Musketeers and Yay for Editing

15 Dec

Second round writing this. My Computer is acting up, but the short of it is I ain’t letting anyone touch it until I send Magus’ Gambit back to the editor. I’m at the tedious part and I doubt we’ll have it done before end of the year, which is the goal, but I’ll have my part done and that’s all I can expect. I made a huge breakthrough figuring out a motivation for the main villain for that Puppeteer book while I was doing laps at the pool this week, and I’m pushing 90k. I thought it would be a 90k novel, now my guess is around 105. I may pull some bits out for the second book (niece requested a duology) but I did send out that short and before I got MG back I thought the goals were doable. If I had to pick, MG wins and then I’ll finish Puppeteers as opposed to Clay Heart or working on Underman. I have some time off in January, assuming work will not honour my stat days, so I might push to clean up everything in January then do the Usurper rewrite. I’d prefer to get it done and fired off before summer so I can laze about on the Lazy River in Pinawa, but we’ll see.

If you live in and around Winnipeg and have a chance, go see The Three Musketeers at MTC. I haven’t been to a play or a movie in a theatre in probably three years, but it was really well done.

 I was supposed to take my sister but I ended up taking her daughter, but she loved it and we talked before and after the show about the reality for adaptation of the stage as opposed to movies and books. My niece loves to act, but she is also showing interest in directing and was curious because she had a very minor piece of fight choreography in a performance she did earlier this year, so it didn’t occur to me until later that she was very interested in a show with multiple swordfights often involving large amounts of the cast.

I almost spoiled something for her during the intermission because it doesn’t occur to me that she wouldn’t be familiar with the story in some form. Now, not all adaptations are that good (The one with Mickey Mouse really does its own story) but I love me some swashbuckling.

Want to see Charlie Sheen playing the priestly one?

How about one with heavy fight choreography?

A strangely steampunk one?

A BBC Miniseries?

The anime one that was probably my first exposure

How about Barbie?

Don’t worry, if you don’t like any of those there’s another one coming out next year.

Thing is, there’s been so many adaptations that I’m always curious what direction they take it, what plot points will be kept and which will be ignored. This isn’t unique to theatre – I’m not a connoisseur of the ballet by any means, so typically I’m not seeing multiple of the same show, but it’s fascinating to see how certain roles have changed over the years, and how especially something famous like Swan Lake the original plot is Odette dying, to Odette’s curse being broken and true love conquering all.

It got me thinking about adaptation and expanding on the story, and how Henry Cavill left The Witcher seemingly to play Superman (he’s out, apparently) and I joked that maybe he left because of the way the show runners were taking the story.

I think I was on to something. There has been massive backlash and fans want the adaptation to be more faithful to the story line and, I’ll be the first one to admit that things don’t necessarily translate super easily from one medium to another. But I also haven’t watched the second season of The Witcher.

This is because

  1. I heard from someone that it deviated from the books. Out of all the stories, I’d say Blood of the Elves was the weakest and I cared for it the least, but I figured I would watch it when they had their silly romp and got back to the story (the story overall I enjoy).
  2. I don’t have a Netflix account I tend to sponge off the work account or when I visit other people. We are pretty busy and when I have down time, I’m working on other projects – both professional and personal, so watching a silly fanfiction is a low priority.
  3. I’m the person who will binge your book or tv series really quickly. Trilogy took ten years to develop, sell and put out? I prefer not waiting until Next Week to find out what happens.

               The stage adaptation of The Three Musketeers was faithful, even though certain liberties had to be taken and not everything translates well to the stage. I didn’t take pictures during the performance, but here you see how a wooden set was them making the use of their space – and we were in times in a tavern, the streets, a covenant and a castle with nominal set pieces, such as benches and chairs being moved in for that scene.

My niece and I talked about costume design and how sometimes things need to be exaggerated so people at the very back of the theatre can still see what’s going on. We often don’t talk about the advantages of the theatre – namely that the performers can often somewhat interact with the audience and little mistakes and glips make it fun to watch the actors improv.

               I think the problem with a lot of adaptations or expansions, often do the lazy thing. They take an IP and now that they have the fans, insult the original works and then try to serve up ‘something better’ which often isn’t.  It might be trendy or it might be that the showrunner wasn’t given the greenlight for their own project – but they were given a chance to adapt someone else’s work, and therefore want to put ‘their’ spin on it.

               I don’t think there’s anything wrong with wanting to do a deconstruction in an original work, but I think what needs to come first is a fundamental understanding of the world view and what the author or director was going for. The problem is doing a continuation of the original work and deconstructing it – you’re essentially insulting the fans for liking it.

               And that isn’t to say that parodies are necessarily a bad thing. I’ve said it before, but the best parodies tend to love their source material. I really enjoy The Lord of the Rings movies, so I have no problem sending silly memes making fun of little things in the story.

               But when you make something that’s mean spirited, it really shows. For instance, the series Magical Girl Friendship Squad was universally hated by everyone – and I’m not a fan of Magical Girl shows so I have no skin in the game – but ignoring the bad animation, it seemed to be more about taking lazy pot shots than anything. When I was looking up this, I stumbled across people making videos that explain that there are media that do a successful deconstruction of shows like Sailor Moon and Cardcaptor Sakura, but the idea was to take an Original Idea, not for someone to take the original and shatter the original people loved until it was an unrecognizable mess of apathetic pablum.

               There are ways to keep telling the story, even if it means taking some chances. Circling back to The Three Musketeers, another movie I enjoy is The Man in the Iron Mask. It’s set much after the events of the novel – decades, the four main characters have all moved on with their lives, but duty calls and they once again answer, though it leaves one of them pitted against the other three. But rather than deconstruct the swashbuckling and heroic antics of the source material, it builds upon the original story’s legacy and asks what sort of mission would be of the importance to drag three heroes out of retirement.

               Instead of knocking down other authors or creators, I for one enjoy building on the ideas other writers have set out. I get inspired by not only writers, but costume designers and musicians and dancers. Do I criticize or think some tropes are bogus? Absolutely. I’m just going to use enough tact that you’re going to have to do a little bit of work to connect the dots.

               I’ll try to post before Christmas. In the meantime, stay safe out there.


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