Tuesday, February 22, 2005

More on Movies, and Dropping the Bomb

This is going to be one of those potpourri catch-up entries.

More on Movie Adaptations

People who commented on last night's entry had an interesting variety of thoughts on the subject of movie adaptations. I thought everyone had good points to make:

Lord of the Rings, x 2 media Sarah mentioned being curious about adaptations, "because I'm interested in how directors and actors and costumers and other creative types bring things to life." That's true for me, too, up to a point.  If I were to tot up what I liked best about Peter Jackson's LotR, it would have to do with getting the casting exactly right, and all the amazing work Richard Taylor's WETA people did on the sets and the armor and the costumes and the creatures and...!

Mary finds that most movies are inferior to the book, but enjoyed the "new," different story in Under the Tuscan Sun.  I haven't seen that, but that's part of what I was trying to say.  Movies can give an alternative story, a different "take" on the same basic concept.  That's what  Mary Poppins did, and what Peter Jackson did in beefing up Arwen's role (at the expense of poor Glorfindel, but that's okay).

Vince, who apparently isn't worried about Hitchhiker's Guide, made a sly reference to my Mavarin books.  As often as I joke about the movie rights to these, I haven't really thought about the degree to which a director would change the story, or whether I would mind this.  I guess if the movie got the characters and major events right, I wouldn't mind other changes.  Like Sarah, I'm interested in seeing the translation of people, places and things from page to screen. I'll love to see live action, moving versions of Del and Crel, Rani and Fayubi, and how the FX people would render the tengremen.
HP - 3 DVD sets, lotsa books Becky prefers that films be faithful to the books, and appreciates the first two Harry Potter movies for doing this well.  Cynthia, on the other hand, thought the first Harry Potter movie was weak "because it was too faithful to the book."  She thinks a film should have something new to add, some surprises or "magic." Paradoxically, I think they're both right.

Paul mentions a similar discussion on www.brightweavings.com, part of which focuses on the Lord Of The Rings films. He points out that different fans react differently to the same liberties with the books, and have different favorite scenes from the book that should not be messed with. This makes sense to me, too.  I'd be surprised to learn that anyone was actively pleased by the omission of "The Scouring of the Shire" or Tom Bombadil, but I'm sure that each omission bothered some people more than it did others.  And I expect that I'm not the only one who liked Arwen's enhanced role in Fellowship, but for purists that must have really grated. I had the same negative reaction to Aragorn's spurious, unnecessary fall and and near-drowning.

Dropping the Bomb

This is the week I'm working evenings to try to close the books on 2004, so if I skip a day in my posting you'll know why.  I'll try not to, though.

Airlines Reporting Corporation Today at work I suddenly remembered a form that I was supposed to fill out, for which the deadline was today.  The purpose of it was to provide ARC (the company that collects the airlines' money from travel agencies each week) with contact info for setting up the new secure-but-web-friendly version of their reporting procedures.  Since this won't happen until April or later, I was reluctant to put myself down as the contact person, as Mal intended me to do.  I was going to have to tell him this, and why.

So I waited until the poor guy was off the phone (he worked a 12-hour day today himself!), and asked to speak to him for a minute. I was hoping he'd take the hint and go into my office or the conference room, but no such luck.  He was too busy for that. So right there at his desk up front, I told him that I was uncomfortable with being the contact person on the form because "I don't know how much longer I'm going to be here."

He looked stricken.  I really thought he had some idea it was coming.  I was wrong.  He said he didn't know anything about the ARC procedures in question, but I reassured him that it didn't matter. I wasn't going to leave him "in the lurch" without training someone in this stuff.  So he put his name down on the form, and I faxed it to ARC.  End of discussion--for the moment.

After the end of the day (for him--I had another hour-plus ahead of me), he came into my office and said this was the first he'd heard of my leaving.

I told him that if I weren't $50,000 or so in debt, I'd stay as long as he would have me, and that I'd hoped he had at least an inkling what was coming.  We talked about the CPA exam coming up in May and whether I would pass it, and my master plan of getting my work caught up and training a replacement before moving on.  He seemed relieved that I wasn't planning to leave immediately.  After that he relaxed enough to chat about accounting issues one of our clients has, due to the company's government contracts.

It's going to be all right.  The discussion I was dreading is now over.  Mal is surprised and disappointed and maybe a little hurt, but he's also understanding and supportive.  I'm not kidding or exaggerating when I say that he and Sandy (his wife, who no longer particupates actively in the business for health reasons) are far and away the best bosses I've had in my entire life.

Let's hope the next bookkeeper appreciates them, too.

Writing and Stuff

I think I'll post the writing/editing update in Inspirations instead.  Meanwhile, go play a fun "Choose Their Adventure" game with Sara G.



ryanagi said...

Well *whew* on giving the news to your boss. After having worked there for so many years, I would have dreaded that conversation too.

jabarett said...

Glad to hear things went okay with the boss. I can see how you were dreading that one. You're fortunate. After five years of working for the best boss ever, the business was sold and new owners came in. The dream job turned into a nightmare. I'm glad you're leaving (when the time comes) on your own terms.

As for adaptations, some things just have to change for a different medium. A big problem with movies is that most get 90 minutes to two hours to tell a story that may have taken someone days or weeks to read. In addition, some things just don't "translate" well from one medium to another. I'm working on adapting a literary work for radio, and between having to fit the tale in a thirty minute time slot (it's a short story) and the other changes I need to make in order to keep the story flowing for radio, I hope it will be recognizable in the end. At this point I' m not sure.

Good luck with the CPA exam.

sakishler said...

I'm glad you got that out of the way with your boss. It's always soooo much nicer to have bad things behind you instead of ahead of you, I think.

I also appreciated Arwen's extended role in Fellowship, even though I don't care for Liv Tyler as an actress too much. I'm all for beefing up the woman's parts and giving them more to do (like when I got actual lines as Mrs. Fezziwig) or even changing the gender of a character if it's not terribly important to the story (like when the lead solicitor in Scrooge's office got to wear a pretty bonnet and hoop skirt!)

The Tom Bombadil section of Fellowship is perhaps the one I've read most often, but it doesn't bother me that it wasn't included in the movie. Sometimes you should leave out treasures like that so new readers can discover them *after* they've seen the movie.  As for the Scouring of the Shire - does anybody seriously think that movie should've been longer? Don't get me wrong - I love the movie version of Return of the King dearly - but I think it already has enough endings!

I've written before that my favorite Harry Potter movie to date is by leaps and bounds the third one, which is not to say that I didn't find many things to enjoy about the first two. My feeling is that, by not being as slavish to the plot, the third movie had more appreciation for the characters. I finally felt like Ron and Hermione were, well, really acting like Ron and Hermione. And Harry himself was less a blank page and more the tortured adolescent he is.  

deabvt said...

Ackk! The CPA exam is only 2 months away? Take it a little easy...Your plate is getting awfully full!