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Old 03-02-2017, 02:13 PM   #1
snowball
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Question How to subtly portray an author in a short film?

I am writing a script for a short film. The central character is an author. I need to find a way to show that he has written a few books and quite celebrated ones (among the adherents of a certain political ideology). Any way? I have to show all these with only one character, i.e. the author, in his own house or outside. Preferably, without dialogues.
Any way out? Needs to be subtle, so that the audience can guess that this person is an author(a reputed one, or, an intellectual).
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Old 03-02-2017, 08:38 PM   #2
mlesemann
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The simplest way, I think, is to have several copies of "his" books stacked up, perhaps in the corner of the room, with the author's name clearly showing. And perhaps a couple of (good/great) framed reviews on the wall? Then put a pad with "his" handwritten notes next to either a typewriter or computer, which you can have open to a manuscript page.
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Old 03-13-2017, 12:53 PM   #3
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Stack of books is an easy visual. While not nearly as subtle, you could also have them be recognized on the street (shows fame and also an organic situation to say he is an author). My thought: if the character being an author is important to the story, don't keep it subtle. Never want you audience to do more work than they have to do.
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Old 03-13-2017, 01:08 PM   #4
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At typewriter... receives phone call from agent... "Yes..." mumbles to himself as he scribbles on notepad "Signing in Cleveland, Books and More... 24th... got it..." hangs up old school phone. (Mumbling to self as writing is a good way to use a conversation heard one way and is probably better than hearing the other person since they are irrelevant.)
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Old 03-14-2017, 01:08 PM   #5
Soundlufs
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But please, pretty please, don`t do simple facts show. If you add typewriter, books etc. make a visual "something" with it, so the comprehension of him being an author comes with some characterization too (bachelor/untidy/order freak/impulsive etc..)
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Old 03-14-2017, 03:30 PM   #6
Alcove Audio
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Much of what has been discussed seems more like production design than screenwriting.

For Nancy Meyers "The Holiday" the production designer and his team looked at many photographs of screenwriters offices to give them ideas for the workspace of the Arthur character, who is a renowned, retired screenwriter (played wonderfully by Eli Wallach). Besides many (neatly messy) stacks of books, papers and other clutter on his desk, bookshelves and elsewhere there are awards and photos of collaborators on the shelves and walls.

My suggestion/idea is that, as you pan across the room to your character, showing awards, photos, framed newspaper articles, his books, etc. pertinent to the history of the character, he is heard talking on the phone per IndieTalks idea. The phone conversation should give us a real insight into the character; if he is reclusive he responds in a terrified manner to the book signing (if that's what the call is about), with enthusiasm if he is a narcissist, resigned if he just wants to work but knows how important public appearances are to his career. The organization or lack thereof of his office will also give much information about the character, as will the furnishings, color scheme, wardrobe, H/MU, sound, score and a dozens other interrelated details.

Hopefully a few more real screenwriters will chime in.
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