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Old 19th Aug 2009, 16:30   #11
fanshawe
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Default Re: My Failed Raymond Carver Biopic

Failing that you could call it 'Not Another Biopic Movie'.
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Old 19th Aug 2009, 17:06   #12
bill
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Default Re: My Failed Raymond Carver Biopic

I don't know. I suppose I shouldn't act as though my ultimate goals, or "targets", were as fully formed as I've made them out to be. I just thought that if you knew about Carver/Lish, and you had a healthy distrust of simplistic Hollywood biopics, then you'd find this funny.

Of course, not everyone is going to know about the Carver/Lish relationship, and that's fine. But even those who do know about it have thought I was being serious.

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If you wanted to satirise the biopic genre within a film, I think you would have to write a script about someone (the fictionalised version of yourself that appears above) trying to make a biopic about Carver and show, by juxtaposing scenes out of the biopic with scenes with the 'real' people in the 'real' world, how ridiculously simplistic the biopic treatment is.
To me, that would be explaining the joke before it even had a chance to be a joke. I'm not saying I pulled it off, I just wouldn't want to underline it that way. A friend told me that I should have played up Lish's "villainy", and if anything was going to save this, that's the first thing I'd want to try.
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Old 19th Aug 2009, 23:00   #13
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Default Re: My Failed Raymond Carver Biopic

It's a difficult one, bill. The difficulty is that, as you've already discovered, people who already know you (and therefore are attuned to your irony) have taken it seriously, so it's a long slog to presume that someone coming to it cold would necessarily see it right away, or even at all. (And if they don't see it right away, and consider it sincere, then they may feel more fooled than amused when they do get it.)

Essentially you're writing something which starts from the presumption of a shared knowledge (and opinion) between you and the viewer - that Lish was not a barbarian but the architect of Carver's brilliance - and (a) if the viewer isn't in on that, the point is lost, and (b) if they are, then it's kind of a one-note joke. Which is not to say that I didn't find it funny, as I did, but like fanshawe, it was the interjections from the author that set it off for me, and enhanced the dialogue.

I suppose it all comes down to how much you're prepared to cut slack/pander (depending on viewpoint) to the audience. The age-old question.

Are you familiar with the Comic Strip film Strike! ? This was a satire on Hollywood's presentation of real life events, with a mock epic production of the 1984-5 miners' strike in Britain as seen through the eyes of a Hollywood studio, with Pacino playing Arthur Scargill etc. I have no idea if they pulled it off, as I always thought Comic Strip stuff was woefully unfunny so never watched it, but I thought the idea seemed similar to your intention.
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Old 21st Aug 2009, 16:28   #14
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Default Re: My Failed Raymond Carver Biopic

Oh, I don't know anymore. Reading over the whole piece, I'm sort of bemused by the idea that I thought this would work any better than it has. Some of the script stuff is so straight, and in truth, what I was doing was trying to make an inside joke between a friend of mine and myself travel beyond us, and that rarely pans out. I really should have tried to make the script portion more traditionally funny. As I've already said, part of the joke for me was how dry it was, but I could have made a few concessions and still kept that tone.

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I suppose it all comes down to how much you're prepared to cut slack/pander (depending on viewpoint) to the audience. The age-old question.
I didn't want to pander, but now I don't think I would have needed to. Adding hopefully good jokes to a humor piece hardly seems like pandering to me. Making the dialogue a little bit worse could have made things run a lot more smoothly.

But Strike! sounds like something where the nail was struck on the head repeatedly.
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Old 31st Aug 2009, 11:29   #15
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Default Re: My Failed Raymond Carver Biopic

COlour me confused. Is there really a script here? I read the opening post as a short story in itsl own right, about someone who might be a bit like bill complaining, Notes From Underground style, about the vileness of things. And I thought in that context, it worked very well. So if you really did write a 180 page script, you're entitled to feel swindled ... you got a short story out of it. Life ... et cetera, et cetera.
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Old 31st Aug 2009, 14:10   #16
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Default Re: My Failed Raymond Carver Biopic

Lurgee, no, there's no script. This was all just a semi-elaborate joke that didn't really work.
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Old 31st Aug 2009, 14:22   #17
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Default Re: My Failed Raymond Carver Biopic

I think it worked to some extent, bill. I might not have "got it" but I was entrhalled with what you wrote!

It's not unusual for me to miss irony or satire. I am American, after all. HA!!!!
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Old 31st Aug 2009, 14:42   #18
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Default Re: My Failed Raymond Carver Biopic

Oh, well, that explains it.
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Old 31st Aug 2009, 23:28   #19
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Default Re: My Failed Raymond Carver Biopic

That was a joke, I hope you know. It is a common British belief that Americans don't "get" irony.
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Old 1st Sep 2009, 8:04   #20
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Default Re: My Failed Raymond Carver Biopic

Common British fact.
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