue.155 : Carol Wolper: Secret Celebrity
permalink #87 of 146: RUSirius (rusirius) Thu 1 Aug 02 10:19
    
Bob Dylan
's Renaldo and Clara.  Destroyed by critics so that we don't get to make up
our own minds...
  
inkwell.vue.155 : Carol Wolper: Secret Celebrity
permalink #88 of 146: mother of my eyelid (frako) Thu 1 Aug 02 14:41
    
> I haven't seen Full Frontal yet but I'm not a big fan of movies that
 seem too improvised. Basically what I'm drawn towards in movies, books,
 music etc. is something fresh and something true.  If that can be
 achieved through improvising on film, fine.  But how many movies can
 you think of where that's been the case?

What I really had in mind was whether or not you, or your fellow
screenwriters, feel threatened by improvisation making up major parts of
some recent films.
  
inkwell.vue.155 : Carol Wolper: Secret Celebrity
permalink #89 of 146: Carol Wolper (carol-wolper) Thu 1 Aug 02 15:53
    
I'm all for whatever makes the movie work.  Some actors are so good at
re-writing their lines and so good at making a not so great line sound
right, I welcome their improvising.  Can't lose sight of the fact that
film is a collaborative endeavor. When it's working well everyone is
making everyone else look even better than they are and when it's not
working , everyone blames the writer. 
  
inkwell.vue.155 : Carol Wolper: Secret Celebrity
permalink #90 of 146: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Thu 1 Aug 02 16:26
    
Altman does a great job with improvisation, but it doesn't always work. I 
saw an Altman appreciation wherein Kenneth Branagh mentioned his problem 
with improvisation in _Gingerbread Man_. He found it hard to improvise 
while pretending to be an American.
  
inkwell.vue.155 : Carol Wolper: Secret Celebrity
permalink #91 of 146: "First you steal a bicycle...." (rik) Thu 1 Aug 02 17:46
    
I know what he means.
  
inkwell.vue.155 : Carol Wolper: Secret Celebrity
permalink #92 of 146: Carol Wolper (carol-wolper) Thu 1 Aug 02 18:26
    
On the other hand, I think I prefer even bad improvisation to those
formulaic summer blockbusters that are all about special effects and
plotlines that require you to dumbdown in order to sit through the
entire ninety minutes.  This is why I've become a sports fan - in
particular basketball. In spite of all the hype that goes along with
tuning into the NBA,  I am always entertained by the game.  It's worth
my time. It's worth my money.
  
inkwell.vue.155 : Carol Wolper: Secret Celebrity
permalink #93 of 146: Linda Castellani (castle) Thu 1 Aug 02 21:22
    

So, in the case of a movie where the actors all improvise, they still need 
a screen writer to create the scenes that tell the story, right?  Or does 
complete improvisation mean no screenwriter?
  
inkwell.vue.155 : Carol Wolper: Secret Celebrity
permalink #94 of 146: Carol Wolper (carol-wolper) Fri 2 Aug 02 08:33
    
There's always somekind of script - even if it's just a blueprint for
the director.  And also because studios or whoever is paying for the
movie need to know what they're buying.  Woody Allen might be the
exception. I don't think  studio executive demand to see a completed
script before shooting. 
What's interesting about the moviemaking process is that  different 
things work at different times. Sometimes a scene works best if it's
improvisational but if you carry that approach into the next scene
it'll fail. Obviously it's a director's job to judge what's working and
what isn't.   

At the risk of sounding cliche, "thinking outside the box" is part of
any creative process, isn't it? 



















































  
  
inkwell.vue.155 : Carol Wolper: Secret Celebrity
permalink #95 of 146: Gail Williams (gail) Fri 2 Aug 02 09:58
    

That dogshow movie -- was it called "Best In Show"? -- was the best improv
around an outline I've ever seen.  It's certainly not an art form that has
been thuroughly explored and developed.
  
inkwell.vue.155 : Carol Wolper: Secret Celebrity
permalink #96 of 146: Carol Wolper (carol-wolper) Fri 2 Aug 02 10:50
    
I agree. But Chris Guest, who did that movie, is especially talented
in that kind of filmmaking.  And he knows how to cast well.   Casting
is crucial.
  
inkwell.vue.155 : Carol Wolper: Secret Celebrity
permalink #97 of 146: Linda Castellani (castle) Fri 2 Aug 02 12:35
    

If you would like to participate in this conversation with Carol Wolper 
and aren't a member of the WELL, please send your questions and comments 
to inkwell-hosts@well.com and we will see that they get posted for you!
  
inkwell.vue.155 : Carol Wolper: Secret Celebrity
permalink #98 of 146: Cynthia Dyer-Bennet (cdb) Fri 2 Aug 02 15:46
    
Hi Carol. I'm wondering what inspired you to become a novelist? I mean, I
figure it's got to be more rewarding financially to be a screenwriter, and
getting a book published is, I hear, tremendously difficult. Was it some
kind of wild inspiration that drove you to write a novel?
  
inkwell.vue.155 : Carol Wolper: Secret Celebrity
permalink #99 of 146: Carol Wolper (carol-wolper) Fri 2 Aug 02 16:45
    
I had my own column in Los Angeles magazine which had a following. I
didn't do it for very long but one day Angela Janklow Harrington, who
at the time was working for Penguin Putnam, called me up and said you
should do a novel for us. And that's how that started.   And although
the money is better in screenwriting, you don't get a lot of respect. 
Hollywood is much more impressed with a published author than a
produced screenwriter - unless you're one of the top five or ten who
write the big movies. 
  
inkwell.vue.155 : Carol Wolper: Secret Celebrity
permalink #100 of 146: David Gans (tnf) Fri 2 Aug 02 17:29
    

So you just sat right down aond wrote "The Cigarette Girl"?  Jeeziz, lady.
That hardly seems fair.
  

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