I have friends who know about films. I learned from them that writing a script is not the same as writing a novel. A script leaves space for the interpretation of the director and the actors. The written word may provide the framework, but much of the story comes out in how it's presented onscreen.
I considered adapting part of Redemption in Indigo for stage or screen. It got as far as planning to film background scenes to accompany a traditional mouth-to-mic reading. By the time those plans fell through, I'd already met with a videographer, made lists, and written drafts. Rather than waste all that effort, I chose to indulge my curiosity, scale back the original project and film just enough material for a book trailer.
When designing the trailer, I had to keep in mind that a movie is not a book. A movie trailer should make the viewer want to see more, buta book trailer should keep the reader unspoiled, stimulating the visual imagination without dictating to it. It should provide a framework attractive enough to make the reader want to 'see' more but leave room for the creation of personal versions of the characters and milieux.
I decided to hint at the plot of the novel using brief, evocative glimpses of hands and feet. Instead of dialogue or narration, the script consisted of snippets of text from reviews and blurbs. Having no dialogue meant faster filming with fewer takes, making it easy for the volunteer actors, most of whom came straight from work. Filming in black and white lent a certain mood to the trailer and also simplified costuming. A friend loaned her house to host the adventure, and from its rooms, deck, yard and driveway, we fashioned scenes in a bar, bedroom, tent, kitchen, restaurant, backyard, village courtyard, field and prisoner-of-war camp. Only one scene was filmed elsewhere, at a south coast boardwalk.
Filming went very smoothly. There was only one scene that worried me: the scene with the breaking mirror. (Real mirrors are dangerous. Don't try this at home!) We accidentally-on-purpose broke ours safely (hint — duct tape stops most of the shatter), but I don't recommend it. By 'accidentally-on-purpose' I mean that I researched how to break a mirror, decided I shouldn't risk it, cushioned the floor and the wall carefully, and then had the mirror strike at an unexpected angle and break anyway. If I had to do it again, I still wouldn't risk it, and I'd do a better job of padding the impact area. It did make a lovely sound, though.
I splurged in two areas: a good videographer and a good studio. I'm glad to say they were more than worth it. Best of all, we had fun, both pros and amateurs. Yes, it was a challenge, but there was a pleasant, positive vibe throughout.
Would I do it again? Of course, but next time with special effects!
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Karen Lord was born in Barbados in 1968. She holds a science degree from the University of Toronto and a PhD in the sociology of religion from the University of Wales. She has taught physics, trained soldiers, and worked in the Foreign Service. Redemption in Indigo is her first novel.
Books mentioned in this post
Karen Lord is the author of Redemption in Indigo