NoiARRRRR, my film noir/pirate/buddy cop mashup film, has hit a snag: I’ve been too busy with this semester to plan out the entire thing, and it needs to be filmed by the end of this month. There’s not much time. It’s looking likely that I’ll have to rewrite the thing into a spoof trailer, rather than an actual film, and try to get that shot.
Regardless, I figured it couldn’t hurt to give you the first scene. Here’s the excerpt.
There’s a soft spot in my heart for pulp, and especially certain very specific types, like rip-offs of Sherlock Holmes or mad scientists. There’s also a fairly specific type of title that many books have in a series that has continued for so long that the titles must only accomplish two things: evoke as much adventure as possible, and remain as non-descript as possible. This list of pulp titles is no “Devil’s Claw,” “Dutchman’s Ghost,” or “Giant Sumerian Rat.” It’s designed to alert you to titles that can reused as often as you’d like.
1. The Adventures of
2. The Return of
3. The Memoirs of
4. The Casebook of
5. The Reminiscences of
6. The Journey of
7. The Chronicles of
8. The Dossier of
9. The Secret Files of
10. The Exploits of
11. The Recollections of
12. The Threat of
13. The Escape of
14. The Sign of
And, not least and (very often) not even last:
15. The Final Adventures of
For the Spring semester every year, my college allows it’s students to direct and stage their own plays for a night titled One Acts. It’s entirely student-run: direction, acting, set design, choreography. For the Spring of 2013, I starred in a short play — one act long, as the title indicates — about a hotel detective who has just ten minutes to solve a case. If he goes just a minute overtime, he’ll be fired. True to Film Noir form, the play features a femme fatale, snappy dialogue, burbon, and a ton of double crosses. And, of course, a cold-blooded murder or two.
Here’s the Youtube playlist of the entire night. Below, I’ve embedded the two videos of my play, Murder By Midnight. Continue reading
Written by Jeff Smith to show his range following his 12-year fantasy/comedy epic Bone, RASL is an adult, film-noir-style sci-fi tale of a teleporting art thief. I love Bone, and so just seeing Smith’s art style again was enjoyable. He’s brilliant at pacing each panel well, and he loves to experiment with tricks that generally pay off for him. One scene in particular is great: two men fight in an entirely blackened room, lit only by random flashes from a gun firing.
Smith’s attention to detail — he spent two weeks in Arizona, to accurately draw the brush, deserts, and towns that make up the majority of the story’s backdrop — and his eye for unusual story elements keep his 15-issue comic series worthwhile.
I was a little annoyed that some things in Rasl’s world are never explained, particularly the little bug-eyed girl with strange powers, who claims to be God. But the story was hard-hitting, and though some of the plot twists were predictable, they were developed with taste and given their proper weight. Smith has a confidence in his material that allows him to take his time with it. Though it deals in topics like Tesla and parallel universes, RASL’s gritty atmosphere and somber, bittersweet emotions make it feel squarely in the noir genre.
I’m currently in the process of writing a 13-minute buddy cop genre mashup that includes film noir and pirate movies. I’m trying to make it as original as possible, but I’ve found that buddy cop films are one of the worst genres to attempt “original” with. They were immensely popular during the 80s and 90s, and they’ve since been through countless iterations — they became more jokey, more self-referential, and started playing around with the genre by creating the science fiction version, the extreme sports version, the explosions version, and many, many homages. There was even one about buddy cop germs living inside Bill Murray.
Bill Murray is so awesome, just one of his cells can headline a film.