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Birol
08-05-2007, 05:05 PM
Do you enjoy them differently? Do you have different pet peeves when it comes to watching/reading them? Are you more upset if someone reveals a spoiler for one than you are for the other? Which are you more likely to rewatch/reread?

swvaughn
08-05-2007, 05:35 PM
You always come up with the best questions, Lori. :)

>Do you enjoy them differently?

In general for me, reading books is a solitary activity and watching movies is a group thing. But not always. I read to and with my son, and once a month or so I indulge in a movie no one else wants to see -- late at night, usually with popcorn and coffee and a box of tissues (it's always the tearjerkers no one wants to watch with me). Also, I like to have nothing but the movie going on when I watch one, but I can read a book under any circumstances.

>Do you have different pet peeves when it comes to watching/reading them?

I hate when people talk about what's going on in a movie (not spoil, just dissect) when I'm watching it for the first time. But if it's a well-loved movie we've all seen a dozen times, we'll talk all over it, quote lines along with it, and still enjoy watching. Things that bother me about books have to do with content: I hate unsatisfactory endings.

>Are you more upset if someone reveals a spoiler for one than you are for the other?

I can't stand having movies spoiled, but I don't mind with books because there is always something more to find out through the reading. (For instance, I've not read HP7 yet, but I know who dies and how it turns out, and I'm still going to read it)

>Which are you more likely to rewatch/reread?

I'll rewatch or reread any movie or book I enjoy. This is equal for me.

Maryn
08-05-2007, 06:06 PM
A movie is so much less content that I'm unable to rewatch favorites until I've forgotten a lot, at least six months and more often a year after the last viewing. Unlike a book, most movies don't present me with a new level of comprehension after, say, two or three viewings. By then, I've usually gotten all the movie has to offer.

However, a good book can be reread dozens of times. While I may recall the main plot points, there's usually so much that didn't sink in during previous readings that subsequent ones continue to enrich the experience until I've practically got the thing memorized. When the book is huge or extremely complex, I may read it repeatedly for years. (Think George R.R. Martin.)

There's a reason books are devilishly hard to adapt to film. Most adaptations, limited by time, get no more than the main plotline, omitting most of what made the book so wonderful to read.

Maryn, who's also a movie buff

Mud Dauber
08-05-2007, 06:22 PM
You always come up with the best questions, Lori. :)

I agree. I love coming here to see the latest thought-provoker.;)

I don't know what it is, but I don't have as much patience for movies as I do for books. I can always find time to read, but somehow, making time to go to a show or watch a rented movie never seems to happen. However, I am a lot more likely to watch movies over and over again (great example with The Wizard of Oz), but reading books more than once, not so much. I think it's b/c reading is more of an active process and if I already know the plot and what happens, my brain tunes out and I can't stay focused. Movies, though, even if I do tune out, I can still sit back and watch without a problem.

I can definitely tolerate spoilers in movies much better than with books. (Do you know how hard it is to NOT have read the last Harry Potter yet?) But did you ever notice on most movie previews--the longer ones--they basically put every part of the movie in there, so in a sense, going into the show you already know the key moments that are going to take place. And that doesn't really bother me. My husband on the other hand can't--no, WON'T--watch a preview for this very reason.

Celia Cyanide
08-05-2007, 06:51 PM
Do you enjoy them differently?

Yes. They are fundamentally different. The criteria for what makes a film good is not the same as book.

ChaosTitan
08-05-2007, 07:03 PM
*Do you enjoy them differently?

I've never thought about it. Not to the degree that I am now. Both are done for amusement, occasionally for education. For myself, watching movies takes less effort. I pop in a DVD, sit down on the couch, and relax for a while. Reading requires concentration, turning of pages, stretching the occasional cramped arm.

I think *how* I enjoy them is different, given their completely different mediums, but not the simple fact that I enjoy both.


*Do you have different pet peeves when it comes to watching/reading them?

People talking. It is just as bothersome when someone talks during a movie* as it is when someone tries to talk to me while I'm reading. (*The caveat, as always, is when my roomie and I are MST3K-ing a film we've seen a few times already, then it's just fun to talk)


*Are you more upset if someone reveals a spoiler for one than you are for the other?

It depends on the nature of the spoiler. I won't get upset about something that is spelled out on the book jacket or in the film's trailer. However, if someone burst into the room while I was reading a book and said "the butler's elderly aunt from Prussia did it!" I'd be very upset. Same way with a film. Both types of spoilers affect how I ultimately feel about the finished product.

I was spoiled on the twist in The Sixth Sense before I managed to watch it. All of my friends thought it was a great movie, but I was "eh," over it, because I knew the big twist ahead of time. There was not Keyser Soze moment in that film for me.

Big spoilers irk me, no matter the medium. Little spoilers...eh.


*Which are you more likely to rewatch/reread?

Definitely more likely to rewatch a movie. I think there are a dozen books that I've read more than once (although in those cases, I've usually read the book four times or more). I often pop in a movie as background noise while surfing the net or writing, so I'm not necessarily "watching" it. It's just there.

I guess it goes back to an earlier response--movies take less effort. Which is probably why I treasure books more. :)

Will Lavender
08-05-2007, 07:43 PM
I love "literary" movies, but I've found myself moving away from "literary" literature and more into genre. OTOH, I don't often enjoy genre in film (in fact I hardly ever do), whereas I'm more forgiving of it in books. I love thrillers, for instance, but you rarely ever see a good, high-concept, intelligent thriller at the cineplex.

Example:

I loved Stranger than Fiction, but I would never pick up a book that used comedy and romance like that film does. I also enjoyed the book The Ruins, but the film version will probably be a teenage slash-em-up.

Birol
08-06-2007, 01:44 AM
You always come up with the best questions, Lori. :)


I agree. I love coming here to see the latest thought-provoker.;)

Thank you, but credit where credit is due. This question is actually inspired/brought to you by Maestro and Roger Carlson. It's the result of a late night conversation I mostly listened to between them and a couple of others at NASFic.

rugcat
08-06-2007, 02:03 AM
Obviously, both can do things the other can't. In general, I prefer books, but I love the visuals of sweeping epics on film--that's something a book just can't do.

Unlike Will, I love genre films--and I think the one thing films definitely do better than novels is comedy. There aren't many books that have made me laugh out loud, (Lucky Jim, Kingsly Amis is one ) but there have been plenty of films that have. There's something inherently funny about comic visuals.

Also, don't forget how short a screenplay is. Some of the best movies I've seen are based on short stories--novels don't usually translate as well.

Simon Woodhouse
08-06-2007, 05:01 AM
I cherish my favourite books, or hold them in higher esteem, than I do my favourite movies.

My list of top five books very rarely changes, but movies come and go. Films that I thought were brilliant ten years ago might not make me feel the same way now. However, a good book seems to be able to endure my wild mood swings.

Feist
08-06-2007, 02:41 PM
Well, I'm an amateur writer and a filmmaker, so it's hard for me to compare them - I can appreciate the editing and lighting of a movie just as much as the language of a book. I've found, though, that if I've read the book, I can't watch the movie because it'll ruin the mental picture I have of the characters. However, I can read a book after watching the movie it was based on. Anyone else like that?

Birol
08-06-2007, 07:18 PM
Unlike Will, I love genre films--and I think the one thing films definitely do better than novels is comedy. There aren't many books that have made me laugh out loud, (Lucky Jim, Kingsly Amis is one ) but there have been plenty of films that have. There's something inherently funny about comic visuals.

I had a couple of conversations about funny genre books just this weekend. I absolutely adore comic science fiction or fantasy, like Douglas Adams or Robert Asprin. I wonder if it's because it's so hard to do it well? I also chuckle at little one liners in books. I do the same in movies -- sometimes -- but I'm more likely to repeat the line from a movie in conversation.

Don't mind me. I'm just thinking.


Also, don't forget how short a screenplay is.

How short are they? I know there's a formula for how many minutes of screen time each page represents (I can't remember it off the top of my head), so I know if you're going for an 1.5 hour film, it would have to be x-number of pages.


Well, I'm an amateur writer and a filmmaker, so it's hard for me to compare them - I can appreciate the editing and lighting of a movie just as much as the language of a book.

You find the effects of the movie akin to the language? Do you write screenplays? How do you feel about the stories of each?

Will Lavender
08-06-2007, 07:25 PM
Really? Wow, I've been absolutely cracked up by more writers than I can even remember: Twain, Dickens, Tarkington, Thurber, Day, Wouk, Wolfe, Hiaasen...

Movies, too. I start chuckling just thinking about It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World...!

Guess I'm just a gigglin' fool. ;)

I'm constantly laughing at books. I think comic writing, when done well, is fantastic.

In that vein, I highly recommend two books:

Richard Russo's Straight Man. (Russo got famous for Empire Falls, but Empire is far inferior to Straight Man, IMO.)

And Jonathan Ames's brilliant, BRILLIANT Wake Up, Sir! If you like P.G. Wodehouse, then you have to read Wake Up, Sir! -- but be sure to put the kiddies to bed. You've never seen Jeeves quite like this.

swvaughn
08-06-2007, 07:31 PM
How short are they? I know there's a formula for how many minutes of screen time each page represents (I can't remember it off the top of my head), so I know if you're going for an 1.5 hour film, it would have to be x-number of pages.

I think (don't quote me, now :D) that it's a minute a page, and screenplays average between 80 and 120 pages (of course, some are much longer *cough* Pirates 3 *cough*).

I actually read the original screenplay for Pirates 1. Fascinating stuff, that. :)

Dave.C.Robinson
08-06-2007, 08:01 PM
I do find I enjoy them differently. I'm another who can't stand interruptions on a movie, especially if it's one I really want to watch. If I get interrupted too many times on the first watching (yes I sometimes rewatch) I can never watch that movie.

While I like comic writing, I find that the vast majority of comedy movies are utterly unwatchable. Different tastes for different media.

Will Lavender
08-06-2007, 09:22 PM
I love Jeeves! Thanks for the recommendation, Mr. L. I will check it out. :)

Good to hear! Buckle up. :D

Oh, and it's also about writers and writing retreats, which is cool.

gerrydodge
08-06-2007, 09:31 PM
Random House bought a portion of a film company--I don't remember what company off hand--and now they will sell their books by marketing them through the film. For instance, Jonathan Burnham Schwartz's, RESERVATION ROAD has on the front of the cover: Read the book before you see the film.

maestrowork
08-07-2007, 01:36 AM
As I told Birol, when I read, I fill in the blanks with my own imagination. Every time I read the same book, I get something different out of it. I don't mind a spoiler because "being surprised" is not the main goal for me to read -- it's about immersing myself in that world and going through the journey/ride with the characters. I don't think knowing the plot ahead of time ever lessens that enjoyment.

With movies, I also enjoy seeing my favorite films more than once, even if I know how the plot is going to unfold. But it's a different thing. With movies, in general they've already done the imagining for me -- it's the director's vision, laid out in full details on screen. But I enjoy a good story, the special effects, the dialogue, the acting, the interplay between actors, etc. However, I don't like spoilers if I have not seen the movie -- I hate trailers that tell the whole plot. I guess for me, since everything is drawn for me, I'd like to have some suspense and I want the filmmakers to surprise me.

Still, it depends on the movie, or book -- obviously, I would hate for someone to tell me the ending of the Sixth Sense before I see it. On the other hand, I don't mind if you tell me Frodo is going to succeed in destroying the ring. If there's a trick ending, I don't want to know in advance. Generally speaking, if the story is well told, I would like to read/see it again even without the initial surprise.

ChaosTitan
08-07-2007, 01:51 AM
I think (don't quote me, now :D) that it's a minute a page, and screenplays average between 80 and 120 pages (of course, some are much longer *cough* Pirates 3 *cough*).
:)


You're correct. One page = one minute. Some pages have a lot of white space (dialogue). Others have only a little (action). Overall, it averages out. Average feature films are between 90 and 120 pages in length.

Soccer Mom
08-07-2007, 08:43 AM
I do experience books and movies completely differently. I can pick a book up and put it down and I may even read multiple books at a time. But I hate, hate, HATE to stop and start a movie. I want to see it beginning to end and I detest movie spoilers. In books, I'll often flip to the end, skim a little, and then go back and finish the entire book.

But I do think that a movie is more like a book than like a play, in that it's a fixed entity. It's virtually the same experience each time. A play is like music. It's written. It's the same notes or words each time, but live performance makes it different every time.

maestrowork
08-08-2007, 04:41 AM
But I do think that a movie is more like a book than like a play, in that it's a fixed entity. It's virtually the same experience each time. A play is like music. It's written. It's the same notes or words each time, but live performance makes it different every time.

That's interesting, and true (for me). Plays are about words and performances, and each actors' interpretation brings something new to it. And there's that immediacy, seeing the play unfold (and mistakes happen) in real time right in front of you, that is very exhilarating. No two performances are exactly alike, and that's very cool. When I was acting on stage, I'd always deliver a line differently from day to day -- a tweak here, a slight tone change there, or just doing it completely different.

Plot Device
08-08-2007, 04:28 PM
I do experience books and movies completely differently. I can pick a book up and put it down and I may even read multiple books at a time. But I hate, hate, HATE to stop and start a movie. I want to see it beginning to end and I detest movie spoilers. In books, I'll often flip to the end, skim a little, and then go back and finish the entire book.

But I do think that a movie is more like a book than like a play, in that it's a fixed entity. It's virtually the same experience each time. A play is like music. It's written. It's the same notes or words each time, but live performance makes it different every time.

That's interesting, and true (for me). Plays are about words and performances, and each actors' interpretation brings something new to it. And there's that immediacy, seeing the play unfold (and mistakes happen) in real time right in front of you, that is very exhilarating. No two performances are exactly alike, and that's very cool. When I was acting on stage, I'd always deliver a line differently from day to day -- a tweak here, a slight tone change there, or just doing it completely different.

I'm glad the conversation is also tangenting off into the differences found in plays.

One of the things about the recent (as in a mere 100 years ago) development of film (as compared to books and plays which have both been around for thousands of years) is that film has deeply impacted and radically changed how our culture views the telling of story. I would even say film has overshadowed books and plays in this regard simply because of how far-reaching films are vs. how rare it is anyone ever goes to a play, and also how much less people are willing to read books now adays .

Prior to film, story was more seen in terms of books and plays. But film shifted it off into a new direction. The "close-up" and "tracking shots" and "dollying" and "slow motion" and "the montage" and "the flashback" and "the dream/fantasy sequence" have all rearranged in the heads of the non-writing public at large what a story is. But most laymen (and even some writers) don't know how to separate in their minds when a storytelling trope is from the realm of cinema vs. those from literature and those from plays.

In the SYW board here at AW, I only sometimes venture into the novel and literary sub-forums. But I'd be willing to bet (and hopefully some people here can veryify this) that a LOT of newbies walk into those sub-forums with offerings that they insist are novels, and yet it's obvious that they wrote them with a cinematic bent rather than a literary one. Or, how about the "novel" that's really a radio play in disguise? Or a stage play in disguise?

I have come across more than a few movie scripts that were far more suited to radio, or to the live stage, or more to novels. And I suspect many a Broadway literary agent has been dismayed at the number of alleged stage plays he gets handed that really should be written more as a film or as a novel.




I really like what Soccer Mom said above about the dynamic that a live performance work like music or a play has vs. the permanent and fixed finality of a book or a film. That stipulation could help clarify to a would-be playwright the possibility that he might really be a screenwriter, or vice-versa.




My lament is that in the American educational system, we teach kids to read stories in the form of prose: short stories and novels. We might show them a script from a stage play, but it's usually not formatted correctly. And we might never --from kindergarten through 12th grade-- show them a script from either TV or film. And then when it comes to buying written stories, most laymen only buy novels. Few laymen ever buy or even get exposed to a script (be it a radio script or stage play or screenplay) for any reason during their entire lives. This heavy slant toward a prose-exclusive format as far as our consumption of WRITTEN stories causes most would-be writers to default toward writing everything as a novel. And yet the prevalance of cinema causes most wannabees to think through their telling of a story as if it was a film.

My hope now is that the internet can help alleviate a lot of this. Scripts are available for free on the net for anyone to read. And YouTube is making half of America into basement movie producers (mostly of movie shorts, but that might change).

I think getting a grasp of the differences between ALL of the different story-telling conventions/mediums is half the battle to becoming good at your preferred medium.